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Articles: interesting: 2008 March

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Learn Something Every Day
Monday, 2008 March 31 - 11:17 am
Today's factoid: Fructose melts at 104°C (219°F). Dextrose and glucose melt at 146°C (295°F). Sucrose melts at 186°C (367°F).

The reason I'm interested in this is because I'm trying to figure out if the slow-cooking process I use for beef ribs will, in fact, allow me to use add barbecue sauce during the cooking phase. The sweetener in most bottled barbecue sauces is high-fructose corn syrup (a mixture of fructose and glucose). So presumably, if the cooking temperature reaches the melting point of fructose, you'll start to get carmelization in the sauce, and that will destroy the flavor.

Cooking at 200°F should be low enough to avoid that. But I think I may have to experiment with it before trying it out on my rib-loving friends.

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Posted by Ken in: foodinteresting

Learn Something Every Day
Friday, 2008 March 28 - 4:24 pm
You can use the fresnel lens from a projection TV to make a solar mirror that's powerful enough to boil a quarter in 25 seconds. Kids: do not try this at home.

A completely unrelated fact: Today I discovered that teenagers are throwing around the term "sponge-worthy" without understanding what it means. Kids: do not use this phrase at home.
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Posted by Ken in: interesting

Learn Something Every Day
Thursday, 2008 March 27 - 7:12 pm
Today's factoid: In most of Northern England, the dialect doesn't have what's called the foot-strut split. This means that in that area, "cut" and "put" rhyme, as do "pudding" and "budding".

I've long had a fascination with all the varieties of English accents. Most Americans only recognize one or two different kinds of accents from the British Isles, usually Received Pronunciation (RP, or "the Queen's English") and cockney. But someone from England could probably place another British person's accent to within 25 miles.

Conversely, British people only recognize two or three American accents, like Midwestern, Southern, and sometimes Bostonian. I'd say the majority of Americans north of the Mason-Dixon line can recognize the distinctiveness of accents from Chicago, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, and New York (even distinguishing Manhattan, the Bronx, and Long Island); most Southerners can recognize the difference between accents from North Carolina, West Virginia, Texas, Alabama, and Georgia. (Note for non-Southerners: I have yet to meet someone who has the stereotypical "plantation" accent from "Gone With the Wind". That'd be like meeting a New Yorker who still talks like Edward G. Robinson.)
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Posted by Ken in: interesting

Learn Something Every Day
Wednesday, 2008 March 26 - 10:27 pm
In the course of surfing the Internet (and researching answers for Yahoo Answers), I do several dozen Google searches a day. (There you go, a plug for both Yahoo and Google in one sentence.) And I find that I learn a few interesting things every day. So I'm gonna try a new regular blog feature: "Learn Something Every Day". I'll try to post at least one random fact I discovered or looked up that day.

Today I looked up a bunch of stuff about the cost of the Iraq war and the cost of U.S. energy consumption, but I covered most of that in my last post. So instead of those facts, I'll tell you about potatoes.

Did you know? Potatoes are very good for you. They're loaded with Vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins, and dietary fiber. They kind of have a bad reputation as a starchy food with empty calories, but a potato has half the calories of a serving of rice, and considerably more nutrients. So, enjoy that potato! Just go easy on the butter.

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Posted by Ken in: foodinteresting

Oh, the Drama
Thursday, 2008 March 13 - 9:55 pm
Well, I'm up to Level 4 on Yahoo Answers now. I've answered 325 questions, in topics ranging from law to, uh, vaginal discharge. And you know, up until now, I never would have thought the phrase "vaginal discharge" would appear on this blog. Twice.

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Posted by Ken in: datinginteresting

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