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The Power of the Pulse (No, Not That Pulse. The Other One.)

The Power of the Pulse (No, Not That Pulse. The Other One.)



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Quick – define pulse. Did you say heartbeat as felt by fingertips? You’re right, of course, but that is just one definition.

Pulse, in the culinary and agriculture world, refers to a subset of the legume family, specifically dry beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

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Want to dive deeper into the definition? Pulses are the low in fat, high in fiber and protein, edible seed portion of these plants and thus do not include peanuts or soybeans (also legumes) which are high in fat.

As a rule, I avoid the word superfood, but I’ll make an exception for the powerhouses that are pulses. Not only are they nutrition-packed and versatile in the kitchen, dried beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils are sustainable to grow and easy on the earth with their low carbon footprint.

Pulses are also incredibly shelf-stable, especially in comparison to other proteins and vegetables, making transportation a cinch. And, the real kicker for the nutritious food access advocate in me: Pulses are affordable and available in almost every corner of the world. From breakfast to desert and every meal and snack in between, pulses are truly the heartbeat of the hearth.

It was no surprise when I heard the United Nations had declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses. I am a little nervous about convincing my readers and students to learn and use the word pulse, but hey, did you know how to cook with, or even how to pronounce, quinoa ten years ago? (2013 was the International Year of Quinoa.) Seriously, how cool is it that pulses play a part in almost every cuisine on the planet?

Cooking Light recipe developers and Cooking Light readers are no strangers to dried beans, ahem, pulses, and the culinary and health powers that lie within. I’ve written before about the benefits of a bean-heavy recipe rotation. A search for hummus on MyRecipes turns up no fewer than 165 results (my favorite is our roasted beet version). It should be no problem for you to take the #PULSEPLEDGE which asks pledgers to eat pulses once a week for 10 weeks. Canned beans count of course, but I challenge you to take it one step further and cook dried beans for at least half of those 10 weeks. Simply soak over the weekend or overnight, or if you must, use the quick soak method to speed up the process.

Whether you decide to cook a classic or bust out a Brazilian slow-cooked stew, I hope the #PULSEPLEDGE gives cooks pause in menu planning and cooking as we look to a sustainable (and delicious) food future for our families, our farmers, and this big beautiful, pulse-loving planet we call home.

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The hidden history of the Nelson’s hardware property

Hardware stores have contributed to the American do-it-yourself spirit since the pioneer days. A tour with Gary Nelson inside the Nelson Shopping Center buildings that he’s selling to the Town of Baileys Harbor offered a glimpse into just how much his dad, Gordy, celebrated that DIY enthusiasm.

Additions and alterations made for business and family purposes completely envelop the the former Brann Brothers store building that Gordon Nelson acquired around 1950. He dug out the partial basement’s floor until he hit “solid rock,” creating a slope that former customers may recall. That the rear of the original building was taller than the front didn’t sway Gordon, who backed up a truck and went to work.

“He dug it out by hand, pickup truck and a shovel,” Gary said.

At one point, Gordon Nelson allowed the town to park its two old fire trucks, end to end, within the basement. Gary said the town tended to move the trucks from place to place, such as Gene’s gas station and liquor store, where the marina building sits now. But during the 1950s, two town board members noticed that the rear garage doors seemed high enough to squeeze in the fire trucks, including the 1936 vehicle that’s now at the Blue Ox.

Gary said that because his father agreed to allow the trucks in the building, he was named fire chief. Years later, when an inspector expressed shock to find fire trucks in the basement and no fire wall separating the store from the vehicles and their fuel, the town gave Chief Nelson a pay raise for two years to compensate for the costs of adding a fire wall to the ceiling and an interior basement wall.

The fire trucks were there until around 1965, when Gordon needed the space for the hardware store’s brisk business and told town leaders they needed to build a fire station, Gary recalled.

“Moving from here to a two-bay station was a big improvement,” Gary said. “The firefighters had keys. They weren’t coming into a private residence to get fire trucks.”

Gary Nelson is holding on to few pieces of memorabilia from his closed Baileys Harbor store, but he’s not letting go of certain special items such as this portrait of his ambitious, tireless, business-minded father, Gordon. Photo by Craig Sterrett.

Shoppers probably did not think of the store as a residence, but Gary and his family members entered the business every day through a door connecting their kitchen to the store’s front room – which, during the 1990s and early 2000s, stocked T-shirts, beachwear, hats, boots, socks and camping and picnic gear.

