What I learned last week (#129): bioprospecting

Learned last week: climbing, brewing, Augusta, and more!

Quote that was helpful while recovering from an injury:

Our greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

William James

Book excerpt I enjoyed revisiting:

Oh, how I hate having piles of stuff everywhere. I’m a big fan of the filing box and of having a place for finished art to go (either the wall or afile).

“You’ll probably discover that there are lots of miscellaneous kinds of things that you want to keep but have piled up in stacks or stuffed into drawers because your reference system was too formal or just plain nonexistent. Let me remind you here that a less-than-sixty-second, fun-to-use general-reference filing system within reach of where you sit is a mission-critical component of full implementation of this methodology. In the fast lane of real life, if it’s not easy, quick, and fun to file something away, you’ll stack or simply accumulate it in “in” instead of organizing.” (David Allen, Getting Things Done)


Climbing a 43-meter long ladder over an 700 meters abyss:

This just looks crazy, especially the part where they show the building of it. But they mentioned at the end you can just walk down from the peak? Eh?


Bioprospecting for historic yeasts to use in beer:

In 2018, a similar project in Tasmania used yeast from 220-year-old beer bottles found on a shipwreck to approximate a beverage from the 1700s. But the study of the Wallachia yeast revealed a surprise. Those beers contained an unusual type of yeast and the team behind the work is now evaluating whether this long-lost strain could have applications in modern brewing or could even improve beers today.

When opened, the beer inside the bottles found on the Wallachia had a far from appetising odour, but the yeast they contain could be invaluable

It is just one example of a growing field of research among brewers and other fermenters of liquids who are seeking forgotten strains of yeast in the hope they can be put to good use.

Read The treasure inside beer lost in a shipwreck 120 years ago on bbc.com


A facinating view of the home of The Masters:

It is by now hardly scandalous to note that Augusta National—called the National by its members and devotees, and Augusta by everyone else—is an environment of extreme artifice, an elaborate television soundstage, a fantasia of the fifties, a Disneyclub in the Georgia pines. Some of the components of the illusion are a matter of speculation, as the club is notoriously stingy with information about itself. It has been accepted as fact that recalcitrant patches of grass are painted green and that the ponds used to be dyed blue. Because the azaleas seem always to bloom right on time, skeptics have propagated the myth that the club’s horticulturists freeze the blossoms, in advance of the tournament, or swap out early bloomers for more coöperative specimens. Pine straw is imported. Pinecones are deported. There is a curious absence of fauna. One hardly ever sees a squirrel or a bird. I’d been told that birdsong—a lot of it, at any rate—is piped in through speakers hidden in the greenery. (In 2000, CBS got caught doing some overdubbing of its own, after a birder noticed that the trills and chirps on a golf broadcast belonged to non-indigenous species.)

Read Inside the Cultish Dreamworld of Augusta National on newyorker.com


Stuff I wrote and drew about this week:


Other things I was reminded of, or thankful for, last week:

  • The kids finished up school for the year and we celebrated some requisites treats and ice cream. Although the break is really short in the UK (six weeks), the notion of summer vacation brings up lots of good memories for me. I might be more excited than they are.
  • We watched Luca. Perfecto. Silencio Bruno!
  • I’m still recovering from the skateboarding injury and it has been three weeks. I haven’t been able to go running yet, nor lay on either of my sides, so I still have a couple more weeks I’m guessing before I don’t feel any pain (they say 6 weeks, so that would be about right). 🤕

Last but not least, check out what I’m up to now.

Comments welcome!