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What has me saying, “Oh, I want one of these?”

January 16, 2019

Projection Wall is a floor-to-ceiling installation that produces a series of prismatic sculptures through a visitor-operated pulley system. The large-scale bubbles rise from a grid of rope as the pulley rises, which are then released into to the room by the force of eight fans set behind the soapy contraption.

from Colossal, more here

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What am I noting on tattoo Tuesday?

January 15, 2019

Today is Squirrel Appreciation Day

Go Nuts

 

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Why am I dizzy?

January 14, 2019

 

Warning:  planets are not to scale!

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What am I sappy seahorse blogging?

January 11, 2019
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What am I watching?

January 10, 2019

by Kaplanimo at WordlessTech

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What am I drinking?

January 9, 2019

Several years ago, while Marianne Eaves was in the midst of renovating Castle & Key Distillery outside of Versailles [note: it is pronounced Ver-Sales], Ky., she came across an antique bottle of Old Taylor bourbon.

The distillery grounds had originally belonged to Col. Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. (known in the whiskey world simply as E.H.). Taylor was a leader in industrializing bourbon production during the early 20th century.

After Taylor died in 1923, the distillery passed through several owners, but eventually fell into neglect for 40 years. The grounds became a tangle of foliage and the exterior of buildings began to crumble.

Then in 2015, Eaves — who is the first female Master Distiller of Kentucky bourbon since Prohibition — along with her business partners, Will Arvin and Wesley Murry, began to bring the distillery into the modern age of bourbon production.

But that antique bottle of Old Taylor, which was originally released in 1917, inspired Eaves — whose background is in chemical engineering — to use new technology to examine the bourbon’s past.

“The most dominant flavor in that 1917 bourbon was the butterscotch note,” Eaves says. “That’s something that bourbon aficionados and the ‘dusty hunters‘ recognize about historic Old Taylor bourbon is this beautiful, rich, creamy, sweet butterscotch note — and the mouthfeel of that particular bottle was really unique for a historic whiskey.”

That taste was something Eaves wanted to incorporate into Castle & Key’s bourbon, but she was at a dead end of sorts. While modern bourbon brands keep meticulous notes on measurements and processes, pre-Prohibition brands, such as Old Taylor, were built largely on oral histories.

“They were just going all on flavor. They had these processes that had been handed down for hundreds of years, so they were just doing things the way the guy before them had — just knowing it would make alcohol,” Eaves says.

And while she didn’t know Taylor’s exact process, Eaves had both tradition and science her side.

Susan Reigler, a bourbon historian and biologist, explains that in order for a distillate to be considered bourbon, it must meet a few basic requirements: the spirit has to be grain based; the mash bill (mix of grains) has to be 51 percent corn; it must be aged in new, charred-oak barrels; and it must not be introduced to the barrel at higher than 125 proof.

After the grain mash is cooled at Castle & Key, it’s placed in a large tub where it begins to ferment. During alcoholic fermentation, yeasts convert the sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

“Because of this, certainly, the process that goes on in the still is basically the same — the chemistry is the same,” says Reigler, who is also the author of The Bourbon Tasting Notebook. “And the compounds in the spirit are something that can be assessed.”

Which is exactly what Eaves did.

“We decided to use a good old-fashioned ‘GC’ — gas chromatography,” she says.

Chromatography is a process used by scientists to separate a mixture of chemicals, in liquid or gas form, into components by running it over the surface of another substance, typically a liquid or solid. A visual example often used in classrooms is pouring a water droplet onto an ink mark on a piece of paper. The ink — which is a liquid mixture of several dyes — will separate on the paper into distinct, colored streaks.

In the case of the Old Taylor bourbon, the liquid was separated into different chemical compounds.

“Then we looked at these chemical compounds and from there, we were able to figure out what grains he was using, [and found] a yeast strain that has a similar flavor profile,” Eaves says. “So that’s how we went about it and constructed our recipe based on it, loosely. We didn’t really want to replicate what he was making exactly, but take those flavor cues from the past, and then model our recipe around that.”

The bourbon is distilled and is currently aging for a minimum of four years.

According to Reigler, many people still don’t recognize all the science and technological innovations that underpin the bourbon industry — from increasingly computerized distilling systems to spirits analytics like what Eaves did with the antique bourbon.

“We have a lot more people in white coats that are involved in the bourbon industry, so I think all of that is very different than what E.H. Taylor would have been familiar with,” she says.

From Ashlie Stevens – NPR The Salt

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What am I watching?

January 9, 2019

I admit to being a fan of the Great British Baking Show.  While I enjoy the illustrations describing what the bakers are going to make, I did not give them much thought until I read this article about the show’s illustrator:

In the midst of The Great British Baking Show’s controversial migration between British networks two years ago — a creative decision that lost 75 percent of the show’s personalities — tabloid speculation ran wild at the time about what this new Baking Show iteration would entail, given that the only person following the dough was Paul Hollywood and his piercing blue eyes. The only person on camera, that is. Because also choosing to stay in the show’s family was Tom Hovey, arguably the fifth puzzle piece in its sugary, buttery DNA. You don’t know his face, but you definitely know his work — and that’s because he’s responsible for creating every illustration in Baking Show history, from day one and beyond.

“It’s a real case of being at the right place at the time right time,” Hovey told Vulture about landing the gig. “My best mate worked in television and suggested that I apply for a job in ‘the edit’ at this new cookery show. With no TV experience or idea about how edits worked, I blagged my way in and started two days later.” Soon after beginning this editing job, though, Hovey admitted to the directors and editors that his passion was actually illustration, which spurred the higher-ups to spontaneously incorporate something artistic into the show. “It led to the director coming to me in the second week saying that he felt there was a visual element missing and maybe I could come up with some ideas,” Hovey recalled. “I sketched a few examples, we decided on a style that fit the bill and I got the gig.”

 

more at The Vulture

See also his website