“I worked in the building since the time I was able to walk, filling the pop machine, emptying the garbage cans, sweeping floors,” Gary said.

He was a sophomore studying economics at Bethel College in Minnesota when his dad let him know the county was getting strict about construction and the family should hurry to build additions to double the store’s size to remain competitive. Gary was in the middle of his junior year, but he willingly dropped out to help with the addition.

Gary recalled, “In talking with my dad, he said, ‘Are you sure you want to take over the business, because if you do, we have to build an addition on.’ He said if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it now, so we built back all the way to the lake, leaving just enough room to drive around to the rear of the building. County zoning was coming. With zoning, you had to be 75 feet or something away from the lake. If we would have waited until spring, we could never have built the back on.”

Growing up, the Nelson family of seven resided in the three-bedroom, one-bath first-story house attached to the store. Gary’s grandmother paid to build a three-bedroom, one-bath second story onto the house, and when she died two years later, it became one rental unit and then two lake-view motel rooms.

“When the family grew up, we chopped off one of the bedrooms and made that a motel room, and then my folks lived in here,” Gary said, pointing east through the wall of the store’s narrow, makeshift break room. “We chopped it again and made my folks’ house smaller, and we rented another unit, and then when my folks died, their kitchen and living room became another unit.”

When the need arose in town, Gordon Nelson created the We Wash ’Em Laundromat under the house in what had been the children’s playroom.

In the basement room where customers picked out shovels and rakes during the 1990s, the Nelsons’ children and employees operated washing machines, a water extractor and three dryers during the 1950s.

Alongside the laundry business, Gordon created a vault by thickening closet walls and a ceiling with rocks and concrete, and then attaching the door from an old safe. The Town of Baileys Harbor may encounter that vault and other stony obstructions if leaders decide to demolish the hardware store building. The three-foot-thick footings of the original Brann Brothers store building surely stand above ground level in some spots.

Precious little memorabilia remains in the store building and the Nelson’s garage, equipment rental and shop building that housed the Boettcher Ford garage and Pat Husby’s snowmobile shop during the mid- to late 20th century. But Gary does have a few treasures. There’s a piece of a memorial bench that was broken at the marina a large, not-for-sale Ford sign a portrait of his father and a sketch of a local businessman who did not like having his photo taken.

Gary Nelson treasures a drawing of camera-shy John Peterson (right), who loaned money to his father, Gordon, when banks would not. Photo by Craig Sterrett.

“My dad went to the bank to borrow money,” Gary recalled, “and the bank told him no. So he went to, I guess his nickname was ‘10 Percent John.’ [John] would loan money to businesspeople if he liked them, but he charged 10% interest. He became wealthy because people thought they could swindle him and not pay him back, but he played his cards right and he put liens on their houses, and when that property would come up for sale, he was right there. My dad paid him back, every nickel, and [John] gave him money when nobody else would.”

Nelson is holding on to just a few keepsakes at the garage building, such as a few beastly old chainsaws, some political signs, one antique power mower and a telephone booth for which a defunct Texas company still owed him money. The building still houses a massive, old boiler that heated the garage, although it’s missing a few parts that workmen bought or borrowed.

After closing the store and garage, Gary got rid of 76 mowers that he had taken in on trade and used for parts. He said every one of the mowers removed from the attic had a wheel, carburetor or other part missing.

It seems Gary Nelson inherited his father’s ingenuity and creative business sense along with the store.

Nelson’s Mural

The portable art would be preserved if the buildings are demolished

Art lovers, fear not. If the Town of Baileys Harbor decides to demolish the former Nelson’s hardware building, Ram Rojas’ massive mural on the structure’s north side will be preserved.

That’s because the mural is portable: It was painted on aluminum panels that were screwed into the building.

“Technically, it belongs to the mural committee, which is part of the Baileys Harbor Historical Society, which is a part of Baileys Harbor town,” said Gary Nelson, owner of the building.

Although the mural is not Nelson’s property, he has reason to care about it. In addition to lake scenes, the light at The Ridges Sanctuary and Door County wildflowers, Rojas’ mural includes depictions of Nelson’s family: Adam (top right), Nelson’s son and assistant at the family’s Fish Creek store and Gary’s parents, Gordon and Phyllis, at Gordy’s first business, a hamburger, fruit-and-vegetable and boat-rental stand at the Northport dock. The stand now resides on Liberty Grove Historical Society land north of Sister Bay.


