The Smartest Cooker in the World

Cook Your Meat in a Beer Cooler: The World’s Best (and Cheapest) Sous-Vide Hack

In an effort to help those who’d like to experiment with sous-vide cookery without having to put in the capital, a couple weeks ago I devised a novel solution to the problem: Cook your food in a beer cooler.

But … how does the cooler know you’re cooking?!? [wink]

Here’s how it works: A beer cooler is designed to keep things cool. It accomplishes this with a two-walled plastic chamber with an air space in between. This airspace acts as an insulator, preventing thermal energy (a.k.a. heat) from outside to reach the cold food inside. Of course, insulators work both ways. Once you realize that a beer cooler is just as good at keeping hot things hot as it is at keeping cold things cold, then the rest is easy

I haven’t tried this, but there’s quite a bit of interesting discussion in the comments.

Important info for sous-vide chicken

I Have A Dream that Ich Bin Ein Berliner

50 historical speeches available online

You hope that your professors will be good speakers who can keep your interest for at least the length of a class period, but more often than not, you’ll have a teacher or two each semester who drones on and on and doesn’t make you feel passionate about the subject. They could take tips from these speakers who have inspired thousands or even millions of people around the world, some even long after they’ve died. Here are 50 incredible, historical speeches you should watch online.

A Chip in the Big Game

Last week I stayed late to give a tour of our clock facility, and to show off the fountain, to some brass that were visiting. For me, tours like this are a little bit stressful, because this was more than just the gee-whiz—aren’t—we—cool tour (and tabletop-ish atomic physics makes for some pretty good gee-whiz) we give to some visitors. For those visitors, talking about physics is sufficient, and I’m pretty good at bringing the geek. For visitors who actually have a stake in what we do, I’m trying to make the presentation relevant to the job they do, above and beyond the “timing = navigation, because a nanosecond is a foot.” And really there is more to that message, because timing is also tied in with communication (and more importantly, secure communication) but because I’m the redundant backup for such tours, I don’t have a lot of practice at the high-level discussions. Which makes a feedback loop — because I don’t have a lot of practice to polish the talk (and I’m further down the chain), I don’t get called on to do this often, etc., etc. Iterate.

But things went well enough, and as the admiral shook my hand and thanked me, a coin was transferred into my possession. Challenge coins are a military tradition, that admit I had no awareness of when I was a junior officer in the navy, mostly because they are generally (or admirally) exchanged only when rubbing elbows with top brass of some sort. Wikipedia tells me the tradition probably dates back to WWI. There are coins that reflects one’s unit, and coins that reflect one’s job, especially if one has a job with a large degree of specialization. These are used as identification, and as with so many military traditions, they are often tied into drinking — if challenged to produce your coin and you don’t have it (or sometimes if you are the last one to do so), you are expected to get a round of drinks.

There are other coins that represent one’s command, and still others that are personal coins which will declare the rank of the giver. These can also be presented as a challenge when you’re sitting in a bar, with the owner of the coin representing the highest rank winning, and exempt from having to pay for drinks. The coin I got represents the Admiral’s office at the Joint Chiefs, rather than being a personal coin, so it does not show the rank of Rear Admiral (two stars). The frequency at which one gives out a coin is really a personal decision; I’ve read of flag officers who carried (or, more specifically, had their aids carry) a bag of coins with them because they handed them out so readily, and others who were very stingy. This was my first coin, and was probably given in appreciation for staying fairly late. A true cynic might think this is little different from the kind of cheesy awards you can buy (“You’re a Star” mug, “Celebrate Awesomeness” hunk of plastic or “Team Player” keychain) but I disagree. A coin — especially a nice coin — is not a bulk item, and has a nice tradition behind to back it up. I’m pretty jazzed about it.

JCS coin

The Quantum Physics of Whiteboards

Uncertain Principles: On the Quantum Physics of Whiteboards

The black markers write very clearly on the board, but when I attempted to erase the board at the end of class, the erasers just sort of smeared the ink around leaving a greyish smudge on the board.

From this, we can deduce that the operator W, which describes wiping the board clean, and the operator M, which describes making marks on the board, are non-commuting operators.

The Neverending Train Journey

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No time is wasted. The bullet train is moving all the time. If there are 30 stations between Beijing and Guangzhou , just stopping and accelerating again at each station will waste both energy and time.

A mere 5 min stop per station (elderly passengers cannot be hurried) will result in a total loss of 5 min x 30 stations or 2.5 hours of train journey time!

A 5-min stop is actually a longer delay owing to the time spent accelerating.

Miracles? Ain't No Such Thing, You Clown

The Buzz On “MIRACLES”

Yes, most of the miracles we mention can easily be explained away by science, that’s why we say the line “fuck scientists.” Their factual findings sometimes explain away the Earth’s cool mysteries. Part of me wishes they were lying. Part of me doesn’t want to know how they really make crop circles. My imagination wants to believe it’s aliens or somethin’. If people can’t relate to that, then that’s their loss. I mean, seriously, it must truly suck to have no imagination about these things. Us Juggalos have deep imaginations, and an awesome sense of humor.

There’s more in the interview, along the lines of how if things aren’t miracles, then they aren’t amazing, and if you think they aren’t miracles, then you aren’t showing appreciation for them. Which is the gist of the lyrics of the song.

To borrow a little from Andy Dufresne: Do you know how to read, you ignorant fuck?

Ignorance truly is bliss, isn’t it? Stupidity must be heaven. I do not, do not, do not understand the position that understanding something destroys the beauty or wonder of nature. I’ll tell you what blows a scientist’s mind — seeing something cool and then figuring out what’s going on. Scientists don’t ignore “miracles,” we try to understand them, because as wondrous as the sight might be, there’s just so much more going on, if only you’d look under the surface. Calling them miracles is the lazy way out.

What US Currency Could Look Like

… but it doesn’t.

Michael Tyznik’s US Currency Redesign

Contrary to rumors circulating in chain emails, this design is not the work of or in any relation to the U.S. government. It was my entry to the Dollar Rede$ign contest and is purely speculative.

American banknotes are in dire need of a redesign. Even though the green color of money is deeply interwoven into the nation’s culture, the need for color differentiation between denominations has forced the inclusion of color. The recent redesign of banknotes by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is poorly executed and aesthetically lacking. Because the coloring of the current notes is so subtle, it is still hard to differentiate between denominations by that method alone.

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