Shared posts

19 Jan 16:19

Woodman's Pal

Issued to soldiers fighting in the Pacific Theater during WWII, the Woodman's Pal is still the same dependable tool it was seven decades ago. This combination axe and machete replaces...

Visit Uncrate for the full post.
10 Jan 22:25

How to Look for a Job on Twitter and Facebook

by Nick Douglas

Job searches are already a complicated stress-maze of multiple sites, searches, and alerts, so you might think it’s bad news that you also need to expand your search to social media. But actually, Twitter and Facebook can be a relatively (relatively) pleasant part of the job search process.

Read more...

10 Jan 20:16

The British Once Built a 1,100-Mile Hedge Through the Middle of India

by Miss Cellania

Taxing salt in India was a lucrative activity for the British East India Company, and the British Crown afterward, but it was onerous for Indians. To prevent smuggling of untaxed salt, the British created the Inland Customs Line, and eventually built a physical hedge made of trees and shrubs along most of it. It took years to get it to grow properly, considering the variations in soil, weather, and wildlife in the subcontinent.

But as the British do, they kept working at it. They dug ditches and brought in better soil. They built embankments to resist floods. They experimented until they found the best trees for each of the many climates that the hedge passed through. Eventually it grew long and tall and wide.

It was, in the words of Sir John Strachey, a lifelong civil servant in British India cited in Moxham’s book, “a monstrous system,” that had few parallels “in any tolerably civilised country.” Each mile required 250 tons of thorny brushwood and other organic material to create, and in one year the patrols might carry 100,000 tons of this plant matter to shore up stretches of dry hedge. In most places, the barrier was at least 10 feet tall and 6 feet thick, but it grew bigger in some areas. It became “a standing monument of the industry of our officers and men and an impervious barrier to smugglers,” another commissioner wrote.

But there were problems. White ants infested the hedge and could bring whole sections down. Bush fires incinerated miles at a time. Storms and whirlwinds could sweep parts of it away. Locusts invaded. Parasitic vines blighted the hedge, the trees died of natural causes. One sections had rats living in it, and the patrol there introduced feral cats to combat them.

Nevertheless, the hedge was worked for forty years. Read about the Great Hedge of India at Atlas Obscura.

(Image credit: Dumelow)

09 Jan 17:31

How to Know a True Fisherman

by Grover Cleveland
Eternal words by the former president.
09 Jan 16:04

GAO Agents Tried 72 Times, Failed to Buy Guns on the (Normie) Internet

by Ed Krayewski

Government Accountability Office employees posing as sketchy buyers tried and failed in 72 attempts to purchase firearms on the internet, part of a failed investigation called for by a trio of Congressional Democrats.

While the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) insisted in its most recent strategic plan, as cited by the GAO, that "the privacy of the Internet makes it an ideal means for gang members, violent criminals, terrorists, and juveniles to traffic and obtain illegal firearms," the new report released by the (GAO) could not corroborate any of it.

The GAO did not fare much better on the so-called "Dark Web." Agents made 7 attempts and were successful just twice, purchasing an AR-15 and an Uzi.

There's not much in the report for Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) and Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) from which to demand stricter internet gun laws, but it may not stop Democrats from trying to impose new laws anyway.

It's unclear what kind of internet-specific gun laws there could be other than a blanket ban (LOL trying to enforce that) or enhanced sentencing (a dubious legal tool to say the least).

In all, 56 sellers refused to complete the requested transactions; 29 said they wouldn't ship the requested firearms and 27 refused after the agents disclosed they were prohibited from purchasing firearms. One five separate occasions, the GAO trolls were also banned from the websites where they were inquiring about murky purchases.

"The results of our testing are for illustrative purposes only and are not generalizable," the GAO wrote in a letter to the three Congressional Democrats about the results of the report.

The GAO was also asked to assess how ATF was enforcing firearms laws on the internet, since Cummings, Schatz, and Warren say they worry there are no specific laws about firearm sales on the internet. (As the GAO report notes, a bevy of laws on the book apply to firearm sales that happen to be made on the internet)

Nevertheless, the GAO found that ATF does coordinate investigative work on internet sales through an Internet Investigations Center to "ensure they have the necessary training to operate online in an undercover capacity."

According to the GAO, the ATF center, founded in 2012, uses free open-source software "to analyze online content for investigations," claiming that this allowed "analysts to glean information from public websites without violating users' privacy rights."

In any case, the technology that makes all kinds of commerce easier, including firearms-related commerce, isn't going anywhere. So-called e-commerce continues to grow while other technology, like 3D printing, promises to make government attempts to control all kinds of products, including firearms, even harder.

It's a bright future.

09 Jan 16:04

Black Guns Matter to Sponsor SHOT Show 2018

by S.H. Blannelberry

In a world filled with armchair activists and keyboard commandos, Maj Toure of Black Guns Matter stands out. He stands out because he is neither. He is a boots-on-the-ground, not-afraid-to-get-my-hands-dirty 2A revolutionary.

