Tea or Coffee

I realise its a foolish question when the obvious answer is coffee.

I want to say I respect those of you who choose to drink tea, but I can’t. Unless it’s the post apocalypse and you weren’t adequately prepared. You are searching the rubble and in that last ration box before you go into terminal caffeine shutdown you just have to drink tea. In which case shame on you.
Unless its one of those fruity caffeine free herbal teas in the box. There is just no reason to drink those, ever! even in the post apocalyptic wasteland or Earl Grey – Captain Picard be damned.

Why? for when Earl Grey tea is too much for you?

While there is much waffle written about the way tea is prepared, waxing rhapsodic about its origins, history blah, blah.

“the budda discovered tea when he found it picked him up after spending the day mediating….”

what a powerhouse of a drink, being able to revive someone after a hard days thinking. Given the simplicity of the the process it is easy to see why tea was invented early in our history. Its so easy hippies can do it.

Lets consider the process of making tea.

its not like boiling it in the old days
  1. Grow plant,
  2. Dry leaves,
  3. Dump in hot water.
  4. Drink.

Over the years tea swillers have tried to make the process more interesting. Bizarre rituals – see the milk in first controversypickling it, having to wear uncomfortable pants while you make it such as in Japanese Tea Ceremony and I don’t want to know what goes into those black malteser sized tapioca pearls in bubble tea drinks. shudder. Attempts to add some engineering goodness to the process of tea have at best resulted in Samovars which are just about making hot water. The 3000 year old version of one of these. 

Praise the earth for it has given us TEA.

But trying to dress it up as much as you can its still dried leaves in boiling water. This is why when I think of tea all I can picture is  Hippies.

I’m not saying if you drink tea you are a hippy, it’s just that’s the image that is called to my mind whenever someone offers me a cup of tea. Plus the smell.

COFFEE on the other hand, calls to mind images of industry, steam engineering and madness.

Such as the great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel calling for coffee as he carries a temporarily overwhelmed Ada Lovelace through the vice and verse ridden poet’s corner of London. For more of the thrilling adventures of Lovelace and Babbage go here.

A big shout out to Melina Sydney Padua the author of the above panel
Real coffee, and by real coffee I mean espresso, is made through a much more exciting process of drying, roasting and in special cases the beans being eaten and shat out by the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hemaphrodutis), then pushing water heated to around 96 centigrade through a sieve of the ground roasted coffee beans at around 9 bars of pressure.
and perhaps the finest expression of this symphony of engineering and madness with coffee in the real world, is a mystic brew called Black Blood of the Earth. It’s produced by a company by a chap at Funranium  Labs who after sampling a cup produced by a Viennese Triple Cold Extraction Coffee set up in Japan
Either that or Walter White’s work bench
described the experience as
“I could see colours that weren’t in the visible spectrum, and could vibrate through walls”
and with access to a decent supply of glassware and a passable knowledge of chemical engineering Voila, he built his own machine and with continual tinkering  produced Black Blood of the Earth -a beverage which concentrates the caffeine but extracts much of the bitterness inherent with the beverage. The caffeine content per cup is a touch excessive and I tend to like my coffee dark and bitter, like my heart, so my search  for the perfect coffee continues.

The  pinnacle of beverages, the ULTIMATE coffee will result in such experiences as described below from the comic Girl Genius, click here for the full tale

 

Isn’t this always what you hoped the first time you tasted coffee?

 

So in summary when I think of tea, I see hippies. When I ask for coffee I want it to be prepared using this

 

so what’s your beverage of choice? and why isn’t it coffee?

Why I liked OUTCASTS more than I am enjoying TERRA NOVA

As others have noted, thanks Orin, next year will be the first time since 1974 that there are no live action space based science fiction shows on Television. This of course is unacceptable. While science fiction on TV thrives the future looking science based tomorrow seems to have disappeared and instead we are stuck with inward looking, supernaturals and superpowers. For comparison look at the fate of BBCs short run series OUTCASTS and compare with the finally on air TERRA NOVA.

In Summary
Terra Nova is about a colony sent from a future earth that has a destroyed biosphere due to environmental collapse. The colony is settled in series sent through a time fracture to a

Where's the dinosaurs?

prehistoric earth. The trip is one way and they can not contact the future and rely on the information carried back by settlers.The sixth wave of settlers had a dispute and leave to set up an alternative colony elsewhere on planet. The character selection process is meant to bring the best and the brightest but there are obviously flaws and some people have go through that shouldn’t. There is a whiny, annoying teen whose sole task seems to be a plot device to drive the story when he does something stupid.  There is a big mystery hinted at by some cryptic markings. Not everything is what it seems.

