Thinking - R2D2

That little R2D2 robot nugget doesn't really have a lot going for it other than charm and cracking skills. Some would say that's enough, but I want more from my personal robot assistant.

It talks in ascii via a screen when it communicates with humans, and chirps to everything else regardless of what language they speak. Even my iPhone speaks more languages than R2D2.

Now dont get me wrong, I've always enjoyed it's company, and it seems like a decent kind of ... device, but it hasn't seen a lot of upgrades in the time we've known it.

I think it's been a hundred years or so. The kid did a few adjustments, but I dont think there was any kind of major operating system upgrade from the manufacturer or anything, and it seems to have pretty much the same skill set on the ice planet as he did all those years earlier.

That makes him a toaster as compared to my aging phone.

Not happy!

120 Things in 20 years wants more from my robots NOW!

OK this time I really haven't added a photo (or a post really)

Thinking - Pest control

Once when I was eighteen years old or so, I owned a ghetto-blaster style sound system.

Which is interesting enough as it stands.

But to add interest to the narrative, I once saw a remarkable thing occur upon it's top surface.

A cockroach walked across it.

I realize at this point that this is still not the gripping tale promised by it's title, but there's more...

I rolled up some junk mail* vouchers for fast food and furniture, and just as I was about to kill it, it died.

It just died right there in front of me while I watched. I presume it died of old age. I have a slight allergy to bug spray type product (I get hay fever from them) so it wasn't because of a surface spray or anything.

I'm guessing it didnt die of a heart attack or anything, because I've notice in squashed cockroaches there's no sign of a heart of anything else meaningful.

Just mush.

I always assumed they dont have organs, just soup, and something that makes their legs twitch to give their famous ability to scurry.

Here's my impression of an actual X-ray of the mush inside a healthy, living cockroach.

Pretty convincing stuff.


The thing just up and died right in front of me just seconds before I was going to kill it.

I was going to rob it of those last few seconds of life.

It changed the way I saw killing things for a while.

Until the ant incident a few months later, but thats a story for another day.

That's it really.

I just thought you should know.

120 Things in 20 years thinks it may be the only person on earth to have seen an insect die of old age.

*In order to take a relevant photo of something rolled up, I just went out to get the daily batch of junk mail that we have hand delivered to our door every day. Today for the first time in our history here, there has been no delivery. When we lived in the country we didnt get junk mail, so we still find it culturally interesting and worth a read. Before we lived in the country, I lived in the city, so received junk mail, and something called the Messenger Post, which is a free newspaper (looking thing) that someone sees fit to throw at every house in South Australia, and is typically used to help fill recycling bins, and wrapping fish heads. In fact it was most likely a copy of the Messenger Post news paper that I would have rolled up on the day.

Sous vide - Rice cooker on keep

I just Sous vide(d) a steak to perfection in three hours in a thirty year old rice cooker on "keep".

There's a factory somewhere in Japan that's still turning out "old school" rice cookers. Or at least I figure there must be. It's either a factory that's still running, or a really, really big warehouse that's still full. You can still buy the exact same model as mine thirty years later. Perhaps they just left the factory running and forgot about it.

My impression of the situation is that there was an order placed thirty five years ago, and someone rocks up in a truck every few hours at the loading bay, and collects the latest batch for drop shipping around the world.


The rice cooker I'm talking about is the one I still use all the time, and looks like this.

Actually it looks a little less like this.

It looks like this, but without the meat thermometer I put under the lid.

Interestingly it keeps an interesting temperature.

Which is interesting.

If you happened to start by putting a quarter of a cup of water into it and set it to "keep" and "cook" so that it first cooks, then keeps, you will find that after the cook cycle has finished and it switches to "keep", you can fill it with hot water, and it will sit at around 57c.

Now it turns out 57c is a very interesting temperature.

You even get a bit of control.

You can control the temperature by putting a thermometer under the lid and thus creating a gap. (see observer effect as pertaining to cooking meat in a rice cooker/something about photons and so forth)

If you have a shallow depth of water you will get a slightly higher temperature, and if you fill it to the rim, you will get a slightly lower temperature.

I'm guessing that this is because it vents more heat the fuller it is. Something about the exposed hot surface area or something. (Search "something something law of thermodynamics or something".(Interestingly, a search for exactly that gets you everything you ever need to know about such stuff.))


Get a rice cooker and make it be on keep and fill it with hot water.

Then get a zip-lock sandwich bag, and drop a steak into it.

Just make the steak stay dry.

Then do one of the following to rid it of air pockets and expose all of it to even heat...

1. Submerge the steak in a bag in the water until the pressure forms a nice tight compression around the steak(s) then seal up the bag.

2. Seal up the bag but leave a tiny gap and suck the air out. (I used a straw)

3. Just leave the bag open, peg it to the side, and let the hot water in your rice cooker do it's thing with it's own pressure.

They all work.

So now... and this is the exciting bit...

Put the bag of steak into the hot water.

Leave it there until you get bored.

If you get bored in less than an hour and a half, leave it there until someone else gets bored.

I didn't get bored until around three hours the first time.

Read that last line again.

This is a steak cooked for three hours in a rice cooker on "keep" setting in a vat of water! (then very quickly fried)

It looked like this when I fried it for twenty seconds on each side and cut into it.

Yeah that's the same photo as above but I thought it was worth another look.


I count this as a total success,

120 Things in 20 years doesn't cook steak the regular way any more, but still makes rice the regular way.

Aquaponics - Vivipary strawberry propagation fail

It looks like my absurd strawberry has pretty much failed to do much of anything except go all floopy, and look a lot more like earth than it did a few days ago..

I was (of course) hoping it would change the world in some enormous way, but alas it was not to be.

On the up side, a few of my very healthy normal strawberry plants are actually doing quite well, and have started to send out yet more runners, so "normal" might turn out to be a pretty good approach after all.

I think This might be my first post without a photo, so given the strawberry has turned to what looks like earth, I'll post this pic in place of anything meaningful.

120 Things In 20 Years thinks  the world might have slipped back into normal mode when it comes to strawberry propagation.

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