Monthly Archives: January 2016

Expertise vs. Emotion at Ann Arbor City Council

Removed from scientific context, vaccinating your kid sounds crazy.  Let’s stick a needle in their arm and put disease and chemicals into their body.  To prevent an illness nobody you know has ever gotten.  And on top of your kid crying, and your own lack of experience with the disease, you have neighbors whispering in your ear (or posting loudly on social media) how dangerous vaccines are.

Instead of putting it to a popular vote, though, or listening to the loudest voices on your Facebook feed, you listen to your child’s pediatrician (I hope) and bodies of experts like the AMA and CDC, who unanimously cite overwhelming evidence in favor of vaccinations.

For every decision, there are gut feelings and personal opinions about the issue, and then there are the scientific arguments – what does the evidence say?  Most often, these come from experts in the field, who have devoted years to mastering the topic.

Would #a2council vaccinate?

The greatest  conflicts in Ann Arbor politics are often driven by clashes between gut feelings (either voiced by citizens or held by CMs) and expert opinions.

Continue reading Expertise vs. Emotion at Ann Arbor City Council

Simple Grocery Store Cider 2014

November 2014: Bought 5 gallons of Kapnick Orchards Cider at the grocery store, pitched a packet of Vintner’s Harvest MA33  yeast.  O.G. 1.046.

Mid-2015: I added a full 10″ cinnamon stick, on recommendation from several AABG club members.  The idea is to get hints of cinnamon that trigger associations with apple flavor (think apple pie), but stay below the threshold of identifiable cinnamon.  SG 0.993 (7% abv).

January 2016: kegged and added 2.5 tsp each of 10% K-Meta solution and potassium sorbate, along with table sugar (beet) to taste.  Over the year+ in a single vessel, the cider had dropped clear.

Measuring sugar to backsweeten:

  1. Pull a full hydrometer sample, measure (0.993), taste – way too dry, no balance to acidity
  2. Stir in a little sugar, taste, repeat; when it gets in the ballpark, measure gravity (1.009) – almost there
  3. Keep going – 1.015 was sweet, but balanced.  Maybe a little too sweet while still, but carbonation should even that out.  Target 1.013.
  4. Calculate amount of sweetener needed.  I need 20 ppg increase in gravity (from .993 -> 1.013) for 5 gallons, so 20 x 5 = 100 points.  One pound of table sugar yields 46 ppg so I need 100/46 = 2.18 lbs of sugar.

For reference, apparently Woodchuck Cider has a final gravity of 1.029!