The post Black Guns Matter to Sponsor SHOT Show 2018 appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

09 Jan 16:00

Core Concepts Of Making A Wise Real Estate Purchasing Decision

by Abhi Golhar, CommunityVoice
Knowing what to do and what not to do is crucial if you want to feel good about your purchasing decision.
09 Jan 15:40

Your Guide to Understanding the Luminar 2018 Dashboard

by Andrew S. Gibson

With Macphun (soon to be Skylum) keen to promote Luminar 2018 as a replacement for Lightroom, there’s no doubt that there are many photographers who are interested in trying it. Unfortunately, that’s where the confusion may start as the Luminar interface is completely different from both Lightroom and Photoshop.

If you’re new to Macphun software then it can take time to find your way around the new interface. But if you’ve already used some of their other programs you’ll find that Luminar is very familiar, as Macphun tends to use the same layout in most of its software.

Note: The screenshots in this article are taken from the Mac version of Luminar 2018.

Luminar Dashboard Layout

When you open a photo in the program for the first time, you see something like this.

Luminar dashboard

The photo you’re working on is displayed in the center. Presets are shown along the bottom (red). The side panel on the right is where you apply filters and create workspaces (green). There are more tools along the top (yellow). See the image below.

Luminar dashboard

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.

Luminar Presets

One of the benefits of using Luminar is that it comes with lots of presets that you can use. If you don’t like presets, that’s okay – presets are optional and you can ignore them, or hide the panel if you do not use them.

Luminar presets are intelligent and each one comes with an amount slider. If you like a preset but the effect is too strong you can reduce the intensity. That means Luminar presets are adaptable and you can use them in a subtle way if that’s what you prefer.

Click on any preset to apply it to your photo (marked below). In this example, I selected a preset called Center of Attention. Afterwards, you’ll see an amount slider which you can set anywhere on a scale from zero to 100. You can also click on the star icon to add the preset to your list of favorites so you can find the ones you like quickly.

Luminar dashboard

Click on the Categories button (marked below with the big red arrow) to reveal a list of preset categories available in your version of Luminar. Click on any of the categories to display the presets underneath.

Luminar displays Basic presets by default, but you can choose from categories such as Street, Dramatic and Portrait. You can also click on Favorites to show any presets you have marked as a favorite. Clicking on “Get More Presets” takes you to a page on the website where you can get additional sets of preset (some which are paid, and some that are free).

Luminar dashboard

Workspaces, Layers, and Filters

If you’re a Lightroom user then Luminar’s right-hand panel will look familiar as they are similar to the panels in Lightroom’s Develop module. There’s a histogram at the top, layers underneath that (yes, Luminar has layers!) and then filters below.

Luminar dashboard

This area might look a little bare at first, but that’s only because the workspace is clear. In Luminar, a workspace is a selection of filters displayed which are ready for you to use.

Filters are Luminar’s equivalent of the right-hand panels in Lightroom, or the various Layer adjustments available in Photoshop. The reason Luminar doesn’t display all the available filters is that there are so many of them (50 in total). Instead of showing all the filters, Luminar arranges them into workspaces. You can use one of Luminar’s built-in workspaces or you can create your own.

Click on the Clear workspace button (below) to choose one of Luminar’s built-in workspaces. Here, I chose the Portrait workspace. It has nine filters which, as you might expect, are useful for developing portraits.

Luminar dashboard

Click on the gray arrow (marked below) to open up a filter and reveal its settings and sliders. The screenshot below shows the Develop filter, which is similar to Lightroom’s Basic panel.

Note: When working with RAW files this filter is called RAW Develop, and when working with JPGs is simply called Develop.

Luminar dashboard

Another benefit of using workspaces is that you can customize them to display only the filters that you want to use. You can start by removing and adding filters to one of Luminar’s built-in workspaces.

To remove a filter click on the white arrow next to the filter name (marked below) and select Delete from the pull-down menu.

Luminar dashboard

To add a filter, click the Add filters button (marked below). Luminar opens the Filters Catalog to the left, and they are displayed in helpful categories as you can see below like; Issue Fixers, Creative, etc. Here, you can select a filter to add it to your workspace.

Luminar dashboard

When you hover over the name of a filter in the filters Catalog Luminar displays an information panel to tell you what the filter does.

Luminar dashboard

To save the workspace, click on Custom workspace (marked below) and select Save As New Workspace. Now, your new workspace will appear in the list and you can select it any time you want.

Luminar dashboard

The Luminar Toolbar

Finally, the Toolbar at the top of Luminar contains some extra commands and tools that you will find useful. Most of these are self-explanatory. When you hover the mouse over an icon Luminar displays a strip of text to explain what it does. In the screenshot below, you can see that the mouse pointer is over the Compare icon.

Luminar dashboard

As you can see, the Luminar interface is simple and easy to use. The biggest obstacle to using Luminar is understanding how presets, workspaces, and filters work. Once you understand how to use these tools then you can start exploring the potential of Luminar to create beautiful photos.

Disclaimer: Macphun, soon to be Skylum, is a dPS advertising partner.

The post Your Guide to Understanding the Luminar 2018 Dashboard by Andrew S. Gibson appeared first on Digital Photography School.

08 Jan 17:50

Is Blogging Dead?

by Ernie Smith
Is Blogging Dead?

Is a newsletter a blog? And if it is, does that make what I do with Tedium blogging? And if so, is that practice in decline as we enter 2018?

