Saturday, December 22, 2012

Five Years Since Surgery

Wow!  It's been five years since I started this blog.  That was a few months after surgery, which occurrred, if I remember correctly,  on the day of the winter solstice.   One of my posts showed a survival  (survivorship ) curve which flattened out after five years.  The slope  (loss rate) likely approaches that of the general population (with some age adjustments).   This area of statistics is called survival analysis .   Survivorship curves come in several shapes. Here are some examples for different times and countries.  The mid-life slope for Europe is about 0.5% per year. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Holiday Food Groups

General food groups are:   Dairy (milk, cheese) ,  Fat (olive oil,  butter, lard) ,   Vegefruit (broccoli,  apple, tomato)  Protein (soy, meat) ,  Starch (wheat, potato, barley) ..

My holiday food groups are:   Coffee,  Champagne,  RugelachGravlax,  Johnnie Walker, Ben&Jerry,  IPA..

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Drip Coffee Making Techniques

Some rules from decades of drip coffee making using German-made machines - Melitta, Braun, etc.

  • Measuring is crucial. Most manufacturers use their own measures. Typically,   one drip coffee measuring spoon/scoop makes one drip coffee cup (water volume) of brewed drip coffee.  Neither measure is standard so it's useful to find out what your machine really uses in standard units - metric or English.   
  • A drip scoop of finely ground coffee is close to 2 tablespoons in volume.  In metric units that's about 30 ml (milli-liters).  Sometimes weighing ground coffee is convenient.  The density of  uncompressed (loose) dry ground coffee is about 0.25 grams per ml  For compressed finely ground coffee, it's closer to 0.4 grams/ml..  So one scoop weighs about 30 x 0.25 g/ml,  or about 7 grams.  You can test this by weighing several scoops on a small postal scale.  One ounce (not fluid ounce) weighs 28.35 grams.   Two scoops should be close to one ounce. Zero out the empty container weight first.  (We all forget to do this at least once)..
  • One "cup" of drip coffee uses five to six  fluid- ounces of water. In metric units that's 150 to 180 ml.    Note: these are volume measures.
  • Make just the right amount.   Don't attempt to use the full capacity of a ten cup maker.   And making one cup at a time won't work well with a large coffee maker. 
  • Selecting the right grind is important.  If the grains are too fine, they will clog the filter. If they are too coarse,  the extraction will be poor.  
  • Water contact time and temperature are important parameters.  Properly calibrated drip coffee makers do this for you.   I like to use Melitta style paper filters (line-bottom cone) in combination with the gold mesh.  Simplifies clean up. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy Blasphemy Day

Blasphemy Day prompted me to do a little etymological  (big word) research.  Thanks to the wonderful  Google Translate, it's fun working these things out..

Blasphemy  -   Blas   and phemy -   Greek I am sure.  (spread - rumors )

The blas part -  βλαστάνω   -   sprout, vegetate, germinate, bud, burgeon

The phemi part:  φημες   -  rumors 
reputationφήμη, υπόληψη
fameφήμη, κλέος
rumorφήμη, θρύλος, διάδοση
renownφήμη, δόξα
nameόνομα, φήμη, προσωνυμία, υπόληψη
celebrityδιασημότητα, προσωπικότητα, φήμη, εξοχότης
kudosδόξα, φήμη
hearsayφήμη, διάδοση
characterχαρακτήρας, προσωπικότητα, γράμμα, είδος, φήμη, ήρωας μυθιστορήματος
reportέκθεση, αναφορά, απολογισμός, φήμη, κρότος
Fun Fun nice

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Julia Child - Centenary of Birth

Google Doodle for 8/15/2012
Today's Google Doodle honors  Julia Child,  America's  "french chef".   Julia was born  in California in 1912  - which was a long schlep from France (and still is).   She attended Smith College in Massachusetts and then moved to New York City.  During WW2, she was posted to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka ) where she met Paul Child who introduced her to fine cuisine.  Once the flame was ignited, her love of French cuisine remained to her last day.

