A curious cat gets into a sticky predicament.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
"Home economics in public schools. Kitchen in housekeeping flat, New York," circa 1910. View full size. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.
To Polish Patent Leather - Orange juice will be found to be a good polish for Patent Leather.
To Remove Old Paint and Varnish - A mixture of two parts of ammonia and one part turpentine will soften old pain and varnish so that they may easily be scraped off.
To wash Painted Surfaces - Wash painted surfaces with milk.
Piano Polish - Rub well with a piece of flannel cloth saturated with a mixture of equal parts of turpentine, linseed oil and vinegar. Polish with a piece of chamois skin. This treatment will entirely remove the dingy appearance in fine woods.
To Loosen Screws - Hold a red hot poker on the head of a rusty screw for two or three minutes and it may be easily removed with a screw driver.
To Clean Blackened Silver - Add a teaspoonful of ammonia to a cup of water and use a little of this to make a paste with whiting. Apply the paste to the silverware with a soft chamois and polish it using another chamois to dry it.
To Remove Soot - Should soot fall upon the carpet cover it with dry salt and it may be swept up with out leaving smears.
To Remove Tea Stains - Tea stains may be removed by washing the fabric with milk. After the milk has dried the grease may be removed with benzene or naphtha.
To Frost Window Panes - Dissolve some Epsom salts in beer and apply with a brush and you will have the best window frosting known.
To Dry Woolens without shrinking - A large manufacturer of woolen goods says that woolen garments should be hung on the line dripping wet and not wrung out at all. If dried this way the shrinkage will be almost unnoticeable.
Moths - Moths will not lay their eggs where fine-cut tobacco has been scattered.
Moths - Camphor gum is a preventative of moths. Goods packed in a cedar chest will be kept free from moths. Exposing clothes and furs occasionally to the light and air and beating and shaking them is probably the best treatment, however.
To Keep Away Mice - Mice do not like the smell of camphor gum and if it is placed in drawers or trunks they will keep at a distance. Seeds may also be protected by mixing small amounts of camphor gum with them.
A Preventive for Red Ants - Pour a quart of boiling water over half a pint of tar in and earthen vessel and set the vessel in the closet and you will not be troubled by ants.
To Get Rid of Flies - It is said that you will not be troubled with many flies if you keep geraniums growing in the house. Then why not have more flowers and fewer flies?
To Prevent Bites from Mosquitoes and Flies - Mix three ounces sweet oil and one ounce of carbolic acid and when mosquitoes are troublesome apply to the face and hands every half hour. After it has been used two or three days and the skin is saturated, it may be used less frequently. Be careful not to get it in the eyes. It is very effective and not harmful to the skin.
To Clean Glass - Dampen a cloth with either alcohol or ammonia then dip it into some finely sifted wood ashes and polish the glass. Wipe off with a perfectly dry cloth.
To Clean a Glass Decanter - Put into it a spoonful of vinegar and a few lumps of soda. Shake it well, but leave the top open or it may burst the decanter. Rinse with cold water.
To Remove Panes of Glass -- lay soft soap over the putty for a few hours and it will become soft so that it may be easily scraped away no matter how hard it may previously have been.
To Clean Light Gloves -- Light gloves may be cleaned by rubbing them with fine bread crumbs. It is best to rub them after each wearing so that they do not become badly soiled.
To Clean Kid Gloves - If not too badly soiled, kid gloves may be cleaned by rubbing them with a piece of oiled silk wound about the finger.
Gnats -- Camphor is the best preventive and cure for the stings of gnats.
To Remove Grass Stains -- Rub the stains with spirits of wine and they will readily come out when washed in soap and water.
To Remove Grease -- Take equal parts of benzene, ether and alcohol; wet a sponge in the mixture and apply by patting the spot; put a piece of blotting paper on each side and iron with a hot flatiron.
To Clean Lamp Chimneys -- Rub them with a piece of newspaper upon which a little kerosene has been poured. This is better than soap and the chimney will not be so likely to crack.
To Wash Flannels -- Put borax in the water and the flannels will look like new and will not shrink.
Ironing -- A little table salt added to the starch helps in the ironing.
To Prevent Scorching when Ironing -- Rub the iron on a cloth saturated with kerosene.
To remove Stains from clothing -- Rub the stained parts with lard before washing. With washable goods, the yolk of an egg rubbed upon the stains before laundering will remove the spots.
To wash black stockings -- Black stockings will retain their color if washed in warm suds of water and soap, with a little vinegar in the rinse.
Furniture Dressing - Use equal parts of alcohol and raw linseed oil. First remove all greasy substances, then apply with a soft woolen cloth.
Washing Fluid - One box of lye and five cents worth of borax, salts of tartar and dry ammonia. Dissolve in two gallons of hot water. Take off fire before putting in ammonia. To be used in boiling suds.
To Clean Carpets - One cake Ivory soap, one bottle ammonia, five cents worth of ether; dissolve soap in one gallon of hot water; then cool, add ammonia and ether. Scrub small space at a time with a brush and wipe dry with a soft cloth wrung out of warm water.
To Remove Paint Stains from cotton and wool - Old dry paint stains may be removed from cotton and woolen good by first covering the spots with olive oil or butter and then applying chloroform.
To Preserve Eggs - One quart of salt, one pint of slacked lime and three gallons of water. This liquid will keep eggs for years.
