Friday, September 25, 2015

Attack of the Killer Cukes

In the fall, I like to make pickles.  Pretty standard pickles, one big batch of sour (fermented) pickles and one big batch of pickled (vinegar) pickles.  They are quite different, in prep and taste, and I like each of them.

This year, it was getting late.  The LMM volunteered to get the cukes at the farm stand.  She asked, "How many do you want?"  And I said, "I need quite a few, dozens at least."

You may see a problem here.  We had not standardized on UNITS.  I was referring to cukes...dozens of CUKES.  But they sell cukes in...pounds.  The LMM bought 36 pounds of cucumbers.

They are lovely, I have to admit.  They completely fill the large sink and then some.

So, time to get out the crock.  I have a nice 2-gallon ceramic crock, from Zanesville (Ohio) Stoneware.  Ain't nobody knows more about being stoned than rural eastern Ohio.  Note the matching top and two special pickle stones (pretty much just expensive rocks, to hold the pickles under).

So, time to load up.  I'm hoping to get MOST of those cukes crammed into the crock.  But that turns out to be a crock:  two gallons hardly even makes a dent in the cuke hoard.

Still, fair enough.  I have put the aromatics and spices at the bottom (here is the recipe I use), and now put the thing in our (little used) downstairs shower and put on the weights.  


Then you just put on the top, and once a day check to see if there is the bubbling of healthy fermentation, the scum of unhealthy nastiness, or the white disaster of mold.  You can work around the scum, but if you get the white mold you have to stop the thing, wash them, and chill them up in some weak vinegar solution.

Now, gotta go to the store and get a lot of nice vinegar.  My only hope is to fill the fridge with refrigerator pickles.

Album of the summer

For me it's Adult Mom's "momentary lapse of happily" and the corresponding song of the summer is "Survival"

You can listen to the whole album for free here. I bought it on CD and on Vinyl.

Here's another example:

This record more than makes up for the relative let down that Waxahatchee's new record was for me.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Emergence of Leadership in a Group of Autonomous Robots

Emergence of Leadership in a Group of Autonomous Robots

Francesco Pugliese, Alberto Acerbi & Davide Marocco
PLoS ONE, September 2015

In this paper we examine the factors contributing to the emergence of leadership in a group, and we explore the relationship between the role of the leader and the behavioural capabilities of other individuals. We use a simulation technique where a group of foraging robots must coordinate to choose between two identical food zones in order to forage collectively. Behavioural and quantitative analysis indicate that a form of leadership emerges, and that groups with a leader are more effective than groups without. Moreover, we show that the most skilled individuals in a group tend to be the ones that assume a leadership role, supporting biological findings. Further analysis reveals the emergence of different “styles” of leadership (active and passive).