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02 Dec 11:05

Sunday Comic: Teach Yourself to Play Ukulele

by Esme
uke1 uke2 uke3 uke4 uke5 uke6 uke7 uke8 uke9 uke10 uke11 uke12 uke13 uke14
02 Dec 04:28

3, 2, 1 Code-in: Inviting teens to contribute to open source

by Gary Lewis

Code-in 2014 logo

We believe that the key to getting students excited about computer science is to give them opportunities at ever younger ages to explore their creativity with computer science. That’s why we’re running the Google Code-in contest again this year, and today’s the day students can go to the contest site, register and start looking for tasks that interest them.

Ignacio Rodriguez was just 10 years old when he became curious about Sugar, the open source learning platform introduced nationally to students in Uruguay when he was in elementary school. With the encouragement of his teacher, Ignacio started asking questions of the developers writing and maintaining the code and he started playing around with things, a great way to learn to code. When he turned 14 he entered the Google Code-in contest completing tasks that included writing two new web services for Sugar and he created four new Sugar activities. He even continued to mentor other students throughout the contest period.  His enthusiasm for coding and making the software even better for future users earned him a spot as a 2013 Grand Prize Winner.

Ignacio is one of the 1,575 students from 78 countries that have participated in Google Code-in since 2010. We are encouraging 13-17 year old students to explore the many varied ways they can contribute to open source software development through the Google Code-in contest. Because open source is a collaborative effort, the contest is designed as a streamlined entry point for students into software development by having mentors assigned to each task that a student works on during the contest. Students don’t have to be coders to participate; as with any software project, there are many ways to contribute to the project.  Students will be able to choose from documentation, outreach, research, training, user interface and quality assurance tasks in addition to coding tasks.

This year, students can choose tasks created by 12 open source organizations working on
disaster relief, content management, desktop environments, gaming, medical record systems for developing countries, 3D solid modeling computer-aided design and operating systems to name a few.  

For more information on the contest, please visit the contest site where you can find the timeline, Frequently Asked Questions and information on each of the open source projects students can work with during the seven week contest.

Good luck students!

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs
01 Dec 11:04

Apple-Pecan Bourbon-Caramel Pie

by Jennifer Latham
Apple-Pecan Bourbon-Caramel Pie
Apple pie and pecan pie: two world-famous classics. But let's be honest, one's a little wholesome and the other's a little too sweet. You know which is which. But what if we combine them into a single pie with an apple filling and pecan bourbon-caramel top "crust"? And what if we told you it's easier to make and assemble than either of the originals? This may be the greatest pie mashup ever. Get Recipe!
01 Dec 11:04

These are the Mikes I know

by Ken Jennings

This article I saw last week on estimated that 11.6 out of every 1,000 Americans are named Michael. That’s considerably more than any other first name, the runners-up being James (10.2 per 1,000) and John (9.7 per 1,000).

The first thing I thought of when I saw this article: if I can calculate how many Michaels I know personally, I can figure out how many total people I know! (I have no idea how meaningful this metric actually is. Feel free to chime in here, statisticians.) I’ve been keeping a list on my phone for the last week, and have managed to remember 23 different Michaels. So far. Third-grade classmates, old bosses, uncles, in-laws, neighbors.

If that number holds, I know about 2,000 people. Counting Michaels was much easier than counting everyone. It’s the Michael Method.

10 Nov 23:04

pickled cabbage salad

by deb

pickled cabbage salad

I first discovered the peculiar subcategory of chopped raw vegetables called “health salads” some 14 years ago when a friend introduced me to the many wonders of the prepared foods aisle at Zabar’s. Even then, I found the idea of one type of salad being labeled “healthy” while my other favorite in the same refrigerator case, the Mediterranean Pepper Salad with Feta and Olives was, I don’t know, something akin to a heart attack on a cracker, somewhat eye-rolling but I now realize that it was the coleslaw-like salad’s mayo-free dressing that designated it such a lofty nutritional status.

what you'll need
lots of cabbage

Regardless, ever stubborn, I did not eat it because it lacked much-maligned mayo, because it was chock full of folate-rich cabbage or because it was branded wholesome, but because I liked it. Crunchy, bright, as good on day 2 as it is on day 7, it was the perfect light meal or side to a sandwich and even though I lived nowhere near the store and found shopping at Zabar’s, even on the slowest day, to be a shopping-cart-rammed-into-the-back-of-my-heels level of annoying (though, really, I should know better than to pause between locals and their smoked fish counter), I was a loyal customer for life so long as they could keep providing me my lightly pickled cabbage fix.

i like it colorful

... Read the rest of pickled cabbage salad on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to pickled cabbage salad | 114 comments to date | see more: Appetizer, Cabbage, Gluten-Free, Photo, Pickled, Salad, Side Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian

09 Nov 21:21

Wired Interviews Google Designers on Material Design

by John Gruber

Kyle VanHemert, writing for Wired:

There’s also the risk that material design’s stringent rules could make for an unrelentingly homogenous ecosystem. Nicholas Jitkoff, one of the project’s lead designers, says Google is cognizant that it needs to leave room for third parties to express their own personalities. At one point in the development of material design, Google designers even made mock-ups of third-party apps themselves to see if they felt sufficiently unique.

In case that name doesn’t ring a bell, Jitkoff is the genius who created Quicksilver back in the day.

09 Nov 21:19

Capresso 12-Cup Coffee Maker $20

  • Model: 424.01
  • The lazy person's fussy way to make coffee
  • 10 spray nozzles to fully saturate grounds
  • Fancy GoldTone filter, no need for paper filters
  • 24-hour programmable timer

Pour and Lazy

You know how sophisticates are supposed to make coffee nowadays. You know Grandpa's old Mr. Coffee doesn't cut it in the Caffeinated Age. You've heard all about James Bond's ChemEx, the World Aeropress Championships, the trans-Pacific underground of Hario V60 smugglers. You're aware that one of the secrets of Internet success is "a fussy way of making coffee". (Yep, we're still milking our Gruber crush for all its worth.)

You know hand pour-over is probably better. A little, anyway. But standing around dribbling a little stream of water onto some coffee grounds... who's got time for that shit?

If that sounds like you, if you're looking for the lazy way to be fussy, let the Capresso 12-Cup Coffeemaker do all the work. It's just as easy and almost as quick as any other drip coffeemaker. But instead of pooling all the hot water in the middle of the filter, it's got ten different nozzles to fully saturate all the grounds. And it lets the water sit just a tiny bit longer, to get a little more flavor out of the grounds without overdoing it. "Why, that almost sounds like pour-over coffee," you're thinking. You're right, with one major difference: you don't have to actually pour it.

The permanent GoldTone filter is another way to flaunt your coffee finickiness without costing you your environmental cred, or too much free time. "Oh, you drink from a paper filter?" you can say. "I could never get that wood pulp taste out of my mouth." Fight bullshit with bullshit, we always say.

Even if you do put the work in to make your coffee one... slooow... pour... at a time, what do you do when you have company? If you're willing to make pour-overs for a dinner-table full of people, you may have crossed the line between "fussy" and "socially impaired". This Capresso gives you 12 cups of almost-like-pour-over coffee in ten minutes. If that's not good enough for your friends, you need new friends.

And it's only twenty bucks! Make one pot of coffee, throw it away, you're still coming out ahead. At this price, you can afford to spend a little more where it really counts: on a fancy grinder and shmancy beans. Bean-flaunting and grinder-shaming are sure-fire ways to deflect any shade thrown at your drip Capresso. And nobody expects you to grind your beans by hand. Yet.

08 Nov 09:22

Resize and upload images with Acorn and Transmit

by Jason Snell

Over the years at Macworld I built a bunch of workflow tools to make the business of writing and posting stories easier, and distributed them to my colleagues. They were generally AppleScript scripts for use with BBEdit, since that’s my writing tool of choice and we had a site license.

Now that I’m here and the initial burst of insanity in launching a new site during Apple’s high season is beginning to ease, I am slowly building new tools to help me do my new job in a more efficient fashion. Yesterday I bodged together an AppleScript (wrapped in an Automator action) to make it easier to upload images to this site, and a few people asked about it on Twitter, so I thought I’d share it here.

