Backyard treehouse in Richmond, VA.
Backyard treehouse in Richmond, VA.
Florentines are essentially nuts, usually almonds or hazelnuts, coarsely or finely chopped, that have been baked into a buttery caramel disc. They hail, like so many delicious things, from Italy although I’ve seen versions from many other places, because once you try them, you’re going to want to make them your own too. Here, in a recipe that was published last year in the Tasting Table newsletter, someone did, a chef named Aaron Vandemark or Panciuto restaurant in Hillsborough, NC, a place I’d like to go immediately to applaud him in person for his creativity. Instead of almonds or hazelnuts, he uses pecans and a touch of cinnamon. He doesn’t stop there.
The Community Cycling Center's 18th annual Holiday Bike Drive took place on Sunday at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in north Portland. The event brings together dozens of volunteers who set up low-income families with nearly 400 shiny refurbished bicycles and tricycles. In many ways, the event is a rite of passage for the kids and the volunteers — both of whom aren't likely to ever forget the experience.
We didn't make it out to the event this year, but CCC Communications and Marketing Manager Melinda Musser sent over a few thoughts and a link to some excellent photos.
Musser said over 375 children received bikes, new helmets, and safety education. The families that lined up for this early holiday treat spoke 22 different languages. Musser also pointed out how the event ties together the CCC's programs and approach to advocacy. "It was great to witness the interconnectedness of our programs. For example, members of Hacienda's bike committee, Andando en Bicicletas en Cully, led helmet fitting lessons for participating families. Several graduates of our Create a Commuter program participated in the Holiday Bike Drive with their children and grandchildren. Many families will be riding together after this event."
See the many excited faces of the kids, smiles from volunteers, and other scenes from the event in the photos below (full gallery here):
Learn more about the CCC and their Holiday Bike Drive at CommunityCyclingCenter.org.
94% male, 6 % female.
Since 2006, there have been more than 200 mass killings in the United States.
Well-known images from Newtown, Aurora and Virginia Tech capture the nation’s attention, but similar bloody scenes happen with alarming frequency and much less scrutiny.
We examined FBI data — which defines a mass killing as four or more victims — as well as local police records and media reports to understand mass killings in America. They happen far more often than the government reports, and the circumstances of those killings — the people who commit them, the weapons they use and the forces that motivate them — are far more predictable than many might think.
Yet no one is keeping track.
A USA TODAY special report — learn more: http://usat.ly/1kiRW4F
Crocodiles use sticks as bait to attract nest-building birds to their deaths
This also applies to alligators in Louisiana. I am terribly amused.
The map and the sea denizen. From mermen to Moby-Dick, cartography informs our mythic fears, monstrous imaginations, and sense of awe… more»
How often do they need to be emptied?As the tree leaves turn brown and summer turns to autumn each year, the 1-800-TOILETS truck makes its seasonal journey to the county’s four drawbridges to empty their septic tanks. One truck visits all four drawbridges to empty their tanks on the same day, every three months. It’s a seasonal event here at the County.
NASA is planning to grow basil, turnips and Arabidopsis on the Moon. The experiment, which will commence in 2015, will test whether plants can thrive in partial gravity and in a controlled environment. If the experiment succeeds, setting aluminium greenhouses on the Moon could soon be a reality(via Science Alert/fb)
via firehose, et al
ladies & stem beat, trigger warning: internet comments
Where My Ladies At? (by thebrainscoop)
There are a lot of things we don’t know about Wonder Woman in Batman “Not the Actual Title” vs. Superman. But what we know right now is: She will be in it. And she will be played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot of the Fast and Furious movies.
Variety has the official announcement, with a quote from Zack Snyder himself:
Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe. Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role. We look forward to audiences discovering Gal in the first feature film incarnation of this beloved character.
Here’s what we don’t know: to what extent Wonder Woman will appear in the film. The project is still operating under the title Batman vs. Superman for the moment, and a list of recent domain registrations by Warner Bros. do not stray from that theme. According to Variety:
Insiders believe the plan is to have not just Batman and Superman in the film but several members of the Justice League as well. It’s unclear which members, but Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) and the Flash are said to be locks to make an appearance in some fashion, whether that’s a significant role or a cameo.
So there’s no indication yet that we’re going to be seeing a so-called Trinity movie. And, of course, we’re still looking at a sequel from the team behind Man of Steel, a lukewarm success among fans and critics; as well as a movie from Zack Snyder, whose track record on female characters can be hit or miss (as much as I loved Lois and Faora in MoS, there’s still Watchmen and Sucker Punch). And we’re still looking at the most well-known superheroine in the world making her big screen debut in at most third billing in a sequel to someone else’s franchise that appears to focus primarily on two male characters. So many people have made the excuse that Wonder Woman is a difficult hero to adapt because of her less well known origin story. Introducing her as a secondary character in a movie that probably won’t even have time to go into her background in depth does not seem like a solution to that assumed hurdle.
