You learn something new everyday. This continues, deep into month three. How long does it take to get into the rhythm of doing something every single day? Does it take the full year? I’m enjoying myself and remembering more, at least.
15: The George Mason University Economics department is very active online. I’m not an economist or anywhere close to it, but it’s always neat to find academics involved in online communities. Many George Mason econ professors are actively blogging:
- Marginal Revolution (Tyler Cowen also writes a comprehensive, frequently updated local DC/MD/VA “ethnic dining” guide. See the website and blog.)
- Cafe Hayek
- Overcoming Bias
16: Involuntary muscle spasms are known as myoclonic jerks, and those that specifically occur as you’re falling asleep (when you spasm as you drift off, like you’re falling through) are known as hypnic jerks. Thanks to my first source for answering medical curiosity questions, my friend Bre.
17: Sous-vide is a French cooking technique in which food is placed in an plastic bag and all the air is sucked out of the bag before the food is submerged into a circulating water bath and cooked at a precise, controlled temperature. A steak cooked “medium rare” with this technique would be cooked to exactly 131 degrees Fahrenheit using water at that temperature – the steak would be put in as long as needed to make the temperature rise to 131 degrees. The coining of the term “molecular gastronomy” is often credited to the Hungarian-British physicist Nicholas Kurti, who posed this question in 1969: “Is it not quite amazing that today we know more about the temperature distribution in the atmosphere of the planet Venus than that in the center of our soufflé?” (Source: The New Yorker. If you’re still curious, here’s more reading on modernist cuisine.)
18: Really, you learn what you want to learn, although a lot of your learning is environmental. You can call it “osmosis” if you want, but really it’s keeping an ear open all the time. I’ve learned exactly where animal rennet (in cheesemaking) comes from – animal rennet (which will be marked as either “rennet” or simply “enzymes”) is harvested from the stomachs of slaughtered veal calves. There are other sources of rennet, though. If you are conscious not to support the veal industry, you should also be making sure any cheese you might buy is made with vegetarian rennet.
19: MRSA infections are actually a type of staph infection. Somewhat of an a-ha moment when we realized this. The MRSA you feared in high school locker rooms or shared dorm showers is called, in full, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. And that’s “a strain of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections.”
20: Ludacris has been to Florida Ave Grill. Along with a whole bunch of other musicians, actors, and famous or somewhat famous folks. They serve delicious pancakes.
21: The All Souls Exam is known as the “Hardest Exam Ever“. Take a look at some of the prompts. (For example: What are the deprivations of affluence?)
Often described as the hardest exam in the world, the test is given over two days in September to recent graduates of Oxford, with winners receiving an Examination Fellowship of seven years. Applicants take four examinations of three hours each, and in the two general subject tests must answer three questions from a list. No more than three fellowships are awarded in any year, and in some years none are given.