🎧 This Week in Google #394: Tartigrade Feeding Time

Listened to This Week in Google #394: Tartigrade Feeding Time by Leo Laporte, Jeff Jarvis, Stacey Higginbotham from twit.tv

No more Pixel laptops. Google's confusing Android Messages strategy hinges on RCS. Uber sued by Waymo and women, and yelled at by its own drivers. Amazon S3 outage. Is posting on Facebook a Constitutional right? YouTube's streaming TV service. Boston Dynamics' Handle robot, robot-made pizza, and Pizza Hut-ordering shoes.

Stacey's Thing: Bond IR appliance controller
Jeff's Number: YouTube streams more than 1 billion hours of video every day
Leo's Pick: Bill Gates' David S. Pumpkins-esqu Reddit AMA announcement

How have I missed David S. Pumpkins all this time?

🎧 The Secret Emotional Life of Clothes | Invisibilia (NPR)

Listened to The Secret Emotional Life of Clothes from Invisibilia (NPR)

Do clothes have the power to transform us? Lulu and Hanna bring us seven stories that explore how clothes can change us in quiet but surprising ways. We have help from Yowei Shaw, Chenjerai Kumanyika and Colin Dwyer.

Awesome little episode. Clothes are highly visible, but their true effect is deeply hidden. They could probably do an episode like this on make up as well.

Glasses, hoodies, lab coats, shoes (or lack thereof), and a Nazi shirt have never been so interesting.

The story about the man dressing as a woman was possibly the most intriguing.

🎧 A computer learns about ingredients and recipes | Eat This Podcast

Listened to A computer learns about ingredients and recipes by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast


Perhaps you've heard about IBM's giant Watson computer, which dispenses ingredient advice and novel recipes. Jaan Altosaar, a PhD candidate at Princeton University, is working on a recipe recommendation engine that anyone can use.

download

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS | More
Support this podcast: on Patreon

Back in February I had retweeted something interesting from physicist and information theorist Michael Nielsen:

I found the article in it so interesting, there was some brief conversation around it and I thought to recommend it to my then new friend Jeremy Cherfas, whose Eat This Podcast I had just recently started to enjoy. Mostly I thought he would find it as interesting as I, though I hardly expected he’d turn it into a podcast episode. Though I’ve been plowing through back episodes in his catalog, fortunately this morning I ran out of downloaded episodes in the car so I started streaming the most recent one to find a lovely surprise: a podcast produced on a tip I made.

While he surely must have been producing the episode for some time before I started supporting the podcast on Patreon last week, I must say that having an episode made from one of my tips is the best backer thank you I’ve ever received from a crowd funded project.

Needless to say, I obviously found the subject fascinating. In part it did remind me of a section of Herve This’ book The Science of the Oven (eventually I’ll get around to posting a review with more thoughts) and some of his prior research which I was apparently reading on Christmas Day this past year. On page 118 of the text This discusses the classic French sauces of Escoffier’s students Louis Saulnier and Theodore Gringoire [1] and that a physical chemical analysis of them shows there to be only twenty-three kinds. He continues on:

A system that I introduced during the European Conference on Colloids and Interfaces in 2002 [2] offers a new classification, based on the physical chemical structure of the sauce. In it, G indicates a gas, E an aqueous solution, H a fat in the liquid state, and S a solid. These “phases” can be dispersed (symbol /), mixed (symbol +), superimposed (symbol θ), included (symbol @). Thus, veal stock is a solution, which is designated E. Bound veal stock, composed of starch granules swelled by the water they have absorbed, dispersed in an aqueous solution, is thus described by the formula (E/S)/E.

This goes on to describe in a bit more detail how the scientist-cook could then create a vector space of all combinations of foods from a physical state perspective. A classification system like this could be expanded and bolted on top of the database created by Jaan Altosaar and improved to provide even more actual realistic recipes of the type discussed in the podcast. The combinatorics of the problem are incredibly large, but my guess is that the constraints on the space of possible solutions is brought down incredibly in actual practice. It’s somewhat like the huge numbers of combinations the A, C, T, and Gs in our DNA that could be imagined, yet only an incredibly much smaller subset of that larger set could be found in a living human being.

