Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Happy Birthday USA!

09:56 – It was 64.4F (18C) when I took Colin out at 0640, partly cloudy. We’re mostly taking the day off for Independence Day, although Barbara is volunteering at the Historical Society museum from 1000 to 1330 and I’m making up some chemicals for forensic science kits.

I suppose it’s human nature, but I always put off the most obnoxious ones until last. One of those is Kastle-Meyer reagent, which is a concentrated hydroxide solution that needs to be refluxed (simmered) for an hour or so, until the metallic zinc in the flask reduces the bright magenta alkaline solution of phenolphthalein to a colorless (or straw yellow) solution of phenolphthalin (note the different spelling).

The other obnoxious one, for a different reason, is the gentian violet solution used for detecting fingerprints on sticky tape. That one’s obnoxious because it turns everything purple. It’s a very fine powder that wants to go everywhere, and even the tiniest grain–literally one one-thousandth of a grain of sand–is enough to make large purple stains on everything: our skin, the sink, anything it comes into contact with. Fortunately the stain is fugitive. It wears off skin pretty quickly, and any oxidizer (like dilute chlorine bleach) renders it colorless.

As long as we’re making up stuff, I think we’ll make up a test batch of caramel/butterscotch sauce. Barbara used to buy it at the supermarket, but we haven’t had any in the refrigerator for quite a while. Here’s the recipe I intend to try, which was provided by a reader:

⊕ 6 ounces water (0.75 cup; 178 g)
⊕ 12 ounces white sugar (1.75 cups; 347 g)
⊕ 0.75 teaspoons salt (4.3 g)
⊕ 12 ounces evaporated milk (1.5 cup; 192 g)
⊕ 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract (7.5 g)

1. Combine water, sugar, and salt in a 3-quart pan over medium heat. Stir until syrup comes to a boil, about 3 to 4 minutes, then simmer without stirring until syrup is honey-colored, about 6 minutes, swirling to ensure even caramelization. Continue cooking until syrup is light to medium amber, a minute more.

2. Add evaporated milk and reduce heat to medium-low.

3. Stir constantly to eliminate foaming, and simmer until syrup reaches 225F, or for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla extract, transfer to a canning jar or similar container, and set aside to cool. Syrup will be thin and runny while hot, but thickens as it cools. Refrigerate the container for storage.

34 thoughts on “Tuesday, 4 July 2017”

  1. Happy Independence Day!

    Today’s post with caramel/butterscotch sauce and gentian violet brings back memories.

    My all-time favourite butterscotch sweets were the late lamented Callard & Bowser. https://candyprofessor.com/2011/01/03/callard-bowser-butterscotch/

    Werthers’ Originals are the current substitute, but they’re not a patch on C&B!

    Also late lamented is a bottle of gentian violet that my parents used as an antiseptic when I was a child. I seem to remember it was fantastic stuff against mouth and gum trouble. Is it still available as a medicine? I haven’t seen any in donkey’s years, and I suspect the pharmacist wouldn’t even know what I was talking about if I were to ask…

  2. The other obnoxious one, for a different reason, is the gentian violet solution used for detecting fingerprints on sticky tape. That one’s obnoxious because it turns everything purple.

    I remember David Letterman getting into trouble at some point in the mid-80s when he called the Russian embassy and told the person on the phone that we put something “extra special” into the recent grain shipments which would turn their urine blue.

    Similar chemical?

  3. Gentian violet (also called crystal violet) solutions are still used topically as antifungals. They have some antibacterial activity, but are not a first choice for that any longer. The topical antiseptics of choice are rubbing alcohol and povidone iodine (betadine). For our own LTS purposes, I keep a lot of isopropanol, which is effective against most but not all microorganisms. I’d probably dissolve enough of a quaternary ammonium compound (think Lysol) in the isopropanol for skin disinfection.

    I never watched Letterman or any of the other late-night hosts other than Carson back in the 60’s and 70’s. I’m not sure what chemical he’s referring to, but the classic blue-urine chemical is methylene blue (also used as a disinfectant and biological stain).

  4. The topical antiseptics of choice are rubbing alcohol and povidone iodine (betadine). For our own LTS purposes, I keep a lot of isopropanol, which is effective against most but not all microorganisms.

    Regardless of effectiveness, preppers have turned Hibaclens and, sometimes, the Chlorhexidine generic into over-the-counter medications where we live in Texas. Making people ask for it at the pharmacy and stocking small bottles is the only way retailers can keep the products available for immediate medical needs.

    Interestingly, the last time we were in Walgreens, their Chlorhexidine was back on the shelf, available 24/7 in that store without a pharmacist on duty.

  5. A short blog essay.

    America Fuck Yeah!

    Thank you, sir, that made my Independence Day.

