Jun 3, 2016

Happy Doughnut Day

It is celebrated every first Friday in June. This day is set aside holey in its honor. Go out and get a dozen and enjoy.

Hazard and Risk

Hazard refers to potential for harm and risk refers to chances of being harmed under real-world conditions. Sharks are a hazard. They are fierce predators with sharp teeth, and have attacked humans in the past, but for most people, sharks are not a risk.

If you are swimming in a tank full of sharks, your risk is high. If you are mowing your lawn, your risk is low. The hazard does not change.

Wordology, Whet One’s Appetite

This means to arouse interest in something, usually food. The whet in 'whet one’s appetite' refers to a sharpening, as in sharpening one’s interest in something. Someone may whet your appetite by providing a small taste, an example or enticing description that makes you want more of the item in question or to know more about a subject. Whet one’s appetite dates back to the early 1600s to describe stimulating an appetite for food. Whet is a verb, to sharpen, as on a whetstone, or to make more aware.

Life Hacks

Use permanent marker to write the day of purchase on anything you have that might expire.

When it’s opened, hydrogen peroxide only lasts a few months before it becomes ineffective (aka turns to water). Unopened, it should be tossed after a year. You will know when it is bad when it stops fizzing.

Cheap power strips or ones that have been overworked can be a fire hazard, and use much energy in your house. Even good-quality surge protectors are only designed to last for a certain amount of joules, which is the amount of excess electrical surges they absorb. If they start to discolor or become hot to the touch, get a new one. It is generally a good idea to replace them every three to five years to keep you and your electronics safe.

Fire extinguishers expire from five to fifteen years, depending on the type. This is definitely one thing you want to be sure is OK, when you need it.

Bleach loses some if its potency after three months. This should not be a problem for household laundry, but the disinfectant qualities fall below the EPA standards at this time, which means it is no longer effective for cleaning.

Insect repellent loses effectiveness after about two years from the manufacture date, which should be marked on the bottle.

Bisect vs. Dissect

Bisect means to divide into two equal parts, to cut in two. Bisect comes from the prefix bi- which means two, and the Latin word sect, derived from the word secare which means to cut.

Dissect means to cut apart methodically in order to learn about the internal workings of something, especially a dead animal or plant. Dissect is also used figuratively to mean to analyze something piece by piece. Dissect comes from the prefix dis- which means apart and the Latin word sect, derived from the word secare which means to cut.

More About Grilling Steaks

When your steak hits a hot surface, the smell and color change from pink to brown is part of the Maillard reaction, named for scientist Louis Camille-Maillard, who discovered the principle.

Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, and simple sugars rearrange themselves and produce thousands of molecules that result in smell and color changes, as well as flavor variation and intensification. This happens in all kinds of food, from baking bread to grilled shrimp. It is also what causes toast to smell so good and what turns beer brown.

Having a dry surface encourages the Maillard reaction, which is why so many articles and recipes for steak tell you to let the meat air dry or to pat it with paper towels before cooking it. Drier food plus hot temperatures equals more reactive compounds in your steak. More Maillard reaction equals more flavor.

Serious Eats points out that flipping your steak several times during the cooking process lets the heat from one side disperse back into the meat, which rescues the outer edges from becoming tough and overcooked. Frequent flipping cooks the meat more even, and significantly faster. Flip every minute instead of once or twice and the meat will be done in a third less time. This works because neither side has time to absorb much heat when facing the fire or lose too much heat when facing away.

To remove excess moisture, pat it dry with an absorbent kitchen towel or paper towel before you put it in a pan or on the grill.

You can even go the extra mile and salt steaks ahead of time and let them sit. The salt will add flavor and draw out surface moisture, all while slightly breaking down the proteins and improving the texture of the steak.

For the ultimate in tender, juicy beef, do not forget to slice it against the grain.

If you have any leftover uncooked steaks, freeze them properly for maximum flavor next time.

Grilling Tip

Cut a raw potato, rub it on your grill and the starch acts like a coating to keep food from sticking. Slice off the used edge and enjoy the rest of the potato.

What is IoT

We see these letters more and more, but many folks do not know what they mean. They mean the "Internet of Things."  The IoT is a network of objects connected to the internet that can collect and exchange data.

The new car loaded with apps, the smart home devices that let you control the thermostat and lights with voice commands, the fitness tracker that lets you share your exercise progress with friends and health data with your doctor are all part of IoT. Think about GPS-guided agricultural equipment that can plant, fertilize, and harvest crops.

Business Insider Intelligence estimates that there will be 24 billion IoT devices installed globally by 2020, along with an additional 10 billion PCs, and other devices. It is estimated that $6 trillion will be invested in IoT solutions during the next five years.

Stocks and Elections

According to research, the S&P 500 has correctly "predicted" the winner in 19 of the past 22 presidential elections. If stocks are higher during the three months before the vote, the incumbent party wins; if stocks fall during August through October, a new party wins the White House. Hmmm, more stuff to watch.