Dumb quote of the day: say what? edition

>> Monday, January 02, 2012

"It’s as though we've tried to make hard boiled eggs by putting them in the freezer," [Newt Gingrich] told a packed, eager room at Tish’s Restaurant, a classy joint in Council Bluffs [Iowa].... "Now, you can get a hard egg by putting it in the freezer long enough, but it’s not what you want. I think Obama is in relation to jobs as putting an egg in the freezer is to getting a hard-boiled egg."
As quoted by David Weigel, "Mr. Positivity",
Slate, December 31st, 2011.

I confess, I'm a little jaded on American politics at the moment. It's not something I feel terribly compelled to write about right now, it's just that there's a shortage of other topics catching my interest right now and I feel like I've done maybe a smidgeon too many embedded music clips lately.

I was so desperate for material, I very nearly posted part of a Glenn Greenwald rant from Salon as today's dumb quote, but the truth is that very nearly everything Greenwald seems to publish these days is a potential candidate for a dumb quote of the day. (The latest: liberals ought to really value Ron Paul because he's talking about the serious issues of American imperialism, and they should only be willing to write him off for his bizarre embrace of the 19th-Century version of the social contract if they're also willing to admit that they love murdering Muslim babies; Greenwald mourns the shallowness of American political discourse with a notable lack of irony, given his fondness for straw men. A runner-up for t3h st00pidist quot/2day would have been from a Matt Stoller piece Greenwald endorses as "genuinely brilliant", in which Stoller claims liberals are "angry" at Paul for forcing them to confront their hypocrisy and therefore obsess over his "character defects"--as opposed, say, to dismissive of Paul's "ideas" because Paul's theology is comprised of a vapid hodgepodge of failed and obsolete ideas mostly lifted from the pre-World War I Democratic Party dressed up in crypto-libertarian rhetoric with a generous garnish of Randism. Oh, and by the way: did you know that a professed desire to roll back women's reproductive rights and civil rights for minorities by de-Federalizing those rights and leaving it to the fifty individual states to do whatever they wanted vis-a-vis gender, privacy, equality and human dignity is a matter of "character defects" and not substantive policy or political ideology? I did not; until I read the Stoller piece, I thought Paul's views on abortion and civil rights were part and parcel of his regressive, reprehensible, juvenile and ill-considered ideology, but apparently they should be set aside, because while they may signify he's a dick, he's supposedly a dick with good ideas that should be engaged on their merits. Okay, here's me engaging Ron Paul's ideas on their merits: bleh.)

Picking on Newton Leroy Gingrich, meanwhile, is becoming something like, to use a metaphor that actually makes sense, shooting fish in a barrel with a rocket launcher. But we have to go with the quote, above, just because I have no idea what the hell he's trying to say, and I consider myself a reasonably bright individual; "smarter than the average bear," if I do say so myself. Well. Actually, I do know what Gingrich is trying to say insofar as a generality goes: "Obama bad." That, I get. But when Gingrich starts talking about making hard-boiled eggs in the freezer, my eyes start rolling back and I start going off on all sorts of tangents. First, I ask myself whether or not Newt Gingrich understands that a frozen egg and a hard-boiled egg are two completely different things: one of these eggs is raw and might give you salmonella. But I'm a nerd, so the second thing I think is that maybe Gingrich means to freeze something by lowering the boiling point of a liquid by exposing it to vacuum, and so what he's talking about is a hard-boiled-frozen egg. At which point, being a nerd, I start trying to imagine what kind of device you might have to build to freeze-boil an egg without cracking it or rendering it inedible, and would it taste the same as a regular hard-boiled egg, or could you achieve a similar effect chemically without a vacuum? Obviously, I'm prone to taking Gingrich's weird metaphor and turning it into a molecular gastronomy problem and have practically forgotten what he was talking about or what his point was ("Obama bad"); worse yet, I end up putting more thought into Gingrich's stupid comment than he did before making it.

And he's supposedly the smart one.

I have to confess: this is going to bother me for much of the rest of the day, I suspect. No, not that people keep on claiming that Gingrich is clever because he says dumb things. I mean the fact that I really think you probably could in fact make a hard-boiled egg by freezing it, not by putting it in the freezer long enough like that dumbass claims, but by being clever about boiling points of liquids at various pressures. I even checked YouTube but the closest search match is a fifty minute molecular gastronomy lecture I don't have time to watch right now (maybe later).

I'd really like to know.

This is gonna bug me.


Stupid Gingrich.


Phiala Monday, January 2, 2012 at 2:08:00 PM EST  

You could freeze-dry it with exposure to cold and vacuum, and end up with a solid egg (sort of, possibly more like a unmixed powdered egg), but the real point of cooking a hard-boiled egg (besides killing the salmonella) is heat-denaturing the proteins into particular new configurations, and cold won't do the same thing.

Interesting different things, maybe, but not a hard-boiled egg.

Eric Monday, January 2, 2012 at 2:27:00 PM EST  

Thanks! I figured you or Dr. Phil might be good for an answer! :)

Warner Monday, January 2, 2012 at 3:13:00 PM EST  

But putting a piece of pork belly (proto-bacon) into a 0F freezer for 3 weeks removes any possibility of trichinosis.

So now you can have frozen proto-bacon with your freeze dried whole egg.

Dr. Phil (Physics) Monday, January 2, 2012 at 5:07:00 PM EST  

In fact, the boiling point of water can be reduced to below the denaturing temperature by just going to altitude, so there are places in the U.S. you can't hard boil eggs without a secure lid or pressure cooker.

Dr. Phil

John the Scientist Monday, January 2, 2012 at 9:00:00 PM EST  

Yeha, what Phiala said. If you dunked the egg into a sovent that boiled at a low enough temperature to freeze it, you'd get the same result as if you'd put it into a freezer of that temperature. Hard boiled egg proteins denature and crosslink into the solid stuff you eat. Frozen egg proteins denature (change their "shape") all right, but the frozen water inside prevents much in the way of crosslinking. Think of how frozen ice crystals in poorly frozen vegetables turn them into mush (though that's not denaturing mostly, it's breaking the cell walls). Frozen water packets will do weird stuff to the inside of the egg - I think you'll get lumps more than powder unless you flash-freeze the thing.

Of course, you'd get a nice solid projectile if you just dropped it into liquid nitrogen, but I would not recommend popping that sucker in your mouth. :D

On a more serious note, I was reading some of Eisenhower's letters recently, and I just weep for what the GOP has become.

Eric Monday, January 2, 2012 at 11:25:00 PM EST  

My dreams of the frozen hard-boiled egg are shattered like they were frozen in nitrogen and dropped from a cliff. Still, thanks, everyone, for the answers!

timb111 Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 10:28:00 PM EST  

So are there a lot of US jobs based on hard boiling eggs? Are these jobs being threatened by Chinese 100 year old eggs?

And what about hard-boiled private investigators?

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