Teeth grinding on Northwest Airlines

The schwag of the conference was limited to a breath mint/toothpick dispenser courtesy of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, one of the “gold” sponsors of the conference. I don’t know if they’re intentionally suggesting anything to the 90% male attendance at the conference, but biting down on the mints did help me keep my cool and suppress my bad thoughts about Northwest Airlines’ check-in personnel.


The presentations Thursday and Friday were very good, easily justifying my attendance. I especially found Maureen Stone‘s tutorial insightful. Some of the stuff I already suspected from trial and error, like blue text on a black background (the default for the linux “ls –color” command) is a terrible idea. Other areas were thought-provoking.

For example, suppose I you a recipe in this form:

Yummy Recipe
cilantro leaves
egg white
chile oil
sesame oil
soy sauce
Napa cabbage
small scallions
peanut oil
chile oil
sesame oil
rice wine vinegar

It’s difficult not only to figure out what this is, but also how to make it. Consider the second form of the recipe:

Yummy Recipe
2 cilantro leaves
3/4 shrimp
1 egg white
1 1/2 chile oil
1 1/2 sesame oil
2 soy sauce
1 carrot
3/4 Napa cabbage
1/2 ginger
2 small scallions
1/2 salt
1 pepper
1 3″ round dumpling wrappers
4 peanut oil
bowl with water
1 1/2 chile oil
1 toasted sesame oil
1 rice wine vinegar
1 scallion
Cook about 7 minutes, then remove the cover. Remove when the bottoms are browned, about 2 more minutes.

In some respects, this may be even more confusing because there are unitless values. However, if you cook a lot, you might be able to surmise what it is, then make some educated/wild-ass guesses about the quantities of the more potent ingredients like rice wine vinegar. Still, your success with this recipe is doubtful.

Now consider the third form, in which you’ve been given the quantities and units and a title:

Shrimp Gyoza
2 T cilantro leaves
3/4 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 large egg white
1 1/2 chile oil
1 1/2 sesame oil
2 t soy sauce
1 carrot, grated
3/4 C Napa cabbage, chopped (about 2 ounces)
1/2 t freshly grated ginger
2 small scallions, finely chopped
1/2 t salt
1 pinch of pepper
1 package 3″ round dumpling wrappers
4 T peanut oil
small bowl with water
1 1/2 chile oil
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 t rice wine vinegar
1 scallion, sliced
Cook about 7 minutes, then remove the cover. Remove when the bottoms are browned, about 2 more minutes.

An accomplished cook who had eaten gyoza before would have a good chance being successful with this. However, because it lacks a procedural description, it may be unclear that this is a one-skillet cooking procedure or that steam’s involved or that a dumpling crimper saves you about an hour of work. Choosing this as a meal to cook on a first date could be a bad idea.

Now that you’re hungry, the final installment with instructions is here. And as an extra special, not available in stores, bonus feature, a pictorial description of the crimping and cooking is here.

For reproducibility of the recipe, we needed to specify units and process.
The common way we toss around RGB settings is much like the first recipe in that it’s very open to interpretation of units and process. My 4 1/2 year-old laptop’s rendition of #FFCC00 is going to be different (and probably slower) than your monitor’s, my kid’s digital camera or even the overhead projector in my office. For color reproduction, we should pick a standard color space, characterize the display system and control any important transformations.

Several of the “additional resources” she provided will be useful and are already in my hold queue at KCLS. For example, I’ve read that 8% of the male population has some form of color-blindness, though I only vaguely understood what this meant or what to do about it in our product. The site Vischeck has a photoshop plugin that simulates what images might look like to someone with these vision deficiencies. (You can also see their examples.)

On the photo in the top left, the differences aren’t that dramatic:

Normal Deuteranope

Here’s a more colorful example:

A green-red deficit, affecting 5% of men.
another kind of red-green deficit where “red” reception is weak. This affects 1% of men
A blue-yellow deficit, very rare

3 thoughts on “Teeth grinding on Northwest Airlines”

  1. There’s a nifty little program I use called Color Impact that lets you test your pallette with a variety of filters that account for color blindness. Yet another reason why links should always be underlined unless they are obviously navigation. 😉

  2. What’s the topic, again? Oh, airlines, breath mint/toothpick, tutorials, recipes, colour effects….
    Sorry, Jim. I’m not hungry. I’m lost :-o)))


  3. I’m lost 😮

    Some days it’s best not to try to follow how my brain links all these disparate things. 😉

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