The art of distilling Alcohol


De Bokkenrijders

The only alcohol humans can consume is ethanol. Through beer and wine ethyl alcohol has been used since the early dawn of men. Distilling was originally an eastern invention, which spread around the 14th century through monasteries and universities all over Europe. With this technique we can separate different substances (like alcohol) by evaporation. Distillate can be found in all kinds of dilutions, but most commonly somewhere between 30% and 50%.

A lot of nonsense and myths go around about alcohol. This is not surprising considering alcohol is the most common stimulant in our European civilization. And although the State suggests that alcohol would actually not be very good for us, they make big money through it by the high taxes they collect on alcoholic beverages. Also the manufacturers and suppliers have no interest in low alcohol prices. For them it is of great interest to keep alcohol something mysterious…

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The manufactured trucker shortage


Have you been reading about the shortage of workers in the trucking industry? Have you wondered why, in this crappy economy, they haven’t been able to find more workers? Here’s an excerpt from recent Wall Street Journal’s coverage of this worker shortage crisis:

Operators across the country are short 30,000 long-distance drivers, the American Trucking Associations estimates. The group projects the shortage could top 200,000 in the next decade. Average annual pay for long-distance drivers was $49,540 in 2013, according to ATA estimates. Hiring and wages in truck transportation have inched up this year, according to the Labor Department.

I’ve got a theory. Here’s what it is: they trucking companies aren’t paying enough. Funny how demand and supply and efficient markets go out the window when there’s a political point being served, though: Congress is considering passing a law that would allow 18-year-olds to be long-haul truckers

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The Myth of the Good Alien: on Skeptical Wishful Thinking

Shards of Magonia / Scherben von Magonia

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Deutsche Version: Der Mythos des guten Außerirdischen: über das Skeptische Wunschdenken

ET the good alien with his young friend. A good alien hugs the little child.

We all know that: while the thinking of religious people is dominated by
all sorts of irrational processes like confirmation bias, wishful
thinking, personalization and so forth, self-professed Skeptics are
(almost) always thinking rationally whereby their emotional states have
only a very small influence on their reasoning abilities. Almost all
conclusions they reach are well-grounded and it is Reason and evidence
alone which lead them to conclude that reductive materialism is true and
that one ought to mock and ridicule everyone disagreeing.

However to an outsider like me, it appears obvious that Skeptics are as prone
to cognitive and psychological biases as everyone else.

The whole idea that the overwhelming majority of intelligent space aliens are
beings full of empathy and love is…

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Passing Noam on My Way Out – Part 1

St. Chomsky is not without sin …

The Rancid Honeytrap

I wasn’t always the #ChickenPseudoRadical that worshipers of lefty icons love to hate, but there were signs of what the future held for me when I wrote this in my Pulitzer prize-winning post on Chris Hayes:

Somehow lefts that would, on a rainy day,  apply the Chomsky/Herman lens to a bag of Doritos are incapable of applying it to establishment lefts at the margins, even when these people are on commercial television. Understandable, really,  since I don’t think Chomsky gets how Chomsky applies to Chomsky either.

This line ruffled some feathers. I recall that one person cited it just before telling me I should kill myself, more than a full year before Glenn Greenwald incited the troll fever of 2013 by telling me I should kill myself too.

In the months that passed I’ve concluded that I  grossly exaggerated the extent to which the internet left applies the Chomsky/Herman…

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The Problem with Saving the Bees

I’ve been following this for many years, it’s probably not one thing but some sort of nasty synergy …

The Liber Ero Blog: Reports from the front lines of conservation biology

IMG_1215 A native bumble bee (photo Sheila Colla).

By Sheila Colla

I’ve been researching pollinator declines over the past decade. It has been encouraging and inspiring to see my chosen subject matter go from completely off the general public’s radar to one of the most important environmental issues of our time. These days, it would be difficult to go a full week without seeing something alarming about pollinator declines in a newspaper or social media headline.

In general, it is great that the public and policy makers are starting to appreciate the insect pollinators and the ecosystem service they provide. Heck, even Obama himself wants to help! These little creatures feed on nectar and pollen and move pollen grains from flower to flower while foraging. This behaviour allows gene flow to occur among plants, which then leads to the production of seeds and fruit. Given the estimates that over 3/4 of…

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I am still not sure what I want to achieve here.For now suffice to say my “Leftism” is in the realm of economics, beyond the idea that all should be treated decently I’m not much for identity politics…they are a big reason for many evils, the shredding of the safety net for one.