14.2. Base Classes¶

The classes in the sections above are derived from a series of base classes, some of which are effectively abstract. The classes form the (partial) hierarchy displayed in the graph below (abstract classes are shaded lighter than concrete classes):

The following sections document these base classes for advanced users that wish to construct classes for their own devices.

14.2.1. DigitalOutputDevice¶

Represents a generic output device with typical on/off behaviour.

This class extends OutputDevice with a blink() method which uses an optional background thread to handle toggling the device state without further interaction.

  • pin (intorstr) – The GPIO pin that the device is connected to. See Pin Numbering for valid pin numbers. If this is None a GPIODeviceError will be raised.
  • active_high (bool) – If True (the default), the on() method will set the GPIO to HIGH. If False , the on() method will set the GPIO to LOW (the off() method always does the opposite).
  • initial_value (boolorNone) – If False (the default), the device will be off initially. If None , the device will be left in whatever state the pin is found in when configured for output (warning: this can be on). If True , the device will be switched on initially.
  • pin_factory (FactoryorNone) – See API - Pins for more information (this is an advanced feature which most users can ignore).

Make the device turn on and off repeatedly.

  • on_time (float) – Number of seconds on. Defaults to 1 second.
  • off_time (float) – Number of seconds off. Defaults to 1 second.
  • n (intorNone) – Number of times to blink None (the default) means forever.
  • background (bool) – If True (the default), start a background thread to continue blinking and return immediately. If False , only return when the blink is finished (warning: the default value of n will result in this method never returning).

Returns 1 if the device is currently active and 0 otherwise. Setting this property changes the state of the device.

14.2.2. PWMOutputDevice¶

Generic output device configured for pulse-width modulation (PWM).

  • pin (intorstr) – The GPIO pin that the device is connected to. See Pin Numbering for valid pin numbers. If this is None a GPIODeviceError will be raised.
  • active_high (bool) – If True (the default), the on() method will set the GPIO to HIGH. If False , the on() method will set the GPIO to LOW (the off() method always does the opposite).
  • initial_value (float) – If 0 (the default), the device’s duty cycle will be 0 initially. Other values between 0 and 1 can be specified as an initial duty cycle. Note that None cannot be specified (unlike the parent class) as there is no way to tell PWM not to alter the state of the pin.
  • frequency (int) – The frequency (in Hz) of pulses emitted to drive the device. Defaults to 100Hz.
  • pin_factory (FactoryorNone) – See API - Pins for more information (this is an advanced feature which most users can ignore).

Make the device turn on and off repeatedly.

  • on_time (float) – Number of seconds on. Defaults to 1 second.
  • off_time (float) – Number of seconds off. Defaults to 1 second.
  • fade_in_time (float) – Number of seconds to spend fading in. Defaults to 0.
  • fade_out_time (float) – Number of seconds to spend fading out. Defaults to 0.
  • n (intorNone) – Number of times to blink None (the default) means forever.
  • background (bool) – If True (the default), start a background thread to continue blinking and return immediately. If False , only return when the blink is finished (warning: the default value of n will result in this method never returning).

pulse ( fade_in_time=1, fade_out_time=1, n=None, background=True ) [source] ¶

Make the device fade in and out repeatedly.

  • fade_in_time (float) – Number of seconds to spend fading in. Defaults to 1.
  • fade_out_time (float) – Number of seconds to spend fading out. Defaults to 1.
  • n (intorNone) – Number of times to pulse None (the default) means forever.
  • background (bool) – If True (the default), start a background thread to continue pulsing and return immediately. If False , only return when the pulse is finished (warning: the default value of n will result in this method never returning).

Toggle the state of the device. If the device is currently off ( value is 0.0), this changes it to “fully” on ( value is 1.0). If the device has a duty cycle ( value ) of 0.1, this will toggle it to 0.9, and so on.

The frequency of the pulses used with the PWM device, in Hz. The default is 100Hz.

Returns True if the device is currently active ( value is non-zero) and False otherwise.

The duty cycle of the PWM device. 0.0 is off, 1.0 is fully on. Values in between may be specified for varying levels of power in the device.

