No cell phones allowed in Green Bank, WV

Can you imagine a place with no cell phones? It is harder and harder to find. You almost have to go to a remote island, or a place with no cell phone reception (see these seven locations where you can escape the Internet). Last week I was traveling for work, and while in the airport waiting for a flight, I saw on the news a mention of Green Bank, West Virginia, and that cell phones are not allowed. They are part of the “National Radio Quiet Zone.” See the picture in the link — the zone is enormous.

Intrigued? I was. It is often hard to imagine a place where cell phones do not exist. Green Bank has a population of 143. Why no cell phones? The Green Bank Telescope (GBT). The GBT is part of the reason that it is a law in Green Bank that you cannot have a cell phone. The GBT is the largest, fully steerable radio telescope in the world. This excerpt from a National Geographic article explains it a bit more:

“Because of its vast size and sophisticated design, the GBT is exquisitely sensitive to even the faintest radio pulses coming from space. For the same reason, it is also extremely susceptible to electronic interference. Any device that generates electromagnetic radiation—a cell phone, a television, a wireless Internet router—can skew its data. And so the people who live in these parts must, by law, forego some of the gadgets that most of us take for granted.”

Would you want that kind of life? Maybe for a vacation, but could you handle it 365 days a year? I am addicted to information and I am not sure how I could go without the Internet. A phone – yes, I could probably go without a phone, but not the Internet. Check out the National Geographic article for more details on all the discoveries that have been made due to the GBT. Oh, and they need another 9 million dollars if you are interested.

White chocolate vs. dark/milk chocolate

Sometimes we take things for granted. You think something is part of something else and then when you really dig in you find out that is not the case. What did I take for granted?

Chocolate.

Yes, it is true. In a conversation with someone recently the topic came up about the difference between milk/dark chocolate and white chocolate. I had never thought about it. They all have the name of chocolate, but are they really all chocolate? The person I was talking with said no. White chocolate is not at all like milk or dark chocolate.

Regardless of the truth, I can see there being different chocolate camps. I ebb and flow with my allegiance. I go through phases where all I want is white chocolate (especially around Christmas, as there is something yummy about candy canes with white chocolate). At other times, I am a dark chocolate fan, and for some reason feel like the higher cacao factor makes it healthier for me (maybe true)? In last place would be milk chocolate, unless you are talking about the chips in my chocolate chip cookies.

So what is the truth? From what I have researched, white chocolate has cocoa butter in it, where as milk and dark chocolate is made from cocoa plant. An excerpt from Diffen (a website that compares things) states:

“Dark chocolate and white chocolate both contain cocoa butter and are eaten as dessert or used in confectionery. Chocolate is derived from the bean of the cocao (cocoa) plant which breaks down in to chocolate liquor (the ground or melted state of the nib of the bean), cocoa butter (the fat component) and cocoa powder (the non-fat part of the cocoa bean ground into a powder). Dark chocolate is produced by adding cocoa butter to sugar and cocoa powder. Unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate does not contain any milk solids. White chocolate contains only cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids and no chocolate liquor or cocoa powder. So technically, white chocolate is not really chocolate at all.”

Did you learn something new or am I just slow to the game on chocolate?