Monday, March 13, 2017

Clamps & Gaskets: News Roundup for Weeks 7/8, 2017.

Clamps and Gaskets: weekly roundup
A bi-weekly, non-comprehensive roundup
of news of beer and other things.

Weeks 7/8
12 - 25 February 2017

  • 24 February 2017
    U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials declare their legal right to forbid all passengers on U.S. domestic flights from disembarking without first showing agents their identification.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 23 February 2017
    We are disappointed with our depletion trends in 2016, which have remained weak so far in 2017. These trends are affected by the general softening of the craft beer category and cider category and a more challenging retail environment with a lot of new options for our drinkers. New craft brewers continue to enter the market and existing craft brewers are expanding their distribution and tap rooms, with the result that drinkers are seeing more choices, including a wave of new beers in all markets.
    —Jim Koch, CEO/founder Boston Beer (maker of Sam Adams beer; largest American 'craft' brewery), via Craft Brewing Business.

  • 22 February 2017
    The [U.S.] Brewers Association to grant a total of $440,000 to nineteen unique research projects. Thirteen of those are devoted to research on growing barley for 'craft' brewing.
    —Via Brewers Association (at YFGF).

  • 22 February 2017
    Seven Earth-size planets that could potentially harbor life have been identified orbiting a dwarf star named Trappist-1, about 40 light-years, or 235 trillion miles, from Earth, quite close in cosmic terms. One or more of the exoplanets in this new system could be at the right temperature to be awash in oceans of water, astronomers said, based on the distance of the planets from the dwarf star, according to an international team that has been observing Trappist-1, named after a robotic telescope in the Atacama Desert of Chile that the astronomers initially used to study the star.
    —Via New York Times.

  • 21 February 2017
    Christine Celis, daughter of Belgian beer icon Pierre Celis, buys back rights to her family name, will open Celis brewery in Austin to brew the orginal recipe of Celis White.
    —Via Brewbound.

  • 21 February 2017
    Kenneth Arrow, Nobel laureate and seminal economist with wide impact, dies at 95.
    • Shared the Nobel Prize for Economics with British economist Sir John Hicks in 1972 for contributions to welfare economics and general equilibrium theory, a branch of economics that studies the behavior of supply and demand for multiple firms in a competitive market.
    • Proved, with his “impossibility theorem,” that no voting system can fairly aggregate voter preferences in an election involving three or more candidates while simultaneously satisfying several reasonable conditions, thus “fundamentally alter[ing] economic and political theory and practice.”
    • “Found that the delivery of health care deviated in fundamental ways from the traditional competitive market and, for this reason, was a non-market relationship [...] which puts the consumer (patient) at a relative disadvantage.”
    —Via Washington Post.

  • American Craft Beer Week 2017
  • 21 February 2017
    Pass the beer; but hold the flag-waving. The [U.S.] Brewers Association announces American Craft Beer Week for 15-21 May 2017.
    —Via YFGF.

  • 22 February 2017
    Mildred Dresselhaus, physicist dubbed ‘queen of carbon science’ —a leader in the study of the electrical and electronic properties of solids, with specialties in exotic forms of carbon and in nanoscience, the physics of materials at scales of one-billionth of a meter— dies at 86. Dr. Dresselhaus was the first woman to serve as a full and tenured professor at MIT and the first woman (in 1990) to win the National Medal of Science for engineering.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 20 February 2017
    For two years in a row, beer consumption volume has declined in China —the world's largest beer market (44,853,000,000 liters per year)— and is set to continue to do so for the next five. The reasons include intense competition, changing tastes, growing health awareness, and a slower economy.
    —Via Bloomberg.

  • 18 February 2017
    Beer writer Alan McLeod finds beer-brewing procedures written in cuneiform by the Babylonians three-thousand-years ago.
    —Via A Good Beer Blog.

  • 18 February 2017
    Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide, has died at at 69.
    —Via Washington Post.

  • 18 February 2017
    A continent two-thirds the size of Australia has been found beneath the south-west Pacific Ocean, scientists reported in the journal of the Geological Society of America. Tentatively called Zealandia, the land mass of 4.5 million square kilometers (1.74 million square miles) is 94 percent underwater and only its highest points - New Zealand and New Caledonia - poke above the surface.
    —Via Reuters.