That’s not exactly how I approach this process, certainly, but I think it’s worth discussing at length at the moment, as the culture of blogging evolves away from what it once was. Over at JSTOR’s excellent daily news site, author Farah Mohammed analyzes blogging in the past tense, pondering whether the medium is in broader decline, as big-name bloggers like Nicholas Kristof leave the game.

Certainly, I don’t personally think blogging is dead or declining—there are a lot of amazing writers out there, many of whom have been active for many years. But I do think that the culture of what represents a “blog” has changed.

We’re less likely to call these things blogs—maybe we’ll call it a newsletter, or a publication. Or a Twitter feed. Or a Facebook feed. Or a YouTube channel. Or maybe even just a blog post, on its own, separate from a formalized blog.

But at the same time, I feel like blogs, whatever we end up calling them, are worth grasping onto as an ideal. The reason for that is that they represent some of the best examples of independent publishing that have ever existed.

They also represent something else: The lives of their authors, post by post, page by page.

Is Blogging Dead?

Last year, Del Hoal, a reader of mine, drew attention to the fate of The Presurfer, a blog that originally dates to around 2000 or so. A linkblog in the mold of The Daily What, it was run from its launch by Gerard Vlemmings, a man who had been using computers since the 1970s. The Dutch blogger’s approach wasn’t all that dissimilar to my old site ShortFormBlog—short blurbs done quickly—though he focused mostly on less-heralded parts of the world at large, and would often surface some worthy bits of vintage or offbeat culture.

For nearly 17 years, Vlemmings wrote thousands of pithy items, and while he never changed the world with The Presurfer, he built up a bit of a following over time—which is impressive and should be respected.

It’s hard to write a site like this for such a long period of time (especially as you have to keep finding new, interesting things on an almost-daily basis), but he made it look easy. Even some of the most prominent long-term bloggers out there, like Andrew Sullivan, eventually gave up the daily content grind.

At the beginning of February of last year, however, things sharply changed for Vlemmings. He revealed that he had started suffering from health problems regarding his lungs. Over the span of a week, he posted three times, offering his readers updates on his situation—a sharp change in tone from his prior posts.

In the comment thread of the final update, the truth was revealed: Vlemmings had died just three weeks after revealing his health problems to his readers. The outpouring was emotional, and comments came to his site from far and wide.

But his site—full of his interests, his ideas, and his big thoughts—outlives his passing. It still feels just as vibrant and as interesting as it did when he was writing it on a daily basis. His about page makes him sound like one of the world’s most interesting people.

And his posts, even years after the fact, still bring to light interesting questions, like: Is it possible to nail jelly to a wall? What do condiment packets look like around the world? And should we see Valley Girls as innovators?

Sure, going back to Mohammed’s point on JSTOR, maybe blogging was a generational thing. Perhaps the world has moved past the idea of merely having a webpage that’s your own, and nobody else’s. Perhaps we’re expected to do everything, instead, on social media or in someone else's walled garden.

But what if a lot of bloggers were never really in it just for the importance of being on top of the cultural pulse? What if the goal was to share a piece of ourselves through the mechanics of shoving new thoughts into a database every day?

Maybe we needed an onramp to the information superhighway. Blogging was just that: An important starting point for a culture where many people chose to both consume and create in equal measures.

I would hate the concept to be gone or even in decline. I’d prefer to think it was an essential stepping stone—that we’re still just blogging, in ways big and small, without actually using that term to describe our actions.

I like the fact that way back then, we actually owned our own stepping stones, rather than letting someone else build the paths.

Let’s keep those ragged little paths alive.

08 Jan 17:50

You've Been Warned

by Ernie Smith
You've Been Warned

Editor's note: Hey guys, ran into a snag with a story I was hoping to run tonight, so going with a rerun of a classic issue instead. Hope you dig!

 

Today in Tedium: On a daily basis, we're surrounded by warning signs of varying shapes, sizes, and importance. These signs, more times then not, are often warning us about things we shouldn't do, rather than things we should. Due to their commonality, we often don't take them nearly as seriously as we should—for example, "Signs," the 1971 hippie-rock classic from the Five Man Electrical Band, mocks the sentiment lying behind a lot of these signs. (That's right, you tell the man!) Warning: Today's Tedium may attempt to make the topic of warning and caution signs interesting. — Ernie @ Tedium

You've Been Warned

Read or listen to the key ideas from "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and 2000+ nonfiction books in 15 minutes with the Blinkist app! Download the app for free now. Available on iOS and Android.

Today's issue is brought to you by Blinkist. (See yourself here?)

"Even if a warning is perceived and comprehended, it will not be effective unless it induces people to behave safely."

— A line from Warnings: Fundamentals, Design, and Evaluation Methodologies, a technical book on the nature of warnings, first published in 1986, which is believed to be the first in-depth analysis of the importance of warnings ever published. (Good luck getting your hands on it. Amazon sells it for more than $600, though one of their other books about warnings goes for a lot less.) The authors of the book, James M. Miller and Mark Lehto, have closely worked on this issue for decades, from the perspective of human and philosophical factors, rather than merely from an appearance standpoint. Beyond running JM Miller Engineering together, the partners have written four books on the topic of warning signs. When you're done reading Fifty Shades of Grey, this is the next book you should pick up.

