12 bad reasons for rejecting scientific studies

      Recently I’ve seen a lot of anti-vaccine memes and with the recent hooplah about that family who tried to ‘cure’ their son with maple syrup of all things, I figure you should all read these wise words. This also rolls in with the ‘Fat Acceptance’ crowd. I agree that human beings come in many different body types and colors, but saying someone obese is ‘Beautiful’ is not healthy. It’s not good. Saying someone isn’t beautiful because of a skin color is different – you can’t help your skin color – but what you can do is NOT shove that second hamburger into your mouth. The Anti-vaxxers and HAES movement need to be knocked down a notch because they are contributing to the spread of misinformation and potentially threatening diseases. 

 

Also, thelogicofscience.com has some pretty cool stuff. You should check it out!

 

A few days ago, I posted what I thought was a fairly innocuous image (right) onto my blog’s Facebook page. I was, however, sadly mistaken. My page was quickly flooded with comments by people …

Source: 12 bad reasons for rejecting scientific studies

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The Science of Syrup part 2

The syrup is finished and I have a ton of photos to share! At this point the hardest part of making the syrup is keeping an eye on it and having some patience while it boils. It’s very straightforward. Just, whatever you do, do not do this inside unless you have a fire extinguisher on hand at all times and do not over boil it. You might think about keeping a first aid kit nearby, because if you get boiling sap on any part of your body I can promise that it will hurt.

As I’ve stated before, you probably should take a class before trying to make maple syrup by yourself. It’s also funner and safer if you have someone helping you along the way, so if you do accidentally catch something (or someone) on fire, you’ll have help on hand.

 

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Very full sap bags, these can be very hard to pour out without making a big, sticky mess.

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Dad pouring a portion of the syrup into a boiling pan

Sap_In_bucket_looks_like_water

The spare syrup will be boiled later or used in desserts or drinks

Sap_On_Barebcue_not_boiling_yet

Starting the boil process.

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Sap_boiling_in_pan

Notice the change in coloration? It’s turning into syrup.

 

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Filtering the syrup before boiling it further.

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It’s a nice, amber color at this point but it could be darker.

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Boiling it down further with a hotplate on the porch. Classy.

Syrup_on_stove

This is where we had to watch the syrup at all times. The last stage we had to do indoors because it rained. You can see how thick the syrup is at this point and how dark it’s gotten.

 

Brief intermission with Midterm Exams

 

 

We just finished Midterm exam week at my school, so I’m going to apologize for being late with the blog posts – more specifically the Maple Syrup ones. Midterms have been a bear, but my grades are good.

More recently still though, I finished the maple syrup. While I may not be able to get all the video  processed today ( .mov files aren’t supported by wordpress apparently) I’ll try and get the photos uploaded soon.  “Soon” being sometime between now and whenever I get to it.

I’ve also been working on a novel called’Lavender’ and so far have about 32,000 words done. I haven’t been too lazy.

 

The Science of Syrup: Part One

When you think of maple syrup, what comes to mind? Thick, gooey, amber liquid cascading over fluffy pancakes on a Sunday morning? An icy, fun treat in the winter? A refreshing drink in the summer? I’m guessing you weren’t expecting those last two. It’s true though, maple syrup is incredibly versatile and delicious.

beautiful pancakes

Weirdest things to google…. “Beautiful Pictures of Pancakes”. Picture copyright Local.com

 

 

Most anyone knows that maple syrup comes from the sugar maple tree. What most people don’t know is that it can take up to fifty gallons of plain sap to make one gallon of pure syrup. Yep. That’s a lot of sap. My next post will give you a demonstration on harvesting and making maple syrup from start to finish (I’m video editing right now) so today I’ll go over the science behind making this delicious treat and the history behind it.

Maple syrup has been made and cultivated for a very long time, originating with northern native American and native Canadian tribes who would drink the sap from the sugar maple tree. They learned that by heating the sap over a fire, they could evaporate some of the water and liquid in the sap and BOOM; maple syrup was born. No one is exactly sure how these people discovered that the sap of the sugar maple was sweet, but one story account told to me at a maple syrup meet up was that a brave was testing a bow and shot into a sugar maple tree. The arrow stuck into the tree deeply and the brave was unable to retrieve it. He came back the next day with a knife, intending to cut the arrow out, but found that sap from the tree had dripped down the arrow into a pool around the tree’s base. After pulling out the arrow, the brave put his now sap-covered hand up to his mouth and discovered that the sap was delicious. While I highly doubt this is what really went down, it makes for a fun story.

Maplesyrupeh

Maple syrup has to be made at a certain time of year, when the sap in the roots of winter-dormant maple trees starts to rise back up into the leaves for spring. Typically this time is around late February to early March each year. This is the time when the snow melts and the temperatures begin to rise in the daytime. Ours came in May one year. That wasn’t fun. This is the optimal time to being collecting sap.

The evaporation process of making Maple syrup is done in many ways. You could use the boiling method (the one I’ll be demonstrating later and the most common one), air evaporation (rarely used commercially but can be the subject of science experiments) or freezing. The latter two are rarely ever used for making maple syrup for consumption, but are frequently witnessed by people going to check on the open taps of maple syrup collecting buckets, where the water freezes in syrup and leaves behind a slightly thicker sap. Dry, cold air is the usual culprit of air evaporation.

The sap itself doesn’t travel through the tree like water through a pipe, instead, it flows through the sapwood of the tree. The sapwood sits just above the heartwood and under the bark. When you’re pounding in a spigot, just beyond this layer is the optimal place for it. If you pound a spigot too deep into the heartwood or if the tree is too small to sap from, you can kill the tree.

Homemade maple syrup tastes nothing like the store bought variety. This is mostly because the store bought kind are typically some sort of corn syrup sweetened and darkened to look like maple syrup. These are false imitations of syrup that should be burned and destroyed in the sake of all that tastes good in this world.

blasphemy

A bottle of disappointment

Now that you have a good idea on the history and science behind making maple syrup, I’ll show you how to go about making it yourself (if you live in the right environment and have a tree handy) and possibly making treats with it in later posts then.

Note: I highly advise taking a class on making maple syrup first, as it is very easy to start a fire or get into trouble while making it. You don’t need any special permit or license (unless you’re trying to sell the maple syrup you make) but a healthy dose of common sense can go a long way.

 

 

New “Angry Birds Movie” trailer and thoughts

 

Rovio recently released a brand new international trailer for the “Angry Birds” movie that will be flying into theaters this May.

Something that was bothering me up until now was that there was something vaguely familiar about the movie style. Goofy, occasionally gross humor? Check. An outcast? Check. Spazzed out sidekick? Check. Protagonist whose considered ugly by his peers? Check.

This movie is starting to remind me of Shrek.

Either way, the trailer looks awesome and the little girl with the dinosaur is pretty cool. Also, Mighty Eagle looks awesome.