It was inevitable I suppose, the last bastion of free thinking left in a society where increasingly every word must be carefully considered; not from the standpoint of whether it’s right or wrong, but from the vantage of how it will be perceived by self appointed thought police. Science was supposed to be different, in science the power of your persuasion is based on facts rather than the righteousness of gender, race, or political affiliation. But that all changed starting with the consideration of global warming where the opinions of liberal arts professors and politicians were given gravitas. It reached its zenith during COVID where the opinions and profit motives of medical professionals were elevated to gospel.
The problem is neither liberal arts professors, politicians, and medical professionals are scientist, as was recently pointed out by Senator Rand Paul while lecturing Dr. Anthony Fauci who is the government’s most prominent political-doctor. People untrained in the scientific method fail to understand that there’s no room in scientific persuasion for opinions, desired outcomes, profit motives, or superstition, there is just the unbiased interrogation of facts and where facts take you. Unlike opinion-based argument, scientific argument is not focused on defending conclusions per se, but rather defending the approach taken to arrive at those conclusions and the initial hypothesis. Today though, the basis for scientific argument has been reduced to canonically stated opinions that can only be challenged at the risk of being labeled a heretic.
When COVID first emerged, I created a blog to discuss the science of not only this pandemic, but of pandemics throughout history. Starting in February of 2020, I applied simple logic to conclude that the CORONA virus was man made. I reviewed pandemics, going all the way back to the Antonine Plague of 155 CE (or AD for those of you who are not woke), and the impact pandemics have on society. The Antonine Plague killed over 20% of the Roman empire and became the catalysts for their eventual downfall. I reviewed the Spanish Flu Pandemic 0f 1918, which killed between 50 – 100 million people and showed that for every pandemic throughout recorded history, each new strain attenuated – or got weaker. That is until COVID, where if you’re to believe the media moguls, politicians, and Big Pharma, every new strain is more deadly than the previous. Is it possible that COVID can be the first virus in history to not attenuate or is something more sinister and nefarious afoot?
I spent considerable time applying simple high school math to debunk the government and university models being used to lock down the economy and force a healthy population into quarantine; something that had never been done in the history of pandemics. I combined statistics with actuarial data to demonstrate that fewer Americans died in 2020 and 2021 than would be expected in a normal year, and provided several causal factors, including minimizing the 400,000 annual doctor caused deaths because elective surgeries were suspended. I utilized basic logic to demonstrate that COVID was not killing as many people as the government and media were reporting and supported that assertion with multiple examples of how medical doctors unethically preferred profit over sound science.
At one point my blog had over 25,000 followers and to all of you I say thanks for joining me on that journey. If you’re wondering why I suddenly stopped blogging about the pandemic, it was because in the June of 2020, the CDC officially declared the pandemic over, although by then the panic and hysteria had so much momentum no one cared, and with both a presidential election on the horizon and still so much profit to be had, the pandemic couldn’t be allowed to end. It became clear that people were not interested in science or logic, or understanding how a fact-based argument reached conclusions reasonable people would affirm. The COVID pandemic had become an emotional and political phenomenon that was being acutely weaponized. And that scared me.
It’s unsettling to realize how easily people can be manipulated, which shakes the core of my fraudulent belief in the strength of our nation and its citizens. It scares me even more to see how seamlessly sinister politicians, media moguls, and medical professionals pounce on their opportunities to exploit people for power and profit, and so I naively decided that by taking a break from presenting the COVID facts in an unbiased scientific manner the world would somehow return to normal on its own. Today I am less certain the world can ever spin back to its rightful axis, and less clear about what that means for our nation and for humanity. I do, however, have this lingering sense that similar to how the Antonine Plague became a catalyst for the fall of the great Roman Empire, opening the door to centuries of darkness and despair, COVID is becoming the catalysts for the fall of the great American experiment, and days of darkness and despair lay ahead – if not already here.
So, I’ll continue to focus less on the world at large where I have no control and no ability to influence, and more on my tiny corner of the universe where I am still free to think what I want, say what I want, and pursue whatever curiosities peak my interest. For those of you who stayed with me after I stopped writing about the pandemic, get ready, because we are embarking on a new and fascinating adventure. Our journey will not only teach you something of utilitarian value for the dark days to come, but will expose you to how engineers approach life and why we actually are as odd as we seem. Along the way, we’ll share some stories, tell some jokes, and poke some fun at those most deserving, even if it gets us in trouble with the Woke Police.
So, let’s start where every journey begins, “two guys walk into a bar…” Oh, wait, that’s my other adventure. Our journey begins with my latest culinary conquest into the arena of charcuterie, which is a fancy French word for the production of cured meats, primarily pork, but also beef and wild game. I get that you’re already asking yourself why you should care about something as silly as salami when the world’s falling apart, but really, isn’t that the point? I could teach you how to build a Still and make Mula (a New Mexico version of Moonshine), but isn’t it better to teach you how to eat? What was it the bible said, “give a man a salami and you feed him for a day, but teach him how to make salami and you feed him for life…..” It’s somewhat obvious the parable doesn’t really apply to moonshine.
During our journey we’ll discuss everything from health and food safety concerns involved with consuming cured meats, to the three-month process of turning fresh food into a salami. Two general approaches are used to cure meat, both aimed at killing the harmful bacteria that can cause spoilage and sickness. The most common approach deployed by backyard Charcuteries, involves hot curing the meat usually in a smoker or oven. This approach is quick and certain, but the meat must be refrigerated afterwards, has a limited shelf life, and possesses a petulant rawness that’s the result of not having time to mature. It’s sort of analogous to the difference between drinking grape juice versus a fine wine.
The second approach is to cold cure the meat over several months in a carefully controlled fermentation process. Cold cured meats do not require refrigeration afterwards, have a long shelf life, and possess a taste and texture that is smoother and more elegant than hot cured meats. The art of cold curing is thought to have begun, or at least been perfected, during the Roman era. Today Genoa salami is perhaps the most common Roman era salami still being made. What we typically call hard, or dry salami is thought to be a style first developed by Germanic tribes of the Roman era who ultimately migrated to Gaul, or modern-day France.
In our journey, we will start with making hot cured salami because it is the simplest and quickest, and then move into the more complex cold cured salamis, making both dry and Genoa. Both approaches require the utilization of tools and equipment that range from off-the-shelf to stuff you can either build or buy. It is the build or buy part of our journey that will auger into the beautiful mind of engineers, who never pass on the opportunity of build something they could just as easily buy. We’ll keep track of how expensive it becomes to make a salami stick that could be quickly purchased for a few dollars. But what you can’t purchase from Trader Joe’s with that magical piece of plastic you carry in your wallet, is the satisfaction and youthful sense of fascination you get from making something yourself. So, hold on tight buckaroos as we launch into the century’s old traditions of charcuterie and engineering. And in our journey, we can collectively leave, at least for a little while, the pettiness of politics and world domination to media moguls and the sinister folks in Washington and other hallowed halls of state and local government.