Interesting Articles: April 17-23 2005

* An Odd Art Exhibit on Yugos
* On Fat and Health (New York Times)
* Off Broadway Ushers Form a Zealous Subculture (New York Times)
* Navigating Celestial Currents (Science News)
* Memory Plastics Controlled by Light (M.I.T. News)
* Encouraging Creativity (Fast Company)

I also did a lot of research this week on the storing opened bottles of wine. There are piles of conflicting opinions on this but the closest thing to an agreement is expressed by the above article.

Interesting Articles: April 10-16 2005

* Funky Alarm Clock Post Gazette (originally from Associated Press)
* CalTech's Basement-Living Living Legend (starts of slow, but ends up pretty funny)
* Recycling Graves (CBC News)
* Study Cautions Runners to Limit Their Water Intake (New York Times)
* An Inexperienced Hacker
* Bay Area Ultimate (SF Chroncile)

Arborio Rice in Rice Cooker Adventures

Arborio rice is the rice one typically uses to make risotto. It's short-grained and exudes a creamy texture when cooked. (The creamy exudate can take a lot of flavor from the broth in which it is cooked.) As a rice used in risotto, it's typically simmered *uncovered* for a long period of time during which liquid is periodically added.

As an experiment, I decided to try cooking rice the traditional method (in my rice cooker): adding all the liquid at once and cooking it covered. I've never seen any package of arborio rice give directions on how to do this; they all only give directions on the traditional risotto-like method of cooking.

The result of the experiment was very gooey rice that was pretty flavorless. The gooeyness was a bit disturbing and not appetizing. The gooey exudate partially solidified near the edges of the pot, making a translucent film that coated part of the rice. That part was definitely no good.

There was a good result of this experiment however! I had a bit of leftover rice which I refrigerated and reheated later. It reheated very well, tasting almost like chinese sticky white rice right out of the oven.

Interesting Articles: April 3-9 2005

Some articles I found interesting this week:
* Your Car: Politics on Wheels (New York Times)
* Krugman's article about politics and academics (New York Times)
* Top 100 Restaurant Reviews 2005 (SF Chronicle)
* Bay Area Pizza Reviews (SF Chronicle)
* The Man Date (New York Times)

Inktomi's Wild Ride

Earlier this week I went to a talk by Eric Brewer, a professor here at Berkeley and a cofounder of Inktomi. He gave a really interesting talk about incubating a startup at a university, spinning it off, (most interestingly) attempting to lead it through the tech bubble and subsequent crash, and finally selling it off (to Yahoo).

He gave a supposedly very similar talk "Inktomi's Wild Ride: A Personal View of the Internet Bubble" at the Computer History Museum. They have the video online.

Robert Reich: How Unequal Can America Get Before We Snap?

Last night I saw Robert Reich speak on How Unequal Can America Get Before We Snap?. He's an excellent speaker: interesting, humorous, relaxed, and intelligent; he also makes good use of examples and visual illustrations. I'd encourage everyone to watch this video. (It's webcast online at the link above.) It's a thoughtful discussion of the difference between poverty and inequality, and the causes and consequences of rising inequality.

Personally, I'd skip watching the Q&A session. While q&a sessions for many speakers can be the most interesting part of the talk, this q&a was relatively poor. This was not Reich's fault but rather a number of Berkeley loons asking questions either entirely unconnected to the talk, loaded with political bias, or exceeding specific to California (or some combination of all three).

Good News: Fortune Cookies

I received one fortune cookie today with two messages in it.

The first said, "Good news will come to you from far away."

The second said, "You are going to have some new clothes."

I never knew fortunes to come true that fast: Good news via a fortune cookie from China two seconds after reading the fortune telling me such good news was coming.