You've Been Warned

(Victoria Pickering/Flickr)

Police caution tape is everywhere, but it's not easy to figure out where it came from

Once relegated to crime scenes, barricade tape or police caution tape, the yellow-and-black plastic that tells people not to cross, has become something of a pop-culture icon, quietly showing up on the bedrooms of rebellious teenagers and on guitar straps for decades.

Strangely, though, finding out where it came from is really freaking hard. It's one of those things that has taken over the world, but nobody bothered to explain how or why it did. Doing a Google search on the history of barricade tape may make you feel completely lost, which is how I felt when I first started searching.

Even with a lot of deep digging, I could only find a single reputable source that had covered the rise of barricade tape as a cultural phenomenon: The Miami Herald, which wrote about it in 1998. In his piece on the subject (which, as a favor to you guys, I've replicated here), Geoffrey Tomb describes the way that tape has become a mainstay at rock concerts and road repairs.

It even, according to Tomb, has become more popular than Bob's Barricades, a mainstay of Florida warning signage that works closely with the state's department of transportation on traffic control issues. The crime-heavy city of Miami went through a lot of the yellow stuff, so much that they had started to use bilingual tape.

What inspired Tomb to write about this topic? To put it simply, there was a crime scene that was so large that it required the use of a lot of police tape.

"So much yellow tape was used at a police shooting in Miami last week that all four corners of an intersection of two city streets were roped off by multiple lines, making it look like a boxing ring," Tomb wrote in his story. "Yellow tape blocked traffic on streets nine blocks away from the shooting scene."

(I couldn't find that exact photo, but the crime scene left behind after the tragic shooting of fashion designer Gianni Versace in 1997, shown in this Herald story, kind of gives one an idea.)

Going back to my original question, the reason I started down this rabbit hole in the first place, when was police tape actually invented? Tomb dates the invention to 1962 and credits the invention to a California company called Harris Industries, which produces a variety of plastic warning tapes for purposes far beyond crime scenes, following the color codes recommended by OSHA standards.

Despite the fact that the tape tends to be used for official reasons (think signifying a chemical spill or a construction risk), the very inexpensive nature of plastic warning tape is the exact thing that makes it perfect for trolling. You can buy a giant thing of police tape on Amazon for less than $10, and you can even work with vendors to create your own customized warning tape.

Generally, this gets used for things like halloween decorations, but in 2009, teachers at a primary school in the United Kingdom were criticized for using the tape as part of a mock crime scene on the school's campus.

Apparently, trying to go all CSI on six-year-old kids is frowned upon in some parts of the world.

1968

The year that European countries met in Vienna to discuss standardizations for warning signs on roads with the support of the United Nations. The resulting treaty quite literally set the rules of the road around the world for warning signs of all types. While not a party to the treaty, the United States was directly inspired by the results as the country moved to symbol-driven warnings in the early 1970s.

You've Been Warned

(Mike Mozart/Flickr)

Five Recent Innovations in Wet Floor Signage

  1. Rubbermaid sells a lot of wet floor signs, but few rise up to the wood-and-metallic level of the company's Executive Multi-Lingual Wooden Caution Sign, which looks like it should be a trophy rather than a wet floor sign. "This wooden caution sign is designed to work with a wide variety of Rubbermaid products, helping to make cleaning and waste management more efficient and safe," the company says on its website.
  2. Not to be outdone, a company called Banana Products has made an impact in the world of wet-floor signs by creating variations that look like … wait for it … bananas.
  3. Fortunately for Rubbermaid, it has other tricks up its sleeve. One of those tricks is a product it calls the Over-the-Spill Station, which is akin to a Post-it note for spills. instead of putting down a sign, you put down super-absorbent paper towels that warn the public while picking up the stain.
  4. Perhaps the ultimate example of floor-warning innovation, however, goes to the Hurricone, a device that combines a wet-floor warning cone with a floor-drying device, a joining of technology and helpfulness that any fan of hand dryers is bound to love.
  5. Does this patent application represent the future of wet-floor sign technology? The invention, submitted by a guy named Rick Charles Furtado, includes a timer, a speaker, and motion sensors. Any more knobs on this thing and you might as well make it Android-compatible.

"The thing is though, that the people who really need to see this sign, are most likely just gonna pass it with their eyes glued to their screens."

— Jacob Semple, a Swedish artist, discussing the project he worked on last year with his creative partner, Emil Tiismann. The duo threw up a bunch of signs around Stockholm warning drivers of people caught up in their smartphones, texting and doing a bunch of stuff that people do on their phones. Semple said the project was inspired by personal experience. "One morning when I walked to work I almost got run over by a car because I was staring at my stupid smartphone," Sempler told Tech Insider in 2015. "I looked around, and realized that I wasn't the only one."

The point that Jacob Semple tripped onto in making his smartphone art project is pretty similar to the one that Mark Lehto has been making in numerous ways over the years.

Lehto, the guy who co-wrote the technical book on warnings that we mentioned earlier in the piece, is a longtime faculty member at Purdue University with a deep interest in "Human Factors"—in other words, the way that humans interact with information given to them.

