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03 Aug 04:31

Increase Your Motivation: 4 Ways to Have Non-Zero Days

by Brenna Loury

No more zero days

Seven months ago, in the Get Disciplined subreddit, ryans01, an avid Reddit user, wrote a comment that soon went viral and ended up inspiring an entirely new productivity principle called “Non-Zero Days.” A “Non-Zero Day” is when you do anything, no matter how seemingly insignificant, towards the goals you have in your life. Things can range from simply making your bed, to having a meeting with a potential client– as long as you do something, and not nothing.

ryans01 has four simple rules for Non-Zero Days:

1. There are no more zero days

“What’s a zero day? A zero day is when you don’t do a single thing towards whatever dream or goal you’ve got. No more zeros. I’m not saying you gotta bust an essay out every day, that’s not the point. The point I’m trying to make is that you have to make yourself, promise yourself, that the new system you live in is a Non-Zero system. Didn’t do anything all day and it’s 11:58 PM? Write one sentence. Do one pushup. Read one page of that chapter. One. Because one is Non-Zero. You feel me? Turning into productivity ultimate master of the universe happens from a massive string of CONSISTENT NON-ZEROS. That’s rule number one. Do not forget.”

2. Be grateful to the three you’s

“News flash, there are three you’s homeslice. There’s the past you, the present you, and the future you. Be GRATEFUL to the past you for the positive things you’ve done. And do favours for the future you like you would for your best bro. Feeling like shit today? Stop a second, think of a good decision you made yesterday. Salad and tuna instead of Big Mac? THANK YOU YOUNGER ME. Was yesterday a Non-Zero Day because you wrote 200 words? THANK YOU YOUNGER ME.

Second part of the three me’s is you gotta do your future self a favour, just like you would for your best friend (no best friend? You do now. You got 2. It’s future and past you). Tired as hell and can’t get off reddit/videogames/interwebs? I’m gonna rock out p90x Ab Ripper X for 17 minutes. I’m doing this one for future me. Alarm clock goes off and bed is too comfy? This one’s for my best friend, the future me– I’m up and going for a 5 km run (or 25 meter run, it’s gotta be Non-Zero). MAKE SURE YOU THANK YOUR OLD SELF for rocking out at the end of every.single.thing. that makes your life better. The cycle of doing something for someone else (future you) and thanking someone for the good in your life (past you) is key to building gratitude and productivity. Do not doubt me. Over time you should spread the gratitude to others who help you on your path.”

3. Forgive yourself

“FORGIVE YOURSELF. I mean it. Maybe you got all the know-how, money, ability, strength and talent to do whatever it is you wanna do. But let’s say you still didn’t do it. Now you’re giving yourself shit for not doing what you need to, to be who you want to. Heads up champion, being disappointed in yourself causes you to be less productive. Tried your best to have a Non-Zero day yesterday and failed? So what. I forgive you, previous self. I forgive you. But today? Today is a Non-Zero masterpiece to the best of my ability for future self. This one’s for you future homes. Forgiveness man, use it. I forgive you. Say it out loud.”

4. Exercise and books

“Rule number four is the easiest and it’s three words. Exercise and books. That’s it. Pretty standard advice, but when you exercise daily you actually get smarter. When you exercise you get high from endorphins (thanks body). When you exercise you clear your mind. When you exercise you are doing your future self a huge favour. Exercise is a leg on a three legged stool. Feel me?

As for books, almost every thing we’ve all ever thought of, or felt, or gone through, or wanted, or wanted to know how to do, or whatever, has been figured out by someone else. Get some books, man. Read 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. Read Emotional Intelligence. Read From Good to Great. Read Thinking Fast and Slow. Read books that will help you understand. Read the bodyweight fitness reddit and incorporate it into your workouts. (How’s them pullups coming?) Reading is the warp whistle from Super Mario 3. It gets you to the next level that much faster. That’s about it man.”

4 rules for life non-zero days

To read ryans01’s original post, just click here.

What about you? Have you incorporated Non-Zero Days into your life? Has it helped you achieve your goals? Let us know in the comments below.

12 Jul 09:34

My heart almost stood still

by Shaun Usher

On the evening of February 1st, 1924, the New York Symphony Orchestra played Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Carnegie Hall in New York, conducted by Walter Damrosch. Thankfully for those who couldn't attend, the performance was broadcast live on the radio. A couple of days later, the orchestra received a stunning letter of thanks from the unlikeliest of sources: Helen Keller, a renowned author and activist who had been deaf and blind from a young age. It can be read below.

Eight years later, Keller wrote an equally evocative letter in which she described the view from atop the Empire State Building.

(Source: The Baton, Volumes 2-3, via Marcus Williams; Image: Helen Keller "listening" to the radio, c.1929, via Angelfire.)

93 Seminole Avenue,
Forest Hills, L. I.,
February 2, 1924.

The New York Symphony Orchestra,
New York City.

Dear Friends:

I have the joy of being able to tell you that, though deaf and blind, I spent a glorious hour last night listening over the radio to Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony." I do not mean to say that I "heard" the music in the sense that other people heard it; and I do not know whether I can make you understand how it was possible for me to derive pleasure from the symphony. It was a great surprise to myself. I had been reading in my magazine for the blind of the happiness that the radio was bringing to the sightless everywhere. I was delighted to know that the blind had gained a new source of enjoyment; but I did not dream that I could have any part in their joy. Last night, when the family was listening to your wonderful rendering of the immortal symphony someone suggested that I put my hand on the receiver and see if I could get any of the vibrations. He unscrewed the cap, and I lightly touched the sensitive diaphragm. What was my amazement to discover that I could feel, not only the vibrations, but also the impassioned rhythm, the throb and the urge of the music! The intertwined and intermingling vibrations from different instruments enchanted me. I could actually distinguish the cornets, the roll of the drums, deep-toned violas and violins singing in exquisite unison. How the lovely speech of the violins flowed and plowed over the deepest tones of the other instruments! When the human voice leaped up trilling from the surge of harmony, I recognized them instantly as voices. I felt the chorus grow more exultant, more ecstatic, upcurving swift and flame-like, until my heart almost stood still. The women's voices seemed an embodiment of all the angelic voices rushing in a harmonious flood of beautiful and inspiring sound. The great chorus throbbed against my fingers with poignant pause and flow. Then all the instruments and voices together burst forth—an ocean of heavenly vibration—and died away like winds when the atom is spent, ending in a delicate shower of sweet notes.

