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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My grandmother gave me naked man sketch by Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci sketch Study of human proportion

PHOTO: The "Study of human proportions" sketch seems to be very popular with graphic artists because it is often used by graphic artists in magazine advertisements and on TV. I doubt the only reason it is used so often is because it is not copyrighted and can be used for free. I clearly recall being excited by it as an adolescent boy when my grandmother first showed it to me in her art book collection that included the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), whose sexual orientation shows through in this drawing. The article Vitruvian Man (Wikipedia) says "The Vitruvian Man is a drawing created by Leonardo da Vinci circa 1490. . . . The drawing, which is in pen and ink on paper, depicts a male figure in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and simultaneously inscribed in a circle and square. The drawing and text are sometimes called the Canon of Proportions or, less often, Proportions of Man." (The book that my grandmother gave me was by Edward Maccurdy, "The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Arranged, rendered into English and introduced by Edward Maccurdy," George Braziller, 1955, first published by Reynald & Hitchcock, Inc. 1939. See p. 206-214 and between p. 416-417 for the figure Leonardo da Vinci human Proportions sketch and see previous post da Vinci's missing penis (4/29/06))

I was inspired to be a Renaissance man after reading the book and I was reminded about this artwork by the recent Leonardo da Vinci's 'Demons' TV show on Starz channel and article by Neal Broverman, "New Da Vinci Show Is Portrait of Renaissance Man's Man A new show reimagines Leonardo da Vinci's wild years, complete with sex and drugs," posted Apr. 12, 2013, printed as Advocate, "Renaissance Man's Man, A new show reimagines Leonardo da Vinci's wild years complete with sex and drugs," April-May 2013, p. 64 that said, "Leonardo Da Vinci was a sword-fighting, opium-smoking hunk who loved sex with beautiful women and men. Or at least he was in the mind of David S. Goyer, the creator of the new Starz drama Da Vinci's Demons, which premieres April 12. The eight-episode series explores the Renaissance-era inventor, engineer, and artist as a young man, with many soap opera flourishes that throw the chiseled rebel into all kinds of 15th-century intrigue. While many aspects of the show are revisionist, Da Vinci's fluid sexuality is not one of them. The world's most famous artist has long been thought gay or bisexual"

See previous posts:

Sous-vide cooking method for steaks and eggs

pan thermometer 136 degree water cooking steaks vacuum sealed in bags

PHOTO: Shown above is an example of a setup for doing the cooking technique called Sous-vide (See Wikipedia). The name is based on the French words for "under vacuum" because it is a method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags, using a hot water bath, for longer than normal cooking times, at an accurately regulated temperature that is much lower than normally used for cooking. In the photo above, two steaks were vacuum sealed in Food Saver brand plastic bags and cooked in a 136 degree Fahrenheit hot water bath for one to two hours on top of a steamer basket. After cooking, the steaks were removed from the plastic bags and thoroughly seared on the outside in a cast iron pan with a gas MAPP torch, which will provide the same texture and appearance of conventionally grilled steaks (warning: using a propane torch will leave a bad taste and so only MAPP gas should be used). The goal of sous-vide cooking is to keep the food juicer by evenly cooking the inside to a safe temperature, hot enough to kill harmful substances, while not overcooking the outside.

Sous-vide cooking is exhaustively documented by the $625 book by Chris Young, Maxime Bilet, "Modernist Cuisine: Techniques and equipment," Cooking Lab, 2011. This book was followed by a smaller, less expensive edition priced at $140 by Nathan Myhrvold and Maxime Bilet, "Modernist Cuisine at Home," Cooking Lab, Oct, 2012. The co-author Nathan Myhrvold (born 1959), is a former Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft who has become an amateur enthusiast of sous-vide cooking.

 steaks were removed from the plastic bags and thoroughly seared on the outside in a cast iron pan with a gas MAPP torch

PHOTO: close up of the sous-vide cooking of two steaks, which have been vacuum sealed in Food Saver brand plastic bags, on top of a red steamer basket in a pan of hot water that is carefully regulated to be at 136 degrees Fahrenheit for one to two hours. After cooking, the steaks were removed and thoroughly seared on the outside in a cast iron pan using a gas MAPP torch, which will provide the same texture and appearance of conventionally grilled steaks (warning: using a propane torch will leave a bad taste and so only MAPP gas should be used). The goal of sous-vide cooking is to keep the food juicer by evenly cooking the inside to a safe temperature, hot enough to kill harmful substances, while not overcooking the outside.

