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Benoit Flippen
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I cannot wait to try this little treat I picked up for myself in the Istanbul airport: "Oriental Spiced London Dry Gin."

How can it not be good??
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Classic literature wallpaper
This is the most awesome thing I've seen all day!
Bespoke wallpaper with illustrations from classic books made by http://muralswallpaper.co.uk/ #curiousmarvels #literature #books #wallpaper
Imagine inviting the Mad Hatter into your kitchen for a tea party, or ushering the White Rabbit into your foyer to urge you out the door when you're running late. You can now tumble down an at-home rabbit hole, straight into Wonderland, with Murals Wallpaper's delightfully whimsical wallpaper mural. Each custom-sized, made-to-order tableau features favorite scenes and characters from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to celebrate t...
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Heading down to Austin tomorrow night for BSides. Anyone else going, hit me up!
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Everything about this post, and the informative comments on the OP, makes me happy. Humanity is crazy and I love it.
 
Fallout: Equestria is a crossover fan-fiction between the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic television series and the Fallout video game series, and was written by Kkat. First published in April 2011 and completed on Christmas of that year, Fallout: Equestria spans 45 chapters (as well as a prologue, introduction, epilogue, and afterword), and contains over 620,000 words, making Fallout: Equestria one of the longest self-published works of derivative fiction in existence.
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!!!
I've fallen behind in ponydom. :(

Thanks!!
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Not sure if they're trying to get a jump on April Fool's. But damn. This may be the most unexpected piece of tech news I've seen in living memory.
It’s been an incredible year for the data business at Microsoft and an incredible year for data across the industry. This Thursday at our Data Driven event in New York, we will kick off a wave of launch activities for SQL Server 2016 with general availability later this year. This is the most significant release of SQL Server that we have ever done, and brings with it some fantastic new … Read more »
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+Benoit Flippen Well, the market for MSSQL on Linux would not be MySQL or postgres. They are clearly targeting Oracle DB, Sybase and others here, which are designed to meet enterprise level requirements, e.g. for the outsourcing business, DBaaS, financial services or government institutions. It's pretty obvious since Red Hat is involved in the deal, and I bet IBM will be the first big customer (for their zSeries). Actually it could help in the regular daily business too, because I grew a bit tired of converting terabytes of MSSQL databases and T-SQL scripts to PL/SQL and Oracle DB. That's a job I definitely don't want to do as a System Engineer and I would happily deploy MSSQL instead and simply hand it over to the customer's DBA.
If Linux or Windows is the stronger system... the customer who pays for the service doesn't care, except if he wants his own applications to run. That may be important for the $99/year customers of Joe Webhoster, but those customers will never pay extra money for clustered DB services or "Big Data" anyway.
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All teh bitterz!

The six on the left just came in. The grapefruit smells like the best thing ever. EVER.

The cardamom smells kind of like bubble gum, but I still look forward to trying them all.
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Whiskey barrel aged aromatic bitters. And the orange bitters next to it is the gin barrel aged one.
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Benoit Flippen

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This is fantastic. I always liked buffalo trace as a concept, and they put on a good tour, too. I hope they continue to get better.

But... Wheated bourbon? Gack. That's definitely a taster artifact right there. For those that like it, enjoy. But not for me.
 
Here's one for +Yonatan Zunger: Bourbon Big Data

Only four years ago, the company had an aging capacity of 350,000 barrels. Now it has space for nearly twice that – and growing – which has Buffalo Trace buying up land and building new, 50,000-barrel warehouses at a rate of one every five months.
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About two years ago, Buffalo Trace formally opened Warehouse X, a tiny brick building with four climate-controlled chambers that the company is using to age whiskey in an environment where every imaginable variable is under the company’s control. Temperature, air flow, humidity, air pressure… everything is monitored by computer and controlled by Buffalo Trace’s master distiller, Harlan Wheatley, the man who convinced Brown to invest over a million dollars into what amounts to an insulated brick shack housing a grand science experiment.
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The first experiment being undertaken here is an inquiry into whether light impacts the way whiskey ages in the barrel. Two of the Warehouse X chambers are in 24-hour darkness. One offers full sunlight. One is shaded to 50 percent brightness. (Control barrels sit in the “breezeway” and essentially mimic sitting outside.) It sounds silly. Can a little light shining on an opaque barrel seriously have an impact on the whiskey inside? Just eight months in, Wheatley says that differences between the chambers have already begun show up in the whiskeys – both the changing alcohol level inside and how the spirits taste. The light experiment will run for a total of two years. The results will impact the size of the windows Buffalo Trace builds into its future warehouses.

And that’s just step one. Brown and Wheatley have 20 years’ worth of experiments lined up for the space so far, designed to answer questions like whether a longer fermentation makes for better whiskey years down the road. Or whether staves cut from very old trees make for better barrels (and better bourbon).
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An even bigger experiment got its start over a decade ago in the form of the company’s Single Oak Project. At the time, the duo identified seven major variables that might impact how finished bourbon turns out. These range from whether the whiskey uses wheat or rye as a flavoring grain, whether newly-distilled white dog goes into the barrel at 105 or 125 proof, and even whether the wood used to make the barrel was crafted from the bottom half of a tree or the top half of a tree. Buffalo Trace laid down 192 barrels, each one unique, and it has been releasing the finished product to the public over the last four years.
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A panel of 11 whiskey pros (including this writer) were almost unanimous on the winner. Barrel #80 will be recreated precisely to that barrel’s unique production specifications, then branded as it becomes part of Buffalo Trace’s permanent lineup. It will be ready for release in 2023.

