This article by John E MacIntyre in the Baltimore Sun hits the mark for professors that care about the quality of content. He explains the why and how students either love or hate the class. This article probably express the feelings of any professor who cares about quality.
The Drunken Botanist – Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks
by Amy Stewart. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hills, 2013. ISBN 978-1-61620-046-6.
Amy Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist provides a botanist’s perspective on the sources, advent, modern practices and recipes of most popular alcoholic drinks. Other books Stewart has penned include Wicked Plants, and Wicked Bugs. In The Drunken Botanist, she proceeds “in an orderly fashion through the alphabet,” (1) discussing fermentation and distilling, infusers, mixers and garnishes. She not only lists the plant and its fermentation process, but its history, and how other organisms, such as storage, bugs and bacteria participate. Finally, she lists terminology, recipes and in some cases, how to grow the plant on your own. Each section examines the plant, which is the study of botany, but also a host of other scientific disciplines, reflecting the complexity of creating alcoholic beverages from plants.
Examples of the fermentation and distilling section include a revolutionary way to date when certain drinks were first consumed by humans. The section on Agave includes a discussion on botanist Eric Callen, who used human feces to date human consumption. Callen determined that maguey, a beer made from Agave, has been consumed by South Americans for at least 2,000 years (3). Stewart discusses mescaline and its properties as far as the shaman’s use. In Stewarts vocabulary section, she says that by law, 100% Blue Agave is tequila made in the United States (15), reflecting linguistics. In the “bugs in booze” section on agave, she mentions that putting worms in tequila bottles is a sales device and that such products are substandard (16), taking consumerism into the conversation.
In the section about grapes, we can see the different disciplines required to explain wine. She mentions that fermentation of grapes to wine began about the time that pottery was invented (59), thus taking history, archaeology and anthropology into her study. Stewart also mentions how yeast from oak trees was first domesticated (59) to make wine, taking biology into the discussion. Stewart explains how the properties of oak barrels are of immense importance in the production of wine, brandy and whiskey (51-54), taking chemistry into the conversation. Stewart also tells the story of how the wine industry was almost completely exterminated when grapes from the American Continent were transported to Europe (64), taking immunology into the conversation.
In the section about apples, she mentions that apples firs appeared just after the ice age. Their genetics are so diverse that it is impossible to get two apple trees with the same genetics from seeds, reflecting how plants left to develop on their own become genetically diverse (17), bringing genetics and the value of diversity into the discussion.
The book says it is about the botany of alcohol production, but in truth it is an examination of many disciplines. Although the entries for each plant are relatively short, the information non-trained consumer can glean is valuable in terms of understanding the source and process of his rye whiskey. He will know where to spell it whiskey or whisky. The consumer also learns how to shop intelligently, find a whiskey cocktail recipe, and how to successfully grow the plants to make whiskey. Therefore, for any student, this book answers the age-old question, why such disciplines are applicable to everyday use. Stewart writes in a lively tone, making the book highly readable.
I created a Word press site on Jelly Roll Morton to satisfy a class requirement. I invite everyone to view it and comment. I have been interested in language as well as a fan of Jazz. The subject Jelly Roll Morton gave me fodder for both. Please find it at: http://suehoerner.wordpress.com/
I just listened to a speech on introversion. (http://www.npr.org/2012/06/08/154457233/how-do-introverts-share-ideas) In it Susan Cain speaks about the problems introverts face trying to fit into an extrovert world.
Cain’s reasons for why this is an extrovert world makes sense: we are urban beings. Introverts are happier in pastoral environments. Time alone is the most productive and gets the best results. The Quakers understood this, and along with prisons, created solitary confinement. They thought solitary time would give an inmate a better chance to reform. We now know there is a limit to how much solitude is helpful.
Cain said, there is no such thing as totally introvert or totally extrovert, everyone fits somewhere along the ‘line’ between the two, and on the extremes would be those who are insane.
Like Cain says, group ideas tend to gravitate towards one idea, belonging to the person with the most charisma. She points out, that the person with the most charisma is probably too busy socially to have time to do any deep thinking. In the past, I have often wondered at decisions made in group meetings and wondered why my ideas were seldom considered. After viewing this, something clicked: some people find me boring, and when I think about it, realize I probably do not have enough charisma to go along with the many ideas I try to express.
What is charisma? How does it operate? Why is it necessary?
This first post is to understand how WordPress works, and see how it works with the widgets I selected.
I began this site to manage information on building a Private Learning Network, that will provide me with contacts that will assist me in my chosen field.
A recent post on a blog mentioned that people with a PhD in the area I am interested have been job searching for two years. That is of concern, except for one small detail. I have practical experience in the area I hope to find a job, which the PhD candidate does not.
So to anyone reading, what is your take on the professional job market at this time, and if you are hiring, what are you looking for in a candidate?
If you are seeking a job, what have you learned that is good and what is bad about the current job market?