At least, it didn’t explode!

Today is bread day. I bake my loaf of bread for the following week every Friday. It is an old-fashioned European process consuming several hours actually starting the evening before.

So, Thursday evening, I mix what is called a poolish – vernacular for it’s supposed origin in Poland centuries ago. A very wet mixture, half flour, half water, barely an eighth of a teaspoon of yeast … the whole critter allowed to mumble to itself for 8-12 hours … covered in plastic wrap so no spiders or other critters fall in overnight. By Friday morning, the poolish is ready to be mixed with the remaining flour, water, salt and yeast to make the completed dough.

In our home, that’s called Jabba. :-]

I left it sitting out on the counter, last night. Didn’t get round to starting the end process till morning sunlight had already begun streaming in the East windows into our kitchen. The result is above.

The shower scene…

78/52 documentary

You’ll never look at the shower scene the same way again, says filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe, whose new documentary, 78/52, lays bare the nuts-and-bolts artistry of that scene from Hitchcock’s Psycho…

The doc’s title refers to the total number of camera setups (78) and cuts (52) in the scene, which itself lasts a mere 45 seconds. It took a whole week to film (a third of the film’s shooting schedule), and it was, as the new film shows, something of an obsession for the master of suspense…

Here are 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about the shower scene…

1. Hitchcock made Psycho because of the shower scene

“When Truffaut asked [Hitchcock] point-blank why he wanted to make Psycho, Hitchcock replied, ‘I think the murder in the bathtub, coming out of the blue, that was about all’,” says Philippe.

Everything else in the movie hinges on that scene, with the doc drawing attention to the visual rhymes that foreshadow it: shots of showerheads appear in the background; the slashing of window wipers in the rain presage the slashing of the knife in the shower. “The movie never really achieves this kind of poetry again,” says Bret Easton Ellis.

9 more to go…

Future Steak?

The shoppers of the world don’t know it yet, and farmers are only just beginning to worry about it, but supermarket meat aisles are probably on the cusp of change. Another range of products will soon appear alongside the traditional steaks and lamb chops. They’ll be identical to what we know as meat, but with a major difference: they will have been made in an industrial-scale laboratory…

…A growing group of food scientists and food companies believes we are about to enter an era when no animal needs to be killed and no land grazed to create meat. The economics are getting better and better. It’s good news for lab meat pioneers, vegetarians and animal ethicists. For the Australian and New Zealand meat industries, its effect may depend on how they react.

America’s largest meat company, Tyson Foods, gave the economics of lab meat a vote of confidence in January 2018 when it bought into lab meat startup Memphis Meats. It joined global food production giant Cargill, a company with annual revenue of more than US$100 billion a year.

With these two industry giants now backing the lab meat push, development is likely to ramp up and costs are expected to come down. Lab meat could be on the menu even earlier than forecast. Most estimates now see it coming to market within 10 years.

When it arrives, lab meat will take its place alongside increasingly sophisticated plant-based “meat” products from companies such as Beyond Meat and the Bill Gates-backed Impossible Foods.

These last two are already widely available and easy to prepare into a delicious snack or main course. Sufficient fat and protein guarantee mouth feel, flavor and texture. So – for the time being – the vegan alternatives to traditional slaughterhouses is ahead. I buy and consume them on a weekly basis. Still…looking forward to see what the labgrown animal product will have to offer.

What will you do when your favorite gas station runs dry, this summer?

Millions of people stuck at home for more than a year are expected to hit the road for much-needed post-pandemic vacations this summer. Good luck finding gas.

Not that there’s a looming shortage of crude oil or gasoline. Rather, it’s the tanker truck drivers needed to deliver the gas to stations who are in short supply.

According to the National Tank Truck Carriers, the industry’s trade group, somewhere between 20% to 25% of tank trucks in the fleet are parked heading into this summer due to a paucity of qualified drivers. At this point in 2019, only 10% of trucks were sitting idle for that reason.

“We’ve been dealing with a driver shortage for a while, but the pandemic took that issue and metastasized it,” said Ryan Streblow, the executive vice president of the NTTC. “It certainly has grown exponentially.”…

Not just any truck driver is allowed to drive a tanker truck. It requires special certification, including a commercial driver’s license, and weeks of training after being hired. And while the jobs are more attractive than some long-haul trucking jobs that can keep drivers away from home for days or weeks at a time, it is strenuous, difficult work.

Holly McCormick, who runs the workforce committee for NTTC, said another problem was the shutdown of many driver schools early in the pandemic. The pipeline of new drivers those schools would have produced has yet to be filled, she said. And then there’s a new federal clearinghouse that went online in January 2020 to identify truck drivers with prior drug or alcohol violations or failed drug tests, which knocked about 40,000 to 60,000 total drivers out of the national employment pool.

Oops!

Rediscovering American pollution hidden for decades

Marine scientists say they have found what they believe to be more than 25,000 barrels that possibly contain DDT dumped off the Southern California coast near Catalina Island, where a massive underwater toxic waste site dating back to World War II has long been suspected…

Historical shipping logs show that industrial companies in Southern California used the basin as a dumping ground until 1972, when the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, also known as the Ocean Dumping Act, was enacted…

Disposing of industrial, military, nuclear and other hazardous waste was a pervasive global practice in the 20th century, according to researchers.

Resting deep in the ocean, the exact location and extent of the dumping was not known until now.

Just a suggestion … Reflect upon all the governments in power in Washington over all these decades. A certain number of politicians in charge knew about this. Probably gave their permission. Another number knew … said something like “Shucks. I don’t like this!” And did nothing.

I have to wonder, once again, if there is a more useless job description than “elected official”

We know how to slow the rate of global warming by 30%, right now … Will we get it done?


Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Moving quickly to cut emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas produced by everything from livestock farming to fossil fuel extraction, could slow the rate of the Earth’s warming as much as 30 percent, new research has found.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, calculated that a full-scale push using existing technologies could cut methane emissions in half by 2030. Such reductions could have a crucial impact in the global effort to limit warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) compared to preindustrial levels — a central aim of the Paris climate accord.

In human terms, that could translate into fending off the most severe sea level rise, preventing more profound damage to animal habitats and ecosystems, and delaying other extreme climate impacts.

To date, we’ve accumulated some explanations to the voting public around the world. And lots of pledges. Starting with an effort in Congress, next week, to remove one of the roadblocks that was left in place by the creep who is confident he’s still in charge of the Republican Party.

Anyone looking forward to success with Congressional Republicans? I imagine few of them plan on being around in 2050. And most of them are traditionally beholden to short-term corporate boffins who couldn’t care less about political action that might harm their share price in the market.