Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The 2012 Ig Noble Awards

It's that momentous time of the year again: the unveiling of the Ig Noble Awards! 

Yay for funny science!

From the announcement page of the 2012 awards:
"PSYCHOLOGY PRIZE: Anita Eerland and Rolf Zwaan [THE NETHERLANDS] and Tulio Guadalupe [PERU, RUSSIA, and THE NETHERLANDS] for their study "Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller"
REFERENCE: "Leaning to the Left Makes the Eiffel Tower Seem Smaller: Posture-Modulated Estimation," Anita Eerland, Tulio M. Guadalupe and Rolf A. Zwaan, Psychological Science, vol. 22 no. 12, December 2011, pp. 1511-14.
ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Tulio Guadalupe. [NOTE: Two days after the ceremony, Anita Eerland and Rolf Zwaan will marry each other, in the Netherlands.]

PEACE PRIZE: The SKN Company [RUSSIA], for converting old Russian ammunition into new diamonds.

ACOUSTICS PRIZE: Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada [JAPAN] for creating the SpeechJammer — a machine that disrupts a person's speech, by making them hear their own spoken words at a very slight delay.
REFERENCE: "SpeechJammer: A System Utilizing Artificial Speech Disturbance with Delayed Auditory Feedback", Kazutaka Kurihara, Koji Tsukada, February 28, 2012.
ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada

NEUROSCIENCE PRIZE: Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford [USA], for demonstrating that brain researchers, by using complicated instruments and simple statistics, can see meaningful brain activity anywhere — even in a dead salmon.
REFERENCE: "Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic Salmon: An argument for multiple comparisons correction," Craig M. Bennett, Abigail A. Baird, Michael B. Miller, and George L. Wolford, 2009.
REFERENCE: "Neural Correlates of Interspecies Perspective Taking in the Post-Mortem Atlantic Salmon: An Argument For Multiple Comparisons Correction," Craig M. Bennett, Abigail A. Baird, Michael B. Miller, and George L. Wolford, Journal of Serendipitous and Unexpected Results, vol. 1, no. 1, 2010, pp. 1-5.

ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Craig Bennett, Abigail Baird, Michael Miller, and George Wolford

CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Johan Pettersson [SWEDEN and RWANDA]. for solving the puzzle of why, in certain houses in the town of Anderslöv, Sweden, people's hair turned green.

LITERATURE PRIZE: The US Government General Accountability Office, for issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports.
REFERENCE: "Actions Needed to Evaluate the Impact of Efforts to Estimate Costs of Reports and Studies," US Government General Accountability Office report GAO-12-480R, May 10, 2012.

PHYSICS PRIZE: Joseph Keller [USA], and Raymond Goldstein [USA and UK], Patrick Warren, and Robin Ball [UK], for calculating the balance of forces that shape and move the hair in a human ponytail.
REFERENCE: "Shape of a Ponytail and the Statistical Physics of Hair Fiber Bundles." Raymond E. Goldstein, Patrick B. Warren, and Robin C. Ball, Physical Review Letters, vol. 198, no. 7, 2012.
REFERENCE: "Ponytail Motion," Joseph B. Keller, SIAM [Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics] Journal of Applied Mathematics, vol. 70, no. 7, 2010, pp. 2667–72.

ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Joseph Keller, Raymond Goldstein, Patrick Warren, Robin Ball

FLUID DYNAMICS PRIZE: Rouslan Krechetnikov [USA, RUSSIA, CANADA] and Hans Mayer [USA] for studying the dynamics of liquid-sloshing, to learn what happens when a person walks while carrying a cup of coffee.
REFERENCE: "Walking With Coffee: Why Does It Spill?" Hans C. Mayer and Rouslan Krechetnikov, Physical Review E, vol. 85, 2012.
ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Rouslan Krechetnikov

ANATOMY PRIZE: Frans de Waal [The Netherlands and USA] and Jennifer Pokorny [USA] for discovering that chimpanzees can identify other chimpanzees individually from seeing photographs of their rear ends.
REFERENCE: "Faces and Behinds: Chimpanzee Sex Perception" Frans B.M. de Waal and Jennifer J. Pokorny, Advanced Science Letters, vol. 1, 99–103, 2008.
ATTENDING THE CEREMONY: Frans de Waal and Jennifer Pokorny

MEDICINE PRIZE: Emmanuel Ben-Soussan and Michel Antonietti [FRANCE] for advising doctors who perform colonoscopies how to minimize the chance that their patients will explode.
REFERENCE: "Colonic Gas Explosion During Therapeutic Colonoscopy with Electrocautery," Spiros D Ladas, George Karamanolis, Emmanuel Ben-Soussan, World Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 13, no. 40, October 2007, pp. 5295–8.
REFERENCE: "Argon Plasma Coagulation in the Treatment of Hemorrhagic Radiation Proctitis is Efficient But Requires a Perfect Colonic Cleansing to Be Safe," E. Ben-Soussan, M. Antonietti, G. Savoye, S. Herve, P. Ducrotté, and E. Lerebours, European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, vol. 16, no. 12, December 2004, pp 1315-8.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Barrels of Apples!

