Tags: xaxa


Нет, я умру...

...Просто страны, где меньше верят в Б-га, а больше в глобальное потепление; где склонны не к семейным ценностям, а к моральному релятивизму; где не держатся за суверенитет, а открываются миру - так вот, опыт показывает, что эти страны выигрывают в глобальной конкуренции. Увы. Эволюция as usual, ничего личного.

Назвать такие страны, правда, мыслитель не смог.

PS. According to Fig 1, http://www.atmosp.physics.utoronto.ca/people/lev/ESSgc/lorenzoniPclimchng06.pdf
the country that led the EU polls in the respondents answering "very worried" about climate change (65%) was Greece, and the last was the Netherlands (22%). Of course, 81% of the Greeks are religious believers. The leading atheistic country in Europe is Estonia, another global leader. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism

Inconvenient itelligence

...The conventional explanation for controversy over climate change emphasizes impediments to public understanding: Limited popular knowledge of science, the inability of ordinary citizens to assess technical information, and the resulting widespread use of unreliable cognitive heuristics to assess risk. A large survey of U.S. adults found little support for this account. On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones. More importantly, greater scientific literacy and numeracy were associated with greater cultural polarization: Respondents predisposed by their values to dismiss climate change evidence became more dismissive, and those predisposed by their values to credit such evidence more concerned, as science literacy and numeracy increased. Far from a symptom of how poorly equipped ordinary individuals are to reach rational conclusions on the basis of complex scientific data, disputes over issues like climate change are evidence of how remarkably well equipped they are to discern what stances toward such information satisfy their expressive interests. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1871503&http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1871503

...American adults under the age of 35 have come of age in the decades since the “discovery” of man-made climate change as a major societal problem. The oldest of this cohort was twelve in 1988, when NASA climate scientist James Hansen testified at a Senate Energy Committee hearing that global temperature rise was underway and that human-produced greenhouse gases were almost certainly responsible. For this reason, the conventional wisdom holds that young Americans, growing up in a world of ever more certain scientific evidence, increasing news attention, alarming entertainment portrayals, and school-based curricula, should be more engaged with and concerned about the issue of climate change than older Americans.
However, contrary to this conventional wisdom, Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 are, for the most part, split on the issue of global warming and, on some indicators, relatively disengaged when compared to older generations. http://environment.yale.edu/uploads/YouthJan2010.pdf

Baby carrots

I've met countless people believing that "baby carrots" are, literally, carrot "babies" that are harvested before they are fully grown. In fact, "baby carrots" are fully grown substandard carrots that are hacked into 2" pieces and polished down in a potato peeler to look like the small ones:

...It all began 20 years ago when Mike Yurosek of Newhall, Calif., got tired of seeing 400 tons of carrots a day drop down the cull shoot at his packing plant in Bakersfield. Culls are carrots that are too twisted, knobby, bent or broken to sell. In some loads, as many as 70% of carrots were tossed. And there are only so many discarded carrots you can feed to a pig or a steer. He had to cut the culls into something small enough to make use of their straight parts. "The first batch we did, we did in a potato peeler and cut them by hand," Yurosek says. Then he found a frozen-food company that was going out of business and bought an industrial green-bean cutter, which just happened to cut things into 2-inch pieces. Thus was born the standard size for a baby carrot. Next, Yurosek sent one of his workers to a packing plant and loaded the cut-up carrots into an industrial potato peeler to take off the peel and smooth down the edges. What he ended up with was a little rough but still recognizable as the baby carrot of today. http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2004-08-11-baby-carrot_x.htm

In the olden days, "baby carrots" used to be fed to the pigs; now these prime vegetables are fed to the schoolchildren. I've heard amazing stories about these baby carrots: that the little ones are loaded with hormones, nutrients, vitamins, while the full size carrots have none of these, so our kids deserve better, etc.