Of course, this was not "hearing" but I do know that the tones and harmonies conveyed to me moods of great beauty and majesty. I also sensed, or thought I did, the tender sounds of nature that sing into my hand—swaying reeds and winds and the murmur of streams. I have never been so enraptured before by a multitude of tone-vibrations.

As I listened, with darkness and melody, shadow and sound filling all the room, I could not help remembering that the great composer who poured forth such a flood of sweetness into the world was deaf like myself. I marvelled at the power of his quenchless spirit by which out of his pain he wrought such joy for others—and there I sat, feeling with my hand the magnificent symphony which broke like a sea upon the silent shores of his soul and mine.

Let me thank you warmly for all the delight which your beautiful music has brought to my household and to me. I want also to thank Station WEAF for the joy they are broadcasting in the world.

With kindest regards and best wishes, I am,

Sincerely yours,



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30 Jun 21:56

Made in America: The Girls of a Certain Age list

by KimFrance

I have been coveting a saddle bag for a long time.

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Buying American is just good juju all-around: You have the satisfaction of knowing your purchase was produced in a safe, clean factory by workers making a decent* wage, and you’re supporting businesses, many of them on the smaller side, that have chosen to keep production—and jobs—stateside, when shipping them overseas would cost a fraction of what they wind up paying here. This means that prices of American-made products can run a bit higher than what’s produced overseas. But in my experience, so does the quality. Here’s a special pre-Independence Day roundup of some of my favorite domestically-made brands (I say “some” because a few really good ones got left out, so there will almost surely be a Part II). Please do weigh in with any personal—and especially local— favorites in the comments.

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Billykirk Leather and canvas bags, accessories Billykirk specializes in rough-hewn, classic bags and clutches and totes, and even if you don’t think that’s your thing you may be surprised. It’s true that I love everything that contrasts black with blue, but I especially love how the two shades of blue mix with the black leather accents on this waxed satchel.

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Emerson Fry Apparel and accessories It is not overstating matters to say I want every single thing from this line out of New Hampshire, which is very American classic with a nice dose of urban edge thrown in to keep things interesting.

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Essie: Nail polish A friend recommended this deep red called Tomboy No More to me the other day and it’s totally going on my toes next pedi.

filson roller

Filson Luggage, outerwear, gear This outdoorsy brand is mostly aimed toward men, but they make fantastic-looking luggage that works for anyone. If I didn’t already own too many rolling carry-ons (have we ever discussed my rolling suitcase problem?) I would totally go for this elegant model.

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Gorjana Jewelry All manner of inexpensive (but not cheap-looking) adornments; a good place to check in when you want to buy something on-trend but don’t want to pay a fortune.

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J Brand Denim Definitely on the very short list of my favorite denim brands. I loathe when anyone swears that one jeans line or another has a “perfect fit”—bodies are so different—but these work on the skinny-assed and wide-of-hip alike.

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JW Hulme Bags The most classic shapes—messenger, tote, saddle—executed brilliantly, and in a variety of sizes and colors. The kind of bag you really will have forever.


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Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Makeup Vegan, cruelty-free, really rather fabulous and straight out of the Lower East Side.

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Quoddy: Footwear Ring boots like this insanely great brown suede pair—very coolest-girl-at-prep-school—handmade in Maine.

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Schoolhouse Electric Housewares When I describe this Portland-based outfit as utilitarian twee, I actually mean that as a positive. I’ve bought a couple of lamps from them that I love, and I came very close to snapping up some stools before (dejectedly) accepting that my my kitchen counter isn’t deep enough for any.

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Steven Alan Apparel The only button-down shirts that don’t make me feel shlumpy and unfeminine are Alan’s reverse seam models: they’re shrunken but not in any kind of horrible cropped way—just sort of like a very well-tailored blazer.

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Schott NYC Outerwear You want a straight-up classic  peacoat, you go to Schott. And you can get yourself a pretty damned iconic moto jacket from them while you’re at it too.

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Utility Canvas Canvas bags, quilts, throws Magazines give out a lot of tote bags at events, and by the time I got fired from Lucky, my entire family was totally Lucky-branded. I couldn’t have them all walking around to work and the beach and so forth advertising my former place of employ, so I went to Utility and bought a mess of new, unsullied bags for everyone. I’m an even bigger fan still of their bright and fun quilted blankets and throws.



*Although I hope we can all agree the minimum wage could use some work.


11 Jun 21:55

How to make cocktails

by Jason Kottke

After thumbing through a copy at my local bar the other night, I've had my eye on Jeffrey Morgenthaler's new book, The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique.

Written by renowned bartender and cocktail blogger Jeffrey Morgenthaler, The Bar Book is the only technique-driven cocktail handbook out there. This indispensable guide breaks down bartending into essential techniques, and then applies them to building the best drinks. More than 60 recipes illustrate the concepts explored in the text, ranging from juicing, garnishing, carbonating, stirring, and shaking to choosing the correct ice for proper chilling and dilution of a drink. With how-to photography to provide inspiration and guidance, this book breaks new ground for the home cocktail enthusiast.

I've been beefing up my home bar over the past few weeks and hopefully this book will help me along in the technique department. Nothing in there about catching glasses behind your back, but no book is perfect, I guess. (thx, gabe)

Tags: books   cocktails   Jeffrey Morgenthaler   The Bar Book
31 May 23:29

Give Yourself the Gift of Not Worrying About Money

by Mr. Money Mustache

This wine rack in J.D. Roth’s place (which is also where I am sitting as I type this) summarizes the philosophy nicely.

For most people in this country, financial problems are caused by not thinking enough about money.

One of the guys I hire occasionally to help me build houses, for example, is permanently broke and always requires full payment in cash at the end of each workweek. Yet at the beginning of each workday, he arrives with a fresh cup of Peet’s coffee from the gourmet shop he drives past on the way to my construction site, and a $5.00 pack of cigarettes that will get smoked in a hands-free manner as he runs the saws and nailguns with those talented hands.  He makes casual purchases without worry, but then must confront a gut-dropping wall of worry whenever the money runs out, which is every Thursday.

Although white-collar professionals may scoff at the obvious folly of this particular lad’s behavior, they tend to follow exactly the same script by signing up for monthly payments on cars and furniture, and voluntarily creating car commutes that send even more money up in smoke than a daily pack of cigarettes. The money may not run out every Thursday, but it does run out every Recession, when the job evaporates or the housing market crashes. Same problem in a different package.