Julia's show on WGBH television was a lot of fun for me. More than thirty years ago, I bumped into Julia in Harvard Square.  She was tall and a bit clumsy in her movements.  This was familiar to all those who watched her in the kitchen.  The highest accolade was the sketch by Dan Aykroyd on "Saturday Night Live", which I watched in real-time -  in 1978 .   Tempus Fugit. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sally Ride - First American Female Astronaut

Group of women selected by NASA for astronaut

Sally Ride,   died from pancreatic cancer  yesterday,  July 23, 2012, 17-months after diagnosis.  I met Sally more than a decade ago at Radcliffe College (which is now fully integrated with Harvard University).  We talked for a few minutes.  She was the second astronaut I met - first American woman in space.   The other I knew a bit better -   Ron McNair -  who died in the space shuttle Challenger accident.  Ron rose from very humble beginnings in South Carolina.   

Sally also started from a modest background.  Both Sally and Ron had doctorates in physics - Sally from Stanford and Ron from MIT.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Android Jellybean

I received the update today .. about 150 Meg.. runs faster and smoother.  Action list for text selection among many other features.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Deep Thoughts #2

Note to wealthy capitalist:  Dubai, or not to buy...that is the question.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Anniversaries re cancer

Fourth anniversary of the end of chemo (July 2008).  Fifth anniversary of the beginning of diagnostic process (July 2007).  Now I know why they said it takes five years for nerve damage to repair - I found that shocking then and I still do.  Hey, I'm alive.

Deep Thoughts #1

I support marriage between a man and a woman, a man and a man, a dog and a woman,  a cat and a man,  a mouse and a rat.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Super Moon 2012 - or Is It SuperMoon?

Via wikipedia
I have been a little tardy in getting to the subject of the "supermoon".   The United States Naval Observatory (USNO)   says that the full moon occurs on May 6, 2012 at 03:35:00 UTC.  Since Boston is currently at UTC minus 4 (Eastern Daylight Time), the full moon happened at 11:35 last night. 

Apparent Size Change

The distance change from average orbital radius to perigee (closest approach)  is about 6%.  The moon is not a point source when viewed from Earth so we see an apparent change in size  (about 6% in diameter and 12% in area).  (see image on right).   If a far away, "point source", like a star, got 6% closer to us, we would not see any size change - only a change in apparent brightness.

Apparent Brightness Change

In addition, light from each location, or point,  on the moon spreads out in all directions. Since the light from each point travels a shorter distance to earth, the famous inverse square law says that detector (eye) would receive about 12% more light,  from each point on the moon, due to the change in distance. With an imaging detector like the eye, or a camera. each point on the film or retina receives more light independent of the size of the moon.  This change is unlikely to be perceived  as a big change brightness of the moon but it may add to the overall effect of a "super moon" , or supermoon.   

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Brazil: Actor Hangs Himself During Play

This post has a label. #dontdothis
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The performer, 27-year-old Tiago Klimeck was one of the actors from a local theater company taking part in an independent production of the play in the city of Itarare earlier this month.

Klimeck died after spending more than two weeks in a medically induced coma due to extensive brain injuries from a prolonged lack of oxygen after accidentally hanging himself during the play. He died in the Hospital Santa Casa de Misericordia, in the neighboring city of Itapeva.

The cause of death was not immediately available, although photos taken by a local photographer show the final moments of the play as Klimeck as Iscariot, hangs himself as described in the book of Matthew.

Janaina Carvalho, a member of the theatre group told reporters. "I started talking to Tiago and asked him to help us to take the rope. When I realized he did not answer, I and other actors call for help."

Klimeck was unconscious when removed from the tree, and immediately rushed to the hospital. Scans found the incident caused cerebral anoxia due to lack of oxygen to the brain, leading to a medically induced coma. The actor was placed on life support following the tragedy, and removed just over two weeks later on April 22 when he passed.

Police investigator Jose Victor Bassetti says that this was the third year the local fire department had allowed the theater company uses the harness for the play and that Klimeck was not supervised because he knew how to use the equipment.

The harness, along with the rope used in the play, is now being analyzed at the Criminal Institute of Sorocaba.

"One of the actors came over to me, desperate, explaining there was someone unconscious hanging from the rope and that he wanted to cut it," Luiz Carlos Rosner, who owns a sandwich cart next to the city square where the play was taking place. "I was a little worried about giving him a knife in the middle of the crowd."

 ------------------------------© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Models Whose Names Begin with Sól...

