Book Review: Devil at My Heels

This is the autobiography of the man who is the focus of the popular book, Unbroken. Excellent read, amazing story, impressive man.

The story of a young Olympian who served in the military during WWII and survived a plane crash, days and days in a life boat at sea, and POW camp. Not to mention the PTSD and trying to get his life back afterward.

His message: it's all about attitude.  This is the kind of book I really enjoy and just can't get enough of.  I would highly recommend it.


bp's science says farewell

The posts on this blog that get the most hits are my science posts.  Just recently, I had an overwhelming response to one of my science posts which had been linked via reddit and other blogs.  It was kind of neat to see those links at first, but then people started questioning my facts, and I felt kind of crappy, but I could see why people did it.  In one remark, one of my entries was compared to a 'Wikipedia' page of science, and I get it.  While I have been trying to provide facts that I think are certainly true and the way the science works, I am not doing research myself in my garage lab.  I have a biology degree, but not a mathematics, physics, chemistry or any of the myriad other science degrees.  And as such, I do not understand everything out there.  But, truth is, I wasn't trying to be the science authority (are you kidding me?).  And it's the nature of the beast for a mistake or two to come along.  I mainly did the posts to keep me asking questions and trying to find the answer to them.  I thought it would be interesting to some readers along the way, and I hope it was.

And so, I have decided to quit bp's science.  It had a good long run for almost three years, but it is time to stop.  I've reverted all of the entries to draft so I don't have to read anymore poor comments about them.  Still, I will remember the good comments and, I must admit, some of those posts were gems and right on the money.  Plus, I really did learn a lot!

As Ron Rosenbaum states in a recent Smithsonian Magazine article, "...the wisdom of the ages is in some ways more distant and difficult to find than ever, buried like a lost treasure beneath a fathomless ocean of online ignorance and trivia that makes what is worthy and timelss more inaccessible than ever." And with that, I would encourage you to go to your library and seek out some good old books, papers, or journals.  There isn't any 'Wikipedia' there (that is, unless you go to the library and use the computers...but I digress).  Ciao!


bp's science: the art of shopping (v.1)

This holiday season, try this tip out: don't hold a basket at stores.  Research shows shoppers holding a basket (instead of pushing one) were seven more times likely to buy items that they weren't planning on buying or didn't need.  Why? They aren't really sure what the science is behind it but scientist theorize that the flexing of your arm activates the desire to acquire.  Or that the arm gets uncomfortable while shopping so it signals to your brain, "Gather whatever you can, man, and get out of here!"  A Snickers bar at the front cashier will provide the energy you need and will take less time than fetching an apple from the produce section.

I wonder what the difference is between customers who held a basket and those who held or pushed nothing.  What about carrying a bag on your shoulder (like in IKEA)?  What do you think?

photo from here


Book review: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

In Steve Jobs' biography, the reader learns how Apple came about and why it is so successful.  Much of its success is due to being lead by a guy who didn't take any nonsense, was brutally honest, and was extremely eccentric...to a fault but also to the result of some of the technological world's greatest successes.  I read most of Walt Disney's biography last year and I found many similarities between these two, shall we say, geniuses.  They both had a feel for what the public wanted before the public knew they wanted it.  They truly believed in their product with undying determination and they usually could talk anyone into doing something for their (or their company's) sake.  True, these individuals could be hard to work with and you had to figure out how to be on their good side, but once you were, it was an adventure to be on board.  I am amazed at people like this, with such determination that they can go about business with such confidence.  Jobs was truly driven by his work and he did it because he loved it, not because he wanted the lifestyle (although, he did have a private jet and was designing his own yacht).  This is a fantastic read and a great look into a man who, like my brother recently mentioned and I agree, will be remembered with the greats like Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, for changing the world with invention.


bp's science: warm milk and eggs (v.1)

Are you one of those people who makes a cake without bringing the milk and/or eggs to room temperature? I sure am. Even though I'm great at remembering to soften the butter, I never remember the milk and eggs. And for a while, I was proud of it. "Who cares?" I thought as I laughed inside, "I can make just as good a cake without the hassle."

Turns out, there's a reason all of my cakes are dense. According to REAL SIMPLE magazine, January 2011 issue:

"At room temperature, eggs, butter, and liquids such as milk bond and form an emulsion that traps air. During baking, the air expands, leavening the batter or dough and producing a light and airy baked good. Cold ingredients, on the other hand, don't incorporate evenly to bond."

So when making those baked goods this holiday season, take the butter, milk and/or eggs out of the fridge 30 minutes - to an hour before baking and enjoy that airy cake (or muffin or bread).