Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fafblog Explains Periodicity

Today's fafblog...
Q. There are more terrorists now than before the war. Is the occupation causing more terror?
A. Well, nobody can say for sure if that's a man-made terror increase. It may just be a periodic shift in the natural terror cycle.
Read the whole thing.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Your day could be worse

This is a recent post from a photo blog I love called A Test of Will. It's mostly unassuming manhattan images. This one notes clearly that Your day could be worse.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Filename is spidernaut.jpg


Engadget notes the release of more info on a lil' something NASA's working on called the Spidernaut - and nails the proper human reaction:
We've heard tell of NASA's Spidernaut, a large robot designed to service spacecraft, but after finally seeing it in action we're not so sure humans are fully prepared to battle against robots in the coming rebellion -- this thing is pretty hardcore. Supposedly its current incarnation is only 1/4 of the final size, but the target is a 600 pound robot that can distribute weight evenly over its eight legs to avoid damaging the skin of the spacecraft or for scurrying across solar panels. NASA is even looking into a "web" deployment system for the bot, in which case we're hiding the women and children and locking the doors.
I can't get the damn video link to work, but I can't wait....If anyone finds another working link, let me know!

(via Engadget)

NY Post Weighs In

Perhaps this is why right wingers maintain power. In a story that's so embrassing - the fact that Cheney ran to FOX News to conduct his interview - they can turn it around into an attack. A totally infuriating piece of steaming turd, but an attack nonetheless, an attack that mobilizes some flicker in the brains of some segment of the population.

Does a real person actually believe what this cartoon says?


Update: Kos tears it up on the "Running to Mommy Fox" point..

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Baked Tofu

One dish i love is baked tofu. It makes the house smell great, and is super easy to make. here's a way to make it.


I generally make a very simple marinade, but you can tweak it however you like. There are also a lot of simple good ones you can buy ready made, but it feels better to work from scratch.

- Block of Tofu (extra firm)
- Ginger
- Soy Sauce (tamari or shoyu both work)
- Garlic
- Sweet Onion (optional)

1. Take the tofu out, and drain it. Put it on a plate with paper towels on top and underneath, and balance another plate on top. This is not really necessary, but it's also very easy. Draining is more important when you stir fry tofu.

2. Make the marinade. I use a pyrex baking dish so I can eventually lay all the tofu pieces flat in shallow liquid. I just cut up 3 big cloves, grate a generous portion of frozen ginger, and some onion if you have tasty sweet kind, and add a bunch of soy sauce. I actually rarely use the onion, but it can't hurt. Mix it up a bit.

3. Cut the tofu in little rectangles - or however you like. I lay it flat, long side towards me, and cut down along the length of it, making little cross sections. I usually get eight rectangles out of it.

4. Put the tofu in the marinade. Doesn't have to be drowning in it. Half way up the pieces, I usually do, so less than half an inch deep. You can tilt the dish around to coat.

5. Cover and keep in the fridge, the longer the better. Overnight is best, but I tend to do it for 20 minutes when i get home from work. Flip at some point if you can.

6. Spray a baking sheet with Pam, and take the tofu out of the marinade and lay flat on the sheet.

7. Cook for about 25-30 mins at around 350. This step is actually the largest variable. I haven't found an ideal time, and I often end up with burnt, hard to get off marinade dribbling away from the tofu. But the tofu usually tastes great. I'm working on ways to improve this. If you want, you can flip it over halfway to crisp both sides.

I highly recommend pairing baked tofu with asaparagus or artichokes or broccoli, plus rice - white (with some shoyu) or brown.

Also, if you don't eat all the pieces, save them in the fridge. Two of them make a fantastic sandwich - even better than hot - with lettuce and maybe mustard.

(Picture from here, which has another run through of making baked tofu)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Winter NYC Is

DSCN3457.JPG, originally uploaded by cricketheron.

fullsize recommended.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Snow Night

DSCN3427.JPG, originally uploaded by cricketheron.

The snow has stopped, and the city is beautiful. Tomorrow it will start turning grey and dirty, but tonight...

A few more pics.


Today's new word comes from Janice Huff, meterologist for NBC4 in NYC. When discussing how The Blizzard produced way more snow even than they had predicted, she talked about how hard the weather is to predict. She talked about how it's easier to predict what's going on closer to the actual time it happens. She referred to this as "nowcasting."

