Got Melk

Stift Melk
Melk Abbey, a full view. The photo is out of focus as the focus lock on an iPhone 3G was wonky. Friday, 22 October, 2010. © 2020 Jeffrey C. Jacobs

Melk, Austria, is a small, monastery town in North-Central Austria. I visited there in ten years ago today, in 2010, on a trip across Austria. Melk was our first stop as we left for there right after landing in Wien.

2010 was kind of a melancholy year for me since I decided to become a Vegetarian for just that year. I wasn’t ready so reverted back to meat in 2011, but a couple years ago I stopped liking the taste of meat so I went back to vegetarianism. The sad thing was that here I was in Austria and I couldn’t eat authentic Wiener Schnitzel.

The sky was clear that day, perhaps too clear, and the buildings of the abbey shown beautify. I wish the photo could give it justice but the iPhone 3G back then was just not up to snuff.

That said, the Chapel was lovely and I did like how that photo turned out. I love Austria and hope to return someday. Grüß Gott!

Stift Melk, Kapelle
Melk Abbey Chapel. Photo from Friday, 22 October, 2010. © 2020 Jeffrey C. Jacobs

EDIT 2020-12-12: Forgot to post this on the day in question. It was originally scheduled for posting on Thursday, 22 October, 2020. Sorry for the delay.

Jeffrey’s Jammin Birthday Bash

Join me to find out how I like my new job, the exciting plans I have for the upcoming year, and so I can give a personal thanks for your personal friendship!

Please note, the official start time is 20:00 because I want to make sure not to start it before I finish my first full day of work at the new job. If I finish sooner, I will open the room earlier. This is, after all, an exciting time for me. My first new job in 18 years, and the first of four steps on the route to make me a better man, and much, much happier!

This event is opened to everyone who claims to know me! All of my software colleagues, all of my fellow authors, fellow science readers, fellow Doctor Who fans, fellow cosplayers, fellow Electric Car drivers and enthusiasts, all of my Equal Rights Amendment sisters and brothers in arms, all of my National Popular Vote Interstate Compact supporters, all of my avid gaming friends, all of my friends abroad except those in Europe—have your kip, mates—all of my fellow Toastmasters, all of my fellow aviators, all of my fellow musicians, tous mes amis qui parle français oder Deutsch или по-русский o italiano, my acting friends and my friends who eschew meat!

The only thing I ask is you be respectful, kind, and know that I hope you all consider any friend of mine a potential friend of yours!

There is a password to this event. It’s not hard to guess if you know me but if you want to know, and you are reading this on from Twitter, message me, on Tumblr, message me, on LinkedIn, again, message me, or join me via the Facebook event. Or, just comment on this blog, with your email address, and I will mail it to you.

See you all next Wednesday!

Meeting does not exist: 83969414860.

Tesla OS 2020.16.2.1

Finally!

TeslaFi had been spamming me with news about TeslaOS 2020.16 for a while and I’ve been itching to see what, after giving us the amazing stop at a stop sign in the last minor update.

Turns out, not much. I am mostly unimpressed by Tesla with this update, though nonetheless very appreciative. Autoformatting a DashCam drive—I wonder if it supports 2TB yet—and a better layout for Easter Eggs are, after all, improvements, even if the Easter Eggs aren’t really hidden gems anymore.

The coolest new feature, though, is the new SuperCharger filter, allowing the driver to only see Version 3 stations and filter out all the slower ones. I love the fact that I have free, lifetime SuperCharging, and one of these days, I’m gonna cross the continents with that perk.

Overall, I’m not disappointed despite being underwhelmed. And one rumor is that this, or a soon to be released version will add V2G to the Tesla. I can’t wait until that rolls out as the Tesla Battery Pack may make for a new, mobile Powerwall. Mind you, even if #CO2Fre could do V2G, my house isn’t equipped for it anyway. So, even if it doesn’t have V2G, it’s still a cool update!

