Friday, June 30, 2017

Potential price structure based on protein in a meal


Question:  How much should a restaurant charge for protein content of a meal?
Answer: As much as they can, but in no case should they ever lose money on the meal.

While true, the statement above is not very helpful.  Let's see if we can pick it apart and come up with a more useful algorithm.

Suppose we are talking with the owner of the restaurant and we mention that we think he should only charge for the cost of the food.  So, for 24 ounces of steamed rice (28 grams of protein) we only want to pay 1.5 X $0.135 twenty-one cents.

He will respond, "Hey, not so fast.  I have expenses.  I have to pay for the clam-shell pods.  I have wages to pay, rent, electric bills and so on."

And so we might ask him, "What is the bare minimum you could charge for 24 ounces of steamed rice in a take-out clam-shell."  I expect that he would say something like, "I would have to charge $3 to cover all of the incidental costs of producing that meal, and at that point I might almost be breaking even."

That suggests that there is a fixed cost component of producing a meal of $3.

Going through the same exercise for 24 ounces of beef (245 grams of protein) brings another cost driver into play.  The material cost of the beef is $7.50 under our simulation.  Adding $3 to that brings the cost to $10.50 which is pretty close to what the restaurant charges now.

At that point the restaurant owner will point out that producing 24 ounces of cooked beef incurs more costs than producing 24 ounces of rice.  Beef is more demanding of controlled storage, both before and after cooking.  Preparing beef is more labor intensive than producing steamed rice.

There is also the psychological aspect of pricing luxuries.  It is easier to hide a larger markup in a product that is intrinsically more expensive to start with.  One way to satisfy the higher costs and the need to turn a profit all while not making customers angry is to have a pricing component that is a function that increases as the price of the components goes up.   That is, to have an additional mark-up that is a percentage of the base cost.

The Mark-up is applied to the Cost of Material + Fixed cost.  Fixed costs are real costs and cause real aggravation.
This goes back to algebra where the formula for a line is Y=mX+b.  In this case "Y" is the price that the black box will calculate.  "m" is the slope shown in the table above.  "b" is the "y" intercept, that is, the value of "y" when "x" equals zero.

Another function of mark-up is to smooth out the exceptions.  There might be some ingredients that are expensive relative to their protein content.   Green beans would be an example.  As long as the customers don't start putting huge amounts of green beans in their pods, the mark-up should smooth that over.


Roadkill

This week I finally saw something that had been in front of my eyes for years.

The number of dead animals on the road "pulses" with a weekly cycle.

Trash day
What finally made it click for me was one morning when I was on the way to coffee I crested a hill and saw a young, dead raccoon in the middle of the trash it had been pulling out of a trash bag.  Clearly, it was trash day in this part of Eaton Rapids.

A common contract around here is to have one Captain Curby and up to three additional trashbags.  The Captain Curby is fairly raccoon proof.  The trashbags, not so much.


The pulsing is particularly pronounced this year.  The last two winters have been unusually mild.  It has been a dry summer and there is little natural forage.  Consequently, we have a lot of coons and possum and not a lot of vittles for them.

The road kills seem to be biased toward the younger, smaller specimens.  I suppose the old sows and boars are wise to the dangers.

But on trash day, even a few of the old ones get carried away by the smells and tastes of the goodies that are suddenly, and for one night only, placed on the ground mere feet from the tires of speeding vehicles.  They rake the loot out of the bag and spread it on the ground.  Then they sniff-and-feel to find the choicest bits.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Hillary Clinton blames...

One of the first lessons of leadership is that "blaming" or making excuses tells your followers that you have no power.  Leaders change the future by exercising whatever influence and power they can, honorably, bring to bear on the situation.

Google Autocomplete research suggests that Hillary Clinton never learned the first lesson of leadership.

