Charles Brian Orner


Interested readers will discover additional details here in a wide variety of areas, including the arts, astronomy, business, culture, environment, gaming, geography, language, history, literature, music, mythology, philosophy, politics, religion, and science. Spend a little time with the notes; it'll pique your interest. Then buy the book. Most notes have been taken from public sources such as Wikipedia. The remainder are given attribution.

Chapter 27

1    “Soylent pink” is an epithet for a product the meat industry calls “lean finely textured beef” (LFTB), “finely textured beef,” and “boneless lean beef trimmings” (BLBT). In 2001, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the product for limited human consumption, and it was used as a food additive to ground beef and beef-based processed meats as a filler, at a ratio of usually no more than twenty-five percent of any product. The production process uses heat in centrifuges to separate the fat from the meat in beef trimmings. The resulting product is exposed to ammonia gas or citric acid to kill bacteria. A series of reports in March 2012 from ABC News created controversy, brought widespread public attention to and raised consumer concerns about the product. It was reported at that time that seventy percent of ground beef sold in U.S. supermarkets contained the additive, and that the USDA considered it as meat. A 2008 Washington Post article stated that in ground beef containing the filler, the amount can be up to twenty-five percent, but usually does not exceed this percentage. The product has been described as “essentially scrap meat pieces compressed together and treated with an antibacterial agent. In the U.S., beef that contains up to fifteen percent of the product can be labeled as “100% ground beef.”
2    Halumpkies are stuffed cabbages. Also known as “blind pigeons.” Halupkies is the Ukrainian term; galumpkies the Polish term. In Ukranian, the word is “holubtsi,” which means pigeons.
3    Many German states had used a guillotine-like device known as a Fallbeil since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and decapitation by guillotine was the usual means of execution in Germany until the abolition of the death penalty in West Germany in 1949.
4    Ace in the Hole is a 1951 American film noir directed by Billy Wilder and starring Kirk Douglas as a cynical, disgraced reporter who stops at nothing to try to regain a job on a major newspaper by spinning a publicity and political circus out of the story of a man trapped inside a cave. The film's plot was inspired by two real-life events. The first involved W. Floyd Collins, who in 1925 was trapped inside Sand Cave, Kentucky, following a landslide. A Louisville newspaper, the Courier-Journal, jumped on the story by dispatching reporter William Burke Miller to the scene. Miller's enterprising coverage turned the tragic episode into a national event and earned the writer a Pulitzer Prize. The second event took place in April 1949. Three-year-old Kathy Fiscus of San Marino, California, fell into an abandoned well and, during a rescue operation that lasted several days, thousands of people arrived to watch the action unfold. In both cases, the victims died before they were rescued.
6    “I met a lot of hard-boiled eggs in my life, but you—you're twenty minutes.” - Jan Sterling as Lorraine in Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole.
7    The Age of Aquarius is an astrological term denoting either the current or forthcoming astrological age, depending on the method of calculation. Astrologers maintain that an astrological age is a product of the Earth's slow precessional rotation and lasts for 2,160 years on average. In popular culture in the United States, the Age of Aquarius refers to the advent of the New Age movement in the 1960s and 1970s. The approximate 2,150 years for each age corresponds to the average time it takes for the vernal equinox to move from one constellation of the zodiac into the next. According to different astrologers' calculations, approximated dates for entering the Age of Aquarius range from 1447 AD (Terry MacKinnell) to 3597 (John Addey).
8    The Tunguska event was a large explosion which occurred near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, at about 07:14 on June 30, 1908. The explosion occurred at an altitude of three to six miles at 60.886°N, 101.894°E. It is classified as an impact even though the asteroid or comet is believed to have burst in the air rather than hit the surface. Different studies have yielded widely varying estimates of the impacting object's size, on the order of 60 m (200 ft) to 190 m (620 ft). It is the largest impact event on or near the Earth in recorded history.
9    The name Olga occurs natively in Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Latvian, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Czech, Slovene, Serbian, and Bulgarian. It means “holy.”
10    “It is said that the best quality ink is hardened, made of pine soot, young deer horn glue and preserving perfume. Pine soot ink produces multiple layers of shading. They overlap each other on paper, and create a monochromatic blurred mosaic of splashes and lines. Since the second ingredient is extremely rare, other animal-based glue (mostly cow hides in Japan and fish bones in China) is often used. Pine soot ink is usually more expensive and rather troublesome to manufacture, and so cheaper ink made of oil lampblack is more common today.” - From “Calligraphy Ink Types,” Beyond Calligraphy (website)
11    In June 2012, Oracle Corporation CEO Larry Ellison purchased Castle & Cooke's ninety-eight percent share of the island of Lanai. The state of Hawaii owns the remaining two percent. The sale price was not revealed, but the Maui News previously reported the asking price was between $500 million and $600 million. Ellison reportedly plans to invest as much as another $500 million to improve the island's infrastructure and to create an environmentally friendly agricultural industry.
12    In physics, Planck units are physical units of measurement defined exclusively in terms of five universal physical constants (the gravitational constant, the reduced Planck constant, the speed of light in a vacuum, the Coulomb constant, and the Boltzmann constant) in such a manner that these five physical constants take on the numerical value of one when expressed in terms of these units. Planck units have profound significance for theoretical physics since they elegantly simplify several recurring algebraic expressions of physical law by nondimensionalization. They are particularly relevant in research on unified theories such as quantum gravity. Originally proposed in 1899 by German physicist Max Planck, these units are also known as natural units because the origin of their definition comes only from properties of the fundamental physical theories and not from interchangeable experimental parameters. Planck units are only one system of natural units among other systems, but are considered unique in that these units are not based on properties of any prototype object or particle (that would be arbitrarily chosen), but rather on properties of free space alone. Planck units are sometimes called “God's units” since Planck units are free of anthropocentric arbitrariness. Some physicists argue that communication with extraterrestrial intelligence would have to employ such a system of units in order to be understood. Unlike the meter and second, which exist as fundamental units for historical reasons, the Planck length and Planck time are conceptually linked at a fundamental physical level.
13    Julius Robert Oppenheimer (April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967) is among the persons who are often called the “father of the atomic bomb” for their role in the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first nuclear weapons. The first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945, in the Trinity test in New Mexico; Oppenheimer remarked later that it brought to mind words from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”


Brian Orner