As it turns out, humans don't necessarily handle this information very well. In 1995, Lehto organized a study in which a number of subjects were asked to complete a task using a foul-smelling glue. Despite the fact that the label clearly recommended that people ventilate the room before using the glue, only one of the 54 subjects did just that.

"This study suggests that if someone's main goal is to complete a task, the benefits he perceives in finishing may outweigh the risks of skipping a safety step," Lehto said of the study in 1997. "Similarly, if someone's out to have a good time, the benefits he sees in having fun may outweigh the risks he sees in driving drunk. If you want people to behave more safely, you need something more dramatic than a warning label."

Warnings already focus on bright colors and and dire wording—just look at cigarette warnings. How can we make them better?

08 Jan 17:32

Inside the Mind of Kimi Werner

An interview with spearfisher, environmental activist and overall badass Kimi Werner.

Read More
08 Jan 17:28

You’re Not Supposed to See the New G-Wagen yet but Here It Is Anyways

The icon returns, same on the outside, improved on the inside.

Read More
08 Jan 17:26

How to Refurbish Your Grandma’s Cast-Iron Skillet

08 Jan 15:46

Paribus Can Save You Money When Shopping Online

by Ben Stegner

Have you ever made a purchase online and found that the item went on sale just days later? This is frustrating, because if you had waited, you could have saved money. But did you know that many stores offer a price guarantee? This means that if a product you buy drops in price shortly after you purchase it, you can get a refund for the difference. Yet it’s a hassle to monitor all your purchases and contact the store if this happens. That’s where the incredibly useful service called Paribus comes in. It takes the headache out of getting the refunds...

Read the full article: Paribus Can Save You Money When Shopping Online

08 Jan 15:00

Tropical Winter Escapes: Trending Beach Destinations Around The World

by Monica Houghton, Women@Forbes
More and more people are searching to travel to these ten beaches around the world.
08 Jan 14:55

Every Automotive Emblem, Explained

Every emblem has a story, and we're telling the history and evolution of these iconic brand badges.

08 Jan 14:38

Locals Share Tips On How To Drink Like A Local, Part I

by Megy Karydes, Contributor
We often seek the advice of what to do and see from friends or locals when traveling to new cities. Rather than relying on guidebooks, we asked locals from Argentina to Thailand for their insider advice on how to order a drink like a local.
08 Jan 14:38

Locals Share Tips On How To Drink Like A Local, Part II

by Megy Karydes, Contributor
In the first part of our two-part series, we shared tips on how to drink like a local from Argentina to Jamaica. Part II shares how to drink like a local from Lexington, Kentucky, to Thailand. Should you order mint julep in Lexington, Kentucky? Ready to get Saskatoon’ed?
08 Jan 12:59

Visiting Chile? Don't Miss Valparaiso's Most Interesting Creatures

by Gerald Eskenazi, Contributor
There are, strangely, tens of thousands of stray dogs roaming around the grand Chilean city of Valparaiso. They don't present a danger, appear friendly, even orderly, and they are surprisingly decently groomed--the locals routinely feed them.
04 Jan 15:22

How to Simultaneously Preview Multiple Lightroom Presets

by Saikat Basu
lightroom-mistakes

Adobe Lightroom is the Swiss knife for every photographer. Lightroom Presets are the easiest multi-tools for automatic tweaks to your photos, and there are many ways to use them. But what if you want to see how the same photo looks after different presets are applied — at the same time? Well, you can make several copies of the same image and apply different presets to them, but I am sure you will agree that it’s a chore and a waste of space for your hard drive. The solution we want should have three qualities: It should be the exact copy of the original image....

Read the full article: How to Simultaneously Preview Multiple Lightroom Presets

04 Jan 15:20

5 Free Online Photo Collage Makers to Turn Pictures Into Memories

by Sandy Stachowiak
online-photo-collage-makers

A photo collage can be a great way to view a collection of pictures and also a ton of fun to create. For holidays like Christmas, you can use photos of your family, Christmas tree, and holidays gifts. For birthdays, add pictures of your loved one as a baby, at graduation, and at their wedding. Image Credit: Tan4ikk/Depositphotos You can find plenty of mobile apps for creating a photo collage, but sometimes it’s easier and more effective to use your computer’s large screen. Instead of downloading special software, try one of these free online photo collage makers to create, save,...

Read the full article: 5 Free Online Photo Collage Makers to Turn Pictures Into Memories

04 Jan 15:20

Eat Like a Local in Raleigh

by Liz Mitchum

In 1999 when Cheetie Kumar’s musician husband, Paul Siler, opened Kings, a hip performance venue in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she would cook for the bands who came to play. It was a natural progression from the couple’s time spent on the road in their own band, when Kumar would pore over cookbooks between gigs. The marriage of food and music has molded her life from her childhood in Chandigarh, India, through her adolescence in the Bronx, to a stint in radio and music management during college in Amherst, Massachusetts. Now, the James Beard semifinalist co-owns two Raleigh music venues and a restaurant, Garland, all while continuing to play guitar in her band, Birds of Avalon.

photo: Courtesy of Cheetie Kumar

Chef Cheetie Kumar.

