Later On

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Archive for June 8th, 2007

Alcohol proof

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Very confusing initially (see post below), but Wikipedia explains:


The European Union follows the recommendation of the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) which measures percentage of alcohol by volume at 20 °C.

British proof spirits

In Britain alcohol by volume is now used. This replaced the Sikes hydrometer system (based on proof spirit) which was used since 1816, although officially the Customs and Excise Act of 1952 defined “spirits of proof strength” (or proof spirits):

Spirits shall be deemed to be at proof if the volume of the ethyl alcohol contained therein made up to the volume of the spirits with distilled water has a weight equal to that of twelve-thirteenths of a volume of distilled water equal to the volume of the spirits, the volume of each liquid being computed as at fifty-one degrees Fahrenheit.

Previously, Clarke’s hydrometer had been used since the 1740s when Customs and Excise and London brewers and distillers began to use Clarke’s hydrometer.

In this system, spirit of 100 degrees proof contains 57.1% alcohol by volume or 49.28% alcohol by weight at 51 deg F (10.6 deg C) and is equivalent to 114.2 proof in the USA. Pure ethanol is 175 degrees proof. [1]

United States

In the definition current in the United States of America, the proof number is twice the percentage of the alcohol content measured by volume at a temperature of 60 °F (15.5 °C). Therefore “80 proof” is 40% alcohol by volume (most of the other 60% is water), and pure alcohol would be “200 proof”. If a 150-proof beverage is mixed half-and-half (by volume) with water, the product is 75 proof. US proof numbers are properly cited as, for instance, “86 proof,” not “86 degrees proof.” The use of the word “degrees” in this context is incorrect.

US Federal regulation (CFR 27 5.37 Alcohol Content) requires that liquor labels state the percentage alcohol by volume (sometimes abbreviated ABV). The regulations permit (but do not require) a statement of the proof as long as it is right next to the percentage alcohol by volume.

Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2007 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Drinks, Science

Plymouth is indeed a superior Martini gin

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Plymouth gin

I finally got a bottle of Plymouth gin—surprising how many liquor stores fail to stock it—and tried a Martini. As promised, it makes a superior Martini. Give it a go. Recipe here.

As it happens, I got “Original” Plymouth (82.4 proof), not the “Navy Strength” Plymouth (100% proof). According to the Plymouth site, the Navy Strength has a richer and more intense taste, while still being smooth. Certainly the Original is good, but now I want to try Navy Strength. The history of the brand shows that it has had a good recovery from a bad time.

One of the U.K.’s oldest alcoholic brands, favored by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Alfred Hitchcock and Ian Fleming.

Slashfood has an entry on Plymouth gin, and Googling will bring you more information.

Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2007 at 4:13 pm

Posted in Drinks

The US is disappearing children

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Via Glenn Greenwald, read this post about how the US is disappearing children. It begins:

Today, six human rights groups released a report (pdf) on 39 people who they think the US government might be holding in undisclosed locations, and whose location is presently unknown. (Thus, they are not counting anyone known to be at Guantanamo or Bagram; just people who are missing.) That we have disappeared anyone is shocking, and a violation of treaties we have signed and ratified.

This report has gotten a fair amount of play, but in all the coverage I’ve read, only the Philadelphia Inquirer has mentioned what is, to me, the most awful allegation: that we disappeared young children. The report (pp. 24-26) lists five groups of family members; those who are discussed at greatest length are the sons of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

In September 2002, Yusuf al-Khalid (then nine years old) and Abed al-Khalid (then seven years old) were reportedly apprehended by Pakistani security forces during an attempted capture of their father, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was successfully apprehended several months later, and the U.S. government has acknowledged that he was in the U.S. Secret Detention Program. He is presently held at Guantánamo Bay.

Much more at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2007 at 3:32 pm

Megs taking it easy on Friday

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Megs on Friday

Megs believes that one should take it easy on Friday afternoons. You can see that she’s back on the cozy cushion—this is after ignoring it for some weeks. A relaxed kitty.

Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2007 at 2:00 pm

Posted in Cats, Megs

Razor cleaning

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Ultrasonic cleaner

I bought an ultrasonic cleaner to clean my razors, both secondhand ones that have just arrived and ones in use that could use a cleaning. Based on advice from a member of the shaving forum, I looked for one whose power was 50 Watts or more. (Most of the consumer ultrasonic cleaners are 30-35 Watts.) I found this one, at 60 Watts. I found it through a Google search, selling at a “sale” price of $132.50. The guy on the shaving forum suggested I check eBay, and I found the same model there for a “buy-it-now” price of $60. Big difference.