  • Brewers For Clean Water
  • 17 February 2017
    Beer is 95 percent (or more) water. So, without question, safe, clean water is vital to craft brewing's viability (and, of course, to the health and vitality of all Americans). Several American 'craft' breweries have publicly agreed, becoming signatories to the Clean Water Pledge of the National Resource Defense Council. But Congress has ignored their plea and approved former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to be the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt's history of opposition to maintaining, preserving, and promoting clean water, let alone our nation's other precious natural resources, prima facie disqualified him for the position.
    —Via YFGF.

  • 17 February 2017
    Richard Pankhurst, one of the world's leading experts on Ethiopian history and culture, has died aged 89. Pankhurst campaigned for the return of piles of plunder taken from Ethiopia by invading British troops in 1868, and of a giant obelisk taken from the ancient city of Axum by Mussolini's forces (which was returned in 2005). Ethiopia's Foreign Ministry called him a "doyen of historians and scholars of Ethiopia".
    —Via The Telegraph.

  • 16 February 2017
    President Trump signs executive order permitting toxic coal-waste poisoning of American rivers, overturning the Stream Protection Rule of the Office of Surface Mining.
    —Via The Hill.

  • 16 February 2017
    In 1946, George Orwell —author of Animal Farm and 1984— found the perfect pub. Or did he?
    —Via YFGF.

  • 15 February 2017
    As part of an three-year collaboration with several genomics groups, yeast purveyor White Labs has sequenced the genetic information contained in 157 different strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae: ale yeast.
    —Via Oliver Gray, at Good Beer Hunting.

  • 14 February 2017
    Valentines' Day truth from 2007:
    Red wine with chocolate is like an arranged marriage. The only thing they have in common is fruit: Red wine tastes like it, and chocolate sometimes tastes good with it. However, red wine's overbearing tannin, oak, and acid affront a fine chocolate's complex creaminess, and neither lets the other finish a sentence. They don't belong together. Chocolate needs something like beer, a beverage that can be supportive. They speak the same language. They share the same bittersweet nature. Think of the beer as you would a chocolate's center: chocolate-covered malt balls, toasted rice, toffee. They like to go to the same places on your tongue <...> With beer and chocolate, it's not a matter of getting it wrong. It's more likely to be just right.
    —Maggie Dutton at Seattle Weekly (via YFGF).

  • 16 February 2017
    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture has deleted online tracking of animal abuse at zoos, labs, puppy mills, etc.
      —Via Mother Jones.
    • After backlash, the USDA released a statement on February 17 saying it would again post certain animal welfare reports on its website. Not all previously-scrubbed documents will be available, only those pertaining to certain research and federal facilities inspected by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services. Records on animal breeders, zoos, and horse trainers are still unavailable.

  • 15 February 2017
    Twenty-billion dollars worth of American crops —thirty percent of the nation's food supply— rely upon bee pollination. Despite that economic necessity, President Trump has frozen ecological protections for the nearly extinct American bumblebee.
    —Via Newsday.

  • 12 February 2017

  • 11 February 2017
    The basic appeal of beer samplers, both for consumers and breweries, is understandable. Samplers help eager beer drinkers fill a perceived need—insatiable drive, perhaps—to try every possible beer. But with more than 5,000 breweries in the US and thousands more in planning, and with each one making dozens if not hundreds of beers every year, one cannot even realistically hope to try every ale and lager brewed in a small-sized city. [...] Unfortunately, samplers provide consumers with an inherently incomplete drinking experience. With their limited pour size and almost uniform inability to allow for proper head formation, carbonation, or aromatic development, they’re unable to offer even a reliable snapshot of a beer’s spirit. The flavor, aroma, and character of a beer develop over time, as it warms and opens up to further exploration. This shortchanged experience is finished in a flash of three or four ounces.
    —Via Andy Crouch, at Beer Advocate.

  • Snow Moon eclipse (@ 8:30 pm ET)
  • 10 February 2017
    Full moon and a partial lunar eclipse: the Snow Moon of 10 February 2017. And the passing of comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusáková within 7,732,000 miles of the Earth.
    —Via YFGF.

  • Clamps and Gaskets is a bi-weekly wrap-up of stories about beer (or wine, or whisky) and other things.
  • Today's edition of Clamps & Gaskets is one week overdue. My editor is not amused.
  • The Clamps and Gaskets graphic was created for YFGF by Mike Licht at NotionsCapital.

  • For more from YFGF:

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