Later On

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Archive for March 7th, 2021

Racism and voter suppression: They continue because the Republican party embraces the first and depends on the second to win

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Heather Cox Richardson provides the backstory of what we are witnessing now in Georgia:

Black Americans outnumbered white Americans among the 29,500 people who lived in Selma, Alabama, in the 1960s, but the city’s voting rolls were 99% white. So, in 1963, Black organizers in the Dallas County Voters League launched a drive to get Black voters in Selma registered. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a prominent civil rights organization, joined them.

In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, but it did not adequately address the problem of voter suppression. In Selma, a judge had stopped the voter registration protests by issuing an injunction prohibiting public gatherings of more than two people.

To call attention to the crisis in her city, Amelia Boynton, who was a part of the Dallas County Voters League but who, in this case, was acting with a group of local activists, traveled to Birmingham to invite Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., to the city. King had become a household name after the 1963 March on Washington where he delivered the “I Have a Dream” speech, and his presence would bring national attention to Selma’s struggle.

King and other prominent members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference arrived in January to press the voter registration drive. For seven weeks, Black residents tried to register to vote. County Sheriff James Clark arrested almost 2000 of them for a variety of charges, including contempt of court and parading without a permit. A federal court ordered Clark not to interfere with orderly registration, so he forced Black applicants to stand in line for hours before taking a “literacy” test. Not a single person passed.

Then, on February 18, white police officers, including local police, sheriff’s deputies, and Alabama state troopers, beat and shot an unarmed 26-year-old, Jimmie Lee Jackson, who was marching for voting rights at a demonstration in his hometown of Marion, Alabama, about 25 miles northwest of Selma. Jackson had run into a restaurant for shelter along with his mother when the police started rioting, but they chased him and shot him in the restaurant’s kitchen.

Jackson died eight days later, on February 26. The leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Selma decided to defuse the community’s anger by planning a long march—54 miles– from Selma to the state capitol at Montgomery to draw attention to the murder and voter suppression. Expecting violence, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee voted not to participate, but its chair, John Lewis, asked their permission to go along on his own. They agreed.

On March 7, 1965, the marchers set out. As they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, named for a Confederate brigadier general, Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, and U.S. senator who stood against Black rights, state troopers and other law enforcement officers met the unarmed marchers with billy clubs, bull whips, and tear gas. They fractured John Lewis’s skull, and beat Amelia Boynton unconscious. A newspaper photograph of the 54-year-old Boynton, seemingly dead in the arms of another marcher, illustrated the depravity of those determined to stop Black voting.

Images of “Bloody Sunday” on the national news mesmerized the nation, and supporters began to converge on Selma. King, who had been in Atlanta when the marchers first set off, returned to the fray.

Two days later, the marchers set out again. Once again, the troopers and police met them at the end of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, but this time, King led the marchers in prayer and then took them back to Selma. That night, a white mob beat to death a Unitarian Universalist minister, James Reeb, who had come from Massachusetts to join the marchers.

On March 15, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed a nationally televised joint session of Congress to ask for the passage of a national voting rights act. “Their cause must be our cause too,” he said. “[A]ll of us… must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.” Two days later, he submitted to Congress proposed voting rights legislation.

The marchers remained determined to complete their trip to Montgomery, and when Alabama’s governor, George Wallace, refused to protect them, President Johnson stepped in. When the marchers set off for a third time on March 21, 1,900 members of the nationalized Alabama National Guard, FBI agents, and federal marshals protected them. Covering about ten miles a day, they camped in the yards of well-wishers until they arrived at the Alabama State Capitol on March 25. Their ranks had grown as they walked until they numbered about 25,000 people.

On the steps of the capitol, speaking under a Confederate flag, Dr. King said: “The end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man.”

That night, Viola Liuzzo, a 39-year-old mother of five who had arrived from Michigan to help after Bloody Sunday, was murdered by four Ku Klux Klan members tailing her as she ferried demonstrators out of the city.

On August 6, Dr. King and Mrs. Boynton were guests of honor as President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Johnson recalled “the outrage of Selma” when he said “This right to vote is the basic right without which all others are meaningless. It gives people, people as individuals, control over their own destinies.”