  6. @SteveF – WRT “America Fuck Yeah!”: fer sher, two thumbs up, and love it or leave it.

    Say, why are all those Hollyweird Types still here?

    And when Obuttwad steps off the plane from his “visit” with SKO he needs to be arrested for collaboration and sedition. Not Fake News.

  7. Did the kids’ annual Bike Parade this am, with hot dogs and watermelon in the park. Put on by the neighborhood association and the Moms Club. Kids had fun with the water balloon toss.

    Off to the pool for our second big ‘free day’ of the year, where we open the doors and host the neighborhood. Goal is to get new members, but it’s also nice for the neighbors.

    Currently 107F with 41%RH in my driveway, and officially 94F with a heat index of 105. My OSHA heat illness calculator app tells me that is HIGH risk for heat illness and I need to take extra steps. So I reviewed first aid and symptoms, and will probably make an announcement to the crowd later today. I’ll definitely be looking for it as I move around thru the crowd. I have at least twice saved a life by recognizing heat stroke and calling in medical help.

    Stay safe out there today fellas, watch for heat illness, watch for food-bourne illness. And avoid drunkenness. Should go without saying to avoid blowing off any body parts…

    Some may remember that I usually go to a mall parking lot to watch fire works with friends and that it offers a chance to exercise some preps. Not this year. That location did their fireworks on the first. JUST. NOT. RIGHT. don’t know what we’ll do with the kids tonight, but it shouldn’t involve crowds.

    Stay safe, but celebrate what we have, these are the good old days.

    nick

  8. “@SteveF – WRT “America Fuck Yeah!”: fer sher, two thumbs up, and love it or leave it.”

    Roger that & BIG 10-4, everybody!

    Full sun, 72F, and 30.00inHg here, N33.7077000° W118.041233°
    Picking cherry tomatoes in backyard.

  9. And remember, folks, to send a dollar to Steve. You’ll be glad you did.

    Fuck yeah.

    Though, as Gary North points out, we kinda had it pretty good when we were still a colony. A one percent tax rate? And the biggest siggie on the Declaration was from the biggest smuggler in the colonies. I bet we fuck yeah wish we had that one percent tax rate back.

    OTOH, Perfidious Albion is just that; they have a chit-ton of stuff to answer for throughout history and they’re not done yet. I say that with full disclosure being that I am 3/4 English, but we’ve been here in FUSA for 400 years. So I’m glad we cut them loose (twice) but gee whiz, that one percent tax, fuck yeah!

  10. Just had three ‘ penny dive.’ 50 kids diving in the pool to see who can bring up the most coins. Good fun.

  11. I went to the grocery store at 8:15 in the morning, in an attempt to avoid the hordes of tourists here for the holiday. There were a tolerable number of them, but of course all the delivery drivers / stock clerks were hustling to load the shelves to their limit. It was 87*F (31* for the rest of the world) according to the thermometer built into my car. Finally, it’s warm enough to work up a sweat when I’m outside doing something! I love summer weather. Of course, today I’m doing my best to stay away from the crowds, mostly because I spent all my life having to deal with them.

    [snip] is the gentian violet solution used for detecting fingerprints on sticky tape. That one’s obnoxious because it turns everything purple. It’s a very fine powder that wants to go everywhere, [snip]
    Suggestion: Line the inside of a small box with double sided tape. Do all of your bottle filling inside that box, and while wearing latex gloves. Once all the filling & wiping is done, remove the gloves and put the box into a trash bag. I learned this trick a long time ago, while dealing with another “stain everything it gets near” chemical whose name I don’t know (swimming pool dye). It didn’t wear off your skin quickly; neither did it *ever* come out of your clothes Like a chemistry student’s lab clothes, we had designated duds for that job.

  12. “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

    Thomas Jefferson

    Posted by a friend of mine of facecrack.

  13. Easy way to get caramel:
    Get a can of sweetened condensed milk. Remove label. Put on its side in a large pot of water, with the can at least 2 inches below surface of the water. Bring to a simmer. Check frequently to be sure there is at least 1 inch of water above top of can. Add boiling water as needed. Cook 2-3 hours to desired darkness level. Allow to cool completely before opening, otherwise hot dulce de leche may spray all over you. For a funkier taste, find sweetened condensed goat milk, that gives you cajeta.

  14. No corn? Aren’t they 100% high fructose corn syrup?

    Shoot, I think that even high fructose corn syrup is faked nowadays.

    But Brach’s Candy Corn is to die for. All the other candy corns suck wind.

  15. Shoot, I think that even high fructose corn syrup is faked nowadays.

    Nah. Too lucrative in terms of potential taxation. HFC is the new tobacco.

