George Rucker's Stupendous Newsletter for April 24, 2018

Walking around the marsh at Mark's Cove, I noticed a lot of fiddler crab holes - sure sign of spring.

Here is a note on the above article regarding the high concentration of the zooplankton.  2017 was a horrible year for the right whale population causing many new regulations for both the United States and Canada.  Between our two countries 17 washed ashore last year.  When you consider we have only 500 or so left alive on this planet  that is very unusual.  17 is about 3.5% of the entire population of the right whales.  That would also leave an excess zooplankton for these basking sharks to come and feed on.  There are more right whales in the Pacific Ocean however it now appears that there actually are three varieties of right whale.   One more interesting note is, in the year 1990 there were only 275 right whales in the North Atlantic.  The fact that they almost doubled their numbers in 38 years is good.  

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I just finished a small article on how some rather rich people truly squander their wealth.  I have never had enough money to be wealthy.  I did however once get to zero.  When I say zero, I am saying that I did not owe any money to anyone.  I did not own a Rolls Royce but it was my “not a Rolls Royce.”  My cards were a zero and at the time I did not own a house.  That in itself is quite a feat.  It is a nice feeling not to owe anyone any money.  Shortly there after I bought my first “not a beach house,” and since then always pretty much below zero, but happy. 

Blockbusters like National Treasure and Ghost Rider once helped Nicholas Cage be worth $150million, but a love for the unique has reduced the actor's fortune to around $25 million, as told in the CNBC show The Filthy Rich Guide.   

At one point he owned 15 homes including two castles in Germany and England.   
These purchases led Cage to foreclosure and to owe $6.3 million to the IRS.
Other extravagant buys include an octopus, nine Rolls Royces and a burial tomb.

His currently value is about $25 million, to me that is still wealthy.  His need for the unusual is truly extraordinary.  Here are a few of the items:   the infamous LaLaurie mansion in New Orleans, which some say is one of the most haunted houses in the country, a $276,000 70-million-year-old dinosaur skull,  a comic book collection worth $1.6 million that included the first Superman comic, which he bought for $150,000, some shrunken pygmy heads, and a $150,000 pet octopus that he said helped his acting.

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Here is a Cuban recipe.  Many gave it five stars and those that did not say it needed more garlic.  It might not be Mexican but it is in the same vein.  Some also said that cooking was not long enough for the meat to shred.

Cuban Ropa Vieja Recipe by:  Kate Phillips Masterson

Ingredients

    1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    2 pounds beef flank steak
    1 cup beef broth
    1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
    1 small onion, sliced
    1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tablespoon white vinegar

Directions

    Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the flank steak on each side, about 4 minutes per side.

    Transfer beef to a slow cooker. Pour in the beef broth and tomato sauce, then add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, cilantro, olive oil and vinegar. Stir until well blended. Cover, and cook on High for 4 hours, or on Low for up to 10 hours.

When ready to serve, shred meat and serve with tortillas or rice.

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An explorer in the African jungle heard about a plan to capture the legendary King Kong. And sure enough, when he came to a clearing, there before him, imprisoned in a cage, sat the imposing figure of King Kong.

It occurred to the explorer that he could be the first person ever to touch the great ape and so, tentatively, he inched toward the cage. Since King Kong appeared quite passive, the explorer thought he would take a chance and reach through the bars to touch him. But as soon as he made contact with the gorilla’s fur, King Kong went berserk. He immediately rose to his feet, began beating his chest and with an awesome display of strength, burst through the bars of his cage.

As the explorer ran for his life, King Kong set off in hot pursuit. Instinctively the explorer headed for the heart of the jungle, hoping that he might be able to hide from his manic pursuer, but wherever he tried to conceal himself, King Kong always managed to find him.

As night began to fall, the explorer prayed that he would be able to lose the gorilla in the darkness but no matter how fast he ran, the sound of King Kong’s pounding footsteps was only ever about fifty yards behind.