Tesla OS 2020.16.2.1
Tesla OS 2020.16.2.1 adds a new toy box interface, a SuperCharger filter, and auto-formatting of DashCam media. © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

Gentle reader, if you have been keeping up with me since 11 February of this year, you know that I have been posting once a day since then. As such, today marks a hundred days of a hundred daily posting. Through that, I’ve shared with you exciting electric car news, updated to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, my struggles to get the Equal Rights Amendment to be our Twenty-Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, written about my many works of fiction, and the many books of nonfiction I voraciously read to be a better scientist. I’ve shared with you my cosplay adventures, and my love of Doctor Who, my love of games, and a bit of my speaking in tongues as well as delivering speeches and singing to my heart’s content. I’ve talked about international travel and how I love to fly there in my own plane, discussed my acting and my dietary needs. And most of all I’ve told you I’m an excellent coder who is always keen for new work. Thanks for riding with me as we cruise upon the cloud to another one hundred posts!

Relax—you actually don’t need to sanitize your food

On Sunday, I posted an article about sanitizing your food after you return from grocery shopping. The thing is, the medical professional who posted the original clip went a bit overboard in terms of how sanitary he felt he needed to keep his food once retrieved from the grocery store. The truth is, not everything the doctor says in his video is strictly correct and he is no food safety expert, as has been pointed out to me. However, for the most part my textual commentary doesn’t contradict what I’m about to share and I am happy to give Dr. Don Schaffner his due:

Buckle up, readers, as it’s about to get serious! Thirty-two more tweets, seriously!

Unfortunately, the link above to my original article with take you to that video but if you haven’t hit play on the video, and just read my commentary, you should be fine. Please, trust Dr. Don!

Sometimes I roll my eyes at my fellow writers when they they try to come up with Science Fiction ideas, since I did study undergrad Physics and read a lot of science books. I feel you Dr. Don!

Here here! I already outlined most of what was right in the video in my original post. I think I may have misspoken on how to wash produce but I’ll save that commentary for later.

There’s a bit of nuance to this, but what the good Dr. Don is saying is there is a difference between a random but not yet denatured strand of viral RNA, which in itself isn’t particularly harmful—at least, not infectious—where as a live virus was not observed. As in, the crown-like outer shell of SARS-CoV-2, a.k.a. the Coronavirus, the “Crown Virus”. Without the outer shell and crown-like protrusions, the virus has no way of penetrating cells, be they eukarya, bacteria, or archaea. Note, this pathogen only infects eukaryotes, though most viruses are harmless, only infecting bacteria.

More fundamentally, though, Dr. Dan points out that the CDC Study that came up with the 17-day number for RNA was never published in a peer-review paper where the methodology and techniques used could be scrutinized and dissected. Without the process of peer review, the observation is as good as anecdotal.

This was one of my biggest beefs with the video too. I mean, it’s one thing in the winter in Lansing, MI, where the outside might already be the temperature of your freezer. But that won’t work in Florida, not by a long shot. So unless you’re gonna be like Thomas Jefferson and truck in ice from Canada to keep your food from spoiling, don’t leave your perishable food in the garage!

Exactly!

This is a very good point. One of the ways the SARS-CoV-2 deactivates is through desiccation. If the virus is in a medium that allows it to dry out, it will no longer be effective. This is why spittle from sneezing is the most dangerous.

The virus is highly communicable, to be sure, but its transmission with respect to someone with the virus touching an item on the shelf, putting it back, and then having you grab it is exceedingly unlikely. And by the time you get to it, it’s quite likely SARS-CoV-2 has already dried out and perished.

I have to agree, as different packaging materials will allow the virus to remain active long than others, and again, as state above, it’s unlikely by the time you pluck the item from the shelf that it would still have any active virus on it even if it had once.

Washing your hands before eating should be second nature anyway. As Dr, Don says, you can remove the item from the packaging, put it on a clean plate, and then wash your hands before eating and any contamination on the packaging will have been removed from the equation.