But you’re totally different. As a fellow Mustachian, you join me in peaceful laughter at all forms of self-imposed money shortage. Those problems are not part of our world. You make a good income, but continue to ride your bike, cook your own food, and conduct your commerce on Craigslist. This creates an incredible money surplus, which increases your net worth more every month than the average person saves in a year. Even if you’re just starting out, financial independence is less than ten years away, and if you’re an old person in your 30s who has been doing this for a while, it is even closer. So how could life be any better?

If I could go back 12 years to visit my past self in the midst of this scene, there is a bit of wisdom I would love to share. It wouldn’t be stock tips or the sports almanac that Biff used to make himself rich in Back to the Future. Rather, it would be a bit of mental adjustment that could make the journey even more fun. It would a message something like this:

Dude. Chill out. You’re already rich, and thus it is time to start living that way.

This seemingly Antimustachian sentiment is not an endorsement of bullshit luxury spending. You don’t suddenly “Deserve” a new Mercedes, and you’re not about to go hire someone to cut your lawn and fingernails for you. But what you can do is give yourself permission to stop worrying about money, forever.

Once you have established the habit of non-ridiculous living and the correspondingly pumped set of frugality muscles, you are out of the woods. Riches are inevitable. You may not see it yet, because you are still climbing the ladder. Your naturally cautious and calculating nature requires you to hedge all bets thoroughly.

But you know that spreadsheet of yours that predicts a net worth in the millions in a surprisingly short time? That shit is for real, and it really does tend to come true. There is a future you out there, that looks almost exactly like the present you except with slightly grayer hair and more experience, and the future you has more money than you know what to do with. How does he or she live that future life?

Bringing that visualization back to your present life, you can use the knowledge to relax a bit. When you are faced with an unexpected expenditure or an unavoidable ripoff, you can laugh it off rather than pounding your fists against nearby objects.

Suppose you somehow end up downtown, and your spendy friends want to go to hit the $50.00 restaurant, sip a few $7.00 drinks and then take a taxi home. You’re out of your element: there is no nature around and there are no bikes in sight. Everything is bullshit. People idle their cars in unnecessary lines and pay $25.00 to park them in frustrating concrete mazes. How do you react?

The old me would start to sweat. “Inefficiency! Irrational spending! A week of grocery money flying out the window! Must escape situation and be unhappy until inefficiency is resolved!”

The new me would react differently. “Hey! I recognize this situation. It’s one of those ‘lots of money’ deals, and money happens to be one of my specialties. While my friends are about to spend 10% of their entire net worth this evening, I will lose a negligible fraction of a percent, and still go to bed tonight further ahead than when I woke up. So I might as well have some fun with it, because my financial position is so secure.”

The key bit of wisdom here is to take the relaxed perspective of your future rich self, and transport it into your current frugal one. You don’t have to start deliberately spending more, just deliberately worrying less.

As an advanced Mustachian, Money is your specialty. You are an expert at earning and accumulating money, and not wasting it. It will never be a problem for you, and this is a rare and incredible advantage. But in order to maximize the advantage, you need to convince your naturally cautious mind to let go of worry and embrace the surplus. Start feeling rich. Allow yourself to laugh at your occasional mistakes and indulgences. Notice how much better life feels with this constant companion.

But then when you’re done reveling in your wealth, you can fold up that fat wallet of yours, return it to its designated pocket in the backpack and hop onto your commuter bike so you can get back to work.


20 May 21:59

Android Fragmentation, Gyroscope Edition

by John Gruber

Game Oven, announcing the postponement of the Android version of a new game:

In the Vine above are 7 devices all running the same compass app (ironically named Steady Compass) on Android. Yet, all compasses indicate that North is somewhere else. Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with electromagnetic fields confusing the compass; it has everything to do with the diversity of hardware inside these devices.

We have been developing Bounden for Android alongside its development on iOS, and have tested the game on a number of devices. It was only a week ago that we started expanding our list of test devices, after we quickly discovered that:

(a) some devices had ‘broken’ gyroscopes that didn’t work on all axis,
(b) that some devices were faking gyroscopes by mixing and matching the accelerometer data with compass data, or
(c) that some devices did not have a gyroscope at all.

Curious, I grabbed a handful of iOS devices laying around my house — iPad Mini and iPad Mini with Retina Display; iPhones 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, and 5S — and tried a similar comparison.

Seven different iOS devices running compass applications, all showing similar results for true north.

20 May 21:56

Maker Dad

by Jason Kottke

Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing and Make Magazine recently published Maker Dad, a book full of father-daughter DIY projects. I haven't dug too far into my copy yet, but the projects seem appropriate for kids and parents of all genders.

As the editor in chief of MAKE magazine, Mark Frauenfelder has spent years combing through DIY books, but he's never been able to find one with geeky projects he can share with his two daughters. Maker Dad is the first DIY book to use cutting-edge (and affordable) technology in appealing projects for fathers and daughters to do together. These crafts and gadgets are both rewarding to make and delightful to play with. What's more, Maker Dad teaches girls lifelong skills-like computer programming, musicality, and how to use basic hand tools-as well as how to be creative problem solvers.

Projects run the gamut from "Easy and Quick" to "Challenging" and include silkscreening tshirts, a lunch box guitar, custom rubber stamps, and programming in Scratch.

Tags: books   Maker Dad   Mark Frauenfelder
14 May 10:51

Does Skinny Equal Healthy?

by Mark Sisson

tapemeasureEveryone has that friend with an interdimensional portal for a stomach. They eat whatever they want in massive quantities and never seem to gain a pound. They’re skinny, despite their best efforts to the contrary and our barely concealed envy. And everyone assumes that they’re healthy because they’re skinny.

But are they? Is skinny all it’s cracked up to be? Does it always equal healthy? Are these effortlessly skinny people more likely to be healthy than the person who struggles with their weight and has to watch what they eat?

There’s no easy answer, of course. This is the human body we’re talking about – that repository of confounding variables, shifting contexts, and paradoxical effects. Declarative, absolutist statements about it are almost guaranteed to be proven wrong. And this time is no different.

It turns out that while it’s generally healthier to be slimmer than fatter, skinniness doesn’t guarantee health. There are caveats (tons) and exceptions to the rule (that isn’t really even a rule).