For three long days and nights, the explorer ran through Africa with King Kong always close behind, occasionally letting out a menacing roar from his vast throat. Eventually the explorer reached the west coast. There were no ships in sight for an easy escape, so he realized the only option was to dive into the sea and hope that King Kong couldn’t swim. But, to his horror, the gorilla jumped in straight after him and demonstrated an excellent front crawl.

On and on they swam across the Atlantic – rarely separated by more than thirty yards – until four months later the weary explorer arrived in Brazil. He scrambled ashore with as much energy as he could muster, only to see the mighty King Kong right behind him, still beating his chest ferociously and with steam billowing from his nostrils. Through the streets of Rio they stumbled, explorer and ape equally exhausted, until the explorer took a wrong turn and ended up down a dead end, his escape barred by a twenty-foot-high wall.

With nowhere left to run, he sank to his knees in despair and pleaded to King Kong: “Do whatever you want with me. Kill me, eat me, do what you like, but make it quick. Just put me out of my misery.”

King Kong slowly stalked over to the cowering explorer, prodded him with a giant paw and bellowed with a terrifying roar: “You’re it!”

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I just finished an article I would like to weigh in on.  This is from the MIT Technology Review

DNA tests for IQ are coming, but it might not be smart to take one

Scientists have linked hundreds of genes to intelligence. One psychologist says it’s time to test school kids.

    by Antonio Regalado April 2, 2018 

For decades genetic researchers have sought the hereditary factors behind intelligence, with little luck. But now gene studies have finally gotten big enough—and hence powerful enough—to zero in on genetic differences linked to IQ.

A year ago, no gene had ever been tied to performance on an IQ test. Since then, more than 500 have, thanks to gene studies involving more than 200,000 test takers. Results from an experiment correlating one million people’s DNA with their academic success are due at any time.

IQ scores for sale

MIT Technology Review found that genetic IQ assessments are already being offered by websites that provide information to people who’ve previously had their DNA measured by 23andMe or Ancestry.com.

Users of GenePlaza, for example, can upload their 23andMe data and pay $4 extra to access an “Intelligence App,” which rates their DNA using data from the big 2017 study on IQ genes.

It shows users where their genes place them on a bell curve from lower to higher IQ. A similar calculation is available from DNA Land.

......... an insert from me.  This is a very long article and there are many people, including myself who do not want to pigeon hole any children due to this study.

There are also some from Harvard who have weighed in on the subject.  I notice they are trying to pick out embryos and sperm who have the smart DNA genes.  We will need to have a “serious policy debate” about such “personal eugenics.” 

If you wish to read the article here is the web site, 

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/610339/dna-tests-for-iq-are-coming-but-it-might-not-be-smart-to-take-one/ 

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I have a lot of toys.  By toys I mean things I can probably live without but for one reason or another want to have.  I usually call these things quest items after my on line game playing.  I have noticed that some of the time anticipation for the item surpasses the actual gaining of the item.  This is not always true but once in a while the gaining of the item is a disappointment.  

This is an example of a toy that was a disappointment.   I wanted a seltzer maker or bottle so I could control the sugar content of some drinks like cola, ginger ale etc.  The bottle requires a small CO2 charge after you fill it up with water.  Well every drink was disgusting and I wonder how it ever received these accolades.  If any drink had a margin of goodness, I would say just plain seltzer water.  

I saw a bumper sticker on a decked out truck that said “He who dies with the most toys wins.”  After seeing this truck with the wide tires, shiny wheels, custom paint, etc. I have decided to just get the toys I feel I need and not just want.  My life has been much happier since.

However I bought a new alarm clock the other day and it sets itself whenever it is not on time.  It adjusts for daylight-saving time, resets the clock after a power failure, so I am thinking of replacing all the clocks in the house with this marvel.  I do not think I can wait for another clock to fail so it must be something that I need.

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When I was in the Navy, probably about age 20s, I had an older cousin who was quite smart.  He had both a Masters in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Nuclear Engineering.  At the time he was working on a plant in New Hampshire that was always being protested by the local people.  When the New Hampshire project was finally forced to close its doors he decided to go into the research of cold fusion.  The funding was going to be paid by three countries, the United States, Canada, and Japan.  It also failed.  

