Links for 2009-12-09

  • "Shirley Corriher, a former research biochemist at Vanderbilt University, got her start in the kitchen burning scrambled eggs beyond all recognition. Later, when she ruined recipes while taking a cooking class, she impressed her teacher by being able to explain scientifically what had gone wrong. Red cabbage gone purple? Add vinegar to restore the acidity. Asparagus gone an unappetizing olive green? Overcooking broke the veggie's cell walls. Soon her teacher and chefs and bakers all over the southeastern US were calling her with their questions; eventually, they convinced her to teach food science classes, and she's now published two cooking chemistry "textbooks," Cookwise and Bakewise."
  • "I wonder if this is an original song, or some traditional track he dug out of, like, the Necronomicon."
  • "Dawkins has selected 83 pieces as the exemplars of the best of modern science writing. Maybe he can defend those choices against all comers on his judgment of quality -- but still it is extraordinary how narrow a perception of science any member of the public seeking to be informed would get from this collection -- not entirely, but almost completely confined to cosmology and related areas of physics, and evolutionary biology, with a certain additional emphasis on the biology of brain, mind and consciousness."
  • "Whether this rumor turns out to be accurate or not, the technology used in the CDMS collaboration's dark matter search is quite interesting. Working down the hall from these folks in graduate school definitely gave me an appreciation for the challenges they face, as well as teaching me some neat condensed matter physics and experimental knowledge."
  • "All the houses were the same way. North side of roof = snow. South side = no snow. At first, I was going to use these pictures to talk about flux. Basically, since the Sun is lower in the South sky the southern side of the roof gets more solar energy flux. Then I realized my error. Not only does the southern side have a greater flux, it is also exposed to the Sun for a longer time (the northern side is in the shade from the south part of the roof for part of the time). What else depends on time and flux? The seasons. This roof is like a mini-Earth."
  • "1. The photocopier. You will never win the battle of the photocopier. Yes, Professor X will beat the poor thing into submission, running off copies like he has a grudge against trees. And yes, other professors who teach the exact same class will somehow manage not to. Yes, toner costs money, as does paper, and the environmental damage from excessive copying is real. But you will not win this one. I've seen too many deans or chairs come to grief trying to hold the line on copier costs."
  • "Ok, before the physics/chemistry folks remind me that atoms don't actually look like that, let me remind everyone that modeling the three dimensional probability cloud of an electron with frosting just isn't going to happen in my kitchen. Sorry! Ms. Humble is taking some artistic license here. "

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