As my first example, I submit the skinny-fat young-ish cool dad. 

They look slim and lean in clothes and definitely sport a normal BMI, but underneath they’re doughy. I see it a lot in new, 30-ish dads. Guys with slim cut jeans, a band t-shirt or flannel depending on the weather, interesting facial hair, and a protruding gut. Fifteen years ago, they’d probably have a chain wallet. They’re not particularly active (since little Bronx was born, you can count on a Simpsons character’s hand the number of times they’ve taken the restored Bianchi out for a ride), can maybe bust out one or two pullups (or two or three chinups), and look healthy and fit enough in clothing. Lack of sleep paired with too many IPAs and too little time to cook proper food or exercise are to blame.

A controversial term, skinny-fat. But here’s what I mean by it: normal or underweight BMI coupled with high body fat. It exists. Just like a common (and valid) complaint is that BMI overestimates the unhealthy overweight population by failing to account for people with a high lean body mass, BMI also overlooks the people with low body mass but high fat mass.

A sciencey way to describe this phenomenon is the metabolically unhealthy non-obese (MUHNO). They’re also known as metabolically obese normal weight (MONW). A MUHNO has at least two of the following metabolic characteristics while retaining a normal weight BMI: triglycerides over 150 mg/dl, fasting glucose over 100 mg/dl (or diabetes), elevated C-reactive protein (marker of inflammation), elevated HOMA-IR (marker of insulin resistance), HDL under 40 mg/dl, systolic blood pressure over 130 and/or diastolic blood pressure over 85. MUHNOs may look healthy and skinny and “normal,” but their metabolic health puts them at a greater risk for several conditions:

MUHNOs tend to have more unhealthy visceral fat around the organs than metabolically-healthy normal weight people, which probably explains the differences in cardiovascular risks between the two groups. And this abdominal obesity is associated with a mortality risk from heart disease even higher than other groups with different body fat patterns.

Next, take the hardcore methionine-counting CRONer, consistently restricting calories and key amino acids for a chance at eternal life.

He’s hunched over a keyboard, discussing supplement stacks, sipping Soylent, counting down the days until the Singularity hits and he’s free from the abomination that is the human body. He may very well live a long time – calorie restriction does show some promise – and he’s very thin, but is he healthy?

If he’s bone-thin and so frail he regularly loses fights with gentle breezes, no. If his idea of lean mass is sinew and ropy tendon, he’s in trouble. Skinny isn’t just skinny. It’s also scrawny. It describes a lack of fat and muscle. It means underweight. A skinny person offers a live lesson in skeletal anatomy without all that lean mass obscuring the view. Lean mass – solid muscle, strong dense bones – is important for health, as we know by now.

Lean mass doesn’t save you from everything, though. Consider the contest-ready bodybuilder.

Though he has more muscle mass than he knows what to do with, the contest-ready bodybuilder is in full metabolic shutdown. His heart rate has slowed to 27 beats a minute. His strength has diminished and never quite recovers, not even after 6 months. Testosterone has plummeted. His total mood disturbance (a marker of mood; higher is worse) has increased from 6 to 43. Going from 14.8% BF to 4.8% BF for the contest and back to 14.6% during recovery takes a toll. 4.8% BF simply isn’t sustainable or healthy.

The pros know this to be true. They understand that walking around at competition levels of leanness is foolhardy, that competition leanness needs to be cyclical, not constant. But a lot of regular fitness enthusiasts working out and dieting down have the idea that 4-5% body fat is not just desirable, but healthy and optimal for everyday life. It’s not. It’s terribly unhealthy, as the case study linked to above shows.

In the elderly, skinniness can mean poor health.

Is skinniness indicating or causing illness in the elderly? Or both? It’s a tough relationship to parse, but it’s definitely a relationship:

Both elderly men and women who are underweight have lower bone mineral density, albeit for different reasons. Low body weight is bad for men because it often means low lean mass. Low body weight is bad for women because it indicates less overall fat mass, and fat seems to help elderly women maintain bone density. Either way, being too skinny is bad for their health and can lead to falls and bone breaks.

For elderly people, becoming skinny may be bad and likely indicates worsening health or the development of an illness. Weight stable skinniness is probably better.

Finally, consider the female. Since I already wrote an entire post about the importance of body fat in women, I won’t get too deep. To a woman, extreme skinniness may be especially unhealthy. Women actually need more body fat than men to be healthy, and it goes in different places (butt, thigh, hips) that serve as storage facilities for baby brain construction material. You may not want to have a baby, but the ability to do so is a strong indicator of good health. There’s even something specific to women called the female athlete triad. Characterized by extremely low body fat and extreme energy deficits, the triad can result in amenorrhoea, osteoporosis, and infertility.

Can we make any blanket statements at all?

The right amount of leanness is healthy. Of course, the “right amount” depends on many variables, like sex, age, baseline health, as well as interpersonal variation. One person may be perfectly healthy at 8% body fat, while another might need 15% to be healthy. One woman may lose her period and develop osteoporosis at 14% body fat, while that same body fat percentage could be perfectly adequate for the next woman.

For all the statistics and correlations I’ve referenced in today’s post, they don’t represent the outliers in every group. If they don’t apply to you, they don’t apply to you. Don’t take offense and seek redress. Take pride in your individuality. Skinny old granny with a strong grip and stronger bones? Keep doing what you’re doing.

All else being equal and eliminating any underlying health issues unrelated to body weight, a slim person is probably healthier than an overweight or obese person, yeah. But nothing is really equal, is it? Life doesn’t work that way. It’s not neat and tidy.

If you take anything away today, I hope it’s the knowledge that skinny does not necessarily equal healthy. There is such a thing as “too skinny” – for everyone.

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13 May 21:55

‘If You’re Hungry, There’s a Roast in the Fridge.’

by John Gruber

Great Mother’s Day story by Erika Hall:

That moment has stayed with me my whole life — that cool, controlled response to a threat, the absolute refusal to play the victim. In both my grandmother’s stand against city hall and my mother’s calm dispatch of a home invader, I witnessed the assertion of one’s basic right to live life without being fucked with. And I saw the power of that assertion.

Neither my grandmother nor my mother would have ever described themselves as feminists. Far from it.

But I sure do.

