A Cold Brew

My first experiment with cold brewing coffee is complete.  And by complete I mean I drank the whole thing immediately. My research led me to believe this giant Mason jar was going to last several days. Don’t believe everything you read online.

I used Eight O’Clock Coffee. I buy two kinds of coffee – locally roasted, fair-trade, certified-organic, shade-grown co-op beans, and whatever crap is on sale at Food Lion. When I decided to try cold brewing I had Eight O’Clock on hand.

The method is simple – put 1 cup of ground coffee and 2 cups of water in a jar, wait, filter, cut with water, drink.

I used a coarse grind because I read online that would give the best results. I also read you should use the absolute finest grind possible. And that the grind really doesn’t matter much.

This is COLD brewing – so I did it COLD. A lot of blogs say to set it on the counter over-night, and then to refrigerate the finished product. I did the whole thing in the fridge.

I also read that agitation isn’t a big factor – this is a set-it-and-forget-it type thing. I couldn’t forget it. I checked on it about 30 times. Every time I opened the refrigerator I turned the bottle upside-down or swirled it around. I really wanted to be a part of the process.

After about 30 hours I ran it through the French press, which got maybe 95% of the grinds out. Then I ran it through one of those gold coffee filter baskets, then through paper coffee filters twice.

The first thing I did was smell it. There’s clearly something different here. Fresh brewed coffee smells good. Freshly ground coffee beans smell AMAZING. This smells like the burr grinder. I’m excited.

Now for the real test. This is Eight O’Clock Coffee? There’s no bite. No bitter edge. And I swear I taste chocolate. This. Changes. Everything.

Jar #2 is in the refrigerator now. I changed one thing – instead of water I used crushed ice.

Fact or Fiction?

Here are three headlines. Which story is fake?

Italian court convicts 6 seismologists of manslaughter for failing to predict earthquake

Indiana town stops safe-sex education in nursing home citing abstinence-only education policy

Parents in southern California suing school system to stop yoga classes

Click here and here to see the real stories. The other one is an episode of Parks and Rec.

Phones – Now Smart!

Before there were smartphones and before there were feature phones there were just phones. They were simple, and they worked. There were flip phones, which had a certain appeal, and there were candy-bars, which I preferred.

To call my wife I would mash the 2 key for a second to activate the speed dial. (1 was reserved and not available for speed dials.) A few seconds later the phone started ringing.

Now to call my wife I simply:

  • Hit the Home button
  • Slide to Unlock (patented!)
  • Punch in a code
  • Press Home again
  • Press Phone
  • Press Favorites
  • Select Chrissy


Rules Geeks Know

If you spend enough time talking to geeks you’re going to run into these “laws”. Geeks will use them and expect you to know what they mean. They may assume you’re dumb if you don’t. You don’t have to memorize them but it will help to at least be familiar.

All credit to Wikipedia for the descriptions.

  • Moore’s law – An empirical observation stating that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every 24 months. Outlined in 1965 by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel.
  • Godwin’s law – An adage in Internet culture that states, “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” Coined by Mike Godwin in 1990.
  • Dunbar’s number – A theoretical cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. No precise value has been proposed for Dunbar’s number, but a commonly cited approximation is 150. First proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar.
  • Clarke’s three laws – Formulated by Arthur C. Clarke. Several corollaries to these laws have also been proposed.
    • First law: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
    • Second law: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
    • Third law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
  • Occam’s razor – States that explanations should never multiply causes without necessity. (“Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.”) When two explanations are offered for a phenomenon, the simplest full explanation is preferable. Named after William of Ockham (ca.1285–1349).
  • Hanlon’s razor – A corollary of Finagle’s law, and a play on Occam’s razor, normally taking the form, “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.” As with Finagle, possibly not strictly eponymous. Alternatively, “Do not invoke conspiracy as explanation when ignorance and incompetence will suffice, as conspiracy implies intelligence.”
  • Benford’s Law –  In lists of numbers from many (but not all) real-life sources of data, the leading digit is distributed in a specific, non-uniform way. According to this law, the first digit is 1 about 30% of the time, and larger digits occur as the leading digit with lower and lower frequency, to the point where 9 as a first digit occurs less than 5% of the time.
  • Hawthorne effect – A form of reactivity whereby subjects improve an aspect of their behavior being experimentally measured simply in response to the fact that they are being studied. Named after Hawthorne Works.
  • Heisenberg’s Uncertainty principle – States that one cannot measure values (with arbitrary precision) of certain conjugate quantities, which are pairs of observables of a single elementary particle. The most familiar of these pairs is position and momentum.
  • Bradford’s law – a pattern described by Samuel C. Bradford in 1934 that estimates the exponentially diminishing returns of extending a library search.
  • Bremermann’s limit – Named after Hans-Joachim Bremermann, is the maximum computational speed of a self-contained system in the material universe.
  • Brooks’ law – “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.” Named after Fred Brooks, author of the well known book on project management The Mythical Man-Month.
  • Dilbert principle – Coined by Scott Adams as a variation of the Peter Principle of employee advancement. Named after Adams’ Dilbert comic strip, it proposes that “the most ineffective workers are systematically moved to the place where they can do the least damage: management.”
  • Niven’s laws: “If the universe of discourse permits the possibility of time travel and of changing the past, then no time machine will be invented in that universe.”
  • The Three Laws of Robotics (often shortened to The Three Laws or Three Laws) are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov and later added to. The rules are introduced in his 1942 short story “Runaround“, although they were foreshadowed in a few earlier stories. The Three Laws are:
    • First Law: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    • Second Law: A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    • Third Law: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
  • Schneier’s law – “Any person can invent a security system so clever that she or he can’t think of how to break it.”

The first draft of this post had about twice as many laws but I pared it down a little. This is a good starting point. Other than Heisenberg I left most of the physics out. My intention here was to focus on computer sciences, math, and science fiction.

Extra Credit: Newton’s laws of motionArchimedes’ principleAvogadro’s lawBernoulli’s principle (which I also mention in my post “Questions, Not Answers Or The Physics of Flight“), Coulomb’s law, Einstein’s General and Special theories of relativity, Maxwell’s Equations (good luck), Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, and the Laws of Thermodynamics.