  16. “Easy way to get caramel:
    Get a can of sweetened condensed milk. Remove label. Put on its side in a large pot of water, with the can at least 2 inches below surface of the water. Bring to a simmer. Check frequently to be sure there is at least 1 inch of water above top of can. Add boiling water as needed. Cook 2-3 hours to desired darkness level. Allow to cool completely before opening, otherwise hot dulce de leche may spray all over you. For a funkier taste, find sweetened condensed goat milk, that gives you cajeta.”

    Huge 10-4!!!
    We have done this for decades and I just did this several weeks ago. Then we serve it over vanilla ice cream.

  17. A bit late but happy 241st!

    After all, if you aren’t Canadian, being American is almost as good.

    I was thinking (and reading), over the weekend, about how your civil war influenced the structure of the British North America Act which forms the basis our our constitution. It would appear to have worked reasonably well.

    All the same, best wishes!

  18. Shoot, I think that even high fructose corn syrup is faked nowadays.

    Nah. Too lucrative in terms of potential taxation. HFC is the new tobacco.

    And so is Climate Change and the oil companies. The state attorney generals and trial lawyers are going after Exxon. The case is slowly winding through the courts in New York State and elsewhere.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/31/business/energy-environment/exxon-shareholders-climate-change.html

    We really need to get junk science out of our court system. If Trump nominates four more SCOTUS judges then we have a fighting chance.

  19. A bit late but happy 241st!

    After all, if you aren’t Canadian, being American is almost as good.

    Thanks, we like you guys too. We’d better like each other, we’ve got the longest border in the world between the two of us.
    https://www.quora.com/Which-two-countries-share-longest-land-borders-with-each-other

    I hope that you will still like us when the Dollar fails. We might have some tough years after that. I figure that the world financial systems are going to suck as people figure out who to trust.

  20. Some discussion on USB cables. One brand to consider is Anker. There is a guy that works for Google that has been doing tests, with a USB test setup, of the cables available via Amazon. Lots don’t meet spec. One USB C cable was so bad, it blew out the USB3 port on his Chromebook.

    I now buy Anker cables – they are built like a tank. Their chargers all meet the new fast charging spec. Their USB batteries are pretty much the standard. They cost a bit more, but won’t blow out your ports.

  21. I second the rec from Mr. ech WRT Anker cables, +1,000. Highly recommended.

    And for any gun nut cranks and crackpots out there like me who grok decent videos on the various related subjects:

    full30.com

    All the good guys and some others I didn’t know about.

    Pax vobiscum, fratres; semper paratus

  22. Rolf wrote:

    “After all, if you aren’t Australian, being Canadian is almost as good.”

    There, FTFY.

  23. I now buy Anker cables

    I have several Anker products. Wall chargers, battery packs, cables. One charger I have has 6 USB charging ports. I take it when I travel to charge multiple devices at once with one charger. Works overseas without issues. Customer support is excellent. Anker is highly recommended.

  24. I have a bunch of Anker stuff, including a FLASHLIGHT. It all seems like good stuff.

  25. Y’all beat me to it, but I’ll mention my recommendations for Anker products too. Their fast charges are really fast, even on old products they seem to sense how fast a charge they can push. And the charge lasts. I have some other “clone” fast charger that charges fast, but as soon as you unplug it from the phone the phone’s charge drops 10%.

    ” If Trump nominates four more SCOTUS judges then we have a fighting chance.”

    Mentioning “Trump” and “fighting” in the same sentence is a major micro/macro-aggression and will send the “snowflakes” all-a-“twitter” and seeking a “safe-space”.

    The shelling stopped about 2200 last night. No major grass fires caused by fireworks, just cars rolling off the road.

    And then there was this:
    http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/article159622044.html

    A new Richland fire truck’s engine blew up destroying the truck and sparking a blaze along Interstate 82 Monday afternoon.

    The city purchased the truck about a month and a half ago, Battalion Chief Ron Duncan said. Before the fire department started using it, a firefighter drove it to a Dodge dealership in Hermiston for service.

    Problems started at about 5 p.m on his return trip, when the motor blew up, Duncan said. The truck lost power and brakes before the firefighter pulled to the side of the interstate near milepost 116, a couple miles east of Finley.

    The firefighter, who was traveling at normal highway speeds, did an amazing job stopping the truck, Duncan said.

    Flames from the engine compartment traveled to the field along the right side of the road. Wind pushed the fire into the median as well.

    In total about 15 acres of grass and brush burned before firefighters from Benton County fire districts 1, 2 and 4 extinguished it. … more follows…

  26. And then there was this:
    http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/article159622044.html

    A new Richland fire truck’s engine blew up destroying the truck and sparking a blaze along Interstate 82 Monday afternoon.

    These new diesel engine emission systems mandated by the EPA are dangerous. It could have been the particulate capture system burning off the accumulated soot or the DEF system reactor going crazy.

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