Chuckles of the Day


Elderly Man Thinks Fast

An elderly farmer in Florida had a large pond down by his fruit orchard. One evening he decided to go down to the pond and took a five gallon bucket to pick some fruit.

As he neared the pond, he heard female voices shouting and laughing with glee. As he came closer he saw a bunch of young women skinny-dipping in the pond. He made the women aware of his presence and they all went to the deep end. One of the women shouted to him, ‘We’re not coming out until you leave!’

The old man thought for a second and said, ‘I didn’t come down here to watch you ladies swim or to make you get out of the pond naked.’

Holding the bucket up he said, ‘I’m here to feed the alligator!’

Moral: Old men can still think fast.

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Asylum Logic

During a visit to the mental asylum, a visitor asked the Director Albert what the criterion was which defined whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.

“Well,” said Albert, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.”

“Oh, I understand,” said the visitor. “A normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.”

“No!” said Albert, “A normal person would pull the plug.”

“Do you want a room with or without a view?”

Here’s the Science Behind Why Gin and Tonics Taste So Good

Nicholas Mancall-Bitel wrote . . . . . . . . .

It’s not your imagination: gin and tonic water actually taste better together than apart. The duo is greater than the sum of their parts thanks to their chemical makeup; your nose, mouth, and brain are wired to light up when they encounter the cocktail. Now, if only food scientists could figure out exactly why.

“One of the reasons I love talking about food chemistry and the gin and tonic problem in particular is that we don’t know,” Matthew Hartings, a faculty member in the department of chemistry at American University who has put a lot of thought into the mystery of the delicious G&T, shared. “We have some ideas, but a full account of it, we don’t know.”

Let’s start with what we do know. What we taste, and more importantly what we smell, arises from molecules inside the drink. In the case of a G&T, these molecules come from botanicals — primarily juniper — infused into the gin (which is drawn out by ethanol during distillation) and from quinine in the tonic, which gives the mixer its unique bitter taste. These molecules are delivered to our mouths by drinking or to our noses, where most of our flavor receptors actually are, by evaporation. While ice adds a cool crispness to the taste, it also dampens the molecular activity. This is why extra bubbly tonic helps to deliver more flavor — by transporting the chemicals up the liquid and into our mouths.

The next piece of the puzzle is how we taste. Molecules in your drink fit into protein receptors in the nose and mouth, triggering signals that go to your brain and giving you a sense of taste and smell.

But we’re not simply talking about individual molecules in the case of gin and tonic. We’re talking about aggregate molecules, which combine individual chemicals into new molecules that taste completely different. Unlike oil and water, which separate violently, the molecules in gin and tonic water naturally attract one another.

“When we start talking about how molecules are attracted to one another,” Hartings explained, “the general rule of thumb is if two molecules look like one another, and they have the same patterns of carbons and hydrogens and oxygens, and they have the same backbones and substance, they’re going to be attracted to one another.” If you want to get into the scientific weeds about it, similar chemical structures generate electric dipoles that attract one another.

Molecules in gin and tonic water naturally attract and form aggregates, and these aggregates — along with some individual molecules — float up into the receptors within your nose and mouth. From here, things can get a bit more complicated.

Gin molecules can fit into certain proteins while tonic molecules can fit into some of these same proteins. The same goes for the aggregate molecules, which can fit into some receptors that work with each ingredient and also some new proteins. All of these interactions send different signals to the brain, but size and shape aren’t the only things that matter. “How long these molecules are in that flavor receptor and how tightly they bind all affect the signal that gets sent to your brain,” Hartings said. Plus, it’s not as if the molecules are lining up politely to take turns sending different signals. “It’s a battle royale — these molecules are duking it out to see which one will go into this flavor receptor.”

The sheer complexity explains why food scientists still can’t figure out why gin and tonic taste especially good together. “You’re thinking about hundreds or thousands of different molecules in a glass and then the several hundred different kinds of proteins in your nose collecting all those interesting flavors,” Hartings said. “And you have to think about how all those molecules interact with one another, how they interact individually with those proteins, and how those proteins interact on a whole with all those molecules at once. It’s a big messy problem.”

Compound this challenge with the addition of sugar in the tonic water and lime juice in the garnish, not to mention the various combinations of botanicals that gin distillers can use, and you have a recipe for an incredibly difficult scientific quandary. You also have the recipe for a darn simple drink that’s utterly, mysteriously delicious.