Give Up Simian Secularism!

It's Charles Darwin's 197th birthday!

So, here's an excellent text book for you from Matt Bors. Ever wondered how souls in hell cause global warming?

End Out Fly Purpose

Yay, blizzard!!!

Today's extracted spam message:
end out fly purpose. night friends companion,
mentioned reference news.
turning embarrass least love tying, immediate commit off,
steps prison off carefully nothing here,
steps beautiful few a miserable. teach night here here

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Kinda Like a Bake Sale

If you slash money for education, then you have to cover that money in fucked up ways.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Scorpion Satay

Beijing 163, originally uploaded by spasdoutin.

To round things out from last week's fried spiders...

Now I just need Horseshoe Crab Soup poppers.

Different Rewards for Different Folks

EH pointed this guy out, and I just had to share this little snippet:
I love helping people make money online. I love teaching them and I love seeing results. It's incredibly rewarding to hear someone tell me that they have increased their income as a result of my ebooks. I set up an audio testimonial line so that people could call in and share their success stories.
And how.

cranbrook with snow

cranbrook with snow, originally uploaded by estimmel.

Another glorious shot.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

He Won't Stand For It

Oh, Gawker, good eyes my friend!

Gettin My Pregelatinized Smile On

I was getting my smile on with some fake Pringles known as Lay's Stax this evening, browsing the ingredients as I often do (people like me sometimes do that - check out carmine!), and what do I see but something beautiful called

Pregelatinized Starch

Blech! I swallowed quickly so as not to think about it too much and ran crying to the internet. Never fear, i found out, pregelatinized food starch is not food starch that they've already added gelatin to - no, i was being too literal (and naive).

It's just a pretty name for Improving on Nature. From the industry site Food Innovation's FAQ page:
Q/ How do I choose among the various pregelatinized starches for instant puddings and cheese sauces?
A/ The first question to ask is: How quickly do you need the starch to hydrate? Pregelatinized starches with fine particle size hydrate faster than coarser ones, but those who use fine-particle pregel starches may want to take steps to prevent lumping. Coarse ground starches disperse easily but hydrate slowly.
Oops - that wasn't very helpful. That assumes I already know. And maybe i ENGINEER velveeta competition or something. Let's try another.

Ahh! Here we go. From the site Food Product Design:
Instant improvements
Pregelatinization is a processing technique where the starch is manipulated so that it swells to some degree in cold water, unlike ordinary starch, which requires heating. The most-common method involves heating a starch paste to its gelatinization temperature, drying on a drum dryer and grinding the dried starch to a powder. Upon reconstitution with water, pregelatinized starch has less thickening power and tendency to gel than pastes of the parent starch. Pregelatinized starch works in applications requiring more rapid hydration or room-temperature preparation, such as instant dessert mixes and soups.

"Our partner, Emsland GmbH, manufacturers a line of GMO-free, kosher-certified, pregelatinized potato starches called Emjel," says Mel Festejo, chief operating officer, American Key Food Products, Closter, NJ. "The line is extensive, with each ingredient possessing its own set of superior functionalities."

For example, one of these ingredients binds and thickens and gives good texturing and stabilizing properties in bakery products, instant puddings and desserts. It also works as a coating agent for nuts, and as a binding and texturing agent with good expansion-regulating properties, mainly for extruded, indirectly expanded snack products. Another acts as a binding and texturing agent in frozen foods, dressings, mayonnaises and creams. It provides good stabilizing, freeze/thaw and baking properties. "As a thickening and stabilizing agent with good texturing and foam-stabilizing properties, this starch can be used in instant sauces and dressing powders," adds Festejo.

Now back to Chip parties in the Park!

Where It Comes From

In the last few days, I've seen comments show up here from someone named "Sam" and someone who goes by "Ray."

I just wanted to acknowledge them, cuz without the comments - and the stuff I put up myself - this thing wouldn't even be here.


(Thanks, SaVa and RaJo. Um. I think)

ExxonbMobil To Bush: "You're Naive"

Exxon Mobil Senior Vice President Stuart McGill said on Tuesday:
Americans depend upon imports to fill the gap,' McGill said. 'No combination of conservation measures, alternative energy sources and technological advances could realistically and economically provide a way to completely replace those imports in the short or medium term.'