Small World

The additional byproduct of catching this episode was that it finally reminded me why I had thought the name Jaan Altosaar was so familiar to me when I read his article. It turns out I know Jaan and some of his previous work. Sometime back in 2014 I had corresponded with him regarding his fantastic science news site Useful Science which was just then starting. While I was digging up the connection I realized that my old friend Sol Golomb had also referenced Jaan to me via Mark Wilde for some papers he suggested I read.

References

[1]
T. Gringoire and L. Saulnier, Le répertoire de la cuisine. Dupont et Malgat, 1914.
[2]
H. This, “La gastronomie moléculaire,” Sci Aliments, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 187–198, 2003 [Online]. Available: http://sda.revuesonline.com/article.jsp?articleId=2577 [Source]

🎧 How much does a nutritious diet cost? | Eat This Podcast

Listened to How much does a nutritious diet cost? by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast
You can eat a perfectly nutritious diet for a lot less money than the US government says you need. But would you want to?

Jeremy Cherfas interviews Parke Wilde, an agricultural economist at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston.


download

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS | More
Support this podcast: on Patreon

I love that Jeremy raises the question of preparation time in discussing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It’s something that doesn’t seem most people would consider, but which in the modern world has become a major consideration. To some extent a lot of the growth of obesity in the U.S. is as a result of people going to restaurants and eating less healthy food out, but justifying it for the savings in time and the general convenience.

Some of this discussion reminds me of a talk I saw back in August by Sam Polk, co-founder and CEO of Everytable, a for-profit social enterprise that sells fresh, healthy ready-to-eat meals affordable for all, and founder and Executive Director of Groceryships, a Los Angeles non-profit working at the intersection of poverty and obesity. He was also the author of the book For the Love of Money: A Memoir of Family, Addiction, and a Wall Street Trader’s Journey to Redefine Success.

As I’m listening, I’m curious what these types of programs look like in other countries? How does the U.S. compare? Do those countries leverage the same types of research and come up with similar plans or are they drastically different? I’m thrilled that in the very last line of the episode, Jeremy indicates that he may explore this in the future.

I’ll also guiltily admit that while listening to this episode, I was snacking on M&M chocolate candies while drinking a sugary supplemented beverage. Perhaps I’ll pay my penance later by baking a fresh loaf of bread.

🎧 Food and status | Eat This Podcast

Listened to Food and status from Eat This Podcast


Food has always been a marker of social status, only today no elite eater worth their pink Himalayan salt would be seen dead with a slice of fluffy white bread, once the envy of the lower orders.

Jeremy Cherfas interviews Rachel Laudan


download

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS | More
Support this podcast: on Patreon

Interesting to think about the shifts of food stuffs between the upper and lower classes over time.

I half expected some discussion of dentition and bone studies, but this was a bit more broadly historical in scope. I always loved the studies of civilizations around 12,000 years ago at the dawn of the agricultural age and the apparently terrible ravaging effects of settling down and living off of of agriculture rather than hunting and gathering.

🎧 Sugar and salt: Industrial is best | Eat This Podcast

Listened to Sugar and salt: Industrial is best by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast

Henry Hobhouse’s book Seeds of Change: Five Plants That Transformed Mankind (now six, with the addition of cacao) contains the remarkable fact that at the height of the slave trade a single teaspoon of sugar cost six minutes of a man’s life to produce. Reason enough to cheer the abolition of slavery, I suppose. But that doesn’t mean that everything is sweetness and light in the business of sugar. Or salt. A photo gallery in The Big Picture made that very clear, and inspired Rachel Laudan, a food historian, to write in praise of industrial salt and sugar.

Sugar and salt: Industrial is bestSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS | More Support this podcast: on Patreon

🎧 Early agriculture in eastern North America | Eat This Podcast

Listened to Early agriculture in eastern North America by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast
The Fertile Crescent, the Yangtze basin, Meso America, South America: those are the places that spring to mind as birthplaces of agriculture. Evidence is accumulating, however, to strengthen eastern North America’s case for inclusion. Among the sources of evidence, coprolites, or fossil faeces. Fossil human faeces. And among the people gathering the evidence Kris Gremillion, Professor of Anthropology at Ohio State University. She was kind enough to talk to me on the phone, and I made a silly mistake when I recorded it, so please bear with me on the less than stellar quality. I hope the content will see you through. And I’ll try not to let it happen again.

coprolite research
Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS | More
Support this podcast: on Patreon

This is the great kind of stuff more food shows should be covering!