The Voting Rights Act authorized federal supervision of voter registration in districts where African Americans were historically underrepresented. Johnson promised that the government would strike down “regulations, or laws, or tests to deny the right to vote.” He called the right to vote “the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men,” and pledged that “we will not delay, or we will not hesitate, or we will not turn aside until Americans of every race and color and origin in this country have the same right as all others to share in the process of democracy.”

But less than 50 years later, in 2013, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act. The Shelby County v. Holder decision opened the door, once again, for voter suppression. Since then, states have made it harder to vote. And now, in the wake of the 2020 election, in which voters handed control of the government to Democrats, legislatures in 43 states are considering sweeping legislation to restrict voting, especially voting by people of color. Among the things Georgia wants to outlaw is giving water to voters as they wait for hours in line to get to the polls.

Today, 56 years after Bloody Sunday, President Biden signed an executive order “to promote voting access and allow all eligible Americans to participate in our democracy.” He called on Congress to pass the For the People Act, making it easier to vote, and to restore the Voting Rights Act, now named the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act after the man who went on from his days in the Civil Rights Movement to serve 17 terms as a representative from Georgia, bearing the scars of March 7, 1965, until he died on July 17, 2020.

The fact sheet from the White House announcing the executive order explained: . . .

Continue reading. References at the link.

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2021 at 9:38 pm

Strange and beautiful mushrooms

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Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2021 at 4:54 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science, Video

20 Realistic Micro-Habits To Live Better Every Day

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Anardeep Panar has a useful article in Medium:

I’m sick of lists of habits that are unrealistic for the majority of people. Even worse is when someone says to wake up at 5 am or run 10 kilometers every day and calls it a micro-habit.

This is not one of those lists.

Each micro-habit here takes one minute at most each day or uses a task most people do anyway. None of them will transform or revolutionize your life but they can help you live a little bit better every day and this adds up over time.

I draw on the research by BJ Fogg in “Tiny Habits” and the Japanese concept of kaizen. When each task is so small it’s hard to skip it so there’s no need for willpower. The beauty of this is after some time it becomes a natural part of your daily routine so you’re acting in your best interests without even realizing it!

I’ve avoided fluffy ideas and stuck to things I have done in my own life where I can find good research backing. Don’t try to do everything on this list at once but pick the ones you think will work for you. Later you can come back for more or create your own to suit your lifestyle. Here we go!

#1. Lie on your back and hang your head and shoulders off the bed for up to two minutes.

In our daily lives, we don’t invert our bodies enough. This little stretch before going to sleep helps to open up the chest and get some blood flowing to the heart and brain. It feels good too!

For people who are hunched over their desk at an office, it also relieves some of the damage.

#2. Turn off autoplay and leave the control and your phone next to the TV.

Streaming services want you to watch more, they want you to be addicted to their service. I used to end up watching 3 episodes in a row when I planned to watch one because I was too lazy to stop when the next episode auto-played.

Turn the feature off and make sure your control is next to the TV so you physically have to get up to continue watching. It gives you a circuit breaker to choose to do something else with your time and move your body.

#3. Add on the cost to your health for any convenience buys.

There are so many things we can buy to make us lazier and make us do less work. Do you really need Alexa to turn the lights on and off rather than walking over to the switch yourself?

Work out how many steps/calories buying the product will cost you and make sure you replace it if you decide to buy. Don’t cut out simple everyday movements to make time to not go to the gym.

#4. Do extra squats whenever you go to the bathroom.

The Chair Test is used by doctors to test functional fitness. If you are young and healthy it might sound easy but it’s a key ability that diminishes as we age and can reduce our quality of life. Modern life means we sit for long periods which can weaken our muscles and make it harder to stand.

This doesn’t mean you need to break your back squatting at the gym. Try sneaking in a few squats whenever you finish in the bathroom. It might only be 10 squats a day but over time, it adds up.

#5. Balance on one leg when . . .

Continue reading.

I’ve started doing #4, which fits easily into daily routines because it takes so little time. See:

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2021 at 4:07 pm

Posted in Daily life, Fitness, Health

On The Experience of Being Poor-ish, For People Who Aren’t

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Resident Contrarian has an interesting post:

A few years back, my wife was at a baby shower hosted by a friend by a mutual acquaintance. In a conversation with the hostess, my wife learned they were in a tough financial position – they were always broke, and no amount of budgeting seemed to help them get ahead; they had cut every cost they could and things were just getting worse and worse. She admitted to my wife that she just felt like she was sinking further and further underwater, and didn’t see any way out for her or her family.

