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Comment Cooking for Geeks (Score 1) 206

There's an interesting interview with a wine writer named Jim Clarke in the book Cooking For Geeks.

This guy says the four main variables in wine pairings are :

  • - acidity
  • - sweetness
  • - alcohol level
  • - astringency or tannins (for red wine)

And I think it's refreshing, and also very sensible to think about wine in such "basic" terms. Even if you can detect all kinds of interesting flavours in wine, like world-class sommeliers do, I think those four variables are definitely going to influence your experience a lot more than anything else about the wine. Who cares if it has a hint of blueberry muffin or ripe apricot ? If it's too sweet or too acidic for your dish, you won't appreciate it as much.

Wouldn't it be nice if, in addition to alcoholic content, the labels on wine bottles clearly displayed the amount of sweetness, acidity, and astringency ? I'm talking about real numbers with some kind of scale. For instance, we already label bottles of vinegar with their acidity level, why not do the same for wine ? On bottles of Aszú Tokaji wine from Hungary, there's a number of puttonyos that range from 3 to 6, which give you a good idea of how sweet the wine is. I don't know of any other wine that gives you that kind of information on its label.

For me, the usual experience of buying a wine is looking at the prices, and reading the vague descriptions and suggested pairings on the labels.

Comment A musical way out (Score 1) 219

One trick that works reasonably well for me when I want to get rid of a song stuck in my head is to stop on a random note of the song and just hold it in my mind, stretch it out as long as I need to, while lowering the sound, like the band / orchestra is finishing the song on a long fermata.

Sometimes if I still feel the song is going to start looping in my head again, I add pompous embellishments, and a string of perfect cadences to really bring the song to an end. The more ridiculous it sounds, the better it works. It doesn't matter if it's not the real end of the song, it helps my brain move on to other things because it feels like the song is really done.

Comment Re:Looking around me... (Score 1) 189

Runner's high or not, exercise *always* leaves you in worse shape than before. Proof : do your exercise. If you just *think* you're feeling great after it, just try doing it again...

The effects of exercise can only be felt after a period of rest. Your body will naturally react to the exertion it went through by strengthening itself, just to be prepared. Imagine being a primitive man 70,000 years ago in Africa. If you succeeded in outrunning a predator, you'd want your muscles to not only heal themselves, but become stronger in case you're attacked again.

That's why I don't go bouldering every day : 3 times a week is plenty enough for steady improvement and it gives me lots of resting time to build my muscles back, and then some.

A nice illustration : http://fellrnr.com/wiki/Supercompensation

Comment Excuse me, but... so what? (Score 1, Insightful) 69

You can bypass the lockscreen on any phone that has CM installed. Just hook it up to a PC with a USB cable, up pops the "Turn on USB storage" screen, hit Home, bam, you're in.

I don't use any lockscreen gesture or password, because I find them a PITA, and I want my gf to be able to use it without hassles. On the other hand, I try to treat my phone as I treat my wallet. I look around me when I pull it out of my pocket. I wait until the subway doors are closed. Etc.

Comment Re:Might be something (Score 1) 94

And as I replied to you in that other part of the thread, I have read Musicophilia. I wasn't saying that listening to music, or appreciating music, or even responding to music is a "procedural memory" thing. I certainly don't deny what the book says.

I was only responding to a fellow /.er and talking about playing music. Actually, I should be more precise : procedural memory is only about executing the tune. You play the first couple of notes and "the fingers" (your brain, really) run the rest of the procedure. But to really "play" music, you need to also pay attention to what is unfolding, and control your expression, else you just sound like a machine. That's where all the "musical brain structures" that you're talking about come into play.

But really, the execution of a piece of music, at its most basic level, that is, hitting the correct notes in sequence and rhythm, is no more complex than mastering a fast-paced video game, or touch typing. Then you add in emotion, and it really becomes playing music.

Comment Re:Might be something (Score 4, Interesting) 94

It's not "muscle memory", it's procedural memory, and it really comes from the brain! There's nothing magical about playing your tune and thinking of something else, without being conscious of what your fingers do. We all do lots of things without being conscious of every minute movement required.

Like walking to work. You don't have to vividly recall the way, you don't need to pay a constant, conscious attention to your surroundings. You just think about something else, and your feet and eyes (or walking stick if you're blind) relay the necessary information to your reptilian brain to run the procedure. You step out of your home and before you realize it, you're at your desk. Just as your fingers "somehow find the right notes", your legs somehow transport you to work.

