Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Pie Funnel

Just when I thought I had heard of everything, something new pops up. It seems that to make the perfect pie crust, you need something called a pie funnel. Basically, it is a piece of ceramic that vents steam from the pie while cooking, and also supports the top crust.

In general, the web site on which this appears, Interesting Thing of the Day, has many good and interesting articles. Read the archives.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Orderly Universe

It is only natural that people like to make order out of their perceptions of the universe. It is this inborn trait of people that leads them to disbelieve things that are true but are strange. Sometimes true stories are falsely turned into mythical legends by those who want to make order of their universe. Such is the case of the legend of the alligators in New York sewers. It is actually true that it happened. Inevitably, the deniers started writing that it was an apocryphal legend. Eventually the alleged apocryphal legend turned into a "hoax" and "wholly false story" suitable for the gullible. As the link above shows, the legend is a true legend, not false.

There are other reasons for this strange human trait to refuse to examine the evidence. One of those reasons is that no one wants to be thought of as a fool. This is a consequence of possessing an ego. In order to not appear a fool, it is best to not believe the tall tales you hear.

On the other side of the coin, some people do indeed exaggerate or lie for the purpose of humor or monetary gain, so, disbelief also has a basis in human nature. In the end, there is no substitute for actually examining the evidence and making your own decision. In examining evidence, it is necessary not to rely on other peoples ridiculing opinions of the evidence. Only by a detailed examination of the evidence by yourself will do.

Brooklyn Adventures

Megabus got into NYC about a half hour late, which isn't too bad. My bus back to DC was right on time, in fact, we got to Baltimore half and hour early (but I guess DC traffic slowed us down).
On Saturday I went with my friend Jen and some of her friends from Pratt to this Score Swap.. Basically you paid $3 and donated a couple things and then you could take whatever you want. The swap was hosted by Bust and Nylon magazines. There were people there taking pictures. We all got a bunch of stuff, mostly clothes, but Jen got some 45s and I found a Polaroid I just need to find some film for it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Home Arthritis Cure

Today I had some time on my hands so I decided to cure a persistant ache in my thumb joint. The picture shows the cure in progress and the medium of the cure is a bee sting. I have had great success with this on other body parts (knees, neck) and after about a week of trying to get relief with Capsaicin cream I decided to go for a better cure for my thumb problem. I got a jar and punched some holes in the lid. I drove over to Uncle Jon's and had a look at his bee hives. Bees are scarcer this time of year but I spotted a couple on the outside of the hive. I quickly put the jar over them and slid a piece of paper under the jar opening to lift it off, trapping 2 bees. Then I slipped out the paper after putting the lid in position. If you will want to keep the bees alive for a length of time, you should add a bit of wet paper towel to the jar. When I got home I numbed the area of my thumb with an ice cube, then grabbed bee number one with some tweezers, setting her bottom on the base of my thumb. I didn't have to command her to sting; bee instinct takes care of that. The stinger will keep pumping venom after initial contact so you can control the dose. I did the same with the second bee and now have only to await the cure. My hand is a little more swollen than expected, so I guess one bee would have been enough. One theory about how this works is that it works by stimulating the body's own immune system to localize in a problem area. You can see by the photo that that is what happened. I expect when the swelling goes down to have no more pain in my thumb. My father has also used this technique to get rid of warts.
Warning - Some people are severly allergic to bee stings and the safest way to do intentional stinging is to get a doctor's prescription for a Bee Sting kit to have on hand in case of a severe adverse reaction.
A side note - I've heard that there is a repetitive stress injury that young people are getting in their thumbs from too much texting that I imagine this would also be good for.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

More on the Climate Debate

This October is said to have been the third coldest October on record. I can't verify this, I just read it somewhere. Here is an interesting presentation:

Deconstructing Global Warming
Richard S. Lindzen Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences Massachusetts Institute of Technology
CEI October 26, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Megabus Adventures

*$8 to New York City. yes!
*Free WiFi!
*Green lights
*On time (only left 3 minutes late!)

Lets hope I don't jinx the rest of the ride...

Edit: Things to do with free WiFi
*Read historical tweets
*play sporcle
*of course, Facebook

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The wit and wisdom of Jon V. Powell


Politicians, Lawyers, Talk show hosts,
works of some master poet ?
Rorschachs upon my arse-wipe,
to the lee I throw it.

D.I.Y. Why ?

Once inside my junkyard dreary
as I hammered weak and weary,
on many a dud munition of Days of Yore,
There came
water heater, your thermal embrace,
intimate calorie giver.
But your elements Fail. You jilt me now,
by thus & such I shiver,
but, cometh the plumber, with tradesman skill,
and so, our love renewed,
yet by him, not you, with Sum and Bill,
am I consumately screwed.

After writing these, Jon commented: I should cut back on my caffeine.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to depression and heart disease

Here is a comprehensive article on the importance of Vitamin D to mental health and cardiovascular health. This is well worth reading.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Vitamin D might prevent H1N1 flu

There is evidence from a private physician in Georgia that high dose Vitamin D supplementation seems to prevent H1N1 swine flu. This makes sense since it has also been observed elsewhere that Mexicans seem to be more susceptible to the flu than light skinned Americans. Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin and lighter skin permits more synthesis of the vitamin. Nonetheless, because many light skinned people don't get enough sun, it probably makes sense for everyone to supplement.