Hillary Clinton blames america
Hillary Clinton blames bernie
Hillary Clinton blames comey
Hillary Clinton blames dnc
Hillary Clinton blames electoral college
Hillary Clinton blames fake news
Hillary Clinton blames gender
Hillary Clinton blames huma
Hillary Clinton blames interference (outside)
Hillary Clinton blames james comey
Hillary Clinton blames kgb
Hillary Clinton blames low information voters
Hillary Clinton blames men
Hillary Clinton blames north korea
Hillary Clinton blames obama
Hillary Clinton blames putin 
Hillary Clinton blames Al qaeda
Hillary Clinton blames russia
Hillary Clinton blames self-hating women
Hillary Clinton blames television executives 
Hillary Clinton blames unions not getting out the vote 
Hillary Clinton blames voter suppression
Hillary Clinton blames wikileaks
Hillary Clinton blames x___
Hillary Clinton blames y chromosomes
Hillary Clinton blames Jay-z

*********

Apologies for the dated material.  

I must have been bitten by a tsetse fly. I have been struggling to stay awake all day.

Ticks

We don't have them!

I cannot recall in my decades of walking around in the fields and woods of south-central Michigan of ever coming home with a tick.  Not one.

We pull about three ticks a year off the dog's ears.

I know this is "news" along the lines of  the headline "Angry man does not shoot antagonist".  How can not having something be considered news?

It is news because it provides a "contrast" for areas that are over-run with ticks.

Their nearly complete absence is not an anomaly.  Nature abhors a vacuum.  Ticks have tremendous reproductive potential and they ride around on highly mobile animals.  They would flood in if there were not agent(s) keeping them out.

Generalists as control agents

This article is typical of the balderdash being accepted as Gospel:

Ticks have numerous natural enemies...Most predators of ticks are generalists, with a limited potential for tick management
You can pull up virtually any article on the biological control of ticks and some version of this statement will be embedded within that article.  It is what the lawyers call "boiler plate".

In the case of controlling populations, I believe it is exactly, 180 degrees wrong.

Elk
A decade or so ago, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation sponsored research into the effect of black bears on elk populations.  I believe the research was conducted in Colorado.

The researchers were stunned to find very strong, negative correlation between Black Bear populations and Elk populations.  The relationship was fairly static over time.

The classic predator-prey relationship, the one that was taught in every Freshman Biology class looks like the chart shown above.  The population of the prey rises.  The predator has greater reproductive success due to the greater availability of food.  The larger population of the predators reduces the population of the prey.  The predator population overshoots the prey base and then crashes, allowing the prey population to recover.

While a useful teaching tool, this model is extremely limited.  Most populations are not isolated to islands where their is one species of "prey" and one species of "predator".

In the case of black bears and elk, black bears are omnivores.  They are carnivores of opportunity.  Most of the predation occurred early in the spring and it involved bears finding and eating the less mobile elk calves.  Bears are not effective predators of elk for ten months of the year.  That would be a mighty long, hungry period if bears were dedicated elk predators and that was all they could eat.

But that is not the case.  Bears eat much vegetable food.  In fact, the vegetable portion of their diets are what allow bear populations to be high enough that they are effective elk predators.  They are not effective as individuals...many individuals might go their entire life without stumbling across a hapless elk calf... They are effective as a population.  In areas of high bear populations there are so many bears ambling about the landscape seeking food that it is a luck elk calf that makes it to two months of age.

Ducks
In research funded by Ducks Unlimited, they found that the vast majority of predation of ducks was by raccoons, opossum and skunks; all omnivores.  Furthermore, they found that most predation occurred to nests that were within a quarter mile of some form of human-built shelter.  In this case it was deer and duck hunting blinds.  The omnivores took advantage of the weather-tight construction to shelter from the elements.

One of the report's conclusions was that removing deer blinds from the edges of prime duck nesting habitat at the end of deer season would have a very favorable effect on nesting success.  In more suburban habitats it would entail the maintenance of all outbuildings (bus shelters, garages, barns, garden sheds, dog houses, etc.) to deny entry of raccoons and such.  In the case of decrepit, fallen down barns, demolition or controlled burning of them is probably the only viable option.

Back to ticks
Ants are the closest thing we have to black bears/raccoons in the insect world.  They are super-abundant.  They are omnivores.  They are highly mobile.