In the meantime, Brown will have to occupy himself with his distillery’s continued, breakneck expansion, plus the mountain of data he’s collected about the SOP. I’ve done some of the work for him in the sections that follow, but Brown is already looking ahead at multivariable analysis of the data, how significant randomness is in an experiment like this, and the daunting concern over whether barrel #80 was a fluke. “I have to forecast eight years’ worth of sales of a new whiskey brand before one bottle is released. How much should I make in year one? 10,000 cases? 20,000 cases?” he asks, and not quite rhetorically.
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Average ratings weren’t much impacted by tree cut – whether a barrel was made from the top of a tree or the bottom of the tree — but its impact can be seen at the edges of the chart. Good whiskeys were improved by being aged in barrels made from the bottom of the tree, while otherwise lesser whiskeys got worse. Brown hypothesizes that nutrients are more concentrated in the lower parts of trunks and thus have a bigger impact on the whiskey, for better or worse.
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Warehouse design is a hotly debated topic. Newer designs favor buildings largely made of concrete, which have better fire and spill containment features, but older wooden rickhouses – breezier and more susceptible to temperature swings – are still commonly used. While a few top barrels were aged in concrete warehouses (including the winner), by and large, the wooden rickhouses turned out better whiskeys – with an average 1.7% improvement in tasters’ scores. This was the largest single factor affecting average ratings in the entire experiment.
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But it turns out even identical warehouses can turn out different spirits. Warehouses M and N are constructed identically, face the same direction, and are situated about 50 feet from each other. But whiskey ages differently in these two environments. After four years, barrels in Warehouse N average 127.9 proof, while those in Warehouse M hit just 124.8 proof. And this spread gets wider with each passing year. The company has yet to explain why this is happening.
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Now here’s an interesting conundrum. We know, for each of the seven categories tested, what the average rating for the various bourbons made using that specific production method was. For each variable, one factor outscored the other(s). For example, we know that wheated bourbons outscored rye bourbons by 0.67%. We know that 105 entry proof bourbons outscored 125 entry proof bourbons by 0.46%. In theory, we can take all of those aggregated, winning attributes and make a theoretically perfect bourbon, which would look like this (the level of improvement over the alternative is in parenthesis for each favor):

from a wheated recipe (0.67% higher rating)
aged on wooden ricks (1.67% higher rating)
stored in a barrel from the bottom of the tree (0.13% higher rating)
the barrel staves should have 12 months of seasoning (1.04% higher rating)
the wood should have average grain (0.03% higher rating vs. both tight and coarse grain)
the barrel should be a #4 char (0.14% higher rating)
105 entry proof (0.46% higher rating)

This exact whiskey was in fact produced in the Single Oak Project: Barrel #124. Winner it was not. Its composite score was a 6.45 out of 10, which was the fourth-worst-rated whiskey in the entire experiment. That’s a key lesson to be drawn from the data: These variables may interact in ways far more complex than a few spreadsheets can describe.
What better industry could you hope to work in today than the bourbon business? America’s official spirit has never been in better shape. U.S. bourbon sales have risen from 118 million liters in 20…
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It was pretty warehouse-based, yeah. We didn't see much/any of the front end save for a video, but we saw a lot of the storage and bottling/packaging.
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For comparison: The number for the United States is 72.
One of my readers asked me to create a map showing the "density" of metal bands in European countries—and so I did. The following map
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Huh. Iceland, that's pretty...metal of you. (I'll see myself out.)
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A herd of hippopotamuses once owned by the late Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar has been taking over the countryside near his former ranch - and no one quite knows what to do with them.
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Here, conditions for hippos are idyllic. The river is slow moving and has plenty of shallows, perfect for larger animals which don't actually swim but push themselves off banks, gliding through the water. Moreover, the region never experiences drought, which tends to act as a natural brake on the size of herds in Africa.

How much the hippos like Colombia can be judged from how much sex they are having. In Africa they usually become sexually active between the ages of seven and nine for males, and nine and 11 for females, but Pablo Escobar's hippos are becoming sexually active as young as three. All the fertile females are reported to be giving birth to a calf every year.
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Fishermen are terrified of the three-tonne herbivores, he says. At night, the animals roam the countryside, wandering into ranches, eating crops and occasionally crushing small cows.
The late drug baron had a herd of the animals, which are now out of control in Colombia. Just what do you do with 60 hippos?
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Completely over-the-top Bavarian china, picked up a while back at a flea market in Frankfurt. Love it so much, and we finally have enough space to get it out of storage.

Though if I'm honest all the plating (gold? Leaded copper? No idea) makes the espresso taste a bit metallic.
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