A tight shoe - Wring a cloth out of hot water and apply to the part that is tight. If necessary renew and keep shoe on until the leather is stretched.
Cleaning Plates before Washing - Tack a bag on the inside of the kitchen sink door and it keep cloths to be used in cleaning plates, before dish washing. Dip the cloth in water, rub on a little soap, then wipe instead of scrape the dishes. A great help in kitchen work.
To Clean Linoleum or Oil Cloth -- instead of using soap and water, wash with sweet milk. The milk makes it look fresh and bright without destroying the luster.
To Mend Iron Vessels - Mix finely some sifted Lime with the white of an egg till a thin paste is formed, then add some iron filings. Apply this to the fracture and the vessel will be found nearly as sound as ever.
To Exterminate Bed Bugs - Use kerosene oil freely wherever the bugs are found.
To Remove Kerosene - Cover the spot with cornmeal; lay a paper over it and rub with a moderately heated iron. Two or three applications will remove the kerosene. Finely powdered chalk may be used instead of cornmeal if desired.
Cement for Glass and Iron - Alum melted in an iron spoon over the fire makes a good cement for joining glass and iron. It is useful for cementing the glass part of a lamp to its metal base and stopping cracks about the base, as paraffin will not penetrate it.
Blacksmith's Borax for Welding - One ounce of salt, one ounce saltpeter, two ounces copper, four pounds of sand: mix.
Washing Fluid - One ounce of salts of tartar, one ounce of carbonate ammonia, one box Babbit's lye, one gallon of soft water. Use one half teacup to a washing.
Wall Paper Cleaner - One half cup of water, one cup flour, three teaspoonfuls of vinegar, three teaspoonfuls of ammonia, one teaspoonful carbon oil. Boil and stir constantly until thick, work in small balls and rub paper with downward strokes, will not streak or spot if made as directed.
To Destroy Odor of Burning Lamp Wicks - boil new lamp wicks in vinegar and then thoroughly dry them. There will then be no odor from them when burning.
To Clean Mud from Clothing - Use a corn-cob to rub the dried mud from the clothing then brush well.
Rust -- Iron Rust may be removed with Kerosene oil.
To remove Tan from Skin -- Wash with a solution of lemon juice and carbonate of soda; follow with the juice of unripe grapes if they may be had, if not with "Fuller's Earth Water".
To Keep Steel Knives from Rusting - Dip the knives in a strong solution of soda, four parts of soda to one of water; then wipe dry, roll in flannel and keep in a dry place.
To Dry Boots -- Fill wet boots with dry oats and set aside for a few hours. The oats will draw the moisture from the boots, and welling out, will keep the leather from shrinking and hardening as it would do if placed near a fire to dry.
To Remove Fruit Stains -- Fruit stains may be removed from table linens by pouring boiling water through the cloth where it is stained.
These tips and many more can be found in the book: The People's Home Library-- if you can find it.
Dave Cantebury adds: "Just some info for those asking, you splice 2 colors together to make multi color, and the cord is 1 foot long for every inch of bracelet, this was was a 9.5 inch bracelet which is the size I wear, they generally shrink about 1/2" as they wear and get wet. Hope this helps guys."
Friday, February 25, 2011
Sniper instructor, Ryan Cleckner, shows you how to properly set up your rifle and scope combination so that it naturally aligns with your eye.
From the Mountain House website:
Dear Valued Customers:
As you know we have removed #10 cans from our website temporarily. The reason for this is sales of #10 cans have continued to increase. OFD is allocating as much production capacity as possible to this market segment, but we must maintain capacity for our other market segments as well.
Currently we are able to meet demand for Mountain House pouches and most of these products are still available for purchase on our website. We do have a small number of dealers that we will continue to make and ship #10 cans to and you will need to contact them directly to place an order. For a list of dealers, please contact us at MH-Info@ofd.com
We want to clarify inaccurate information that is being said on the internet, news and radio. This situation is not due to sales to the government domestically or internationally. We do sell products to this market, but we also sell other market segments, including Ingredient and Private Brand markets. The reason for this decision is solely due to an unexpected sales spike in #10 cans sales.
We expect this situation to be necessary for several months although this isn’t a guarantee. We will update this information as soon as we know more. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your patience. We sincerely hope you will continue to be Mountain House customers in the future.
Oregon Freeze Dry
Terence McKenna and Gregory Stock speak about the psychedelic experience and the epic transition we face in the very near future called the Singularity.
Related: Terence McKenna: Time Acceleration
The ethnobotanist puts forth the theory that magic mushrooms are the original "tree of knowledge'' and that the general lack of psychedelic exploration is leading Western society toward eventual collapse or destruction.
The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biologyby Ray Kurzweil.
Humankind is at the threshold of an epoch ("the singularity," a reference to the theoretical limitlessness of exponential expansion) that will see the merging of our biology with the staggering achievements of "GNR" (genetics, nanotechnology and robotics) to create a species of unrecognizably high intelligence, durability, comprehension, memory and so on.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Article via Hub Pages
We all know that sugar is use as sweetener to our favorite beverages, breads, cakes, pastries and even as preservative to most food products. But only few people know the other wonderful uses of sugar. Here I have listed some of its practical uses. If you know other uses of sugar that is not on the list feel free to include it on the comments.