Outcasts is about a colony sent from a future earth that has a destroyed biosphere due to environmental collapse. This is a alien world reached over a number of years by a series of colonizing ships, News from earth can only be provided by the people on the ships as they arrive. Engineered humans called Advanced Cultivars were part of the first settlement teams but where blamed for a disease which wiped out most of the colonies children, they left to found another colony elsewhere on the planet. There is a whiny annoying teen who only function seems to screw with the emotions one of the competent officers in the colony. There is a big mystery hinted at when some hominid fossils that turn up. Not everything is what it seems.

See Spaceships Spaceships are cool

For a start at least OUTCASTs had spaceships, big honking planet settling spaceships. It had a colony that looks like it had been build from cannabilized spaceships ‘ The houses on Terra Nova look like they could double as an Apple Store. And while TN has dinosaurs and that is a plus they aren’t anything that wasn’t perfected by the Walking With Dinosaurs crew.

Also given a disease that wiped out most of the children mean they aren’t up to their shoulders in annoying teen angst every week unlike Terra Nova. So a plus to OUTCASTS there.

Even the title TERRA NOVA sh*ts me. That translates as Earth New. Not a very imaginative title requiring no great geek knowledge. The planet in Outcasts is called Carpathia which is never explained, no block of  talking exposition but as everyone knows Carpathia was the name of the ship that rescued the survivors of the Titanic. See clever. So of course it only got eight episodes and ended on a cliff hanger that will never be resolved.

Plus in the first episode of TERRA NOVA they screwed up the maths on how big the moon should be, hint it shouldn’t be THAT BIG.

So the little girl asks her big sister, “Is it always so big?”

Great now the moons going to kill us all

Big sis: “Not always. It moves about a half a centimeter away from the Earth every year, so it’s much closer than it was yesterday.”
UH UH.
The moon does move around 4cm/year, it was moving away a bit slower millions of years ago but lets assume 4cm/year close enough for government work. Therefore how much closer 85million years ago thats 425 kilometres. Given that it currently orbits at around on average 400,000kms thats a tiny variation about 0.1%. Since the moon travels an ellipitcal orbit over a two week period is varies by about 50,000kms every fortnight there is NO WAY that the could percieve a difference. So once again SCIENCE FAIL.

Terra Nova has only had a couple of episodes so far but its not looking good.

Since I no longer seem to be able to import into WordPress I will be only posting over at my other blogger blog

Go to here

Why I liked OUTCASTS more than I am enjoying TERRA NOVA

As others have noted, thanks Orin, next year will be the first time since 1974 that there are no live action space based science fiction shows on Television. This of course is unacceptable. While science fiction on TV thrives the future looking science based tomorrow seems to have disappeared and instead we are stuck with inward looking, supernaturals and superpowers. For comparison look at the fate of BBCs short run series OUTCASTS and compare with the finally on air TERRA NOVA.

In Summary
Terra Nova is about a colony sent from a future earth that has a destroyed biosphere due to environmental collapse. The colony is settled in series sent through a time fracture to a prehistoric earth. The trip is one way and they can not contact the future and rely on the information carried back by settlers.The sixth wave of settlers had a dispute and leave to set up an alternative colony elsewhere on planet. The character selection process is meant to bring the best and the brightest but there are obviously flaws and some people have go through that shouldn’t.There is a whiny, annoying teen whose sole task seems to be a plot device to drive the story when he does something stupid.  There is a big mystery hinted at by some cryptic markings. Not everything is what it seems.

Outcasts is about a colony sent from a future earth that has a destroyed biosphere due to environmental collapse. This is a alien world reached over a number of years by a series of colonizing ships, News from earth can only be provided by the people on the ships as they arrive. Engineered humans called Advanced Cultivars were part of the first settlement teams but where blamed for a disease which wiped out most of the colonies children, they left to found another colony elsewhere on the planet. There is a whiny annoying teen who only function seems to screw with the emotions one of the competent officers in the colony. There is a big mystery hinted at when some hominid fossils that turn up. Not everything is what it seems.

See Spaceships therefore cool

For a start at least OUTCASTs had spaceships, big honking planet settling spaceships. It had a colony that looks like it had been build from cannabilized spaceships ‘ The houses on Terra Nova look like they could double as an Apple Store. And while TN has dinosaurs and that is a plus they aren’t anything that wasn’t perfected by the Walking With Dinosaurs crew.

Also given a disease that wiped out most of the children mean they aren’t up to their shoulders in annoying teen angst every week unlike Terra Nova. So a plus to OUTCASTS there.

Even the title TERRA NOVA sh*ts me. That translates as Earth New. Not a very imaginative title requiring no great geek knowledge. The planet in Outcasts is called Carpathia which is never explained, no block of  talking exposition but as everyone knows Carpathia was the name of the ship that rescued the survivors of the Titanic. See clever. So of course it only got eight episodes and ended on a cliff hanger that will never be resolved.