Does the idea that Wonder Woman will appear in Batman vs. Superman make me more interested in seeing the movie? Yes, barely. But when Wikipedia’s Batman in Film and Superman in Film articles run five to seven thousand words each, and Wonder Woman doesn’t even have one, this seems, at the moment, to look a lot like a tiny bandage offered for a much larger problem. This is a step in the right direction, but not a giant leap for Amazon-kind.
Lunularia cruciata, the crescent-cup liverwort. I’ve been collecting and propagating specimens of this common old thing to populate some sealed bryophyte gardens that I’m planning to construct. The propagation is terribly straightforward- just a matter of using a paintbrush or pencil-tip to dislodge and scatter the tiny asexual gemmæ from inside the cups. It’d be super if I could get some sexual development, too, as the archegonia in this species are really charming little structures.
attn: firehose, re: pdxmas
Every year I endeavor to keep costs down and seasonal spirits high by making a few gifts rather than pulling out the credit card. I have the best of intentions but often find myself (somewhere around the 23rd) with not enough time. This year will likely be no different, but while I am still in the good intentions stage (it is Dec 4, after all — last minute panic shopping is still weeks away) I have my eye on a really sweet garden project.
The Matchbox Lounge was once an improvised haunt for off-shift bar staff, with stiff drinks, friends’ art on the walls and surprisingly good late-night food. Wholly by accident—before upwardly mobile rents tipped things—it became a storm drain for busy Pok Pok across the street. The Richmond Bar (3203 SE Division St., 208-3075, therichmondbar.com), which took Matchbox’s place last month, opens as a fully formed object. The back wall’s pressed-metal letter “R” with little light bulbs inside is a stamped trademark of both co-owner Nate Tilden and his favored build-out firm, OMFG Co. The neutral-and-red-hued bar has honed the refined, unshowy comforts now expected of a Portland bar—a model Tilden himself helped create at Clyde Common. The Richmond’s drinks skew to the sweetly medicinal, especially in the herbal Sassafras ($10), named after the dominant note in the Root spirit mixed with tequila, mezcal and Cynar; it’s like sarsaparilla with some heat in the nose. The cocktail menu rarely repeats an ingredient, whether Cherry Heering or the grapefruit shrub and jalapeño syrup of the crisp, lovely Paloma ($7). The beer list is deep with offerings from Oregon and Europe, with a $2 Old German tall boy to round things out. The wine is refreshingly far flung, and the crowd is a dead-even mix of creative class and service industry. The food, meanwhile, is upscale-casual, from beef tongue pasty ($7) to the obligatory double-digit burger. The cozy, tasteful little bar does absolutely nothing wrong—except, perhaps, do nothing wrong
Cards Against Humanity’s “$5 More” Black Friday Sale
A lot of people have been curious about how our “everything costs $5 more" Black Friday sale worked, and if it was successful for us.
This is a difficult time of year for us because we spend almost no money on marketing, and it’s easy for us to get lost in the noise and money of the holiday season.
We initially started talking about doing a Black Friday sale over the summer, and came up with the idea of a “$0.01 off” coupon. I liked the idea, but have always maintained a policy of no deals, no discounts, and no sales for Cards Against Humanity, even during our Kickstarter. To me the game is always $25, it’s never another price, and doing any kind of deal or discount undermines the simplicity and honesty of the game.
After some discussion, Ben came up with the idea of raising the price for Black Friday and that was so outrageous that I fell in love with it instantly. Two books I read recently that informed my decision were Malcom Gladwell’s David and Goliath and Marty Neumeier’s Zag, which are both kind of shitty business/science books that make the somewhat-obvious point that being small and nimble can give you advantages that huge lumbering opponents don’t have. Anyone can do a sale for Black Friday, but nobody but us could get away with raising their prices and risking a ton of sales just to make a joke.
The other guys were pretty skeptical, but Ben and I convinced them one by one, 12 Angry Men style, until they agreed to let us try a truly insane pricing experiment. The final piece needed to convince everyone was the mockup of the landing page that I designed, with the glowing “consume!” button. Once everyone saw how funny that looked, they knew we had to go through with it.
Nothing crazy here. I put together a landing page and we replaced all the “buy” buttons on our site with the new pricing. I edited the FAQ to include:
Why do all of your products cost more today?
