Further Q&A, with Herr Direktor Funranium

Hello everybody.  Since last we spoke more questions have rolled in and BBotE & Steins of Science have rolled out to new countries.  Without further ado, your paraphrased & consolidated questions and my answers:

Question 1: “I saw what *INSERT PERSONAGE OF FANBOY ADORATION HERE* said about your stuff.  Can you introduce me to them?”

No, I can’t.  Honestly, awesome people are, first and foremost, people.  The best thing to do in order to get to know people is to say hello to them.  This is how I got to talking to them.  Being a nutter doing crazy things with scientific apparatus and alcohol helped in my case, but it is just as likely to chase people away too (trust me).  So, if they’ve made a publicly available way to contact them, drop them a line.  The worst that can happen is that they ignore you as you fall into the shuffle of several other thousand people vigorously waving their hands for attention too.

Question 2: “I really love *INSERT VARIETAL OF COFFEE HERE*.  Have you tried it as a Black Blood of the Earth yet?”

Answer: Go digging back through the Coffee News archive and you can see the trials so far that I’ve committed to the permanent record.  Not all BBotEs have been resounding successes which is why the five that are available are the ones they are.  Beyond being delicious, the coffee has to yield a replicable BBotE, which is sometimes tricky with light and medium roasts.  I will generally try a given varietal or roast two or three times from a couple different sources before I truly fire it.  Sulawesi and most any french roast have proven to be Not Good with BBotE processing.

Question 3: “I’ve got a liquid nitrogen dewar here in the lab.  It looks like all you did was slap a handle on one and I can do that myself.  Did you know that there are cheap dewars available on eBay?”

Answer: Okay, here’s where you guys tempt me back to my day job safety professional role.  There is a reason I use new dewars to build the Steins of Science, namely you have no idea where a used dewar has been and what has been done in it and/or around it. But I hear you thinking, “This dewar is in my lab.  I bought it.  I know exactly what I’ve done with it and all it has ever held is liquid nitrogen.”  To which I can only say, “Are you sure?”

Benchtop dewars are normally used to dip a piece of glassware known as a cold tip into the liquid nitrogen to help with extraction processes while doing chemistry (yes, I know that is a vague and unspecific explanation).  The problem is that sometimes these cold tips break and then whatever chemistry you were doing is now in your dewar along with the liquid nitrogen.  Liquid nitrogen is inert; your now failed bit of chemistry that was in the cold tip may not be.  There is also the fact that dewars tend to get stored under fume hood, sinks, and other generally low places where things can get into them from work above.

Sure, you can do some very thorough chemical cleaning to make it safe again but, really, no thank you.  I’ll take a new dewar, thanks.

Also, just putting a handle on is not quite as easy as it sounds.  Doing it without causing shrapnel as you are holding the dewar is the challenge.

Question 4: “Where is the Scientific Drinking World Tour going to next?”

Answer: Honestly, I haven’t the foggiest.  There’s no planned travel on the docket until my birthday in early November and that’s not likely to go further than South Lake Tahoe, CA or Reno, NV.  Otherwise, I ‘ll be doing my usual puttering around the SF Bay Area with the occasional side trip to Monterey & Santa Cruz.  There is a slim chance that I will be going to Fairbanks, AK next June or possibly upstate NY.  I find planning more than 48hrs into the future seems to be difficult these days, so who knows.

Question 5: “What the deal with St. George Spirits showing up all the time?  Do you work there or something?”

Answer: No, I don’t work there but there are days that I wish I did.  To me, it is the happiest place on Earth.  Imagine, if you will, people that get to do all the fun I do but scaled up by four orders of magnitude…WITH ALCOHOL.  The folks there have a definite appreciation for improving life with More Awesome.

More importantly, the employees of the distillery and more than a few of their customers have extremely well refined palates.  They are my favorite guinea pigs.  I know that if a BBotE can pass their review, I’ve made something worthwhile.  In particular, without a few not-so-gentle swift kicks from Andie Ferman there wouldn’t be a Funranium Labs.  She rather insisted that I share with the world.

Alright.  The Final Countdown has tolled in the office, which means it is time to head to the bar.  Take care, Internet.