News Roundup

Elections: For all those out there saying that one vote doesn’t matter all you have to do is look in the Virginia 94th District elections. Now this is a close race as Shelly Simonds won by a single vote after a recount. This needs to be a reminder that voting is important but if only it were made a holiday or something where we could raise the voter turnout from among the worst in the world to some place better.

Beer in Space: This sounded interesting. In the most recent SpaceX transport mission to the ISS, they brought up some barley seeds to experiment on. This is a part of Anheuser-Busch’s plan to be the beer of space. The idea came from a comment at SXSW (South by Southwest) this past year. The experiments will focus on barley seed exposure and barley germination. After a month the seeds will return to Earth and be studied by scientist at Anheuser-Busch to try to learn about the effects of microgravity on barley. We will have to wait and see what happens.

Beer: Pain Killer

This study ranks up there with the Poop study, but researchers in England have found that raising your blood alcohol content to the legal limit of .08%, or about three or four beers deep, elevates your pain threshold significantly. However the most shocking was the bit about how “the pain relieving power of alcohol was actually shown to be more powerful than Tylenol.” I wouldn’t be surprised if in a couple of years they just say that beer is a health food. This is great news for all those graduating this summer and any other individuals for the upcoming summer months.


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Beer: UNESCO has named Belgian beer culture as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. This means it’s important to the world in general like that of Rumba or kimchi making. being named to this list helps demonstrate the diversity of cultural heritage around the world and raise awareness about its importance. If only those people in the United States took some time and cared about these different things in the world.

Dam: The US is removing old and unneeded dam which in turn restores rivers. This is a smart plan and I wonder how many dams across the US could be removed and turned back into rivers without any resistance.

Christ’s tomb: So with the opening of Christ’s tomb back in October we were bound to get some news coming out for a while. It turns out that they found some electromagnetic disturbances on the stone. This lead back the the Shroud of Turin which was made by some type of radiation. There are dots which might connect but the scientist need to talk with one another and more science needs to be done I guess before any official reports are made.

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Star Wars: This is something we already expected Rogue One will not have a crawl. This is the first of the Star Wars spin off movie that are being released under the Star Wars:Stories brand. We will get a couple more after Rogue One, in 2018 there is a Han Solo movie coming out as well as something else in 2020 and perhaps many more after these scheduled films. Since after the Saga films VIII and XI come out I think that they’ve said that is the end of the Skywalker story.

Politics: Here is a fun one currently 6 electors in the Electoral College have vowed to cast votes against Trump, and Michigan still hasn’t finished counting all the votes. This will match the most faithless electors since 1808, when six electors didn’t vote for James Madison. The number may rise or some electors might abstain from voting. We will have to wait until the middle of December for  this vote to happen. However it seems unlikely this will get Hillary Clinton elected.  On the other hand New Republic points out that Trump could just as easily be impeached from day one if congress wants to do something about it. According to the article Trump has run afoul of the “emolument clause” of the Constitution as Trump’s Hotel in Washington has some foreign diplomats are staying there to curry favor with the President-elect..

Beer: A Brewpub in Chicago was received a Michelin star. This is cool news as sure it is a recognition of the food prepared at the pub. Sure it’s a big honor but it’s based on the taste of a group of people. Who really cares although people put a great of emphasis on the Michelin star it really means nothing. The Michelin guide was made so people would drive out to a restaurant and wear down the treads on tires for they’d have to be replaced sooner.

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Nature: Scientist at CERN have discovered that trees are good for clouds.  Now this doesn’t seem like it is that big of a breakthrough as anyone could have told you that trees make nature better. The scientists have discovered that trees can produce gases that make cloud seeds. It is an interesting process and perhaps we could do more for the world by planting more forest. It’s a good idea.

Beer: In yet another change it seems that Beer is now a healthy food. In a recent study they have figured that beer with hops might protect against liver disease. Sure it isn’t the best of research but I always find it funny how every couple of years some thing which we thought was bad for us is now the new trendy think to do. Look at wine and coffee over the years as well as fat and how many time we were told that drinking wine/coffee was bad for us and eating fat was a good thing only to be reversed a few years later. As Julia Child put it “Everything in Moderation . . . including moderation”.


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Politics: In case you missed it, Hillary Clinton has been officially named the Democratic Candidate for President of the United States. This is the first time that a woman has been named as a major ticket candidate. It’s a historic moment for the nation and whatever but this event has been anticipated for about a decade. This is perhaps the reason why it’s not getting the press coverage as like Obama’s candidacy.

Ice Bucket Challenge: This was a interesting read since we all remember the summer of 2004 when celebrities would pour ice water over there heads. It raised a whole lot of money and actually has made a difference. As scientists have discovered a new gene that causes ALS. It’s nice to see a silly thing make such a difference in the world.