While I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop for years, I am no longer in the happy embrace of a company with a Creative Suite site license, so I’m using Acorn from Flying Meat as a replacement. And for FTP uploads, I’m currently using Panic’s excellent Transmit.

When I was building this site’s templates, one of the great mysteries was how to handle retina images. I didn’t want to force everyone to download huge images that their browser couldn’t display, but when I searched for the most common, accepted solution for serving retina graphics to those who require them and non-retina graphics to those who don’t, I came up empty. Everyone had a different approach, and none seemed to be the clear right way to do it.

I ended up going back to a JavaScript I had found and applied to The Incomparable’s web site, Retina.js. This is a JavaScript script that first loads a low-resolution image (allowing the page to load quickly), then goes back on Retina-class displays and replaces the images with 2x versions, where available.

This means that I need to upload two images to my web server every time. For horizontal images, this means one that’s 680 pixels wide and a 2x version that’s 1360 pixels wide. As you might imagine, that’s a lot of resizing and uploading, and I wanted to automate it.

I did so by using Automator to create a Service that works on selected images in the Finder. To create the basic wrapper, I opened Automator, created a new document, selected Service from the template picker, and then chose “Service receives selected image files in Finder.” What this means is that if I control-click on image files in the Finder and look in the Services menu, I will find an option to upload images for Six Colors, which is what I wanted all along!

Automator has a Run AppleScript module, which allows you to embed arbitrary scripts inside Automator. So after adding a Get Specified Finder Items action, I added a Run AppleScript action and pasted in an AppleScript script I had written based on scripting examples from the developers of Acorn and Transmit.

An Automator action holds the script. (Image uploaded by itself.)

The script loops through every file selected in the Finder, opens them in Acorn, resizes them to the two sizes (or their equivalent sizes if they’re vertical rather than horizontal images) and saves out JPEG files, then uploads them via Transmit. It’s quick and dirty—if anything in the file’s name or path contains a period (other than the filename itself), it won’t work. And I’m sure that Dr. Drang would use the command-line tool sips instead. And a dozen people will tell me that this is the entirely wrong way to do Retina images on the Web—all of whom will offer their own unique solutions.

But it’s a step toward saving me time, so I’m glad I took it.

30 Oct 21:14

Automate Your To-Do List With Todoist and IFTTT

by Brenna Loury

We’re happy to announce that, today, many peoples’ dream is becoming a reality… Todoist and IFTTT (If This Then That) have integrated for the most awesome, automated task management experience, ever! This has been a top request from both our and IFTTT’s users and we’re thrilled that this integration will be able to bring even more power to your to-do list.

IFTTT is a popular service that lets you create powerful connections among various kinds of apps and services. Each connection is called a recipe, and recipes can either be private or you can share them with the rest of the IFTTT community (take a peek at some highly-ranked recipes here). All you need is to sign-up with IFTTT to get started (it’s free!).

Todoist IFTTT

Visit Todoist’s IFTTT Channel to start creating “recipes” like “if I miss a call, then add a Todoist task to call back,” or “if I flag a YouTube video to watch later, then Todoist will create a task with the name and URL of that video,” or “if I add an event in Google Calendar, then create a Todoist task.” You’ll be able to link your Todoist account with IFTTT’s 140 different channels including Pocket, Evernote, Facebook, Slack, Twitter, Fitbit and many more. The possibilities are nearly endless :)

Here are a few more you can try:
IFTTT Recipe: If tomorrow's forecast calls for rain, remind me to bring my umbrella with a Todoist task connects weather to todoist

IFTTT Recipe: Notify everyone on Slack when a new task has been created connects todoist to slack

IFTTT Recipe: Add your Pocket reading list to Todoist connects pocket to todoist

And here’s a short video for anyone who is new to or has never used IFTTT:

Celebrate with a Giveaway: This Pro Productivity Pack could be yours!

To celebrate the highly anticipated announcement of Todoist and IFTTT, we’re going to give away The Pro Productivity Pack to one lucky contest participant. todoist ifttt contest The Pack includes:

How to enter:

To participate, all you have to do is:

    1. Create a new Todoist + IFTTT recipe
  1. Share it on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ with the hashtag #TodoistIFTTT

Just like that you’ll be entered to win! We will randomly draw from everyone who correctly participates (you must currently be a Todoist user to win), and the contest will last until Thursday, November 6th, at 9:00pm ET. The winner will be announced here on our blog. We hope you enjoy this fantastic new integration with IFTTT and wish you the best of luck in the contest!

[Post Update: Friday, November, 7th, 2014] The winner of the Pro Productivity Pack is Ruy Aguilar! Ruy, please contact to claim your awesome prize. Thank you very much to everyone who participated and created new Todoist+IFTTT recipes! Thought I should share this one. Get your Karma on. #GSD #GTD #TodoistIFTTT — Ruy Aguilar (@RuyAguilar) November 3, 2014

The post Automate Your To-Do List With Todoist and IFTTT appeared first on Todoist Blog.

28 Oct 21:25

Google Fit SDK available now

by Gary Lewis

After previewing it earlier this summer, today the Google Fit APIs are fully available on Android, Android Wear and the web so that you can build and publish apps for users on Google Play. Head to to learn more.

The Google Fit platform gives the user one place to keep all their fitness activities. With the user’s permission, any developer can store or read the user’s data from Google Fit and use it to build powerful and useful fitness experiences for their users.

For users, we’re also launching the Google Fit app on Google Play for smartphones, tablets, Wear, and on the web at The Google Fit app provides users with effortless, all-day activity tracking, as well as displaying key fitness data that our partners have stored in the platform. This app will also provide an opportunity for users to discover apps that help them track their fitness goals using Google Fit.

To get a quick introduction to the Fit APIs, check out the Dev Byte videos below.

A number of partners from around the fitness industry have been hard at work preparing their apps for Google Fit. In the coming weeks, our previously-announced launch partners, Nike+ Running, Withings HealthMate, Runkeeper, Runtastic, and Noom Coach, will launch their Google Fit integrations. We’re also happy to announce 6 new Google Fit partners: Strava, MapMyRun, LynxFit, LifeSum, FatSecret, and Azumio. These new partners are also preparing great experiences that will launch soon.

Please join the Google Fit Developer Community to share ideas and get inspired. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Posted by Angana Ghosh, Product Manager, Google Fit

25 Oct 11:36

Our latest pattern - The Alice Dress/Top

by (Colette)
Alice Top in Liberty of London Capel Dark Blue
We are very excited to be releasing our latest pattern - The Alice Dress/Top. This smock style top/dress features a self-lined yoke bodice with shaped armhole bands and a softly gathered body on front and back. The dress version also includes side pockets. Suitable fabrics for the Alice include lightweight linens, lightweight cottons (such as Liberty of London tana lawns), eyelet cotton, rayons, viscose and silk crepe de chine.

Alice Top in Striped Stone D'Ville (100% linen)
Colette's dress version below is made up in Italian cotton lawn The Other Alps. Colette had to allow for extra meterage to match the zig zag striped pattern on the lower dress - 2.5mtrs was used for this size Small dress. The armhole bands were cut on the opposing grain for contrast and the inner yoke and armhole bands were cut in the lighter part of the print.

Alice Dress in The Other Alps (cotton lawn)
For Lisa's linen version below, she used our lightweight Striped Stone D'Ville and cut the front and back outer yokes on the opposing grain to give some horizontal stripe contrast. She used a Liberty (Eleonora, from the stash) for the yoke and sleeve facings.

Because she wanted to retain the softness of the linen, she didn't interface the armhole bands. And for her shorter style, she took a further 10cm off the length.

Happy Alice sewing! We hope you like her x
16 Oct 21:27

Top 5 of the day: Fair isle sweaters, slightly subverted

by KimFrance

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 4.36.57 PM

I love that designers continue to reinterpret this preppy standard, and the mix right now is especially inspired. There is no particular reason why space-dye and fair isle should work together, but they do here, brilliantly.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 5.12.09 PM

Bold and happy red white and blue, with fluffy (and humanely sourced) angora.

topshop fair isle

good mood in a sweater.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 4.30.43 PM

I’ve been obsessing in a minor key over this Band of Outsiders horse-print fair isle for weeks now—it is at once classic and totally 70s to me.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 4.35.59 PM

Inside-out stitch, flourescent—and still somehow not too much.

