Tag - science

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Space Cocktails
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SideBlog: Complete Still Design From IKEA Hacker
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SideBlog: Hows and Whys of Yeast Selection in Both Beer and Spirits
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Fun With Liquid Nitrogen… And Probably Death, Too
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SideBlog: Man’s Body Brews Beer In His Intestines
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SideBlog: Have a Difficult Problem to Solve? Try Vodka

Space Cocktails

The Zero-Gravity Cocktail Project from the Cosmic Lifestyle Corporation
I have written before that mankind cannot successfully make it all the way to Mars without taking along Gaz Regan. It’s Science. It’s Settled™. Forget it at the peril to the mission. Astronauts need a good drink, but once you establish that, the details get pretty intense.

NASA keeps doing study after study (of the Well, No Duh results variety) that show that astronauts would benefit greatly from a small belt or two from time to time because Space is boring, and stressful, and if you eat the food for so much as three days in a row you will find that you have “lost the will to live.” Most ordinary adults know that the solution to all these things is booze in rational amounts.

Ordinary adults, that is. When NASA was readying the first space station mission, they determined that sherry was an excellent choice to fulfill this basic human need, since it is stable in difficult conditions like zero-gravity. But then they caved to pressure from people who screamed about astronauts being role-models, and as such should not be seen drinking like Niles Crane. You will note that the Russians, in addition to such crazy expedients as retaining actual manned space travel capability, do allow their cosmonauts to have a drink for mental health reasons.

There is no way that you are going to get a crew of the alphaest of alpha males (and females) all the way to Mars, though, without sending along either some booze or dueling pistols. When the prohibitionists come back at NASA again, I suggest that they lock said protesters together in a metal can for five hundred days. They might go in Baptists, but they are a comin’ out Episcopalians.

But the therapeutic nature of a good drink is about more than just the ethanol intake. (Note that even the Russians don’t take up vodka, they bring along cognac.) It is also the joy of the aesthetic experience of a good drink that will help people make it to far destinations. Thus, to my way of thinking, the keys to the aesthetic drinking experience are variety and presentation.

If you want variety, that means your ethanol vehicle of choice is the mixed drink. Mass restrictions would restrict taking beer, and they would certainly prevent laying in any kind of broad-appeal cellar. But a relatively small number of low-mass ingredients can create a dazzling variety of cocktails. Thus my call to have Gaz sent to Houston for training, stat.

But, like everything else, the tools needed to prepare and consume a good cocktail, like everything else from pens to toilets, need to be updated or even reinvented for use in zero-gravity.

An essential tool, the shaker, appears to not have an elegant solution for zero gravity yet. The following video from Stoli should show any reasonably educated drink mixer the multifarious problems that surround trying to whip up a Pegu in outer space.

Clearly, there a significant effects from zero-gravity on most any beverage container/dispenser, as the following video reveals…

In all seriousness, terrestrial tools for mixing a cocktail are totally unsuited for space. Newton is going to bang the bartender all over the walls when he goes to shake. A strainer will do nothing but break up the drink blob and spray it all throughout the atmosphere. And gin does not mix well with integrated circuits.

Still, I think that re-engineering the mixing component will be fairly easy. I envision a flexible rubber box which you can fill with ice, then inject ingredients into. Attach it to an agitation platform affixed to the wall to mix and chill, then use a tube to dispense. Eject the ice into the recycler, and it is time for the next round. Astronauts will miss the Flair and Hard Shake experiences, but you can’t have everything.

The final piece is actually getting the maximum enjoyment out of your Space Martini™. To do that, it needs to look and feel like a Martini. You need a stemmed cocktail glass. To see why this presents problems, look at the video above. (The first one, not the one with the nice stems). But man is ingenious. Behold the Zero Gravity Cocktail Project, from the Cosmic Lifestyle Corporation.

zerogravity-cocktailglass-web-7Source: Make

Stem, check.
Click-in base so you can set it down, check.
Proper shape, check.
Open top, so your beverage will float out and ruin all the electronics on the space station, leading to the plot of Gravity 2, not so fast.

Look at all those ridges. Astronauts have discovered that when you have a crease in a container, the angle of which is less than 90 minus two times the contact wetting angle, surface tension will keep the liquid inside. More importantly, it will wick that fluid along the crease and you can suck it out, i.e. have a sip. The technology is based on the way liquid fuel tanks can restart a rocket in space. It has already been proven as a beverage drinking technology (in primitive form) with coffee cups.

Look at the cocktail glass. Its entire surface is a series of channels, each of which I’m sure is contact wetting angle-appropriate, which cover most of the inner surface of the glass. These all eventually come together at a single spot on the rim, which is, I’m assuming, the point from where you must drink. The only question I have is what material is the vessel made from? It obviously isn’t glass, as you can tell by looking, and I’m sure this is for prototype fabrication reasons. But if you are going to make a number of these, I’m assuming the final product can’t be glass either, for safety reasons. What can you make it of, so the rim is properly thin and cold to get the sipping experience just right?

