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Writer and Geek Show
40 minutes | Nov 23, 2019
074: Oh beer, oh beer!
Beer is undoubtedly the most popular drink around the world. Today, we are trying to get some insights into the origins of beer; discuss the methods of preparation and debunk some myths while bouncing off some fun facts about the drink.The study of Beer is known as Zythology.The term Beer originated from Latin, which means “to drink”. It has its roots in the Proto-Germanic word “beuwoz”, derived from “beuwo”, which means barley.At any given time, 0.7% of people in the world are drunk. Which is approximately 50 million people.History and Brewing methods:Beer is the oldest drink produced by humans. It is traced back to 7000 years, in ancient pottery jars in Iran.In Mesopotamia, Sumerian tablets from 6000 years ago depict people drinking beer.First beer recipe was found in the 3900 years old Sumerian Poem honouring Ninkasi, goddess of beer. It was made from the bread made from barley.5000 years ago, in China, beer residue made from barley and other grains were found on pottery.Traces of beer were found in Sumer, Southern Iraq from 5400 BC.Charlemagne considered beer to be an important part of life. He used to train brewers himself to get his desired taste of beer.Most of these recipes followed both malted grain and use of moulds cultivated on rice carriers. And the rice method was considered more efficient.Malted barley was used for making beer as it is a good source of fermentable sugar.Before hops, Herbs and spices, called Gruit, were used to mask the sweetness of beers.By the twelfth century, hops were used as a flavouring/bittering agent and we should thank German monks for that. Hops provided a pleasing flavour, thirst-quenching feeling and also acted as a preservative.In the 7th century AD, European Monasteries produced and sold beer. Almost every monastery had a brewery. They used to improve the flavour by lagering and cold storing.The difference between ale and beer is that ale did not use hops.Hops are the flowers (also called seed cones or strobiles) of the hop plant Humulus lupulus.Top-fermenting was the preferred method earlier on but was replaced by bottom fermentation.Top fermentation is a violent alcoholic fermentation at a temperature of 14 to 30° C during which the yeast cells are carried to the top of the fermenting liquid used in the production of such liquors as ale, porter, and wines of high alcohol content and in distilling. (Merriam Webster)Bottom fermentation is a slow alcoholic fermentation during which the yeast cells collect at the bottom of the fermenting liquid, which takes place at a temperature of 4 to 10° C and which occurs in the production of lager beer and wines of low alcohol content. (Merriam Webster)A shift from home brewing to commercial brewing, with the use of hops improved quality of beer. And the per capita consumption of beer in Hamburg went from 300 litres in the 13th century to 700 litres in the 15th century.In 1516, William IV, Duke of Bavaria, adopted the Reinheitsgebot (purity law), which states that the ingredients of beer are to be restricted to water, barley, and hops. Yeast was added to the list after Louis Pasteur's discovery in 1857 (Pasteurization).Beer was sold domestically before the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution led to the development of hydrometers 1770 and thermometers 1760 changing the scale of brewing. Today it is a global business with multinational companies and brewpubs or regional breweries.Beer became an integral part of the British Army. The army in colonial countries needed beers that lasted longer. This led to the brewing of Indian Pale Ale, which had higher alcoholic content and more hops for preservation.European colonists on the way to the US stopped at Plymouth Rock to make more beer.New York had 42 breweries 1810. New York and Philadelphia were known as the brewing centres of the US.American had British style ales until mid-1800, but they moved to a heavier, darker ale with the influence of new immigrants from Northern and Central Europe.Demand increased till the prohibition era from 1920-1933. Only some breweries who made malt extracts, ice cream, and soda survived.Mass-produced cheap beer survived after prohibition due to the Great Depression.Craft beer breweries came back in fashion, thanks to Jimmy Carter when he passed the home brewery for personal use bill in 1978.133 billion litres sold every year and it amounted to $294.5 billion in sales in 2006.India:Beer is not as popular as stronger alcoholic beverages like whiskey. Strong beers are more popular in the country.Beer is mentioned in Vedas including Ramayana. It is Lord Indra's favourite drink and is called Sura in Vedas.Ancient Greek historian, Megasthenes, has documented rice beer in India in his writings.Kautilya/Chanakya has mentioned beer in his work (Medaka and Prasanna).Elephants used to attack villages due to their acquired taste for beer.The local beers had some health benefits as it kept away diseases like beriberi.In India, the traditional beers are made using rice and millet.The