Friday, March 23, 2012

Cold Fusion - In Theory and In Practice

In Theory
On this day in 1989 – Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announce their discovery of
cold fusion at the University of Utah.  What is cold fusion you ask?  Well, that’s when you
have nuclear fusion reaction taking place at a relatively low temperature, let’s say room
temperature.   “What does this mean to me?” you ask.  Absolutely nothing.

As a cheap and abundant source of energy, Cold Fusion would have solved the world’s
energy problems in a heartbeat, were it possible.  By April 30, of the same year, cold fusion
was declared dead by the New York Times. called a “circus” by The Times and trashed by
the Boston Herald.  By late 1989 most of the claims of the possibility of Cold Fusion were dead.
No one had been able to duplicate the results that Pons and Fleischmann (truly renowned in
their field) stated in their original paper.
Per Wiki: Steven E. Koonin of Caltech called the Utah report a result of
"the incompetence and delusion of Pons and Fleischmann" which was met
with a standing ovation.[47] Douglas R. O. Morrison, a physicist representing
CERN, was the first to call the episode an example of pathological science.[6][48]

In Practice
The alcohol in your standard cocktail, freezes solid at -114 C (for some of you small-batch Bourbon drinkers it’s much lower ;)  High-quality freezers are typically set at -18 C, which is why you can keep that vodka bottle in the freezer and still pour a thick, cold one into a glass.   Even dry ice (the stuff they use to ship your Omaha steaks and will give you a nasty ice burn if you handle it), is only -79 C, so it will still leave your alcohol a liquid if you use it for ice cubes.
If you want to freeze your drink solid, the only choice is LN2 (Liquid Nitrogen) that boils at a cool -196 C.  Mixed into a drink, this puppy will freeze it solid then vaporize leaving behind only the sweet droplets of the nectar of the gods.  Cold Fusion achieved.

     The Historical Inebriant:  Cold Fusion

  • 3/4oz Stoli Vodka 
  • 3/4oz Midori
  • 1/2oz Rose’s Lime Juice 
  • 1/2oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2oz Sweet and Sour
Once again there are no directions on preparation, so I assume mix together in a shaker with crushed ice, pour in a lowball glass and garnish with lime wedge.
Oh, and to make sure the glass is really chilled first:


For true Cold Fusion:

Or maybe something hard on the top, soft on the bottom?

Happy Science Friday! 
As always, have a great and safe weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

On the Ice…

A themed montage of history today...
As always, "You can't make this sh*t up", although I admit, the comet is kinda pushing it!

On this day in 1894 – The first Stanley Cup Final is played.
The Governor General of Canada, Lord Stanley, arrived in Canada
from England 1888 and witnessed his first hockey game the following
year.  Becoming enamored with the game he decided to offer a trophy
to the best hockey team and so the Stanley Cup was born.

DYK:  There is only one Stanley Cup and each year the names of
winning players, coaches, management, and club staff are engraved
on it and it stays with the winning team until the next Stanley Cup. 
Each player on the winning team gets to have it in his posses-
sion for 24 hours.  The original cup was 7.28 inches in height,
with the addition of all the names the cup’s height now stands at over 32 inches.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Code civil des Français

On this day in 1804 –  The Napoleonic Code (originally, the Code civil des Français) become French law.

When Napoleon became dictator of France in 1799 one of his first challenges was to revamp France’s outdated, confusing and very partial laws concerning property, the family, and individual rights.  Prior to the code, French law consisted mainly of local customs, assembled in customals (or coutumes).  These customals differed from region to region and invariably contained exemptions and privileges to individuals granted by previous kings or feudal lords. 

Napoleon wanted a singular law to reflect the ideas of The French Revolution.  In 1800, a commission of four eminent jurists was appointed.  Chaired by Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès, and sometimes by Napoleon himself, the process of bringing the law in line with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was begun.  When completed, the last vestiges of feudalistic France would be gone.

There would no longer be any “Secret Laws” (laws enacted without any knowledge of the populous), or any ex post faco laws (laws that apply to events that occurred prior to their enactment) or laws written in any language other than French.  The code that addressed these and so many other issues has undergone many revisions but is still in use today.  It was also a powerful document influencing the governments of emerging nations during and after the Napoleonic Wars as well as being the basis of law for the State of Louisiana.


     The Historical Inebriant:  The Napoleon



  • 2oz Gin
  • 1/2oz Grand Mariner
  • 1/2oz Dubonnet Rouge

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.
Napoleon Bonaparte

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I love rock n’ roll…

On this day in 1982 Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ cover of “I Love Rock n’ Roll” reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for the first of seven consecutive weeks.

Joan Jett (born Joan Marie Larkin) was a founding member of The Runaways before starting her own band, the Blackhearts.  Their first album together included the songs “I Love Rock n’ Roll”, “Crimson and Clover” and “Little Drummer Boy”

I can’t even count the number of times I played this song on the jukebox, but then again,
that's what the song is all about.

     The Historical Inebriant:  Rock and Roll

  • Cola 
  • Peppermint Schnapps 
  • Rum 
  • Vodka
I have no idea of the proportions on this drink since the directions are screwed up…
Isn’t that half the fun of drinking anyway?  You start with some crazy ass
ingredients and try to make it work but, usually by the time you think it starts
to taste good you’re completely shot anyways so who knows!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Commons vs. Lords

On this day in 1649 the House of Commons of England passed an act abolishing the House of Lords describing it as "useless and dangerous to the people of England".  Before anyone gets any ideas, the House of Lords was restored in 1660 and continues to this day, albeit in a much diminished capacity.

     The Historical Inebriant:  House of Lords Scotch Whisky


He blew his mind out in a car
He didn't notice that the lights had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They'd seen his face before
Nobody was really sure
if he was from the House of Lords.
”A Day in the Life” by The Beatles