One problem is that a breakthrough in the lab doesn’t guarantee innovation or success in the marketplace because energy is price sensitive. Also, fusion illustrates how few things can erode faith in a new technology like an imminent “breakthrough” that fails to materialize.  

Thanks to advances in physics research, material’s science and supercomputing, scientists are building and testing multiple fusion reactor designs. About a dozen fusion startups with innovative ideas have the private investment they need to see what they can achieve. Still, it’s too early to break out the champagne, and not only for technical reasons.

Scientists hit a milestone in 1994 when the test fusion reactor at Princeton set a new record for peak power of 10.7 megawatts, which The New York Times said at the time was “enough to power 2,000 to 3,000 homes momentarily, meaning roughly a microsecond. Scientifically, that event had great importance, though it was topped in 1997. Yet it hardly promised a power reactor just around the corner.

Many scientists are drawn to both fission, the power source in today’s nuclear reactors, and fusion, because of the spectacular amount of energy they offer. The fuel for fission, Uranium-235, usually 2 million times the energy per pound that oil does. Fusion may deliver up to seven times that or more.

The fuel used for fission is extremely abundant. The same goes for fusion, but without any long-lived dangerous waste. For fusion, the fuel is two isotopes of hydrogen, deuterium and tritium, the first of which can be extracted from seawater and the second from lithium, whose resources are large and growing.

If you want to read more you can read more at: https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/a19717389/why-nuclear-fusion-is-back-again/?src=nl&mag=pop&list=nl_pnl_news&date=041018 

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I could not find the cost of stock in this company but they are certainly aiming high.

The article I was reading was written on the 6th of this month by Maureen O'Hare.

Want to see 16 sunrises in one day? Float in zero gravity? Be one of the few to have gazed upon our home planet from space?

In just four years' time, and for an astronomical $9.5 million dollars, it's claimed you can.

What's being billed as the world's first luxury space hotel, Aurora Station, was announced Thursday at the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California.

Developed by US-based space technology start-up Orion Span, the fully modular space station will host six people at a time, including two crew members, for 12-day trips of space travel. It plans to welcome its first guests in 2022.

"Our goal is to make space accessible to all," Frank Bunger, CEO and founder of Orion Span, said in a statement. "Upon launch, Aurora Station goes into service immediately, bringing travelers into space quickly and at a lower price point than ever seen before."

Read more at: https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/aurora-station-luxury-space-hotel/index.html 

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My Facebook page and my list of people who receive this letter are about the same in number.  While looking at my Facebook page the other day I saw a recipe that looks like a keeper.  I gave this a B+ and Patty gave it a C.  She said it was like eating Shepard’s pie with pasta instead of mashed potatoes. 

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Shells. . . .

https://dinnerthendessert.com/philly-cheesesteak-stuffed-shells/ 

Ingredients:

    1 pound lean ground beef
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 small yellow onion, diced
    1 small green bell pepper, diced
    2 tablespoons ketchup
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
    8 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes (divided)
    24 jumbo pasta shells, cooked
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1 cup milk (I used whole)
    1 cup beef broth

Directions:

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Add the ground beef to a large cast iron skillet (this browns very well) and brown until a deep brown crust appears before breaking the beef apart.

    Stir the ground beef and brown until a deep crust appears on about 50 or so percent of the beef.

    Remove the beef (you can leave the fat) and add the butter and the onions and bell peppers.

    Let brown for 1-2 minutes before stirring, then let brown for another 1-2 minutes before stirring again.

    Add the beef back into the pan.

    Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper into the pan and stir.

    Take it off the heat and scoop it into the pasta shells.

    Top each shell with cubes of cheese (use half the cheese for this).

    Using the same pan add the beef broth, milk and cornstarch and whisk before turning the heat back on.

    Add in the rest of the cheddar cheese a little at a time while whisking for 3-5 minutes or until thickened.

    Pour about half the sauce around the shells.

    Bake in the oven for 10 minutes to melt the cheese.

    Serve with the remaining sauce.

That is all for this week.  I will see many of you at exercise this morning.

George

For a weekly copy of my letter just put “letter” in the subject line and email grucker@capecod.net