Today I got around to using it. [Update: description revised – LG] I use tepid water from the tap, a little dishwashing detergent, and some white vinegar (to take care of calcium deposits from hard water).

UPDATE 3: I learned from a med tech that it works much better to use a fluid designed specifically for use in ultrasonic cleaners rather than ad hoc combinations that can impede the action. So I got one of these—specifically, this one. You add some to the tepid water (1 part solution to 6 parts water). There is a wide variety of such solutions, depending on the purpose. If you want, you can pre-soak the razors in a 1:4 vinegar water solution for an hour or two to loosen hard-water deposits, but that is probably not necessary.

Before putting the razors in, I run the unit for a minute to force dissolved gas from the water. Then I run each batch of razors for 8 minutes.

They come out sparkling clean—and the bottom of the cleaning tank is coated with sticky sludge. Extremely nice. The Wife will use it for cleaning jewelry (except for opals, pearls, emeralds, or any stone that has a crack or a chip—these the ultrasonic cleaner can damage or destroy). She has read that a little ammonia also works well in the cleaning water, though watch out for reactions with some metals. (E.g., will it darken silver? I don’t know.).

That said, the cleaning doesn’t really leave the item polished. There were a few discolorations on silo doors, and the plain metal surfaces weren’t quite bright enough. But a soft cloth and a little work with Maas paste polish and the razors looked like new. Very nice. Once clean they seemed to need no lubrication—the mechanisms of the TTO razors worked smoothly—but even if they had, a few drops of mineral oil would have done the trick.

NOTE: Hot water is not recommended because in some units the heat will weaken the bond that attaches the ultrasonic transducer to the steel pan. So use tepid water.

UPDATE: Now I feel a proper Charlie for paying $60 plus shipping. Someone pointed out that this vendor’s 60W ultrasonic cleaners seem to go for low bids. He got his for $35 SHIPPED! So you might want to check this vendor if you’re in the market. I have the cleaner at the link, and it’s quite good and includes the option of an 8-minute cleaning cycle, which so far has been ample.

Here are the vendor’s current auctions.

UPDATE 2: Brush cleaning in the ultrasonic cleaner:

 Use a few drops of toilet cleaner or some vinegar in the water. Then dip the brush into the water and hold it by hand – you don’t want to put the whole brush including the knot into the water as some bristles COULD get loose doing so. I leave about 1 cm space between the handle and the surface of the water and turn the cleaner on for about 5 minutes.

UPDATE 3 25 Sept 2019: We continue to use the ultrasonic cleaner routinely, The Wife using it primarily for jewelry and most recently for a silver bracelet. After running the bracelet through the ultrasonic cleaner, she removed tarnish using the method I describe in the Guide (and that you can find with a search): put the item in a pan with some baking soda and a sheet of aluminum foil and pour over them boiling water to cover and then let sit.

Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2007 at 1:47 pm

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

Interesting juxtaposition

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ThinkProgress has two adjacent items:

“Drought, a fixture in much of the West for nearly a decade, now covers more than one-third of the continental USA. And it’s spreading,” USA Today reports. “As summer starts, half the nation is either abnormally dry or in outright drought from prolonged lack of rain that could lead to water shortages.”

G8 countries backed down yesterday from their strong global warming stance, instead embracing Bush’s proposal to move toward unspecified “substantial cuts” in carbon emissions. The “agreement says the G-8 countries will ’seriously’ consider cutting emissions in half by 2050, but it sets no mandatory goals for all.”

Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2007 at 8:07 am

Ending the week on a high note

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:sigh: Tomorrow is the no-shaving day. Still, the week ends on a high note, with the lovely lather the Simpsons Duke 3 Best worked up from the Yardley shaving soap. Wonderful, thick lather, which I then removed with the Gillette NEW that has the open comb with sort of turned-down ends—my other Gillette NEW’s comb doesn’t turn down so far.

Finished the smooth and flawless shave with Mr. Taylor’s aftershave from TOBS. I really like that one.

UPDATE: Oh, wait: today’s Friday, not Saturday. One loses track sometimes. I get to shave again tomorrow! Oh, happy day!

Written by Leisureguy

8 June 2007 at 7:34 am

Posted in Shaving

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