Periodically, over the last year, I've wasted a day or so screaming at my computer screen about how photos of a McDonald's hamburger failing to rot were not a sign that the food was somehow artificial or dangerous, but, rather, just what happens to meat products and bread when you leave them out in the open air. Think about the last hunk of baguette you didn't finish. Same thing. Basically, the food dries out before it has a chance to rot.
I'd been concocting a scheme to try this out at home, pitting a McDonald's burger against one made at home from free-range beef and organic bread. Luckily for my husband, Serious Eats up and did what I'd merely threatened.
In the picture above: A real,
live rotting McDonald's hamburger. Notice the plastic bag, which traps moisture and prevents the burger from drying out before the mold sets in.
Interestingly, because he ran this experiment with an impressive level of thoroughness, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt figured out that large McDonald's burgers (as opposed to the single-patty Happy Meal size) will, in fact, rot in open air. As will home-made burgers of similar proportion. It's only the small ones that get mummified. His conclusion:
The burger doesn't rot because it's small size and relatively large surface area help it to lose moisture very fast. Without moisture, there's no mold or bacterial growth. Of course, that the meat is pretty much sterile to begin with due to the high cooking temperature helps things along as well. It's not really surprising. Humans have known about this phenomenon for thousands of years. After all, how do you think beef jerky is made?
Read the full experiment (includes graphs!) at Serious Eats
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of Voyager 2, the first of the two spacecraft that carried the Golden Record on a grand tour of the solar system and into the mysteries of interstellar space. Science journalist Timothy Ferris produced this enchanting phonograph record that tells a story of our planet expressed in […]
When people hear voices others can’t, the prevailing scientific model describes this as psychosis due to brain abnormality, chemical imbalance, or other affliction. But scientists have now reliably induced auditory hallucinations in some people not diagnosed with psychosis.
Tiny micromotors about the width of a human hair traveled through a mouse’s stomach delivering antibiotics to treat a stomach ulcer. The motors are powered by bubbles. According to the researchers from the University of California San Diego, the microrobot-based treatment proved more effective than regular doses of the medicine. From New Scientist: The tiny […]
The Pry.Me Bottle Opener holds tens of thousands of times its own weight, and you can pick one up now from the Boing Boing Store.This remarkable keychain is considerably smaller than any of your keys, but don’t let that fool you: it can easily open any bottle, and could even tow a trailer full of […]
Guaranteeing your privacy online goes way beyond checking the “Do Not Track” option in your browser’s settings. To ensure that your internet activity is totally hidden from Internet Service Providers, advertisers, and other prying eyes, take a look at Windscribe’s VPN protection. It usually costs $7.50 per month, but you can get a 3-year subscription […]
This project management bundle will help you get organized and learn how to lead a team to success. You can pay what you want for these five courses when you pick them up from the Boing Boing Store.To help you become an invaluable asset for your company, this bundle includes a curated collection of professional […]