06 May 21:29

The Invention of the AeroPress

by John Gruber

Zachary Crockett, writing for Priceonomics, on Alan Adler, inventor of (among other things) the Aerobie flying disc and the AeroPress coffee maker:

Adler says the mainstream toy industry has a tendency to push out new products every three years. “Parker Brothers, for instance, has a quota of ten new toys every year at the NY Toy Fair,” he tells us. Aerobie finds this practice counter-intuitive, and goes against the grain:

“A lot of companies feel the need to release new products; they’ll release products that never really deserved to be sold! They’re just not that good. We don’t look at it that way: we only release products that we think are innovative and offer excellent play value. Companies often spoil products by revising them in an effort to make them new.”

Conversely, Aerobie has stuck with a relatively small list of products (18, over a 30 year business), and has never had to discontinue a product (this is a routine practice at major toy manufacturers).

05 May 21:18

undergradhist: Professorial Coping Strategy #1: Grading...


Professorial Coping Strategy #1: Grading Bingo

Ha ha, my family should play this.

12 Apr 02:54

Sprinkles Ice Cream

by Max Falkowitz

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Most sprinkles ice creams just add colored sprinkles to a plain, unflavored sweet cream base. That's pretty boring. This recipe uses candy-colored, delightfully artificially flavored cereal (Fruity Pebbles, specifically, but Trix and Froot Loops would work well) to make something that's far more fun and deserving of the sprinkles that go into it.

Why this recipe works:

  • "Fruit"-flavored cereal adds color and vibrant flavor to pretty but bland sprinkles.
  • Soaking hot dairy in cereal for just 20 minutes adds a strong flavor to the base without absorbing too much liquid.
  • Starch from the cereal leaches into the ice cream, which makes for an especially creamy texture.

Special equipment: ice cream maker


serves makes 1 quart, active time 1 hour, total time 3 hours to overnight, including chilling time

  • 2 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups fruit-flavored cereal (recommended: Fruity Pebbles; see head note)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup colored sprinkles


  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, bring cream and milk to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off heat, stir in cereal, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until the mixture lightens in color and is fully combined.

  2. Pour cereal-dairy mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Push on cereal mush with a spoon to extract as much as much dairy as possible, but don't press flakes of cereal through the strainer. Discard cereal. Strained dairy should yield 3 cups; measure out that amount, adding more cream and milk in a 2 to 1 ratio if needed.

  3. Quickly pour dairy into saucepan with egg yolks and sugar, whisking rapidly to completely combine. Place pot over medium-low heat and cook, whisking frequently, until a custard forms on a spoon and a finger swiped across the back leaves a clean line, or until custard temperature reaches 170°F. Stir in salt to taste.

  4. Strain custard through a fine mesh strainer and either chill in ice bath or in refrigerator until it is very cold, about 40°F. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions, adding in sprinkles during last minute of churn, then transfer to an airtight container and chill in freezer for at least 4 hours.

11 Apr 10:04

Acorn on Sale for $15

by John Gruber

Just bought it. I'm tired of how crappy the Gimp's font system is.

Flying Meat’s Acorn — a wonderful Mac image editor that normally costs $50 — is on sale for just $15. That’s a steal.

10 Apr 07:45

Honey Corn Muffins

by Yvonne Ruperti

[Photograph: Yvonne Ruperti]

Honey is the perfect mildly sweet flavoring to these earthy, moist corn muffins.

Notes: To remove muffins from pan, hold pan on its side and gently pull muffins out.

About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of the new cookbook One Bowl Baking: Simple From Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts (Running Press, October 2013), and available at Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Powell's, The Book Depository. Watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. Follow her Chocoholic, Chicken Dinners, Singapore Stories and One Bowl Baking columns on Serious Eats. Follow Yvonne on Twitter as she explores Singapore.

Special equipment: 12-cup muffin pan


serves Serves 12, active time 15 minutes, total time 35 minutes

  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Honey Butter:
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons honey


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Whisk butter, sugar, and salt in large bowl until light and creamy. Whisk in eggs until combined. Whisk in honey and milk.

  2. Add cornmeal, flour, and baking powder to the bowl, then whisk until combined. Pour batter into muffin cups and bake until golden and set, about 20 minutes. Let muffins cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan to cool on wire rack (see note).

  3. To make the honey butter, stir softened butter and honey until combined. Serve.

10 Apr 07:45

asparagus-stuffed eggs

by deb

asparagus-stuffed eggs

Deep in the Julia Child archives, past the boeuf bouguignon, onion soup, jiggling aspics and the patently untrue yarn about the chicken that fell from the counter, mid-trussing, and was dusted off and put back into use with a remark about “nobody’s in the kitchen but you,” there are recipes so low in butter and bacon that they hardly fit the stereotype of French food as gluttony, as are thus rarely mentioned. A good lot of them are in From Julia Child’s Kitchen; published in 1975, it contained recipes and kitchen wisdom that came from episodes of her PBS show. Gentler to novices than her Mastering the Art of French Cooking classics, the recipes were probably more familiar to American audiences, things like leek and potato soup, sauteed chicken breasts with tarragon and tomatoes, and, here, a riff on deviled eggs that I am making my mission to rescue from obscurity.

does anyone eat their eggs in order?
covering with cold water and ice cubes

I’m a big fan of the hard-boiled egg; I find that keeping a few in the fridge makes for an easy breakfast with a slice of whole-grain cinnamon toast, a wholesome way to add protein to a lunch salad, or for snacks. My favorite way to eat them is slightly undercooked, peeled, halved and schmeared with the thinnest film of mayo and then sharp Dijon, followed by a few flakes of sea salt, but Julia Child’s version might be their highest calling: the potential to stuff their centers with something like a balanced meal, or at least a really gush-worthy appetizer.

simmer to cook

... Read the rest of asparagus-stuffed eggs on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to asparagus-stuffed eggs | 109 comments to date | see more: Appetizer, Asparagus, Breakfast, Easter, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Photo, Spring, Vegetarian

05 Apr 00:59

Macaroni and Cheese Waffles

by J. Kenji López-Alt

I'm calling it: Kenji is the Heston of America.

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Waffled macaroni and cheese might not rank quite as high on the list of "things you must try before you die" as, say, a fresh-from-the-water oyster, or a sliver of Parmesan sliced off of a wheel that has just been opened in front of your eyes, or a bit of playful light bondage, but it's certainly good enough that it should immediately make your list of second-tier priorities.

That is, if you do it right, of course.

