brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell

26May/052

Map Projections: How Projections Work

North AmericaI like maps. I thought I'd archive a couple of useful links for generating your own maps:

  • First, a site to describe how to take latitude and longitude and project them into two dimensions. Contains lots and lots of formulas. Map Projections: How Projections Work
  • Of course, to use those formulas you need some raw data. The CIA World Databank II has such data, and is public domain to boot. The linked site has them in an easy to parse textual format for easy manipulation.

Addendum: the wikipedia has links to these sites, which is how I found them.

Addendum2: I also found this website to be useful. It countains outlines for the continents, which I used to generate this animated gif of the earth's rotation.

26May/052

Recipe: Pulled Turkey

I haven't posted any of my culinary explorations lately, so I thought that I would rectify this wrong by detailing something that I tried for yesterday's dinner. I'm a huge fan of pulled pork, especially in the form of barbecue pork sandwiches. I like getting a toasted bunn, piling it with this shredded pork, and then slathering on tons of a nice spicy barbecue sauce, and eating that with some delicious potato salad.

But that's not very Weight Watchers friendly, so I don't get to do it very often.

But, I did see a good idea on Calorie Commandos the other day, which was to make the same kind of thing, but use turkey legs instead of pork. I took ideas from their recipe and adapted it to what I had on hand.

I began by heating a tiny bit of olive oil and sweating a diced onion and a diced red pepper over medium heat. I didn't have any shredded carrots, but I did have some of those tiny baby carrots (I buy them by the 5 lb bag for munching) so I just dumped in a handful of those, and let them sweat for a bit. I then added the seasoning: chili powder, cumin, paprika, red pepper flake, cayenne, black pepper and let that go for just a few more minutes, until it begins to smell and look good. Then I turned off the heat. The original recipe called for these to be cooked in the oven for four hours, but I work, so starting this in the evening would mean dinner @ 9:30 at the earliest, so I did it slightly differently: I skinned my turkey legs, and dumped them in my crockpot in the morning. I then covered them with this vegetable mixture, and then added enough canned nonfat chicken stock to cover. Plugged in the crockpot, set it to low, and left for work.

When I returned, the meat was literally falling off the bone. Took some tongs, and fished out all the legs, and let them cool on a rack. Then, I went through and pulled out all the bones and any tiny bits of skin that I missed before, and shredded all the meat by hand. The turkey legs actually contain a fair number of smallish sharp bones, so take good care while doing this step. You'll be left with a pile of deliciously seasoned seasoned meat, very soft and delicious. I then toasted some buns, and piled on this meat mixture, and added some of my favorite barbecue sauce. I like Sweet Baby Ray's among all the store brands I have tried, it's actually quite acceptable in a pinch. I also had some fat-free vegetarian baked beans, and a side salad.

A feast!

You can do the same recipe with chicken thighs. Delicious.

Wish I had left overs.