03 Oct 12:31

Diana of Themyscira.

by KcM

“‘Wonder Woman’s origin story comes straight out of feminist utopian fiction. In the nineteenth century, suffragists, following the work of anthropologists, believed that something like the Amazons of Greek myth had once existed, a matriarchy that predated the rise of patriarchy. ‘The period of woman’s supremacy lasted through many centuries,’ Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote in 1891. In the nineteen-tens, this idea became a staple of feminist thought.”

From the recent bookmarks: Jill Lepore previews her new book, The Secret History of Wonder Woman, in The New Yorker. “Superman owes a debt to science fiction, Batman to the hardboiled detective. Wonder Woman’s debt is to feminism. She’s the missing link in a chain of events that begins with the woman-suffrage campaigns of the nineteen-tens and ends with the troubled place of feminism a century later. Wonder Woman is so hard to put on film because the fight for women’s rights has gone so badly.”

29 Sep 10:56

FBI and Police Departments Endorse Apple’s Full Device Encryption

by John Gruber

The Washington Post:

FBI Director James B. Comey sharply criticized Apple and Google on Thursday for developing forms of smartphone encryption so secure that law enforcement officials cannot easily gain access to information stored on the devices — even when they have valid search warrants.

I can’t think of a better endorsement of Apple and iOS.

“Apple will become the phone of choice for the pedophile,” said John J. Escalante, chief of detectives for Chicago’s police department. “The average pedophile at this point is probably thinking, I’ve got to get an Apple phone.”

Well, that didn’t take long. An even stronger endorsement. The pedophile card is pretty much the last resort for these law enforcement types who feel entitled to the content of our digital devices. Fear mongering with bogeymen and an appeal to base emotions.

26 Sep 12:00

Best Paleo Friendly Omelette Recipes

by Irena


We love omelettes! Here we’ve gathered together some of our favourite paleo friendly omelette recipes for you to try.

Eggs are high in protein, good fats, and contain all the essential amino acids our body needs for growth and repair. On the Paleo diet you’ll more than likely find yourself eating lots of eggs, but there’s no need to get stuck in a rut creating the same egg-based dish.

There are several different types of omelette – they can be fluffy like a souffle, baked like a Frittata, rolled or folded over, or as thin as a crepe. Omelettes are so tasty and versatile – perfect served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Check out our favourite recipes below but remember, you can’t really go wrong – so feel free to create your own filling combinations.

A note on eggs: use the whole egg (no egg whites only – the yolk is good for you!) and always choose free-range organic eggs.

Cooking the perfect omelette
Cooking a classic style omelette may seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it it’s super easy. Check out this video for tips on how to make the perfect omelette.

Harissa chorizo egg crepes from Eat Drink Paleo
This spicy omelette is super tasty. Irena came up with this one when she was tossing up between making savoury crepes and a Mexican burrito… what a happy accident!

Thai style rolled omelette from Nom Nom Paleo
I spent a month travelling through Thailand a few years ago. I was vegetarian at the time and I basically lived on Thai omelettes like this one – I just love the flavour! For a more filling meal, add some steamed greens.

Pancetta, mushroom and leek tortilla from Nigel Slater
Nigel Slater's pancetta and leek tortilla with a slice cut out
Tortilla is a Spanish-style omelette much like a Frittata. This combination of pancetta, mushrooms and sweet leeks is delicious. Great for a weekend brunch or a mid-week dinner (and maybe leftovers for lunch!)

Tuna melt omelettes from The Iron You
If you’re a fan of tuna melt sandwiches, you will love this omelette idea. Rich in protein and healthy fats, this is a delicious and savoury breakfast that can also be dinner or lunch. A little mayo and onion compliment the tuna perfectly.

Caramelised onion, carrot, and ham omelette roll from Eat Drink Paleo
This baked omelette roll is a great budget meal and makes a quick dinner, lunch or weekend breakfast. It’s also a great little dish to take to picnics.

Smoked salmon omelette from Raymond Blanc
The combination of salmon and eggs is one of my all time favourites. This recipe is super simple and delicious.

Roasted sweet potato and bacon omelette from Eat Drink Paleo
This omelette does take a little longer to prepare as the sweet potato in this needs to be roasted. If I’m planning to have this one for breakfast I’ll usually roast the sweet potato the day before (a large batch so we can have some for another meal) and keep enough for this recipe.

Thin green spinach and herb omelettes from Gourmand In The Kitchen
These gluten and grain free flourless crepes are paper-thin and flavoursome, filled with hidden herbs. Fold them over some spinach and goat’s feta, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms or even a little cheeky bacon.

Frittatta with red capsicum, chorizo and tomatoes from Eat Drink Paleo
paleo omelette
Frittata is an Italian-style omelette filled with various ingredients. I love the flavour combination of capsicum, tomatoes, basil and spicy chorizo. Yum!

Light Swiss chard frittata from Skinny Taste
This is a greener take on the Spanish tortilla with nutritious chard and onions as a filling. This frittata is made with some cheese but you can easily omit it if avoiding dairy. You can alternatively throw in some sheep’s or goat’s milk cheese.

Portable Western omelettes from The Healthy Foodie
We love food you can hold in your hands and these little omelette cups are just perfect. Ham or prosciutto as a casing filled with vitamin rich spinach and protein rich eggs – what’s not to love?

Asian omelette with mushrooms and string beans from Eat Drink Paleo
This Chinese omelette is just as good for dinner as it is for breakfast. I like to spice up my breakfast omelettes with new flavours and textures and, having a little obsession with Asian flavours, I have to say that this is a total winner.

Sweet berry omelette from Sarah Wilson
Who said omelettes have to be savoury? This omelette is more like a sweet eggy pancake, and while it may feel like a treat it’s actually full of goodness! (Note that the recipe is for 4 servings, so adjust your ingredients accordingly – particularly the sweetener you choose to use).

Duck egg omelette from The Primal Desire
14. Paleo-Duck-Egg-Omelet
We love the roasted Asian mushrooms and grilled asparagus to complement the duck eggs. Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs so you can do an egg per omelette.

Blueberry lemon puffed omelette from Gourmand In The Kitchen
Here is another sweet take on the traditional savoury omelette. It’s puffy and soufflé-like, sweetened with raw honey and topped with juicy blueberries. We like it as an alternative to pancakes.

Pizza omelette from The Daily Fix
We love the idea for this omelette and it can easily be amended to omit cheese. Ham, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, rocket, zucchini, mushrooms and caramelised onions are just some delicious toppings you can use.

Pad Thai Omelette
Pad Thai Omelette
Here is another Thai inspired omelette. You can use minced chicken and veggies or prawns and bean sprouts like in this recipe. A little coconut aminos or fish sauce, lime juice, honey and chilli and you have a perfect sauce. Use this recipe for inspiration and amend ingredients to suit your paleo protocol.

Pesto roasted tomato omelette from Edible Perspective
Italian flavours are bursting in this simple omelette recipe. Zingy, yet earthy pesto and sweet roasted tomatoes will make you think you’re tucking into a delicious margarita pizza or a Caprese salad.

Sweet potato Spanish tortilla with sage walnut pesto from 80Twenty
From Italy to Spain, this filling frittata like dish is a great weekend recipe. Tortilla keeps really well so you can save leftovers for lunch. Serve it with a fresh green salad.

This tasty compilation was crafted by Melanie Charters who is a member of the Eat Drink Paleo team. Learn more about our team here.

The post Best Paleo Friendly Omelette Recipes appeared first on Eat Drink Paleo.

18 Sep 04:08

What you don't know...

by ljc

We went to the movies with my parents and my mom translated this movie poster for The Interview. It says "Don't trust these stupid Americans." Hah!

06 Sep 03:45

The Handpresso

by Jason Kottke


I don't drink coffee -- quelle horreur! quelle suprise! quelle whatevs! -- but those around me seem excited by The Handpresso, a travel-sized espresso maker. The Wild Hybrid model even lets you use pods or your very own ground espresso (for less waste and better taste).