* Sugar can lighten skin discoloration. To lighten those ugly brownish sun spots add½ tsp of sugar to a bowl filled with the juice of half a lemon. Then apply to the backs of your hands. Leave on for a couple minutes, then rinse. The combination of slightly abrasive sugar granules and the natural bleaching agents in the citrus fruit will gently fade dark spots, restoring a youthful glow to your skin.
* Sugar can help clean pimple overnight. If you wake up with a pimple,mix 1tsp of sugar and a few drops of water in a shallow bowl to make a paste. Apply enough of the paste to cover the blemish and leave on overnight. Sucrose inhibits the growth of bacteria to help reduce the swelling by morning.
* Sugar brings instant relief to painful burned tongue. If you have ever burned your tongue on a hot drink, or hot food sprinkleyour tongue with a pinch of sugar and hold it against the roof of your mouth. The melting crystals stimulate the brain to release endorphins, feel-good hormones that can alleviate pain.
* To enhance the sweetness and juiciness of corn on cob just add a pinch of sugar to the boiling water. Then cook the corn as usual. Rather than sweetening the corn, the sucrose (sugar) keeps the natural sugars in the kernels by preventing them from escaping during the cooking process.
* Grow a super-juicy tomato with sugar. If you want to grow your own sweet tasting cherry tomatoes and at the same time protect your plants from parasitic damage then try this trick; after you dig the hole, pour in 1 tbs. of sugar and then plant the tomatoes. The sugar eliminates the root-eating microorganisms by absorbing the moisture that they require in order to multiply.
* Keep cookies fresh. To keep the moistness and chewiness of your cookies just sprinkle the bottom of the cookie jar with a thin layer of sugar before adding the sweets. The sugar will absorb the moisture, staving of staleness and extend the shell life of your cookies.
* Keep Cake Fresh. Sprinkle home-made cakes with sugar while they are still hot. This keeps them fresh longer.
* Sugar can make flowers in the vase last longer. To do this just add a tablespoon of sugar to a liter of water in the flower vase. The dissolved sugar nourishes the stems and keeps the flowers stay fresh longer. If you add a tablespoon of vinegar as well, you won't get the mold and bacterial growth that causes that bad smell from the water after a few days.
* Sugar can speed up the process the flower buds bloom. To do this cut the flowers a day or two early and place it in a vase filled with a mixture of 3Tbs. of sugar and 2Tbs. of vinegar per quart of warm water . The sweetener provides the essential nutrients that the buds need to bloom faster, while the vinegar kills bacteria to keep the flowers fresh longer.
* Sugar helps to improve the outdoor plant health. When you see your outdoor plant looks unhealthy and you notice small lumps on the roots, your garden may have a nematode infection. These are tiny worms that invade the root. Mix handfuls of sugar into the soil around infected plants. This increases the numbers of bacteria that can fight the invasion.
* Sugar can help fire up the grill. If you have trouble getting a coal or wood to fire toss a few spoonfuls of sugar onto the coals, then light as usual. When exposed to high temperatures, sugar rapidly decomposes and forms hydroxymethyl-furfural, a chemical that easily ignites.
* Sugar can quickly remove paint residue on your hands. To do this pour 1 tsp. each of sugar and olive oil into your palms. Rub your hands together until all residues are gone. The oil breaks down the paint's bond, making it slide off your skin easily, while abrasive sugars granules help scrape off stubborn pigment. An added bonus is sugar scrub will moisturize your hands, leaving them soft and smooth.
* Sugar as flies trap. To make a sugar flies trap combine ½ cup of sugar, 2 cups of milk and 2oz of ground pepper in a small saucepan. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then pour into empty plates and leave in the open where flies will be attracted to its sweetness. Heating the ingredients causes the sugar to melt, making it very sticky. Milk and pepper enhance the aroma of the caramelized sweetener, attracting flies to the glue-like mixture and trapping them instantly.
* Kill Cockroaches with sugar. Mix equal parts of sugar and baking powder. Sugar attracts cockroaches and baking powder kills them.
Now the king told the boogie men
You have to let that raga drop
The oil down the desert way
Has been shakin' to the top
The sheik he drove his Cadillac
He went a' cruisnin' down the ville
The muezzin was a' standing
On the radiator grille
The shareef don't like it
Rockin' the Casbah
Rock the Casbah
The shareef don't like it
Rockin' the Casbah
Rock the Casbah
By order of the prophet
We ban that boogie sound
Degenerate the faithful
With that crazy Casbah sound
But the Bedouin they brought out
The electric camel drum
The local guitar picker
Got his guitar picking thumb
As soon as the shareef
Had cleared the square
They began to wail
Now over at the temple
Oh! They really pack 'em in
The in crowd say it's cool
To dig this chanting thing
But as the wind changed direction
The temple band took five
The crowd caught a wiff
Of that crazy Casbah jive
The king called up his jet fighters
He said you better earn your pay
Drop your bombs between the minarets
Down the Casbah way
As soon as the shareef was
Chauffeured outta there
The jet pilots tuned to
The cockpit radio blare
As soon as the shareef was
Outta their hair
The jet pilots wailed
He thinks it's not kosher
Fundamentally he can't take it
You know he really hates it
~ ~ ~
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Spiritual Traveler, "In two worlds at once," German woodcut, circa 1590. Public Domain.