We’re participating in the tradition of “Black Friday,” an American holiday celebrating a time when the Wampanoag tribe saved the settlers of Plymouth Colony with incredible deals. All of our products are $5 more today only, so you can enjoy buying them that much more.
I’m mad that you’re making a joke about Black Friday.
You’re probably a bad person.
We called our contact at Amazon and explained the idea for the sale to them. They thought it was funny but were also pretty annoyed - apparently monkeying with pricing on the biggest sales day of the year isn’t as funny to Amazon as it is to us.
The sale made people laugh, it was widely shared on Twitter and Tumblr, and it was the top post on Reddit. The press picked it up, and it was reported in The Guardian, USA Today, Polygon, BuzzFeed, All Things D, Chicagoist, and AdWeek. It was even the top comment on The Wirecutter’s front page AMA, which had nothing to do with us.
I was pretty sure that our fans would be into the “$5 more” sale, but I had no idea that it would turn a day where we’d normally be totally overlooked into a huge press hit for the game.
So how did we do? A little better than last year. We kept our position as the best-selling toy or game on Amazon. My guess is that peoples’ buying decisions just weren’t that affected by $5.
The interesting thing to note is that we got a nice lift in our sales the day after Black Friday (“Regret Saturday”). That might be from people who were waiting to buy the game until it came back down in price, or, more likely, those are sales from people who heard about the game after our Black Friday press. Not bad for an ad that paid us to run it.
2 oz. calvados
1/4 oz. walnut liqueur (Apte uses Haus Alpenz)
1/4 oz. demerara syrup (2:1)
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Tools: mixing glass, barspoon
Glass: Old Fashioned
Garnish: lemon twist
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir to combine and strain into an Old Fashioned glass over a large cube. Garnish and serve.
Five years after the South Florida real estate market collapsed, Miami is once again going nuts for condos. Developers are putting up 35 buildings as you read this, and another 83 are waiting in the wings, according to a report in today's Wall Street Journal. The city also ranks third in the nation for permits issued for multi-family developments (New York and San Francisco rank first and second, respectively).
With its million-dollar starting prices and emphasis on pre-construction sales, this boom may feel like déjà vu, but today's Miami developers are demanding that buyers put down at least 50 percent before closing. That's a lot of up-front money, and the Journal says it's coming from "foreign investors who typically pay cash." The story doesn't tell us much more about exactly who all these foreign investors are, which is probably because one of the most persistent yet difficult-to-prove stories about Miami right now is that its condo-building renaissance is fueled by international criminals laundering money.
Back in August, Brian Bandell of the South Florida Business Journal attempted to prove that this is exactly what's happening. In the course of his investigation, he found that 90 percent of Miami condo buyers in 2012 were non-Americans, 73 percent of condo resales were cash transactions, and many of these deals were held by limited liability companies, the sort that protect owners in the case of actions against the condo. Bandell writes that LLCs "create an easy way to launder money." An LLC is set up to receive dirty money from an overseas bank, and the LLC buys the condo. Oftentimes the name of the LLC appears as the owner, rather than any actual human being.
Bandell built his case around a Spanish drug lord named Alvaro Lopez Tardon. Arrested in Miami in 2011, Tardon is accused of laundering roughly $26 million in cocaine proceeds by buying exotic cars and Miami condos. But of course, non-criminal wealthy people from around the world are fond of avoiding paying taxes, too. In Miami, these types of condo buyers range from Eastern Europeans who got rich off privatization after communism fell, to former power brokers from Latin America who looted their countries' coffers and sunk the money in Miami real estate.
It's difficult to ascertain just how many condos are bought with stolen or otherwise illegal cash—obviously some, and maybe even most of the deals, are legit—but "Why Miami?" is an easier question to answer. It's beautiful, fun, and corrupt.
Top image: The Miami skyline. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
drinkable flowers beat
The Alnwick Poison Garden is pretty much what you’d think it is: a garden full of plants that can kill you (among many other things). Some of the plants are so dangerous that they have to be kept behind bars. [x]
From the BuzzFeed list 9 Places You Never Want To Go On A Vacation. I, however, think this place sounds super cool.
Humans think they’re so smart, giving themselves credit for inventing stuff like the the wheel, fire, and agriculture. Well think again, because we’re not the first to invent farming. Cultivation of crops for nourishment has evolved a few times among eukaryotes. The best known examples include ants, termites, beetles, and, around 10,000 years ago, humans. It turns out that the soil fungus Morchella crassipes acts as a bacterial farmer, involving habitual planting, cultivation and harvesting of bacteria.