14.2.3. OutputDevice¶

Represents a generic GPIO output device.

This class extends GPIODevice to add facilities common to GPIO output devices: an on() method to switch the device on, a corresponding off() method, and a toggle() method.

  • pin (intorstr) – The GPIO pin that the device is connected to. See Pin Numbering for valid pin numbers. If this is None a GPIODeviceError will be raised.
  • active_high (bool) – If True (the default), the on() method will set the GPIO to HIGH. If False , the on() method will set the GPIO to LOW (the off() method always does the opposite).
  • initial_value (boolorNone) – If False (the default), the device will be off initially. If None , the device will be left in whatever state the pin is found in when configured for output (warning: this can be on). If True , the device will be switched on initially.
  • pin_factory (FactoryorNone) – See API - Pins for more information (this is an advanced feature which most users can ignore).

Reverse the state of the device. If it’s on, turn it off if it’s off, turn it on.

When True , the value property is True when the device’s pin is high. When False the value property is True when the device’s pin is low (i.e. the value is inverted).

This property can be set after construction be warned that changing it will invert value (i.e. changing this property doesn’t change the device’s pin state - it just changes how that state is interpreted).

Returns 1 if the device is currently active and 0 otherwise. Setting this property changes the state of the device.

14.2.4. GPIODevice¶

Extends Device . Represents a generic GPIO device and provides the services common to all single-pin GPIO devices (like ensuring two GPIO devices do no share a pin ).

Parameters:pin (int or str) – The GPIO pin that the device is connected to. See Pin Numbering for valid pin numbers. If this is None a GPIODeviceError will be raised. If the pin is already in use by another device, GPIOPinInUse will be raised.
close ( ) [source]

Shut down the device and release all associated resources (such as GPIO pins).

This method is idempotent (can be called on an already closed device without any side-effects). It is primarily intended for interactive use at the command line. It disables the device and releases its pin(s) for use by another device.

You can attempt to do this simply by deleting an object, but unless you’ve cleaned up all references to the object this may not work (even if you’ve cleaned up all references, there’s still no guarantee the garbage collector will actually delete the object at that point). By contrast, the close method provides a means of ensuring that the object is shut down.

For example, if you have a breadboard with a buzzer connected to pin 16, but then wish to attach an LED instead:

Device descendents can also be used as context managers using the with statement. For example:

Returns True if the device is closed (see the close() method). Once a device is closed you can no longer use any other methods or properties to control or query the device.


Dark Chocolate Dipped Bananas

Shutterstock

Plant-based desserts can actually be quite simple—as simple as dipping half a banana into chocolate! Sprinkle on any toppings you desire for your chocolate-dipped banana pops, throw them in the freezer, and enjoy this plant-based dessert whenever you're craving something sweet.

Get our recipe for Dark Chocolate Dipped Bananas.


FAQs About Personal Blenders

A personal blender is a convenient appliance for busy home chefs. Even those with full-size blenders can make good use of a personal blender. With useful travel cups and fewer pieces to assemble and clean, they&rsquore super convenient to have in the kitchen. Here are some questions to think about when buying and using a new personal blender.

Q. What are the benefits of a blender?

A blender is a kitchen necessity that allows you to make nutritious foods quickier and easier. Blenders are great for making pureed foods like smoothies, milkshakes, soups, sauces, and much more.

Q. What is the best small blender for smoothies?

The best small blender depends on your preference when it comes to purpose, capacity, power, accessories, and more. The Ninja Nutri Pro Compact Personal Blender is one of the most popular choices, and the budget-friendly Magic Bullet Blender, Small, Silver, 11 Piece Set is a great option for creating well-blended smoothies.

Q. How do I choose a personal blender?

Consider the blender&rsquos size, power, style, portability, and whether it has the cups and accessories that best suit your needs.

Q. How many watts is good for a personal blender?

The ideal wattage depends on the ingredients you expect to blend. Most household blenders will handle soft ingredients. For crushing ice and blending frozen fruits, consider a blender with at least 300 watts of power, as a higher wattage offers more power.

Q. Can you put ice in a portable blender?

Portable blenders are generally less powerful than corded blenders, but some models can handle ice.

Q. Can I take a portable blender on a plane?

Portable blenders are permitted in carry-on baggage, as long as the blades are removed.


