This weekend I had the pleasure of viewing Hamburger Dad — a movie that answers the question, “Is it better to wake up in the morning to find you’ve turned into a hamburger, or a lobster?” Along the way we gain much insight into the life of a newly transformed hamburger. For example, the hamburger cannot drive a car but can operate a TV remote control. Also, the hamburger is the life of the party, perhaps because of his wry, self-deprecating sense of humor and his leniency regarding alcohol use in his home. I won’t spoil the surprise ending of this movie, but suffice to say that Hamburger Dad and his angstful teenager have a very touching father-son bonding moment.
At the end of this odyssey, though we felt a bit disoriented on leaving the theater, my companion and I had the presence of mind to present the filmmakers with a marshmallow burger. Because what else can one do with a marshmallow burger? Certainly not eat it.
Say you got together a dozen scientists and told them to come up with the perfect beer. This beer would be light and refreshing but also flavorful. Scientists are a practical folk, though, too, so they will want to add some healthful ingredients to this concoction. Of course the trick is to find something that fits. Chinese medicine has long recognized the antioxidant properties of the goji berry, and since it tastes really good, a scientist-brewer could do much worse than to include goji juice in a beer. Granted, they would probably have to be scientists that tend slightly toward hippie sensibilities. But choosing the goji berry is definitely a stroke of genius, as I recently discovered when I tasted New Belgium Springboard Ale for the first time and I realized it is it. The perfect beer.
I’m not sure if New Belgium referred the secret ingredient selection process to a panel of hippie scientist geniuses, but according to my imaginary world this is the only way such a wonderful beverage could have come into existence. So, if you only drink one beer this spring, make it a Springboard, because it’s only available seasonally.
(With apologies/props to Mindy Ephron.)
My coworker and I toured Sun’s experimental Blackbox when it stopped by UW earlier this week, just for giggles (we run a fairly small shop, so we’ll never need one of these things). Ars Technica did a nice job on their writeup of the tour, but here are my own observations about this product.
- Project Blackbox only includes the shipping container full of racks and related infrastructure. No cooling, nor electrical generator, is included. This makes the product significantly less exciting (to me). Imagine if this system was completely self contained — just plop the container down in the jungle and it can run independently for a week on diesel or something — now that’d be awesome. Sun’s reps did, however, say that they have partnered with vendors for chillers and generators, so they can at least help you get everything needed to run one of these things.
- The way they cool these racks of equipment is pretty unique and clever. The eight racks are arranged in two lines along the sides of the container, back-to-front, kind of like lines of marching ants. There are no cold aisles or hot aisles; the (cold) front of one rack abuts on the (hot) rear of the next rack, with a condenser/fan assembly in between to chill the air and keep it moving. When the system is sealed by closing the doors at each end of the container, airflow takes a circular route around the perimeter, getting cooled at eight points along the way to keep each rack at optimum temperature.
- The guy giving tours was Conan O’Brien’s miniature doppelganger. But he was not hilarious.