Carl Sagan had a soaring intellect and a prodigious vocabulary. These facts became apparent to me white reading his novel, Contact, published in 1985. Like most people, I was familiar with Contact having first watched it as a major motion picture. I’m so glad that I took the time to read the 430 page book for it gave me a glimpse into the vast mind of one of my heroes.
Perhaps it was his love and knowledge of history that provided him with the incredible foresight he employed while writing about fictional future events, but wow, was he spot on.
His heroine discovered a new interstellar molecular cloud complex, lived in an age of legalized marijuana and served under a female president of the United States. (O.K., so we’ve only come really close on that last point.)
Bearing in mind that he was writing in 1985, I also found fascinating this reference to the Mayan calendar:
“The Great Cycle of the ancient Maya was to be completed in the year 2011, when according to this independent cultural tradition – the cosmos would end.”
Without further commentary from Sagan, I tend to think his studies on the subject led him to the Mayan calendar end date of October 28, 2011 and not December 21, 2012. Regardless, he clearly recognized the Maya as a subject of interest far before the New Age revolution.
What is not left to speculation, I’ve already mentioned, Sagan’s wide-ranging use of the English language. You see, it is a habit of mine to make a list of words while I’m reading; words that I don’t know the meaning of or haven’t read in so long that I’m no longer able to rattle off their definition without sounding unsure. Sagan left me with a lot to study. Heroes are like that.
Vocabulary list from Contact:
numinous (my new favorite word, along with ‘dodec’ and ‘wonder junkie’)
~ ~ ~
Memorable quotes from Contact:
A rough sea!
Stretched out over Sado
The Milky Way.
-- Matsuo Basho (1644-94)
Monarch of Violence, rolling on clouds,
I toss wide waters, and I fell huge trees …
Possessed of daemon-rage, I penetrate,
Sheer to the utmost caverns of old Earth;
And straining, up from those unfathomed deeps,
Scatter the terror-stricken shades of Hell;
And hurl death-dealing earthquakes throughout the world!
-- Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book 6
Do we, holding that the gods exist,
deceive ourselves with insubstantial dreams
and lies, while random careless chance and
change alone control the world?
-- Euripides, Hecuba
She began to understand why lovers talk baby talk to one another. There was no other socially acceptable circumstance in which the children inside her were permitted to come out. If the one-year-old, the five-year-old, the twelve-year-old, and the twenty-year-old all find compatible personalities in the beloved, there is a real chance to keep all of these sub-personas happy. – Carl Sagan, Contact
My fondest hope for this book is that it will be made obsolete by the pace of real scientific discovery. – Carl Sagan on Contact
~ ~ ~
I’m now off to find Sagan’s Pulitzer Prize (1978) winner, The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence – that is, as soon as I finish my homework. ;)
~ ~ ~
Here's a great clip from the movie Contact which gives us a glimpse of where we actually live.
~ ~ ~
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Can WISE Find the Hypothetical 'Tyche'?
In November 2010, the scientific journal Icarus published a paper by astrophysicists John Matese and Daniel Whitmire, who proposed the existence of a binary companion to our sun, larger than Jupiter, in the long-hypothesized "Oort cloud" -- a faraway repository of small icy bodies at the edge of our solar system. The researchers use the name "Tyche" for the hypothetical planet. Their paper argues that evidence for the planet would have been recorded by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).
WISE is a NASA mission, launched in December 2009, which scanned the entire celestial sky at four infrared wavelengths about 1.5 times. It captured more than 2.7 million images of objects in space, ranging from faraway galaxies to asteroids and comets relatively close to Earth. Recently, WISE completed an extended mission, allowing it to finish a complete scan of the asteroid belt, and two complete scans of the more distant universe, in two infrared bands. So far, the mission's discoveries of previously unknown objects include an ultra-cold star or brown dwarf, 20 comets, 134 near-Earth objects (NEOs), and more than 33,000 asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Following its successful survey, WISE was put into hibernation in February 2011. Analysis of WISE data continues. A preliminary public release of the first 14 weeks of data is planned for April 2011, and the final release of the full survey is planned for March 2012.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When could data from WISE confirm or rule out the existence of the hypothesized planet Tyche?
A: It is too early to know whether WISE data confirms or rules out a large object in the Oort cloud. Analysis over the next couple of years will be needed to determine if WISE has actually detected such a world or not. The first 14 weeks of data, being released in April 2011, are unlikely to be sufficient. The full survey, scheduled for release in March 2012, should provide greater insight. Once the WISE data are fully processed, released and analyzed, the Tyche hypothesis that Matese and Whitmire propose will be tested.
Q: Is it a certainty that WISE would have observed such a planet if it exists?
A: It is likely but not a foregone conclusion that WISE could confirm whether or not Tyche exists. Since WISE surveyed the whole sky once, then covered the entire sky again in two of its infrared bands six months later, WISE would see a change in the apparent position of a large planet body in the Oort cloud over the six-month period. The two bands used in the second sky coverage were designed to identify very small, cold stars (or brown dwarfs) -- which are much like planets larger than Jupiter, as Tyche is hypothesized to be.
Q: If Tyche does exist, why would it have taken so long to find another planet in our solar system?
A: Tyche would be too cold and faint for a visible light telescope to identify. Sensitive infrared telescopes could pick up the glow from such an object, if they looked in the right direction. WISE is a sensitive infrared telescope that looks in all directions.