At Garland, Kumar’s innovative menu is inspired by the spice route with influences from China, Southeast Asia, India, and the Middle East, filtered through a North Carolina lens. “It’s an immigrant’s perspective on Southern food,” Kumar says. And Raleigh, she adds, is the perfect place for it: the people are warm, the food culture is ethnically diverse, the music scene is ripe, and there’s a palpable sense of adventure. “Raleigh has a rebellious spirit,” Kumar says. “But it also feels homey, similar to my childhood home of Chandigarh.” When she’s not in the kitchen or on the road with her band, here are a few of her favorite spots.


Poole’s Diner
426 S. McDowell Street, Raleigh

“Poole’s has been the touchstone for everything culinary in this area for the last ten years. Ashley [Christensen] made it okay to have a voice in the food world. This restaurant was opened by a woman, and run by a woman, and became the anchor for everything else in Raleigh—and it’s delicious.”
ac-restaurants.com/pooles

photo: PETER YANG

The mac and cheese at Poole’s Diner.


Udupi Cafe
590 E. Chatham Street, Suite 112 & 114, Cary 

“This place is a vegetarian, Southern, South Indian restaurant. It’s been here and consistently good for fifteen years. It has a killer Paper Masala Dosai—the best I’ve ever had. It’s basically a fermented rice and lentil crepe that’s at least a yard long. Three feet! It’s shatteringly crisp and light and tangy, and the chutneys they pair with it are spot-on. My mouth’s watering now.” sriudupicafe.com

photo: COURTESY OF Udupi

An assorted appetizer platter at Udupi Cafe.


Szechuan Taste
6404 Tryon Road, Cary

“Everything they serve is spiced boldly with so much balance. It’s very authentic, super fresh, and has great service. They have this toothpick lamb, which is basically bite-sized pieces of lamb on toothpicks—but they’re in a deep bowl with a ridiculous amount of dried chilies, as if they were peas in a stew. It’s a fun presentation. But it’s really hard to go wrong with anything on their menu.”

photo: COURTESY OF Szechuan Taste

Szechuan Taste.


St. Roch Fine Oysters + Bar
223 S. Wilmington Street, Raleigh

“This is Sunny Gerhart’s excellent new spot a block away from us. It’s a creative and delicious Cajun-inspired oyster bar and restaurant from a chef who grew up in the St. Roch neighborhood of New Orleans.” strochraleigh.com

photo: MIKE MCDONALD

Oysters at St. Roch.


Stanbury
938 N. Blount Street, Raleigh

“Stanbury is operated by friends in a very friendly way. But it’s also very rebellious. It’s in our neighborhood so we walk there on Monday nights when we don’t have to work. It’s a Southern restaurant but they take chances with their flavors, which I love.” stanburyraleigh.com

photo: Lisa Gotwals

Cocktails at the Stanbury Bar.


The Fiction Kitchen
428 S. Dawson Street, Raleigh

Bida Manda
222 S. Blount Street, Raleigh

Centro
106 S. Wilmington Street, Raleigh

“Can I do a tie? I really can’t choose just one more. All three are owned and operated and led by Raleigh people. They’re invaluable to the downtown food community. One’s vegetarian, one’s Laotian, one’s Mexican. These restaurants make up our little community of daring people and make our neighborhoods vibrant and delicious.”

thefictionkitchen.com | bidamanda.com | centroraleigh.com

photo: Lisa Gotwals

Bida Manda’s Pork Belly Soup.

The post Eat Like a Local in Raleigh appeared first on Garden & Gun.

04 Jan 15:13

Tasty Twists on Peas and Greens for New Year’s

by Chris Kraft

Dearly beloved, we gather here today to say goodbye to 2017, the year that’s sort of like the neighbors you’re not sorry are moving to Utah—it was great knowing them, but let’s get some fresh faces up in here. To help you put 2017 in the rearview mirror in style, we’ve prepared a Shot of the finest good luck, goodbyes, and good vibes from around the South. See you in 2018!

Lighten Your Lucky

The genius of Southern traditions is that you can eat nearly all of them, including the New Year’s Day menu of black-eyed peas and collard greens for good luck and good fortune. But instead of the usual pot of peas and greens, we’ve got two updates on the classics. Alex Harrell, owner and executive chef at Angeline in New Orleans, serves his tasty collard slaw on a fried pork chop sandwich, but you can add it to any New Year’s plate for freshness and crunch. And by way of the famous tailgates at the Grove at Ole Miss, Mary Allyn Hedges, the director of Visit Oxford, has a pass-me-down black-eyed pea dip to freshen up your pea game. Both recipes are just as lucky as Meemaw’s, but sporty enough to serve during a bowl game on New Year’s, and whose team doesn’t need luck in a bowl game on New Year’s?

photo: Courtesy of Courtesy of Alex Harrell

Chef Alex Harrell tops fried pork chop sandwiches with his collard slaw.