Just throwing a hypothesis out there on the table:  What if the key to controlling ticks is to have diverse populations of various ant species to act as predators-of-opportunity with regard to blooms in the tick population?

Picture from HERE
How would one go about fostering a healthy and diverse population of ant species?

Most efforts seem to be focused on eradicating ants.  Yes, I know there are some really nasty ant species.  But most of them, at least the ones around here, are infinitely less nasty than ticks.

Well, one thing would be to plant specimens that support aphids.  Ants farm aphids and milk them for their honeydew.  Lots of carbs which is enough to keep colonies from collapsing but not enough protein to have it expand. 

It would be very interesting to find five areas with abnormally low tick numbers and five areas with abnormally high tick numbers and run an ant census.  The census could probably be run with syrup feeding stations and video cameras.  The metrics would be the number of different species that find the syrup and population densities could be estimated based on how quickly each species finds the station.  It would probably be necessary to illuminate the feeding station with NIR to collect data at night.

This is a project an ambitious high school student could do.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1550 Growing Degree Days

I apologize for the late blog post today.  I had some targets of opportunity pop up that I could not resist.

I took Kubota and his buddies, Tycoon and Shredder, to Lake Michigan.  On the way there we stopped at Bob's Gun Shop in Hastings, Michigan and monkey-pawed some very fine firearms.


The weather was cool and misty.  The red flag was out due to the surf.

The surf was heavy enough to dislodge seaweed and wash lures up onto the beach.  I found two that looked like this one.  These are $6 lures any day of the week.
.
I forgot the pan for the hotdogs.  List...I gotta start making lists

The guys were very forgiving.  They said that they had a great time.



Timothy, the grass species, is pollinating.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Failures of the Market



The "Commons" situation is often given as a systemic failure or shortcoming of the market's ability to link cost and price.  This scenario is called the "Commons" problem because it was most notably highlighted by Garret Hardin in his essay, "Tragedy of the Commons".

I submit that the Tragedy of the Commons is more of a measuring problem than a market shortcoming.

The Chinese Take-out Restaurant
Eaton Rapids has a Chinese restaurant called the New China Buffet.  Many other restaurants have come and gone.  New China Buffet soldiers on.  They must be doing some things right.

My guess is that slightly more than half of their revenue is generated by the "Take out" side of the business.  Customers show up.  They are handed a three-well, clam-shell pod.  The management charges a single price per take-out.  The customer can fill it with anything they desire from the buffet tables with the single proviso that the lid must be able to close and stay closed without assistance.

Some customers take a modest amount of food, one meal's worth and no more.  The food groups are well represented in something approximating a balanced diet.

Other customers fill the clam-shell to bursting.  They fill it with meat.  Frankly, they are walking out with enough meat to supply five day's worth of meals.

Clearly, the restaurant is making a pile of money on each of the first kind of customer and losing money on the second type.  The management has to charge enough for "take-out" to withstand the monetary impact of a large run of the second type of customers. 

In effect, the first group is subsidizing the second group.  As a customer who is more likely to be in the first group, I resent that and often choose to not eat Chinese food because I am paying an inflated price for the actual food I receive.

A measurement issue
Some Chinese restaurants acknowledge the problem and sell take-out by weight.  They might charge something like fifty cents an ounce.  That goes part-way toward addressing the issue but it misses the fact that beef costs $5 a pound while steamed rice has a cost of $0.134 per pound.

Consider two simple, one pound meal.  One meal is 20% beef and the remainder is rice.  The other meal is 40% beef and the remainder is rice.  The first meal costs $1.10 for ingredients and the second meal costs $2.08.  The weight of the rice is nearly irrevelant.  In the first meal, where the rice is 80% of the meal by weight; the cost of the rice is still less than 10% of the total cost of the meal.

Near Infra Red Spectroscopy
Lucky for us we live in the ages of computers.
Spectra of a reference sample of various moisture contents. 

Farmers and grain elevators can monitor the protein content of grain by optically scanning the grain with Near Infrared light.