MW recently posted something on Nordic deities.  One called  Sól , or Sunna, is a woman - the sun personified.    MW's post included an image of a beautiful, blond woman with of good proportions.   Clearly, Sunna represents life, fertility and vitality  - that makes sense -  the Sun being the ultimate energy source for life on earth.    That's the inspiration for this post - Now to change gears -  Female models whose names begin with sol..

Sóley,  Click for site
Sunna Björk
Sunna (click for info)

Sunna (click for info)
the end

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Boston Subway: Red Line Centenary

Boston Green Line Car
Boston has the oldest subway system in  the USA.  The Tremont Street Subway opened in 1897 connecting Park Street Station to Boylston Steet Station.   It was originally a tunnel used to get streetcar rails off the congested steets.   Later,  the benefits of rapid transit became apparent.  The tunnel is still in use on the Green Line.

Boston:  Red Line Train
The MBTA Red Line is relatively new; It opened in March  of 1912.    The Red Line is a full-size "metro" rail line using 600 V DC third-rail power.   The original cars were large for the time:   21 meters long,  43 tons  (all steel).   Currently,  stainless steel and aluminum framed cars are in use.   The line is about 18 miles long  (Braintree to Alewife stations).  End to end travel time is about 50 minutes (the average speed is about 22 mph including stops). 

The Boston  subway system  is nicknamed  "the T",  a truncation of  MBTA and it's earlier incarnation, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA).  This is not to be confused with New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority which is also called the MTA.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Maurice André, Trumpet Virtuoso

I used to listen to his recordings on Deutche Grammophon vinyl LPs. Fantastic performer on trumpet and piccolo trumpet.   He started out as a coal miner.  

NY times obituary by Margalit Fox

enjoy more of him of youtube.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Google Doodle - Heinrich Hertz

Google Doodle, 2/22/2012
Today's Google Doodle is an animated gif celebrating the birthday of Heinrich Hertz .  Writing this post probably won't hurtz me much.  Hertz.  The SI unit of frequency in cycles per second is named after him (hertz, Hz) in honor of his research on electromagnetics - specifically the existence of free-space propagation of EM waves at radio frequencies.  He also established the photoelectric effect  (PE) after noticing changes in the charge of objects illuminated by UV light.  The PE effect was later explained by Albert Einstein.   Hertz also experimented with "cathode rays" and showed they could penetrate thin sheets of aluminum. 

Frequency (or more precisely temporal frequency)  is a fundamental physical idea.   All kinds of objects vibrate , more or less, periodically -  leaves flutter in the wind,  hollow tubes whistle,  trees sway,  balls bounce. etc. etc.    Surface waves  move water up and down and move foward and backward.   The frequency spectrum  of a time-domain function is a unique transformation (the Fourier transform).  Time and frequency are dual variables related through an analytic duality.   Here is a list of dualities.  The one of interest here is  Pontryagin duality .

Monday, February 13, 2012

Speedskating Trip To The Netherlands

Yesterday,  I skated about 80 km of canal ice in Friesland,  in the north-eastern part The Netherlands.   My plan was to skate the entire 200 km Elfstedentocht route.   However, I was waylaid by several Frisian pirates on the icy canals and forced to drink Beerenburg.  The sun was going down and I was advised that  canal skating tipsy and in the dark was not a good idea.  So we skated tipsy until sunset.  I started at Leeuwarden, skated to Sneek, then IJlst, Workum, Bolsward, Witmarsum and Harlingen.

View Larger Map
 It was great fun.  It's been 15 years since the last really deep freeze in Friesland when an official Elfstedentocht was held.

Here is a photo link to my trip album (click to enlarge).

And also a video link.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Google Doodle: Nicolas Steno friend of Nicolaes Witsen

Google Doodle - 1/11/2012
Today's Google doodle marks the birthday of Nicolas Steno,  a physician and scientist in the early Age of Enlightenment.  He made contributions to geology, crystallography and anatomy.   He knew several scientific luminaries of the age including the cartographer and Mayor of Amsterdam,  Nicolaes Witsen.   At the University of Copenhagen, he met Thomas Bartholin, discoverer of the lymphatic system and the father of  Caspar Junior who described Bartholin's glands, two glands located slightly posterior and to the left and right of the opening of the vagina. 

Steno tried organized religion and found it wanting. Ironically, he may land up being made a saint by a large religious organization.

Tenth Anniversary of Surgery

It's been ten years since cancer surgery.  I have new camera. :)