Flourless peanut butter cookies

Makes about 10 cookies. Can use crunchy or smooth peanut butter.

Preheat the oven to 175C (350F) and line a tray with baking parchment.

In a large bowl, combine 66 g (⅓ c) brown sugar, 66 g (⅓ c) granulated sugar, and 1 t baking soda. Add and blend in a pinch of salt if using unsalted peanut butter. Next, add 1 large egg and 250 g peanut butter, and then mix thoroughly to combine.

Use two spoons to maneuver walnut-sized balls of dough on to the tray, leaving ample space between each cookie since they will rise and spread. Flatten the balls slightly with a fork, creating a cross-hatch pattern.

Bake in a 175C (350F) oven for 8–10 minutes. Allow them to cool on the tray for at least 5 minutes, then move to a rack to cool further. They will be very soft to the touch fresh from the oven and firm up as they cool.

Ceramic cat by a young David Hockney

Life-size black and white ceramic cat by David Hockney

Ceramic Cat
David Hockney 1955

On loan from Jean and Paul Hockney.

This cat was given to David Hockney’s brother and sister-in-law as a wedding present in September 1955. It was one of approximately four cats made by the artist whilst a student at Bradford College of Art. After the model was produced the mould broke, making this sculpture unique as it was the only one with indentations. Subsequent versions were produced with a smooth finish and in different colours.

This life-size ceramic cat with stubby little legs is in one of the display cases in the ground floor of Salts Mill alongside many other pieces by David Hockney.

The youngest lifeboat crew rescue airmen

A story from the past via the Whitby Lifeboat Museum.

The museum is at the end of Pier Road just past the arcades in the old Whitby lifeboat station. The station was one of the first, established in 1802. It was taken over by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) after the 1861 lifeboat disaster which resulted in the tragic loss of 12 from a crew of 13. The station was closed and turned in to a museum in 1957 and was temporarily brought back in to service in 2005 while Whitby’s existing station was demolished and rebuilt.

Donate to the RNLI.

YOUNGEST EVER LIFEBOAT CREW RESCUE AIRMEN

25th March 1942

At 10.55 am, a telephone message was sent to the lifeboat station from H.M. Coastguard stating that an aircraft was down in the sea 1 mile off Sandsend and that the lifeboat was 
requested to launch immediately.

The Motor Mechanic Jim Philpott realised that all of the regular crew were at sea fishing, and after the maroons were fired, he subsequently managed to find a retired Coxswain Thomas Welham (71), and mustered 5 more crew who were all just 16 years old.

The lifeboat proceeded to sea in patchy fog and soon found traces of oil on the water. Eventually, after a short search, the lifeboat located a rubber dinghy with four aircrew inside.

The airmen were taken aboard the lifeboat suffering from head wounds and one a leg injury.

All were landed at the fish quay about 30 minutes later and transferred to Whitby Hospital.

The Aircraft was a Lockheed Hudson of the R.A.F. which had earlier sunk.



The photograph below shows, left to right:

F. Russell, P. Storr, T. Lewis, Cox T. Welham, R. Russell, J. Philpott

A photo of R. Murfield is not available.

Each man (and boy) received 19 shillings (95p) for their services.



The Pilot expressed gratitude to the lifeboat crew, and also his surprise at the speed of their rescue.

Young Whitby lifeboat crewmen

Sandsend → Whitby

Walking from Sandsend to Whitby

This new year, we stayed in a cottage in Sandsend with a bunch of close friends. On the 30th, we walked to Whitby along the beach while the tide was out. Top-notch dog watching. It was gorgeous, sunny and around 50F/10C. We all had to take our coats off. Shame it wasn’t so warm on the 1st, we ended up chickening out of a new year’s dip in the sea.

Photo courtesy BL and his slick new phone.

To read: “The Ego and Its Own” by Max Stirner

To read: The Ego and Its Own by Max Stirner. Via a black-crowned night heron in a midnight pond:

stirner’s whole schtick was being against ideology in general. […] behaving a certain way in the name of an Idea is therefore completely illogical, because, it’s not real! what’s real is your own happiness and comfort in the world.

“it is possible to imagine [a critical sensibility] in which social paranoia is not foundational”

The sore winner is a product of the hyper-surveilled and personalized world in which we all now live, one in which people feel both nebulously responsible for everything wrong while also feeling responsible for nothing at all.

From the Outline article “A decade of sore winners” by B.D. McClay. A lot of stuff in this article is spot-on. It also relates directly to the response I received from my Republican representative regarding the impeachment of President Trump.

One of my rep’s many dubious points was that Ukranian leaders publicly attacked candidate Trump in the press, and that this was evidence of Ukranian meddling in 2016 elections. Specifically, he linked to an article in The Hill by Ambassador Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States from 2015 to 2019. I read the article by Amb. Chaly, and all I can see is an opinion piece that fairly criticises statements made by a candidate for one of the most powerful positions in the world.