NIR reflectance spectroscopy is a rapid instrumental technique for the analysis of cereals both in the laboratory and on-line. It is based on absorption of NIR energy at specific wavelengths by peptide linkages between amino acids of protein molecules and at reference wavelenghts. Mathematical processing of the spectral data and calibration against a suitable reference method enables the protein content to be determined. Inclusion of a measurement at a wavelength corresponding to an absorption by water enables the result to be corrected automatically to a dry weight basis or on a standard moisture basis.   Source

One issue holding back the development of this technology is the cultural baggage of engineers. 

The first commercial microwaves used military RADAR technology.  Having no other basis, the engineers set the specifications for wavelength to what was required for RADAR sensing of remote objects and Doppler calculations.  That resulted in a large percentage of microwave units being scrapped out and the required precision drove much cost into the process/product.  Later, Japanese and Korean engineers determined that water molecules are heated by a fairly wide range (compared to military specs) of wavelengths.  They were able to use common processes and produced no scrap.

The current NIR measurement technologies attempt to replicate NIST quality measurements.  My proposal is to have an NIR scanner calculate the percent protein in the meal.  Protein is the most expensive component of food and the amount of protein in the clam-shell can be calculated by multiplying the percent protein by the weight of the food.  This process does not require three decimal point accuracy.  It would be commercially viable if it were +/- 10% of actual protein content.

The customer who is attempting to gouge the restaurant by taking two pounds of meat out the door might pay $20 for the privilege.  Folks who want a simple, balanced meal might pay $5.  The restaurant can make money on both sets of customers.  Better measurement technology can provide the link between cost and price...thus salvaging the allocative efficiency of the market place.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Armoring up trees and hummingbird feeders

The young trees are growing well.  This is a Liberty/G935 that has outgrown its protection; a chicken wire cage.

This Gold Rush/G935 is not doing quite as well but it has also outgrown its protection.  It is just a matter of time before a deer comes along and strips it down to the top of the blue cage.
The same Liberty tree shown above.  I use four foot wide, 2" by 4" welded wire mesh.  I count out fifteen squares for each cage.  That makes a circle that is just a bit smaller than 10" in diameter.  Another detail is that when I cut the wires I alternate: long-short-long-short.  The long stubs are easy to bend by hand to finish the cage.  I typically bend a high, middle and low wire to join the ends.

The cage for the Gold Rush.  About 15 percent of my woodlot is Black Locust.  I do not lack for fence post material even if some of it is picturesquely crookedy.

This is the hummingbird feeder setup.  It is modeled on how campers are supposed to cache their grub in bear country.

It does not stop the ants.

There is an old saying on Wall Street:  Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered.  I guess we know which category these ants fell into.
Gratuitous Ammo picture
.303 British on the left.  7.62X54R Russian on the right.  The "R" in 7.62X54R refers to the fact that it has a rim.  These old timers can still get it done, even if the guns that shoot them are getting worn out.  The Canadian Government is in the process of replacing the SMLE .303 rifles issued to the Canadian Rangers with a SAKO design that fires the .308 Win.  The 7.62X54R is still used in light machine guns in the former Soviet Bloc.
Image of the new Canadian Ranger rifle, designated the C-19.

Phones at work

Belladonna told us that her new place of employment has a policy.

The employees must hand in their phones at the beginning of the shift.  The phones are returned at the end of the shift.

It is condition of employment.

The owners pay so much an hour for the employee's time and the owners expect full engagement in the job during each hour.  More accurately, they don't want their customers to be inconvenienced by a distracted employee or to have the customer slowed down by an employee who slipped out of sight ("for just a minute") to play with his/her phone.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Odd sized batteries

The manual for my digital calipers says it accepts both 357 and 303.

Darned if I could get either one to chamber.
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V

Three Nazi walked into a BAR somewhere in Normandy

I miss jokes.

I remember a time when two men would meet for the first time and trade a few jokes.  It was a way to get the measure of the other man.

I keep hearing about "thinking outside the box".  Folks who enjoyed jokes were training themselves to think outside "the box".  Nobody needed to exhort us to do so.

