Archive for March 10th, 2011

March 10, 2011

Head

wurzburger pilsner

Beer head is the frothy foam on top of beer after it is poured in a glass. It is produced by bubbles of carbon dioxide rising to the surface. The density and longevity of the head will be determined by the type of malt and adjunct from which the beer was fermented. In general, wheat tends to produce larger and longer lasting heads than barley.

The carbon dioxide may be produced naturally through the activity of brewer’s yeast, or artificially by dissolving carbon dioxide under pressure into the liquid. The beer head is created by the carbon dioxide produced as a byproduct of the metabolism of brewer’s yeast acting upon starches and sugars found in the wort.

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March 10, 2011

Nigirizushi

sushi

Nigirizushi [ni-geer-ee-zoo-shee] (‘hand-formed sushi’) is an oblong mound of sushi rice that the chef presses into a small rectangular box between the palms of the hands, usually with a bit of wasabi, and a topping draped over it (typically seafood). Certain toppings are bound to the rice with a thin strip of nori (seaweed), most commonly octopus (tako), freshwater eel (unagi), sea eel (anago), squid (ika), and sweet egg (tamago). When ordered separately, nigiri is generally served in pairs. A sushi set (a sampler dish) may contain only one piece of each topping.

Gunkanmaki (‘warship roll’) is a special type of nigirizushi: an oval, hand-formed clump of sushi rice that has a strip of nori wrapped around its perimeter to form a vessel that is filled with some soft, loose or fine-chopped ingredient that requires the confinement of nori such as roe, natto, oysters, sea urchin, corn with mayonnaise, and quail eggs. Temarizushi (‘ball sushi’) is a ball-shaped sushi made by pressing rice and fish into a ball-shaped form by hand using a plastic wrap.

March 10, 2011

Hopper Crystal

bismuth crystal

A hopper crystal is a form of crystal, defined by its ‘hoppered’ shape: the edges are fully developed, but the interior spaces are not filled in due to rapid growth. This results in what appears to be a hollowed out step lattice formation; the interior edges still show the crystal form characteristic to the specific mineral, and so appear to be a series of smaller and smaller stepped down miniature versions of the original crystal.

Hoppering occurs when electrical attraction is higher along the edges of the crystal, causing faster growth at edges than near face centers. This attraction draws the mineral molecules more strongly than the interior sections of the crystal, thus the edges develop more quickly. Hoppering is common in many minerals, including lab-grown bismuth, galena, quartz (called skeletal or fenster crystals), gold, calcite, halite (salt), and water (ice).

March 10, 2011

Jyllands-Posten

jyllands posten

The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy began after 12 editorial cartoons, most of which depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad, were published in the Danish newspaper ‘Jyllands-Posten’ in 2005. The newspaper announced that this publication was an attempt to contribute to the debate regarding criticism of Islam and self-censorship. Danish Muslim organizations responded by holding public protests. The cartoons were reprinted in newspapers in more than 50 other countries, expanding the controversy.

Critics of the cartoons described them as Islamophobic or racist, and argued that they are blasphemous to people of the Muslim faith, are intended to humiliate a Danish minority, or are a manifestation of ignorance about the history of Western imperialism. Supporters have said that the cartoons illustrated an important issue in a period of Islamic terrorism and that their publication is a legitimate exercise of the right of free speech, explicitly tied to the issue of self-censorship.

March 10, 2011

Otaku

dakimakura

Otaku is a Japanese term used to refer to people with obsessive interests, particularly anime (animation) and  manga (graphic novels). The term is derived from a Japanese word for another’s house or family. It appears to have been coined by the humorist and essayist Akio Nakamori in 1983. Common uses are anime otaku, manga otaku, pasokon otaku (personal computers enthusiasts), gēmu otaku (video game players), and wota otaku (extreme fans of idols, heavily promoted singing girls). There are also tetsudō otaku or denshamania (railfans) or gunji otaku (military geeks).

While these are the most common uses, the word can be applied to anything (music otaku, martial arts otaku, cooking otaku, etc.). Some of Japan’s otaku use the term to describe themselves and their friends semi-humorously, accepting their position as fans, and some even use the term proudly, attempting to reclaim it from its negative connotations. In general colloquial usage however, most Japanese would consider it undesirable to be described in a serious fashion as ‘otaku’; many even consider it to be an offensive term.