Q: Why is the hypothesized object dubbed "Tyche," and why choose a Greek name when the names of other planets derive from Roman mythology?
A: In the 1980s, a different companion to the sun was hypothesized. That object, named for the Greek goddess "Nemesis," was proposed to explain periodic mass extinctions on the Earth. Nemesis would have followed a highly elliptical orbit, perturbing comets in the Oort Cloud roughly every 26 million years and sending a shower of comets toward the inner solar system. Some of these comets would have slammed into Earth, causing catastrophic results to life. Recent scientific analysis no longer supports the idea that extinctions on Earth happen at regular, repeating intervals. Thus, the Nemesis hypothesis is no longer needed. However, it is still possible that the sun could have a distant, unseen companion in a more circular orbit with a period of a few million years -- one that would not cause devastating effects to terrestrial life. To distinguish this object from the malevolent "Nemesis," astronomers chose the name of Nemesis's benevolent sister in Greek mythology, "Tyche."
JPL manages and operates the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The principal investigator, Edward Wright, is at UCLA. The mission was competitively selected under NASA's Explorers Program managed by the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The science instrument was built by the Space Dynamics Laboratory, Logan, Utah, and the spacecraft was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. Science operations and data processing take place at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. More information is online at http://www.nasa.gov/wise, http://wise.astro.ucla.edu and http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/wise .Whitney Clavin 818-354-4673
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
This video is the first of a multi-video 'Bug Out Vehicle' series. In this segment, I overview the construction-based details involved in a Honda Civic 'trunk conversion.' Enjoy! -- GM
A detailed look into the organizational layout of our sedan's survival compartment. Enjoy! -- GM
Monday, February 21, 2011
“We Owe How Much?”: Waiting for The Big Splatter
By Gonzalo Lira
As for the total debt, as of January 2011, the U.S. Treasury had $8.965 trillion in outstanding securities, plus an additional $5.166 trillion in “non-marketable” securities—that is, intra-government debts. The total outstanding debt of the U.S. Federal government is $14.131 trillion.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
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Joe Lozito is the man who helped New York Police catch a suspect accused of murdering four people during a stabbing spree. The longtime MMA fan used a double leg takedown against a knife wielding Maksim Gelman and kept him pinned on the ground till the authorities could arrive.
There are techniques from Mixed Martial Arts that can be applied in self-defense situations against knife attacks. Chicago MMA's L.J. Tabano talked with Paul Sharp from Sharp's Martial Arts in Elgin about some of those applications. Sharp, a member of the Elgin SWAT Team, has fought in Chicago area MMA shows and has also used MMA techniques to deal with situations he's faced in real life against bladed weapons. Dave Sharp helps Paul demonstrate some of those moves.
For more information on Mixed Martial Arts in the Chicago area head to ChicagosMMA.com.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
How to make an ovenless bread that is perfect for off-grid and bugout cooking. For the full recipe be sure to check out the accompanying article: Bugout Cooking: Bannock.
Strawberries were to us what ambrosia was to the pagan gods. The modern berry – developed to withstand picking, packaging, and transporting – bears faint resemblance to the fruit we ate. Our berries were spectacular, huge, deep red, and full of flavor. There was good reason for this. We fertilized them with cured cow manure; we mulched them with sweet, clean straw, which kept the ground moist and the berries clean; and most important of all, we ensured that the patch remained continuously young and productive by moving it, one row at a time, into fresh soil each year. We did this by extending the runners of the newest plants, at the front edge of the patch, onto the uncultivated ground, where we anchored them with two-pronged hairpins, and digging up the oldest, most spent plants at the opposite edge.
That strawberry patch yielded dishpan after dishpan of luscious fruit. We ate strawberries from the vine; we made strawberry pie; we made strawberry jam and we made strawberry sauce. One of our favorite concoctions was old-fashioned strawberry shortcake piled high with whipped cream.
The current practice of using a sponge cake to masquerade as shortcake simply will not do. Here is Grandma’s shortcake recipe:
First, pick, wash, and hull two quarts of dead-ripe strawberries.
Sprinkle half a cup of sugar over the berries and set them aside while you make the dough.
In a bowl place two cups of flour, two tablespoons of sugar, one teaspoon of salt and one tablespoon of baking powder. (Grandma swore by Calumet!)
Cut in half a cup of white lard, butter, or Crisco. Use that gadget that looks a bit like a stirrup made of wires; it was designed for cutting shortening into flour. The mixture should look like very coarse cornmeal.
Add one beaten egg to two thirds cup of whole milk. Now add this to the flour in the bowl all at once and stir with a fork until the mixture is just barely moistened. This is the crucial instruction for flaky shortcake. You will ruin the whole thing if you mix thoroughly.
Using a fork, openly spread this dough into a greased eight-by-eight inch pan. Bake for sixteen minutes in a 450 degree oven until nicely browned. Remove from the oven, cool in the pan for about ten minutes and, with a fork, carefully split the shortcake horizontally.
Divide the strawberries between the layer and over the top. Slosh with great gobs of not-too-stiffly-beaten whipped cream and enjoy.
This tale and recipe are but one of many to be found in an enchanting book by Mildred Armstrong Kalish entitled Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Click image to animate.
Earth-orbiting satellites have detected the strongest solar flare in more than four years. At 0156 UT on Feb. 15th, giant sunspot 1158 unleashed an X2-class eruption. X-flares are the strongest type of x-ray flare, and this is the first such eruption of new Solar Cycle 24.