Source: Thrillist

Chicken Victoria


1/4 cup butter
1 (3 to 4-lb) chicken
2 tbsp dried tarragon
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1 Bouquet Garni
2-1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms
8 small onions or shallots

Beurre Manie

2 tbsp soft butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour


  1. To make the Beurre Manie used to thicken the sauce, combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Mix the butter and the flour until well blended. Roll the mixture into small balls.
  2. Melt the butter in a roasting pan. Add the chicken and cook over moderate heat until brown on all sides. Sprinkle with tarragon, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the garlic and Bouquet Garni, then pour the stock into the pan.
  4. Cut the stems from the mushrooms and chop. Add the chopped mushrooms and mushroom caps to the pan.
  5. Add the Beurre Manie, then add the onions.
  6. Bake, covered, in a preheated 325ºF oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender, then remove the Bouquet Garni.
  7. Place the chicken in a serving dish and place the onions around the chicken.
  8. Pour the gravy over the chicken. Serve with baked croutons sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: The Creative Cooking Course

New Textile Could Keep You Cool in the Heat, Warm in the Cold

Imagine a single garment that could adapt to changing weather conditions, keeping its wearer cool in the heat of midday but warm when an evening storm blows in. In addition to wearing it outdoors, such clothing could also be worn indoors, drastically reducing the need for air conditioning or heat. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces have made a strong, comfortable fabric that heats and cools skin, with no energy input.

“Smart textiles” that can warm or cool the wearer are nothing new, but typically, the same fabric cannot perform both functions. These textiles have other drawbacks, as well — they can be bulky, heavy, fragile and expensive. Many need an external power source. Guangming Tao and colleagues wanted to develop a more practical textile for personal thermal management that could overcome all of these limitations.

The researchers freeze-spun silk and chitosan, a material from the hard outer skeleton of shellfish, into colored fibers with porous microstructures. They filled the pores with polyethylene glycol (PEG), a phase-changing polymer that absorbs and releases thermal energy. Then, they coated the threads with polydimethylsiloxane to keep the liquid PEG from leaking out. The resulting fibers were strong, flexible and water-repellent. To test the fibers, the researchers wove them into a patch of fabric that they put into a polyester glove. When a person wearing the glove placed their hand in a hot chamber (122 F), the solid PEG absorbed heat from the environment, melting into a liquid and cooling the skin under the patch. Then, when the gloved hand moved to a cold (50 F) chamber, the PEG solidified, releasing heat and warming the skin. The process for making the fabric is compatible with the existing textile industry and could be scaled up for mass production, the researchers say.

Source: American Chemical Society

Obesity is a Critical Risk Factor for Type 2 Diabetes, Regardless of Genetics

Obesity increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by at least 6 times, regardless of genetic predisposition to the disease, concludes research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]). The study is by Dr Theresia Schnurr and Hermina Jakupović, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues.

Using data from a case-cohort study nested within the Diet, Cancer and Health cohort in Denmark, the authors examined the joint association of obesity, genetic predisposition, and unfavourable lifestyle with incident type 2 diabetes (T2D). The study sample included 4729 individuals who developed type 2 diabetes during a median 14.7 years of follow-up, and a randomly selected cohort sample of 5402 individuals (the control group).

The mean age of all participants was 56.1 years (range 50-65) and 49.6% were women. Overall, 21.8% of all participants were classified as obese, 43.0% as overweight and 35.2% as having normal weight; and 40.0% of the participants had a favourable lifestyle, 34.6% had an intermediate lifestyle and 25.4% had an unfavourable lifestyle.

Genetic predisposition was quantified using a genetic risk score (GRS) comprising 193 known type 2 diabetes-associated genetic variants and divided into 5 risk groups of 20% each (quintiles), from lowest (quintile 1) to highest (quintile 5) genetic risk. Lifestyle was assessed by a lifestyle score composed of smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity and diet. Statistical modelling was used to calculate the individual and combined associations of the GRS, obesity and lifestyle score with developing T2D.

Compared with people of normal weight, those with obesity were almost six times more likely to develop T2D, while people who were overweight had a 2.4 times increased risk. For genetic risk, those with the highest GRS were twice as likely to develop T2D as those with the lowest, while those with the unhealthiest lifestyle were 18% more likely to develop T2D than those with the healthiest.

Individuals who ranked high for all three risk factors, with obesity, high GRS and unfavourable lifestyle, had a 14.5 times increased risk of developing T2D, compared with individuals who had a normal body weight, low GRS and favourable lifestyle. Notably, even among individuals with a low GRS and favourable lifestyle, obesity was associated with 8.4 times increased risk of T2D compared with normal weight individuals in the same genetic and lifestyle risk group.

The authors conclude: “The results suggest that type 2 diabetes prevention by weight management and healthy lifestyle is critical across all genetic risk groups. Furthermore, we found that the effect of obesity on type 2 diabetes risk is dominant over other risk factors, highlighting the importance of weight management in type 2 diabetes prevention.”

Source: Diabetologia