17 Unique Features In Vitamix Ascent™ Series Blenders

The Vitamix Ascent Series machines were innovated to provide the best experience from the inside out. The first thing users will notice is the state-of-the art product design that looks sleek and modern from every angle. Choose from standard colors Black, White, Red, and Slate with the A2300 and A2500, or upgrade to Brushed Stainless or a metallic paint finish with the A3300 and A3500.

Modern and sophisticated, the A3300 and A3500 offer a scratch-resistant touchscreen that easily wipes clean.

Another new feature is the built-in digital timer, inspired by suggestions from current Vitamix owners. The digital timer will help you create perfect textures every time by displaying how long your blend has been processing. Programmable timers are also available in the A3300 and A3500, which will blend your recipes for the time you've entered and stop the machine automatically.

Make your own delicious smoothies with the same blender brand trusted by top national smoothie chains. Whether you’re craving a refreshing tropical smoothie or a green smoothie packed with nutrients, there are plenty of healthy recipes to choose from.

The 64-ounce low-profile container is self-cleaning, like all Vitamix blenders. Just add a drop of dish soap to the container, fill it halfway with warm water, and blend on your machine’s highest speed for 30 to 60 seconds. The A3500 features a self-cleaning program setting for added convenience.

Making your own natural, preservative-free nut butters is so easy. Try a variety of flavors for sandwiches, fruit dips, healthy snacks, or a peanut butter smoothie. Also, each Ascent Series blender comes with a hardbound cookbook with a variety of techniques to help you get the most out of your new machine and create recipes that will wow your friends and family.

Use the tamper to process thick or frozen mixtures and fully incorporate all ingredients into the blend—without having to stop the machine and scrape the sides of the container.

Our Pulse feature helps you achieve a variety of flawless textures by working in tandem with the Variable Speed Control. The higher the speed setting, the larger the burst of power achieved with the Pulse.

Whether you’re looking for an after-school snack idea or planning a party straight out of a food magazine, you can use your Vitamix blender to make simple dips and spreads that only taste elaborate.

Along with the full-size container, Ascent Series machines can be used with additional container sizes to create individual servings with your full-sized blender. Perfect for a personal smoothie or lunch on the go, a 20-ounce cup with flip-top lid or storage lid, and an 8-ounce bowl with storage lid will be available in Spring 2017.

Vitamix Ascent Series blenders are engineered with new SELF-DETECT® technology, so the machine knows precisely which container is placed on the base and adjusts blend settings accordingly. The machine will not power on until a container is properly seated on the motor base, and certain programs are automatically disabled if the wrong container is used, such as hot soup in any container but the 64-oz. container.

The newly designed 64-ounce container that comes with every Ascent Series machine features a clear lid, allowing users to monitor blends without stopping the machine. The updated lid plug doubles as a measuring cup for added convenience.

Spend more time enjoying your Vitamix-made meals and less time worrying about cleaning them up. You can use the self-cleaning ability of every Vitamix, or all of the new Ascent Series containers are dishwasher-safe for tough cleanup such as nut butters!

The speed of the Vitamix blades creates enough friction to turn raw ingredients into hot soups and sauces—in less than 7 minutes.

Automatically process your favorite recipes in a single touch with program settings. The A3300 offers program settings for Smoothies, Hot Soups, and Frozen Desserts, while the A3500 offers Smoothies, Hot Soups, Frozen Desserts, Dips & Spreads, and Self-Cleaning.

Create delicious, non-dairy, lactose-free milk for many great uses, whether pouring over cereal or making smoothie recipes, overnight oats, or vegan mac and cheese—all without the additives that are found in commercially available non-dairy milks.

Vitamix Ascent Series machines come with a 10-year full warranty, ensuring your new Vitamix blender will serve you for years to come.


Apricot Seed Recipes

Find a wide variety of delicious and easy to make apricot seed recipes, cooking tips, and more for every meal.

Marzipan

Ingredients:
1 1/4 C. unblanched almonds, unroasted
2 t. grated apricot seeds
2 1/4 C. dark brown sugar
3 small egg whites

Directions:
Grind almonds, seeds, and sugar in the blender until very fine. Blend in egg whites with fingers one at a time. Knead until smooth and plastic. May be pressed into molds or formed into roll, chilled, and sliced. 1 1/2 cups.

