Archive for March 1st, 2008
I’ve made this a couple of times recently.
In the small KitchenAid food processor bowl, put:
1 shallot, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
juice of 2-3 lemons
2-3 Tbsp tahini
1/4 c. pitted Saracena olives
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
a little olive oil
a little vinegar (I used sherry vinegar)
a few grindings of hot pepper (Aji Limon for me)
Process until smooth.
UPDATE: A reader wrote to say that bacon baskets are great to hold a freshly cooked cheese omelet. Brilliant! A cheese soufflé spooned out into a bacon basket, overflowing and spilling down the sides, would also work, I think.
“Shopping momentum” is an observed effect. The key is to avoid buying that first item, which triggers the effect. More from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business:
Have you ever walked into a store intending to pick up socks and come out with three bags full of splurges? So what’s the matter? Are you just a shopaholic with no self-control? Or could it be that you’re the victim of forces beyond your conscious awareness?
When such savvy marketing researchers as Uzma Khan of Stanford, Ravi Dhar of Yale, and Joel Huber of Duke noticed that shopping sometimes proceeded unchecked even in their own private domains, they decided to get to the bottom of things. Setting up a series of tests of purchasing behavior, they found that for most people buying that fateful first––and often innocent––item seems to open the purchasing floodgates. This realization, they say, has important implications for how stores are laid out as well as for understanding individual behavior.
In one of the field tests, student subjects were given the opportunity to buy some discounted items from the researchers as compensation for their participation. Some students initially were offered a light bulb, while others received something more relevant to their needs––an educational CD. The idea was to vary how likely people were to buy the first item. Naturally, those who received a light bulb were less likely to buy it compared to those who received the CD. All students then had the chance to buy a second item––a keychain.
Those who received the CD—the more relevant item—were much more likely also to buy the keychain. “That was the case even though the second item was completely unrelated to the first,” says Khan, assistant professor of marketing at the Business School. “It’s not like we offered chips followed by soda, which would naturally go together.”
Shopping is a two-stage process, say the researchers. In the first stage, people deliberate about a purchase, weighing cost and benefits, the degree to which they need the item, and so forth. But once the deliberation phase ends and the buying phase takes over, a subtle psychological mechanism comes into play. “People in this transition go from thinking from their mind to thinking from their cart. The cart takes over,” says Khan. “Once that happens, a roller coaster of shopping can begin.”
The purchase of an initial item creates what Khan and her associates call “shopping momentum.”
Popular Science has just gotten a scoop that I’ve been waiting for ages to see. Ultracapacitors, which are completely shunned by most auto companies, have been quietly continuing development at small companies and in universities all over the world. The reason they’ve been so largely ignored is that they hold so much less energy than batteries. The best commercially available ultracaps have about 5% of the energy density of batteries.
Yet they also have tremendous advantages. You can charge them all the way up and all the way down without damaging them (lithium ion batteries stop functioning when charged all the way down.) They contain no chemical reagents and so are thermally stable under all conditions. And they can charge and discharge much faster than batteries.
Popular Science was recently able to visit a lab at MIT working on advanced vehicle technologies. One of these technologies is a nano-tube ultracapacitor that could potentially hold half the charge of a lithium ion battery. And while this alone doesn’t sound all that exciting, it’s a lot cooler when you realize that most batteries in hybrid cars hardly ever use more than 20% of their charge in order to extend the batteries life.
That’s right, 80% of the battery just sits there and never discharges. Ultracapacitors could discharge completely, over and over again, and never need to be replaced.
Unfortunately, after two years of work, the nano-tube capacitors still haven’t hit their theoretical capacity. And while it might not take long for them to make capacitors that have competitive energy levels, it will certainly take years, if not decades, to scale the technology up to industrial level.