How do you make the mental leap necessary to conflate principled criticism with personal attack? Furthermore, how could anything in that article be considered meddling in an election? The vast majority of Chaly’s article is a recent history of events in Ukraine.

This is sore winner territory. Here’s how McClay illustrates it in their article:

Worse still than the idea that things are for you is the extension into identification: that these things literally are you. If someone writes books for teen girls, to criticize her books is to criticize teen girls. Expressing something other than support for Taylor Swift guarantees you a place in that special hell for women who don’t support other women. If you like superhero movies and video games, and somebody outlines the reasons they think superhero movies and video games are a waste of time, that’s an attack on you, personally, not a disagreement over aesthetics.

How do we get past this? More critical thinking taught in schools and beyond? More restrictions on social media? Surely it has to be a personal exercise but it seems like such a fundamental and widespread problem, almost a public mental health emergency (one of many).

It is impossible to imagine a critical sensibility that does not exist socially. But it is possible to imagine one in which social paranoia is not foundational, and in which social reception — of work, of ourselves — does not have to determine our reaction to each other.

It’s possible to imagine it, but it’s pretty difficult to picture without some sort of major overhaul in day-to-day life.

Chocolate crackle cookies recipe

The ingredients in this recipe are very similar to Prof. Bruce Maxwell’s Churchill Brownies recipe, so similar that I may consider trying the exact combo below as a brownie tray bake some time. Dust the top with powdered sugar and cut it in to squares. Could work!

There are a few factors at play in getting the crackle right including the fully preheated oven, the position of the oven rack, the liquid-to-dry ratio, the *sifted* powdered sugar, and the temperature of the dough before it goes in the oven. You could attempt to bake two sheets of cookies at once, but baking the cookies in separate batches helps them crackle more uniformly. Follow the instructions carefully, and use weights if you can. Weigh your eggs if you’re not sure about the chicken egg sizes in your country.


Makes about 18 cookies, on two baking sheets.

In a large bowl, combine 60 g (½ c) unsweetened cocoa powder, 205 g (1 c) granulated sugar, and 60 g (¼ c) vegetable oil until very homogenous and absolutely no lumps of cocoa are left. Beat in 2 large (~60 g each w/ shell on) eggs and ½ t vanilla extract or the zest of an orange.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 130 g (1 c) plain flour, 1 t baking powder, and ¼ t salt. Next, stir this dry mixture in to the wet mixture just until combined. Cover and place in your freezer for 45 minutes if you want them quickly or 4–8 hours in the fridge if baking the next day.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 175C (350F) and position an oven rack in the upper third of your oven. I use the second rung from the top. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and then sift about 35 g (¼ c) powdered sugar in to a bowl.

When the oven is fully preheated, remove half of the dough from the fridge / freezer and use a spoon to scoop out about 1–2 T for each cookie, quickly rolling them in to balls. The dough will be very sticky. When all of the dough balls are ready, quickly roll them in the powdered sugar and place them on the lined baking sheet, leaving decent space for the cookies to spread. Place them straight in the preheated oven and bake for 10–12 minutes until crackly and just a tiny bit soft. Let cool no longer than 5 minutes, then transfer them off of the paper and on to a cooling rack.

Repeat the process with the second half of the dough, using a separate cool tray or allowing the original tray to cool sufficiently.

“Political rewilding” vs. libertarianism, and attempting to escape the barrel with Mastodon

In a recent Guardian opinion piece, George Monbiot calls for “political rewilding” to fight against demagoguery.

At the moment, the political model for almost all parties is to drive change from the top down. […] I believe the best antidote to demagoguery is the opposite process: radical trust. To the greatest extent possible, parties and governments should trust communities to identify their own needs and make their own decisions.

Makes a ton of sense at first glance. But isn’t “political rewilding” just the best of libertarianism repackaged, the freedom of choice and voluntary association? I can understand why he didn’t use that word. The worst of libertarianism — civil liberties at all costs, at the expense of others, the earth, and more — has usurped the rest of it ideologically. “Libertarian” is to the left as “socialist” is to the right.

Related, but separate: in his article, Monbiot draws attention to Finland’s impressive (and seemingly successful) efforts to teach their populace how to spot fake news. In the CNN article he links to, the former secretary-general of the European Schools Kari Kivinen cautions that “it is a balancing act trying to make sure scepticism doesn’t give way to cynicism”.

That line hit home. Reading the news, parsing Twitter, fielding well-intended but misguided email forwards from loved ones. I’ve been living in the barrel for a while now, and it’s exhausting.

On the upside, I’ve joined Mastodon on the vis.social server. My handle is @piper@vis.social, and I’ve downloaded Toot! for iPhone since I like their stance against servers that spread hatred. I’m excited to give a smaller community a whirl, hopefully it will expose me to a more human and humane part of the social web.