Gravity-free espresso

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Making gravity-free espresso in space really is rocket science

Specially designed ‘ISSpresso’ machine overcomes absence of gravity by firing pressurised water through capsule of coffee

The ISSpresso machine weighs about 20kg – the same as all the science instruments on the Philae comet lander put together. Photograph: Lavazza

Perhaps one of the last barriers to the human conquest of space has been removed; a space-rated espresso machine has now been delivered to the International Space Station (ISS).

The device was made by two Turin-based companies, Lavazza Coffee and engineering firm Argotec. It is called the ISSpresso and was delivered by Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti in the early hours of Monday morning, when her Soyuz space capsule docked at the orbiting habitat.

Making coffee in space is difficult, especially espresso, which relies on 94°C water being passed through ground coffee under high pressure.

On Earth this is achieved with the help of gravity. The ground coffee is placed in a perforated container, the water is heated and shot on to the coffee to drip into the cup. In space there is no up and down, so things don’t naturally fall.

Source: TheGuardian Read more

Ethiopian Music – an Oxymoron???



ethiopia-flagWhen one thinks of Ethiopia, music doesn’t immediately spring to mind. One associates famines and starving malnourished children because we hear little else of this land locked Africa country on the Horn of Africa.

Truly it is a land that westerners know very little about; and such preconceived images spring to mind.

hunger_ethiopiaBecause that’s the diet the media supply us; that and war.


But there is a lot more to Ethiopia.

Development in Addis Ababa, the capital

Development in Addis Ababa, the capital

The mysterious rock-hewn churches of Lalibela

The mysterious rock-hewn churches of Lalibela

Not forgetting that Ethiopia was the home of all our coffee

Not forgetting that Ethiopia was the home of all our coffee

“Ethiopia has been existent as a nation for many centuries so it is one of the oldest and still thriving states dating back from the seventh century A.D. It is an African country rich in heritage, history, and wide varieties of tourist sites.”Tourist Destinations You can read and see a lot more.

Traditional Krar Harp

Traditional Krar Harp

And what of the music?

Ethiopia has the traditional six-stringed Krar Harp.

The music of the krar harp is starting to be heard in the west.

“An Ethiopian three-piece consisting of a singer, percussionist (playing the traditional kebero drum) and Temesgen Taraken, master of the six-stringed krar harp, they’ve burst out of London’s close-knit Ethiopian community and are starting to make waves on the wider scene with a very well received performance at this year’s Womad festival and recording sessions produced by noted UK roots groover and shaker Ben Mandelson, from which Wollo is taken.

They may use ancient instruments, but there’s nothing arcane about the way that they play them.”YouTube

How Many of Us Speak a Little Arabic Every Day?

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…and don’t even know it?

The earliest cultivation of coffee was in Yemen and Yemenis gave it the Arabic name qahwa, from which our words coffee and cafe both derive.

10 borrowed Arabic words

  • The word cheque comes from the Arabic word saqq, and reflects the sophistication of finance in Arab countries in the early middle ages
  • The word algorithm is derived from the name of Abū Abdallah Muḥammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi whose name (al-Khwarizmi) is, in Latin, Algoritmi
  • Cipher comes from Arabic sifr, meaning “zero, naught, nothing”
  • The word for cotton derives from the Arabic qutn
  • Ghoul is an Arabic word for “a desert demon which can appear in different forms and shapes; an ogre or cannibal”
  • The English magazine is a word borrowed from the Arabic makhzan, meaning “storehouse”
  • Nadir has its origin in Arabic nazir, indicating “opposite, facing, parallel”
  • Tamarind refers to Arabic tamr hindi, literally meaning “Indian date”
  • The word safari has its root in the Arabic word safar, which means “journey”
  • Tariff comes from Arabic ta’rif, which means “notification” or “definition”


You do!

There, and you didn’t even know it!


Sorry words, coffee first


Plastic squares wait for love,

No tapping, no gentle presses,

Greet them when man of night sky,

Switches shifts with elder of day,

So alphabet waits,

Counting out the words they could say,

In fine letters, that could celebrate,

Share a dance of imagination,

Perhaps win the lottery,

Or cursing to blinking error,

The black stamps, don’t even have that chance,

Operator, piper to their images,

Preoccupied in downing morning elixir,


Reposted from: Thoughtbaker

Coffee, more predictable than the weatherman


When you pour the coffee into your cup, watch the bubbles.

If the bubbles move to the edge of the cup rather quickly, that’s a good sign. Expect clear skies for the next 12 hours.

If the bubbles hang around in the center of the cup, get out your rain gear. You can expect rain in 12 hours.

If the bubbles slowly move to the edge of the cup, you may get a bit of weather, but it should be clearing in a few hours.

If you’ve managed to make a cup without bubbles, flop a spoonful of coffee back into your cup and make some more bubbles.

The theory behind this trick is that high pressure will push the bubbles to the edge, and high pressure indicates a period of sunny, calm weather. Low pressure won’t move the bubbles and low pressure systems typically bring unsettled weather.

Source: Instructables

Value for Money


A cup of coffee – for what it’s worth

Customers need only pay what they think their food and drink was worth

How much does a cup of coffee cost in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter?

If you thought £1, £2 or even £3, you would be wrong.

Because in one cafe, a cup of coffee costs exactly whatever you think it’s worth.

The Dock Cafe opened last week and instead of a till, it has an honesty box.

The cafe, run by the Docks Church, asks customers to enjoy their tea, coffee and whatever buns and biscuits they want and then leave a contribution on their way out.

If that’s unheard of, the interesting thing is that so far, the cafe management believes it has made more money that if it were charging £1.95 for a cup of coffee.

The cafe is near where the SS Nomadic sits in the Titanic Quarter and has been granted a “meanwhile lease” for commercial premises.

That means it can operate without paying commercial rent and just covering the running of the cafe.

Rev Chris Bennett, the chaplain for the Titanic Quarter, said the scheme has been a huge success so far.

Source: BBC News Read more

A Split Second


Changes to the world’s time scale debated

Time, as we know it, could soon be in for a radical change.

This week, scientists at the Royal Society are discussing whether we need to come up with a new definition of the world’s time scale: Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

And the main issue up for debate is the leap second – and whether we should abolish it.

Atomic clocks are much better at keeping time than the Earth

The leap second came into existence in 1972. It is added to keep the time-scale based on atomic clocks in phase with the time-scale that is based on the Earth’s rotation.

The reason for this is that while atomic clocks, which use the vibrations in atoms to count the seconds, are incredibly accurate, the Earth is not such a reliable time-keeper thanks to a slight wobble as it spins on its axis.

Source: BBC News Read more

Apparently while the man on the street couldn’t give a damn, these leap seconds are vitally important.

Personally, I don’t mind, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the flavour of beer and coffee production.

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