Spin All the Things!

October 18, 2017
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Visitors to the Belm Utility Research Kitchen, after seeing all of the gadgets and equipment, always ask “Is there anything else you need?” My answer is always the same: I’d like a chamber vacuum sealer and an ultracentrifuge. The former is within the realm of possibility (and budget), the latter remains a fantasy. Ultracentrifuges, even […]

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December 21, 2012

I had to move this blog to a new web host. While the migration was as painless as could be expected, there were still a few hiccups, some of which are still being manifested in these pages: There are stray characters showing up where none were present before. The behavior of the links for previous […]

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Still Waiting For My Food Pills

July 15, 2011
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This is a transcript of a talk I presented at Readercon 22 on Friday, July 15. Images are included as they appeared in the slide show. I had submitted the following description for the conference program guide: Cooking has always been based on science, but the connection was made explicit with the 1984 publication of […]

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Punching Your Ticket

March 4, 2010
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In the dark ages of computer programming, mainframes like the IBM System 360 relied on keypunch cards for both program and data input. Programs consisted of huge stacks of cards arranged in a specific sequence, which, if spilled, lent a new meaning to the phrase “system crash.” My father’s entry into the world of mainframe […]

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75,000 and Counting

February 25, 2010
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Last January my iTunes library hit the 70,000 song mark. This month I exceeded 75,000. My latest music listening experiment has been the service provided by lala. I used their MusicMover software to match the contents of my library to songs already present in their own archives. Much to my surprise, they were able to […]

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New Toy

January 6, 2010
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I have been playing with my shiny new Bliptronic 500o, which I received for Xmas. Rather than try to describe it, I can show it to you in action. Straight out of the box it’s a bit limited. It only plays in C major (and A minor, har har har), there are only eight instrument […]

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The iTerrarium

November 25, 2009
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I thought that my Macquarium was the finest example of what could be done with a Macintosh that had reached the end of its useful life. Then I saw the iTerrarium constructed by Paul Riddell of the Texas Triffid Ranch, and knew that I had another example to add to my collection. When Paul announced […]

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Kind of Bloop

August 20, 2009
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Lots of musicians pay with 8-bit music composition programs, reworking pop favorites to sound like they were generated by old video game systems. But few have tried their hand at chiptune jazz, a deficiency that Andy Baio of sought to address with Kind of Bloop, released today: … an 8-bit tribute to Miles Davis’s […]

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I Saw a Film Today, Oh Boy

June 3, 2009

When Harmonix released the first Guitar Hero game I was rooting for them. The company had been co-founded by an old MIT friend, and the game looked like a lot of fun. I was rooting for them again when they were purchased by Viacom, which resulted in their “reboot” of the guitar game as Rock […]

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Behold the Awesome Power of Bacon!

April 16, 2009

Harold McGhee’s On Food and Cooking is the most exhaustive reference on the chemistry and physics involved in food preparation, but nothing beats a few flashy demonstrations. I still have a vivid memory of Mr. Wizard, the great American science educator,  demonstrating on Late Night with David Letterman how much energy was contained in a […]

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