British introduced European beer in the 18th century.The Indian Pale Ale (IPA) was invented in 1787 at Bow Brewery. It was produced to ship out to Indian Empire.Asia's first brewery was incorporated in 1855 (started in 1835) by Edward Dyer in Kasauli under the name Dyer Breweries. It is currently known as Mohan Meakin.The price of beer in 1967 was ₹6.5.United Breweries came to India in 1999, Cobra beer in 2005, Anheuser-Busch Inbev (Budweiser) in 2006, and Heineken in 2011.Craft Beers were introduced in 2009 in the form of Brewpubs in Pune (Doolally) and Gurgaon Ahirwal (Howzat). But it didn’t gain much popularity and closed down shortly. But bottles craft beers came back in 2016 in the form of White Rhino.There are around 200 breweries in India in 2019 with around 60 of them in Bangalore and Gurgaon.Bira 91 is one of the most popular craft beer available right now in India.Facts:Beer drinking more than water is a myth because most of the towns and villages were set up next to rivers or any other kind of freshwater sources.Cenosillicaphobia is fear of empty beer glass.The strongest beer has an alcohol level of 67.5%.Beer was not considered an alcoholic beverage in Russia until 2013.Beer was the national currency in Egypt.Carlsberg added a pipeline of unlimited beer to Niels Bohr’s residence after he won the Nobel prize.In the 13th century, Norway, beer was used to baptize.There is a brewery in Germany operating continuously since 1040.In 1956, a test was conducted where beers were kept in the atomic bombs blast perimeter to see whether it would be safe to drink after the explosion. The experiment found out that it is safe to drink.The world's longest hangover lasted 4 weeks after a Scotsman consumed 60 pints (28 litres) of beer.Sources:History of beerHistory of beer in IndiaHeartland BreweryMerriam WebsterRandom Facts
31 minutes | Nov 8, 2019
073: Why do we remember things?
In this episode we talk about how memory works.
21 minutes | Oct 25, 2019
072: Serial Killer Files Part 7 - Cyanide Lady
Kerala was recently shocked to the news of a series of murder suspected by using cyanide by a lady. In this episode, we talk about Jolly Joseph and the mystery surrounding the deaths around her. As of today, she has confessed of having committed the crimes.Image: Unsplash
34 minutes | Oct 4, 2019
071: Cosmic Time Measurement In Hinduism
In this episode, we talk about time measurement in Hindu culture.
32 minutes | Sep 20, 2019
070: Renting A House
In this episode, we talk about what you need to know while renting a house in India.
36 minutes | Sep 13, 2019
We are back after a break! To celebrate our 69th episode, we are gonna talk about human orgasm and sex related stuff. Episode is explicit, listner descretion is adviced.Mary Roach’s TED TalkPhoto by Wendy van Zyl from Pexels
28 minutes | Jun 22, 2019
068: Water Crisis In Bangalore
Click here to watch the episode on YouTubeIntroduction:The population in bangalore was 1.62 million back in the 1970s. Now there were nine million people in Bangalore in 2012. The count went up to eleven by 2018 and it is expected to reach 20 by 2030.In the period of 1970-2000 (30 years), the population has grown by 244%. And from 2001-2011, it has grown by 47%.The need for water has gone up with the increase in the number of people in the city.Causes:There were over 280 water bodies in the form of lakes and rivers in Bangalore in the 1960s and 1970s. The number has been cut down to around 80 in the present.Most of these have water which is not suitable for drinking due to the dumping of industrial effluents and garbage.Presently, 80% of the land in Bangalore is covered by concrete making it impossible for water to penetrate under the surface. This has drastically reduced the ability of rainwater to replenish groundwater.Instead of relying on water bodies, the people in Bangalore are highly reliant on groundwater for all their water needs. This has led to the depletion of groundwater to such an extent that it has dropped from 200-300 feet a decade ago to almost 2000 feet now. That is a 10 times increase.Illegal sand mining has also led to lakes and rivers not being able to hold more water in it. The acquisition of land for the construction of high rise building has led to deforestation and reduction in the area of water bodies. Also, most of these complexes does not have a proper water harvesting plan in place.Apartment complexes, stadiums, and other buildings are being built on dried up water bodies, killing the possibility of ever replenishing them.The regulations regarding the construction of borewells have not been on check and many borewells are dug very close to each other. There are on an average 6 people applying for permission to dig borewells everyday. This has also contributed a lot in reducing the groundwater level of the city.Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) supplies 1.4 billion litres of water to the city, but it still falls short by around 800 million to satisfy the total need.Around 40% of the water pumped to the city also leaks from the pipe.Also, subsidies on electricity and irrigation for agricultural purposes has led to the increased use of water.Global warming plays a part, too. As temperature has gone up in the past decade with summer lasting a lot longer than before. Rainfall has also reduced.What is the current state?Major water bodies contaminated, for example, Bellandur lake catches on fire.Farmers relying on contaminated water from these rivers and lakes for irrigationReliance on water trucks which has lead to higher demand.Formation of water mafia who sell water from the trucks at highly inflated prices.Cauvery is one of the sources of water for bangalore, but it has to travel around 100 kms to be delivered to the people. A good share of the water leaks out during transportation and millions are spent on electricity to pump it.There is a major conflict happening between Karnataka and Tamil nadu because of the Cauvery issue.Bangalore will completely deplete its groundwater by 2020 if it continues at this rate.What can be done?Severe punishment for land encroachersCleaning of lakes and other water bodiesWastewater reuse for purposes like gardening, washing vehicles, etc.Strict enforcement of rainwater harvesting.Fixing leaking water pipesConserving the existing greenery and replenishing what is lost.Sources:Times of IndiaMumbai MirrorBBCBBCLivemintIndia Water PortalTimes of IndiaHuffington PostImage: unsplash-logomrjn Photography
34 minutes | Jun 5, 2019
067: History Of Money
Barter SystemBarter system has been in existence since 6000 BCEarliest forms of barter system had livestock trade (sheep, cattle, vegetables, grains)It was first recorded in EgyptMesopotamia to Phoenicians and the Babylonians improved the systemGoods were exchanged for food, tea, weapons, and spices. Even human skulls were used. Salt was a very important trade commodity that Roman soldiers were paid with it.Middle ages, Europeans traded crafts and fur for silks and perfumes.Musket balls, wheat, and deer skins were used by colonial americansThe invention of money did not kill barter system. But it made it organised.Barter system came back during the great depression of 1930s in a form similar to that of banks.Disadvantages:No certification of proof to show legitimacy of the person you are dealing withIt depends on trustPossible exchange of bad commoditiesNeed a double coincidence of wantsNo common measure of valueStorage issues highAdvantages:No need of moneyFlexibility that anything can be traded.Does not have to be material items. You can exchange skillsCoin & Paper CurrencyCurrencies has been in existence for almost 3000 yearsChinese started using goods cast made from bronze (cutlery, arrows, spades, daggers)They started using coins to avoid being impaledFirst known minted currency was a roaring lion coin created by King Alyattes in Lydia (present Western Turkey)It was made using a mixture of silver and gold which is called ElectrumChinese came up with paper currency in 700 BC (Tang and Song Dynasty). These notes in the beginning where only temporarily valid.By 1271 AD, the currency system in China was thriving. The government had took over shops which print currency and made state-issued currency. It was the time when Marco Polo visited the place.Medieval Islamic world build a monetary system during 7th - 12th centuries (Dinar). They are the first to use credit, cheques, savings account, transactional accounts, exchange rates, promissory notes, banking institutions for loans and deposits, etc.Manilla rings were used in West Africa since 15th century for slave trade.Metal coins and Archimedes Principle - To test its purityEuropeans used coins up until the 16th century. And it was not until 1661, Europeans (Swedes) started using paper currency.European paper notes could be exchanged at any banks for gold or silver coinsMore than the government, it were the banks and private institutions who used to regulate the printing of currencyFirst issuance of currency happened in colonial North America so that the traders do not run out of money.Paper currency improved international trade and also lead to conflicts between empires.Impact of World Wars lead the countries involved to print currency out of proportion leading to inflation. The Great Depression of 1930s is a result of this.Gold is set as the standard for printing currency.Mobile and virtual currency - The move towards digital bankingInvented in 2009 by the the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin has become the gold standard of virtual currency.Facts:American - "In God we trust", Chinese - "All counterfeiters will be decapitated"Currency helped improve Lydia's economy, but they were conquered by the Persians not long after.In 1685, plating cards were signed and issued as currency by the governor for soldiers in France.Coins made out of a mixture of metals were used in India.Bijay’s Podcasting courseSteve Johnson
49 minutes | May 26, 2019
066: Dyatlov Pass Incident
