Letters to the Editor and Feedback

Low-Carb Yogurt?

I have never made yogurt. I am on a low carbohydrate diet and can have cream, but no milk. Can yogurt be made using cream instead of milk?
Thanks for your time.

Most likely. It will take some experimentation, though, to get the proportions right so that the resulting texture and taste pleases you. The proteins in the dairy products are what give the yogurt its texture.

For comparison, let's look at the protein and carbohydrate amounts in various milk products (all measures in grams per cup of liquid):

Proteins Carbs Fat
Whole milk 8 11 11
Half & Half 7.2 10.4 27
Light cream 6.5 8.8 46
Heavy (whipping) cream 4.9 6.6 88

Let's assume you'd want to use heavy cream, since it has the lowest carbohydrate content. It also has the lowest amount of protein, so, in theory, you'd need to supplement it with more nonfat dry milk than for whole-milk yogurt. But that also would boost the carbohydrate amount again, quite quickly. Instant nonfat dry milk has just over 35 g carbs/cup (unreconstituted), and regular nonfat dry milk has 62 g/C.

One approach to this messy conundrum is to use heavy cream, and dilute it with some volume of water to thin the texture. (I have done this to substitute for milk in a pinch, and it has worked satisfactorily. I never bothered to measure the amount of water I added to the milk, though; I suggest starting with half of each and modifying as needed to get good results.) Begin with the suggested amount of nonfat dry milk in the recipe, and if needed alter that to get a taste and texture that you like.

I'm sorry I don't have an easier answer for you. If your experimentation gives you a good result, please write me so that I can share it with others whose diets limit carbohydrate intake, but who want to eat yogurt.

- Sunni

Mexican Mordidas

i was invited to go with a church group to a town just south of Torrion Mexico. to help build a new church. the walls of the building will be concrete blocks. (im a bricklayer) i would like to take my truck, and some equipment, such as a mortar mixer, saw ,and some schaffell, so that i know i will have something to work with, and can get something done when i get there. i work with several mexicans here in texas that are telling me that i might loose my equipment to the mexican police, or that they might tax me heavy going both ways. do you have some advice for me? i liked your article, thanks


Your friends are correct that you might lose some equipment, and/or be "taxed" on it in order to get it through to your destination. While traveling throughout the country, we saw lots of this sort of activity, and had packages sent to us through the post awfuls pretty heavily looted, too.

On the other hand, I know of a chap who just made it all the way through the country with a fairly serious amount of stuff, including a composting toilet and an outboard motor, with absolutely nothing taken, and only small bribes required to pass through.

If you want to have the best chance of keeping all your property, and minimizing the "mordidas" (that's what the Mexicans call them -- literally "bites"), you should have a Spanish-speaking individual make the trip with you. Even better would be a Mexican, whom you designate as the official spokesman at all stops. He (or she) will likely have greater success at minimizing/avoiding mordidas and confiscation than a gringo would.

Hope this helps, and that you enjoy the trip.
- Sunni

Claim Jumper

Rating = Excellent
General Comments = I'm enjoying these asteroid mining stories, keep them up!

I'm glad you like them. It wasn't my intention to run so many of my own stories, but I want one work of fiction in every issue, and I'm just not getting enough from other writers. (HINT!)
- Carl

No-Paper Guns

Rating = Excellent
General Comments = On the issue of muzzle loaders are there some of these pistols that are better than others for the purposes of conversion?

If you are looking to get one off-paper, only the 1858 Remington is useful. Converting it to use cartridges requires only a new cylinder (an unregistered part) while conversion of any other pistol model requires substantial modification of the frame (which requires a background check and registration by law).
- Columba

Rating = Good
General Comments = I actually was denied the purchase of a firearm 18 months ago. After going through appeals, I finally got my "rights" restored two days ago.

Still got the gun I wanted, not two days after I was denied. Unfortunately, I had to find out all of this for myself, but it's nice to know that someone else is letting others know.

Some people get denied by accident. I am living proof of this. Or is perhaps the government spying on my websurfing habits? Oh, shit, the telescreen is calling!

Good article.

Rating = Excellent
General Comments = I live in CA but have seasonal residency in NV. The Seasonal NV ID with a water bill from my friends house with my name on it is all that is needed to get what I want if it's not available in CA.

