Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In honor of floccinaucinihilipilfication

There being a discussion of nihil on facebook {who would be surprised ?}, I found this old frenzied essay, product of a midnight fantasy on my hard drive:

     Nature Abhors a Vacuum
      by Gordon Powell 3/18/92

     Nil comprises Nil.  In Nil is Nil and nothing but Nil.  Nil,
as a physical universe, comprises neither space nor time nor
energy nor matter.  Is Nil logically consistent? In other words,
is Nil stable?

     If Nil comprises Nil, Nil is non-empty.  Therefore Nil would
appear to be logically inconsistent with itself.  A condition of
Nil is unstable.  Therefore something exists.

     All is the Universal.  Anything is a member of the
difference between All and Nil.  Both energy and matter are
something, that is they are a definitely specified anything.
Given our conceptions of energy and matter it is difficult to see
how they could exist independently of space and time.   Therefore
space and time are a precondition of energy and matter. 
Therefore given not nil, first we first have at least space and
time, and perhaps other members of Anything but not including
energy and matter.  Thus out of nothingness arises dimension and
place and subsequently time and sequence.   Thus out of Nil,
arises Null. This was the beginning of the Universe.

     Is Null, the empty Universe, logically consistent?  In other
words, is an empty Universe stable?  To have place, reference
points are necessary.   A single reference point is not
sufficient, because a single reference point does not establish
scale or direction.  Therefore the Universe is non-empty.  This
is the beginning of matter. 

     All that exists, exists because of the impossibility of Nil
and Null.  The Creator is Logic, and everthing created is a
theorem, including we ourselves.  There are an infinite number of
theorems and because of the incompleteness theorem, a definite
number of the secondary laws of physics will never suffice to
explain everthing.   It is in this sense that we are eternal and
that there will always be mystery.

Friday, November 9, 2012

An overcoat sleeping bag

Some people, particularly hunters and military people, are sometimes caught outside without complete equipment for camping overnight. Here is an idea for adding to an overcoat a means to turn it into a sleeping bag. The idea is the the lower part of the coat would have an annular addition attached along the bottom edge with the upper edge ordinarily folded upward inside the coat.

When required to create a sleeping bag, the idea would be to fold down the internal annulus "lining" that would be constructed long enough to extend beyond the feet. Some sort of fastening system would then seal the former internal annular "top" , now the "bottom". For the top of the overcoat, some sort of hood arrangement might be useful. If L. L. Bean or other manufacturer would make something like this, I think it would sell.

This would also be good for children.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Rabbit rabbit!  I don't know how it is November already.

I began my November with baking some bread, which is a skill I've wanted to acquire over the past few years.  I'm not against kneading and have made some lovely challah in the past, but challah requires lots of eggs.  Sandwich breads never seem to come out as nice as I'd like them to--denser, not as tall. When I've wanted fresh bread in a hurry I've tried this but never been completely happy with it. Slow-rise no-knead breads have always seemed intriguing but lacking a dutch oven I had not attempted one until I came across Deb form Smitten Kitchen's Bread without a Timetable.

This is a baguette, not a boule or a sandwich loaf, but it is fresh homemade bread that doesn't involve too much work.  I wanted some bread by lunchtime today but needed the morning to do other things, so I decided to try it out.  Here is what I did, and also a link to the original recipe.  I'd be curious to see how other people's loaves turn out (if anyone is up for making some bread).  It's vegan until you top it with butter or cheese.

Overnight Whole Wheat Bread
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 ½ c. white flour + more for kneading
2 c. whole wheat flour
¼ c. cornmeal + more for sprinkling
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
¼ t. yeast
1 ½ c. warm water

Mix yeast and warm water in a large measuring cup.  Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour wet over dry, mix to combine.  Knead 5 minutes.  Roll in flour, place in large bowl, cover with plastic wrap or towel.  Let rise slowly at room temperature (I did overnight, 9 hours).

Punch down, knead 5 minutes.  Roll in flour, return to bowl, cover.  Let rise (I did almost 2 hours).  Punch down, knead briefly, shape into a baguette.  Place on a cookie sheet lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Slash top four times, diagonally.  Let rise about 30 minutes, covered.

Bake for 30 minutes at 450 with a pan of hot water in the lower portion of the oven.  Lower the temperature to 425, bake another 5-20 minutes (I did 20).

The resulting baguette was very crusty with a dense interior.  The outside didn't brown as much as I expected.  It tasted like...whole wheat bread.