To the east of the Ural mountains, in Yekaterinburg city cemetery, there is a group grave of 9 members from a hiking group who died mysteriously.TimelineArrived by train at Ivdel a town at the centre of the northern province of Sverdlovsk Oblast on 25th January 1959.Took a truck ride to Vizhai (last settlement towards the north).Hikers purchased and had loaves of bread when they were in Vizhai to keep energy high.Started trek towards Otorten from Vizhai on 27th January.Yuri Yudin returned on 28th due to health issues.On 31st, the hikers arrived at a highland area and started preparing for their climb. They saved surplus food in a wooded area for their return hike.Snowstorms resulted in hikers being deviated from their intended path and ended up on the slopes of Kholat Syakhl (Dead Mountain).Group decided to camp on the slopes of Kholat Syakhl instead of hiking all the way back into the wooded area about 1.5 km away. It is speculated that the group wanted to practice camping on a mountain slope.Dyatlov had told his sports club that he would send a telegram from Vizhai no later than 12th February and that it might take even longer.It was not until 20th that the relatives of the hikers demanded a search be conducted for the missing hikers.The search party was mobilised and the military also took part in the search. On 26th of February, the search party found the tent that was used by the hikers.The tent was torn from inside and the hikers were missing. All the belongings including warm clothing and shoes were left behind.A set of footprints could be found heading away from the tent towards the woods, but after 500m, the tracks disappeared in the snow.At the edge of the forest, under a Siberian Pine tree, there was a visible sign of a fire that was lit.The first two bodies, Krivonischenko and Doroshenko were found shoeless near the fire site wearing only their underwears.The tree also had visible marks of someone having climbed it, with branches up to 5 metres broken. Someone seems to have climbed the tree to either escape from something or to look at something in distance.Further search in the snow between the camp and the pine tree revealed the bodies of Dyatlov, Kolmogorova and Slobodin. Their poses suggested that they were trying to return to the campsite perhaps for food and warm clothing. They were found at a distance of 300, 480 and 630 metres from the tree respectively.The four remaining hikers were not found until 4th of May under 4 metres of snow around 75 metres away from the pine tree towards the woods. These four happened to be better dressed than others and the ones who died later were wearing the clothes of the ones who had died earlier. A hastily constructed den was found near the bodies.Something happened on the night of 31st - 1st which lead to the death of all the hikers.InquiryAn inquiry was started into the matter after the first five bodies were found. It was concluded that hypothermia was the reason for the deaths.The finding of the four bodies later presented puzzling details which changed the course of the inquest.Three of the four hikers had serious fatal injuries to the head and chest area.Doctors concluded that the force required to cause a similar injury would be something similar to that of a car hitting a person.Except for Dubinina who was missing her tongue, eyes, parts of lips and a part of the skull, no major external wounds were found on the bodies. It was later claimed that these injuries were a result of her being face down on the water.TheoriesThe inquest concluded that all the hikers had died of a compelling natural force. The inquiry was stopped in May and all the files sent to secret archives.Mansi: Mansi do not frequently visit this area and the mountain and they were not territorial.Robbery: No valuables were taken from the tent or the hikersAnimal attack: No attack marks or animal footprints. This area wasn’t a hunting ground for animals.Avalanche: Most possible explaination but since theSoviet Military Projects: Bomb testing would’ve startled he hikers or caused avalanche. Radioactivity was detected in one of the hikers. Conspiracy theorists state that some of the hikers might have come across a secret military project and would’ve been killed by the military or died when they were pursuide. Interestingly, the bodies were searched for radioactivity which under normal circumstances is not a normal test. This raises further suspicions.Govt. Coverup: Govt wanted the investigation to wrap up quickly. For three years after the incident, the area was closed for genral public.Infrasound Theory: Infrasound causing panic attack.Katabatic Winds: Strong winds blowing down the slope were also claimed to have taken the lives of the hikers.Out of control partying: Excessive partying with alcohol or drugs, causing disorientation amongst the hikers.Some hikers about 50km south of Dyatlov Pass who were hiking at the same time claim to have seen fireballs in the sky.More information can be found here: Dyatlovpass.comImage: Tom Morel
75 minutes | May 17, 2019
065: More horror featuring Indian Noir
Here is the second part of our conversation with Nikesh Murali, the producer of Indian Noir about horror and why humans are fascinated with the genre.Find Nikesh online:Indian NoirNikesh’s websiteunsplash-logosebastiaan stam
72 minutes | May 10, 2019
064: Why Is Horror So Fascinating? Featuring Indian Noir.
