incubation experiments.12&13

12 Aug

I’m getting down to the wire. At least the last two runny batches of yogurt were …yogurt…
This time, I decided to try my new heat dissipation method, using my new terracotta flowerpot plate, and testing my new yogurt jar (the exact replacement of the one I used in the past, which was kindly shattered by Mushkilla the cat).

The result: two more jars of burnt yogurt milk.

I felt the terracotta plate with my hand, and it was actually just as hot as the pilot light surface on my stove. Granted, that means it was so hot I couldn’t keep my hand there, so it’s a pretty imprecise comparison. What it does mean is that I think I will make two changes…with a third in the wings. First, I’m going to stop using my heat blanket and go back to dish towels. Second, the tea light is going back on the ground, because there is plenty of heat coming out of that candle without me propping it up closer to my yogurt. The third adjustment waiting in the wings will be the adjustment of the cooler top – I think it’s not really necessary to close it as much as I did, although a little bit of cover probably isn’t a bad idea. The problem with this method on the road is that the temperatures and atmospheric conditions will probably vary greatly, so I’ll have to keep a better eye on ambient air temperatures than I have been. That’s what my thermometer is for, right?

An addendum:
The backstory: I was lucky to have an internship at the Exploratorium Museum of Science, Art, and Human Perception in San Francisco during the summer of 2005. (Particularly, working with Peter Richards on the Invisible Dynamics project.) It was amazing. The museum is one of the most incredible institutions I have known, encouraging exploration and experimentation and creativity and curiosity like nowhere else.
And I had a realization: the Yogurt Pedaler is a perfect example of the Exploratorium’s ideas in practice: it’s a project about science, about art, and about exploring the way people perceive their environments. Creating and experimenting and asking questions and discovering answers are all a necessary part of the process, which is (and this is where my research from 2005 is manifested) not the artistic, scientific, or any one particular process working independently, but it’s all of them at work together.

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