Wørd!

There are good reasons not to use soap to wash your produce and I will admit I got that wrong before. Soap dissolves cell membranes and while most produce is covered by dead epithelial cells—like those on the outer layers of your skin—and thus won’t likely cause cellular damage to your food, but if you slice the food it could spoil its flavor and if you fail to wash it all off and it gets in the nooks and crannies of your consumables, Dr. Don is right, you’re itching for a tummy ache. The oily residue soap normally removes isn’t a big issue on produce and thus a simple water bath should be sufficient for cleaning your produce.

Precisely!

Even the prescient Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis knew that hand washing wasn’t a panascia. It reduces the change of killing a mother giving birth, but even if done right, it isn’t perfect. Soap and water are great for removing both hydrophobic and hydrophilic substances from your person, but not every pathogen is removed by such reactions. SARS-CoV-2 is damaged because of its hydrophobic coating, but the same isn’t true for all toxic substances.

Indeed, human skin has many friendly microbes that help keep the skin clean and fresh. You wouldn’t want to boil those off anyway, even if you could. Love your friendly microbes. Just use soap and water to kill SARS-CoV-2. That M*th*r F*ck*r must die!

This is another good point. Not all handwashes are equal. I try to do a rather complex technique when washing my hands which I may document another day, but the long and short of it is, just rubbing your hands together isn’t enough, and even my technique isn’t one hundred percent effective.

Great point! Early food preservation in wine bottles with their tartaric acid may have worked for Napoleon’s army, but when we started using steel and aluminium cans, or even glass, we had to be very very sure everything was sterile. Watch any number of episodes from Comment C’est Fait (How It’s Made chez É-U.) to see how this is done.

Remember the words of François-Marie Arouet, a.k.a. Voltaire, “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.” (Perfection is the enemy of good.)

This is one point I did make in my original article. Glad to see my point is backed up by Dr. Don.

This one is simply a caveat emptor. Don’t assume a product can kill viruses. Indeed, there are many ways product makers can use language that makes it seem like it’s effective against pathogens, but unless there is peer reviewed literature to back it up, sorry, it’s not magic. It won’t protect you against SARS-CoV-2 any better than simply washing your hands.

There is something to be said for the security blanket of feeling better. But, yes, they won’t help and are no better than a simple cold-water bath.

Or for treating the fabric of your home made N95 mask.

I like using reusable bags and agree washing them like any fabric is a wise idea. If you must use disposable bags, please use ones that are recyclable or compostable.

In other words, keep your bags close but be more mindful of social distancing and that the bagger uses proper sanitary techniques. But again, the likelihood that someone with the virus has used that same checkout stand recent-enough for the virus to still be active is very likely, and most grocery stores, like Wegman’s will do their best to sanitize the checkout counter between each customer during Covidapolis.

Keeping them in your car is a good idea. I always keep my MOM’s Organic Market bag in my car so it’s ready whenever I go there.

Wash your hands!

I have indeed noticed Wegman’s doing just that. They are, IMHO, doing a great job!

Know what you want, like Low Acid Orange Juice, and head straight over. Keep those two meter buffers to keep safe!

If you can get hand sanitizer, then it’s great when there isn’t soap and water available. But when you have soap and water, always prefer that.

Done in the most complete way possible Dr. Don!

Shelter in place, y’all, and use Zoom to see a friendly face!

Much obliged Dr. Don! Happy to help promote good science, sound food handling, and how to weave a great yarn, and sew a great mask!

Bon appetit, mes amis!

Low Acid Orange Juice, Finally!

Grocery Shopping during Covidapolis

After a week unable to leave my house apart from a walk around the community, I was finally allowed to go grocery shopping. With the confirmation that Wegman’s, Dulles had Low Acid Orange Juice, I was able to go there at 08:00 this morning and pick up the OJ and a few other items I’d needed.