In this episode, we sit down and chat with Nikesh Murali, the producer of Indian Noir about horror and why humans are fascinated with the genre.Find Nikesh online:Indian NoirNikesh’s websiteunsplash-logosebastiaan stam
29 minutes | Mar 16, 2019
063: Is Ejection Seat A Better Alternative?
What is ejection seat?The ejection seat is a safety mechanism primarily used in aircraft to save a pilot or a passenger by propelling the seat out of the disabled aircraft.An explosive charge or rocket is used to propel the seat to a safe distance and a parachute takes care of the rest of the journey down to the ground.Everald Calthorp who earlier had invented parachutes devised an ejection seat that used compressed air.Romanian inventor Ananstase Dragomir proposed the modern layout for ejection seats in the late 1920s. The parachuted cell design was tested on 25 August 1929 in Paris and got the design patented.The technique used before ejection seat was to simply jump out of the aircraft which in most cases was difficult as it would cause injury and was dangerous.As with most of the things, World War II led to the development and perfection of parachutes.Heinkel and SAAB developed the ejection seat independently. These early models were compressed air powered seats. Heinkel HE 280, the prototype jet fighter, had an ejection system built into it.The ProcessIf there arises a scenario where ejection is imminent, the command “eject” is used as an early warning that a possible ejection is coming up in next 30 or so seconds. At the critical moment, the command “bailout” is used and the crew ejects.The sequence:When the pilot activates the ejection system, first the canopy is blown off or opened.The pilot and the seat are launched through the opening.During ejection, a catapult propels the seat up the rails and then the rocket engine takes over.The canopy forms another part of the ejection system. Most of the aircraft are designed in a way where the canopy is blown off the aircraft. In some cases to avoid delay or seat hitting the canopy, a specially designed canopy filled with explosive charges embedded within the acrylic canopy which when initiated, shatters the canopy above and the seat is ejected a few seconds later.In some other aircraft without canopy, the seats are ejected through hatches. B-52 bombers had ejection seats that were ejected through the hatches, four in the roof and two on the floor.Vishu Gowda
36 minutes | Mar 8, 2019
062: Beer Talk: Life 'N' Stuff
This week, the boys sit down to discuss life 'n' stuff.
64 minutes | Feb 12, 2019
061: Personal Finance Ft. Naga From Passion People Podcast
In this episode, Vishnu is joined by friend and fellow podcast producer Naga Subramanya from The Passion Poeple Podcast to discuss personal finance. Vishnu is a noob and Naga is an expert when it comes to personal finance. Enjoy their conversation, there are many gems of knowledge in this one.Some of the stuff we discuss:Power of compoundingMutual fundsSaving then spendingCredit Cards and DebtLoansInsurance and why term insurance.You can reach out to Naga here:The Passion People PodcastPassion Poeple Podcast on TwitterNaga’s email: email@example.comSharon McCutcheon
30 minutes | Jan 22, 2019
060: Cholanaikkans: The Lost Tribe
The Cholanaikkans are an ethnic group of India, primarily inhabiting the southern Kerala State, especially Silent Valley National Park. They are one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes of the region.Population: 190-200 (2001 census: 360~)Found in the late 1970sLive in caves and rely on hunting and gatheringDo not cultivate due to the destruction of produce by animals such as elephantsSaid to have moved to South due to natural disasters such as floods or fleeing due to their defeat under the dynasties from the NorthWorships trees and follow animism which is the belief that everything (living or non-living) is bound by some spiritual connectionThey are short in stature, wheatish to dark complexion, and well-builtHave their own distinctive languageFollow a patriarchal family structureThe literacy rate is around 16% with one graduate among them. Most drop out after one semester in schoolWe also talk about the Sentinelese from the Sentinel Islands. Enjoy!Image credits: Dhruvaraj S from India - A Cholanaikkan Nilambur. Cropped 1:1 ratio.
