Saturday, August 18, 2012

Burn something, get power

I waste a lot of time trying to find free power sources. I'm always wrong, but I keep trying. Like somehow trying to capture the heat or wind generated by subway trains and convert that to power.

But someone thought of a better idea - a portable stove that turns twigs into electricity. It's called the Biolite Stove and it has a thermoelectric generator that turns gassified wood into power. I still kind of don't understand how it works, but who cares - it's cool. It probably produces more power quickly than a solar powered generator, and at night as well.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rice, rice baby

Liberals love to hate GMOs, genetically modified organisms, but particularly foods. Also dubbed "Frankenfoods" the fear is that these foods aren't safe, and can contaminate other, non-GMO foods through pollination. But as I grow older (elderly?), I find myself questioning this argument.

I decided to research a common rebuttal to the anti-GMO community, which is the health benefits created by infusing rice with Vitamin A. This is really helpful in poor nations, where a lack of nutrients can cause blindness (yikes).

But activist Vandana Shiva isn't buying this defense. According to Wikipedia, her stance is that by "focusing on a narrow problem (vitamin A deficiency)... the golden rice proponents were obscuring the larger issue of a lack of broad availability of diverse and nutritionally adequate sources of food."

Aha! So we shouldn't focus on creating better rice but rather on solving food shortages and other political issues. A fair point, except it's cruel to the people who are suffering NOW. Yes we can stand on a soapbox and push for better food policy and human rights issues, but why not, oh I don't know - stop a few people from going blind along the way? Certainly they could be parallel projects is what I'm saying.

By the way, during my college protest days I used to hand out those "Frosted Fakes" cards (see graphic) at my college cafeteria.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Your grandma sucks in the kitchen

OK, maybe she doesn't, it's a distinct possibility. But you wouldn't it from watching cooking shows - every good meal is compared to "almost good as my grandmother used to make." Or occasionally better, if the person is really blown away.

We have a veneration for age in very few areas in the U.S., but food is definitely one of them. We assume if a recipe is from someone's great, great, great-grandmother in the old country, then it's GOT to be good.

I'm calling B.S. on this entire theory. Cooking is a skill - some people have got it, and some people don't. Even if almost all women cooked daily in the 1950's and before doesn't mean what they cooked was actually good. That's why we have restaurants, right? My mom is an amazing cook, but my grandmother (on my dad's side) - not so much. Her more memorable dish was a drinkable jello (Sorry, bubbie).

So I don't care if a recipe came from the Great Depression, or was invented two years by an aspiring young chef. Good food is good food, and the only way to know is to taste. Save the marketing for someone else.