Beer: In Christchurch, New Zealand there is brewer and it’s gluten free and made with chestnuts. This is the most unique beer I’ve read about. This Chestnut beer sounds familiar to the types of beer from the American Revolution where they made beer with whatever they could find, Spruce and pine needles,  Persimmons, corn was popular and molasses to name some of the ingredients. Yards Brewing Company out of Philly has a trio of historic beers from the notes of Franklin, Jefferson and Washington.

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Movies: This is surprising news with the film Wonder Woman  will be the first female led film with a 100 million dollar budget. Sure I know that there aren’t many female directors as I can name like three Sofia Coppola, Ava DuVernay from Selma and Kathryn Bigelow who won a
Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker. Now I actually had to look up those last two names to make sure I had their names correct. This is one of the big problems facing Hollywood as so many film have a clearly male voice and it would be nice if there were more of a voice for women coming from the director’s chair. Sure there have been a bunch of films recently released that feature mostly female stars but the films are directed by men like Paul Feig. This is a reason it is great to be seeing many female stars developing production firms where they can pick the films they want to make and hire whom they want to write and direct.

Beer: Here we have cool news as the Trappist Beer market is growing.  It nice to see Trappist turning back to this traditional method of making money. Especially since it seems like beer is having a moment right now.

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FilmStruck: TCM and Criterion have announced that they are partnering to create a new subscription streaming service designed for people who love independent, art-house, and international cinema. It seems like a real cool idea since Turner Classic Movies does a wonderful job at programing their network with a nice selection of film, I especially like the month of February which is devoted to the Oscars. Criterion has done a wonderful thing with the Criterion Collection which is around 900 films ranging in genre and from locations around the world. If the service simply offers the complete catalogues of TCM and Criterion it will be worth the price.

College Education: The White House has announced plans to roll out a $100 million program which would work towards free Community College. This was something President Obama indicated was important in his 2015 State of the Union address and the democratic presidential candidates Clinton and Sanders both have free community college as part of their agenda. This seems like it is going to happen since so many jobs are now requiring post secondary education.  Tennessee is among the first in the nation to already provide this through the Tennessee Promise. Let hope that it gets more individuals into an extra couple years of education.

Theater: The stage musical based on the film Waitress, with music by Sara Bareilles, has opened on Broadway and this show is unlike every other show ever. Since there is an olfactory aspect to the show. If you haven’t seen the movie it is set in a diner which specializes in pies. So one of the producers of the musical insisted that that the aroma be there. They tried many way but lo and behold it turns out that cooking an actual pie is the best solution.

Beer: This is a unique story as an Israeli Brewery has recreated a 2000 year old beer. Well sort of It isn’t something that we would consider as beer. They were prompted to make this after researchers found a 2000 year old strain of wheat the brewers decided they wanted to try and brew with it. They made a five gallon batch and all that remains is a single bottle and there aren’t plans to make it again since the results weren’t something that would be marketable.

Beer: Reinheitsgebot and Yuengling

On this past Saturday along with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death it also marked 500th year of the Reinheitsgebot, the German beer purity laws. This law states that for a beer to be called bier it can only have water, malted barley, hops and yeast and if it is top fermented they can have sugar as well. This is why the German beers market is dominated by pilsner style beers.  Some have said that it’s time for the law to change to let different types of beers come to be in Germany. I think that the law works fine as it lets them excel in these beers and allows the rest of the world to experiment with things like lambics sour beers and other craft styles with things in them.

This was a cool story about beer in the United States. As Yuengling has been named the top craft brewing company in the US. It beat out the likes of Sam Adams and all the others. They are also the fourth largest in sales behind the like of Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, and Pabst Brewing Company.  Yuengling is the oldest brewery operating in the US founded in 1829 and still a family owned business.

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Space: Astronaut Scott Kelly has returned to Earth after almost a Year in Space. PBS will be airing a show about this Year in Space and Kelly will be doing a Reddit AMA and a Facebook Live on Friday. It will be interesting to hear what NASA and RKA have learned from this and how they use it on future expeditions.

Beer: There are places where Pumpkin beers are still on the shelves. Forbes says that there are many still there because there were just so many different Pumpkin beers this past fall from a wider variety of sources as well as increased production of favorites. The article also points toward the warmer than average Fall and perhaps has to do with Fall beers appearing around mid-summer. Hopefully this upcoming year we will see a smaller variety of Pumpkin beers and perhaps some other fall flavored beers (Pecan Pie or a nice Marzen (Oktoberfests) would be nice)

Politics: Well, it was Super Tuesday and the American Electorate couldn’t care less it seems all be inevitable that come November it will be Hillary Clinton running against The Donald. Is this what we deserve not really but it’s what we get with the system we have.  As someone has said the system is broken. It would be nice to see some change in the political landscape. Yet this might be a single term so there is some hope that it won’t last long.