Tags: coffee   food
06 Sep 03:45

The Perfect Recordings

by Jason Kottke

New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones recently compiled a series of five playlists on Spotify of "perfect" songs: vol 1, vol 2, vol 3, vol 4, vol 5. Among the songs found on the playlists are Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blue Moon by Elvis, Pony by Ginuwine, Transmission by Joy Division, Tennis Court by Lorde, No Scrubs by TLC, and Rock Steady by Aretha Franklin. The playlists are also available on Rdio, courtesy of my friend Matt: vol 1, vol 2, vol 3, vol 4, and vol 5.

Update: And here's an Rdio playlist with all five volumes of Perfect Recordings. This will be on shuffle at my place for months to come.

Tags: lists   music   Sasha Frere-Jones
21 Aug 22:07

We Sold the House! Here’s How I’m Investing the $400,000.

by Mr. Money Mustache

014061788_640x480The good news is, we sold our old house shortly after moving into the new one. The bad news is that the net proceeds (just over $400,000 after all related costs) are on the way to the bank account, where they will immediately become a sea of donut-munching, water-cooler-gossiping Idle Employees doing no useful work for anyone other than the bank.

If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that I view this as a bit of an emergency. Financial independence and early retirement are built on the concept that your money can work harder than you can. Money invested into productive assets begets more money, which pays for my groceries as well as rolling itself into still more productive investments. This cycle allows the MMM family to ignore money entirely and instead focus on living life how we see fit.

But money in the bank today earns under 1% interest, which means it is shrinking after accounting for inflation, and not benefiting me at all unless I want to start draining away that precious principal instead of living off of the returns. So I always try to keep all available money at work.

This brings up a big question. How do we put such a large batch of money to work in today’s financial environment? Checking and savings accounts are no good. Bonds are paying very little as well. Stock Index funds like my own favorite VTSAX are at record highs, and everybody and their barber is forecasting a crash in the near future, so we have to hold out and wait for the crash before we buy, right?

The best time to invest in stocks was long ago. The second best time is today. The basic reason is that on average, the stock market always goes up, and it pays you dividends all the while.

This is the mental game that holds many of us back. But it tends to be a losing one, because it involves trying to predict the unpredictable movements of the stock market. When you wait for a crash, you are betting that you can guess when the market will drop, even though we all know that it tends to go up over time.

For an example, let’s take one of my own proclamations of ‘high’ share prices. Way back in March 2013, I wrote a post called “How About that Stock Market!?“. At the time, the S&P500 index teetered at a dizzying 1450, and we were all sure it was done rising until the next 50% haircut. The graph looked like this:


1974 to 2013: surely a crash is coming, right?

But now as I take a  peek at Google Finance, I see that same index is at 1981.60, not even counting the dividends that have been paid in the meantime. A further 37% rise in just 18 months.

In fact, when you look at a graph of any bit of exponential growth, you tend to see a mountain just at the right hand side that proves you are in an unsustainable bubble. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this graph:

Ahh, it must be a bubble! (1993 edition)

Ahh, it must be a bubble! (1993 edition)

Here we have backed up the time machine by exactly 20 years to look at the spring of my final year of high school.  What an unsustainable stock market we thought we had those days. If only we could have invested in stocks back in 1954, instead of this ridiculous high we have here in 1993. We’d be rich.

But what if the market crashes right after I invest my life savings?

There are two ways to respond to such an event: kicking yourself because you failed to predict the timing of the crash, or patting yourself on the back because you still own a bunch of stocks and you are now collecting dividends on them, which are rolling back in to buy more of the low-priced shares.
Seriously: what do I care about the sticker price of some shares I just bought? I am investing this money for the long haul, and the shares I buy today won’t be sold for 30 years or more. By that time, I’ll happily place my bet that they will be worth much more. Stock market crashes mean nothing to long-term investors, other than perhaps a reminder to buy a few more shares if you have any idle money.

Investing can easily become a psychological head game. Even I feel it, with this large stock purchase looming in my immediate future. But if I would delay a lump-sum purchase in current market conditions, would I also cancel regular 401(k) contributions if I were still employed? Would I go even further and sell all my shares and wait until the market drops to reinvest? Precious metals anyone?

No, of course I wouldn’t – to me, these are easy questions to answer and thus the answer to whether to make a lump-sum investment is also an easy “Yes.”

Shouldn’t I buy small lumps of shares over time instead via Dollar Cost Averaging?

This can be a good compromise for those still not willing to take the plunge with a single investment. As long as you realize that on average, the historical odds are that you’ll do better with a lump sum purchase according to this Vanguard study*.

With all that conventional stock wisdom out of the way, I will admit that I’m not putting the whole $400k straight into VTSAX. My own investing picture includes domestic and international index funds and real estate, as well as a preference to be absolutely debt free except in a few rare exceptions. So here is where it’s going:

Paying off debt: Your ‘return’ on this is equal to the interest rate on the loan. I happen to have a line of credit that I used to partially fund the new house we moved into (the rest was paid with cash). The credit union has been charging me 3.5% on the $160k balance, which is about $466 per month. In this case, I paid it off, which accounts for the first chunk of that $400k. The reason: I value safety and stable cashflow above higher returns, so I only used this loan as a temporary measure to bridge between the two houses.

Maxing out the Self Employed-401(k) for the year: As semi-retired/self-employed people who now find ourselves in a higher tax bracket**, Mrs. MM and I have the opportunity to contribute up to $51,000 per year(!) of pre-tax money to a separate Vanguard retirement account we created for this purpose. This is a powerful way to defer taxes, especially since we don’t expect to need this surplus money before age 60. But if that expectation proves wrong, you can always withdraw from a 401k early without penalty if you’re in a pinch.

Investing in Rental Properties: this is a profitable and adventurous field for many, and I have enjoyed it myself for almost 10 years (we still have one rental house left in the collection). But with this blog taking more of my time  these days, I’m getting out of this business to free up more time for other adventures. Instead, some of this dough will be allocated to  a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) – a passive way to accomplish the same thing.

Lending Club, Prosper and other alternative investments: These have grown into promising new asset classes that I am hoping will be around to benefit investors for decades to come. Returns of over 7% seem very easy to achieve (mine are sitting at 11.3% on a loss-adjusted basis after two years). This type of investment is essentially just a high-risk/high return junk bond. But it’s fun and performance seems promising, so I do plan to put at least a chunk of the idle cash into this class, perhaps in an IRA account. (You can read more about my ongoing Lending Club Experiment here)

So the final distribution might end up something like this:

40% VTSAX (US stocks of all sizes)
40% VGTSX (An even bigger basket of International stocks)
10% REIT fund
10% Lending Club or other bonds

There’s a lot more to say on the subject of investing and the stock market. In the next post, I’ll share a new interactive tool developed by one of your fellow readers which allows instant visualization of historical market behavior, dividends, housing prices, and much more. But for now, I’m off to put some employees back to work.

While I believe the Vanguard study, I’m wondering if the retirement researcher Wade Pfau has done any more advanced calculations on the matter. Given the current P/E10 ratio of the market, does it change the probability of success when comparing dollar cost averaging vs. lump sum? Maybe he’ll get back to us.

** Don’t tell the Internet Retirement Police about that, though.

21 Aug 22:03

Baked Apple & Pork Meatballs – Guest Recipe

by imacri

paleo pork mince recipes

Recipe: Baked Apple & Pork Meatballs

Today’s recipe for apple and pork meatballs comes from Monica at The Movement Menu. She has lots of yummy recipes and ideas on her site and was kind enough to share a few with Eat Drink Paleo readers, so you’ll see her name pop up every now and then.

My favourite thing about these meatballs, or any meatballs for that matter, is that you can make a large batch and freeze some for later. Once defrosted, you can reheat them as they are or dress them up with a nice sauce, add to soups, curries and casseroles. Monica didn’t use any salt in her recipe, which will suit some of your, but I’ve added some to the recipe as I know it will just the flavour of the pork and I just love that sweet/salty combination.


  • 1.1kg / 2 1/2 pounds mince pork (ground pork)
  • 2 apples, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 tbsps garlic powder or 2 large garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 tbsps onion powder
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsps ground sage
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt (Irey’s addition but leave out if avoiding salt for some reason)


  1. Preheat the oven to 215° C/425° F. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. You will most likely need more than one if you are going to use the entire amount of pork mince.
  2. Combine all of your spices into a large bowl.
  3. Add in the ground pork. Using your hands, spread the spices onto all of the meat. Then, you can add in the diced apples, season with sea salt and combine thoroughly.
  4. Create 30-40 meatballs (about 30g/1-oz each). Spread them evenly on the parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake meatballs in the oven for 25-30 minutes until they appear golden brown.
  6. Serve with your favorite side dish. I prepared mine with zoodles (spiraled zucchini pasta.) Enjoy!