Sharon's Egg Nog

Ingredients:
2 C. raw milk, chilled
2 eggs
1 banana
2 T. sorghum cane syrup
2 T. carob powder
1 t. inactive yeast powder, primary or brewers'
2 T. raw wheat germ, fresh
2 T. powdered milk, non-instant
2 t. apricot seeds, ground

Directions:
Blend all ingredients together in the blender at high speed. Drink at once. Contains about 35 grams of complete protein.

Apricot Seed Pesto

Ingredients:
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup mixture of Bitter Raw Apricot Seeds and cashews or walnuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Directions:
Combine the basil, garlic, and apricot seed mixture in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth.Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese. Makes 1 cup.

Apple Bites

Ingredients:
8 oz. package cream cheese
16 apple seeds
16 raisins
1 apple, grated
3 T. apricot seeds, ground
Pinch of mace

Directions:
Mix apple with cream cheese. Place apple seed inside of raisin. Form a small ball of apple and cream cheese with raisins in the middle. Roll in the apricot seeds. Chill several hours.

Almond Bavarian Cream

Ingredients:
2 envelopes gelatin softened in
1/2 C. cold milk in blender
Add 1/3 C boiling water and start blender
Add 1/2 C Honey
4 organic, eggs
1T. Vanilla
2T. grated apricot seeds
1/2 C. raw cream and enough milk to make 4 C. liquid

Directions:
Pour into mold and chill four hours or overnight. Slightly warm exterior of the mold with a hot towel and place upside down on a serving plate. Decorate with unroasted almonds. Serves four.

Grilled PB&J

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons butter
2 slices white bread
1-3 teaspoon(s) peanut butter
2 teaspoons any flavor fruit jelly
1 teaspoon of ground apricot seed

Directions:
Heat griddle or skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Spread peanut butter on unbuttered side of one slice of bread, and jelly on the other, sprinkle peanut butter side with 1 tsp of ground apricot seeds. Place peanut butter slice, buttered side down on the griddle. Top with jelly slice, so that peanut butter and jelly are in the middle. Cook for 2-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown, and warmed through.

Add a little health to your holiday treats.

Directions:
Sprinkle ground or chopped seeds on your favorite holiday cake or cookie! Bake your cookies or cake as usual. Add Icing or dip in your favorite chocolate then sprinkle with chopped or ground seeds.

For dipping milk or dark chocolate chips:

Directions:
In a sauce pan, add 1-1/2 tsp oil or shortening to 12 oz milk chocolate or dark chocolate chips. Heat on low-medium heat stirring frequently until chocolate pours from the spoon in a thick stream. (Please note, chocolate will hold its form, and yet can be very hot. This is why you must heat for a very short time when using a microwave, and then stir and repeat, it's important that you don't let the chocolate separate.) For dipping white chocolate and butterscotch chips: White and Butterscotch chips only needed 1 tsp oil or shortening per 12 oz. bag. Then follow directions above. When the chocolate is melted, simply dip your cookies however you'd like: half whole or just the bottoms or tops. Place dipped cookies on wax paper, sprinkle with nuts or candies and then place in the fridge to set. Remember to occasionally stir the melted chocolate while dipping to keep it at a uniform temperature throughout. You can reheat the chocolate a couple of times. Too many times will separate the chocolate and cause a white skin to form. When that has happened, the chocolate is no longer good for dipping.


Pulse 2000 Barbecue Black

Image for capacity demonstration purposes only.
Actual product model and features may vary.

Image for capacity demonstration purposes only.
Actual product model and features may vary.

Image for capacity demonstration purposes only.
Actual product model and features may vary.

Image for capacity demonstration purposes only.
Actual product model and features may vary.

Image for capacity demonstration purposes only.
Actual product model and features may vary.


The threat of electromagnetic pulse!

I like “doomsday” scenarios — even ridiculous ones, such as the supposed Mayan calendar prophecy for 2012 or what had been Y2K doom-and-gloom leading up to the year 2000. Of course, there are some genuine doomsday threats to worry about, such as the possibility of another flu pandemic like the one of 1918-1919 or other pandemics health officials worry could be caused by drug resistant “superbugs” that could kill tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, worldwide.

There are also unlikely but plausible catastrophes I like to mull over, such as the eruption of one of the world’s super volcanoes, the impacting of a large asteroid, or the onset of another glacial age, all of which are going to happen — eventually — and, if one of those happened now it could wipe out as much as 90 percent of humanity, and we’re powerless to stop them.

