Friday Four

Friday, September 30, 2016

1. "How to read a book a week," reads the teaser for a piece at The Verge in a recent link dump at Marginal Revolution. I strongly recommend the piece, as well as another it mentions right off the bat. I'm trying this advice already with Heather Mac Donald's The War on Cops, and hope to apply it to another couple of things I've had trouble moving along ever since we relocated.

Tyler Cowen gives the reward in one line, so I'll try doing the same with the method: Use existing habits as a basis for starting new ones. That may sound unimpressive, but a less-than-intimidating amount of effort is half the charm.

2. No. You don't have to call him her "master."

But Sally is asking for more than that: She's asking you to get involved in and play along with a specific dynamic of their relationship. It's entirely reasonable to decline to do that. Whatever she and Peter agree to do together is all well and good, but you and your co-workers don't need to participate in it.

And the fact that this is happening at work, as opposed to just in a social situation, gives this a whole additional layer of weirdness and discomfort. It would be odd enough if Sally were just doing this socially, but it's infinitely weirder and more disturbing that she's making it A Thing at work -- where people normally have stronger boundaries than this, where she has something of a captive audience, and where people feel pressure not to cause tension in their relationships with her.
Once again, Allison Green nails an issue most would find complicated, sitting as it does at the intersection of new professional norms and the opportunities for psychological manipulation they represent for some people.

3. Courtesy of my beer-a-day calendar, I have learned of a brew whose premise grosses me out a little, I will admit:
Someone joked that brew master John Maier's 34-year-old beard might be a perfect medium to grow yeast. He agreed to try it, and plucked nine hairs from his beard, which were sent to White Labs for testing and culturing (culturing makes it seem as if the hairs watched opera and read Shakespeare, but it means they were primed to grow yeast). It turns out, Maier's beard hairs can produce yeast -- and pretty decent yeast at that.

Maier's beard yeast is a blend of Rogue's workhorse yeast, Pacman, and a wild brewer's yeast. Wild brewer's yeasts act unpredictably, only fermenting some of the alcohol, but in the case of the beard yeast, it worked so well that it created a crisp flavor not typically associated with the unruly varieties. It was such a shock that the scientists at White Labs double-checked the results because they feared they had accidentally profiled the Pacman yeast instead of the beard yeast.
That said, and although it is not of a style I typically drink, I will try Rogue's Beard Beer some time, if I happen upon it.

4. After being here for months, I have finally heard someone call Baltimore "Ballmer", in a local radio ad. I knew about this accent from back in my Navy days. Either it's dying out or I live in the wrong part of the Baltimore area.

-- CAV

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