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

Number of servings: 8


About Monica from The Movement Menu

Monica is obsessed with all things food and fitness.  Although she is not professionally trained as a nutritionist or doctor, her blog is dedicated to her experiences with food and through it she shares her delicious recipes and lessons from her journey to better health. Find more recipes and ideas from Monica on her Facebook and Instagram (@ItssssMonica)

15 Aug 22:35

Humans need not apply

by Jason Kottke

This video combines two thoughts to reach an alarming conclusion: "Technology gets better, cheaper, and faster at a rate biology can't match" + "Economics always wins" = "Automation is inevitable."

That's why it's important to emphasize again this stuff isn't science fiction. The robots are here right now. There is a terrifying amount of working automation in labs and warehouses that is proof of concept.

We have been through economic revolutions before, but the robot revolution is different.

Horses aren't unemployed now because they got lazy as a species, they're unemployable. There's little work a horse can do that pays for its housing and hay.

And many bright, perfectly capable humans will find themselves the new horse: unemployable through no fault of their own.

(via waxy)

Tags: robots   video
14 Aug 22:04

Would Grok Work Overtime?

by Mark Sisson

HiRes 1There’s that infamous question interviewers often ask job candidates to try to catch them off guard: “Name one of your negative qualities and talk about how it’s played out in the workplace.” Some people end up stunned by the question and stammer their way through some off-the-cuff remark they hope isn’t too fatal. Others, however, heard about some version of this question on LinkedIn or from their best friend’s girlfriend’s cousin down at 31 Flavors and spent days strategizing an answer: “Crap – what could I say that might satisfy the committee but not make me look bad?” I’d venture to say a sizable percentage of these folks settle on “confessing” their overcommitment to their jobs and a minor penchant to overwork. After all, what could be more endearing, right? What could make us look better in an interview or even a social venue than to come across as being diligent, virtuous and important enough to work as much as possible? (So says the dominant culture anyway.) We pay a price for this virtue, however. A recent survey suggests that more than half of us are stressed out over our work situations. Research demonstrates that Americans are working more hours than they have in decades since national statistics were regularly gathered. Likewise, we’re apparently working more than our counterparts in the rest of the industrialized world. (There’s a bummer of a fact for you.) If Grok were a fly on the wall…

The problem is our work “ethic” might not be quite as effective as we think, and I don’t think Grok would be surprised here. Not only do overworked employees get sick more often, but they’re significantly more likely to experience depression (21% overworked employees versus 8%) and have a much higher injury hazard in the workplace (61% higher in workers who did overtime) (PDF). More than a third of people who overworked described themselves as being highly stressed (compared to 6% who did not overwork), stress, of course, having an annoying way of impeding cognitive functions like short-term memory, creative thinking and emotional regulation. Check out this fun infographic. Sound familiar?

Just this week, The Atlantic had an article on the issue of work hours, “To Work Better, Work Less” in which they took on the cult of overwork. While some people put in an unhealthy number of hours because they’re working multiple jobs to pay their basic bills, others are on more of an obsessive quest to over- and out-perform even when additional hours did nothing for their actual productivity. In fact, overworking costs companies exorbitantly each year in sick time, bigger health care costs, higher turnover and lost productivity (PDF). Regardless of the actual consequences, inherent to the culture of overworking, The Atlantic authors suggest, is the “moral” dimension we assign to diligence. Our hours become a symbol of how righteous we are, and we give up life balance, family closeness, social connection and even basic health in the interest of that belief.

The Primal perspective on all this, of course, is the observation that we’re incessant experts at contorting our own nature. In fact, we take great pride and maybe even our collective human identity in the fact that we, unlike “lower” beasts, can manipulate ourselves with sheer will and vision. But vision for what? Our grand schemes almost always come at a price, and much of the time it’s not worth the payment. In the case of overworking, I think the price is a continual devaluing of physical health, personal leisure, entertainment, travel, sleep, peace, hobbies, and – that traditional well of creative genius – boredom.

On the health front, sure, there’s the trend toward treadmill desks and other activity tools that keep us moving, thereby ameliorating the effects of sedentary hours. As much as I wholeheartedly support these inventions (and make sure people in my own company have access to them), I’m wary that the devices then can become justification to perpetuate the same mistaken push toward relentless human efficiency. I love a good tip here or hack there that allows me to get more done in less time or with less tedious effort, but the ultimate point is to be happier rather than more productive.

There’s a very real reason I included “Be Selfish” among the “Habits of Highly Effective Hunter-Gatherers.” Of course, our ancestors worked together and every individual needed to pull his/her weight. The fact is, anyone could be more or less voted off the island at any given time. That said, nobody benefited from a band of exhausted, sick, edgy and agitated people who didn’t have what it took to care for their children or get along. Surely, the “selfish” habit has been the most controversial of the list and the one about which I get the most feedback. Nonetheless, I think it’s one of the most important. Many of the rest follow from that concept and all it makes space for. The fact is, it can be genuinely hard to go against the cultural grain and claim sanity for yourself. Oftentimes, people whose motors go the most have little patience for those whose energy is more balanced. I’m personally suspect of people who won’t allow themselves to take a real vacation, for example and of those who won’t allow their employees to enjoy genuine downtime. I just don’t buy the truth they’ve hung their hat on, and neither does science.

I consider myself fortunate to be able to work in a field I love, doing work that offers me genuine meaning and connection. That said, my life isn’t my work, and I wouldn’t want it to be. Once upon a time, it was that way for me, and the anvils of deteriorating health and mental stress finally got through to my brain: this wasn’t working for me. I genuinely feel for those who are cobbling together money at multiple jobs, and it’s constantly an hours game. When we have the choice, however, we can and should do better for ourselves.

I think, on some level for many people in a position to choose, the pattern can become self-perpetuating. Some folks, for example, manage to leave a position with unreasonable demands only to go recreate the same situation for themselves elsewhere. It’s like they adapt in a dysfunctional way to certain level of chaos and grope for that homeostasis. It becomes an artificial set-point against which they gauge their lives. Rather than give themselves time for this awareness to come, they react against the void. Sometimes people don’t have enough patience with their own process to allow their personal motors to recalibrate, for their minds to envision and embrace all that they could do with that free time.

We all have this essential instinct that yearns to be applied for our own balanced well-being and personal thriving. Time is our ultimate Primal capital. We’re stewards of our own life energy. How would Grok have invested his, and what would he be thinking in your shoes right now?

Thanks for reading today, everyone. I hope you’ll share your thoughts and feedback. Have a great end to the week.

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31 Jul 12:46

Why don't OKCupid's experiments bother us like Facebook's did?

by Tim Carmody

Hi, everybody! Tim Carmody here, guest-hosting for Jason this week.

OK Cupid's Christian Rudder has responded to the outcry over Facebook's experiments with user emotions by... publishing a list of experiments that the dating site has run on its users, along with their results.

And it's not little stuff either! To test its matching algorithms, OKC has selectively hidden users' profile images, their profile text, and even told pairs of users they were a good match when the algo said they weren't, and vice versa.

In short, Facebook may have hid stuff from you, but OK Cupid might have actually lied to you.

But... nobody's really upset about this. Or if they are, they're mostly just upset (or dryly observing, it's hard to tell) that other people aren't upset.

