Saturday, August 11, 2007

Desmodromic valves

I don't know why I call this post 'Desmodromic Valves'. For one, I am not going to write about desmodromic valves. Okay, maybe a little, because today was the day I found out what these valves are all about. To be brief (since I've already promised that I wouldn't be writing about them), they are valves with positive return mechanisms that make sure that the valve in an internal combustion engine returns to its original place, instead of the sissy mechanisms that rely on things like springs to do the job for them. Today was also the day I realized another major thing about myself - I heartily approve of the desmodromic valve principle, which makes sure stuff happens, instead of leaving it to spring resilience or gravity or the government or mom.

Talking about mom, she incidentally was visiting recently and tried once again to educate me on the art of cooking, but would not let me reason why. This time, she was educating me on the right daal-chawal technique.

"So you add lots of water to the lentils, add turmeric, and chuck it in the pressure cooker. DO NOT add salt. Add salt only after it's all cooked."

Now we engineers know there are reasons for each process, and phrases like "company policy" and "the ten commandments" do not faze us. We have, in the course of our education and career, learnt to perfect the process of probing into the depths of established processes and laying bare the underlying reasons by asking direct, well-chosen questions that put the finger on the nub, so to speak. Which is what I proceeded to do.


"Because if you do, you'll never get those lentils cooked."

I raised an eyebrow.

"Hang on. The whole pressure cooker idea is to elevate the boiling point of water, right? Now adding salt to water does the same thing. So combining the two should actually cook the lentils better, right? Right? Ha!"

Mom turned to my sis, who for some reason was standing around with a grin on her face.

"This is why you should do the cooking."

This is why Galileo decided to stay out of the kitchen and proceeded to invent the telescope, and Gustav Mees vented his feelings by developing the Desmodromic valve. I can't invent stuff myself, but I can drink beer. And I think I will.


shrik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shrik said...

In the case of dals, it's not the temperature but the pressure. They cook faster because the increased pressure shoves steam into their unwilling cotyledons. But salt would block the stomata, so to speak...

Guess I need that beer too.

GettingThereNow said...

Nope. Adding salt does help the dal cook faster. Speaking from experience, which isn't greater than your mom's though. Still...

BabaYaga said...

I'm not sure whether salt acts as a catalyst or not...but white rum certainly does.

Btw Senthil, blogspot rejected this comment thrice. So to vent my fustration on blogspot, fuck you.

ps;make it four times.

kakkar said...

you want the boiling point to be as low as possible for pressure cooking. thus it is not a good idea to add salt. if you were thinking of temperature cooking (like boiling dal in an open bowl), adding salt might help.

very funny post, sentiman. as always, am checking a month late.

dharmabum said...

haha. what fun!

and its a shame u can't cook. lemme know when u come down here, i'l make u a nice meal.
PS: good to see u blogging again

valves said...

hello there., funny thing though, i was googling about valves and actuators for my paper and dropped into ur bLog :P just dropping by i guess.. have a nice day.


gate valves said...

great ideas!

Casino Tips said...

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