It’s fairly obvious what the fungus gets out of this arrangement – it’s in it for all the lovely reduced carbon those tasty bacteria provide. But what about the bacteria – do they get some benefit from the arrangement? It seems that they might. Soil is not the easiest medium for cells to disperse in, and by using the fungal hyphae as a sort of motorway network, this would seem to be more of a mutualistic arrangement, albeit one in which some of the cells wind up as lunch for the farmer.
by Jeff Turner
A few years back we were camping in a two man tent every weekend while building a home in the mountains. Having to set the tent up and take it down every week was beginning to wear on us. Especially since the location we were building in was considered a temperate rain forest. This usually meant we had to reset it up again in the garage later to dry out, as well as take it down. I figured a more permanent structure would be in our best interest, so we set out to build a tiny house to replace our tent. We affectionately refer to it as our “Shanty in the woods.” Even though we have finished our house it continues to sleep the occasional visitor when all beds and sofas have been exhausted.
At our home in the city 2 hours away we were in need of additional storage and I had been thinking of building a storage building. Our garage, out of necessity for my work, had been turned into a shop. The amount of dust I generated was not good for our camping gear, lawnmowers, bikes, etc.
On a trip to the recycle center one afternoon I noticed 3 large pallets of commercial windows. I inquired about them and was told they were headed for the crusher. I asked if I could maybe buy about 10 as I had been thinking about building a solar water heater. He allowed me to take two of them home to see if the size would be right for me and said he would ask his boss about a price. When he told me $5 each I was interested. We had taken 4th place in Mother Earth News “backyard garden” contest the year before. Ever since then, I had always wished I could have a small greenhouse and at $5 a window, that could be a reality.
I thought about combining my storage shed with a greenhouse which could also serve as a “Tiny guest house”. In the end I was able to purchase 66 windows for $200 or $3 each.
Our municipality allows a 12’ x 12’ structure without a permit. With the exception of a shed roof for the lawnmower I was able to do it.
As a tiny house it incorporates everything that one would need. It has a toilet, sleeping loft, cable, running water, electricity, and heat. The south facing glass is a great source of free heat. Lately, night time temperatures have been in the low 30’s, although the inside temperature has stayed above 50 with no supplemental heat needed.
Pear & chocolate play so nice together
A friend of mine who happens to be gluten free is going into surgery today, so I decided to make her some cookies as a treat for before and after the operation. I went with an Alton brown recipe that had rave reviews as the cookie base, and then loaded it up with all sorts of mix-ins to help cover up any potential weirdness in texture from the lack of white flour. I don't think I needed all the mixins, because the cookie batter came out really great, but the chunky goodness only helped these cookies go from great to amazing.
I had these pears laying around for awhile and they were perfectly ripe, I knew I wanted to use them in the cookies. First I needed to dry them out. Diced with a squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt, then into the oven at 225. Every hour I stirred them and after 4 hours they were nice and dried out.
I made the cookie mix according to the instructions. I shockingly had all the ingredients already in my pantry from the brown rice flour, to the tapioca flour, and even the xanthan gum! Then just stir in dark chocolate, the dried pears, and some granola.
After the batter cools you can form these balls for baking. I made my cookies slightly smaller than Alton suggested and baked them a little less.
They come out deliciously chewy with a lot of great texture.
I ate more than my share of these and everyone was surprised to learn they were gluten free!
via firehose, challenge accepted
Who among you will say CHALLENGE ACCEPTED?(via maureenjohnsonbooks)
notably written by a man.
the last time i believed a guy telling me about his "crazy ex" it turned out he was the crazy one, natch.
The Five Deadly Words
There are certain words that are applied to women specifically in order to manipulate them into compliance: “slut,” “bitch,” “ugly/fat” and, of course, “crazy.” These words encapsulate what society defines as the worst possible things a woman can be. Slut-shaming is used to coerce women into restricting their own sexuality into a pre-approved vision of feminine modesty and restraint. “Bitch” is used against women who might be seen as being too aggressive or assertive… acting, in other words, like a man might. “Ugly” or “fat” are used — frequently interchangeably — to remind them that their core worth is based on a specific definition of beauty, and to deviate from it is to devalue not only oneself but to render her accomplishments or concerns as invalid.
"Crazy" may well be the most insidious one of the four because it encompasses so much. At its base, calling women "crazy" is a way of waving away any behavior that men might find undesirable while simultaneously absolving those same men from responsibility. Why did you break up with her? Well, she was crazy. Said something a woman might find offensive? Stop being so sensitive.