Why? I have some theories:

  1. It's early yet. It took the Facebook story some time to steep before it really picked up steam.
  2. OKC users are less likely to be troubled by this sort of thing than Facebook users are. And people get more upset when they feel like they personally might have been messed with. Hilary Parker pointed out that non-online daters are less likely to get upset on online daters' behalf: even if you don't actively look down on OKC users (and many do), you might be more likely to think they got what they deserved. OK Cupid has a history of disclosing these kinds of numbers, and there's a laissez-faire attitude towards users gaming accounts for their own purposes.
  3. We trust Facebook in a way we don't trust OKC. Facebook is the safe baby internet, with our real friends and family sending us real messages. OKC is more internet than the internet, with creeps and jerks and catfishers with phony avatars. So Facebook messing with us feels like a bigger betrayal.
  4. OKC's matching algorithm may be at least as opaque as Facebook's news feed, but it's clearer to users that site matches and views are generated using an algorithm. Reportedly, 62 percent of Facebook users weren't aware that Facebook's news feed was filtered by an algorithm at all. (That study has a small sample size, but still, we can infer that lots of Facebook users have no idea.)
  5. The results of OKC's experiments are less troubling. Facebook's study showed that our posting behavior (and maybe our feelings) were pretty susceptible to manipulation without a whole lot of effort. OKC's results seemed more complimentary. Sure, lots of people on dating sites are shallow, and sometimes you may have ended up in longer conversations than you might like with incompatible people, but good matches seem to find a way to connect no matter what OKC tells us! So... the algorithm works and I guess we can trust what they tell us? My head hurts. (Jess Zimmerman adds that part of the Facebook intervention was deliberately designed to cause harm, by making people unhappy, at least as mediated through their posts. The difference here depends on whether you think trying to match you up with someone incompatible might be causing them harm.
  6. The tone of the OKC post is just so darned charming. Rudder is casual, self-deprecating. It's a blog post! Meanwhile, Facebook's "emotional contagion" scholarly paper was chillingly matter-of-fact. In short, the scientism of the thing just creeped us the fuck out.
  7. This is related to the tone issue, but OKC seems to be fairly straightforward about why it performed the experiment: they didn't understand whether or how their matching algorithm was working, and they were trying to figure that out to make it better. Facebook seemed to be testing user's emotional expressions partly to solve a scholarly dispute and partly just to see if they could. And most of the practical justifications folks came up with for the Facebook study were pretty sinister: tricky folks into posting more often, into clicking on ads, into buying stuff. (Really, both experiments are probably a mix of product testing and shooting frogs for kicks, but the perception seems to be different.)
  8. The Facebook study had an added wrinkle in that academics were involved in designing the study and writing it up. This raised all sorts of factual and ethical issues about university institutional review boards and the responsibility of the journal's editors and publishers that don't seem to be relevant here. I mean, maybe SOMEbody should be veryifying that experiments done on human subjects are ethical, whether it's in a university, medical, or government context or not, but it's not like someone may have been asleep at the switch. Here, there is no switch.
  9. Maybe we're all just worn out. Between Facebook, this, Uber ratings, and god knows what, even if you're bothered by this kind of experimentation, it's more difficult to stay angry at any one company. So some people are jaded, some people would rather call attention to broader issues and themes of power, and some people are just tired. There's only so many times you can say "see? THIS! THIS is what I've been telling you about!" or "I can't believe you're surprised by this" before you're just like, ¯\_(?)_/¯.

I don't agree with all of these explanations, and all of them feel a little thin. But maybe for most of us, those little scraps of difference are enough.

Update: Here's a tenth reason that I thought of and then forgot until people brought up variations of it on Twitter: Facebook feels "mandatory" in a way that OKCupid doesn't. It's a bigger company with a bigger reach that plays a bigger part in more people's lives. As Sam Biddle wrote on Twitter, "Facebook is almost a utility at this point. It's like ConEd fucking with us."

Tags: Facebook   OKCupid
26 Jul 07:16

How-To: Giant Hexie Flower Lap Quilt

by agnesniewiadomski
final_giant_hexie_flower_quilt_03a_tzomYou'll be quilting giant hexies in no time with this easy to follow tutorial from Haley at The Zen of Making.

Read more on MAKE

23 Jul 22:08

Tuesday trifecta: Melamine

by KimFrance

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 4.33.34 PM

No time like barbecue and picnic season to stock up on everyone’s favorite synthetic, unbreakable dishware: this charming butterfly is one of an unmatched set of four.

melamine octopus

Etsy shop The Mad Platters is melamine central: right now I’m digging this oddly pretty number bordered with tentacles.


Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 6.45.27 PM

And finally: I’m pretty sure this serving bowl is the best melamine thing I’ve ever seen.


16 Jul 12:25

Next Level Primal: I Killed a Chicken and Ate It

by Guest


chickens31This is a guest post from Bethany McDaniel of Primal Pastures. Learn more about Bethany and Primal Pastures at the end of this article. Enter Bethany…

I still remember the first time I killed a chicken. I had watched it happen hundreds of times (my family runs a small pastured livestock farm in So-Cal called Primal Pastures). I’d even helped out with all of the other steps involved in chicken processing (scalding, plucking, eviscerating, and packaging), but I couldn’t quite bring myself to take a knife to a chicken’s throat and end its life.

But why?

I had no problem eating chickens that someone else killed. I’m not terribly freaked out by blood. And I had already gone through the gutting process more times than I could count (which is way gross-er than killing).

After about a year of helping out with processing days, I decided that it was time for me to kill a chicken.

So I finally did it — I cut into it’s throat so hard with a knife that the whole head fell right off. And much to my surprise, I suffered no emotional scarring, haunting chicken nightmares, or anything of the sort. It was merely another step in the process — a necessary part of producing food for my family and our customers to enjoy. And personally going through all of the steps involved in taking a chicken from pasture to plate in the most humane and safe way possible gave me a new sense of confidence and pride in my ability to provide food for myself — something I never knew I was capable of doing.

But not everyone sees it this way. I can’t tell you how many friends have asked me (with a horrified expression of disgust), “Wait – you actually kill the chickens?” As if this were some sort of barbaric act that any “normal” person would never take part in.

You can’t really blame them. Because of the horrific slaughter conditions of factory farmed animals, people often think that chicken processing is gross, mean, cruel, and inhumane. But in reality, animal slaughtering can be done in a way that is extremely quick and humane. And although it’s (sadly) not even close to being a common practice, it certainly is (and has always been) an extremely normal part of the circle of life.

This Used to Be Common Knowledge

In the early 1900s, chicken keeping was extremely common. Processing the birds was simply a part of life — and most people not only knew how to do it, but also processed chickens themselves on a regular basis. It was even normal for young children to help out with the chore under mom or grandma’s supervision.

But today, the thought of killing anything has become so taboo that many would rather believe their meat was grown in a plastic package at the grocery store than associate it with a once living, breathing animal.

Liz Wolfe sums it up beautifully in her book, Eat The Yolks:

Unfortunately, many of us are educated about animals by the entertainment industry. And through that lens, we acquire an image of nature that is wildly and tragically inaccurate. It’s an image with a rosy filter, one that ignores the fact that nature itself is, and always has been engaged in a cycle of life and death. A cycle that seems cruel and violent, rather than innate and natural when we’re raised on Disney instead of Discovery.

The outlook described above is convenient, but couldn’t be more distorted. And it’s left us lacking in our knowledge of meat and where it comes from — which is terribly unfortunate. Everyone has the right to learn and understand the work that goes into taking meat from its natural habitat to our plate. Without this understanding, we’re robbed of the appreciation and wisdom that comes from knowing how it all works.

Processing a Primal Chicken

After experiencing the life-changing effects of killing and processing chickens ourselves, we decided to start offering processing workshops to give others the opportunity to see and experience it for themselves as well. During these workshops, we provide participants with instruction and supervision as they go through all of the steps involved in taking a chicken from pasture to package, ready for the freezer or dinner table.

The workshops focus on the 5 stages of poultry processing: killing, scalding, plucking, eviscerating, and packaging. Each workshop guest has the opportunity to get hands-on experience with each station if so desired. They also have the option to slaughter their very own heritage breed, pasture-raised, soy-free, beyond organic meat bird, package it, and bring it home for their freezer.

We don’t require attendees to get hands-on with the processing and guests are always welcome to simply watch and learn. Either way, attendees end up walking away from the experience with a new outlook on food. Roberto (who attended our last workshop) said, “I grew-up hearing stories of my grandmother’s chickens and how she would make fresh chicken meals at a moment’s notice. After attending this workshop, I feel that I’ve matured in way that is analogous to a toddler learning to feed himself. This workshop helped me take another step towards becoming a fully matured meat consumer.”

His wife Dawn had a similar perspective. “I think everyone should be conscientious about where they get their food. People are afraid to know where their food comes from because of the horrors they hear about and see on television/the internet about factory farming. Taking the workshop from Primal Pastures gave me a sense of pride in being a meat eater.”

