November 23, 2009
Hope your break was restful and fun. Here is a brownie recipe courtesy of Mischa Redenbaugh to get you through the upcoming finals and projects!!
Ultimate Fudgy Brownies
Makes about 36 small brownies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes plus cooling time
Tasters far preferred the more complex flavor of bittersweet chocolate here over semisweet chocolate. Don?t feel like chopping chocolate for melting? Use bittersweet chocolate chips.
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch-square pan with foil, then coat lightly with vegetable oil spray. Melt the chocolates, butter, and cocoa in the microwave, stirring often, 1 to 3 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly.
2. Whisk the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt together in a large bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the flour until no streaks remain.
3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes.
4. Let cool completely on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, before removing the brownies from the pan (using the foil) and cutting into squares.
HOW TO GIVE A FORMAL TALK
(Advice from Nalini for the talks on Tuesday, Nov. 30)
The purpose of a formal presentation is to clearly communicate your thinking or results to your audience. Though it may share the same content as a proposal or paper, the spoken presentation has a very different form than a written report because humans take in information in different ways. Talks need to be clear, make a few major points, and have uncomplicated graphics.
You will have an absolutely enforced time limit, the total length depending on the number of students in your group. Ideally your talk should leave at least 3 minutes for questions. The general organization can follow the written version of your proposal, or you can develop a different one.
Your project title and your name will be announced by the moderator, so do not waste precious time repeating that.
The Introduction is probably the most important part of the talk and you should practice this the most prior to the talk. The introduction should GRAB the listener’s attention from the start. Introduce the general topic, and immediately let the audience know your focus.
Methods should be mentioned, but you do not need to go into tiny details. If this is a field study, present your study site on a map. You may need maps of multiple scales (e.g., map of Washington, then map of the north fork of the Hoh River). You can state that you are following a particular protocol (e.g., “we will label frogs as Marc Hayes and his colleagues did his study of this same species in 1999), but don’t presume the audience will know that protocol.
You may present the projected Results and Discussion of your project in any way that makes the most sense to you. Summarize your findings rather than giving too many details, but give sufficient depth to further the listeners’ knowledge of the topic. Integrate the sources you used as seamlessly as you can.
Figures and tables (as slides or written on large paper) should be presented as you present your facts. Make sure they are clearly titled and each axis is labeled. It is a good idea to explain your axes before you go over what the data are (e.g. “On the vertical axis, I show dry weight in grams per meter, on the horizontal axis, I show time in weeks; …dotted lines are for treated plots, solid lines are for control plots…”). Do some “internal summarizing” if your results are complex.
Following the results, you should have a short piece on the implications of what you have found out and synthesized. You may want to present 2 or 3 questions for future research. Don’t just provide a laundry list – be thoughtful and specific. Don’t just say “more work is needed to understand this fascinating interaction”.
Acknowledge those who helped you and your study, but don’t gush on and on – just a simple thanks.
Prior to your talk, think about potential questions that the audience might ask – prepare (in your head) brief answers to them.
Make sure you run through your talk several or many times out loud. Practice with the graphics you will use. Practice singly, and as a group. You will be amazed at how short your allocation of minutes can be. As in professional symposia, time limits will be enforced. The moderator will display a sign with “2 min” and “1 min” at you.
Clearly end your talk. After your last point, say something like “Thank you very much” to tell the audience that you are now done. Speakers have a tendency to dribble off at the end, so the audience doesn’t know whether you have stopped or have additional points. NEVER end with an apologetic tone. Speakers tend to end with “Well, I guess that’s all I have to say.” Even saying “That’s all” has a belittling effect. In fact, you never need to adopt an apologetic tone anywhere in the talk. In a short talk, there is no need to discuss what you had hoped to do but didn’t have time for. Keep in mind that you are the expert on this – no one knows more than you about your topic. Be confident!