Note: The hostess and her husband were both doctors. They had a combined income somewhere upwards of $200,000 a year, and as the conversation developed my wife learned that their problems started and stopped with the hostess not being able to save quite as much as she’d like once the payments on their very nice house and current-year cars were made. At the time she leaned on my wife for emotional support over finances, our family of four’s income was less than $30,000 a year.

You should know the hostess wasn’t mean-spirited in the least, and we liked her then and continue to do so. But she did have a kind of tunnel vision I’ve since noticed is increasingly common: If you came from a family that did pretty well financially, went to college and then immediately started to do pretty well yourself, it’s hard to get any kind of context for what life is like at lower income levels. This isn’t a matter of the relatively-wealthy being dumb or insensitive; it’s just legitimately difficult to get a handle on what it’s like in a life you’ve never lived, and often being legitimately confused as to why anyone would opt to make less money instead of improving their lot with training and education.

In that spirit, I’d like to offer my services as a sort of has-been-poor guide, to fill you in on what it’s like on the other side of the tracks. In this role, I’m qualified in two ways. The first is common – we’ve never done exceptionally well financially. Things have been better in recent years as I’ve finally clawed towards the upper-end of lower-class, but Covid has reminded us how short-lived that kind of qualified success can be. We’ve had to economize in dozens of interesting ways, make hard choices here and there and sometimes/often do entirely without. It hasn’t been easy.

At the same time, I’m mostly happy. I have a wonderful wife who is very satisfying to be near, two kids who are about as custom-fit to my personality as possible, and dozens of friends online and off who would take a bullet for me, and vice versa. This is important because I want you to know I’m not trying to make you feel bad – I know and understand that everyone has a different set of problems, and that I’m not unique in living in an imperfect world. I’m not trying to exaggerate problems for political points or to try to get legislation passed. Take no guilt from this article – It’s informational, not a call to arms.

Housing

One of the bigger disconnects I run into in talking to people at or above living wage levels of income is that it’s usually assumed that the quality of things has a pretty linear association to the price. This is true at most price points, from “doing OK” all the way up to “Jeff Bezos” – if you pay a little more, you get a little more. If you pay a little less, you get a little less.

Because this relationship is what you’d expect, you get a lot of reasonable-sounding advice that, while not exactly wrong, fails to capture the nuance of poor-people-price-mechanics very well. According to this randomly selected article, I should really make sure not to spend more than 30% of my income on rent:

While everyone’s circumstances are unique, many experts say it’s best to spend no more than 30% of your monthly gross income on housing-related expenses, including rent and utilities. Under that rule, it’s best to make sure that the amount you spend on rent is well below 30% of your household income. In other words, if you’re making $3,000 a month, it’s a good idea to pay no more than $900 for rent and other housing costs.

The general thinking here is that if I spend more than 30%, I’m making myself vulnerable in all other aspects of my budget; why burden yourself with more than you can handle, when I could take a slightly worse place and be that much closer to financial health? From the perspective of the 50k a year and up crowd, this makes sense – $1250, after all, will rent a reasonable house or apartment in a lot of markets. In metropolitan Phoenix, this might look something like this: . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more.

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2021 at 1:49 pm

Posted in Business, Daily life

Are We Raising Unhelpful, Bossy Kids? Here’s The Fix

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NPR has an article by Michaeleen Doucleff, who wrote Hunt, Gather, Parent. The article begins:

It was a simple experiment. Lucia Alcala, a psychologist, built a tiny model grocery store with aisles and different items that she could put on a family’s dining room table.

She and her colleagues brought the model store to 43 family’s homes along California’s Central Coast. Each family had a pair of siblings, ages 6 to 10.

She gave the siblings clear instructions: Find an efficient route through the store to pick up a list of grocery items and — this was made clear — “work together, collaborate and help each other,” says Alcala at California State University, Fullerton. “We gave them very specific instructions.”

Alcala and her colleagues logged what happened. Did the siblings help each other? Did they boss each other around? Did the older ones exclude the younger ones from the task?

For decades, scientists have documented a surprising phenomenon: In many cultures around the world, parents don’t struggle to raise helpful, kind kids. From ages 2 to 18, kids want to help their families. They wake up in the morning and voluntarily do the dishes. They hop off their bikes to help their dad carry groceries into the house. And when somebody hands them a muffin, they share it with a younger sibling before taking a bite themselves.

