I swear that I’ll put some science blogs up, but right now I have something important to say! Always feel free to improve any attempted jokes by sending comments.
Everyone knows that there is nothing worse in the world for you than butter, right? But it tastes so good! And besides, they said for decades that margarine was more healthy than butter, but then they found out that there is nothing in the world worse for you health than margarine.
So butter is making a comeback. I even heard of a study that shows eating 4 oz. a day butter makes you smarter than you would be otherwise, though that is controversial.
But my mother-in-law will having nothing of it. She’s ate margarine for 50 years and she ain’t gonna quit now. My wife hails from Quebec, which is a French speaking state full of French people speaking French, surrounded by Canada. And boy do they like cheese! Wisconsin has nothing on Quebec. They eat cheese for breakfast every morning, with toast, and frequently have cheese as a pre dessert course at dinner.
And we’re talking serious cheese, stinky cheese, cheese that melts into pudding at room temperature I heard of a cheese; they start with cream, and to get the cheese going they add — crud from between their toes! I am not making this up. I haven’t had the experience of trying it yet, but I have to first conquer a cup of coffee made from coffee beans that were previously eaten, digested, and uh, eliminated by rats. If you don’t believe me, google “coffee rat poop.”
Getting back to milk, they make a “traditional” holiday drink in Japan called amazake. It is fermented milk — sort of the Japanese answer to egg nog. Ha ha! I am joking. It tastes exactly like vomit. This is the only food that has defeated me — I could not finish a 1 oz. cup. At first I manned up, “I’m not going to let this tiny drink beat me. I have my pride as a guy who’s willing to try anything and eat what he’s served. I guess no matter how strong you get, there is always some food out there that’s bigger than you.
But I’m getting off topic. When I pulled out the butter for my toast one morning Mrs. Pinet. By the way, I do NOT call her Alice, because that’s not her name. But even if it were, I may not call her first name. Mrs. Pinet suggested I use cheese instead. Its better for me. I said, hey, they’re made from the same stuff, what’s the big deal? Oh no, butter is much fatter than cheese.
Well here’s the slice. Butter is 80% butterfat (which leads to the question, what is in butter that isn’t butter?). Your super-duper triple cream cheese, that is the creme de la creme (Some brie, Cambozola, and American Red Hawk) have the same fat content. They are essentially spoiled butter. Choose your poison.
Regular (double-creme) Brie is only 3/4 as fatty as butter, so you can use just a little bit more. But who are we kidding? One dinky cocktail cracker can hold at least an ounce of Brie. When was the last time you ate an ounce of butter in one bite, when you were sober?
Cheddar is bedder, with only 2/3 the fat of butter. I bet that’s more than you thought!
Next I went for the bottom of the barrel, Kraft American pasturized process cheese singles, individually wrapped in plastic. The label says it is 60% fat. That’s right on target. But… what kind of fat? My concerns were immediately abolished when I read further down… “Kraft singles are always made with milk!” Whew! I was worried for a sec.
A Piece of Mars: Two-toned ripples have formed on a steep slope, created by winds rushing downhill (from top to bottom in this frame). The larger ones are big ripples, with peaks more than 30 meters apart. What makes them unusual, however, is stark contrast between the dark (bluish) upwind side and the light (pale tan) downwind side. How did that happen? It’s because sand blowing downhill preferentially scours the dark upwind side of the ripples, leaving the downwind side untouched. (PSP_002208_1755, NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)
Last week i went to Nagoya, JAPAN; attending CAWSES symposium. CAWSES (Climate And Weather of the Sun-Earth System) is a five-year (2009-2013) international program sponsored by SCOSTEP (Scientific Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Physics) established with an aim of significantly enhancing our understanding of the space environment and its impacts on life and society.
It is interesting that this frontier of science is multidisciplinary study, range from aeronomy, geophysics, and astronomy, we need to know better and better about our environment, from below the atmosphere, go to upper part, while on the same time the effect from above also playing more important roles in our habitable environment.
The next program for the future is VarSITI (Variability of the Sun and Its Terrestrial Impact), promoted by SCOSTEP (Scientific Committee on Solar-Terrestrial Physics). From the title it becomes obvious, the Sun has variability, and what is the consequences that affecting our living space? That is the question that the scientists want to answered. It is an interesting future for Solar-Terrestrial science.
A Piece of Mars: These rocks look like hooded figures from some dark fantasy story. European standing stones should be jealous, they don’t typically get a shroud of dark sand to add to their mystery and etch them into beguiling shapes (but then perhaps they don’t need it). Here, sand moving from the upper right to lower left slowly carves out these lovely shapes. (PSP_007535_1755, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)
A piece of Mars: Is it a comet? With Comet ISON in the news these days it’s hard to tell. No, this is a brand-new meteorite impact on the surface of Mars. The impactor hit the ground, blasted through a layer of bright dust blanketing the surface, and threw out some underlying dark material. The long dark streak to the lower right shows where wind blew some of the dark material exposed by the impact. (HiRISE ESP_033302_2030, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)
Adapted from Gemini Observatory e-Newscast #53
Gemini’s powerful new instrument for studying planets beyond the Solar System, the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI), has successfully received its first starlight for engineering and testing on the night of November 11-12. On-sky observations are currently ongoing for technical integration with the Gemini South telescope. The GPI team (Figure 1) began the 7-night observing run began with a head start, since preliminary pupil and pointing alignments were completed early, due to extensive preparatory work and smooth integration since the instrument arrived at Gemini South in August.
A piece of Mars: Right at the edge of the largest volcano on Mars (Olympus Mons) is a steep cliff. Here, near that edge, are some car-sized boulders poking out from a thick blanket of dust. Strong winds blow down the mountainside (lower right to upper left), leaving behind streamlined hills and grooves. Much of the surface of the volcano looks like this, although the boulders are relatively rare. (ESP_033303_1980, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)
For the last, oh, ten years or so I’ve been working on building a camera to take pictures of planets around distant stars, been lucky enough to be part of a team of the best damn astronomers I’m privileged to know and call my colleagues and my friends. It doesn’t overstate the matter to say this one project has probably been the single largest element of my entire career as a scientist. As we prepare to point that instrument to the sky for the first time this coming week, it’s kind of mind blowing to look back on that past decade of efforts, hopes, and dreams. How on earth did I get here?
Yesterday was a major milestone for the Gemini Planet Imager Project!
Gaston Gausachs, mechanical engineer at Gemini Observatory, sent us this great picture ofGPI, our exoplanet camera hunter, mounted on the Gemini South Telescope. The team reported that it was a flawless and smooth operation.
A piece of Mars: Barchan, or crescent dunes, are generally thought to form from winds blowing from a single direction. Reality isn’t usually that nice. Here are two barchans with crescent-shaped slip faces on their eastern (right) sides, indicating that the main dune-building winds blow from the west (left). However, ripples, an elongated dune arm, and steeper northern slopes hint at a secondary wind from the SE (lower right). (ESP_033272_1400, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)