ALEX HARRELL’S COLLARD SLAW

Ingredients
1 lb. green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 lb. collards, washed and thinly sliced
1½ tbsp. kosher salt
1½ tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. celery seed
1½ cups mayonnaise
¼ cup red wine vinegar

Preparation
In a large mixing bowl, combine the collards, cabbage, salt, and sugar and toss until well mixed.
Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes until the cabbage and collards begin to release liquid.
Add celery seed, mayonnaise, and red wine vinegar. Toss to combine.

photo: Courtesy of Visit Oxford

The black-eyed pea dip is a hand-me-down at the Grove.

OXFORD BLACK-EYED PEA DIP

Ingredients
2 15 oz. cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 large tomato, diced
½ large red onion, diced
1 small or ½ large red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
4 green onions, sliced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
¼ cup rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
2 tbsp. canola oil
½ tsp. organic cane sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation
Toss to combine black-eyed peas, tomato, red onion, pepper, jalapeno, and green onion in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, dissolve sugar in vinegar. Whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour dressing over bean mixture. Toss to coat. Stir in cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve (the longer it sits the better the flavor will be). Serve with tortilla chips or dip vehicle of your choice.

Thank You, Mama

photo: Courtesy of Marshside Mama's

Marshside Mama’s has been a Daufuskie staple for more than two decades.

January 1 is the first day of 2018, but it’s also the last day of service at Marshside Mama’s, the much-loved waterside original on South Carolina’s Daufuskie Island that Beth Shipman started twenty-one years ago. Although Daufuskie has seen substantial development in recent years, Marshside Mama’s has been a constant on the island, which can only be accessed by private boat or public ferry. For anyone seaworthy enough to tie up at the local dock, the reward was Shipman’s menu, which changed with the tides, plus concrete floors, terrific bands, and the kind of laid-back vibe that only comes from feeling like you’re a thousand miles from nowhere.

Shipman tells G&G she started Marshside Mama’s because it had been a dream to own a restaurant. In the years that followed, it became part honky tonk, part beach bar, part family supper destination. Shipman says she’s not sure what’s next. “After 21 years of so much fun, friends, music, and all-around shenanigans, I have decided to move on toward another life adventure,” she writes on Facebook. “I don’t know what that adventure will be, but it’s out there and there’s probably shenanigans involved!” And while Shipman can’t pick favorite customers from over the years (“everybody became family”), she says hosting Curtis Stone for Beach Eats USA ranks up there as a personal highlight. “We had a ball together.” She says she’ll miss the staff and regular musicians, and the fun she’s had every step of the way. We’ll miss you, too, Mama.

Decorate, Rejoice, Treecycle

Anyone who has trimmed a Christmas tree knows it’s a lot more fun going up than coming down. But instead of just kicking your Christmas to the curb, you have options, as states and cities across the South are making it easier than ever to rejoice and recycle your tree. Kentucky, West Virginia, and Alabama all have state-run tree recycling programs to re-use discarded Christmas trees as fish habitat in lakes and reservoirs (genius). Keep Georgia Beautiful is sponsoring “Bring One for the Chipper” drop-off sites across the state, while cities in South Carolina are sponsoring “Grinding of the Greens” days for you to drop off your tree to make especially merry mulch. Sponsors remind you to undress your tree completely before you send it to its new home—and of course, real trees only.

HBD, NOLA!

photo: Lars Plougmann / Flickr

New Orleans has big things planned for 2018.

After hosting too many birthdays, bachelorette weekends, and Sugar Bowls to count, it’s finally New Orleans’s turn to have a party of its own in 2018, when the Big Easy will turn the big 3-0-0. It should come as no surprise that New Orleans has been pre-partying since September, with a full cultural calendar of tricentennial events to recognize the milestone, but the main event starts at midnight on New Year’s Eve, as 2018 arrives. Highlights of the year will include the Tricentennial Mardi Gras, Tobasco: A Burlesque Opera from the New Orleans Opera, a tall ships parade, and a week-long international party in April. Along with tributes from the incomparable makers, bakers, creatives, and artists in the city, we fully trust New Orleans to throw itself a party worthy of one the country’s most beautiful and unique jewels.

Parting Shots

This week, the team at The Shot is: Skipping dinner after discovering the horrifying culprit behind the French Quarter’s unsavory stench. NOLA.com did a deep dive into stink, and we warn you, it includes the term “grey peanut butter.” … Retaking the SAT in hopes that we can go to Harvard the next time around. The Ivy League powerhouse has just wrapped up its first semester offering a course on the Gullah language, a first of its kind, taught by Charleston artist and activist Sunn m’Cheaux. …Still wiping away tears after this story about a mom and her son, who has cerebral palsy, who graduated together last week from Middle Tennessee State University. … And finally, we’re saying goodbye to the famous Jackson Magnolia that has been growing on the South Lawn of the White House since 1828. Scientists from the National Arboretum have been trying for decades to save the failing tree with a complex series of cables and supports, but declared this week it’s time for the famous tree to come down. But because we refuse to end the year on a low note, we’re happy to share CNN’s reporting that, knowing of the tree’s poor health, arborists have been cultivating a sapling from the tree, which has grown to between eight and ten feet tall. The baby tree will be planted where its ancestor grew, and the Jackson Magnolia will live on.

The post Tasty Twists on Peas and Greens for New Year’s appeared first on Garden & Gun.