The explosion that produced the flare also sent a solar tsunami rippling through the sun's atmosphere and, more importantly, hurled a coronal mass ejection toward Earth. The expanding cloud may be seen in this movie from NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft. Furthermore, an M2.2 flare (from the same sunspot) peaking at 17:26 UT on February 14 had also an associated Earth directed CME. Geomagnetic storms are possible when the CMEs arrive 36 to 48 hours hence (around February 17.).
Visit http://spaceweather.com for images and updates.
Related: The Sun-Earth Connection
Monday, February 14, 2011
Confidence in Nonsense
Excerpt from Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics by Gary Zukav
The importance of nonsense hardly can be overstated. The more clearly we experience something as “nonsense”, the more we are experiencing the boundaries of our own self-imposed cognitive structures. “Nonsense” is that which does not fit into the prearranged patterns which we have superimposed on reality. There is no such thing as “nonsense” apart from a judgmental intellect which calls it that.
True artists and true physicists know that nonsense is only that which, viewed from our present point of view, is unintelligible. Nonsense is nonsense only when we have not yet found that point of view from which it makes sense.
In general, physicists do not deal in nonsense. Most of them spend their professional lives thinking along well-established lines of thought. Those scientists who establish the established lines of thought, however, are those who do not fear to venture boldly into nonsense, into that which any fool could have told them is clearly not so. This is the mark of the creative mind; in fact, this is the creative process. It is characterized by a steadfast confidence that there exists a point of view from which the “nonsense” is not nonsense at all – in fact, from which it is obvious.
In physics, as elsewhere, those who most have felt the exhilaration of the creative process are those who best have slipped the bonds of the known to venture far into the unexplored territory which lies beyond the barrier of the obvious. This type of person has two characteristics. The first is a childlike ability to see the world as it is, and not as it appears according to what we know about it. This is the moral of the (child’s?) tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. When the emperor rode naked through the streets, only a child proclaimed him to be without clothes, while the rest of his subjects, forced themselves to believe, because they had been to so, that he wore his finest new clothing.
The child in us is always naïve, innocent in the simplistic sense. A Zen story tells of Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era who received a university professor. The professor came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself.
“It is overfull. No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
Our cup usually is filled to the brim with “the obvious”, “common sense”, and “the self-evident”.
Suzuki Roshi, who established the first Zen center in the United States (without trying, of course, which is very Zen), told his students that it is not difficult to attain enlightenment, but it is difficult to keep a beginner’s mind. “In the beginner’s mind,” he told them, “there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” When his students published Suzuki’s talks after his death, they called the book, appropriately, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. In the introduction, Baker Roshi, the American Zen Master, wrote:
The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, and open to all the possibilities. . . .
The beginner’s mind in science is wonderfully illustrated by the story of Albert Einstein and his theory of relativity.
The second characteristic of true artists and true scientists is the firm confidence which both of them have in themselves. This confidence is an expression of an inner strength which allows them to speak out, secure in the knowledge that, appearances to the contrary, it is the world that is confused and not they. The first man to see an illusion by which men have flourished for centuries surely stands in a lonely place. In that moment of insight he, and he alone, sees the obvious which to the uninitiated (the rest of the world) yet appears as nonsense or, worse, as madness or heresy. This confidence is not the obstinacy of the fool, but the surety of him who knows what he knows, and knows also that he can convey it to others in a meaningful way.
The writer, Henry Miller, wrote:
I obey only my own instincts and intuition. I know nothing in advance. Often I put down things which I do not understand myself, secure in the knowledge that later they will become clear and meaningful to me. I have faith in the man who is writing, who is myself, the writer.
The song-writer, Bob Dylan, told a press conference:
I just write a song and I know it’s going to be all right. I don’t even know what it’s going to say.
An example of this kind of faith in the realm of physics was the theory of light quanta. In 1905, the accepted and proven theory of light was that light was a wave phenomenon. In spite of this, Einstein published his famous paper proposing that light was a particle phenomenon. Heisenberg described this fascinating situation this way:
[In 1905] light could either be interpreted as consisting of electromagnetic waves, according to Maxwell’s theory, or as consisting of light quanta, energy packets traveling through space with high velocity [according to Einstein]. But could it be both? Einstein knew, of course, that the well-known phenomena of diffraction and interference can be explained only on the basis of the wave picture. He was not able to dispute the complete contradiction between this wave picture and the idea of the light quanta; nor did he even attempt to remove the inconsistency of this interpretation. He simply took the contradiction as something which would probably be understood much later.
That is exactly what happened. Einstein’s thesis led to the wave-particle duality from which quantum mechanics emerged, and with it, as we know, a way of looking at reality and ourselves that is vastly different from that to which we were accustomed. Although Einstein is known popularly for his theories of relativity, it was his paper on the quantum nature of light that won him the Nobel Prize. It is also a fine example of confidence in nonsense.
One of the most profound by-products of the general theory of relativity is the discovery that gravitational “force”, which we had so long taken to be a real and independently existing thing, is actually our mental creation. There is no such thing in the real world. The planets do not orbit the sun because the sun exerts an invisible gravitational force on them, they follow the paths that they do because those paths are the easiest ways for them to traverse the terrain of the space-time continuum in which they find themselves.