You can find kids like this in a huge range of cultures, scientists have documented: from hunter-gatherers in the Arctic to farmers in the Andes, from pastoralists in Kenya’s savanna to fisherfolk in the Philippines.

For the past four years, I’ve been on a mission to learn why. What are these parents doing to instill such helpfulness in their kids? I describe what I found in my new book Hunt, Gather, Parent. While researching for the book, I traveled to three of the world’s most revered cultures — the Maya, Inuit and Hadzabe — and talked with moms, dads, grandpas, grandmas, great-grandmas and grandpas about parenting. I also brought along my toddler, Rosy, so the parents could see just what I was up against.

When I returned home, I read more than a hundred studies on the topic. I realized there are two key practices that parents, all around the world, use to teach children to be helpful and cooperative. And yet many American parents (including the one writing this essay) often do just the opposite — a point Alcala and her colleagues have documented in several studies.

Key Practice #1: To Scramble Or Not To Scramble?

Say, for example, you’re scrambling eggs in the morning and your 4-year-old hops up on a stool and grabs the spatula from your hands. What do you do?

How you respond to a very young child who shows interest in helping is key to whether or not that child grows into a 12-year-old who wants to help around the house, or (and this will sound familiar to many of us) a kid who rolls their eyes when you ask, according to Alcala.

In several studies she conducted, many moms told Alcala that they don’t let young children and toddlers help around the house.

“What they say is that, ‘I know she’s not going to do a competent job, and she’s going to create more work for me,'” Alcala says. “So the parents exclude the child from helping because they’re not competent yet.” (That’s exactly what I was doing with Rosy.)

But Alcala and other psychologists say this shooing away — or excluding kids from helping — can have negative consequences. Over time, it may erode a child’s motivation to help and possibly extinguish their desire to cooperate.

That’s exactly what Alcala observed in the experiment with the model grocery store. Some of the older siblings excluded the younger ones while planning the route through the store. When the younger child suggested an idea or pointed to a grocery item, the older sibling shooed them away or even ignored them.

With one pair of siblings, a little brother tried to point to a grocery item, and his older brother literally pushed his hand out of the way (something I have actually done when my little girl has tried to help me in the kitchen). “The older brother completely ignored his little brother,” Alcala says. “He never acknowledges anything.”

Being excluded, ignored or even pushed away discouraged the younger children from helping, Alcala and her colleagues reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“After a younger sibling tried for a while, they kind of lost interest,” she says. “So in one case, the younger sibling just went under the table and kind of gave up. In another case, he went away and didn’t want to continue because there was no room for him to be part of the task.”

On the flipside, when the older sibling included the younger sibling — either by using their ideas or simply acknowledging the ideas — the younger child became more engaged in the task. The siblings began to cooperate, paid attention to what each was trying to accomplish and then built off each others’ ideas.

Alcala and other psychologists think a similar phenomenon happens when young kids try to help their parents. They start off with a great desire to work together with their family — to cooperate and work as a team. If parents purposefully do chores while the child is not there, tell the child to go play or watch TV, or overly manage the activity with many instructions and corrections, young children lose interest— not just in the chores but in helping their parents. At the same time, kids miss out on opportunities to learn how to collaborate and work together with their siblings and parents.

But in cultures that raise helpful children, parents welcome young children and toddlers into family chores and work — even if the child will make a bit of a mess or slow down the work. Anthropologist David Lancy documented this for decades.

In other words, if your 4-year-old grabs the spatula from your hand while you’re scrambling eggs, you could interpret that grabbiness as your child wanting to help. Your child just doesn’t know the best way to do it. And so you need to find a way to include them in the task.

How does a parent let a clumsy toddler help with a task they can’t actually do yet — especially a task that may be too dangerous for them?

They use the second key practice when teaching cooperativity.

Key Practice #2: . . .

Continue reading. There’s more. It occurs to me that the book would be a great gift for a new parent.

