Hi everyone, Toni here with a special (Okay, so, really I forgot to post this on Wednesday, but shhhh, don't tell anyone.) Friday edition of Stuff We Like.
I know Freddy has posted previously about her love of Garret's popcorn, and really and can't say I blame her, Garret's is awesome. Recently I've found some a little closer to home. Really, you can't blame me, travelling from Darwin, Australia all the way to Chicago, America, for popcorn can get a little expensive.
We have a lot of markets that take place around Darwin during the week, and one of the stalls this year is Popcorn. I found out today at work, through a friend, that the owner/operator of this stall sold everything to open it. Which I think is just incredible.
The popcorn is cooked in a massive metal tub and then tipped onto a grate. It's then cooled, bagged and sold direct to the public. I can highly recommend the Caramel and the Sweet & Salty.
You can buy it in a couple of different sized tubs to snack on then and there or in bags to take home. Why go for the small bag when you can get the big one!
Scott's in the house with this week's SWL - this one sort of fell into his lap...
Once a month, the giant Stuff We Like hand turns around and points to me, and I have to decide which of the many things I like is the one to get shared this time around.
This week, I had NO IDEA what to write about. I've done Jelly Bellies, my distant relative Elizabeth Coatsworth, Robotech, and the Italian language. What's left?
Then, like a star from heaven, one of my favorite gay singers appeared in my inbox with a new album.
I first ran across Jay Brannan when I saw a video for his song "Your Body's a Temple" on VH1. Remember when music video channels used to play music videos? I fell in love with the sensuality of it, and tracked down the album (yeah, this was pre-Shazam too). I got his album, and it blew me away. Especially "Housewife":
Two bodies pressed together
Two boys are falling hard
The smell of sweat and leather
A kinky greeting card
Crazy about each other
We both got fucked up pasts
But when we are together
We have a fucking blast
I want to be a housewife
What's so wrong with that
I want to be a housewife, yeah
And that's just where I'm at
Jay is unapologetically gay, and his songs reflect that. Even when they are ugly, they are beautiful.
And so we come to his new album, New York, New York. And no, it's not a bunch of show tunes.
This new compilation of five songs that came out Monday continues his amazing run of songs. In particular, Desert Roses pulled me in with its rich lyrics and haunting melody, one of Brannan's specialties.
Imperfect Lover also got me. What I love about Jay, well, among many other things, is that he readily admits he's flawed. It's part of what makes him such an amazing artist.
In the first track of the new album, he says "I've said all that I have to say, and I believe in what I done... and I'm gonna burn this damn guitar."
Don't you dare, Jay. We need singer songwriters like you, and I hope to hear much more from you in the future.
You can get the CD here:
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jaybrannan6 (Jay gets the most money from this one)
or from iTunes:
Angel's back with this week's SWL - and she'll have to explain this one...
Raccoons are cool critters. I know a lot of people think of them as garbage divers and dangerous, but that's only in places where humans have stolen their native environments. The raccoon is one of those astoundingly adaptive animals and yeah, if you're going to take his home, he's going to find a way to live off of you. Fair's fair.
These guys are uniquely North American, probably one of the reasons I love them, and they've been around since woolly mammoths, at least. While they're closely related to weasels and even more closely related to bears, they get their very own genus, Procyon. 'Cause they're cool like that. They have clever, hypersensitive paws, good for getting crayfish out of creeks or eggs out of nests, and there have been studies done where raccoons have used their clever paws to open locks.
We had an old raccoon living in our backyard for many years. We'd only see him in the early morning or evening, of course. During the day, he slept behind the wood pile in a little cavern he'd made for himself out of sticks. But he delighted in tormenting the neighbor's dogs and would even use their roof as his bathroom, just to make the dogs nuts.
Anyway...why raccoons suddenly? I do like them. They're super cool. But there will be one in an upcoming story too - so watch for that in the next Brandywine omnibus. ;)
.. Welcome, everyone, to another week of Stuff We Like. It's about a general topic of when old stuff gets new life so this week is a little haphazard, but coming from me (Freddy) what do we expect?
While scrolling for ideas this week I came across the article: The Toughest Spaceship We Ever Built (http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160705-the-toughest-spaceship-weve-ever-built). I loved this article for many different reasons.
1. Hello, Science - geek time
2. Visiting Other Planets - Venus you sassy planet, you
and the best part, needing something old to make it happen,
3. The Stirling Engine - invented around 1816, may be what we need to make a Lander happen
We have some of the most advanced technology of our time, but it may take 200 year old technology to make the study of Venus's surface possible. How awesome is that?
The problem scientists have been dealing with is how hot the surface of Venus gets (up to 860 F) and the toxic atmosphere (sulfuric acid anyone?). They need a Lander that can survive these and the atmospheric pressure. So the problem is we have the technology to get there but not the tech (or so we thought) to stay there and make some comprehensive studies.
The precious record of something surviving on Venus's surface is 127 minutes - yup, you read that right. Two hours and seven minutes from a little Soviet Union Lander. That's not nearly enough time to make a comprehensive study of a planet where lead and zinc are liquids as their normal state. The problem becomes the tech breaks down so quickly because of the hostile environment.
That's where the Stirling Engine comes into play. They have a "cold" chamber where the liquid is compressed by a piston and moved to a second chamber where it is heated and expends. This moves a second piston that is linked to the first and the liquid is drawn back to the first chamber where the temperature of the liquid drops again. The cycle happens continuously as long as their is heat to keep it going.
And this technology could be NASA's answer to keeping the electronics cool while providing them with electricity to run on Venus's surface. They have already funded some initial testing to see if it will work.
Pretty fucking cool, right?
What I love about this most is that "old, out-dated" tech may be the key to helping the latest innovations to work. It's a topic that often comes up if you study history - "Rediscovered technology." Just because something is old doesn't mean it stops being useful. Sometimes we're so focused on newer and better we don't stop to think if what we're replacing it with is necessarily better. Sometimes we already had it right and were too focused on making it easier, breaking stuff in the process.
Which is why I love it when people figure out sometimes something old makes our newest endeavors easier. This certainly doesn't apply to all old tech or medical or scientific knowledge, but knowing what was there can certainly help make the future more interesting. You never know when you might need to pull from that knowledge again.