The same is true for “nonsense”. It is a mental creation. There is no such thing in the real world. From one frame of reference black holes and event horizons make sense. From another frame of reference absolute non-motion makes sense. Neither is “nonsense” except as seen from another point of view.
We call something nonsense if it does not agree with the rational edifices that we carefully have constructed. However, there is nothing intrinsically valuable about these edifices. In fact, they themselves often are replaced by more useful ones. When that happens, what was nonsensical from an old frame of reference can make sense from a new frame of reference, and the other way round. Like measurements of space and time, the concept of nonsense (itself a type of measurement) is relative, and we always can be sure when we use it that from some frame of reference it applies to us. -- ###
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“Our current struggle [with certain aspects of advanced physics] may thus be only a foretaste of a completely new form of human intellectual endeavor, one that will not only lie outside physics but will not even be describable as ‘scientific’.” -- Professor G.F. Chew, Chairman of the Physics Department at Berkeley
~ ~ ~
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
-- William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence”
Sunday, February 13, 2011
There is a strange and mysterious world that surrounds us, a world largely hidden from our senses. The quest to explain the true nature of reality is one of the great scientific detective stories.
It starts with Jacobo Konisberg talking about the discovery of the Top quark at Fermilab. Frank Wilceck then featured to explain some particle physics theory at his country shack using bits of fruit. Anton Zeilinger showed us the double slit experiment and then Seth Lloyd showed us the worlds most powerful quantum computer, which has some problems. Lloyd has some interesting ideas about the universe being like a quantum computer.
Lenny Susskind then made an appearance to tell us about how he had discovered the holographic principle after passing an interesting hologram in the corridor. The holographic principle was illustrated by projecting an image of Lenny onto himself. Max Tegmark then draws some of his favorite equations onto a window and tell us that reality is maths before he himself dissolved into equations.
The most interesting part of the program was a feature about an experiment to construct a holometer at Fermilab described by one of the project leaders Craig Hogan. The holometer is a laser inteferometer inspired by the noise produced at the gravitational wave detectors such as LIGO. It is hoped that if the holographic principle is correct this experiment will detect its effects.
Clues have been pieced together from deep within the atom, from the event horizon of black holes, and from the far reaches of the cosmos. It may be that that we are part of a cosmic hologram, projected from the edge of the universe. Or that we exist in an infinity of parallel worlds. Your reality may never look quite the same again.
~ ~ ~
“’Reality’ is what we take to be true. What we take to be true is what we believe. What we believe is based upon our perceptions. What we perceive depends upon what we look for. What we look for depends upon what we think. What we think depends upon what we perceive. What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality.” -- Gary Zukav, Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics
Zen Buddhists have developed a technique called the koan which, along with meditation, produces changes in our perceptions and understanding. A koan is a puzzle which cannot be answered in ordinary ways because it is paradoxical. “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” is a Zen koan. Zen students are told to think unceasingly about a particular koan until they know the answer. There is no single correct answer to a koan. It depends upon the psychological state of the student.
Paradoxes are common in Buddhist literature. Paradoxes are the places where our rational mind bumps into its own limitations. According to eastern philosophy in general, opposites, such as good-bad, beautiful-ugly, birth-death, and so on, are “false distinctions”. One cannot exist without the other. They are mental structures which we have created. These self-made and self-maintained illusions are the sole cause of paradoxes. To escape the bonds of conceptual limitation is to hear the sound of one hand clapping.
-- Gary Zukav, Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics
Saturday, February 12, 2011
I made this video because I love films and I think there is great wisdom inherent in the film medium. This video represents some of the best film wisdom I could find, edited together as a single, coherent piece of advice.
In creating this video, I wanted to focus on a few key themes, while featuring as many films as I could. As a result, Reel Wisdom features a broad array of films, from action/adventure and sci-fi films, to dramas and traditional/CG animated films in order to show how all genres of film have something important to say.
Obviously I couldn't make a video with all the film wisdom I could find, because it would be really long and rather incoherent. Sorry if your favorites didn't make it. But send me a message and maybe I'll include them in Reel Wisdom: Part 2...
The films used, in order of appearance:
Pirates of Silicon Valley
Swimming with Sharks
Star Trek (2009)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
The Iron Giant
Lions for Lambs
The Shawshank Redemption
The Matrix Revolutions
Dead Poet's Society
The Matrix Reloaded
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
The Bucket List
The Lion King
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Ferris Beuler's Day Off
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Catch Me If You Can
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
The Pursuit of Happyness
The Men Who Stare at Goats
Under the Tuscan Sun
Kung Fu Panda
Quantum of Solace
Copyright Disclaimer: Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.
Please note: I do not own the rights to any of the films featured in this video. All films are copyrighted by their respective owners. No copyright infringement intended. -- Superluminal805
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When you are risen on the eastern horizon
You have filled every land with your beauty . . .
Though you are far away, your rays are on Earth.
Akhnaton, Hymn to the Sun (ca. 1370 B.C.)
~ ~ ~
The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It has a diameter of about 1,392,000 kilometers (865,000 mi), about 109 times that of Earth, and its mass (about 2 × 1030 kilograms, 330,000 times that of Earth) accounts for about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System. About three quarters of the Sun's mass consists of hydrogen, while the rest is mostly helium. Less than 2% consists of heavier elements, including iron, oxygen, carbon, neon, and others.