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2021 at 12:51 pm

What the Coronavirus Variants Mean for the End of the Pandemic

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Illustration by Timo Lenzen

Dhruv Khullar has a good article in the New Yorker, which begins:

Last March, during the first wave of the pandemic, Adriana Heguy set out to sequence coronavirus genomes. At the time, New York City’s hospitals were filling up, and American testing capacity was abysmal; the focus was on increasing testing, to figure out who had the virus and who didn’t. But Heguy, the director of the Genome Technology Center at N.Y.U. Langone Health, recognized that diagnostic tests weren’t enough. Tracking mutations in the virus’s genetic code would be crucial for understanding it. “No one was paying attention to the need for sequencing,” Heguy told me recently. “I thought, I can’t just sit here and not do anything.” Within weeks, her team had sequenced hundreds of samples of the virus collected in New York City and published a paper with three key findings: the virus had been circulating in the city for weeks before the lockdown; most cases had come from Europe, not China; and the variant infecting New Yorkers carried a mutation, D614G, that scientists soon confirmed made it far more contagious than the original virus isolated in Wuhan.

Heguy’s efforts were prescient. The world is now confronting a growing number of coronavirus variants that threaten to slow or undo our vaccine progress. In recent months, it’s become clear that the virus is mutating in ways that make it more transmissible and resistant to vaccines, and possibly more deadly. It’s also clear that, at least in the United States, there is no organized system for tracking the spread or emergence of variants. As Heguy sees it, the U.S. has more than enough genome-sequencing expertise and capacity; the problem is focus. “Efforts in the U.S. have been totally scattered,” she said. “There’s no mandate to do it in a timely fashion. The government is kind of like, Let us know if you find something.” Funding has also been a major constraint. “It boils down to money,” Heguy said. “With money, I could hire a technician, another scientist, get the reagents and supplies I need.” Because of their better-organized efforts, other countries have been more successful in identifying new versions of the virus: “The reason the U.K. variant was identified in the U.K. is that the U.K. has a good system for identifying variants.” The U.K. has, for months, sequenced at least ten per cent of its positive tests. “If you’re doing ten per cent, you’re not going to miss things that matter,” Heguy said. “If a variant becomes prevalent, you’ll catch it.”

Heguy’s lab sequences ninety-six samples a week—as many as will fit onto a single sample plate, which has eight rows and twelve columns. The process—receiving, preparing, sequencing, and analyzing samples, then reporting the results—takes time and resources, and diverts attention from other research. “Mostly we do this out of a sense of moral obligation,” Heguy told me. “This feeling that the country shouldn’t be left in the dark.” As we enter what seems to be the endgame of the pandemic, tracking and analyzing variants—which could fill hospitals and reduce the effectiveness of therapies and vaccines—is more important than ever.

To understand coronavirus variants, you need to understand a little about viral biology and, more specifically, about how the fragments of RNA and protein from which viruses are made go about replicating. sars-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes covid-19, has about thirty thousand letters of RNA in its genome. These letters, or “bases,” are like the architectural plans for the virus’s twenty-nine proteins, including the “spike” protein that it uses to enter cells. Once inside a cell, the virus hijacks the cellular machinery, using it to make copies of itself. Because the machinery is good but not perfect, there are occasional errors. sars-CoV-2 has a mechanism that checks the new code against the old code; still, it’s possible for the substitution, deletion, or addition of an amino acid to evade this proofreading. If the errors don’t arrest the replication process completely, they sneak into the next generation. Most mutations don’t meaningfully change a protein’s structure or function. Sometimes, however, one of these accidental experiments “works.” A variant has been created—a virus with a slightly different design.

In the time that sars-CoV-2 has troubled humans, it’s accumulated innumerable mutations. Those that matter have one of two key features: they either help the virus latch onto and enter cells more easily, or they allow it to better evade tagging and destruction by the immune system. Today, scientists are following three variants of particular concern: B.1.1.7, originally detected in the U.K.; B.1.351, from South Africa; and P.1, from Brazil. Predictably, variants seem to have emerged more quickly in countries with rampant viral spread—places where the virus has had more chances to replicate, mutate, and hit upon changes that confer an evolutionary advantage. The U.K.’s B.1.1.7 variant has spread to more than eighty countries and has been doubling every ten days in the U.S., where it is expected to soon become the dominant variant. Its key mutation is called N501Y: the name describes the fact that the amino acid asparagine (“N”) is replaced with tyrosine (“Y”) at the five-hundred-and-first position of the spike protein. The mutation affects a part of the spike that allows the virus to bind to cells, making the variant some fifty per cent more transmissible than the original; new evidence also suggests that people infected with it have higher viral loads and remain infectious longer, which could have implications for quarantine guidelines.

