abraham lincoln abraham maslow academic papers africa aging aid alexander the great amazon america android os apple architecture aristotle art art institute chicago astronomy astrophysics aubrey de grey beck beer berlin bernacke bicycle BIG bill murray biophilia birds blogs bob dylan books bourdain brewing brian wansink buckminster fuller bukowski cameras cancer carl jung carl sagan cemetary change charter city chicago china christmas church civil war climate change cologne construction coop himmelblau copenhagen cornell west cps craigslist crime crown hall cyanotype cyrus dalai lama darkroom data dbHMS death design build dessau detail Diet dogs dome dongtan douglas macarthur drake equaation dresden dubai ebay eco economics economy education einstein emerson emily dickinson energy experiments facebook farming finance finland florida food france frank lloyd wright frei otto freud frum funny furniture games gay rights gdp george w bush george washington germany ghandi glenn murcutt goals good google government graphic design guns h.g. wells h.l. mencken hagakure halloween health health care henri cartier bresson herzog and demeuron honey housing human trafficking humanitarian efforts hydroponics ideas iit indexed india industrial design industrial work internet investments japan jaqueline kennedy jim cramer john maynard keynes john ronan john stewart journalism kickstarter kings of leon kittens krugman kurt vonnegut kurzweil lao tzu law le corbusier ledoux leon battista alberti links LSH madoff malcolm gladwell marijuana marriage masdar city math mead medicine microsoft mies van der rohe military milton friedman mlk money movies munich murphy/jahn music nasa nervi neutra new york nickel nietzsche nobel prize norman foster nsa obama occupy open source paintball palladium print paris parking party passive house paul mccartney persia philip roth philosophy photography picturequote pirate bay pirating plants poetry poker politics portfolio potsdam predictions prejudice presidents process photos prostitution psychology public housing q and a quotes rammed earth randy pausch reading reddit regan religion rendering renewables renzo piano restaurants revolution richard meier richard rogers robert frank rome rubik's cube rule of 72 rumi san francisco sartre sauerbruch hutton saule sidrys schinkel school science screen printing seattle sesame street seth roberts sketch social media soviet sparta spider spinoza sports stanley kubrick stanley milgram statistics steinbeck sudhir venkatesh suicide sustainable design switzerland taxes technology ted teddy roosevelt tension terracotta tesla thanatopsis the onion thomas jefferson thoreau time lapse tommy douglas transportation travel truman tumblr unemployment urban design van gogh venezuela vicuna video video games wall street war werner sobek wood woodshop woodworking ww1 ww2

26 October 2011

A Real Water World

About a month ago I wrote about the possible cancelling of the James Webb Space Telescope program. I see such an action as a symbolic gesture of our countries larger unwillingness to invest in science and infrastructure. On a more literal level this is why you need the JWST.

09 October 2011


Just two quick examples of extremely high quality work done by hand that caught my attention.

This guy makes all mahogany bicycles by hand. If you search around his site you can see the plys before they're worked and finished (hat tip: Steve U.)

Solid marble, carved by hand, 2.5 tons... original article here (hat tip Dan M.).

06 October 2011

Making Mead - Batch #1

I'm jumping the gun a bit here since I haven't posted photos of how Vija and I harvested honey from our beehive, but none the less.

About two weeks ago I picked up a book called The Complete Meadmaker along with some additional brew equipment since my friend Chris had given me some as a gift. Just to clarify, mead is basically honey wine. It was the preferred drink of the vikings and is thought to be one of if not the oldest fermented beverage on earth. People have been making it for at least 9,000 years.

I decided on two 1-gallon batches of traditional sweet mead. I opted for a method that involves no heating. It can be risky in that wild yeast could take over the fermentation, but 80% of brewing beer/mead is sterilizing everything, so it shouldn't be a problem.

The ingredients are:
3 or 2.2 pounds of honey - in this case south side of Chicago unpasteurized wildflower
1/2 pouch of Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast
1/2 gram of Wyeast yeast nutrient
Filtered water to fill up the rest of the 1 gallon carboy

The only equipment needed was a few 1 gallon glass carboys; a hydrometer; a hydrometer beaker; some airlocks and rubber stoppers, and eventually I'll need a siphon hose; capper/corker; caps/corks; etc.

Obviously I'm running it as a bit of an experiment. The IV is the amount of honey added. One batch got 3 pounds of honey while the other got 2.2 pounds. The idea is that, according to the book, every 0.2 lbs. honey/gal of must (that's the honey water mixture that ferments into mean) you get roughly 1% ABV (alcohol by volume).

The water honey mix.

Mixing and aeration is supposedly key to the initial steps of fermentation.

A hydrometer tells you how dense your must is. 1.000 is water. If something has a specific gravity (SG) of 1.11 as in this case then it is 11% heavier than water. Water being 8.33 lbs/gallon that makes this about 9.25 lbs/gallon. When it's done fermenting it should have a SG reading of around 1.0 again. They should finish in the 10-15% ABV range; I'm not very experienced so we'll see. Sweet meads tend to be less alcoholic

This is the fermenting must two weeks in. The one on the left is the 3 lbs and the right is the 2.2 lbs. The fermentation took about 48 hours to really pick up and the airlocks on top have been busy ever since giving off CO2.