Ever since my first attempt at making beer I’ve wanted to try it again, but living in a Manhattan apartment has some limitations, and making 5 gallons of beer can be one of them. When I found out that Brooklyn Brew Shop made a 1 gallon beer making kit that was perfect for a city apartment, I decided it was time to give it another try. I got a Bruxelles Blonde kit, which came with almost everything to make an ale style beer:
Additional equipment needed, but not included in the kit:
Since I had everything needed, I started making my second batch of homemade beer in late August.
Basketball is not one of my favorite sports. Generally speaking, the season is too long, teams don’t really play defense, scoring is too easy, and, when games are close at the end, the losing team constantly fouls the winning team to try and preserve clock time — what could be the most exciting part of the game is reduced to abject drudgery.
The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, also known as “March Madness”, can be very exciting due to it’s single-elimination format, however, the way they play the last few minutes of close games mars an otherwise enjoyable experience.
I know that strategy works once in a while, but that doesn’t make it fun to watch.
As the NCAA tournament got closer this year, I began to wonder just how long, on average, the last two minutes of a game actually takes to play, and if the closeness of the score matters. So, during the tournament, I got out my trusty stopwatch (last seen during Super Bowl XLIV) and timed the last two minutes of as many games as I could.
In mid-January, the Wall Street Journal analyzed the actual amount of play time of the average football game. They added up the amount of time the ball was actually alive and in play in four different games, and it averaged out to about 11 minutes. They concluded that the average game broadcast on TV shows 17 minutes of replays and 67 minutes of players standing around. With the biggest game of the year coming up, I decided to do my own analysis of the actual play time. Here are the results:
A few co-workers and I were discussing cookies at lunch one day. As the conversation went on, the question of which cookie is the best selling cookie in America was asked, and the answer didn’t surprise us: Oreo. We all agreed that chocolate chip cookies are probably the best selling as a type, but there are so many brands and varieties that one just can’t compete with Oreo for the crown.
During that lunch, we decided to conduct a little test with our fellow co-workers. We would set out an equal number of Oreos and Chips Ahoy! on plates in the central area of our department and see which one disappeared first. I predicted that Oreos would win, but the others figured the Chips Ahoy! would win.
I love M&M’s. I’m partial to the plain Milk Chocolate variety, but I’ve been known to have a Peanut from time to time in order to remind myself why I don’t like them that much. Often, while eating a pack, I’ll wonder how they’re made and how the colors are distributed.
I once took a factory tour at Ben & Jerry’s and saw that they make ice cream by making one flavor per production run and then storing them to be shipped out later. While that kind of production makes sense for ice cream since there are many different flavors and each flavor has many different ingredients, it doesn’t make sense for M&M’s since, except for the color of the candy shell, they are all the same. I assume that all the different colors are made at the same time and they’re combined together along the way into the different size packages.
After wondering about it a little more, I checked out M&M’s web site. According to it, each package of Milk Chocolate M&M’s should contain 24% blue, 14% brown, 16% green, 20% orange, 13% red, and 14% yellow M&M’s. I checked the next few packages of M&M’s that I ate and found that their percentages were not even close to the stated distribution. In my mind, this sort of confirmed my thoughts about how they produce M&M’s: When they make M&M’s, in any production run, they produce the stated percentage of each color and then just fill the packs off a conveyor line or some other weight based method. This would mean that any single package could be way off from the stated percentage; but analyze the counts over a large number of packages, and they should converge towards the stated percentages.
That’s what I aim to do here.
Often, while I’m doing things around the apartment, I’ll leave the TV on to be used as a procrastination tool. On one such occasion, I think the History channel was showing how paper is made (more interesting than it sounds) and I caught an interesting fact as it went to commercial. It said that on average, American’s use over 20,000 sheets of toilet paper per year.
I started collecting a rough estimate of the weight of the Sunday New York Times after having a discussion about it with a friend from Australia. I’ve made mention of the heavy weight (and alien blocking powers) of the Sunday Times before, and now I was curious about it’s actual weight.