Oh great now the moons going to crash into us

Even in the first episode of TERRA NOVA they screwed up the maths on how big the moon should be, hint it shouldn’t be THAT BIG.

So the little girl asks her big sister, “Is it always so big?”
Big sis: “Not always. It moves about a half a centimeter away from the Earth every year, so it’s much closer than it was yesterday.”
UH UH.
The moon does move around 4cm/year, it was moving away a bit slower millions of years ago but lets assume 4cm/year close enough for government work. Therefore how much closer 85million years ago thats 425 kilometres. Given that it currently orbits at around on average 400,000kms thats a tiny variation about 0.1%. Since the moon travels an ellipitcal orbit over a two week period is varies by about 50,000kms every fortnight there is NO WAY that the could percieve a difference. So once again SCIENCE FAIL.

Terra Nova has only had a couple of episodes so far but its not looking good.  

Breaking the laws of physics

Recently I have had to question my understanding of one of the fundamentals of the universe.

No I don’t mean the experimental result which suggests they detected superluminal neutrinos. Although that result did generate much discussion around the dinner table, yes its that sort of household. That report is just the sort of investigation which is what science is all about. Randall Munroe of xkcd has a good take on how we should deal when such scientific results are reported in the news.


Neutrinos

No my discovery involved a recent visit from My_reason_for_living when I thought she had violated one of the fundamental laws of thermodynamics. It was one evening, we had been in our centrally heated home for a few hours. Sufficient time for all internal bodies to reach thermodynamic equilibrium and then she placed her feet on my bare skin.
HOW IN THE NAME OF SANITY CAN THEY BE SO COLD AS TO CONTACT FREEZE!
I have a scientific mind, and I had no idea how this can happen. By all the rules of physics her feet should be the same temperature as everything else, including me. It wasn’t until I watched ABCs science program Catalyst that I worked out what was happening.
Obviously  My_reason_for_living’s feet are made of some highly thermal conductive material. Diamond has one of the highest conductivity know to science. Q.E.D her feet are made of diamonds.
Makes as much logical sense as the argument made HERE in the New York Times by Robert Bryce.

from stress research to global conspiracy

Sometimes I despair of our civilization I really do. The level of scientific literacy throughout our culture for a society whose continued development so relies on understanding science and technology is nothing short of appalling when things like below can happen.

On 28 July I read a ‘Wired’ post titled Under Pressure: The Search for a Stress Vaccine drawing on the work of Professor Robert Sapolsky an neuroendocrinologist at Stanford University. Sapolskyo wants to create a vaccine like treatment for chronic stress.

It was an interesting piece and I thought no more about it, the article itself is 6789 words long according to my Microsoft word count tool so I realise a lot of people won’t bother to read the whole thing let alone not seek out the original published articles by Sapolsky on the subject.

Then on 2nd August a London Daily Mail article claimed “developing the first vaccine for stress – a single jab that would help us relax without slowing down”. A bit shorter and omitting a few of the subtlties of the first report but still okay.

From here it transformes in the hands of Paul Joseph Watson on American talk radio host Alex Jones Prison Planet website

‘establishment Media Pushes Brain Eating Vaccines’

Really?

What really annoys me is the article concludes with “promoting a new viral Google search term in order to attract much needed attention to this grave issue. Search for “brain eating vaccines” and by elevate this term to the top of Google trends, we can reach millions of new people who would otherwise never have come across this information”.

Then on the 3rd of August the terms ‘brain eating vaccine’ shot to No.3 on the Google trends search terms. Thankfully for my own stress levels it has been replaced by such important trends as ‘Emma Watsons haircut’ and ‘Wyclef Jean president’.

The stupid it burns I found at Phil Plat’s bad astronomy website I hope he doesn’t mind me using it.

Can I suggest a new viral google search term in order to attract much needed attention to this grave issue.

Paul Joseph Watson is an incorrect loud mouth, how about that?

Obviously its been a week to ban things Zombie

Most of you know Australians, at least on line. You’ve met some of us. Do we come across as a bunch on wowsers? I hope not. However this is the impression you get from our news. Our proposed internet filter, police seizure
photographic exhibitions or outrage at some overseas films.

An adventure in cinema’s most unmarketable subgenre – gay zombie porn

Once again its Melbourne International Film Festival MIFF time and some how every year MIFF manages to stir up controversy, and I suspect sales, by hosting a ‘controversial’ film. You know the sort of film: foreign, extreme , probably only would have been seen by six people, often involving an erect naked penis. Normally I would ignore this but this year the controversy film they have is Bruce LaBruce’s gay zombie porn film L.A. Zombie. This week the Australian Film Classification Board (AFCB) director Donald McDonald sent a letter refusing classification for the film, effectively banning it.

The film follows an alien zombie who roams the streets of Los Angeles in search of dead bodies and gay sex – an activity that reveals a gift of ”shagging” the deceased back to life.