Scorpion Trumps All

Scorpion Macro, originally uploaded by pongboy.


I'm steering away from Boo-Boo the chicken, Gonzales's claim that Al Qaeda forgets we're after them if they're not reminded by media, and the 24 old Bush appointee George Deutsche - journalism major, never graduated from A&M, now resigned - to tell NASA scientists how to communicate its message....

...and just posting this beautiful beast.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Cooking Mama

These are shots from a new Japanese gameboy DS game coming out soon, called Cooking Mama, and I'm smitten. There is currently no assurance that this is ever coming over here, but I can dream!

Many screenshots here and here at 4 Color Rebellion (first two screenshot links).

Fried Spiders Friday

La piccola venditrice di ragni, originally uploaded by luisa27266.

Fried Spider Friday, #2

Philip the Arachnivore, originally uploaded by Spud McDoug.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Bush and His Little Buddy "Humility"

Today at the National Prayer Breakfast, speaking after Bono, Bush said this:
We are united in our dedication to peace, tolerance, and humility before the almighty.

Rumsfeld Speaks

At a National Press Club speech today that i just watched on CSPAN:
"Think if we hadn't perservered in the revolutionary war. They wanted to fire George Washington!"
Cute. Among other reactions....

Are you really, um, comparing George Washington to, um....GWB? Yourself? Tom DeLay?

If I can find a full transcript, i will post it.

Update:An AFP story notes that at the same Press Club talk, Rummy "acknowledges surveillance of civilians in US."

This C-SPAN live stuff's great.

No, I Don't Have an Oil Problem

This is exactly what stank about the State of the Union comments on weaning the US off of oil. They don't mean it and they don't understand the topic. From the Times:
But when asked why Mr. Bush had not called on the public to sacrifice to reduce oil consumption, Samuel W. Bodman, the energy secretary, said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday that 'many Americans believe they're already sacrificing by paying the prices they're paying for gasoline and heating oil and natural gas.'

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Having and Eating the Science Cake

Bush last night:
We need to encourage children to take more math and science, and make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations.
Well, you can start by not suggesting we put "I Give Up, Must Be a Deity" approaches in science class, you hypocrite.

More on this particular education hypocrisy right here.


It is excruciating irony that Dear Leader is chiding the nation for it's Addiction (ding!) to Oil (ding! ding!).

Swing a dead cat or click here.

Update:This New York Times editorial nails him to the wall for his meaningless "laundry lists" of things to do and be concerned about: I'm reproducing it in full in case it falls behind the curtain.
President Bush devoted two minutes and 15 seconds of his State of the Union speech to energy independence. It was hardly the bold signal we've been waiting for through years of global warming and deadly struggles in the Middle East, where everything takes place in the context of what Mr. Bush rightly called our "addiction" to imported oil.

Last night's remarks were woefully insufficient. The country's future economic and national security will depend on whether Americans can control their enormous appetite for fossil fuels. This is not a matter to be lumped in a laundry list of other initiatives during a once-a-year speech to Congress. It is the key to everything else.

If Mr. Bush wants his final years in office to mean more than a struggle to re-spin failed policies and cement bad initiatives into permanent law, this is the place where he needs to take his stand. And he must do it with far more force and passion than he did last night.

American overdependence on oil has been a disaster for our foreign policy. It weakens the nation's international leverage and empowers exactly the wrong countries. Last night Mr. Bush told the people that "the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons," but he did not explain how that will happen when those same nations are so dependent on Tehran's oil. Iran ranks second in oil reserves only to Saudi Arabia, where members of the elite help finance Osama bin Laden and his ilk, and where the United States finds it has little power to stop them.

Oil is a seller's market, in part because of America's voracious consumption. India and China, with their growing energy needs, have both signed deals with Iran. Rogue states like Sudan are given political cover by their oil customers. The United Nations may wish to do something about genocide in Darfur or nuclear proliferation, but its most powerful members are hamstrung by their oil alliances with some of the worst leaders on the planet.

