Thursday, July 22, 2010

New 110 proof brew could leave you squirrelly

From the makers at BrewDog comes a new craft brew,  one that could prompt Fido or Fluffy to literally pounce on the package as if it were prey. And what might make this beverage so appealing to our furry friends? Because BrewDog's new The End of History (pictured below) ale comes inside a post-taxidermy stoat or squirrel.

Furthermore, the Scott-made BrewDog recommends that its extra-strong 55 percent alcohol, or 110 proof, blonde "should be drank in small servings whilst exuding an endearing pseudo vigilance and reverence for Mr Stoat.

"This is to be enjoyed with a weather eye on the horizon for inflatable alcohol industry Nazis, judgemental washed up neo-prohibitionists or any grandiloquent, ostentatious foxes."

Uh, whatever dudes.

Though The End of History might leave one wondering what the makers were smoking when it was conceived, we feel we can safely say that the company has achieved one of its goal: "to push the boundaries and challenge people’s perceptions about what beer is and how it can be enjoyed."

Packaging it in roadkill -- literally -- certainly makes History historic. And dear, at 500 to 700 pounds, each, as well as rare.  The limited run is due to the fact that -- Small animals be praised! -- only roadkill is used. The release is ensconced in seven stoats and four grey squirrels, each "created by a very talented taxidermist" and each coming with each own certificate of authenticity. By Thursday morning, all bottles had been sold and BrewDog was hawking its other choices instead. In fact, by comparison, a bottle of 64 proof Tactical Nuclear Penguin for 40 pounds or 82 proof Sink the Bismark seems a downright bargain.

The name was chosen in reference to famed philosopher Frances Fukuyama's treatise, with the brewers saying: The End of History "is to beer what democracy is to history. Fukuyama defined history as the evolution of the political system and traced this through the ages until we got the Western Democratic paradigm. For Fukuyama this was the end point of man’s political evolution and consequently the end of history. The beer is the last high abv [alcohol by volume] beer we are going to brew, the end point of our research into how far the can push the boundaries of extreme brewing, the end of beer."

Oh, and the brew itself, lest we forget, is a Belgian ale "infused with nettles from the Scottish Highlands and Fresh juniper berries." Um, yum?

Those interested in Scotland's largest independent brewery, its philosophy or making purchases can find it all most entertaining presented here: BrewDog

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Stellar discovery reveals music of the Sun

The Sun, the life-nurturing center of our solar system, not only produces heat and light, scientists say. It also produces sound that's music to the ears of astrophysicists.

Astronomers at the solar physics research group at Sheffield University in England have discovered that the enormous magnetic loops coiling away from the Sun's atmosphere vibrate like the strings of a musical instrument. But that's not all these coronal loops do. Some behave like sound waves traveling through a wind instrument.

Though the sound of the Sun can't be actually recorded (sound waves cannot travel through the near vacuum of space), the Sheffield team was able to re-create it by using cutting edge mathematics and satellite images of the banana-shaped loops to translate the visible vibrations into noises. The process is similar to seismology used by geologists to study earthquakes. The noise is then sped up to a frequency audible to the human ear. The results are strangely rich and harmonic "music." (You can listen below.)

The hope is that this work by Project Sunshine will foster new insight into the workings of the solar corona, the least Sun's outermost, most mysterious component. This new understanding, solar physicists say, could result in answers to the key and central questions of astrophysics.

To learn more about solar music, how it is measured/interpreted and the breakthroughs it could result in, visit Music of the Sun.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sardonic Rocky & Bullwinkle sidekicks offer alternative lesson on Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan

Subversion, coercion and arms deals, oh my!

That's right kids. This is not your parents' Sherman and Mr. Peabody.

Rocky and Bullwinkle aficionados no doubt remember the unchanging headline of the cartoon's fictional newspaper, The Frostbite Falls Picayune Intelligence: "TENSION IN THE MIDEAST; COLD WAR CONTINUES."

Bearing the rather entertaining disclaimer "Not written or directed by a poli sci prof from UW," Mr. Peabody and Sherman Travel WayBack to 1953 - A History of Iraq uses the traditional animated characters to deliver a less-traditional lesson in the litany of U.S. operations in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan that have fueled our current quagmire. (The script is copyrighted by Matthew Hahn.) Not that any other players in the Middle East tinderbox are less responsible; there's no shortage of blame. However, Sherman is a pixilated means of delivery and one particularly satisfying to imagine Donald Rumsfeld fuming over.