30 minutes | Jan 9, 2019
059: The Humble Toilet
History of toiletsToilets and sewers came into being as early as 3000 B.C.Mohenjodaro had earliest forms of toilet which resembled western toilets. Waste was deposited into pits or drains.In Harappa, a primitive form of water cleaning toilet was used which utilised flowing water to remove waste.Indus valley civilisation is well known for its network of sewers built under the ground.In the west, toilets that used water were built in the Orkney Islands on the northern tip of Scotland dating back to 3100 B.C - 2500 B.C.By 18th century B.C, toilets made appearances in Egypt, parts of Greece and Persia.Remains of toilets have been found from a Neolithic village in Vietnam dating back to 1500 B.C.Romans used public toilets along with public baths. These toilets were elevated platforms over sewers that were periodically flushed with water.Greeks and Romans also used Chamber Pots that were brought to public meal and drinking parties! Yeah, let them sink in for a moment.Han dynasty in China used Pig toilets. An outhouse was connected to a pigsty and the waste was consumed by the pigs. Hence the reputation Pork!During medieval times Garderobes were used as toilets, especially in Castles. Basically, a flat piece of wood or stone spanning from wall to wall with a hole in the middle. The holes were placed above pipes that dropped the waste outside the wall of the room. Usually these rooms were placed away from bedrooms to prevent smell and sometimes near kitchen or fireplace for warmth.Chamber pots were also extensively used in medieval times. The waste was excreted into pots made of metal or ceramic and they were emptied into street gutters.Rural Denmark, until 18th century, had no toilets. Instead, people defecated in farmlands so that the waste could be used as manure for the crop. Cycle of life!By 16th century, to avoid the clogging on gutters around the streets, cesspools and cesspits were dug near houses to collect waste. The toilet was connected to the cesspools by a pipe with sometimes water to clean the waste. Gong farmers cleaned out these pits by pumping out the liquid waste and removing the solid waste. This was done mostly during the night and the solid waste came to be known as the night soil and was used as manure.While water closets were something that wealthy could afford, the working class and in towns and cities, Privy Midden and Pail closets were used. Privy midden was an outhouse with a waste dump and had a bad reputation for being difficult to clean. Pail closet was a toilet with a bucket into which people defecated and local authorities cleaned out the buckets on regular basis and either got rid of the waste or used it as manure.It was not until early 19th century that public sanitation was considered a necessity and mid 19the century is when underground sewer networks were constructed to carry away waste.The building codes in London did not require an indoor toilet until after the First World War.Water closet, although invented during the Tudor era in 1596 by Sir John Harington, Queen Elizabeth’s godson, it wasn’t perfected until 1770 by Alexander Cumming and Joseph Bramah. Around 1850s, water cosets started moving inside the houses.In IndiaManusmriti: At least 40 hands distance is to be observed while urinating near a river or temple and defecation should be at least at a distance of 400 hands.Toilets were constructed only after Mughals came to India.LinksO2Pod MeetupPodhead: Check out the newsletter and amazing podcast recommendations.Gabor Monori
30 minutes | Dec 29, 2018
058: Serial Killer Files Part 6 - The Gangster From Madras
Auto Shankar is the nickname of an Indian serial killer Gowri Shankar. Shankar and his gang were found guilty of six murders, committed over a period of two years in 1988–1989.Name: Gowri ShankarKnown as: Auto ShankarDOB: January 21, 1954,Place: Kangeyanallur village, VelloreNumber of victims: 6Cause of death: HangingDeath: April 27, 1995Crime Spree: 1988-1989Fancycrave
33 minutes | Dec 18, 2018
057: The Wonderful Chocolate
ChocolateChocolate is a magic stuff made of roasted ground cocoa seeds. One of the most popular dessert ingredients. Needs no introduction, of course, chocolate can be used in a solid, liquid (choco syrup) and in many other forms.The word chocolate comes from the Nahuatl word chocolātl. Nahuatl was spoken in the valley of Mexico during the Spanish conquest of Aztec in the 16th century.Chocolate has been very popular in desserts and other forms of food and African countries are leading producers of cocoa even though it originated in the Americas.Western Africa produces about two-thirds of the world’s cocoa and Ivory coast produces about half of it.Types of chocolate:Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate is a mixture of cocoa, fat and sugar. More the amount of cocoa, more bitter the chocolate.Unsweetened chocolate: This is unsweetened chocolate liquor called bitter or baking chocolate. It’s pure ground cocoa.Milk chocolate: Milk chocolate either contains milk powder of condensed milk with a minimum of 20-25% of cocoa depending on the country.White chocolate: White chocolate contains cocoa butter, milk and sugar and no cocoa solids, that differentiates it from milk chocolates.HistoryIn the early history of chocolate (around 4000 years), chocolate was mostly used as a bitter beverage.Evidence has been found that chocolate was cultivated in present-day Mexico around 1900 B.C.Also believed to be fermented and consumed an alcoholic beverage around 1400 B.C.Christopher Columbus came across cocoa beans during his fourth mission to Americas when his crew seized a native canoe filled with cocoa.Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés came across chocolate in its true form in the court of Montezuma, who was the ruler of Tenochtitlan, capital of Aztec. The cocoa beverage was served in the gold cups and supposedly gave them power over women. The drink was said to be frothy with a very unpleasant taste but was highly esteemed by the natives.Chocolate made its way into Europe following the Spanish conquest of Aztec. It was used initially as medicine to treat abdominal pain and later sugar or honey was added to make it into a sweetened beverage and was served in the court. In the next century, chocolate became a favourite in Europe.Chocolate cultivation saw a rise and resulted in an increase in the slave trade. The Chocolaterie Lombart, was the first chocolate company established in 1760 in France.Industrial revolution accelerated the production of Cocoa.Coenraad van Houten, a Dutch chemist, added alkaline salts to chocolate which helped in reducing its bitterness. In 1828, he devieda method to remove much of the cacao butter from chocolate liquor which made production cheaper and gave more consistency to chocolate.This cocoa called Dutch cocoa also helped in creating chocolate in solid form in 1847 when Joseph Fry added melted cacao butter back to chocolate to make it mouldable.In mid 1875, Daniel Peter, a Swiss chocolatier, invented milk chocolate by adding powdered chocolate back to the liquor. Powdered milk used in this process was invented by Henri Nestlé, founder of Nestlé. They later created the Nestlé company.The conching machine, a surface scraping mixer and agitator was invented in the year 1879 by Rudolf Lindt, a Swiss chocolate manufacturer, which further improved the quality of the chocolate by giving is a smooth melt-in-mouth consistency.In England, Cadbury had started manufacturing boxed chocolates in 1868.During the World Columbian Exposition at Chicago held in 1893, Milton S. Hershey, American chocolatier and philanthropist purchased the chocolate processing equipment and started Hershey’s.PreparationChocolate is made from cocoa beans. There are about 40 cocoa beans in a cocoa fruit. These beans are dried and fermented. The tree is called Cacao.Three main varieties are Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario.Criollo is the rarest of the three and is native to Central America, Carribean and Northern part of South America. They are difficult to grow and provide very low yield.Forastero is the most commonly grown version and commonly found in Amazon basin and Africa. They have a more chocolaty flavour which lasts for a shorter amount of time.Trinitario is a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero which originated in Trinidad.Process: Cacao pods are removed from the tree and the beans with pulp are removed and placed in bins to enable fermentation. The fermentation takes up to a week and results in the chocolate flavour. Pods are harvested when they are ripe or the cocoa content would be less. Dried beans are transferred to a facility where the shell is removed to extract the nib. The nib is then ground and liquefied to chocolate in purest form as chocolate liquor. Cocoa solids and cocoa butter can be extracted from this liquor.Conching: Conching is processed by which the texture of the chocolate is smoothened. Chonche is a container which contains metal beads that act as grinders. The frictional heat keeps the chocolate in liquid form. High quality chocolate is conched for 72 hours and lesser grade chocolates are conched for 5-6 hours. The conched chocolate is then stored in containers at 40-50 degree Celsius.Tempering: Tempering is a process to prevent uncontrolled crystallisation of cocoa butter in chocolate which results in crystals of varying sizes. Cocoa butter gave the chocolate its rigidity when solid at room temperature and when heated, the crystalline structure of cocoa butter breaks down and chocolate becomes liquid.Storage: Chocolate is very susceptible to temperature and humidity changes.Simone van der Koelen
32 minutes | Nov 20, 2018
056: The Monolithic Wonder
Shravanabelagola is one of the most sacred Jain centres in South India. The holy land is abundantly rich with centuries of history, glorious traditions and culture, distinctive religious nature and practices, and architecture. The place boasts a rare combination of diverse features which makes it a prominent place of pilgrimage and tourism. The town is bundled between the two hills of Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri and it is well known for its scenic beauty.Pratyk321 [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
44 minutes | Nov 7, 2018
055: Why Is A Dog A Dog And Not Wolf?
