Sunday, January 08, 2017

Shoshana Ruth Lansey

Our daughter is one year old! I realized I never blogged what I wrote about her name, the way I did for her brothers, so here goes:

Our daughter’s name is Shoshana Ruth Lansey -- we call her Ruth. She is named after Stacy’s Oma (Raizel) Ruth Heidecker and my Grandma (Raizel) Rose Lansey, who both had the Jewish name Raizel, which is Yiddish for “rose” -- Shoshana in Hebrew.

Both of our grandmothers were incredibly strong-willed women, each in their own way. Stacy’s Oma was a woman of strong faith, even in the face of great adversity, and managed to always find the good in people and make new friends at all stages of her life. We hope that our Ruth shares this strength of character and positive outlook. My Grandma truly believed that she -- and all of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren -- could do anything we set our minds to, if only we tried our hardest. We hope that our daughter shares this confidence and work ethic.

The name Shoshana Ruth also has strong historical connotations. The biblical Ruth was also a woman of profound faith. She took action when needed, which ultimately led to rise of King David. We hope that our Ruth will share the biblical Ruth’s immense faith in God and commitment to His people. Additionally, in an allegorical interpretation of Shir Hashirim -- the Song of Songs -- the shoshana is generally understood to represent the Jewish people: “Like a rose amongst the thorns,” God states, “are my nation amongst the others”.

Ruth was born on the 11th of Tevet, the day after (and I recognize this is difficult math) the Tenth of Tevet, a fast day in the Jewish calendar, which commemorates the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem in the times of the First Temple. It is our hope that Shoshana Ruth will contribute towards the coming of a time where the 10th of Tevet will be, in the words of the prophet Zecharia, “לבית־יהודה לששון ולשמחה ולמעדים טובים” -- “occasions for joy and gladness, and happy festivals”, when “Shoshanat Ya’akov tzahala v’sameicha” -- “the rose of Jacob [in context: the Jewish people] rejoice…” once again.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Why are phone-books still a thing?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Where is Jonathan/Yoni update

I'm back in Boston and the skies look so unbelievably blue to me; and at noon it looks like sunset.

Since I just got back from Thailand.

And back from China.

And Singapore ...

And Japan too... yes Japan

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Putting things on top of other things

I love it when people stack things up, and nobody does it better than the people in China.

Even the locals were taking pictures of this it was so incredible.

and an unrelated bonus picture of this truck stacked with cardboard.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Aryeh Cooks: Smoked Chuck

This weekend I decided to smoke some chuck.

I started with about 4.5 pounds (two kilograms) of chuck rubbed with a mixture of fresh course ground black pepper and kosher salt.

Then into the Sous Vide bath at 155 degrees Fahrenheit for 36 hours.

After 36 hours I pulled the meat out, patted it dry, and then gave it another rub of fresh course ground black pepper and kosher salt.

Onto a 300 degree Fahrenheit indirect heat grill.  I have a pan of water under the meat to act as thermal ballast and to try and prevent additional moisture loss (the meat lost half its weight from beginning to end, but now I have a pot full of meat drippings).  On the other side of the grill above the flames I have an aluminum foil boat loaded with apple wood chips.  I added some chips ever 30 minutes for a 3 hour smoke.

Off the heat with a bit of smoke penetration to form a bit of a bark.

Sliced across the grain.

On some homemade baguette with lettuce and tomato.  It is as delicious as it looks and the backyard smelled amazing for the 3 hours I was smoking it.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Do not innovate unnecessarily

For fans of The Tick animated series, who also work in labs, I felt the need to recreate a rather hilarious sign in the background in a scene from The Tick vs. Dinosaur Neil:

My re-creation can be found in printable form here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Chinese GPS Enabled Bike Share Mobike is the best

Over the past few months, at least ten thousand public bikes have appeared all over Shanghai. The bikes are orange and you can see them all over the sidewalks, including these two bikes here.

Each bike has its own GPS and cellular data connection so when you want a bike you just pick one from the map. The map below is an actual screenshot, it is crazy how many there are. You can reserve the bikes for 15 minutes so nobody else grabs it as you meander over.

When you get to the bike you scan the QR code with the same app and it automatically unlocks... and you are off! Down one of the many dedicated bike lanes or streets with generally slow moving traffic.

When you arrive at your destination, park the bike on the sidewalk in a designated bicycle parking area (just a regular spot designated for any bicycle) and slide the lock closed.

The price is crazy cheap, you pay a reasonable deposit of something like $60 and then every hour is 20 cents! Yes I'm not kidding. Essentially free. If you were crazy and rented it for 24 hours nonstop it would cost you less than 5 dollars.

The design of the bike is all about keeping the production cost and maintenance cost low. The wheels are cast metal in one piece, probably iron. The fenders are small, plastic, and identical for the front and back wheels, except the addition of a reflective sticker on the back fender. The gears and brakes are internal and the wheels appear to be made of solid rubber so they won't ever go flat. The seat height is non-adjustable. That is the absolute worst part and sadly precludes me using these for any long rides - so I'll say that again: the seat in not adjustable and is super-short.

Since these bikes are so new, it is not uncommon to see people checking them out for the first time.

If you have any questions let me know in the comments!

Thursday, August 11, 2016