We realize that attending one of these workshops isn’t possible for everyone. But just knowing the process is a huge step in the right direction. So here it is – primal chicken processing in 5 steps (complete with photos from our most recent workshop):


IMG 7941 1024x682

To start the killing process, birds are transferred from the pasture to a “kill cone” (pictured) and placed upside down, head out. Chickens enter into a natural trance state in this inverted position, which makes for excellent meat quality — the less stressed out an animal is prior to slaughter, the less adrenaline is released into the meat (adrenaline is what causes meat to become tough and chewy). Many CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) birds miss this step entirely and end up meeting their demise during the scalding step — a terribly inhumane way to die.


IMG 7949 1024x682

Birds are already dead before moving on to this step in the process. Scalding involves dipping the birds in hot water in order to loosen up the feathers. There’s a very fine temperature range that works in conjunction with the next step, plucking.


IMG 7952 1024x682

When the feathers are fully loosened up from scalding, the plucking machine takes them out for good. The chickens are spun around and sprayed with water to remove the feathers during this step. Many who see our plucking device de-feather four birds in 10 seconds are amazed, as this process would have taken your great-grandmother 5-10 minutes for just one bird. Want to see the contrast for yourself? Check out this video of hand plucking and this one of a plucking machine.


IMG 7946 1024x682

During the eviscerating step, we gut the birds and take out their insides. Almost every part of the chicken is saved and sold to customers. We sell the livers, hearts, gizzards, feet, and heads. Other parts (like the oil sack and intestines) are fed to our guard dogs. This is one part of the process that you just can’t learn without going through it a couple of times.


IMG 7964 1024x682

During this step, the whole carcass is placed inside of a bag, zip tied, and dunked into boiling water. Heat-shrink packaging gives the finished products a professional look and an air-tight seal that makes long-term freezing easy. The air leaves the package through a small hole which we cover up with a Primal Pastures sticker.

BethanyMcDanielWe truly believe that if more people had the personal experience of processing at least one animal in their lifetime, it would change our entire country’s food system for the better. If you’re interested in joining us in Southern California for a processing workshop, farm tour, or potluck, check out all of these events on our website by clicking here. If you can’t get to Southern California, has a great list of pastured livestock farms throughout the United States that may offer similar events.

This was a guest post from Bethany McDaniel of Primal Pastures — a small, beyond organic farm in Southern California that raises pastured chicken, lamb, turkey, and more. Bethany works on the farm with her family and runs the Primal Pastures blog, From the Pasture. Follow her blog or keep up with her on Instagram for useful and entertaining information about farm life, real food, wellness, and everything else that makes up her primal lifestyle.

Join Mark Sisson and Friends in Sunny Southern California this Sept. 25-28! Get Your Tickets for PrimalCon Oxnard 2014 Today and Finally Meet Your Tribe!

15 Jul 12:02

easiest fridge dill pickles

by deb

easiest fridge dills, before

Every summer, I make a note on my Oh My God Good Vegetables Are Finally Here! cooking to-do list (what, you don’t keep one?) to post about how to make classic dill pickles. Every week they’re available, I pick up nearly a bucket of perfect-for-pickling kirby cucumbers from the Greenmarket for my cucumber-junkie family with the greatest intention of finally making good on this promise. And I never, ever do. It might be that the first couple times I tried, many years ago, my always-too-hot kitchen molded both jars, traumatizing me at the end of the jars’ incubation periods. It might be that because I live in NYC, when I want an insanely good sour pickle, I just go to The Pickle Guys on Essex Street or track down some from Guss’. Like bagels, killer soup dumplings, or Halal cart street meat, amazing pickles are in a category of food you have to be extremely driven and possibly cuckoo to make at home in NYC. I mean, I am, but apparently not enough.

kirby season
slice thin, even thinner than this

I make these instead. These are our go-to fridge pickle, and they are ludicrously easy. Do you have salt? Do you have vinegar? You’re set. They’re passable an hour later, excellent 6 to 8 hours later, and you can also enjoy them three weeks from now — though by then, we’ll be on our third batch.

you'll start with so much

... Read the rest of easiest fridge dill pickles on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to easiest fridge dill pickles | 153 comments to date | see more: Cucumber, Photo, Pickled, Quick, Vegetarian

14 Jul 22:42

LoTR DVD commentary from Zinn and Chomsky

by Jason Kottke

This is an old piece from McSweeney's, but it's absolute gold and I can't believe I've been missing it all these years. In it, Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn record a DVD commentary for the first Lord of the Rings movie. So, so good.

Zinn: You've spoken to me before about Mordor's lack of access to the mineral wealth that the Dwarves control.

Chomsky: If we're going to get into the socio-economic reasons why certain structures develop in certain cultures... it's mainly geographical. We have Orcs in Mordor -- trapped, with no mineral resources -- hemmed in by the Ash Mountains, where the "free peoples" of Middle Earth can put a city, like Osgiliath, and effectively keep the border closed.

Zinn: Don't forget the Black Gate. The Black Gate, which, as Tolkien points out, was built by Gondor. And now we jump to the Orcs chopping down the trees in Isengard.

Chomsky: A terrible thing the Orcs do here, isn't it? They destroy nature. But again, what have we seen, time and time again?

Zinn: The Orcs have no resources. They're desperate.

Chomsky: Desperate people driven to do desperate things.

Zinn: Desperate to compete with the economic powerhouses of Rohan and Gondor.

Chomsky: Who really knows their motive? Maybe this is a means to an end. And while that might not be the best philosophy in the world, it makes the race of Man in no way superior. They're going to great lengths to hold onto their power. Two cultures locked in conflict over power, with one culture clearly suffering a great deal. I think sharing power and resources would have been the wisest approach, but Rohan and Gondor have shown no interest in doing so. Sometimes, revolution must be --

Zinn: Mistakes are often --

Chomsky: Blood must be shed. I forget what Thomas Jefferson --

Here's part two. And the same writers, Jeff Alexander and Tom Bissell, also did one for The Return of the King.

Tags: Howard Zinn   Jeff Alexander   Lord of the Rings   movies   Noam Chomsky   Tom Bissell
12 Jul 00:03

Olga Targaryen?

by John

I'm indebted to Chris Williams for bringing to everyone's attention that today is the feast day for Saint Olga of Kiev:

Princess Olga was the wife of Igor of Kiev, who was killed by the Drevlians. At the time of her husband's death, their son Svyatoslav was three years old, making Olga the official ruler of Kievan Rus until he reached adulthood. The Drevlians wanted Olga to marry their Prince Mal, making him the ruler of Kievan Rus, but Olga was determined to remain in power and preserve it for her son.

The Drevlians sent twenty of their best men to persuade Olga to marry their Prince Mal and give up her rule of Kievan Rus. She had them buried alive. Then she sent word to Prince Mal that she accepted the proposal, but required their most distinguished men to accompany her on the journey in order for her people to accept the offer of marriage. The Drevlians sent their best men who governed their land. Upon their arrival, she offered them a warm welcome and an invitation to clean up after their long journey in a bathhouse. After they entered, she locked the doors and set fire to the building, burning them alive.

With the best and wisest men out of the way, she planned to destroy the remaining Drevlians. […]

Basically, it's A Game of Thrones without the dragons.

[Via Chris Williams, commenting in a thread on diplomacy at Blood & Treasure]

05 Jul 05:23

SYNEK - Any beer tapped fresh on your counter


The Snook and I are rather intrigued by this. Seems like getting bags might be a hassle though.

  • SYNEK is legal is ALL states but: Alabama, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Vermont. We posted a list of states, number of breweries, and number of beers not bottled/canned in our Update #1.

    Internationally, we have not heard a single legal opposition.

    PLEASE contact us if you have further information.

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  • We offer a 100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE during AND after Kickstarter. If during your experience, even after pledging on Kickstarter and it closes, your mind changes or you want to "downgrade" a large order or cancel altogether, you can.

    PLEASE do not hesitate to pledge. Kickstarter is all or nothing and we can't make this a reality without your full support :)

    NOTE: We are working tirelessly on our end to connect and partner with any and all local breweries. Let us know which ones you want us to reach out to. We have several months before the first shipment to connect with them (not just the 30 days of Kickstarter). And we haven't had a brewery turn us down yet. We just need the word out and your support!

