Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Least Favorite Matlab Function

datetick.m must die!

(in the timefun toolbox)

Whoever decided that the 'keeplimits'/'keepticks' options were the best way to handle user options... GRR!

Wait, I can check...
C.F. Garvin & Clay M. Thompson

You are on my list!

(Yes, I know, I could have rewritten it to suit my own preferences in the time it took to blog a complaint... but then what would I blog about today? You have to think about these things, man!)

Old least-favorite function: newp.m (Neural Network toolbox).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Recipe: Really Great Crappy Scallops

The first in my new recipe series: Really Great Crappy Scallops.

In the Midwest, getting your hands on good scallops is not terribly easy. Particularly, they tend to be wet-pack scallops that have had phosphates added to help them retain water during freezing and shipping increasing their visual appeal and weight. Unfortunately, when you try to cook wet packed scallops, the excess water drains out into your pan causing two problems:

a.) The presence of water in the pan makes searing impossible. No crusty goodness for you.
b.) The water takes a fair amount of flavor with it when it jumps ship in the pan.

Also, it means you paid somewhere between $5-$15 dollars (depending on size) a pound for the added water.

What can you do? You can buy dry-pack scallops (for a lot more around here). You can go to your favorite upper-end restaurant who likely has a better supplier than your local grocery store. Or you can do what I do; accept that these scallops are just not going to cook "right" and do something else with them. Pan-searing will not end well with these. Below is my recipe for making something pretty damn tasty using "inferior" scallops.


Really Great Crappy Scallops
Ingredients:
1 lb wet-pack, bay (argopecten irradians) scallops (thawed and drained)
1 strip of bacon
1/2 cup dry white wine
juice of one lemon
3 T salted butter
salt
freshly ground pepper

Tasks:
In sauté pan, cook bacon until crispy and set aside.

Turn heat to high end of medium and keep the fat in the pan and add the butter. When it's melted, mix with bacon fat and wait for the butter solids to begin to brown (if it turns dark brown, you've already ruined it. Start over... sorry).

Add scallops, salt, and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes. If your scallops are anything like the ones I seem to get, quite a bit of scary looking pale whitish fluid will seep out of the scallops.

Add wine and lemon juice. Cook until the scallops are cooked through (2-3 more minutes).

Remove the scallops to a bowl and set aside. Let the liquid in the pan reduce to a syrupy consistence (it will brown up too). You've just made a really odd (and tasty) sauce.

While you wait, chop up the bacon strip into small pieces. Once your sauce is set, add the scallops and bacon and leave on burner long enough to reheat the scallops.

Serve with pasta.


Optional:
Add one or two additional items that are tasty with seafood: e.g. herbs, roasted red bell-peppers, capers, cream, morels, walnuts, etc. Don't go crazy.

Nerdcore Rising

Well, here's a topic that definitely needed an indy documentary.

Tailer:


Another crappy video:

(Disclosure: The Sarcastic Weasel's MP3 sports the Front-filled dub... but you knew that.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

XKCD

Thanks to Aaron for inadvertently pointing out to me what a tremendous dork I've become... wait, how much more of a tremendous dork I've become since starting grad school. He attached a link to xkcd.com which, four years ago I would have found pretentious and nerdy. Today, I find entirely too much of it to be f**king hilarious.

Enjoy a collection of some of my favorites... Except Aaron... You made me laugh... Up yours, jerk!

Accident:

A-Minus-Minus:

Compiler Complaint:

Diet Coke Mentos:

Fourier

GOTO:

Matrix Transform:

Pointers:

Poisson:

(Two really nerdy jokes in one... so sad.)

Random Number:

Stove Ownership:

Wikipedian Protester:

Zealous Autoconfig:

Updates Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Best Energy Harvesting Idea.. Ever

Since my normal research involves the judicious use of wireless sensors for monitoring of infrastructure assets, I do usually pay attention to the developments in the field of energy-scavenging. While not precisely my area of interest/expertise, a breakthrough in that field could lead to very positive results in my field.

Lots of interesting work in scavenging is being done for energy-scavenging in rotating machinery, athletic equipment (bikes and backpacks), and (of course) military applications. The enabling technologies can be anything from wire-coil generators, to piezoelectrics, to nanotechnology (danger, academic buzz word, could mean nearly anything). In these applications, there exists quite a bit of kinetic energy that could be leveraged into electrical energy. The mechanism is highly dependent on the magnitude of the kinetic motion as well as its frequency content. The Sarcastic Weasel happens to know some of the people working on these topics. Neat stuff.

