Quark Geeks

Event lunches are always worth reviewing. What gets catered is usually a telltale sign of what kind of sponsors an event was able to get. That, or the event planner does not know how to get jiggy with food. Fortunately for the attendees at both the recent DroidCamp and DroidCon events in Berlin, the food was fab (fab – short for fabulous, not fabricated).

It’s no secret either that this pr gal has a sweet tooth unlike any other known to man. I can gulf down a few chocolate bars in a matter of minutes (me bad). And true to form, I was able to attack the dessert table with a strategy in mind. All things were progressing rather nicely until I brought to the table a bowl full of blueberry something and white cream something.

When I arrived, I was happy to see that someone else was not able to resist the blueberry and white cream somethings. And this something ended up being the center of attention in more ways than one. Here’s the scenario….

Two other individuals were sitting at the table with me. I and the individual to my right (let’s call him individual no. 2) were both enjoying our bowl full of somethings when individual no. 3 said, “You do know what that is, don’t you?”. I realized he was talking to me after my spoon completed one lap of mouth to bowl. I said yes, it’s a yoghurt something or other. Individual no. 3 smiled and said, “exactly, it’s not yoghurt, it’s something else”. At least we both agreed it was a something.

That’s when individual no. 2 chimed in and said, “It’s not yoghurt it’s quark.” Individual no. 3 beamed and said, “Yes, it is quark. You don’t have quark in the U.S. do you?” I said, no – still happily enjoying my something.

no. 3: What is quark? (no: 3 knew what quark was in his culture but he was trying to define what it was in an English context)

no. 2: It’s, it’s something …

no. 3: No, I know it’s something, but what is it exactly?

no. 2: It’s like a milk thing.

no. 3: No, it’s more than a milk thing. How can I describe it …

I thought they both described the blueberry and white cream something very well.

no. 2. Yeah, it is a milk thing but it’s more than a milk thing…

oh brother.

no. 3: I can’t quite seem to find the right words to explain what it is.

no. 2: silence .. (no. 2 was happily eating his bowl of “more than a milk thing”)

me: I guess there is no direct translation is there?

no. 3: No. You’re right, there is no direct translation for it.

I suddenly looked up from the bird’s eye view of my bowl of something and realized that there were two netbooks and two android smart phones on the table.

me: Ummm, hello? Why don’t you just Google it.

With that said, both quark experts each grabbed a netbook and started tapping on the keys. Almost simultaneously they both exclaimed, “It’s something like a cheese.”

me: A cheese?

no. 3: Yes, it’s like a cheese, but before it gets to be a cheese.

me: Oh, it’s before a cheese but after a milk, right?

no. 3: Yes, it’s like before a cheese and after a milk. You don’t have this in the U.S. do you?

me: I think we do, but if we do, it would be as a special baking or dessert ingredient and it wouldn’t be sold in bulk like yoghurt.

(That’s how much I knew about making milk-something desserts. I just eat them)

Now that the mystery was solved I was curious to know how each of the individuals arrived at the answers. No.3 used leo, a German/English translation site and individual no. 2 used Wikipedia. What amused me was the period prior when both were trying to figure out how to explain what quark was. This banter had been going on for about 10 minutes before I brought up the “just Google it” phrase. It makes me wonder then, with being in a conference full of geeks … just HOW aware of and connected to their devices, are geeks anyway? I mean, there we all were sitting at a table with two netbooks in front of us and having a conversation on how to explain what the main ingredient of my blueberry and white cream something dessert was. I’m almost certain that Einstein was turning in his grave.

Kind of makes you wonder just how much of the brain we really use.

I managed to snap a photo of individual no. 3. I didn’t get to take one of no. 2, since he went back for seconds.



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