Evo… what? EvolutionThe theory of evolution states that chemicals randomly orgnaised themselves into a self replicating molecule. The simple self-replicating molecule then underwent mutation and formed the complex organisms that ever existed on the earth. The theory consists of basicaly three parts:It is possible for the DNA of an organism to occasionally change, or mutate.The change brought about by a mutation is either beneficial, harmful or neutral.As mutations occur and spread over long periods of time, they cause new species to form.Mutations have seen to be affecting E-Coli bacteria which under right circumstances can replicate itself in every 20 minutes. By the process of mutation, certain bacteria can evolve which can be resistant to certain antibiotics. This is similar to certain insects becoming immune to DDT.DomesticationBut not all animals can be domesticated. Out of the 148 major terrestrial mammals, only 14 were domesticated and gthe theory is the for a species to be able to be domesticated, there are six charecterisitcs:Efficient diet: Should be able to feed on cheap accessible food.Quick growth rate: Should be able to mature and reproduce at a faster rate.Ability to breed in captivity: Should be able to breed under domestic conditions.Pleasant disposition: Should not be dangerous.Tendency not to panic: These animals should not have a tenency to panic.Social structure: Should follow a social structure like pack animals where a certain heirarchy is respected.This is the reason why animals like Zebra are difficult to be domesticated.Dogs are amongst the oldest domesticated animals. Dogs were domesticated before cattle and even plants.Changes in animals post domesticationAnimals become more tame, in some cases grow floppy ears, tail etc.Neural crest hypothesis suggests that deficits in the Neural Crest Cells which are the embryonic stem cells that produce various tissue types during embryogenesis.These changes do not usually get reversed if the animal is release back to the wild. Dingo being an example.Reversion almost never happens. Dingos are classic examples where in spite of staying apart from humans for thousands of years, thay haven’t shown any significant brain growth than normal dogs.Paths of animals into domesticationCommensal pathway: Animals like dogs and cats who were attracted to human ways for resources available with human beings. Chickens too!Prey pathway: Animals like the livestock belong to a category that were once hunted for food. They were domestiated mostly for food.Directed pathway: These include animals like horses,donkeys etc that could be used for purposes like transporation etc. and no necessarily for meat.The pathways need not be exclusive. Animals may have followed multiple pathways.The Russian Domesticated FoxDmitry Belyayev: Belyayev conducted the The Silver Fox Experiment. He believed that all the domesticated animals have been selected for tameness. He conducted an experiment which took up most the last 26 years of his life.He used a Siver fox, which is a variant of the Red Fox because he felt that it is more social and related to dog.In 1958, he directed his assistant Lyudmila Trut to visit various fur farm in Soviet Union and select the calmest foxes she could find.Experiment began with 30 male foxes and 100 vixens, most of them from a commercial fur farm in Estonia.They were bred solely for tameness and weren’t trained to ensure that the resulting tameness was due to genetics and not due to training.Darwin had stated that domesticated animals tend to have smaller heads, floppier ears, curlier tails and spotty coats to appear juvenile to humans. Belyayev wanted to test this theory as well.Genetics had recieved some bad rap in post war Soviet, so Belyayev spoke about his research in terms of Phsycology rather than mention genes.Starting at month one throughout, the foxes were tested for their reactions to the experimenter. They would pet and handle the foxes and at when they reach sexual maturity at 7-8 months, they are assigned an overall tameness score.During the end of 7-8 months they were categorised onto three classes based on their tameness index.An Elite class was later added that showed even more tameness and friendliness than class 1.The experiment started showing rapid results and by the fourth generation, researchers were able to find results that was up to their expectations.An employee took a fox home and it responded to it’s name the same a way a dog does.By tenth generation 18% of the population was elite group and by 20th generaion this number had risen to 35% and to around 80% in 2009.After around 40 generations, Belyayev’s foxes have floppy ears, transformation in skull size, curly tails, mating periods, changes in fur colour and even lost their fox odour.Berkay Gumustekin
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