So even with Zombies, I probably wasn’t going to see this one. But just because I don’t want to see full-frontal nude scenes and erect penises or zombies with cucumber-shaped penises which are clearly prosthetic, doesn’t mean I think adults who want to shouldn’t be allowed.

Bad show Australian Film Classification Board, bad show.

Zombie Queen Mary

When I was in the UK I saw a tourist place called the London Dungeon – it advertises itself as “1000 years of dark history, 13 Shows, live actors and 2 scary rides” – an obvious destination for a seven year old who loves reading the Horrible History books. It seems the latest show ‘Bloody Mary’ was being advertised with digital billboards on the London Underground.

Four people complained that the zombie Queen Mary – complete with bloody gashes on her face, rotting teeth and red eyes – had terrified their children. As a result the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the poster should not be used again as it had ‘terrified’ children and breached fear and distress guidelines

Terrifying Children?

Isn’t that what the stories we tell them are meant to do, cautionary tales so that they can be prepared to face the dangers of the world. Have any of these people actually read a traditional European children’s fairy tale? Read the stories in their religious texts? Or even a half way accurate account of Queen Mary’s reign? How else can we prepare them to face the wandering mutant zombies hordes in the ravaged wasteland of the apocalypse if we don’t tell them the right stories with startling moving images, preferably in 3-D.

I’m a better parent than Nicolas Cage (Take II)

Like every other parent I try to help my off-spring to be a strong, self reliant, mult-skilled survivor of the coming Zombie apocalypse. From the how-to-make-yourself Apocalypse ready guide here giving him cooking skills based on the London chef Will Sprunt’s apocalypse chow, and signing him up for CDC’s Disease Detective Camp for the holidays I would like to think I am laying the foundation for a citizen who will standing against the coming darkness.

But in the recent clip from the soon to be released Movie adaptation of the comic book (sorry graphic novel) Kick-Ass I realise I have been neglecting an important aspect of the_weapon’s training.

What a softie!

There’s is no way I’d have agreed to a hot fudge sundae for THAT.

Has porn gone mainstream

Sorry for the NSFW title, but I figured if your filters are as undiscriminating as mine are at work this post was never going to get through anyway.

No doubt you are familiar with house porn, those renovation shows we watch because we have sunk too much money into our mortgage can’t afford to remodel the kitchen and food porn because we are too time poor to prepare these meals just look at them. Heck without these shows 90% of commercial TV would disspear.

Well I want to bring to your attention Competence Porn. The boys and girls over at TV Tropes seem to define it as “when part of a work’s appeal comes from characters and organizations that don’t panic when things go wrong, but rise to the occasion”. This is a bit too general for me. Over at the blog for the show ‘Leverage’ blogg they say “people love the briefing scenes“. Over at Geekdad he hit what it is I love about Competence porn Geekdad.

Its the scenes where people with expertise, experience and knowledge gather and argue a point. It can work one on one like Vader in Star Wars: A New Hope, Ghost in the Shell had buckets of it, The West Wing had some great scenes where they’d argue out some point each character displaying their breath of knowledge, also BSG had some great briefing room competency. Also its nice to see some one who is wrong smacked down using competency.

Why does it appeal to me?

I think its having worked in a variety of jobs my fantasy is now just to have bosses, leaders or colleagues that I can count on to do their jobs well, make choices of staff based on ability and competency not because they like the same jokes as you do, and make decisions based on reason and not expediency.

Hope springs eternal.

EPIC FAIL

Vegemite is described on the Kraft food website as a “tasty spreadable paste made from brewer’s yeast”.In Terry Pratchett’s ‘The Last Continent’ it is better described as a “salty-tasting beery brown gunk.”

It’s a thick, black paste that will provide a valuable source of vitamin B in the post-apocalyptic landscape because:
every home has a jar;
it doesn’t need to be refrigeration;
I suspect it is largely immune to radiation; and
it is so salty that only extremophiles can survive in it so it will never go off.

The name was chosen in a national contest in 1923 and somehow it has so insinuated itself into the Australian cultural landscape that an ability to eat it on toast was considered a defining characteristic of being Australian, even though it is now owned by the big American food giant KRAFT.

Given such iconic status you’d think you’d be more careful how you treat the brand. Sinc
July this year Kraft sent out three million jars with the label “name me” and asked the public to send in their idea for the new Vegemite & cream cheese mix mmm YECH. 50,000 entries were received. A website posted the names and people began to generate the sort on-line buzz that suggested KRAFT had understood the new media and social networking.

and then KRAFT decided that the name would be

No really

the public went ballistic.

So in an effort to stem the firebombings they have now gone with VEGEMITE CHEESYBITE.

However with the internet, like Cuthulu do not call up that which you cannot put down.

Which has led to the following.