January 30th, 2010

beartato phd

(no subject)

From the wikipedia entry on Phosphorus:

The discovery of phosphorus is credited to the German alchemist Hennig Brand in 1669, although other chemists might have discovered phosphorus around the same time. Brand experimented with urine, which contains considerable quantities of dissolved phosphates from normal metabolism. Working in Hamburg, Brand attempted to create the fabled philosopher's stone through the distillation of some salts by evaporating urine, and in the process produced a white material that glowed in the dark and burned brilliantly. His process originally involved letting urine stand for days until it gave off a terrible smell. Then he boiled it down to a paste, heated this paste to a high temperature, and led the vapours through water, where he hoped they would condense to gold. Instead, he obtained a white, waxy substance that glowed in the dark. Brand had discovered phosphorus, the first element discovered since antiquity. We now know that Brand produced ammonium sodium hydrogen phosphate, (NH4)NaHPO4. While the quantities were essentially correct (it took about 1,100 L of urine to make about 60 g of phosphorus), it was unnecessary to allow the urine to rot. Later scientists would discover that fresh urine yielded the same amount of phosphorus.
beartato phd

(no subject)

Food experiment tonight was

1/4c butter + 1/4c sugar + 1/2c flour + 1 egg

Mixed the softened butter and sugar together first, then mixed in the egg, then the flour.

At this point it had an appropriately cookie-batter-like consistency, so that was encouraging. Dumped it in a pile in the skillet, and cooked it at 375 for about 10 minutes.

This was a sugar cookie recipe found on the internet divided by about a factor of six, except the original recipe had 1 egg in it also. Eggs are seriously the hugest obstacle to scaling recipes down to quick-experiment single-serving versions.

Came out with a distinct sugar-cookie taste (though what do you expect when you have such a huge quantity of butter and sugar) but the texture was totally weird: spongy and almost cake-like, but dense. Didn't have much clue what I was getting into since I had OMG SIX TIMES AS MUCH EGGS as the original recipe proportionally. Ended up deliciously a little crispy around the edges. Maybe I should have cooked it longer and got more of that. Or, you know, separated it into little cookie-shaped chunks instead of making one giant blob. Could only manage to eat half of the result before being overwhelmed by buttery sweetness despite being helped by three whole glasses of milk. Tupperwared the rest. Fairly tasty stuff.