Change of address

21 02 2010

I found a better name and address for the blog, so it’s moving. This is the new URL:

http://investigationsblog.wordpress.com/

The stuff here will be around for a few weeks.





Re-roasting coffee beans

20 02 2010

My brother recently sent me some coffee (Kenya Peaberry¬†Thika Gethumbwini) that was supposed to be really good. For what it’s worth, it had a rating of 96 on coffeereview.com. I can’t vouch for the validity of those ratings, but surely the rating must mean something. Unfortunately, it turned out to be very sour, no matter what I did with the temperature and brewing time.

I’m not an expert in coffee flavors, but it also tasted kind of “planty” or “green” to me, and from the info I can find on the internet, this combination of factors suggests that the berries were possibly underripe when picked, and that perhaps they should have been roasted darker. I almost threw out the coffee, but then I had the bright idea of re-roasting them.

Supposedly the beans are supposed to get up to about 450-475 degrees inside, so I heated my cast iron dutch oven up to 500 degrees on the stove (an infrared thermometer was really handy here) and tossed in some beans. Then I turned the heat way down, covered, and stirred occasionally. I kept checking the temperature to make sure it didn’t get too hot. The beans occasionally crackled and jumped a little, and there was a bit of smoke. It smelled a little like burnt popcorn. The beans were on the stove for maybe 5-7 minutes. At the end, I poured them into a collander and shook them around to cool. Here’s a shot of some beans before and after:

Coffee before and second roasting

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Visualizing my net worth

19 02 2010

Today I decided to see my how my net worth would look next to Bill Gates’s net worth. According to Wikipedia, he has about 50 billion dollars, and made a rough guess that I had about 25 thousand (including savings and assets). According to these numbers, he has two million times as much money as I do.

In terms of distance, if his money was the length of a soccer field (100 meters), then mine would be 1/20th of a millimeter, or 50 microns.

.05 mm is barely visible on this vernier caliper.

This micrometer measures in inches (.05mm is just under .002"), and can open to a maximum of 1". You can just see the gap between the jaws.