Rating = Bad
General Comments = Well, I have a few comments. While the article as a whole provides a small amount of useful information it also contains many inaccuracies. First, no one is required to provide a SSAN on the 4473...it's optional. Dealers are not required to keep 4473s "for as long as they have a Federal Firearms License." They are required to keep them for 20 years. If the dealer goes out of business before that, then they must be turned over to the BATFE. As a practical matter, in my store, where guns are sold legally (seems to be a foreign concept to you), I've had less than 1 in 5 hundred buyers denied on their background checks. In three years I've sold over 4,000 guns with 6 persons denied. 5 of those denials were overturned. Now, I'm no fan of the BATFE, but on the 3 occasions I've been asked about a particular firearm (on a trace related to a crime) the BATFE persons were courteous, never asked for information to which they were not entitled and were patient ! with me while I researched their requests. As a matter of fact, I've never even had an ATFE compliance inspection. Antique firearms: Yes, according to Federal law they may be shipped across state lines without restrictions...but not according to some state laws. You should probably clarify which states do not allow this. You mentioned that one should not attempt to purchase an off-paper firearm from licensed dealers. Good advice. You then describe how such a "minor infraction" could result in the dealers license being revoked. I've got news for you...that type of sale is not a "minor infraction." It's a willful and knowing violation of federal law. Forgetting to log a sold firearm is a minor violation. And, yes, dealers do have an interest in keeping their operations legal...as do gun buyers. And why should that be held against legitimate dealers? If everyone buys from private individuals, off the books, because some paranoid nut case publishes on article on the i! nternet telling them to, thereby eventually forcing dealers out of business, then where are people going to get parts, spare magazines, ammunition, reloading supplies, holsters, etc....??? Talk about a de-facto gun ban! I can't think of a better way to destroy the firearms industry than what you are proposing. Or, is that really your agenda. I certainly don't know your background...what you're proposing makes me think you're possible a Sarah Brady wannabe. And then you blatantly encourage people to make straw purchases...you, whoever you are, are an idiot. And furthermore, buying a gun in a state other than your state of residence is not necessarily illegal. Federal law allows individuals to purchase long guns from licensed dealers out of state as long as the purchase complies with state law where the gun is purchased and the laws of the buyers state of residence. For example: Buyer lives in Wyoming. Buyer comes to Colorado to purchase a rifle from a licensed Colora! do dealer. The dealer can legally sell the rifle to the buyer because Colorado law allows buyers from states with contiguous borders to Colorado to purchase rifles/shotguns in Colorado. And, the sale also complies with WY law regarding out of state purchases. In my opinion, if you're going to write works of fiction, pick a subject about which you have some knowledge.
C Sharp/Colorado

I see where you'ree coming from here, but you misunderstand me. When I recommend a particular source for something, I am recommending it for a specific item or type of item, not for everything. A gun shop or licensed dealer simply does not offer the desired product when a people are looking for guns that cannot be traced back to them. This doesn't mean that nothing should be bought from such a dealer. Dealers offer many very valuable products, including (as you mentioned) magazines and parts, as well as service and repairs (I prefer buying ammo online or at shows, as none of my local shops stock the ammo I usually want). Furthermore, sometimes it just doesn't matter much if a particular gun is registered, and in that case a dealer is a very good source for it. You are over-estimating the impact of the off-paper market niche - it's not going to put you out of business, nor would I want it to. If you're really concerned, though, you could always take the risk of fudging your books and illegally selling some guns off-paper.

On some other notes, I've had several other people mention that the SSN is optional on the 4473. That's correct, and I apologize for not making that clear. I'm not familiar with the state laws that you brought up - that was something that I evidently neglected to study enough, and for that I also apologize (I'll refund what you paid for the article if you like :) ).
- Columba

Rating = Excellent
General Comments = Great article, but is there a way to get a build your own gun kit or instructions if you buy separate parts?

Thanks. Certainly this can be done (AR-15s are particularly popular to build up from parts), but it gives you no advantage if you are trying to get a gun off-paper. The biggest reason people do it is to save money. For legal purposes, a bare receiver is equivalent to a complete firearm. All other parts can be purchased without any paperwork, but the receiver will be subject to the same regulation and registration as a complete firearm.
- Columba

Rating = Bad
General Comments = you are realy bad people i can't belive that you are saing this you are just completly wrong on this statment you are a absolute muppet

My! I've never been called a muppet before.

