Archive for March 23rd, 2011

March 23, 2011

Lottery of Birth

born rich

The lottery of birth is a philosophical argument that states: since no one chooses where they are born, they should not be held responsible for something that is beyond their control (e.g. being rich, being poor, etc.). The lottery of birth argument was sometimes used by philosophers such as John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. More modern day uses have been prompted by political theorists such as John Rawls, who explores the subject more in depth in his book ‘A Theory of Justice.’

March 23, 2011

Strange Loop

drawing hands

A strange loop arises when, by moving up or down through a hierarchical system, one finds oneself back where one started. Strange loops may involve self-reference and paradox.

The concept of a strange loop was proposed and extensively discussed by Douglas Hofstadter in ‘Gödel, Escher, Bach,’ and is further elaborated in Hofstadter’s book ‘I Am a Strange Loop,’ published in 2007. A tangled hierarchy is a hierarchical system in which a strange loop appears.

March 23, 2011

Tetra Pak

tetra brik

Tetra Pak is a multinational food processing and packaging company of Swedish origin. It was founded in 1951 in Lund, Sweden, by Ruben Rausing and Erik Åkerlund. Erik Wallenberg invented the original tetrahedral package in 1952, today known as ‘Tetra Classic.’ Ruben Rausing’s sons Hans and Gad Rausing ran Tetra Pak from 1954 until 1985, taking the company from a seven-person concern to one of Sweden’s largest corporations. At his death in 1983, Ruben Rausing was Sweden’s richest person.

Tetra Pak’s innovation is in the area of aseptic processing liquid food packaging which, when combined with ultra-high-temperature processing, allows liquid food to be packaged and stored under room temperature conditions for up to a year. In 1963 the company introduced ‘Tetra Brik,’ a rectangular cuboid carton. Later, it launched other formats such as ‘Tetra Wedge’ (wedge-shaped), ‘Tetra Prisma’ (round octagonal), and ‘Tetra Fino’ (pouch-shaped). Recent innovations have seen the introduction of laminated paper boxes for vegetables as an alternative to canned goods (‘Tetra Recart’).

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March 23, 2011

Conveyor Belt Sushi

yo sushi

Conveyor belt sushi

Conveyor belt sushi (kaiten-zushi) is the popular English translation for Japanese fast-food sushi sometimes called a ‘sushi-g0-round.’ In Australia, it is known as ‘sushi train’ In South Korea, conveyor belt sushi has become popular and is known as ‘revolving sushi.’

Plates with the sushi are placed on a rotating conveyor belt that winds through the restaurant and moves past every table and counter seat. Customers may place special orders, but most simply pick their selections from a steady stream of fresh sushi moving along the conveyor belt. The final bill is based on the number and type of plates of the consumed sushi.

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March 23, 2011

Dragon Skin

dragon skin

Dragon Skin a bulletproof vest made by Pinnacle Armor of California. Its characteristic two-inch-wide circular discs overlap like scale armor, creating a flexible vest that allows a good range of motion and can allegedly absorb a high number of hits compared with other military body armor.

The discs are composed of silicon carbide ceramic matrices and laminates, much like the larger ceramic plates in other types of bullet resistant vests. This armor has been known to withstand grenade blasts, and up to 40 rounds of ammo.

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March 23, 2011

Proximity Fuze

vt fuze

A proximity fuze is designed to detonate an explosive device automatically when the distance to target becomes smaller than a predetermined value or when the target passes through a given plane. A shell with a standard ‘contact fuze’ explodes upon impact, and a ‘time fuze’ after a specified number of seconds. A ‘proximity fuze,’ however uses a radio detection system, and explodes when within a certain distance from a target.

One of the first practical proximity fuzes was codenamed the ‘VT fuze,’ an acronym of ‘Variable Time fuze,’ as deliberate camouflage for its operating principle. The VT fuze concept in the context of artillery shells originated in the UK with British researchers (particularly Sir Samuel Curran) and was developed under the direction of physicist Merle A. Tuve at The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. It is considered one of the most important technological innovations of World War II.