Sadly, we morphed into a nation of straight-line thinkers incapable of incorporating information that forces a reassessment of our initial impression.  It causes too much psychic pain.  Our brains are no longer flexible.

Laziness
It fosters laziness because we think we ate the whole meal after taking the first bite.  We no longer scrutinize  political candidates through the entire election cycle.  Employers hire on shallow sets of criteria and quail at releasing unsuitable candidates during their probationary period.

We are overwhelmed by an ocean of data and we cope with our inadequacy by hoping the entire ocean is fairly represented by the first wave that laps up on the beach and caresses our foot.

Although it saves time

In the beginning...    Bible
We the people...    US Constitution
When in the course of human events...    Declaration of Independence
In the name of Allah...  Quaran
Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four...   Start of the Harry Potter series
It is hard to miss the improvements...    2000 Physician's Desk Reference
All technical reports...     1954 SAE Hand Book
...some important details get lost.

Loss of empathy
Empathy is fueled, in part, by the sudden realization that "There but for the grace of God goes me."

Empathy seems to be in short supply.  I will not claim that the near extinction of joke telling is responsible but I think they are related.  Many jokes spring from a sharing of the human condition.  "Do you really think I asked for a 10" pianist?"

You don't have to like somebody to have empathy for them.

Can you imagine yourself in Hillary Clinton's shoes?  Ambitious.  Carried down the slippery slope one decision at a time.  Like the different species of tortoises on the Gal├ípagos Islands, she is on one island that is oh-so-close to the island she wants to be on....and there is no path there.



So exercise your mind.  Strengthen your empathy.  Take the time to enjoy a few jokes every day.  (NFO has some listed today)

So, did you hear about the drunk Antifas?  They spent the entire night clubbing.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Rain, beautiful rain

We got about an inch.

That will make everything "pop".

A couple of differences between irrigation and rain are that irrigation rarely puts on as much water as a good rain and that the rain is more evenly distributed.  You may think you are laying an inch on your garden but you probably are just wetting the surface.  I calibrate my sprinkler setups by putting two or three, five gallon buckets in the pattern and I time how long it takes to put an inch in them.  Often it takes 6-to-8 HOURS when using impulse sprinklers.

Spot watering (as in trickle) will supply water but as Loren noted, that technology tends to create deep, narrow wet spots.  It will keep the trees alive and the trees/bushes will even keep photosynthesizing.  But they rarely push new growth.  Most of the fertility in the soil is in the top couple of inches.  The trees cannot extract those nutrients when 90% of the surface is dry.

At this point, I am not smart enough to inject fertilizer into my irrigation.  Maybe someday.

An unanticipated upside of trickle irrigation
Flushing the line.
It is easy to add more runs.

While repairing the kink reported yesterday, I inserted a "Tee" and added another run to water the filbert bushes.

I used  Figure 8 piece to terminate the run.  This is the same end as shown above and is under pressure.  It is not leaking a drop.
Loren, thanks for the tip you left in the comments!
Raccoons
Tearing up my hummingbird feeders.  I switched them over to a line suspended between a couple of high points....a bit like hanging a grub-bag in bear country.
They ripped the yellow "flowers" off the base of this one and drained it.
Precocious Oak Trees

Acorns.  I don't know if this is a fluke but I intend to keep an eye on this tree.
Forensics

A broken window in the garage.
You can see the projectile between the two panes of glass.  It penetrated the inside pane and cracked the outer pane.  It looks bigger than .177" and has a flat spot on it.
Heroic dog protecting his owner from a huge snake

Well, kind of.

 
"And don't come back!"

Raspberries are ripe


Friday, June 23, 2017

A close encounter with an oil-free future

I almost had the privilege of living a post-oil experience today.

Mrs ERJ and I were coming back from my parents home.  We take them dinner on Fridays.

I noticed the gas gauge was low.  Very low.  I took a detour on the way home to hit a gas station.  I rounded a corner and started accelerating up a hill.  There was nothing there.  Then a little sputtering.  Then nothing.

