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Food and Geology?!

 
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trilobyte



Joined: 31 Jul 2005
Posts: 39
Location: Athens, Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:50 pm    Post subject: Food and Geology?! Reply with quote

I’m a geologist and a member of the Geological Society of America. Last week I received in the mail my monthly issue of GSA Today, a newsletter with society announcements and advertisements. However, it always has one scientific article as the “cover story”. I was intrigued and delighted to see a very culinary title for this month’s GSA Today article – The long-term strength of continental lithosphere: “jelly sandwich” or “crème brûlée”? And of course, the lead author is French! If anyone is interested in reading the article, follow the link below and you can read the article online or download a pdf Print Version of the original. Of course, it is a somewhat technical article on the strength of the Earth’s crust and not a masterpiece of culinary literature. I just thought I would share some of my nerdiness with you all.

http://www.gsajournals.org/gsaonline/?request=get-document&doi=10.1130/1052-5173(2006)016%3C4:TLTSOC%3E2.0.CO;2

PS – the authors’ end conclusion is that the Earth’s crust is probably not a crème brûlée, this makes me a little sad.
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understood the article since it is related to my field of fluid mechanics and mechanical engineering. Anyway, that's for the link Trilobyte.

I'm retiring today. I've got an exit interview with HR in 45 minutes, and then I'm out.

Turned 46 last December, and I realize I've been working or in school continuously since I was 16. So, 30 years of work with no more than 2 weeks off in a row.

I think I'll enjoy retirement. Still hope to read and contribute to C&Z.
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool. Thanks trilobyte!

I also studied geology (essential for archeaology in Australia) and so I don't think it is nerdy at all.... kind of funky and cool really..... maybe I am a nerd too ? Shocked

Hmmm, creme brulee.... interesting and delicious concept....


Sarape. Congratulations on the start of your retirement! Hope it turns out to be everything that you want it to be. Pucker up and catch the big cyber smooch heading over to wish you well... Wink Laughing
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If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
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Genevelyn



Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 1
Location: Richmond, VA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 7:06 pm    Post subject: Food and Geology: Mohs hardness scale Reply with quote

I've been trying to come up with a gastronomic equivalent to the Mohs scale of hardness, perhaps you have some thoughts on this.
For example, fingernails are 2.5 on the Mohs scale. A culinary equivalent of fingernails are gizzards; which are composed of the same keratinous material as finernails. Do you have suggestions for filling in the rest of the scale?
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trilobyte



Joined: 31 Jul 2005
Posts: 39
Location: Athens, Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sarape, congratulations on your retirement! I really hope you are enjoying your first weekend! Do you have any idea of what you’re going to do now? I assume you don’t want to solve fluid mechanic problems with you new found free time!

Debbie, I’m glad you liked the article. Plate tectonics is not my cup of tea but I was very excited to see the culinary allusion. I’m actually more closely allied to your field of archaeology. I’m working on a Ph.D. in paleontology. And … I wear my nerdiness on my sleeve, and I think the world would be a much better place if there were more nerds (although not necessarily all science nerds!)

Genevelyn, I am very impressed by your attempt at a culinary hardness scale. I would definitely have to think about it more and of course get out my scratch plates to come up with a final scale, but I have come up with a list of “culinary” minerals, which can serve as a start.

    Kaolinite H = 2
    Halite H = 2.5
    Aragonite H = 3.5 – 4
    Apatite H = 5
    Hardened Steel H = 7+


Kaolinite is a white clay mineral present in many food products. The most infamous use, in my mind, is fast food milkshakes. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of consuming a milkshake (or anything else) at McDonalds your shake may have been warm, yet still “frozen”. This is because they don’t actually have milk, the shakes are a slurry of kaolinite and sugar. Kaolinite is actually one of the major exports in Georgia (the state where I live) and bags of kaolinite can actually be purchased at gas stations in central Georgia near the mining towns. Apparently it’s taken to help with weight loss. For sure, it’s calorie-less (and nutrition-less), but bedsides depriving one’s body of sustenance I really think it will only serve to clog one’s plumbing. Moving on … halite is salt and familiar to all. Aragonite (calcium carbonate) is the mineral that most mollusk shells are composed of. And although I don’t think most people eat mollusk shells, they are quite familiar to epicureans. Apatite (calcium phosphate) is the mineral of which most vertebrate bones are composed. Again not recommended for eating and it should be noted that cooking will reduce the hardness. Finally, hardened steel, which is not a mineral, is familiar because most good knives are steel.

The culinary hardness scale, I think, should be given a name other than moh’s, and should probably be rescaled. The moh’s hardness scale ranges from 1 to 10. However, since out teeth are apatite and have a moh’s hardness of 5, it is really not recommended that we eat items harder than 5. Thus, I propose that we rename and rescale the culinary hardness scale. Any suggestions? And of course, we should add some more not mineral items, (e.g. raw carrots, egg shells, crème brûlée crust, sugar). I’ll work on it.

I think I’m too excited about this!!
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2006 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for the good retirement wishes. This is my first official day of retirement and so far, I think it really feels right. I am now noticing that I'm taking the time to do little things properly and not worrying about getting something done right now or even today.

For example, normally I cook on Sunday for the rest of the week. Well, I only did about half of normal yesterday since I can cook during the week.

Also noticed that I'm taking more time and doing all the things right and patiently. Little things like filing bills, or putting away items like batteries, sunglasses, keys, extension cords, etc. Normally I would rush or throw it in a box, now I'm ordering my life properly.

Anyway, it all feels real good after one day.

Hope to be staying active with Chocolate and Zucchini. This is one of the nicest places I've found on the internet.
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