Category: Environment

Bread Making: Bread Math, Poolish and Scaling a Recipe

I have really gotten attached to using a poolish as the starter for sourdough bread. Using a poolish is really easy. You just mix flour, water and starter, and set it aside to ferment for 12 hrs. It is technically called a preferment.

There are disagreements between the definitions of poolish, biga and a sponge. It seems like the poolish is 100% hydration, or 1:1 flour:water. The biga is 1:0.7 flour:water, and a sponge is 1:0.4 flour:water.

Puquio System for Water Management, Peru

These puquio holes in the area famous for Nasca lines, Peru, are interesting. With no written text to explain, someone, Rosa Lasaponara of the Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis, in Italy, finally figured it out: They channel wind into underground tunnels, which brings ground water up to the surface for people to use. From a barren desert that can see no rain for years, to a livable habitat. This is brilliant.

The ancient Peruvian mystery solved from space Smart people.

The Puquios water system, Nasca region, Peru, used wind to push ground water to the surface, providing water for their people, and making a desert livable. Brilliant.

The Puquios water system, Nasca region, Peru, used wind to push ground water to the surface, providing water for their people, and making a desert livable. Brilliant.

Sweden’s Herd Immunity Response to CoVid-19: Thoughts

For the CoVid-19 response, Dr Anders Tegnell, a Swedish epidemiologist, advised the Swedish government to remain open, and allow Swedes to auto-inoculate, what is called “herd immunity”. The resulting death toll would be much higher, but there would be more natural immunity in society. It was a bold step that countered the rest of the world, who locked down their societies.

Dr Tegnell is now saying that his response could have been better, with other politicians ready to criticize him. His response was a brave outlook in an experiment that has yet to end. Death rates aside, there is still as yet no vaccine.

Exercise as the Savior to Chronic Health Problems?

CEO Greg Glassman, CrossFit, started in 2000

CEO Greg Glassman, CrossFit, started in 2000

Sometimes you need to recognize that a system is broken and not as helpful as our expectations. The Western medical system is one such system. Yes, we are living longer, with viruses and bacteria largely at bay. As we progress to better health, chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart failure, diabetes and obesity have become much more prevalent. These chronic diseases show little abatement with current guidelines. “Lose weight, reduce salt intake, exercise more” may be medically valid advice, but the words are much easier to say and harder to implement.

China Air Quality Terrible for Xian, Beijing and Some Cities: 2018 Dec 02

Yet again, some of China’s air quality PM 2.5 readings are off the chart. Literally, and this is really terrible for people’s health. PM 2.5 measures air pollution particles smaller than 2.5 microns, which when inhaled are too small for the body to remove, so they stay there forever.

China needs to do much better to protect the health of citizens. Pollution report

Air Quality PM2.5 2018 Dec 02 10:00 Toronto time, readings for China: Xi'an 592, Beijing 268 vs Toronto at 17. Terrible for your health.

Air Quality PM2.5 2018 Dec 02 10:00 Toronto time, readings for China: Xi’an 592, Beijing 268 vs Toronto at 17. Terrible for your health.

It is 2018 September 05 and Toronto is 34C!

Usually Toronto is moderately warm in June and hot in July and August. By the time September rolls around the weather cools down considerably. This was untrue this summer, where we have had a very hot June through to August. And today, on 2018 September 05 we are experiencing yet another super hot day. Wow. At least our PM2.5 air quality, at 55 moderate is not too terrible.

Hot Toronto 34C weather 2018 Sept 05. Very unusual

Hot Toronto 34C weather 2018 Sept 05. Very unusual

Toronto Air Quality is 55, still at Moderate. This is good.

Toronto Air Quality is 55, still at Moderate. This is good.

Damn Good Idea: Using a Lake as a Battery

Using the Hoover Dam as a battery by pumping water upstream during the day, thus reducing electricity generation.

Using the Hoover Dam as a battery by pumping water upstream during the day, thus reducing electricity generation.


I had heard about this idea before, and think it requires further study. The problem is that we cannot easily store electricity. Any electricity generated needs to be used immediately, or we risk blackouts.

California has a lot of wind and solar power generation, but also has hydroelectric power generation from the colossal Hoover Dam. If operated at the same time there might be too much power during the day, when wind and solar contribute, and not enough power at night, when wind and solar do not generate electricity. Excess generated electricity cannot be stored.

Convenient Technologies are Making Us Less Intelligent

Just when you think that some newfangled device is the best thing since sliced bread, you then find out that the awesome convenience you now rely on is actually making you less intelligent. This is called “Convenient Technology”. It turns out that human physiology is more complex than simply making some tool extremely convenient.

I contrast convenient technology to demanding technology:

Just what is a demanding technology? Three elements are defining: it is technology that takes time to master, whose usage is highly occupying, and whose operation includes some real risk of failure. By this measure, a piano is a demanding technology, as is a frying pan, a programming language, or a paintbrush. So-called convenience technologies, in contrast—like instant mashed potatoes or automatic transmissions—usually require little concentrated effort and yield predictable results.

Unusually Hot 36C Weather: Toronto

It is very unusual for Toronto to exceed 35C temperatures. Anything above 30C and we simply stay indoors until the weather cools down. Today it hit 36C, with a low of 25C. That is really hot for us.

Unusually hot 36C weather for Toronto that came up from the US. We are melting...

Unusually hot 36C weather for Toronto that came up from the US. We are melting…

Unusually hot 36C weather for Toronto that came up from the US but the air quality is surprisingly smog free.

Unusually hot 36C weather for Toronto that came up from the US but the air quality is surprisingly smog free.

Toronto Weather 2018 Jul 05, 33C, humidex 43C. So hot, we are all melting.

Toronto Weather 2018 Jul 05, 33C, humidex 43C. So hot, we are all melting.

Air Quality

Toronto Air Quality Advisory 2018 May 27 vs Beijing

Air quality index PM2.5, Toronto vs Beijing, Shanghai, Changzhi, 2018 May 27 15:00 Toronto time

Air quality index PM2.5, Toronto vs Beijing, Shanghai, Changzhi, 2018 May 27 15:00 Toronto time

Toronto issues its first air quality advisory of the year 2018. Toronto AQI 2.5 is 50. In contrast Beijing is 442, Shanghai at 147, and Changzhi at 137. The scale was to go up to only 100.

Alerts for: City of Toronto
Statements

12:33 PM EDT Sunday 27 May 2018
Special air quality statement in effect for:

City of Toronto

Possible high levels of air pollution are expected today in the southwestern Ontario and Greater Toronto Area.