Saturday, May 14, 2005

Perry Carp

When I started this entry, I thought it was about popcorn. It's actually about geeks and popcorn.

A few weeks ago, several us were standing around talking at work, when someone mentioned she had heard that researchers had figured out why some popcorn kernals don't pop. Every single one of us knew what she was talking about:

...the key factor that appears to influence popping quality is the chemical structure of the pericarp, or outer hull.... During heating, the corn pericarp acts like a pressure cooker that locks moisture inside the corn kernel. The heated moisture leads to a pressure buildup until the kernel eventually ruptures and pops, essentially turning the kernel inside out and producing the fluffy white product that we eat. (source: Science Daily)

Better pericarp, fewer old maids. Simple as that.

I won't get into the research issues -- whether it is strange that people study the hull strength of popcorn -- others are much more qualified than I about that subject. But what about the fact that my coworkers all knew about the findings of people who study the hull strength of popcorn?

I haven't done a rigorous scientific study on this, unlike the popcornists, but I believe that maintaining a mental roster of relatively useless facts is a well-known trait among geeks (it's probably a trait among pericarpenters, too) . But the kicker for those who work with software, at least on the development side of the house, is to bring up those facts at inappropriate moments.

Moments like this one. Um. Okay. Gotta go.

Double Chocolate Popcorn Balls!

All hail to the Popcorn Board (striving "to raise the awareness of U.S. popcorn.")
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