We coasted up over the top of the hill.  Hills in Michigan usually don't amount to much.

Then the fuel sloshed far enough forward for the fuel pump to grab some and make the motor happy.  It was a mile to the gas station.  We made it.

Prices are set by the margin
First of all, I think it is juvenile to dream that "the economy" will go away.  It is just as productive to dream that we will one day wake up in a parallel universe.  Governments can mandate and the economy will bend...but it will not be replaced.

I also believe that we have enough oil for the next thousand years to supply the very highest value end-uses.  That will be things like pharmaceuticals, optical grade plastics, herbicides and insecticides and fiber.
What starts to fall off the table is driving a 3000-to-6000 pound vehicle 20 miles to pick up a bottle of aspirin or a single spool of thread or to work four hours at a minimum wage job.

Mrs ERJ's vision
I asked Mrs ERJ what her vision of a end-of-oil future might look like.  Her insights are worth considering since she just came off a month without her own, personal vehicle.  She pretty much lived this experiment.
Links of interest:  ONE  TWO
Her picture was a return of neighborhood grocery stores.  Her thinking is that it makes more sense to send a fully loaded cargo van to the store every other day than it does to have 2400 people drive to WalKroAlbMeirsons every other day.
Her picture includes neighborhood schools...perhaps even one room schoolhouses in areas where population is less dense.  Why not have all the kids within two miles walk to school (40 minute walk) rather than send a 20,000 pound school bus around half the county to collect them.  A side issue is that the curriculum will have to stabilize.  One "leverage" available to multiple grades in the same room is that older students can help younger students but that cannot happen if the math, science and reading programs change every three-to-five years.

We will go shopping less often.  We will eat soft fruits like strawberries and blueberries and banana less often.  They will be a treat.  Sturdy fruits like apples and no-refrigeration-needed vegetables like cabbage will become more important.  Meat will become a luxury item.  Larger meat animals, like hogs, will become seasonal or slaughtering one will occasion a huge, neighborhood feast similar to Potlatch Culture.

Driving less means we need fewer vehicles.  The Amish often pool their resources and will have one vehicle (typically a full sized van) for eight or ten families.  You can haul a LOT of groceries in one of those.  An even lower cost approach would be to have a standard vehicle and a medium size trailer to pull behind it.

Robert's Rules of Order

Like Potlatch Culture, shared vehicles place a premium on robust, community mechanisms.  Knuckleheads will not disappear if/when oil becomes expensive.  In fact, they will become FAR MORE VISIBLE than they are now.  People will need starch in their backbones.  The takers, resource hogs, manipulators, people with personality disorders cannot be tolerated or the fragile, nascent community ventures will collapse into rubble.  We will no longer be able to afford to subsidize their fantasies.

The issue of mental illness is a very big deal.  If one person in twenty is afflicted with mental illness to the degree where it is incapacitating, then a group of ten families (nominally 20 adults) has a 50% chance of having one of those fruit-loops and a 25% chance of having two of them.

Other stuff
Gardening will become more popular.
Image from HERE
Five acre lawns will be renamed.  They will be called "pastures" or "hay fields".

Everybody will have a bicycle and we will ride them.

The heated and cooled portions of dwellings will be smaller, or at least there will be less square footage per person.  Most of the area in our homes is dedicated to "stuff".  How much of that "stuff" requires climate control?

We will dry our clothes on the line.  We will watch the weather and do laundry only when favorable for line drying.

We will plan more.  We will keep lists.  We will be less spontaneous.  Daffy people will struggle because there are few resources available to support their Plan B.

That is about when we pulled into the driveway.

PSA BOLO

Chad is one of my neighbors.  He stopped by yesterday.  Somebody stole his kid's dirt bike out of his side yard.

If you see this bike in Eaton Rapids, tell the goof-ball riding it to take it back.  Both of his kids are missing it.

