Occam’s Popsicle

August 22, 2017

“That is better and more valuable which requires fewer, other circumstances being equal…”
~ Robert Grosseteste (1175 – 1253)

As a native Californian who also has Italian citizenship, I spent yesterday’s eclipse in decidedly laid-back fashion.  The local library ran out of eclipse glasses early yesterday.  So, as the Moon began to step in front of the Sun, I headed out my front porch, coffee in hand, armed with a pasta strainer and a white piece of paper.  The tiny holes in the strainer served as a sort of “colander obscura” when aimed to channel the Sun’s light through the pinhole openings of the strainer onto the blank paper.  As a result, rather than a single view of the eclipse, I watched a large crowd of partial suns, at one point giving the effect of a Pac-Man army marching across the paper.

Even more interesting than the dance between the Moon and Sun was the unique light cast during the event.  Having recently made several versions of the world’s easiest homemade frozen yogurt pops, I decided to photographically document both the light of the eclipse as well as how to make these super easy frozen treats.

As you may have deduced, I enjoy the occasional path of least hassle.  Both my last-minute, on hand eclipse viewer and the recipe for yogurt pops that I am about to illustrate share the quality of simplicity, echoing the sentiment expressed by the idea known as Occam’s Razor.

Occam’s Razor is the name given to the idea that when you have multiple theories that make exactly the same predictions, go with the simplest one.  The principle was named after 14th Century logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham.

Ironically, attributing this idea to Ockham is actually somewhat complicated, because, although he stated the idea behind the principle in a number of ways, the phrase most often cited when discussing Occam’s Razor, “Non sunt multiplicanda entia sine necessitate” or Entities are not to be multiplied without necessity, was written by Irish Franciscan Philosopher John Punch.  In fact, the quote that began this blog post, another version of this same principle, was written about 100 years prior to Ockham by an English scientist and philosopher named Robert Grosseteste.

So, in the spirit of Occam’s Razor, if not the reality, here are instructions for making what I like to call Occam’s Popsicles, because the process could not be more simple:

Occam’s Popsicles

You will need:
• Individual yogurt cups in any flavor
(I used whole milk, non-fat, with and without fruit and even a non-dairy, coconut milk variety)

• Craft sticks (food safe)

Step one – Make a small slit in the center top of the covering for the yogurt container with a sharp knife:

Step two – Insert a craft stick into the slit:

Step three – freeze until solid (4 hours or overnight):

Step four – To remove, warm the outside of the container with your hands or under warm running water.  Insert a knife, if needed, around the inside edge of the container to loosen.  Remove yogurt pop and enjoy:

Note: you can use the foil or plastic top of the yogurt container to conveniently catch drips, if you are out in the hot sun and eating slowly:

“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones, after all.”
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder



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