I’ll wrap by noting that this technology is important for more that distant exploration. It’s going to make a difference in commercial space tourism as well. Over the long run, how many rich as Croesus tourists are going to any hotel, even one in orbit or on the Moon, where they can’t enjoy a quality Manhattan?

playboy-club-space-station-exteriorSorry, still not going unless I can get a decent Sidecar…

SideBlog: Complete Still Design From IKEA Hacker

Complete home still design and “blueprints”, centered on an old IKEA pressure cooker. With a Lowe’s and a Bed, Bath, & Beyond, you too can violate Federal law!

SideBlog: Hows and Whys of Yeast Selection in Both Beer and Spirits

Hows and whys of cultivated and wild yeasts in making beer and spirits. Lots to absorb in this Popular Science piece. Via HotAir.

Fun With Liquid Nitrogen… And Probably Death, Too

From Gizmodo comes this video, 10 Things to Do at a Birthday Party With Liquid Nitrogen from The King of Random. I’ve embedded it here, but before you watch it, be aware that this video is:

  1. Fun.
  2. Possibly the most evil thing I have seen on the web this month, and I’ve been reading about Assad.


Like most evil, it starts out all fun and games.

Ice Cream
Cool….

Number ten is pretty straightforward. It gives a pretty good rundown on how to make ice cream like Dippin’ Dots—sure to appeal to those of us with dot-crazed offspring. Nothing evil about it. (Other than the deadly sin of Sloth, since it advocates just melting down Neapolitan ice cream instead of making your batch from scratch.)

May I add that I think Neapolitan ice cream itself is a sin…?

But the evil start already with number nine. Just a few hints, but it is there. You see a living human being poking at a marshmallow that is floating in a cup of liquid nitrogen. Poking it under the surface! Do not go sticking your bare… anything into containers of liquid nitrogen!

Marshmallow
No.

Number eight… I got nothing. Number eight is just flat out cool. Number seven is pretty much… eh, which lowers your defenses for the first real dark bugle call of evil in number six. You think that this is pretty banal stuff.

Number six is the first place where the vigilant viewer may get an idea that maybe this whole video is one giant evil plot. “Chips that bite back”. Evil likes to be sure to be able to say afterwords that you should have known

Chips Breath
No!

Number five is more of an evil digression. Look at the edges of that can. I feel like I’m going to bleed out just looking at that.

[13-09-20 144011] 10 Things To Do at a Birthday Party with Liquid Nitrogen! - YouTube
Ouch…. And, no.

Then there is four.

Fire!
Hell no!

Where in all that’s holy did that come from? Just saying, “maybe you should do this one outside,” is not enough!
I’m not sure saying, “maybe you should do this one with ten foot robot arms,” is enough.
I’m tempted to say that number four wins the award for most ill-advised thing suggested by the internet, ever. But as you’ve noted, we are only at number four

Numbers three and two are cute tricks, and again you relax, thinking, “Ah! We’re wrapping up with some actually almost doable at a party things!” You would be wrong.

You would be so very, very wrong.

Shoot!
No. No. No!
Don’t you f’n put that in your mouth!

Spoiler alert, if you haven’t watched the video yet. He puts it in his mouth. If you want to blow smoke, just take up cigarettes. They are a million times safer.

Look, I am a huge opponent of America’s modern obsession with safety warnings. When you have too damn many warnings on a product, they will all become meaningless, and you get this effect:
7a5e093aead6c3cc32da71eb6ad8dfb1
We also have warnings so ridiculous, it makes you feel retarded just by being of the same species as whoever decided it needed to be a warning. When I traveled to England, I saw many things that I enjoyed or that warmed my heart. But I saw nothing that moved me more than that on product after product, and dangerous ledge after rickety bridge, the usual litany of useless warnings were replaced by the simple admonition to “Use Sensible Precautions”.

This pet peeve of mine means I’m usually hostile to having my time wasted with silly admonitions about “Don’t Try This at Home”, especially when included at the start of videos or articles with How To… in the title. But in this case… holy mother of God!

Idea number one is straight up doing shots of liquid nitrogen! There are quite literally no circumstances under which you should try this. None. If you want to commit suicide, sawing at your neck with a dull, rusty knife would be less gruesome or painful than what could happen with that little shot glass of cryo-juice. This segment doesn’t need a warning about not trying at home, it needs a big splash page that says: “Set up a Google Alert for this guy’s name, and ‘accidental death’. You’ll get a hit real soon, promise.”

Really, if you have somehow read all this and not watched the video, please do so. It is really cool. But please, if you get a hold of some liquid nitrogen and try out one or two of the simpler, only marginally lethal tricks shown, do not let that convince you to go the next step down that path to evil. I need the readers.

SideBlog: Man’s Body Brews Beer In His Intestines

Man’s body brews beer inside his intestines! Brewer’s yeast had set up residence in his gut. One day he really pigged out on carbs and blew a 0.37 without drinking a drop. [International Journal of Clinical Medicine]

SideBlog: Have a Difficult Problem to Solve? Try Vodka

Have a difficult problem to solve? Try vodka! Study shows that light booze consumption improves creativity.
Someone felt they had to pay (probably our) money to figure that out? And for what it’s worth, I’d bet gin does the job better.

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