Re: Boiling gelatin

From: Katharine Thayer ^lt;>
Date: 03/12/05-04:25:33 AM Z
Message-id: <>

You know, I've tried to stay out of the whole jewelia thing, partly
because I need to save my energy for other stuff, but I've been thinking
about it a lot and may have something to say in that thread eventually.
But one of the things Dave said there about taking sides struck a chord
with me. It seems to me that one of the most dangerous forces that has
threatened this list over its life, if one can speak so apocalytically
about something so insignificant, is the taking of sides, the cheering
and booing that goes on that has nothing to do with the merit of the
arguments being made by the people who are being cheered and booed, but
on whose friends they are or aren't. So the goal seems to be getting
the other guys, not trying to work together to find out how gum
printing works, for example. I have been accused by Ryuji just now of
playing this game; this is a completely unfair accusation. My purpose on
the list has always been to try to figure out what's going on with gum
printing, not to get the better of anyone. Anyone who thinks otherwise
is projecting something of their own onto me that has nothing to do with

There was also the suggestion that I wouldn't admit it if I had made a
mistake; that again is nonsense. The science of gum printing is an
evolving science, and we have all sometimes made speculations or
inferences from small amounts of data that turn out with more
information to be false, or at least to require more qualification.
I've tried very hard throughout my presence on the list to avoid making
categorical statements about anything about gum printing, and in the
main I think I've been successful at that attempt. Those who think
otherwise simply aren't reading my posts with an open mind, and there's
nothing I can do about that. But sometimes sharing an observation has
been mistakenly taken as a categorical statement, and as I've just said,
there's always a temptation to think of an observation as meaning more
than it actually does.

It seems to me that the only way we can proceed rationally is to stop
attributing motivations to other people, especially since few of us have
actually met, much less know each other in any meaningful way, and none
of us can see into each other's motivations. I once got a long e-mail
from someone on the list who had analyzed my personality from my posts
on the list and apparently felt that he had some kind of obligation to
share his analysis of my character disorders with me. He didn't have a
clue about me of course, and it really creeped me out to realize that
there was someone out there, someone I didn't even know, who had spent
that much time thinking, not about the ideas I've shared here, but about
me personally. Ick! But it's exactly the same kind of thinking that
allows Ryuji to impute motivations to me in such an insulting tone. It's
ugly when Ryuji does it; it's ugly when Judy does it; it's ugly no
matter what. It was suggested a while back, when I objected to a
personal remark someone made about Ryuji, that it is the interactions
between personalities that make this list interesting, and that
discussions of personalities and motivations should not be discouraged.
I couldn't disagree more. Let's stick to the issues, and stop assuming
that we know what someone else's motivations are in contributing to the
list. This is really bumming me out.
Katharine Thayer

Ryuji Suzuki wrote:
> From: Katharine Thayer <>
> Subject: Re: Boiling gelatin
> Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2005 07:41:50 +0000
> > As I said, I don't think it has anything
> > to do with gelatin, much less with boiling gelatin; that was a red
> > herring that was raised to a huge issue by non gum printers who rudely
> > barged into a discussion of this topic.
> That's a really lame excuse. See below. It is too soon to quibble
> around only after a month of posting pages of your opinion. Now all of
> sudden your mistake (if you admit so, though I doubt it) is someone
> else's red herring. What a nonesense. Where is your science?
> After all, if what you said last month was really based on reliable
> and repeatable data you collected with confidence, you would not get
> frightened by one person coming up with merely one more piece of data,
> just because it is completely contradictory to your experience. If
> your previous post was really based on facts and hard evidences, you
> would not forget your belief so quickly and now make up a new story
> that is completely inconsistent with your own old story.
> --
> Ryuji Suzuki
> "Well, believing is all right, just don't let the wrong people know
> what it's all about." (Bob Dylan, Need a Woman, 1982)
> From: Katharine Thayer <>
> Subject: Re: Autoclaving gum and gelatin
> Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2005 10:18:07 +0000
> > I thought we had settled this the last time around, but I'll review for
> > clarity what I thought was decided: Kate, Judy, I and perhaps others,
> > all reported that we have observed that if the gelatin gets "too hot"
> > then it doesn't work well as a size for gum. I don't know the cutoff
> > temperature between "too hot" and "not too hot" but I just heat the
> > gelatin enough to dissolve completely and to stay melted while brushing
> > on, which doesn't have to be over 120F, and it works fine. If it does
> > get too hot, it results in a characteristic speckling pattern, as Judy
> > said, and as I and others have also observed. My information comes not
> > from old literature, which I don't read and didn't know that it said
> > anything about this, but from my own experience.
> >
> > In that earlier thread, I said "I'm not sure it matters what happens
> > technically to the gelatin; what is important is that overheating the
> > gelatin seems to lead to imperfect sizing, for whatever reason." I
> > still stand by that statement. But I'm not arguing that the gelatin
> > loses its ability to gel, or that it otherwise "breaks down," only that
> > something happens to its ability to provide an adequate size for gum. I
> > won't say what that is, because I don't know, but it doesn't really
> > matter what causes it physically or chemically, the fact is that this is
> > what happens, at least in my shop. But what the heck, the guy should
> > just autoclave his gelatin and try using it for a sizing for gum, and
> > see what happens; the more information the better.
> >
> > As I said, it's been my observation that when the gelatin is overheated,
> > the sizing fails and results in speckling. That observation isn't
> > altered by all the arguing and bloviating about gelatin and its
> > different states and the ability to make calves foot jelly by boiling
> > calves feet. All those things are no doubt true, but still, if you get
> > the gelatin too hot, the resulting size will give you speckling in your
> > gum print. At least that's what I've observed a couple of times, and I
> > found that lowering the temperature of the gelatin took care of the
> > problem. In social science research we call this a single-subject ABAB
> > research design; it is a good design for a situation like we've got in
> > gum printing where the "tests" that are done can only be done one gum
> > printer at a time. If you see a particular result under one condition,
> > and you don't see the result without the condition, and if this pattern
> > is repeated, where every time you see the result, the condition is
> > present, and when you remove the condition the result goes away, it's
> > fair to assume that you've learned something.
> >
> > For both Judy and myself, it looks like we've learned that for our own
> > case, it was the heat that made the speckling. But whether this only
> > applies to glyoxal-hardened and unhardened gelatin, or only in our own
> > particular labs, one can't say, and I don't think either of us are
> > saying. What I've said is that this is my experience, use it if it's
> > useful to you. But to hoot the observations out of existence simply
> > because they are inconsistent with some theory of how gelatin behaves,
> > is itself inconsistent with being a scientist. Scientists rely on
> > observations; if the observations don't agree with the theory, they
> > adjust the theory to reflect the reality of the observations, rather
> > than dismissing the observations out of hand. When at least three people
> > have observed that hotter gelatin results in sizing failure for gum, and
> > that using a lower temperature eliminates the speckling, then it seems
> > outrageous to me to be so derisive about those observations.
Received on Sat Mar 12 12:21:03 2005

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