The real meaning of plantation tours: American Downton Abbey vs American Horror Story

There's a viral review of a southern plantation tour making the rounds in which a white person complains that the tour was "extremely disappointing" because of the "lecture on how the white people treated slaves" from a tour guide who was "radical about slave treatment." Read the rest

Baking bread from dormant, 4,500-year-old yeast extracted from Egyptian bread-making ceramics

Seamus Blackley, "father of the Xbox," worked with Egyptologist Serena Love and microbiologist Richard Bowman to extract yeast from 4,500-year-old Egyptian bread-making and beer-making potter held in the collection of Harvard's Peabody Museum; though nearly all of the samples are being cultured for analysis and addition to a microorganism library, Blackley cultured one sample to use in a dough-starter for a baking project. Read the rest

Make: a solar hot-dog oven (then learn the science)

Making a solar hot-dog oven is a science fair standby, but JohnW539's CNC-milled Sundogger Instructable really digs into the classroom portion, drawing on the creator's experience as a physics/astronomy/computer science prof at Middle Tennessee State University. Read the rest

Nebraska Weather Service commemorates climate emergency by baking biscuits inside a hot car

Ten years ago, we showed you a method for baking cookies on your car dashboard on hot days while you're at work, filling your car with delicious baking smells and a tray of warm cookies for the commute home. Read the rest

Giant crab summer quilt

Say goodbye to sweaty, kosher nights with this $40 Crab Summer Quilt made out of machine washable polyester fiber that is nevertheless billed as "moisture absorbing" and "breathable" -- and prohibited in Leviticus 11-9-12. (via Crazy Abalone) Read the rest

Mississippi makes it a jailable offense to call plant-based or cultured-meat patties "burgers"

FDA (totally not in thrall to Big Dairy): we're going to ban calling almond milk "milk"; Missouri State legislature (totally not in thrall to Big Ag): hold my beer. Read the rest

Howto: make better salads

Bon Appetit's 20-tip roundup of salad-making tips is full of culinary wisdom, from the mechanical (how to use a salad-spinner properly and how to apply dressing for a good, even coat that doesn't turn delicates to mush) to the chemical (using salt to tenderize raw cabbage) to the culinary (toast your nuts, put chopped veg in your dressing, mix your vinegars). It's a great and timely piece for anyone getting ready to enjoy the summer's garden veg or anyone trying to get kids to eat more veggies. (via Kottke) Read the rest

A mysterious nonprofit made millions suing companies to put California cancer warnings on coffee

The Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT) is a nonprofit that kicked off its mysterious existence by filing a string of lawsuits against restaurant chains and coffee roasters for not posting California Proposition 65 notices (the notices are mandatory warnings about the presence of "chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and reproductive toxicity") despite the disputed science behind their demands. Read the rest

Just look at this vintage "banana candle" recipe

Just look at it.

(Thanks, Seth!) Read the rest

California set to legalize eating roadkill

California bans eating roadkill in part because it's viewed as a temptation for poachers to disguise their kills as road accidents; but that means a lot of game goes to waste (at least 20,000 deer alone are hit by Californians every year -- some researchers put the number at 80,000), and the animals involved are left to die slow deaths by the roadside. Read the rest

Universal Studios is chipping their soda cups to limit refills

A room at a Universal Studios Florida hotel tonight will cost you $197-$536 (plus admission tickets to the park), but make sure that you do all your soda drinking in one compact session, because Universal has deployed the creepily named Validfill RFID system, which limits your self-service (that is, you do the labor) soda refills to two hours after purchase, and after the time window expires, "you are denied soda by a robot voice." Read the rest

Scientists finally explain why microwaved grapes emit glorious bursts of plasma

The mystery of the glorious fireball emitted by microwaved grapes (featured in my novel Little Brother) has been resolved, thanks to a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in which Trent University researchers Hamza Khattak and Aaron Slepkov explain how they destroyed a dozen microwaves before figuring out that the grapes were just the right size and had enough humidity to set up standing waves that amplify the microwaves -- and anything roughly grape-sized will do the same. Read the rest

Netherlands court strikes down Dutch grifter's patent claim over Ethiopia's ancient staple grain teff

Teff is one of the oldest grains to have been cultivated, a staple for so long that its original cultivation date is lost to history and can only be estimated at between 1000 and 4000 BCE; it is best known as the main ingredient in injera, the soft pancakes that are served with Ethiopian meals. Read the rest

China legalizes eating a pufferfish bred to be nonpoisonous

Chinese fish farms have successfully bred seven generations of Takifugu rubripes and ten generations of Takifugu obscurus that lack the gene that causes normal specimens of these pufferfish species to produce a deadly toxin that means near-instant death for anyone who eats a fish whose poison has not been completely removed during preparation. Read the rest

Regular says she was banned from eating at the bar at Manhattan's scammy Nello restaurant because she might be a sex-worker

After marketing executive Clementine Crawford published an essay about being banned from eating at the bar at her favorite New York restaurant, Nello (a notorious ripoff joint), because the owner (already notorious for labor abuses) was "cracking down on escorts" and had decreed that only men would be permitted to dine at the bar, The Cut tried to get a comment on it from Balan, whose employees repeatedly hung up on them. Read the rest

#TacosForTeachers: crowdfunding to feed LA's teachers as they strike against privatization and austerity

Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (America's largest district) are walking the picket line this week in the pouring rain, demanding an end to the billionaire dark-money backed privatization movement that funnels public education funds to the shareholders of racially segregated, underperforming charter schools. Read the rest

Chuck Wendig, Apple Reviewer

Chuck Wendig isn't just a fine novelist, he's also got a discerning sense of what distinguishes good apples from bad, and what elevates apples to true greatness. Read the rest

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