So you think I'm soft, fuzzy, and cute? Thanks!
- Carl

The Well-Equipped Kitchen

I recently purchased a 12" square grill pan with the reverse side a griddle. It has a black (material?) handle. I have cleaned it throroughly to a gray color and now want to season it. I am worried about the handle and not small enough to fit into my convection oven. How do I season it without putting it into an oven?

If the handle is black and it obviously isn't cast iron, the best bet is it's some phenolic handle. Those generally can stand going into the oven, although older ones, because of both wear and improvements in materials, may not be as hardy as newer ones. So, you could try putting it in the oven to season it, but with a careful eye on that handle.

Or, you could season it on a burner. This isn't as good a method, because the heat comes from only one direction (and you can't oil that surface), but it's a workable solution. Wipe a fairly generous amount of oil onto the pan, covering all surfaces except that which will be in contact with the burner. Place on a burner large enough to distribute heat throughout the pan, turn to high, and allow to heat thoroughly, watching carefully for smoking, or fire (a possibility if you use too much oil). With your pan, once it's cooled down, you can switch sides and repeat. You also may need to repeat the treatment two or three times to get a good seasoning.
- Sunni

Riot Gear

Rating = Excellent
General Comments = Great article. I hope the editor keeps you around.

So how about a diagram for some greaves? Or maybe I should just use baseball catcher shin guards?

We'll see; if I can't make this mag generate some cash, I may have to fire me.

If you're playing baseball, catcher's guards are fine. If you expect someone to be swinging a stick at your legs, they're quite inadequate; fact is, there's a pressure point at the top of the calf that cops are trained to swing for. Shin guards don't cover it, so I've decided to oblige you. Read on.
- Carl

Radio Theater

Rating = Excellent
General Comments = I like it.

I have no idea as to how to get such a thing on the radio but it is a great idea.

Rating = Excellent
General Comments = Excellent idea, We can't change the culture if don't have any to offer as an alternative! Unlike TV, this can be accomplished with a lot less financial investment. Maybe it can be started with a series of 5-minute "Freedom Moments", consisting of a short conversation between friends and/or neighbors that brings up a point about liberty.

Yard Sales

Rating = Excellent
General Comments = One tip for people making signs is to make the address visible.

I see many signs where YARD SALE will be huge but the address is tiny. Reverse that. People are driving by the sign at 25-35 MPH, they need to know the address , they already know that you are promoting a yard sale.

Also do not use brown cardboard on which to write your sign. Since you will likely be using black ink there is not enough contrast between the two colors. To that end never use pencil on your sign, the color does not show up, and the letters are much to skinny.

Do not use anything for your sign that already has writing on it, makes it look to jumbled.

What I do is use neon colored (orange usually)construction paper with thick black marker, I write the address first and as big as possible then I write YARD SALE in the free space under the address.

I also use the same color for all my signs and post signs of that color at the end of my driveway so that drivers can use the color as a clue and follow the signs like they would bread crumbs.

One last thing, when placing your signs on a pole make sure they are at the driver's eye level or just a little above. Some people place their signs so high a person would have to crane their neck up while driving, which is not a good situation. Make it easy on the drivers to see the sign and the address!

Another last thing, when the sale is over go get your signs! You can use them again, and you won't have people coming by the next weekend looking for the sale that was last weekend. To make sure I know where all my signs are I mark their locations on a map and then use that map to retrieve them.


Your anti-government stance confuses me...Do you not realize that the same "jack-booted thugs" you mention here are the same people that give you the right to publish this article? And also, you seem dismissive of the fact that thousands of your fellow human beings lost their lives on September 11. Does this not strike you as a serious threat? Please take no offense from this comment. I realize that the Constitution and government of the United States of America both give you the right to publish these opinions. Yet, I would be interested in hearing your arguments on why our government is so very terrible, especially given the conditions endured by people in other countries whose governments aren't so big on civil or human rights. I'd appreciate an e-mail in response, but I would understand if, because of a severe lack of answers to the questions I have posed, you choose not the reply. Good day, and God bless America.
Andrew B. Bartelsmeyer

Pardon the delay in responding; I don't check comments on year and a half old articles very often.