Procedural memory is much more robust than "normal" memory. That's why Alzheimer's patients still know how to walk, take a shower, wipe their ass, do a triple jump, or dance the lambada. There's nothing surprising about them being able to play music, except for non-musicians or people who have tried learning an instrument, and who haven't got to the stage where what is learnt is pushed back in procedural memory.

Notice how sometimes, you make a mistake in your tune, and you can't remember for shit how the next part goes, unless you take it from the top ? That's the tell-tale sign your tune is in procedural memory : it's great because it allows you to think of something else, but it sucks when you make a mistake because procedural memory is "read" in sequences only. That's why it's good to rehearse your tunes by starting at an arbitrary point, so you have multiple points of entry to the same procedural sequence.

Comment Re:Farm Animals (Score 1) 252


My girlfriend switched to a primal diet (basically paleo, with dairy allowed) and I switched along for fun, and also because, hey, she fixes half of my meals! Now all my jeans are slack at the waistline, and for the first time in years, my weight is down from 71kg to 65kg (156 to 143 pounds). We go bouldering every Sunday now, and to me that's also a *consequence* of the diet ; it's not the climbing that made us lighter : we started losing weight and feeling much more energised throughout the day, many days before taking on bouldering. And so, harsh physical activities like climbing became much more appealing.

We're not even very conscentious about the diet! We still allow ourselves some "treats" from time to time, like chocolate (to avoid soy lecithin, we eat 90% cocoa chocolate, or even the wonderful 99% from Lindt). For dessert, most days we have diced fruits with cottage cheese and sometimes a bit of honey on top. We just stay away from anything with grain, starch, or too much sugar, and it works!

A typical saturday morning breakfast for us is two stripes of bacon, 2 scrambled eggs cooked in the bacon's fat, and half a banana with a bit of cottage cheese, per person. No toast, no jam, no fruit juice (if you want to have fruit juice, just eat the fruit or make yourself a smoothie, you want the fiber from the fruit to go along the ride in your gut so they shield the sugars and you don't assimilate all of them) and we don't feel hungry for 6 hours after that.

I agree it's not for everyone. Knowing how to cook is a definite plus for this diet, almost a requirement in my opinion. Nowadays we're buying meat from the butcher's, fresh and _local_ produce from the market, cheese, eggs and cream from the cheesemonger's, and we only have to go to the supermarket every other week (maybe even every 3rd week) for chocolate, honey, possibly tomato concentrate, salt, pepper, and basic hygiene products like sponges, toothbrushes, toilet paper... No more frozen pizzas and chips! But we're also lucky to live in a neighbourhood where all that is within walking distance.

Comment Re:just wait for the humor (Score 1) 55

.banque in french
.pankki in finnish
.banco in spanish
.banka in czech
.banki in icelandic


... yeah ok, it might be a problem for crimean tatar, croatian, danish, dutch, hungarian, maltese, norwegian, polish, swedish, turkish and volapük, which all use the word "bank"... and the Slovenians call it banka just like the Czechs... oh well.

Comment In other words... (Score 1) 266

Americans don't care about terrorism and they give just around half a shit about cybersecurity? I didn't RTFA, was it a binary cybersecurity vs. terrorism survey or did it include things that people really worry about, like keeping a steady income or getting caught boning the maid?

In the latter case, I would expect cybersecurity and terrorism to rank rather low in the list of worrying things.

Comment Re:General for Wisdom Teeth? (Score 1) 103

Yeah, I know some people who had theirs removed under a general and it always seemed to be based of a fear of the dentist's chair.

Had mine removed in two sittings, right side and left side. That was so I could chew food on the "good" of my mouth and minimize the risk of complications/infections/whatever on the "recovering" side (I still had to follow the usual recommendation of cold, slushy food the first day and gradually go back to normal hot meals)

Each time, the procedure didn't hurt at all, my jaw was pretty numb. It was kinda impressive though, to watch how much force the doctor needed to pull the little buggers. What hurt was when the anaesthetic faded, opening the mouth a little too much was painful.

Where I could understand the ones opting for a general, all-four removal, is that the second time around is a bitch, because you know exactly what you're going to go through, and as a result it seems to hurt a little more and take more time to heal.

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