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March 23, 2011

Schienenzeppelin

Schienenzeppelin

The Schienenzeppelin (‘rail zeppelin’) was an experimental railcar which resembles a zeppelin airship. It was designed and developed by the German aircraft engineer Franz Kruckenberg in 1929. Propulsion was by means of a propeller located at the rear, it accelerated the railcar to 230 km/h (140 mph) setting the land speed record for a petrol powered rail vehicles. Only a single example was ever built, which due to safety concerns remained out of service and was finally dismantled in 1939.

Anticipating the design of the Schienenzeppelin, the earlier Aerowagon, an experimental Russian high-speed railcar, was also equipped with an aircraft engine and a propeller. The chassis of Schienenzeppelin was designed aerodynamically having some resemblance to the era’s popular Zeppelin airships and it was built of aluminum in aircraft style to reduce weight. The interior of the railcar was spartan and designed in Bauhaus-style.

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March 23, 2011

Bocuse d’Or

bocuse dor

The Bocuse d’Or [bo-kyewz dor] is a biennial world chef championship. Named for the chef Paul Bocuse, the event takes place during two days near the end of January in Lyon, France, and is frequently referred to as the culinary equivalent of the Olympic Games. The initial competition took place in 1987.

The audience atmosphere of the Bocuse d’Or evolved in 1997 when the support for the Mexican candidate included a mariachi band, foghorns, cowbells, cheering and yelling from the stands, marking the beginning of a tradition of noisy spectator presence. Originally the reigning champion nation was not permitted to participate in the following contest, but that rule was removed after the 1999 event when France was competing and did not win gold for the first time.

March 23, 2011

Auguste Escoffier

auguste escoffier

Auguste Escoffier [es-kaw-fyey] (1846 – 1935) was a French chef, restaurateur and culinary writer who popularized and updated traditional French cooking methods. He is a legendary figure among chefs and gourmands, and was one of the most important leaders in the development of modern French cuisine.

Much of Escoffier’s technique was based on that of Antoine Carême, one of the codifiers of French haute cuisine, but Escoffier’s achievement was to simplify and modernize Carême’s elaborate and ornate style. Referred to by the French press as ‘roi des cuisiniers et cuisinier des rois’ (‘king of chefs and chef of kings’ —though this had also been previously said of Carême), Escoffier was France’s pre-eminent chef in the early part of the 20th century. 

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March 23, 2011

Antonin Carême

careme pastry designs

Antonin Carême [kah-rehm] (1784 – 1833), known as the ‘King of Chefs, and the Chef of Kings’ was an early practitioner and exponent of the elaborate style of cooking known as haute cuisine, the ‘high art’ of French cooking: a grandiose style of cookery favored by both international royalty and by the newly rich of Paris. Carême is often considered as one of the first, internationally renowned celebrity chefs.

He is remembered as the founder of the haute cuisine, and credited with creating the standard chef’s hat, the toque. He designed new sauces and dishes, and published a classification of all sauces into groups, based on four mother sauces. He is also frequently credited with replacing the practice of service à la française (serving all dishes at once) with service à la russe (serving each dish in the order printed on the menu).

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March 23, 2011

Nouvelle Cuisine

concorde

Nouvelle cuisine (‘new cuisine’) is an approach to cooking and food presentation used in French cuisine. By contrast with ‘cuisine classique,’ an older form of French ‘haute cuisine,’ nouvelle cuisine is characterized by lighter, more delicate dishes and an increased emphasis on presentation.

The modern usage can be attributed to author Henri Gault, who used it to describe the cooking of Paul Bocuse and Fernand Point. Bocuse claims that Gault first used the term to describe food prepared for the maiden flight of the Concorde airliner in 1969.

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