First off, according to the Declaration of Independence, my rights come from the Creator, not some goon with a machine gun and a ski mask. You might want to study up on the Constitution and Declaration of Independence if you're still under the impression they're in effect anymore. Tell you what; next time some goon in BDUs threatens to bust my ass for daring to carry a driver's license from, and have my vehicle tagged in, my home state, I'll try to remember that he's really only giving me some rights, not violating rights instilled in me by the Creator as Thomas Jefferson claimed.

Yeah, I am aware that pople died on 9/11. I also have a fairly good (intellectual) understanding of why those psychos believed they were acting in response to American aggression, and how decades of victim disarmament made it possible.

But back to that pesky little Constitution, and the US gov, which you mistakenly think "give" us rights. Seriously, read that Constitution; even when it was in effect, it didn't grant rights. Rights pre-existed the Constitution, which was created to delegate certain limited powers to the gov and strictly forbade it to screw around with people's rights. Not the same thing at all, bucko. Govs have a tendency to take rights, and the Constitution (and specifically the Bill of Rights) was a sad attempt to prevent the US gov doing that.

Your government is terrible because it refuses to obey its own basic rulebook (your Constitution), your prez illegally wages war on innocents (3,240 civilians killed, per an AP audit of just 60 of 124 hospitals; the total is undoubtedly much higher), your goonish ckekists of the TSA sexually assault what few travelers are still willing to risk facing them, your Supreme Court just authorized the use of torture and has declared that you have no right to privacy, your police departments think it's fine to assault women and hack their fingers off...

Boy, if you can't figure out that your gov is out of control and waging domestic war on you, I can't help you; you're completely clueless. Or maybe you like a police state, because you think you'll be on top.

I didn't refuse to send you an email because I lack answers; I refused because I'm tired of explaining facts to fascist drones.
- Tom Spooner

Civil Disobedience

Rating = Excellent
General Comments = Very well written. We need more Civil Disobence (CD)in our society. I agree that we should stop paying ransom for the freedom of our pets, marriages, driving, concealed hand guns, etc.

More importantly, if I am going to be bombarded with electronic waves from a satellite sending signals of "entertainment" on my property I should be able to (1) demand that the broadcasters remove transmissions, or, (2) we should be able to receive them without being to "pay" for them. They are the ones trepassing.

What about a stoppage of traffic to Penal institutions for a day or so before executions. Use our rights to the public highways to stop the murders.

["One is just as murdered be it a gun or gavel." Neal Pharis]

Want to stop our Military-Industrial Complex? Stop our selling of arms to various countries only to have them used against us and our future genrations later.

Select a corporation whose primary product is the manufacturing of military weapons which is traded publically. Start a buying and selling campaign of its publically traded stock. Such trading would create surges - it would develope an unpredictable swing to the normal stock traders, such a group of "SIG traders" would create and inept the company in the stock market, therefore, its capital to operate would evaporate.

Such a plan would not require coordination. It would not require a large brokerage house nor large investors. Just random, small investors trading several - one, two, or three shares each individually at varing and uncoordinated times - at the whims of their moods and free time. The stock's volatility would ruin creditablity of the company with traditional and conventional traders. They would get the ax from the larger house due to their unpreditablity.

The same can be applied to many other industries harming our freedoms, those who ignore animal rights in testing their products, deplete and pollute our natural resources for profits.

We still not only have the freedom to live in a country where we can vote with our ballots, our feet but also with our dollars as well. It would all be too easy.

There are so many social issues we should pursue. Your thoughts are right on target!!

Lane Parish

Emailing Pages

General Comments = Please make it easyer to E-mail these articles to a friend....Thanks

With Internet Explorer, select File -> Send -> Page by email. Opera: right-click -> Send link in email. Netscape Navigator: right-click -> Send page. If you use another browser, explore your menues.

If you want me to provide links that cause my server to email articles to an address you provide, no; you've given me no financial incentive to find and implement such a script and to put more load on my server. I'll consider this as future service for subscribers.
- Carl

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