Escalating beef prices and the various cuts of meats was documented in a short article by Peter S. Green and Esme E. Deprez with Ryan Sutton, "Food Chain: High steaks for beef eaters," BusinessWeek print edition, Sep. 3-9, 2012, p. 16. Also see the related article by Peter S. Green and Esme E. Deprez, "Peter Luger Steak Prices May Soar as Drought Culls Herds" BusinessWeek, posted Aug. 21, 2012

The same lower temperature cooking technique can also be used to do whole eggs, which can be put in the hot water bath, without the need to vacuum seal them in a bag, at 175 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes when you can turn off the heat, let it stand for 5 minutes before putting it in a cold water bath. The eggs will get perfectly hardboiled without and discoloration inside and no sulfur smell as you get when you normally hard boil an egg.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Low vision cable TV uDTA remote and wall mounted flat panel HDTV replaces 20-year-old ceiling mounted CRT TV

Comcast Xfinity Motorola uDTA box and remote control for low vision

PHOTO: a new Comcast Xfinity cable TV Motorola uDTA (universal digital transport adaptor or digital to analog convertor) is shown next to its new XR2 remote control and the old DTA remote control, including a version that was designed for use by viewers with low vision (right). The new uDTA is sometimes called a micro-DTA or μDTA when using the small Greek letter mu that is a standard prefix denoting micro units, such as micrometers, in the international Metric system. The new remote control buttons have less contrast and smaller print than the old one, making it much harder to see, and so I asked to keep the old one. I was pleasantly surprised when the clerk offered to also give me one of the low vision remotes, which I had seen on the Comcast Web site and had inquired about before, but I had never been able to get one in the past. Comcast is now requiring all cable subscribers use a full-sized cable box or the new Motorola uDTA (micro or universal digital transport adapter). This box is a newer version of the old cable TV DTA box that Comcast required non-limited basic cable customers start using five years ago. CableCARD tuners and unscrambled QAM tuners have been partially supported, but never fully, by cable TV providers. The new uDTA appears to be supporting more channels, including HDTV channels that the old DTA box was unable to display because it only had an analog RF output, unlike the new uDTA box that also has an HDMI digital HDTV output cable. (See previous posts Comcast kills analog cable TV in Portland (12/12/08), Comcast unscrambled QAM channels (6/19/09), and Comcast adds 29 HD channels -- kinda (3/4/09))

Comcast Xfinity Motorola uDTA box and remote control for low vision

PHOTO: an amazingly still working, twenty-year-old Sony Trinitron CRT TV set, with a 20-inch diagonal 400 lines of resolution screen, is shown ceiling mounted (left) shortly before it was recently replaced by a new wall mounted 32-inch diagonal flat panel Samsung LCD HDTV with LED backlight and 1920 by 1080 pixel display. It receives either standard free digital ATSC HDTV over-the-air or digital cable TV when it is connected with a HDMI input able to the uDTA cable box. Even when the uDTA able box's stupid default setting of 720p is changed to 1080i to see more display resolution, the over-the-air HDTV pictures are still noticeably better in sharpness and color range because it appears the cable TV company is digitally compressing the TV signal further to squeeze in more channels to the bandwidth they have available. Their only other competition, satellite TV, appears to be even more compressed than Comcast Cable. Few people have noticed the picture quality differences because there are so many variables that it makes any side by side comparisons very difficult to do accurately. Even with my low vision blindness, I can stand close to the TV and see the difference in picture quality and most people can after you point it out to them. The Sony CRT pictured was a very expensive model designed to be more durable for commercial use, such as for continuously on airport monitors, etc. Sony TV sets built for consumers often lasted less than 7 years due to their high voltage circuitry or relays failing due to arcing. The new flat panel TV sets have different failure modes and it will be interesting to see when and how they fail. I must be an optimist, despite medical evidence to the contrary, I am planning on living another twenty years to see if the Samsung LCD is still working after 20 years as the Sony has done! See previous posts Sony TV CRT ceiling mount circa 1994 still in use (12/10/11), Jetsons flying car in 1962 and World's Fair kitchen of the future in 2011 (3/1/11) and HP wall mount touch computer wet dream fulfilled 30 years later (10/12/10)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The wisdom of crowds - politicians stampede to right side of history on gay marriage

Politicians stampeding to the right side of history on gay marriage in Chan Lowe's political cartoon Oregonian Apr. 7, 2013, p. B9

PHOTO: An example of the "wisdom of crowds" stampeding to support gay marriage and be on the "right side of history," as seen in a political cartoon by Chan Lowe, "Congress and gay marriage," posted Apr. 3, 2013 and printed in the Oregonian, April, 7, 2013, p. B9. An unrelated book review also said, "'What Do You Care What Other People Think?' is a book by the late physicist Richard Feynman, who cared at least a little. If one of the most independent minds of the 20th century was swayed by others' impressions, it's no surprise the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are, too." (See Editorial, "Bloomberg View, Bloomberg View: Gay Marriage and the Wisdom of Crowds," Bloomberg BusinessWeek, April 1-7, 2013, p. 12, posted online Mar. 28, 2013)

I've always enjoyed hearing about both the practical and theoretical theories of crowds as analyzed by Richard Feynman. At the risk of sounding too negative or cynical, I have also learned over the years that the wisdom of crowds can be very wrong and it can also take decades to change a crowd's mind, but when a crowd actually changes opinion it can appear to be very quick to an unobservant viewer. Of course, gay marriage has been being discussed for more than half a century and so from my perspective, any changes in the "wisdom of crowds" concerning gay marriage will have been a long time in coming. See my previous posts:

In the last few weeks my muscles and vision have deteriorated further and so it has become even harder for me to do anything quickly, including what disability specialists, lawyers and doctors like to call the "activities of daily living." However, I continue to be grateful for all of the help I am receiving and I am also happy to report that I do not need anything more at this time, except of course a miracle cure, which I hope doesn't sound too greedy of me!