But what if there was a well-documented, but preventable threat, that could bring this country to its knees and kill as many as a quarter of a billion Americans, yet we were doing nothing to prevent it. In fact there are fixes we could put in place now to lessen the consequences — but the media and our nation’s leaders not only ignore it, Congress has even cut money from the budget that could provide the means to deal with it.

The threat is called electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and it could come about as the result of detonating one well-placed nuclear device high over the United States. In fact, it could happen even without a nuclear attack as a result of a naturally-occurring solar flare from our own sun.

What is EMP?

According to a government website, an EMP is: “The electromagnetic radiation from a nuclear explosion caused by Compton-recoil electrons and photoelectrons from photons scattered in the materials of the nuclear device or in a surrounding medium. The resulting electric and magnetic fields may couple with electrical/electronic systems to produce damaging current and voltage surges.”

All you really need to pay attention to is the last sentence. EMP is an electromagnetic surge that would follow the high-altitude detonation of a nuclear bomb. It could turn the United States into a Third World country.

Without going deep into physics, an EMP caused by a nuclear bomb has three components. The first, designated E1, is the result of electrons being stripped from atoms in the upper atmosphere in the aftermath of a high-altitude detonation. As they travel downward through the earth’s magnetic field at near-relativistic speeds, they produce a massive, though momentary, electromagnet pulse. You won’t feel it, but the electronic equipment all around you will. In the old days of vacuum tubes and relay switches, most equipment would likely have escaped damage from the E1 component of the pulse. But today’s microchips and delicate electronic devices, though incredibly convenient and efficient, will be fried by the pulse. Things like modern automobiles and trucks, computers, radios, televisions, cell phones, pacemakers, and anything else dependent on computer chips, whether plugged into the power grid or not, will short out and simply stop working. Kaput!

This also includes aircraft in the sky. Unless their avionics are “hardened” (and commercial aircraft and most military aircraft are not hardened against EMP), they will simply cease operation and the thousands that are in the air at any moment are going to simply fly into the ground with everyone onboard. Almost all microelectronic components damaged by the E1 component of an EMP will be unrepairable.

The E2 component resembles the surges caused by lightning and are less likely to be damaging to most equipment. But if protective equipment such as surge protectors are damaged by the E1 pulse, it may now allow the E2 pulse to cause further damage.

The E3 component may be the worst. It is caused when a nuclear explosion distorts the earth’s magnetic field. As the field distorts, then tries to regain its original shape, it induces currents into long metal conductors — like the power lines and such that crisscross the country. The longer the conductors, the more current will be produced. It is this component of EMP that will overload the nation’s power grid and fry everything connected to it, from your laptop, which is plugged into the wall recharging, to the transformers at the power stations.

The 370 or so largest transformers connected to nuclear, hydro, and fossil fuel-burning power plants around the country are what make the electricity these plants generate usable, but they will be destroyed by the pulse. Without these transformers, the country will go dark. And they cannot be easily replaced. The size of a building, they are no longer produced in the United States and current procurement time is three years.

What will happen?

Without electric power, radio and TV stations and phone services won’t work, so there’ll be almost no communication. Water systems will cease to function, gas stations won’t be able to pump fuel, banking transactions (including ATMs) will fail, and the network for distributing food will collapse. Perishable foods and medications that require refrigeration or freezing will spoil in a day. Emergency services will be unavailable, including those necessary to fight the tens of thousands of fires that will start from short circuits on the grid.

The inability to produce or distribute proper medications would doom many needing cancer treatments or suffering from heart disease, Type I diabetes, and other ailments.

Most farmers won’t be able to plant, fertilize, irrigate, or harvest, but even if they could, they won’t be able to get their products to market because there will no longer be transportation. What is harvested won’t be preserved since there will be no power to run refrigeration and none to run the factories that ordinarily can our food.

Supermarkets typically have just a few days’ supply of food and are being resupplied continuously every 1-3 days. Once the power goes out, the supermarkets will quickly be emptied and it could be months before they’re resupplied.

Imagine the great metropolitan areas of this country: the corridor from Boston to Washington, DC, which includes the great cities of New York and Philadelphia among them, and has a population of about 50 million people, the Chicago area with its millions, the Los Angeles to San Diego corridor, Seattle, Portland, etc., and suddenly there’s no food coming in, the water is turned off, and sewage facilities no longer carry away and treat our daily waste.

