Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice in O(n*log(n))

The curse of being an engineer is that it’s not enough to simply complete a process, it has to be optimized as you go.  This usually leads to better output within the current iteration but also better output for future iterations. Since Jess loves her basic Insta posts and now that we have a couple of fruit trees in our backyard, I’ve had to pick up some new skills.

Jess’s ideal breakfast

This morning Jess told me to go pick some oranges so that she could make orange juice.  Inevitably this turned into me picking oranges and also me juicing them. I, being a native of Northern Virginia, had never done either so I figured I should just have fun with it. Below are a few thoughts on optimizing the process of picking and juicing oranges:

Picking the Oranges:

While I was picking the oranges I ran into a number of snags using crude tools left at the house we’re renting.  It was basically a 10’ pole with a small loop of wire on the top. This was great for pulling the oranges off the tree, but then they immediately fall ~15 feet down onto gravel.  The oranges would smash unless I caught them (or at least deflected them so they didn’t squish). My beef with Newton aside, the problem here really is the tool. I need to add a small basket to the top of the pole so it can hopefully catch the oranges as soon as they get pulled off.  I’ll only be able to pick them one at a time, but it should speed up the process and reduce waste.

Juicing the Oranges:

Juicing oranges is pretty straightforward but the devil is in the details.  You slice the orange in half horizontally and then you push it into a juicer, rotating to rip up more of the flesh.  However, I started to notice that the palm side of the oranges gets fully juiced while the finger side still has some flesh left over.  Rotating the orange 180 degrees under your hand can get some of that extra juice. Once you’re done with the half, fold it over taco style and you’ll be able to squeeze out a surprising amount of extra from the very top of the fruit.  This could probably be fixed by having a more custom fit juicer, but hardware is expensive and I don’t have a 3D printer (yet).

Tuning the Parameters:

So once you have the juice (24 small to medium oranges made ~ 3 pints), it’s probably going to taste sour in its natural state.  We don’t have a specially cultivated strain of oranges in our yard so there’s not much I can do about that in the next 2-3 years that we’ll be renting this place.  We ended up diluting the juice with about a cup of water and then added around 2 tablespoons of cane sugar. This was enough to offset the sourness and provide a pretty decent and very fresh flavor.  Overall it took ~3 hours but now that I know what I’m doing, it could probably boil down to a good hour of work. It may not be sustainable based on volume of oranges, but it’s not a bad way to spend a warm Sunday morning.

Jess: It looks like piss but tastes amazing. B+

Jess’s Contribution: J.W.B v. State

Keeping in theme with the blog, I put my legal research skills to the test and found a case somewhat relevant to this post. I think I may have struck gold. In search of the wackiest case relating to oranges, I queried “oranges” + “deadly” In Westlaw and filtered it to only include cases from the state of Florida.

J.W.B is an infant delinquent charged with “throwing a deadly missile” after throwing an orange at a school bus in violation of a Florida Statute that reads:

“Whoever, wantonly or maliciously, shoots at, within, or into, or throws any missile or hurls or projects a stone or other hard substance which would produce death or great bodily harm, at, within, or in any public or private building, occupied or unoccupied, or public or private bus or any train, locomotive, railway car, caboose, cable railway car, street railway car, monorail car, or vehicle of any kind which is being used or occupied by any person, or any boat, vessel, ship, or barge lying in or plying the waters of this state, or aircraft flying through the airspace of this state shall be guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.”

The trial court found that the orange was in fact a missile under the Florida statute. Infant argues on appeal that an orange, a soft fruit, could never be considered a missile. The court of appeals disagrees, citing the definition of a missile:

missile — 1. Any object or weapon that is fired, thrown, dropped, or otherwise projected at a target; projectile

There are no facts in the record suggesting the orange hit the school bus or any person. All that is known is that an orange was indeed thrown by infant.

The question, now, on appeal is whether the infant’s act of throwing an orange, a deadly missile, at a school bus is within the scope of Florida’s statute. Infant argues that the act of throwing said orange missile at a school bus would not produce death or great bodily harm. The state attorney argues:

“If these were oranges and they were thrown at a school bus, that was occupied by school students and [if] the oranges hit the windows of the bus and it’s the State’s contention that these oranges were capable of being a deadly missile and that the window could have busted and injury could have happened to school children”

Interestingly, this bizarre case turns on a single word in the Florida statute, “would.” For anyone that had Prof. Ball for Crim – this is the kind of shit he was getting at. The court applies RTFS analysis, citing the definition of “would”

would — a word sometimes expressing what might be expected or preferred or desired. Often interchangeable with the word “should,” but not with “could.”

Unsurprisingly, the court declares that though an orange could indeed be considered a deadly missile, it is unlikely that the infant’s act of throwing it at a school bus “would produce death or great bodily harm.” Reversed.

So what have we learned today? Florida is weird and oranges make for delicious missiles.

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