Why this recipe works:

  • Waffling macaroni and cheese creates crispy, crusty edges of cheese with a gooey, soft core.
  • By spreading the macaroni and cheese out into a cut-able sheet, you eliminate the need for breading of any kind when waffling it.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!

Special equipment: Rimmed baking sheet, waffle iron


serves Makes 4 waffles, active time 30 minutes, total time 1 hour

  • 1 pound dried macaroni
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing baking sheet
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cups whole milk
  • Dash hot sauce, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 1/4 pounds grated cheddar cheese
  • Maple syrup for serving (optional)


  1. Place pasta in a large pot and cover with lukewarm water by 2 inches. Add 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, and cook until pasta is tender, about 6 minutes after coming to a boil. Drain pasta.

  2. While pasta cooks, heat butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until melted. Add flour and cook, stirring, until pale golden blond. Slowly whisk in whole milk. Whisk in hot sauce and mustard. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and stir in 3/4 pounds grated cheese. Stir until melted. If smoother texture is desired, transfer to a blender and blend on high speed until glossy and smooth.

  3. When pasta is cooked, add cheese sauce and stir to combine. Pour mixture into a greased rimmed baking sheet and flatten with a spatula. Refrigerate until completely set, about 30 minutes.

  4. Preheat a waffle iron. Carefully cut macaroni and cheese into 8 even squares.

  5. Using a wide spatula, carefully lift one square and plate it on a cutting board. Cover top with 1/4 of remaining cheese. Place another square of macaroni on top of cheese, creating a sandwich.

  6. Place sandwich in waffle maker. Close and cook until golden brown on both sides and cheese has crisped up, about 6 minutes. Remove from waffle iron and serve with syrup and hot sauce. Repeat steps 4 through 6 for remaining waffles.

05 Apr 00:55

Slow TV

by Jason Kottke

Slow television is the uninterrupted broadcast of an ordinary event from start to finish. Early efforts included burning Yule logs on TV around Christmas and driver's views of complete British rail journeys (not to mention Andy Warhol and the pitch drop experiment), but Norwegian public television has revived the format in recent years. The first broadcast was of a 7-hour train trip from Bergen to Oslo, which was watched at some point by ~20% of Norway's population. You can watch the entire thing on YouTube:

Not content with that, in 2011 an entire ship voyage was broadcast for 134 continuous hours. The entire voyage is available for viewing, but you can watch a 37-minute time lapse of the whole thing if you can't spare the 5½ days:

As the show progressed and the ratings climbed (half of the Norwegian population tuned in at some point), the show became an interactive event, with people meeting the ship along to coast in order to appear as extras in the cast. Some even followed in smaller boats, filming as they went along in the ship's wake.

Other shows included 12 hours about firewood (including 8 uninterrupted hours of a burning fireplace), 18 hours of salmon swimming upstream (which some felt was too short), 100 hours of Magnus Carlsen playing chess, a 30-hour interview with a noted author, and several continuous hours of sweater production, from shearing to knitting.

Shows currently in the planning stages include A Day in the Life of a Snail and "a 24-hour-long program following construction workers building a digital-style clock out of wood, shuffling planks to match each passing minute". The slow TV concept might soon be coming to American TV as well.

P.S. Does this 10-hour video of Tyrion Lannister slapping Joffrey count as slow TV? Either way, it's great.

Tags: Norway   television   video
27 Mar 02:13

When Lab Scientists Used to Pipette with Their Mouths

by Ria Misra

When Lab Scientists Used to Pipette with Their Mouths

There've been lots of advancements in lab tech, but here's one researchers are probably particularly grateful for: the modern pipette. Why? Because, before its invention, lab protocol called for scientists to pipette with their mouths, much like you would a straw.



26 Mar 20:54

7 Steps to Getting Your Spouse On Board: Step 1

by annie

Realisation: we're both nerds.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 10.54.29 AMIf you’re familiar with Dave Ramsey at all, you’ll know that he talks about couples in terms of the nerd and the free-spirit. There is usually one of each in every couple. If you’re the exception and you’re both nerds, then you’re probably running your finances like a well-oiled machine. If you’re both free-spirits, well, God help you. But, since you’re reading this, something tells me that you’re probably not a free-spirit but rather a…well, you know. (Be proud, y’all – own it.) 

I mean, right? You care enough about your budget to read blogs about it, just sayin’. (And I think you’re absolutely right to do so!)

So in the beginning of our marriage, my husband was the nerd, and I was the free-spirit. Frustrated and resentful, he needed to get me on his team.

I told you about how he managed that in my last post, and after my husband read that post he said, “Well, you left out a few things.” He proceeded to divulge his secrets, making me feel so used but impressed with his shrewdness and skill at the same time.

Defeated and disheartened about being the only one that cared about the finances, my husband decided to use a 7 phase process to get me onboard. (He only realized after the fact that it was 7 phases; he’s not that nerdy.)

Okay, so without further ado, Step 1 (in my husband’s words):

Make sure you have your stuff together with the budget and that you reflect reality. Know the four rules. Keep your Budget Accounts current. Take the classes. Get on the forums. Read this blog.

Easy enough, right? It’s so important, though, because if you don’t have a strong system in place, your spouse won’t trust you or your silly, little budget.

Now, if you’re already doing this and you’re chompin’ at the bit to get to the next step, just hang on.

Write out everything that you’re doing to “have your stuff together”. Write out your plan for your finances – your debt-payoff goals, your savings goals, your plan to increase income, your plans for lifestyle simplification, etc.

Bring these things up in conversation, but don’t make your spouse feel like he/she has to act on what you’re saying. You’re just happy about what you’re doing.

“Hey honey, guess what I did today? I decided to start making my lunch during the week instead of going out so that I can use that money to save for an anniversary trip. Be thinking of a quaint B&B in the area that you’d like to go to.”


“Hey guess what? I decided to not buy that new bike so that I could pay the rest of the Capital One off and get that payment out of our lives!”


“Hey, look at this. It’s a thermometer that I’m going to color in as I pay more and more off of the house.”

Just build excitement and trust, and strengthen your knowledge. No bossy-bossing or squirreling away resentment. We can only really change ourselves! The rest is just building trust.

More phases to come, but be patient.

26 Mar 20:53

YNAB is Now Free for College Students

by jesse

The headline basically says it all.