The thing is, in the age of Covidapolis, you can’t just bring groceries into your house. You need to assume all your groceries may be vectors for SARS-CoV-2 to enter your home! You need to have a staging area for your groceries, and an area you will consider sanitized.

Each item then must be sanitized either by washing with soap and water, like every fruit and vegetable, or wiped down with a cleaning sheet like Clorox wipes. Remove items from containers if the items inside also have wrapping. The idea is the outer container may be contaminated, but the inner container has probably been untouched long enough for any virus to have died. For items that don’t have inner containers, only outer containers, like bread, take the bread out of its packaging and place it in an adequate storage container from your cabinets, which should already be virus free.

Of course, nobody explains this better than Dr. Jeffrey VanWingen, MD. He was kind enough to provide these and other instructions on his youtube channel, a video for which he’s received over two hundred thousand likes. Excellent work, doctor!

Finally, after the OJ was sufficiently cleaned, it was ready to be welcomed into my home and stored in my fridge. Mission accomplished, for real this time!

Low Acid Orange Juice, Finally!
I finally obtained some low acid orange juice. I had been over a week since I had been able to drink vitamin-C packed OJ so I’m so relieved to finally be able to partake again. But notice the sanatizing wipes next to it? It needs to be sanitized before it goes into the fridge. © 2020, Jeffrey C. Jacobs

Ah, the sweet taste of victory! Bon Appetit, mes amis!

Update 2020-04-03: It turns out most of what was said in the video is exaggerated; I posted an update with respect to handling your groceries. And please, don’t wash your produce with soap, only cold water. Please head on over there and let Dr. Don tell it like it is.

Low Acid, Low Acid, my Kingdom for Low Acid!

I ordered some Low Acid Orange Juice from Safeway early on Saturday and was in giddy anticipation all weekend, despite some rather dastardly events that happened on Friday. But let’s not talk about that except to say I’m a wizard with Python and a very diligent worker.

I’ve been craving Low Acid Orange Juice since Covidapolis, and I could see the end in sight. Monday arrives and while I’m chatting on the phone, another call comes from the delivery bloke. I call him back when my call is over and I tell him I’m here to receive the groceries and he agrees to head back to my place.

Since I was in my garage—I miss #CO2Fre—I decided to go out and meet him at the door. Alas, he had only one bag. No Orange Juice! Only the sundry items I bought to get my order to the minimum size for delivery.

Then, I received this email:

Safeway Fail: No Low Acid Orange Juice
I ordered some Low Acid Orange Juice on Saturday, 21 March, 2020, as well as some other items to make the order large enough to qualify for delivery. I had to wait until Monday, 23 March, 2020 to get my delivery… and guess what? No Low Acid Orange Juice!

Needless to say, I am rather angry at Safeway. They didn’t charge me for the Orange Juice, but all I wanted was Low Acid Orange Juice. They totally wasted my time and money by delivering all but that. They should have told me when I ordered that it was out of stock.

I miss Orange Juice.

Keto Diet for Vegetarians?

To understand what is involved in achieving Ketosis, we first need to consider what the Keto Diet is, and what it isn’t. It isn’t Atkins. Traditionally, Atkins starts out just like the Keto diet. They both limit carbohydrates to 20–25 g per day. The difference is Atkins has you target a weight goal and taper up your carbohydrate allowance to 80–100 g per of Carbohydrates per day, where as Keto keeps you at 20–25 g constantly.

Sounds great! I was reminded of this watching an episode of Braniac, a rather crude YouTube channel. A recent episode on a diet of 90 days of bacon got me thinking. It’s not like as a vegetarian I want to go out and only eat Bacon and Lard for a season. But is there a vegetarian alternative to that while still being Keto?

Well, how about an Avocado? Hold the toast!

Avocados
Avocados are a power food perfect for those aspiring to a Keto Diet. Just make sure your Mexican Avocado isn’t funded by drug cartels.