04 Jan 14:47

Annuities Explained (In Plain English)

by Bob MacDonald, CommunityVoice
When you think about building your retirement plan, think of it as similar to building your dream home. The plan needs to be well thought out, solid and strong, because it is going to have to last for the rest of your life.
03 Jan 15:02

3 Types of Excel Lists to Ease Data Entry

by Lori Kaufman
excel-lists

Do you need a list that’s based on spreadsheet data? Excel is your friend! An Excel list makes it easier to enter and track your data. Today we’ll cover three different types of lists you can add to your Excel worksheets: custom lists, dropdown lists, and checklists. 1. Custom Lists If you frequently use the same sets of data in your worksheets, you can create custom lists for them. Custom lists can include sets of data like department names, clients, and age ranges. Once you’ve added a custom list to a specific workbook, it’s also available in all new and...

Read the full article: 3 Types of Excel Lists to Ease Data Entry

03 Jan 15:02

Finally Convert to an Adjustable Standing Desk in 2018

by Joel Lee
adjustable-standing-desk

The research is clear: sedentary lifestyles are killing us, and office workstations play a huge role in that. Sitting for too long can significantly increase your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and perhaps most obvious, obesity. Over the years, you’ll also run into issues of ruined posture. It happens to pretty much all of us, which is why people are literally dying for advice on posture and back pain. Long story short: changing how you use the computer can improve your health and even help you sleep better. If you’re on the computer for hours at a time on...

Read the full article: Finally Convert to an Adjustable Standing Desk in 2018

03 Jan 15:02

How to Set Up and Use Your Chromecast

by Khamosh Pathak
setup-chromecast

The 2nd generation Chromecast is a simple, plug-and-play internet streaming stick. Unlike rivals such as the Roku Streaming Stick, Amazon Fire Stick, or Apple TV, it doesn’t come with a remote or even an interface of its own. When Chromecast is enabled and connected, all you’ll see on your TV is a slideshow of some amazing pictures from around the world. To do anything with the Chromecast, you need to use another device. Your Android phone, iPhone, or a PC will do just fine (nowadays, you can even use your Google Home to control your Chromecast). By default, the Chromecast doesn’t...

Read the full article: How to Set Up and Use Your Chromecast

03 Jan 13:26

What Actually Is Bitcoin? Princeton’s Free Course “Bitcoin and Currency Technologies” Provides Much-Needed Answers

by Colin Marshall

"Don't Understand Bitcoin?" asked the headline of a recent video from Clickhole, the Onion's viral-media parody site. "This Man Will Mumble an Explanation at You." The inexplicable hilarity of the mumbling man and his 72-second explanation of Bitcoin contains, like all good humor, a solid truth: most of us don't understand Bitcoin, and the simplistic information we seek out, for all we grasp of it, might as well be delivered unintelligibly. A few years ago we featured a much clearer three-minute explanation of that best-known form of cryptocurrency here on Open Culture, but how to gain a deeper understanding of this technology that, in one form or another, so many of us will eventually use?

Consider joining "Bitcoin and Currency Technologies," a free course from Coursera taught by several professors from Princeton University, including computer scientist Arvind Narayanan, whose Princeton Bitcoin Textbook we featured last year. The eleven-week online course (classroom versions of whose lectures you can check out here) just began, but you can still easily join and learn the answers to questions like the following: "How does Bitcoin work? What makes Bitcoin different? How secure are your Bitcoins? How anonymous are Bitcoin users? What determines the price of Bitcoins? Can cryptocurrencies be regulated? What might the future hold?" All of those, you'll notice, have been raised more and more often in the media lately, but seldom satisfactorily addressed.

"Real understanding of the economic issues underlying the cryptocurrency is almost nonexistent," writes Nobel-winning economist Robert J. Shiller in a recent New York Times piece on Bitcoin. "It is not just that very few people really comprehend the technology behind Bitcoin. It is that no one can attach objective probabilities to the various possible outcomes of the current Bitcoin enthusiasm." Take Princeton's course, then, and you'll pull way ahead of many others interested in Bitcoin, even allowing for all the still-unknowable unknowns that have caused such thrilling and shocking fluctuations in the digital currency's eight years of existence so far. All of it has culminated in the current craze Shiller calls "a marvelous case study in ambiguity and animal spirits," and where ambiguity and animal spirits rule, a little intellectual understanding certainly never hurts.

Enroll free in "Bitcoin and Currency Technologies" here.

Related Content:

Bitcoin, the New Decentralized Digital Currency, Demystified in a Three Minute Video

The Princeton Bitcoin Textbook Is Now Free Online

Why Economics is for Everyone!, Explained in a New RSA Animated Video

Free Online Economics Courses

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

What Actually Is Bitcoin? Princeton’s Free Course “Bitcoin and Currency Technologies” Provides Much-Needed Answers is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

03 Jan 13:13

Jaguar Land Rover’s Restoration Shop Is What Vintage Car Dreams Are Made Of

Any owner can send their 10-year-old-plus car in for thoroughly modern service.

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03 Jan 13:10

'Darkest Hour' Screenwriter Anthony McCarten On How A Leader's Words Can Change The World

by Carmine Gallo, Contributor
The power of words can, and do, shape society.