🎧 Sugar and salt: Industrial is best | Eat This Podcast

Listened to Sugar and salt: Industrial is best by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast

Henry Hobhouse’s book Seeds of Change: Five Plants That Transformed Mankind (now six, with the addition of cacao) contains the remarkable fact that at the height of the slave trade a single teaspoon of sugar cost six minutes of a man’s life to produce. Reason enough to cheer the abolition of slavery, I suppose. But that doesn’t mean that everything is sweetness and light in the business of sugar. Or salt. A photo gallery in The Big Picture made that very clear, and inspired Rachel Laudan, a food historian, to write in praise of industrial salt and sugar.

Industrial food processing sketch

Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS | More Support this podcast: on Patreon

We often don’t know how lucky we are to live in the modern highly linked world. The concept of industrialized foods like salt and sugar and their prior histories will certainly bring our situation into high relief. The history here and its broad effects could certainly be fit into the broader category of big history as well.

🎧 This Week in Google 392: Buried in the Common Area

Listened to This Week in Google 392: Buried in the Common Area from twit.tv
DeepMind learns to be aggressive as it gets smarter. Verizon reintroduces unlimited data. Leo reviews the Samsung Chromebook Plus. Amazon releases a Skype competitor called Chime. Space X will launch over 4,000 satellites to cover the world in broadband internet. Google Fiber is back. Bill Gates is the nicest man on Earth. Recorded February 15, 2017

Jeff's Number: 120 Million children's lives saved
Stacey's Thing: Pew report on Algorithms
Leo's Tool: Keybase Chat

The story about DeepMind learning to be aggressive as it gets smarter is quite interesting and could provide an interesting model of larger interconnected societies. Smaller groups require more civility while larger may not. The question is how to interconnect groups to help cut down on the aggressiveness. Perhaps some of the network ideas in the toy mathematical models from Stuart Kauffman could be useful here? This could be a very interesting problem to work on.

🎧 This Week in Google 391: Probe Placement Problem

Listened to This Week in Google 391: Probe Placement Problem from twit.tv
The LG Sport and Style, the first Android 2.0 watches, come out this week. ACLU Amazon Dash Button. Vizio TV settles with FTC for $2.2 million over secret viewer tracking. House passes email privacy act. Facebook filters fake news in France. Google and H&M team up to design dresses.

Stacey's Things: Sergeant Tabata and Logitec ZeroTouch with Alexa
Jeff's Number: 1003 Meetups
Leo's Tool: Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special on Netflix

https://youtu.be/9hQklVVOrh0

🎧 This Week in Google 390: Bacon Shortage

Listened to This Week in Google 390: Bacon Shortage from twit.tv
Bacon reserves at a 50 year low. Our picks for the best tech billionaires' apocalypse bunker islands. Musical Trump tweets. Club Penguin shuts down. Super scary walking robots with wheels. Facebook de-verifies God. Google beats Q4 estimates; Facebook stomps all over them. Released: Feb 1st 2017

Jeff's Number: 97% of voice apps are used for one week
Stacey's Thing: Flash Forward Podcast
Leo's Tool: June Oven

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNqBVUJSk84

🎧 This Week in Google 389: Ajit Prop

Listened to This Week in Google 389: Ajit Prop from twit.tv
Guests: Mathew Ingram
Trump's new Chairman of the FCC and the implications for net neutrality. Oscar nominations announced, a first for Amazon. Vine is dead, but you can still watch them. Google I/O and speculation about possible announcements. Dropcam's co-founder jumps ship and is headed to Apple. Elon Musk has a possible new venture. Samsung and LG report earnings. What phone does Trump use at night and how secure is it?

