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Archive for January, 2008

Sunday Morning: The New Theology

January 20, 2008 1 comment

The Chicago Tribune has a major article on a theological movement to re-imagine God in the light of the discoveries of science:

The New Theology

The article describes a correspondence between Brown university biologist Kenneth Miller and Amish carpenter Lamar Schlabach, University Of Chicago geneticist Jerry Coyne’s “colorful” de-conversion story, and others. 

“If your faith requires supernaturalism, or a God who wields overpowering control over nature, then yes, evolution will challenge that,” says Van Till, who took early retirement from Calvin College in 1999.“The key is to correct your portrait of God,” he says.

Let me get the popcorn: the letters to the Trib’s editor will be stuffed with responses to this article for weeks to come.  It is an interesting article however.  I suggest using the “print” link to print it out for easier reading as it is quite lengthy. 

What do you think?  Imagine two centuries from now, will Christianity adapt to science?  Or…?

Categories: Religion

Oh goodie.  $800 will fix everything.

January 19, 2008 7 comments

BBC reports Bush calls for economy kick-start, a bold and insightful move of which the centerpiece is to send us all checks for $800.  In biological terms, this is like a line of cocaine.  Yes, it will make the patient feel great for a while but it shouldn’t be confused with health.

President Bush said the package should be “a shot in the arm to keep a fundamentally strong economy healthy”.

Oh wait, I guess he does confuse it with health.  He should have said “a snort in the nostrils”. 

In economic terms this is analogous to telling every American “We have raised the credit limit on your Visa card by $800.”  Why?  Because thanks to the Republicans we are in deficit spending, and every one of those eight hundred dollars is borrowed money that we will have to pay back with compound interest.

Our economy has to last a long time.  That takes healthy, educated people, living in a healthy environment, safe streets, good transportation, support for basic research, stable relationships with trading partners, less public debt, and a diverse energy infrastructure.  None of those things happen overnight.  No amount of economic hocus-pocus will make them happen – they’re maintenance issues.  But how do you run a campaign on “No quick fix”?

Categories: Economics, Politics

Guest post: Better living through chemistry - sous vide

January 18, 2008 4 comments

From my son, mathematician and Renaissance man:

Sous vide was an industrial process (and later a restaurant process)
developed to more efficiently cook foods while keeping their juices in the food.  It allows you to cook at a temperature which more finely tunes what parts of the food are being broken down.  In the example above, the steak is cooked at a temperature too low to coagulate the muscle proteins, but at a temperature high enough to break down the collagen into gelatin.  Rare steak’s toughness is usually caused by collagen, and well-done steaks are tough because of the coagulation of muscle proteins.  Check out the pictures on the page

“Perfect steak with DIY “sous vide” cooking

The result is (allegedly) an incredibly tender steak that tastes quite rare.  You can also use this technique to make “boiled” eggs (cooked in 65C water) which have a firm yolk, and soft whites.  Apparently you can also create vegetables that taste fresh, but have a cooked texture (the temperature varies with the egetable).  In this case, the temp is too low to break down flavoring chemicals, but high enough to partially dissolve down the cellulose in the cell walls.  Some vegetables (like carrots, onions and sweet potatoes) also have enzymes which turn starch into sugar at an accelerated rate at high temperature, but is deactivated by high temperatures.  So, cooked in this way, you can end up with very sweet vegetables, with better nutrition than traditionally cooked vegetables.

Needless to say, after I did some reading about it, I bought a probe thermometer on amazon.  I will be experimenting with this!

And later…

I got my probe thermometer in the mail today.  First I “boiled” some eggs at 64-66C for 75 minutes.  The results were then served on toast.
A creamy, perfectly semisoft yolk, together with light, mildly runny whites.  Delicious.  Milly described them as her “dream boiled eggs”. Then I went to Schnucks, got a 12oz sirloin, and cooked it at 60C for 45 minutes inside of an oven bag with a little soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and some pepper.  (The vinegar was chosen to reduce the growth of bacteria, just in case.  Also because it’s good.)  Then I took the steak out, melted some butter in a very hot skillet, and grilled the outside until it was a crispy brown.  Just below the surface of the steak, I found a gorgeous tender pink meat.  It was incredibly
tender—never once did I find myself with an unpleasant piece of gristle in my mouth, it all just melted.  I feel like my whole life, I
wanted to eat this steak, and now I have.

Man that steak was good.  I wish I was eating it right now…

Categories: Food, Reviews

When I catch up to Brady Cardia, I’m going to kick his ass…

January 17, 2008 2 comments

Today started dizzy and weak, with irregular heart rate in the low ‘40’s.  After an hour or so it was up to 55 and I went to work, not feeling like the sharpest knife in the drawer.  (I’ve had this problem for years, but it never happens at the doctor’s office.  Heart is always perfect there, beats as regular as as a piston.) 

By late afternoon I’m feeling just fine, heart rate in mid-60’s.  This is not new either, as I always used to function quite well from 2:30 to 6, and that overlaps the time I ought to quit and go home.  But it’s when I’m getting stuff done because I can focus.

Anyone have any experience with bradycardia that happens with no apparent pattern?

Update: Friday morning.  Went to gym last night, 50 minutes of cardio.  This morning, feeling OK, low ‘60’s.  I don’t know what triggers it.

Categories: Personal

Two Republicans

January 15, 2008 18 comments