(Bad) Sex Science and Statistics

From Newsweek

Having lots of sex when you get older boosts brain power, scientists have discovered, with people who have regular sexual relations scoring better on verbal, visual and spatial perception tests.
Why sex provides a cognitive boost is not yet known. “We can only speculate whether this is driven by social or physical elements,” lead researcher Hayley Wright, from Coventry University, said in a statement. “But an area we would like to research further is the biological mechanisms that may influence this.”
The problem is that the researchers make two very common mistakes.   They assume correlation equals causality and they assume a direction of causality.

Correlation does not equal causality
Consider this simple "model".  The height of the box labeled "Brain" is boosted by the height of the Making Whoopie!!! box.  Variations in Making Whoopie!!! have a direct and explainable impact on the height of the assembly and if the variation of heights in Making Whoopie!!! are large, then there will be correlation.

A correlation of 0.7 for this model is considered significant in many applications.

Another way that correlation can exist is when the two boxes share an underlying factor.  Suppose that cardio-vascular health impacts the ability to rub two neurons together and is important to physically enable Making Whoopie!!!  Large variation in cardio-vascular health would manifest as correlation between the height of the Brain box and the height of the Making Whoopie!!! box.

A correlation of 0.5 for this model is considered significant in many applications because the effect of the underlying factor is diluted by the natural variation of Brain and the natural variation of Making Whoopie!!! 

Direction of causality
Perhaps being intelligent increases one's odds of Making Whoopie!!!  Compare two couples.  In one couple the primary initiator is attentive to mood and is adept at manipulating the environment (fresh flowers, Rachmaninoff at 60dB, dishes all washed and put away, fresh sheets on the bed, dogs locked up for the night) to increase his/her odds.

The other couple's primary initiator is a clod.  His/her partner is rarely "in the mood".  Go figure.

Summary
I wonder if the researchers' answers to the author were tongue-in-cheek.  It may be that the researchers learned that good stories are more important than good science and good statistics when it comes to funding.

Science is too important to leave to scientists (who must seek funding).  Go forth and experiment:
  • Daisies or roses
  • Rachmaninoff, Schubert, Lionel Richie, Dr Hook or the sound of the dishwasher running
  • Chicken, fish or beef
  • Strawberry shortcake or blueberry pie
  • Are dishes or laundry more critical
  • Rubbing feet or back rubs
  • Perfume/cologne or chocolate/bacon
 


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Michigan



And for those who enjoy spoofs on commercials, the "Not so Pure Michigan Channel"




Praying for rain, trees dying, hoses kinking...just another day

Hope springs eternal.  Maybe this time we will get some rain.
Another apple tree that does not look healthy.  The stem on the right is dead.
This variety is a fairly new, disease resistant apple named WineCrisp.  It seems like all new releases have "...Crisp" in their name to capitalize on the popularity of HoneyCrisp.


One of the oddities of this apple is that it is being touted as being very cold hardy which seems highly unlikely.

I think the claims originated with the breeders who were concerned that folks would look at the pedigree with Cox Orange Pippin and Starking (Red Delicious) as recent parents.  WineCrisp is a late apple and late apples tend to be less hardy than early apples.  When combined with the fact that the pedigree looks similar to Gala's (an apple with marginal hardiness across much of the mid-West) but in a much later apple, I think the breeders felt compelled to add a note about this apple "the tree appears to be cold-hardy for winter temperatures in Illinois and Indiana."
Record low for Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin is -45 F.

Thus you end up with nurseries in places like Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin selling WineCrisp based on on the original claim that morphing into "WineCrisp is a hardy" apple.  Caveat emptor.

Incidentally, HoneyCrisp IS a hardy apple, capable of handling -35 F when well grown and the fruit load is managed.

Kink

Hmmm.  This corner needs a little bit of work.

The hose will kink when it gets warm (soft).  Application of water pressure does not always straighten it out.  This needs some hardware to fix. The compression sleeves are a one-time deal.
For what it is worth department
I was mowing in the serious orchard today.  I saw two young robins.  One was running along the ground like a chipmunk.  The other one was in the stock tank and paddling like heck to stay afloat.  I put him on top of a live trap in the sun to warm up and dry out.