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In my last post about Facebook I said that face-to-face human interaction was too precious to avoid using Facebook, but Marcella Proust wisely noted that she uses Facebook exactly because she doesn’t want to talk to people. She uses it to avoid people. Maybe I’m thinking about Facebook in the wrong way. No I haven’t changed my mind about joining, but it does seem to me that if face-to-face social interaction is taxing you can avoid it all together by using Facebook, or Twitter, or texting a friend rather than calling one.

I have to admit, I do text people on my phone for the very reason that I don’t want to talk to them. Usually because I fear rejection. It’s much better for me to read in a text that my friend is unavailable to do X rather than have to hear them come up with an excuse while I’m talking with them on the phone. I have good friends who wouldn’t necessarily do that — come up with a lame excuse — but the fear of that nonetheless drives me to use text instead of voice conversations.

In any case, these are just some random thoughts.

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Cars, babes and buildings that move. This is a weird video.

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La Bete Humaine

Jake and I are currently on a Jean Gabin kick. Of the films that we’ve seen are Pepe Le Moko, Port of Shadows, La Grande Illusion and La Bete Humaine.

Here is a clip from the beginning of La Bete Humaine. With virtually no dialogue it’s a great peak into the lives of rail engineers. Watch until 4:52.

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Trivia for the day

I was trying out another trivia place last night (Lockspot Cafe Mondays at 8 o’clock) when I came across what I thought was a very good question. Enjoy.

Name all of the twelve Gods of Olympus (Greek names only). Answers after the jump.

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Ultra-Pasteurization

Since we started to make cheese and butter, we pay more attention to whether the dairy products we buy are pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized. In Seattle, the organic brands tend to be pasteurized while everything else is ultra-pasteurized. This excludes Horizon Organic, a dubious organic brand in the first place, which unsurprisingly ultra-pasteurizes their product. So what’s the difference? As a cheesemaker it makes a big difference. Here’s Rikki Carroll’s take from her book Home Cheesemaking:

Scientists working for large coporations have figured out if you heat-treat milk to ultrahigh temperatures, you can keep it for a very long time prior to opening. This allows large milk companies to buy out the smaller ones and transport your milk all across the country and still get it to your table in all its dead glory.

This means it [ultra-pasteurized UP] is heated to 191 degrees F for at least 1 second, which destroys all organisms in the milk. It also gives milk a slightly cooked taste, like that of evaporated milk. The purpose of UP treatment is to give the product a greater shelf life. UP milk and cream will last at least 28 days, as long as they are refrigerated and not opened.

UP milk is less than ideal for home cheese making; the protein structure is damaged and the enzymes are destroyed. It has no real advantage as a fluid milk for the consumer but is convenient for the processor, who can buy less milk, transport it farther, and keep it on the shelf longer. It doesn’t even taste good. UP cream is nasty stuff that leaves a greasy film on coffee and is difficult to whip. Large processors market UP milk by pandering to people’s fears about food safety, though conventionally pasteurized milk and cream are perfectly safe.

I notice that pasteurized cream is even more difficult to find than pasteurized milk. I left a complaint with our local supermarket, which I love, because when I stopped by last week the shelves were filled with ultra-pasteurized product while all the pasteurized creams were completely bought out. I encouraged them to notice that their customers clearly prefer the pasteurized product.

Photo: Guernsey cow or calf lying on the ground from the Library of Congress flickr site.

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Here’s a convenient chart for you. To see the full chart, see Wikipedia.

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