We’re fighting free with free.  I was given a free t-shirt when I signed up for my first Visa credit card while in college (charged a mattress on it, forgot about the payment, paid it off, and cut it up in disgust—the card, not the mattress).

More kids are graduating from college absolutely weighed down by student debt. I don’t know what portion of their debt is avoidable, but I’m confident that if those students were following YNAB’s Four Rules, they would graduate with less debt.

Starting today, if you’re a college student (even only part-time), we’ll let you use YNAB for free while you’re in school.

How to Obtain Your Free Copy of YNAB

  1. Write to us at and include proof of registration at your college.

  2. We’ll send you a special license key, good until the end of the calendar year.

  3. At the end of the year, just shoot us another email if you’re still cranking away on your schoolwork, and we’ll send you a new license key that’s good for the entire next year.

Answers to a Few Questions

If I’m still living at home, but am attending college, do I get a free copy?

Yes! Instead of having a household license (the kind we sell every day), you’ll receive a special license key that is good for your personal use, through the end of the calendar year.

Why not have the license key run for the entire school year?

Different countries have different “school years” and we thought it’d be easiest to handle them all with an easily-remembered calendar year. It’s 2014, you’ll need the 2014 Key. It’s 2015? Grab the new 2015 Key.

Can I share my license key with my friends that are also students?

Instead of having your friends use your license key, send them over our way (, with their proof of registration) and we’ll set them up properly. This helps us in a few ways: 1) We can send them a few emails re: getting started with YNAB. 2) They’ll receive an invitation to our spring free online class we run for college students re: student loan debt and, 3) We’ll know how successful this program is. If it’s successful and gains some traction, we’ll hopefully be able to get some media muscle behind it and let even more schools know.

What about Making YNAB Free for [some other well-deserving group]?

Perhaps some day. We’re new at this, and want to see where this goes!

What should I send as a proof of registration?

You can send a scan or screenshot (PDF, jpg, gif, etc.) of a document issued by your college, with your name, the college name, and information that shows you’re currently enrolled.  This may include a school ID card, a report card, a transcript, or a tuition bill or statement.

How Does YNAB Benefit from This? You Don’t Run a Charity.

YNAB has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past several years. That growth has come almost entirely from word of mouth. We think that having a bunch of super-savvy, money-smart, socially-active, recent college graduates—all hooked on following YNAB’s Four Rules—will only increase that word of mouth. Also, we really like the idea of college students graduating with less debt, even if it means they miss out on a free t-shirt from Visa.

Please Help Us Spread the Word!

Use the buttons below to share this post on Facebook, tweet this post on Twitter, or forward this blog post to college students you know (or, parents of college students you know)!

23 Mar 10:18

Latch-Hooked Portrait of Burt Reynolds

by Andrew Salomone
latch-hooked-burt-reynolds-3Etsy seller MOLLYSHEART spent so much time admiring this legendary image of Burt Reynolds from a 1972 Cosmopolitan centerfold that she recreated it as a latch-hooked rug entirely by eye.

Read more on MAKE

17 Mar 09:14

After Dark in CSS

by John

After Dark in CSS is an exercise in nostalgia for those of us of a certain age:

After Dark menu

[Via The Tao of Mac]

12 Mar 20:51

Fried Homemade Pickles with Ranch Dressing From 'Kitchen Confidence'

by Kate Williams

[Photograph: Sara Remington]

Sometimes when I'm reading a new cookbook and looking for recipes to test, I'll make my way over to the book's Amazon page. There I'll peruse the comments to see if there are any particular dishes that stand out for the reviewers. Usually, there is little consensus, and I'm left to my own devices. But when it came to Kelsey Nixon's new cookbook, Kitchen Confidence, it was a different story entirely. Almost every review mentioned two words: fried pickles. These words were likely followed by at least a few exclamation points and written squeals of glee.

Quality research accomplished, I vowed to make said fried pickles—despite the fact that I'm not a huge fan of the concept. Nixon's fried pickles start, appropriately, with cucumbers, which she quick-pickles in a sweet brine spiked with red wine vinegar. The pickles are drained from the warm brine as soon as they begin to soften (a key step to frying pickles with texture) and breaded with a crust laced with dill and garlic powder. For ease and speed, Nixon shallow-fries the pickle slices in a skillet instead of worrying about heating up a big pot of oil. Finally, the pickle chips are served with a punchy ranch dressing, which echoes the flavors in the pickle brine and breading.

Why I picked this recipe: Amazon spoke; I listened.

What worked: I actually ended up enjoying the dish, and was particularly impressed with how resonant the flavors of the pickle brine were throughout the remaining components.

What didn't: The cucumber skin was a distraction in the final fried pickles. Since the cucumbers only brine for a few minutes, the skin never has a chance to soften. Next time, I'll partially peel the cucumbers before slicing to help mitigate the problem. Also, the fried pickles soften relatively quickly, so be sure to eat them right after frying.

Suggested tweaks: If you don't want to buy garlic powder and garlic salt, as well as dried dill and the fresh herb, you can likely use just garlic powder and fresh dill. Just be sure to add some extra salt to the ranch dressing.

Reprinted with permission from Kitchen Confidence: Essential Recipes and Tips That Will Help You Cook Anything by Kelsey Nixon. Copyright 2014. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.


serves Serves 6 to 8, active time 55 minutes, total time 1 hour and 15 minutes

  • Quick Pickles
  • 2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 red Fresno chile, halved lengthwise
  • 6 Kirby cucumbers (about 2 pounds)
  • &nbsp
  • Ranch Dressing
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • &nbsp
  • Fried Pickles
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  1. For the pickles: In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, celery seeds, peppercorns, garlic, chile, and 2 cups water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt.

  2. Meanwhile, using a mandoline (or sharp knife), cut the cucumbers crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and put them in a large heatproof bowl or container.

  3. Once the vinegar mixture is boiling, pour it over the sliced cucumbers, making sure the cucumbers are submerged. Let sit in the liquid for about 20 minutes. (The longer the pickles sit in the liquid, the softer they become; for me, 20 minutes is perfect.) Drain the pickles. You can eat these right away or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

  4. For the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, dill, garlic salt, onion powder, and pepper. Adjust the seasoning to taste. The dressing can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

  5. For the fried pickles: Set a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

  6. In a large zip-top plastic bag, combine the drained quick pickles and flour and shake until the pickles are well coated. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. In a shallow dish, combine the panko, dill, garlic powder, and salt. Working in batches, dip the floured pickle chips into the egg mixture, and then toss them in the seasoned panko, fully coating them.

