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How to uninstall/re-install new pedals on your bike

We got new pedals for our bikes (road and mountain) and installing them was a real pain in the ass.

Attempt one - regular 15mm wrench

I didn't have a good 15mm wrench, so we went to the bike shop and they had pedal wrenches and regular wrenches - the regular wrench set was on sale so we got that. I think at that point I just got lucky because I got the pedals off of my road bike - great. Then I started working on Nikki's road bike and had no success.

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German Chocolate Caramel Brownies - Really Damn Good

This is a recipe from Mom Kneser.

Greg's Tip: when you add in the chocolate chips and caramel into the middle you can also add bacon. Bacon adds a very subtle flavor and a little crispiness. I recommend using bacon that you have cooked fully - highly crispy bacon. Remember: Bacon makes everything better.

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz. light caramels (approx. 34)
  • 1/3 c. evap. milk
  • combine in sauce pan, low heat, melt, set aside

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Wine Taste Test

Last week we had a few friends over for a wine tasting night. The system was simple:

Everyone was instructed to bring two of the same bottle of wine, from a Spanish speaking country, that cost less than $13 (each). When people walked in the door we took off the foil from one of the bottles and stuffed it into a brown paper bag that had a symbol on the outside. The bags were in a box so you couldn't see the symbol of the one you were using.

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Noble Savage, nostalgie de la boue, and Origins of Virtue

I read Matt Ridley's book Origins of Virtue a while ago, but just now in reading an article by iMomus in Wired about Nostalgia For Mud I was reminded of the Origins of Virtue.

The book takes an anthropological/sociological look at the idea of altruism, gift giving, and community to find where the history of animal and mankind these ideas have come from. Ridley notes how a certain species of bat will go out looking for food, return to the nest, and share food that they have with other bats who did not find food. Since the bats are not guaranteed to find food when they go out hunting, this provides the community with an insurance or "shared risk" policy that helps them all stay helathy. However, they keep track of who they have shared food with and if someone becomes a "free rider" on the system then the rest of the bats will stop sharing with them. Sounds an awful lot like the 1996 "Welfare to Work" and change from "entitlement" to "Temporary Assistance" kinds of changes that were made to welfare programs in the US.

Another interesting part of the book was a review of a set of Australian tribes that each produced different goods which they would trade with each other. They didn't need to trade - they could have all produced the items themselves and not had to trade. Ridley theorized that they forced themselves to specialize, to become reliant on each other, because it reduced the chances that the tribes would fight with each other. Ever hear of the Smoot-Hawley tarriffs (and their contemporaries) which probably helped usher in World War II? What about the establishment of the European Common Economic Zone (the commercial side of the EU) as a means to foster inter-reliance and reduce the chances of war. Would Germany, France, and England go to war today? Not as long as trade depends on it. There are certainly other reasons for a country/state to specialize, but as the US has shown with our Strategic Oil Reserves countries generally only specialize to a point and then will try to maintain some of the capability in an area to maintain a smidgen of independence.

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