When Liang suggested this joint blog I got very excited because I love experimenting with our bakery items and sharing our experiences. So, I racked my brain trying to think of a post for this joint effort, and kept drawing a blank. Then I realized I was really hungry and lo and behold in my shelves I saw my recently canned applesauce and chicken stock. I had my answer.

During a recent (and much anticipated) visit to Soergel’s orchard with Liang and both of our husbands, we were walking around their store looking (and smelling) the delicious apples and suddenly I realized I was lusting after a whole bunch of apples. I mean a whole BUNCH of apples. A half bushel of apples is very nearly a barrel of fun! So a half bushel of apples in the apartment later, David asked what I planned on doing with all of these apples. Applesauce of course! In an excited flurry I ran and got my pressure canner out of storage. I then set off on an exciting adventure of cooking down apples with a couple of cinnamon sticks, filling my jars and pressure canning them into perfect preservation. Using the majority of the apples from my half bushel I was able to get 7 quarts of deliciousness. After completing the ‘sauce and setting aside a bowl of apples for eating, I realized my canning high needed riding out, so I set off on the next project: homemade chicken stock.

David and I have fallen in love with using real chicken stock in recipes. After using homemade chicken stock I can’t go back to using store bought broth unless it’s a dire emergency. And by dire emergency what I really mean is never. I remember watching Michael Symon on the Food Network and he said that if you don’t have real chicken stock opt for water because the store broth isn’t worth it. So, after making a roasting chicken for dinner one night that week we froze the bones, along with various vegetables and had everything ready to make some golden deliciousness in a jar. Now I just had to decide a recipe to follow, and since we have been watching a lot of Jacques Pepin on DVD I felt like that was the winner. You can see the finished products in the picture below, the applesauce on the right and the stock on the left.

Can I just say that I love Jacques Pepin’s style of cooking not only because of his practicality, but also because he works to get the most out of each ingredient to create a masterpiece out of simple components. So this is his method of making stock, but with my own adjustments so I could make enough to can it. The recipe below is adapted from Jacques chicken stock recipe in his cookbook “Chez Jacques”.

Chicken Stock for Canning

Makes approximately 12 qt stock

-          1 chicken carcass (neck, wings, etc.)

-          Enough cold water to cover the bones in each pot

-          2 Large pots

-          4 medium onions cut in halved and peeled

-          4 tsp dried thyme

-          2 bay leaves

-          2 small leeks, or the green tops of the leeks

-          4 ribs celery

-          6 carrots

-          1 ½ tbsp whole peppercorns

-          1 or 2 peppers (type is up to you)

1.      I had to split this up into 2 large pots. So I split up the ingredients as necessary into each pot.

2.      Bring the bones in the water to a boil and as soon as its boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil. Let boil uncovered for 10-15 minutes before adding the other ingredients. Skim any scum that comes to the surface off and discard.

3.      Now add the vegetables and seasonings. Return it to a gentle boil and let go for 2 hours.

4.      Strain through a colander, and then through a fine mesh strainer to filter out any pieces.

5.      You can cool it overnight in the fridge and then skim off the fat to completely de-fat the stock, or just immediately can it if you don’t mind having the chicken fat remain in it.

6.      If you plan on canning the stock, take the quart containers and run them through the dishwasher to sanitize them while the stock is boiling. When you’re ready to can it, start a pan of water on the stove and sanitize the lids and rings for about 5 minutes before using them. Fill the pressure canner to the 3 quart line in the bottom.
7.   Fill the jars leaving 1” head space. Carefully wipe the tops of the jars with a damp cloth. Tighten on a lid with a ring and place in the pressure canner. When it’s full carefully put on the lid and place on the stove top. This will require the 10 lb pressure gauge and you will need to process 25 minutes. Follow the pressure canner’s instruction guide.
David was exciting about our impending ‘gastronomical’ experiences that awaited us, and I have to admit that I found myself salivating thinking about it! So many options! Soup, stews, and baked goods! I have to start planning for next month’s meals …

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Countdown to the Hobbit!!

83 days and counting until The Hobbit (Part I) hits theaters on December 14, 2012!!!

To say I am excited would be a gross understatement.

The second trailer came out just a couple days ago. Gave me goosebumps, like all good trailers should!

Who else is excited about The Hobbit movies??


Hi! We're Liang and Shannon, two twenty-something BFFs who are a wee bit nerdy and love to do crafty and food-related activities completely unrelated to our day jobs.

We decided to join forces to create this blog as a written record of our personal accomplishments and obsessions, and to share with each other and our family and friends all the wonderful things we discover along the way. We will try to encourage our long-suffering husbands to contribute occasionally, as they can be just as nerdy and apron-wielding!

Our prior history of collaboration has been very fruitful, a few examples of which are shown below:

Birthday cake for Shannon's husband

Peach marmalade and blueberry jam making

Christmas cookie extravaganza

We've also trained for a half-marathon together and gotten each other hopelessly addicted to new books. We hope you will join our conversation about food, life, fun things, and yes, sometimes (very) nerdy pursuits.