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Musings from the shed.

Rob Elshire

What If Trump Refuses to Concede? - The Atlantic

This was in my feed this morning. Read it just after an email from an old friend in Illinois. Very troubling times.

Via MetaFilter.

Rob Elshire

Rob Elshire

How the oil industry made us doubt climate change

Via Slashdot.

The decades long attack on science and intellectualism has far reaching consequences. We are seeing it in the COVID-19 deniers. The 5G conspiracists. The Anti-Vaxxers. Very, very sad and very, very dangerous.


Rob Elshire

Is Plastic Recycling A Lie? Oil Companies Touted Recycling To Sell More Plastic : NPR

This article came my way via Slashdot. While recycling has improved in recent years, it has not solved the problem.

In the comments thread user Comboman notes that there are 6 Rs to reducing waste and pollution:

In order of importance:

  • Refuse (don't buy it at all)
  • Reduce (don't buy as much)
  • Replace (use a better alternative)
  • Reuse (use it again)
  • Repair (fix it so you or someone else can use it again)
  • Recycle (should always be the last alternative)

Following these Rs is directly incompatible with an economy based on growth and resource exploitation. We need a different economic system that is compatible with sustaining our planet and our lives.

Rob Elshire

Rob Elshire

Space Age Museum

Cool retro stuff. I remember some of these things like a rocket ship on the playground.

Rob Elshire

Recipe: Molasses Spice Cookies


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks / 170g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup molasses

Takes . Serves 30 cookies.

1 Whisk together flour, baking soda, spices: Preheat oven to 190°C. Vigorously whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice in a bowl and set aside.

2 Prepare butter, sugar, and wet ingredients: Use an electric mixer and beat the butter for 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with mixer set at medium speed. Add egg, vanilla extract, and molasses. Beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.

3 Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients: Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.

4 Make dough balls: Working with 2 Tbsp of dough each time, roll dough into 1 3/4 inch balls. Place on silpat mat on cookie sheets, spacing them 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.

5 Bake: Bake at 190°C until the outer edges of the cookies begin to set and centers are soft and puffy, about 11 to 13 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring them to cooling racks .

Do not overcook! The centers of the cookies should be somewhat soft and spongy when you take them out of the oven, otherwise they will end up hard and dry.

I make them a bit smaller than recommended. These are pretty filling and just one small one is enough.

Rob Elshire

Recipe: Baked Lebanese Lamb Meatballs


  • 1 kg ground lamb
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 tbsp mint chopped
  • 2 medium onion chopped
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black pepper ground
  • 2 tsp salt

Takes . Serves Six servings.

Preheat oven to 200 C degrees.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, using your hands or a wooden spoon. Form the meat into round meatballs ~1/4 cup each.

Place them on a roasting pan lined with baking paper.

Bake them for about 45 minutes to an hour.

These are really easy to make and very tastey. In the picture they were served with a cole slaw and a quinoa salad with olive and pine nuts.

Rob Elshire

eResearch NZ 2016 Rob Elshire Plenary - YouTube

This was a a talk that I did for the eResearch conference in 2016. The back story is that Microsoft had not found a plenary speaker for the session they had sponsored. Less than one week before the conference this was realized by the organisers. I was asked to convert the talk I had planned to do into a plenary.

I've used ideas from this talk in other ways since then. It was my attempt to demonstrate some of the issues we have in our science system. Bear in mind that I had been in NZ less than 3 years when I put this together.

The talk led to a lot of interesting conversations at the meeting. Some lasting relationships eventuated from that. At the same time, the entrenched players continue to do what they have always done.

For some reason, REANNZ made all of their videos hidden. But if you have a link, you can still watch them. That is the case with this one as well.

Rob Elshire