In the new issue of Oxford American magazine, writer Gideon Lewis-Kraus immerses himself in the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting. At this upscale gathering, connoisseurs rate the subtleties of various bottled waters. It's a delightful premise for a feature story, and Lewis-Kraus handles it masterfully. From the article:
Europeans drink water for what’s in it, for its minerality, while Americans tend to drink water for what’s not in it. As water commutes through the earth’s crust, it “acquires a personality” or “develops a style.” Magnesium might give water one particular flavor, while potassium–which Arthur pronounces “botazhium”–might give it a different flavor. Silica can make a water feel silky. The Japanese like young water, water that has not spent years streaming through geological filters like aquifers. One can be trained to be more perceptive about water. One really can be trained to be more perceptive about water. The results vary little from year to year, which lends some credence to these proceedings.
On the tables in front of us are pink “trial” judging sheets. Across the top run a series of boxes for water numbers, and down the side is the set of criteria we’ll be using....
Overall Impressions is scored out of fourteen points, which makes the total available points for each entrant an eyebrow-raising forty-nine. The fourteen-point scale is provided to us on an attached sheet. It was developed by a food scientist at UC Berkeley named William Bruvold. In the ’60s, he pioneered experiments in the acceptability levels of total dissolved solids in water, and he used his students as subjects; he incrementally increased the turbidity of the sample until the water came to resemble Turkish coffee and his students refused to drink it.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
If you are camping during rainy season, or just want a TSA-approved lighter, these plasma torches make perfect travel companions. These gas-free lighters create a small plasma beam that’s safer than butane to use and more environmentally friendly. It creates a super-hot, splashproof flame so you can get a campfire going, or have a smoke […]
If you don’t want to get stuck footing the bill for a hit and run, this dashboard-mounted camera offers up to 2K resolution to make sure you always have a reliable witness, and it’s available in the Boing Boing Store for 30% off it’s usual price.The PapaGo mounts unobtrusively to your windshield to see everything […]
While some people still maintain that everything in Apple’s walled garden “just works” and is immune to the rampant malware of the Windows world, the reality is different. The Mac’s growing market share has made it a much more viable target for malicious actors, and its built-in tools aren’t always enough to fix things. Drive […]