In no time at all cities will become quagmires of hungry, thirsty people living amid filth, squalor, and disease.

From an enemy’s point of view, a single large device exploded 250 to 300 miles above Iowa would disrupt the entire United States. But getting a missile that far inland could be a problem for them. On the other hand, because the radius of destruction of one high-altitude explosion is very large (as much as 1400 miles), three missiles, launched almost straight up, from freighters off the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts, should just about cover the lower 48 states with EMP surges that would all but incapacitate our nation.

Recovery time, if it happened, would take years but more likely a decade or more. In the meantime, deaths in this country would be at least in the low millions.

All of this would seem to be the fodder for fiction and, in fact, a scenario involving an EMP attack is played out in a book by William Forstchen titled One Second After. Though he’s populated the book with rather two-dimensional characters, the events described in the book are credible and thought-provoking and make it worth a read.

The problem with an EMP event is not news. We’ve known about nuclear weapon-induced EMP since 1945. Enrico Fermi anticipated it prior to the detonation of the first atomic bomb, called Gadget, at the Trinity test site in New Mexico. The media and the American people briefly became aware of it after a high-altitude detonation of a hydrogen bomb during the Starfish Prime Test of 1952 when effects of it were felt in Hawaii (900 miles away from the test), where the resulting voltage surges blew out 300 street lights and damaged a microwave link. This was with a weapon that wasn’t even designed to maximize EMP and it was detonated back in the day of vacuum tubes when electronic equipment was more robust than today’s highly efficient but sensitive computer chips which can be fried by even modest current surges.

Solar flares

Even if someone were able to convince me no one would ever launch a nuclear weapon over the United States, I would not rest easy. Nuclear weapons are not the only things that cause an E3 pulse. A giant solar flare caused such a pulse on September 1, 1859. Back then, there was no electronic infrastructure, but telegraph lines acted like antennas and transmitted the energy along their wires, causing shocks to many telegraph operators and, in some cases, causing fires. A large solar flare of this sort is now called a Carrington Event, named after the British astronomer, Richard Carrington, who first described it.

Solar astronomers and many engineers feel that with the United States (and most of the rest of the industrial world) now crisscrossed with power and communication lines, a solar flare with the magnitude of the one that occurred in 1859 would blow out power station transformers and plunge this country and much of the rest of the world into the dark for years. (Imagine trying to build transformers if there’s no electricity at all!) It could also cause fires across the continents as circuits overload, overheat, and arc.

The 1859 event is not the only time solar flares have wreaked havoc. It’s happened many times since, only on smaller scales because the flares were much smaller. The 1859 solar flare happened at the dawn of the electric age. Had it happened a few decades later when the world was more electrified, we’d probably now take the threat seriously and we’d have been “hardening” the grid to EMP all along. But it didn’t, and we haven’t.

Solar astronomers are positive it’s only a matter of time before there will be another Carrington Event. They just don’t know when. However, next year is one of the prime times it may happen. NASA says the solar cycle we’re entering now is about the same size as the one that produced the original Carrington Event.

With a major Carrington Event, all the things that could follow a nuclear weapon-induced E3 strike may happen, except it won’t be just a local event but one that affects the entire world.

The solution

The lowest estimate I’ve seen for the projected cost of a recovery for just the solar disruptions is $1 trillion, but most estimates run into the many trillions of dollars. However, the FBI projects the cost of hardening transformers that service major metropolitan centers at about $200 million. That’s 1/5000th of the smallest estimate of the cost of damage. In fact, it’s less than 1/2000th of the job package President Obama recently proposed. And hardening the grid wouldn’t just make the country more secure, it would provide meaningful jobs, unlike the kinds government spending usually create.

There are voices trying to call attention to the problem. The Heritage Foundation has been calling for a national EMP recognition day to raise awareness of the threat.

An EMP attack will be the most catastrophic event to happen to our nation in its history — more devastating than 9/11, more devastating than Pearl Harbor, in fact, more devastating than all of the wars this country has ever fought.

It’s about time for the mass media to talk about it, and for Congress and the President to address it. This is a real-world problem with a relatively inexpensive fix.


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Watch the video: Burning Godzilla with different Colors in nuclear pulse HD - Godzilla: King of the Monsters (August 2022).