March 10, 2011

Takashi Murakami

hiropon

army of mushrooms

Takashi Murakami is a prolific contemporary Japanese artist who works in both fine arts media—such as painting—as well as digital and commercial media. He blurs the boundaries between high and low art by appropriating popular themes from mass media and pop culture, and turning them into thirty-foot sculptures, ‘Superflat’ paintings, or marketable commercial goods such as figurines or phone caddies.

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March 10, 2011

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

guggenheim

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is an art museum located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City, United States. It is the permanent home to a renowned collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art and also features special exhibitions throughout the year.

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, it is one of the 20th century’s most important architectural landmarks. It is located at the corners of 89th Street and Fifth Avenue (overlooking Central Park). It opened in October of 1959, ten years after the death of Solomon Guggenheim and six months after the death of Frank Lloyd Wright.

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March 10, 2011

Boss Hog

boss hog

Boss Hog is an American punk blues band including the husband and wife duo of Jon Spencer (guitar) and Cristina Martinez (vocals) along with Jens Jurgensen (bass), Hollis Queens (drums) and Mark Boyce (keyboard). Their name derives from a slang term amongst bikers for a desirable ‘boss’ motorcycle ‘hog.’

The band achieved some notoriety, not only due to their abrasive sound, but more to Martinez’s confrontational use of full nudity on the band’s debut live performance and record sleeves. Their releases were relatively sporadic, but comprised three full length albums, a mini-album, an EP and a number of singles in an 11 year history.  Jon Spencer’s other bands include Pussy Galore, of which Martinez became a peripheral member, and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion which existed in parallel to Boss Hog and now continues under the name Blues Explosion.

March 10, 2011

Giorgio Moroder

Moroder

Giorgio Moroder (b. 1940) is an Italian record producer, songwriter, and performer. His work with synthesizers during the 1970s and 1980s had a significant influence on New Wave, house, and electronic music in general. Particularly well known for his work with Donna Summer during the era of disco, Moroder is the founder of the former Musicland Studios in Munich, which was also used by Led Zeppelin, Queen, and Elton John. In addition to his work with Donna Summer, Moroder also produced a number of electronic disco hits and a score of songs for a variety of others including David Bowie, Irene Cara, and, Blondie.

In 1984, Moroder compiled a new restoration and edit of the famous silent film ‘Metropolis’ and provided a contemporary soundtrack to the film with pop hits from Pat Benatar, Adam Ant, Billy Squier, Loverboy, Bonnie Tyler, and Freddie Mercury. He also integrated the old-fashioned intertitles into the film as subtitles to improve continuity, and he played the film at a rate of 24 frames per second. Since the original speed was unknown this choice was controversial. Known as the ‘Moroder version,’ it sparked debate among film buffs, with outspoken critics and supporters of the film falling into equal camps.

March 10, 2011

The Fed

The Federal Reserve (sometimes called ‘The Fed‘) is a large central bank that loans money to other smaller banks. The presidentially appointed, Federal Reserve Board is a group of financial leaders who work for the Federal Reserve and decide how much interest to charge these banks for borrowing money. The Federal Reserve interest rate is decided by the Federal Reserve Board after studying the condition of the US Economy.

When the economy is growing too fast, the Federal Reserve makes borrowing more expensive by increasing the interest rate, which means people and companies spend less which discourages inflation. When economic growth slows, the interest rate is decreased so that borrowing will increase and there will be growth.

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March 10, 2011

Ah Beng

Muscle Beng

Ah Beng is a stereotype applied to a certain group of young Chinese men in Southeast Asia, particularly Singapore and Malaysia. The stereotypical view of an Ah Beng is a young Chinese man or teenager who lacks cultural refinement or indulges in criminal activity or is involved in brawls or arguments out of disagreements with other people. Ah Bengs are also sometimes associated with extensively-modified or ‘zhng-ed’ cars,  and are stereotypically seen as excessively flashy and show-offish. Ah Bengs are often stereotyped as trying to emulate Japanese street fashion.

In Malaysia, the term ‘Ah Beng’ usually refers to males who have unusual styles and tastes. And the term ‘lala-zai’ refers to males involved in stereotypical gangster activity or fashion such as the dyeing of hair. In Singapore, the term ‘Ah Beng’ is normally used describe gangster wannabes who cannot speak fluent English and have very low education. They commonly speak in Mandarin or Hokkien.

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March 10, 2011

The Dog in the Manger

dog

The story of The Dog in the Manger derives from an old Greek fable: There was a dog lying in a manger who did not eat the grain but who nevertheless prevented the horse from being able to eat anything either. The dog in the manger is a metaphor for those who spitefully prevent others from having something that they themselves have no use for.