Jeff's Number: How Many Ads -- including for fake news -- Google killed in 2016
Stacy's Thing: Eve Light Switch
Matthew's Pick: 60DB

Playing a bit of catch up…

There’s a particularly nice discussion of the potential future of net neutrality here. Surprisingly Leo sounds hopeful about the whole thing.

🎧 This Week in the IndieWeb February 10 – 17, 2017 (audio edition!)

Listened to This Week in the IndieWeb February 10 - 17, 2017 (podcast) by Marty McGuire from martymcgui.re
Audio edition for This Week in the IndieWeb for February 10th - 17th, 2017
Thinking about doing this as a regular thing, if I can get the production time down. Feedback welcome!
I just ran across this podcast and it’s totally awesome!

I’ve been thinking a lot since just before IndieWebCamp LA of creating a podcast for the IndieWeb movement, but sadly haven’t been able to carve out the time to make it happen. Things have been coming to a proverbial boil lately as I’ve been thinking about podcasts/IndieWeb more and listening to back episodes of fellow IndieWebber Jeremy Cherfas‘ excellent food podcast Eat This Podcast. The trouble is that he makes doing fantastic little podcasts seem all too easy in part because of how effortless his seem to be while still maintaining a production quality level of major content producers like NPR.

I had imagined doing a short interview version with individual people in the IndieWeb world to see what they’ve been up to, what they’re working on, and examples of how they’ve gotten things working. In some sense I also wanted it to be a mini-history that highlights the personal stories of the people based movement. (If anyone is interested in being interviewed, let me know and perhaps it’ll motivate me, and possibly others, to get it off the ground.)

But the ever-resourceful Marty Mcguire has obviously been thinking about the intersection as well. His take revolves around the weekly IndieWeb newsletter [subscribe] and covers not only the highlights, but he delves into the seemingly inconsequential individual changes in the wiki and to an even greater level helps to uncover some of the most worthwhile gems hiding within the growing number of links. What a fantastic resource! It doesn’t seem like it’s got a dedicated, subscribe-able RSS feed (yet), but the page does have an h-feed and Marty helpfully tags them on his site. As Aaron Parecki points out, one can also use Huffduffer to create an RSS feed if necessary.

🎧 Podcast Directories | Why Can’t We … ?

Listened to Podcast Directories from Why Can't We ... ?, August 19, 2016
Every year there are millions of podcasts published by tens of thousands of people in hundreds of languages, yet there are really just three podcast directories where people are able to go and look for new shows to enjoy. The vast majority of podcast players will read a directory listing from iTunes in order to provide the most comprehensive search, but none seem particularly good at recommending shows. Given how just about every other service we use online has some sort of algorithm in place to show us music, movies, TV shows, advertisements, and social accounts we might be interested in, why is podcast discovery still such a complicated endeavour?

There are obviously a lot of problems with the podcast ecosystem, and primary among them is podcast discovery and curation. I really wish there were more people working on this problem. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an indieweb solution?

It also makes me wonder what happened to audio platforms like Seesmic, Audioboo.fm, and Cinchcast which made uploading audio pretty simple, though I suppose that there wasn’t much of an audience for that type of audio, in part because the production value and actual content often wasn’t very good. Perhaps things like Soundcloud or streaming video/audio services like UStream have replaced them, but for any kind of bandwith, the cost of hosting goes up, but this also has the economic value of making the quality go up because it requires a bigger investment in production too.

🎧 Spam: a special edition | Eat This Podcast

Listened to Spam: a special edition by Jeremy Cherfas from Eat This Podcast
I did not know that that the famous Monty Python spam sketch was recorded on 6 June 1970. At least, that’s the claim of a Tumblr obsessed with Minnesota in the 1970s. (Wikipedia says only that “[i]t premiered on 15 December 1970”.) However, I need no encouragement to share a programme on Spam that I made for BBC Farming Today back in 1997, a programme that was both very well received and a blast to make. the people at Hormel couldn’t have been nicer, and the butterfly spam balls weren’t bad either.

Monty Python and Spam
Subscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS | More
Support this podcast: on Patreon

There’s so much more to spiced ham than one could have ever thought. It’s not only a great slice of Americana, but there’s some science and interesting economics behind the things that go into making it. Both a fun and fascinating episode.