It would be interesting to learn how widespread are such beliefs worldwide. By my estimate, about 90% of Chicagoans believe that baby carrots are a superhealthy version of a California undergown carrot. How is it in your parts?

Как в старину было: не вышел на коммунистический субботник - на кол!

Идея, что люди "тысячелетиями жили в общинах свободных собственников без насилия" не имеет никакого отношения к действительности. Даже в самых мягких общинах, где нарушителя ОЧЕНЬ ЖЕСТКИХ правил не сажали на кол и не сжигали на костре, а просто выгоняли, последнее было на деле смертным приговором: вне общины человек умирал довольно быстро. Ну и имущественные отношения были скорее коммунистическими - с периодическими переделами земли и т.п.

У меня сложилось такое впечатление, что вы подразумеваете, что в некоторых, недостаточно мягких, общинах человека, не желающиего принимать участия в общественных работах, могли посадить на кол или сжечь на костре. Поправьте меня, пожалуйста, если я не прав.

Исторически (т.е. не у амишей сегодня) - да.

Где же такое было?

На определенной стадии догосударственного развития - везде. Почитайте описания нравов "варваров" у классических авторов. Или какого-нибудь антрополога про догосударственные племена сегодня.

Ничего не могу найти. Вообще ничего...


The grand wasabi conspiracy

It's a well-kept secret in food chemistry that "wasabi" has absolutely nothing to do with the real wasabi. The stuff admired by our gourmets is horseradish paste mixed with a food dye. A couple of days ago, I was nearly poked into the eye explaining this bit of chemistry in an upscale Japanese restaurant...

...The green paste on your plate might be called wasabi, but it is a mix of European horseradish, mustard, and food coloring. Even in Japan, the home of wasabi, the real thing is in short supply. “Real” wasabi comes from the rhizome of Wasabia japonica. Unlike horseradish-based stand-ins, the heat of real wasabi dissipates quickly because of the volatility of the flavor components. If you take imitation wasabi powder and add water, you can leave that almost overnight and it will still be hot. With wasabi, when you grate it up, it’s only good for, at most, 15 minutes. The components of both wasabi and horseradish can be stabilized by acids, such as vinegar or lemon juice.

...The key chemicals that give wasabi its characteristic heat and flavor aren’t present until the wasabi is macerated. When the cell wall is disrupted, it releases the enzyme myrosinase, which hydrolyzes glucosinolates, a group of sulfur-containing glucose derivatives, to produce isothiocyanates that provide wasabi’s spicy zing. The most abundant of these is allyl isothiocyanate. Horseradish has a different profile of isothiocyanates, and it is possible to taste the difference. The problem is that not many people have tasted the original taste of wasabi, so they don’t know what they are tasting. The flavor is affected by how finely the wasabi is grated. The traditional way to grate wasabi is with a sharkskin grater, called an oroshi, which resembles fine sandpaper. Because the flavor and heat dissipate so rapidly, it’s best to grate it as you need it.

...A quantitative comparison of seven isothiocyanates in wasabi and horseradishi indicates that horseradish wasabi contained 10% more isothiocyanates. Allyl isothiocyanate was the major component in both. The second most abundant isothiocyanate was 2-phenylethyl isothiocyanate, but it was found only in the horseradish. It, therefore, plays a major role in the flavor differences between the two plants. Every other isothiocyanate was present at higher concentrations in wasabi than in horseradish.


The only nonvolatile isothiocyanate in mustard family plants is 2PEITC, which does not occur in wasabi. It is impossible to make a condiment from this plant.

The right way of introducing this chemical fact is after provoking the connoisseurs into a long, passionate debate on the relative merit and authenticity of different brands.


Fag heads

...In fag heads, cholesteric liquid crystal type ordering of DNA reveals strong bi-axial correlations, a consequence of the chiral structure of ds-DNA.

Physics of DNA: unravelling hidden abilities encoded in the structure of ‘the most important molecule’. AA Kornyshev, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2010, 12, 12352–12378

That's what living in London is doing to people...