Even if the war on terror had never begun, Mr. Bush would have an obligation to be serious about the energy issue, given the enormous danger to the nation's economy if we fail to act. His own Energy Department predicts that with the rapid development of India and China, annual global consumption will rise from about 80 million barrels of oil a day to 119 million barrels by 2025. Absent efforts to reduce American consumption, these new demands will lead to soaring oil prices, inflation and a loss of America's trade advantage. It should be a humbling shock to American leaders that Brazil has managed to become energy self-sufficient during a period when the United States was focused on building bigger S.U.V.'s.

Part of the answer, as Mr. Bush indicated last night, is the continued development of alternative fuels, especially for cars. The Energy Department has addressed this modestly, and last night the president said his budget would add more money for research. That's fine, but hardly the kind of full-bore national initiative that will pump large amounts of money into the commercial production of alternatives to gasoline.

When it comes to cars, much of the research has already been done — Brazil got to energy independence by figuring out how to get its citizens home from work in cars run without much gasoline. The answer is producing the new fuels that have already been developed and getting cars that use them on the lots. There are several ways to make that happen. The president could call for higher fuel economy standards for car manufacturers. He could bring up the subject of a gas tax — the most effective way of getting Americans to buy fuel-efficient cars, and a market-based tax on consumption that conservative lawmakers ought to embrace if they are honest with themselves and their constituents. But Mr. Bush took the safe, easy and relatively meaningless route instead.

There is still an enormous amount to be done to find new sources of clean, cheap power to heat homes and create electricity. But regrettably, the president made it clear last night that he would rather spend the country's resources on tax cuts for the wealthy. The oil companies are currently flush with profits from the same high prices that have plagued consumers, and the president might have asked the assembled legislators whether their current tax breaks might be redirected into a real energy initiative.

Simply calling for more innovation is painless. The hard part is calling for anything that smacks of sacrifice — on the part of consumers or special interests, and politicians who depend on their support. After 9/11, the president had the perfect moment to put the nation on the road toward energy independence, when people were prepared to give up their own comforts in the name of a greater good. He passed it by, and he missed another opportunity last night.

Of all the defects in Mr. Bush's energy presentation, the greatest was his unwillingness to address global warming — an energy-related emergency every bit as critical as our reliance on foreign oil. Except for a few academics on retainer at the more backward energy companies, virtually no educated scientist disputes that the earth has grown warmer over the last few decades — largely as a result of increasing atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide produced by the burning of fossil fuels.

The carbon lodged in the atmosphere by the Industrial Revolution over the last 150 years has already taken a toll: disappearing glaciers, a thinning Arctic icecap, dead or dying coral reefs, increasingly violent hurricanes. Even so, given robust political leadership and technological ingenuity, the worst consequences — widespread drought and devastating rises in sea levels —can be averted if society moves quickly to slow and ultimately reverse its output of greenhouse gases. This will require a fair, cost-effective program of carbon controls at home and a good deal of persuasion and technological assistance in countries like China, which is building old-fashioned, carbon-producing coal-fired power plants at a frightening clip.

Mr. Bush said he would look for cleaner ways to power our homes and offices, and provide more money for the Energy Department's search for a "zero emission" coal-fired plant whose carbon dioxide emissions can be injected harmlessly into the ground without adding to the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere. But once again he chose to substitute long-range research — and a single, government-sponsored research program at that — for the immediate investments that have to be made across the entire industrial sector.

That Mr. Bush has taken a pass on this issue is a negligence from which the globe may never recover. While he seems finally to have signed on to the idea that the earth is warming, and that humans are heavily responsible, he has rejected serious proposals to do anything about it and allowed his advisers on the issue to engage in a calculated program of disinformation. At the recent global summit on warming, his chief spokesmen insisted that the president's program of voluntary reductions by individual companies had resulted in a reduction in emissions, when in fact the reverse was true.

The State of the Union speech is usually a feel-good event, and no one could fault Mr. Bush's call for research, or fail to applaud his call for replacing more than 75 percent of the nation's oil imports from the Middle East within the next two decades. But while the goal was grand, the means were minuscule. The president has never been serious about energy independence. Like so many of our leaders, he is content to acknowledge the problem and then offer up answers that do little to disturb the status quo. If the war on terror must include a war on oil dependence, Mr. Bush is in retreat.