The Sun's color is white, although from the surface of the Earth it may appear yellow because of atmospheric scattering.Its stellar classification, based on spectral class, is G2V, and is informally designated a yellow star, because the majority of its radiation is in the yellow-green portion of the visible spectrum.In this spectral class label, G2 indicates its surface temperature of approximately 5,778 K (5,505 °C; 9,941 °F), and V (Roman five) indicates that the Sun, like most stars, is a main sequence star, and thus generates its energy by nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium. In its core, the Sun fuses 430--600 million tons of hydrogen each second.
The Sun is currently traveling through the Local Interstellar Cloud in the Local Bubble zone, within the inner rim of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy. Of the 50 nearest stellar systems within 17 light-years from Earth, the Sun ranks 4th in mass.The Sun orbits the center of the Milky Way at a distance of approximately 24,000--26,000 light years from the galactic center, completing one clockwise orbit, as viewed from the galactic north pole, in about 225--250 million years.The mean distance of the Sun from the Earth is approximately 149.6 million kilometers (1 AU), though this varies as the Earth moves from perihelion in January to aphelion in July.At this average distance, light travels from the Sun to Earth in about 8 minutes and 19 seconds.The Sun is a G-type main sequence star comprising about 99.86% of the total mass of the Solar System.
A recent theory claims that there are magnetic instabilities in the core of the Sun that cause fluctuations with periods of either 41,000 or 100,000 years. These could provide a better explanation of the ice ages than the Milankovitch cycles.The Sun was formed about 4.57 billion years ago when a hydrogen molecular cloud collapsed.Solar formation is dated in two ways: the Sun's current main sequence age, determined using computer models of stellar evolution and nucleocosmochronology, is thought to be about 4.57 billion years.This is in close accord with the radiometric date of the oldest Solar System material, at 4.567 billion years ago.The Sun is about halfway through its main-sequence evolution, during which nuclear fusion reactions in its core fuse hydrogen into helium. Each second, more than four million metric tons of matter are converted into energy within the Sun's core, producing neutrinos and solar radiation. At this rate, the Sun has so far converted around 100 Earth-masses of matter into energy. The Sun will spend a total of approximately 10 billion years as a main sequence star.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Terence McKenna speaks about the perceived acceleration of time during his lecture entitled "Eros & The Eschaton", Seattle 1994.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Treasury releases redesigned US $100 bill
Officials from the United States Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Board and the United States Secret Service unveiled the new design for the $100 note on Apr 21, and will release the new currency on 10 Feb 2011. Complete with advanced technology to stay ahead of counterfeiters, the new design retains the look of traditional US currency.
The redesigned note includes two new advanced counterfeit-deterrent security features that are easy for consumers and merchants to check when verifying authenticity. The Treasury Department urges merchants and customers to help in the effort to stymie counterfeiters by familiarizing themselves with the new features and examine notes as they receive them.
A blue 3-D security ribbon on the front of the new $100 note contains images of bells and 100s that move and change from one to the other as the note is tilted. The Bell in the Inkwell on the front of the note is another new security feature. The bell changes color from copper to green when the note is tilted, an effect that makes it seem to appear and disappear within the copper inkwell.
The new design for the note retains three effective security features from the previous design: the portrait watermark of Benjamin Franklin, the security thread, and the color-shifting numeral 100.
Some 6.5 billion $100 notes are in circulation. The Treasury Department says that the $100 note, the highest denomination issued, is the most widely circulated and most often counterfeited denomination outside the country. Inside the country, the $20 bill is the main choice of counterfeiters.
It won't be necessary to trade in the old-design notes for new ones as all US currency remains legal tender, regardless of when it was issued, according to the department.
US Government Unveils New Design for the $100 Note (US Dept Treasury 21 Apr 2010) http://www.newmoney.gov/media/release_04212010.htm
Related to the Russian Olive and the Autumn Olive the Silverthorn or Thorny Olive is one of the few shrubs that fruits in the winter providing vitamin C when it is needed the most.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
According to some proponents of the Mayan calendar, February 11, 2011 marks the beginning of the end of the cycles of consciousness to be experienced on Earth. Will this Friday be just another day or will it herald a final shift in our conscious evolution?
Click chart to enlarge and sharpen.
Carl Johan Calleman is the author of Solving the Greatest Mystery of Our time : The Mayan Calendar, The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness and The Purposeful Universe: How Quantum Theory and Mayan Cosmology Explain the Origin and Evolution of Life.
We discuss Carl's work on the end of the Mayan Calendar and his views on the "Last Day" of the Creation Cycle of the Mayan Calendar, a period between November 3rd 2010 and October 28th 2011.
Topics Discussed: the calendar coming to an end, the galactic underworld, celebrating a new balance, rationality, masculinity, domination, western & eastern forces, the feminine, council of elders, the 2012movie, cosmic plan, cosmic energy shift, balancing, nine foundations of the pyramid, March 9th 2011, into the space of God, chaos, compression of time, predictions based on the Mayan Calendar, rise of China, economic crash, the cosmic schedule, polarity shift in consciousness, the cosmic tree of life, Gliese 581g, meeting our galactic neighbors, biological evolution, unity consciousness, the movie Avatar, galactic center, conscious co-creation, The Secret, and how to serve the cosmic plan.