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  • 1. Severely Reduced Shipping Rate Regional Pick-Up: As you can see from the video above, we are partnering with breweries around the world. We are trying to utilize breweries as a distribution source, meaning we ship numerous SYNEKs to the breweries, and then you and others pick your SYNEKs up there. This will drastically reduce shipping costs to everyone involved, especially internationally.

    We are working tirelessly on our end, but also need you and other backers' help in creating these pick up locations. The list grows every day. For example, we have a brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA (Christian Moerlein) that is 100% behind us. They not only will promote and fill the product, but have offered to be a pickup location for the first shipment of SYNEKs. Therefore, all SYNEK backers in the Cincinnati area can now expect to pay severely reduced shipping by just picking up at this brewery instead of shipping direct-to-door.

    NOTE: Bear in mind that during OR after Kickstarter, if you are not satisfied with your experience, we will refund 100%. There is NO reason to fear you may pledge to get a SYNEK, and then no brewery around you will accept them. We have time between now and the first shipment to get any brewery you want on board, plus guarantee the 100% refund if it somehow does not work out for you.

    We don't want to release a definitive list of pickup locations or exact shipping costs until it is time to ship as they could change for the better! Perhaps shipping costs are even lower than we predicted or an even better location opens up for someone than the one they originally were willing to pick up from. So please back us and have others do so too. In the time we have between now and first shipment, we will get you your SYNEK as soon and as cheaply as possible. (And if after it all you are still not satisfied, we'll refund you 100%.)

    BREWERIES: this means all Kickstarter backers in your region will come to YOU for their SYNEK, and be right there to fill gallons of YOUR beer. We help you sell more beer at a higher quality and lower cost. Why not work with SYNEK? Reach out with any questions.

    2. Direct-To-Door: We are of course offering direct-to-door shipping, which will be more expensive than a regional pick-up location.

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  • By pre-ordering you are receiving a discount for your early support. Your credit card will be charged for the price of your order once you complete this checkout process. Orders will be fulfilled in the order they are received. Pre-order product shipment dates are estimates. Shipping costs and taxes/duties are not included in this transaction. Shipping and taxes/duties will be charged in a separate transaction immediately prior to shipping. If this transaction cannot be completed your order will be cancelled and you will received a full refund. This pre-order may be cancelled for a full refund anytime prior to product shipment.

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  • 128 floz, ~3.8L, 1 gallon, ~eleven 12 floz beers, 8 pints

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  • The cartridges can be filled from a keg, tap, or inside a brewery’s back room--all with a simple adapter that never allows the beer contact with the outside word, fully preserving its quality.

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  • Yes, the cartridges are quickly and easily interchangeable. We have incorporated one-way valves that close off beer/gas transfer. This will allow you to switch them without having to drink the entire gallon and without losing carbonation. It is like having a bar full of taps in one device, saving counter space and increasing portability and variety.

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  • 30+ days after the first pour. Unlike growlers that expose the beer to air, ours are filled airtight, providing a 30+ day shelf life.

    If filled properly, our tests have shown SYNEK can provide a shelf life that is similar/better than bottles/cans/kegs (4-5+ months). So aging/storing a homebrew, favorite that you want to keep around, or wine is absolutely feasible. The 30+ days only starts after the first pour.

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  • No. Our specially engineered material will have drastically less interaction with the beer than PET plastic (common plastic bottles). Initial blind taste tests have shown that our cartridges provide a better taste experience relative to rigid containers.

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  • Similar to glass bottles, they are reusable but we don't recommend it. Why? 1) The outer layer of our cartridge is specially designed to deflect UV rays and is completely opaque, which means you won't be able to see any impurities left over from previous fills. 2) There will be an integrated layer that extracts O2 to provide the maximum quality. This layer breaks down after each use and becomes less effective over time. 3) The whole idea is to make beer packaging and consuming easier for you. No cleaning ever again; these are 100% recyclable. One and done, on to the next perfectly preserved beer.

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  • We have developed the most durable flexible packaging for beer in the entire world. We have successfully achieved levels of 30+ PSI and are doing tests to enhance that durability. We will likely incorporate pressure relief valves at 20 PSI which will still accommodate the majority of beer produced.

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  • The chances are slim. As mentioned in the question above, our bags can hold 30+ PSI and we have a pressure relief valve that is activated at 20 PSI.

    Growlers, bottles, cans, and most kegs do not have this feature so they risk 'exploding'. SYNEK does not.

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  • They are FDA approved and sanitary. You never have to clean a bottle again!

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  • Each gallon cartridge will cost ~$1 and can be reusable (not recommended). Pricing will change with the quantity ordered.

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  • Yes. The pressure relief valve on our cap will begin to steam off pressure at 20 PSI. You are able to force-carbonate, ferment, and carbonate inside the bag, as well as age and store your brew. The 30 day shelf life does not start until after the first pour. This is a great application for beer, but of course particularly wine.

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  • A patent pending 2+ ply - LLDPE / Metalized Polyester. We will incorporate an O2 extracting material to provide the absolute best quality assurance possible.

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  • No, not in an unpressurized cabin. We have not tested the containers for dramatic altitude testing. Eventually, the answer is most likely yes because the pressure relief valve will release all the excess pressure and your beer will arrive flat.

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  • Yes. Wherever this is an outlet, you have perfect beer, fresh from the tap. We will even look into designing a battery-powered device.

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  • Yes. Temperature ranges will likely be from 34F to 60F (~1C to ~16C).

    Yes. You can adjust the CO2 pressure to create the perfect pour for your beer.

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  • Yes, the front of the dispenser has a clear insulated window that allows you to see the brand of the cartridge you are dispensing inside, from “Steve’s Love Potion” (homebrew) to your local brewery’s logo.

    You cannot see the beer inside the bag - we have incorporated a reflective UV shield on the outside to preserve quality.

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  • The first model will launch with a single tap and cartridges come in one size (1 gallon or 3.78L). However, the cartridges are interchangeable to provide access to variety. And they can be interchanged in-between pours without losing carbonation.

    This first model is focused on economizing counter space and peak portability.

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  • Similar to a keg, the cartridge itself is pressurized with CO2. The chamber of the dispenser is not pressurized (aka the ‘bag isn’t squeezed’). This allows you to interchange the cartridge and it will stay pressurized for lasting freshness, unlike growlers.

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  • FDA approved tubes and standard beer taps.

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  • Either thermo or compressor – there are pros and cons to each. After the close of our Kickstarter, we will ask our backers what aspects are most important to them and incorporate that into the final design.

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  • Our final design should be no bigger or heavier than a common toaster oven. The market-ready design won’t be finalized until after the Kickstarter.

    A full cartridge alone is one fluid gallon, so ~8lbs or ~3.6kg (It is nearly weightless when empty).

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  • One of three options: 1) 12oz refillable tank, 2) disposable 12g “bullets”, 3) an option to connect your current large CO2 tank (an already existing line in your own home, perhaps to a current kegerator). We have found that our international friends prefer the one-time use cylinders.

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  • We cannot ship full CO2 tanks (they are considered deadly weapons). We will release a list of all approved CO2 refill stations, but most AHA shops, Walmart stores and other retail locations provide refills.

    Disposable 12g containers can be shipped direct to door or bought at retail.

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  • It depends. In most states any container holding a gallon or less is considered legal. Most restrictions form around labeling, which ours will qualify for--basically envision the same label you see on a bottle with only the volume amount changed).

    Most breweries allow you to fill any “growler”, even one from another brewery. However, some are sticklers for only using their growler with their label. SYNEK cartridges are “blank” and can remain blank or be labeled, so most (if not all) breweries should accept a SYNEK cartridge as a “growler”. Simply ask them to fill and charge for two growler’s (128 fl oz) worth.

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  • Breweries will essentially have 3 options to fill cartridges:

    1. Right from the tap (manually) - This will likely provide around 30 days shelf life and where a SYNEK cartridge is used just like a growler

    2. Manually fill in the back room - Similar to kegs, brewers will have a special adapter where they can fill multiple cartridges at a time by hand

    3. Automation - After we show demand on the market, we will introduce auto-filling equipment that will mass fill our cartridges

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  • No, we do not make or sell beer, we are structured as a packaging company. But we like beer...a lot.

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