Both the B.1.351 and P.1 variants carry the N501Y mutation. They also have another, more dangerous mutation, known as E484K: a substitution of glutamate (“E”) for lysine (“K”) at the spike protein’s four-hundred-and-eighty-fourth position. This mutation diminishes the ability of antibodies—both naturally acquired and vaccine-generated—to bind to and neutralize the virus. Last month, South Africa halted use of the vaccine produced by AstraZeneca, citing evidence that it offers minimal protection against the B.1.351 variant that is now dominant in that country; a monoclonal antibody drug from Eli Lilly is also inactive against it. In the U.S., a number of homegrown variants are beginning to circulate, including some with the antibody-evading E484K mutation; in the U.K., B.1.1.7 has, in some cases, also acquired the mutation, becoming more like the South African and Brazilian variants.

There’s growing concern that B.1.351 and P.1 can infect people who’ve already had covid-19. The city of Manaus, in Brazil, has faced a viral surge this winter, even though some three-quarters of its population is thought to have been infected by the original virus in the fall—a level at which herd immunity is believed to settle in. This suggests that the antibodies produced by the original virus have struggled to neutralize its successor. Lab tests examining blood from immunized people have shown that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines—which are effective against the U.K. variant—tend to produce fewer antibodies that fight the South African and Brazilian variants. It’s not yet clear how this will affect real-world protection: the vaccines still elicit huge numbers of antibodies—probably more than enough to neutralize the virus—and they stimulate other parts of the immune system, such as T cells, that weren’t assessed in the blood tests. At least for now, a degree of uncertainty is inevitable.

How worried should we be about the variants? They pose  . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more.

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2021 at 12:31 pm

Cast iron does not conduct heat all that well: Photo evidence

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Make no mistake: cast-iron cookware is great to cook with for many foods. Even before I knew the reasons, I knew that some foods just cooked better in a cast-iron skillet. In this earlier post I give three reasons:

  1. Well-seasoned cast iron is fairly non-stick — not so nonstick as Teflon-lined pans, but (a) Teflon pans on high heat emit a toxic gas, and (b) the Teflon layer is insulating to the degree that you can’t get a good sear on foods in a Teflon pan.
  2. Cast iron has very high heat capacity (so when you add something to the pan, the pan is not cooled all that much but maintains its cooking temperature). The tradeoff is that cast-iron skillets take a fairly long time to reach cooking temperature (something not helped by cast iron not being particular good at conducting heat).
  3. Cast iron radiates heat much more than stanless steel or aluminum, so that when you are cooking things in a cast-iron skillet they are being cooked by both conducted heat and radiated heat.

There’s more at the link.  In this post, though, I want to address the fact that cast iron does not conduct heat all that well — certainly not so well as aluminum or copper, both of which are excellent conductors of heat. It’s because those two are so good at conducting heat (better than iron and better than steel) that All-Clad uses them as a core in their cookware to help the cookware heat more evenly. All-Clad Stainless uses a core of aluminum, All-Clad Copper Core a core of copper.

Those cores help with heat distribution, but don’t do anything for heat capacity nor for increasing radiated heat, and if you take the time to allow a cast-iron pan to become evenly heated (which I achieve by preheating the pan in the oven before putting it on a hot burner and starting to cook), then you get the benefits of cast iron without the drawback.

Take a look at Dave Arnold’s excellent article “Heavy Metal: the Science of Cast Iron Cooking” at Cooking Issues: The International Cooking Center’s Tech ‘N Stuff Blog. I highly recommend you read that article. Here are some photos from it:

By all means, read the entire article. Many people have misconceptions regarding cast-iron cookware, and the article does a lot to clear them up. In my earlier post, linked above, I set out things I have learned, plus my recommendations of cast iron skillets based on my own experience in using them. (Elsewhere in the blog I talk about cast-iron dutch ovens in the context of preparing “Glorious One-Pot Meals” using the technique developed by Elizabeth Yarnell — a complete meal in one pot in an hour.)

Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2021 at 11:45 am

Who gets help from the American Rescue Plan just passed by Democrats? (Every Republican in the Senate voted against it.)

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Written by Leisureguy

7 March 2021 at 10:45 am

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