The idea of the “crazy” woman is so vague and nebulous that it can apply to just about any scenario.
[Photo: J. Kenji Lopez Alt / Chris Lehault]
Convention tells us to take it easy with the drink choices on Thanksgiving and concentrate on food and family. But you're a Thanksgiving pro by now (you've watched Kenji's video about how to spatchcock a turkey, right?) so we think you can put as much thought into what goes in the glass as you do about what's going on the plate.
And the secret is: getting it right is easy. You just need 3 bottles of cider. The key, like all things Thanksgiving related, is pacing.
There is nothing more festive than greeting your guests with a glass of bubbly. But instead of Champagne or Prosecco this year, break out a bottle of dry sparkling cider. These subtle ciders won't weigh down your palate but will complement briny olives and pickled vegetables while cutting through rich cheese plates and deviled eggs. The tannins in dry ciders can accentuate spicy foods, though, so put down the pepperoni and choose prosciutto or other delicate charcuterie.
Any dry cider can kick start the day but—in this situation—we prefer those high on minerality and low on complex yeast character. Thanksgiving is not the time to bring the funk.
For a more rustic approach, reach for the the Homestead Cider from Aaron Burr Cider. Fermented to dryness from wild, New York state apples, cider maker Andy Brennen creates an earthy cider with an impressive amount of tannin from foraged fruit.
Uncle John's Fruit House Winery's Baldwin Cider is an easy choice from the Great Lakes region. Using heirloom fruit, this cider has a subtle balance of wet stone and crisp apples for definitively fall feeling.
When serving traditional Thanksgiving fare, you'll want a cider with brightness and acidity. Holidays dishes tend to go big on the fats and bright ciders cut through the richness and prepare your mouth for the next bite. To complement the caramelization and sweetness of roasted side dishes, pick a cider that is off-dry or medium dry. The subtle sweetness with hold up to—but not weigh down—the meal.
Generally, ciders pressed from American heirloom fruit—sharp-sweet apples grown from seed or discovered in the New World —are ideal in this situation. They are also historically relevant. These fruits—many of which were discovered by chance during the colonial era—are American cider's foundation and bring a range of palate-cleansing flavors from a lemony brininess to apple and red currant.
Due to a lack of tannins, American cider fruit produces ciders that are easy-going and festive. If you are looking for something more structured and austere, pick a cider that adds bittersweet English and French apples in the mix.
Further east, Slyboro Ciderhouse's Hidden Star uses locally grown Northern Spy and Liberty apples for a cider that is more aromatic. Crisp, fresh apple flavors still dominate the Hidden Star but there also a floral character that does wonders around butter and comforting fall flavors.
Tilted Shed Ciderworks' Graviva! Semidry Cider is a more English-inspired take on an heirloom cider. Graviva! starts with California's quintessential apple, the Gravenstein. These are blended with Hubbardston Nonesuch heirlooms and English bittersweet fruit for a lively cider with apple and citrus flavors. The tannins provide a long, lingering finish.
As dinner winds down, it's best to tone down the tannins and pair sweet with sweet; dessert is not the time for a daring pairing. But when choosing a cider as decadent as dessert, think high acid and high sugar. This double intensity will both complement and cut through the richness of pies, crumbles, and cakes.
If you are looking for something a bit stronger to end your meal, try a pommeau. Produced from a blend of aged apple spirits and fresh or lightly fermented cider, pommeau usually clocks in around 20% ABV, making it a good choice for post-dinner sipping. Seek out your local cidery's version, or look for the 2011 Pommeau from Traditions Ciderworks in Corvallis, Oregon. Produced with traditional bittersweet cider fruit and blended with Clear Creek Eau de Vie de Pomme, this pommeau layers flavors of apples, oak, vanilla, and caramelized sugars.
Ice cider is also a wonderful way to close out a meal. Each year, more and more producers in cold climates are turning out inspiring bottles. Newhall Farm's version is a Thanksgiving favorite for its high acidity, and wonderful spice and caramelized sugar flavors. Of course, there are no spices in this bottle, just 100% estate grown Vermont apples.
Serving cider this Thanksgiving? Which bottles will you open?
Want to read more cider articles? Right this way »
written & directed by peter davidson
Ready for more Doctor Who? Yes? Good. Because Peter Davison, Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy have cooked up a short film about their quest to be in the 50th anniversary episode. Paul McGann‘s there too, as are some actors with cameos too amazing to spoil. The dimensions are a bit wonky, so I’ve placed it behind the jump. Let’s get timey-wimey!