Now, in Slate Magazine of all places, comes the breast possible energy scavenging application that I have ever seen. Screw powering wireless diagnostic sensors from the energy provided by rotating machinery, I want to be able to power an iPod using a smart-bra. I think my shopping for this year's Christmas gift for the Official Wife of the Sarcastic Weasel just got a lot easier!

Remembering George Carlin

Twice yesterday, I got out of my car just as the radio was announcing, "Coming up on NPR, remembering George Carlin." Both times, my mind completely misinterpreted the "remembering" portion of that statement and I imagined the following conversation taking place in the NPR studios:

Remembering George Carlin

(Dignified Yet Earnest Voice 1) Are we set for our picnic?
(Dignified Yet Earnest Voice 2) Nearly so. Is there enough pasta salad?
(DYEV1) Well, who's going to be there?
(DYEV2) Bunch of comedians... Penn and Teller, Seinfeld, Don Rickles... that other guy.
(DYEV1) What other guy?
(DYEV2) You know... he made fun of words.
(DYEV1) I have no idea who you're talking about.
(DYEV2) He swore a lot.
(DYEV1) Everyone swears a lot.
(DYEV2) He did it second.
[Long uncomfortable silence.]
(DYEV1) Wait, was he they guy who went down on a trucker in "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back"?
(DYEV2) Yeah. Yeah. Yeah... George something....
(DYEV1) Carlin! George Carlin!
(DYEV2) That's his name, George Carlin. Good job, we remembered George Carlin.
[Pause.]
(DYEV1) He's dead now.
(DYEV2) Is he?
(DYEV1) Last night.
(DYEV2) Oh.
(DYEV1) Yeah.
[Uncomfortable silence.]
(DYEV2) Well, he doesn't need any pasta salad then.


George Carlin: one fucked-up, pissed-off, motherfucking, cocksucking, shit of a cunt... tits.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sarcasm Gives Me a Darwinian Advantage (Bitches)

I learned two things from this article:

1.) Sarcasm is an important survival tool.
2.) Meredith F. Small sucks at sarcasm.
.
.
.
3.) Neurophysiologists come by funding way too easily.

...three things I learned.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Not Giving Up Yet

As previously posted, I have ended my near decade-long Dilbert habit, mostly due to the new, awful website layout, but partially due to the fact that I haven't had a genuine laugh at a new Dilbert strip in a couple of years.

Now, I've been considering giving up on another strip that I've been following for only a few years now, 9 Chickweed Lane, by Brooke McEldowney (I spent a good year reading this thing thinking that Brooke was a woman... if you've read the strip, you might understand why). The strip is often worth a look for it's "Hallmarks of Felinity" alone.

If you're not familiar with it, it's more of a serialized, soap-opera strip than one with set-ups and punch-lines. That format makes it (often) more rewarding, but lately he's been messing with his relationships in ways that have thrown believability out the window. I know what he's doing; he's creating short-term drama (IMHO at the expense of his characters). He probably thinks that his story-lines have grown stagnant. But the break-ups he's induced have been so contrived and forced, that I seriously thought about throwing in the towel on this strip too. In the end though, I'm too much a creature of habit. I'll keep tuning in, but maybe not every day for a while. Here's hoping the final product of this arc justifies it's awkward and seemingly gratuitous beginning.

Here's a recent (generally unremarkable) strip. The fourth panel proves (to me anyway) that Brooke is a Stephen Donaldson fan. Chronicles of Thomas Covenent readers will know exactly what I mean.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Punching Beavers in the Face!

This was so funny, I almost threw up.

Small Measures of Justice

Though not always true, sometimes it happens that the good are rewarded and the wicked are punished.

He's Back and He's Got a New Trick...

Sarcastic Weasel is 10x as slick as the last time, the last time you saw him. Now you can see why we really adore him...


I made it back unscathed from the mighty Pacific. I promise a post regarding my experiences aboard the boat... something with a title including the phrases "narrow escape" and "butt-pirates." I'll have to be conscientious of what I blog owing to the fact that I have previously identified the boat by name (no link for you!).

In the meantime, I was very happy to learn that the Wings did not indeed blow it and are the Stanley Cup Champions for 2008. They managed to win it even without my sage advice that I usually provide to them through a special stable worm-hole that conveys my shouted comments from my living room to whatever arena the Wings happen to be playing in.

I've spent a lot of recent blog posts discussing hockey. Now that it's over, I can probably lay off for a while. But I do want to link to one article that, while Scott Burnside is not one of my favorite commentators (by far), does somewhat encapsulate one of the things that I think is genuinely special about the Red Wings as an organization and why I root for them so fervently. In a day when sports franchises behave more as corporations than is sources of civic pride, the Wings look out for their own particularly well.

But, more pressingly, I have a new data set to process. It's like Christmas. Yeah, Christmas!