  7. In a large heavy skillet or cast-iron pan set over medium-high heat, heat 1/2 inch of oil until it reaches 350°F.

  8. Working in batches, shallow-fry the pickles until they are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer the pickles to the rack to drain and immediately sprinkle them with kosher salt.

  9. Serve the fried pickles hot, with the dressing on the side.

05 Mar 20:47

The amazing invisible spacer GIF hack

by Jason Kottke

In his post about 1990s web development techniques, Zach Holman praises the 1-pixel transparent GIF.

1x1.gif should have won a fucking Grammy. Or a Pulitzer. Or Most Improved, Third Grade Gym Class or something. It's the most important achievement in computer science since the linked list. It's not the future we deserved, but it's the future we needed (until the box model fucked it all up).

Given all of the awards Holman desires to present, I'm surprised he didn't mention the inventor of the spacer GIF, David Siegel. Siegel was perhaps the first celebrity web designer -- well, a celebrity among web designers anyway. He dispensed opinionated design knowledge from his personal homepage and used the High Five award to showcase his idea of cutting edge web design. (Fun fact: Siegel's own site was the first High Five award winner.)

David Siegel

Somewhere along the way, Siegel came up with the idea of using a 1x1 pixel transparent GIF to introduce whitespace on web pages. The file size was very small but you could scale it up visually using the height and width attributes of the tag and use it hundreds of times on a site because it was cached by the browser the first time it loaded.

Popularized in the pages of his web design book, Creating Killer Web Sites, Siegel's spacer GIF was completely non-standard and hacky but had the great advantages of 1) giving designers superb control over a site's design and 2) working more or less the same in every graphical browser. The designers of the time weren't content to wait around for the SGML nerds at W3C to figure out better ways of displaying web pages, so when Siegel pulled this beautiful kludge out of his pocket, everyone quickly adopted the technique. For years the spacer GIF dominated web design, for better and for worse. So yeah, maybe Siegel does deserve a Grammy or something.

Tags: David Siegel   design   web development   Zach Holman
04 Mar 02:35

How-To: Knit Arctic Wrap

by Haley Pierson-Cox
purlbee_arctic_wrap_01Ready to add some Fair Isle to your knitting repertoire? You definitely won't want to miss this gorgeous knit arctic wrap!

Read more on MAKE

22 Feb 02:50

TestFlight Owner Burstly Acquired by Apple

by John Gruber

Speaking of Apple and small acquisitions:

Apple spokesperson Kristin Huguet provided the following, which is as close to a confirmation as Apple ever gets: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

In a shocking development, TestFlight shut down support for Android earlier this week.

22 Feb 02:48

Pharrell Mashup (Happy Get Lucky) - Pomplamoose

by PomplamooseMusic
Shot in one take, no cuts or invisible edits starting at 0:04. This song is on our new album, Season 2 available on iTunes: For...
Views: 2033127
34250 ratings
Time: 02:54 More in Music
22 Feb 00:11

Classic Egg Creams

by Alexandra Penfold

I am very tempted to try this. Too bad I don't have any Bosco. #costanza

[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

With little effort you can make an awesome egg cream at home. The ingredients are easy enough to come by: seltzer, milk, and chocolate syrup. I belong to the traditionalist camp that says Fox's U-Bet syrup or bust. But if you must use a different chocolate syrup, well, don't say I didn't warn you. Fox's U-Bet syrup is made either with corn syrup or cane sugar. The cane sugar kind is Kosher for Passover so look for it in the special Passover section of the store and stock up. I find that low-fat milks make the drink a bit watery for my taste, so I use whole milk here. If you have a seltzer dispenser you'll get a nicer, foamier head, but you can still make this drink pouring bottled seltzer off a spoon and stirring vigorously.

About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered literary agent by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie, a Midtown Lunch contributor, and co-author of New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks. You can follow her on Twitter at @BlondieBrownie.

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!

Special equipment: 12 ounce tall glass, straw, long handled spoon


serves Serves 1, active time 5 minutes, total time 5 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons Fox's U-Bet chocolate syrup
  • 1 1/2 ounces whole milk
  • 3/4 cup seltzer


  1. In a tall glass, add chocolate syrup and milk. Tilt the glass slightly and pour (or spritz) the seltzer off your stirring spoon until you have a nice foamy head that's nearing the top of the glass. Stir vigorously to mix the chocolate in and serve immediately.

22 Feb 00:09

Meyer Lemon Bitters

by Elana Lepkowski

For Rodd Snook!

Photograph: Elana Lepkowski

Use up those buckets of winter citrus with these bitters. Meyer lemons are sweet, delicate, and perfumey, but I wanted my bitters on the bitter side, with some accents of orange and lime leaves to make for a more complex citrus fragrance. Makrud lime leaves pierce through the perfumy nature of Meyer lemons with a sharp punch, while bitter orange, fennel, and spices create earthy undertones for balance.

Note: When peeling citrus, try to include as little white pith as possible. Dried citrus zest and dried ginger slices are available commercially, or make your own by zesting citrus and drying in an oven at 250° F for one hour.

About the Author: Elana Lepkowski is a Los Angeles based home-schooled mixologist who photographs and shares her cocktail recipes at You can find her on Instagram and Twitter as @stirandstrain where she sometimes forgets she needs a filter.

Special equipment: strainer, cheesecloth, dropper bottles, airtight containers, sauce pan


serves makes about 18 ounces, active time 30 minutes, total time 3-1/2 weeks

  • Peeled zest from 4 Meyer lemons
  • Peeled zest from 1/2 bitter orange
  • Peeled zest from 1 Eureka lemon
  • 2 tablespoons dried lemon zest (see note above)
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried orange zest (see note above)
  • 4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger slices (see note above, do not use powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole white peppercorns
  • 5 dried makrud lime leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried gentian root
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 2 cups 100 proof vodka
  • 1 cup water


  1. In an airtight container, combine all of the zest, cardamom, ginger, coriander, white pepper, lime leaves, gentian root, and fennel seed. Pour vodka over the ingredients and seal container. Swirl to combine. Keep the container in a cool, dark place for two weeks, swirling mixture once daily.

  2. After two weeks, strain out solids and set aside. Strain liquid through a cheesecloth to remove any particles left and transfer to an airtight container. Store in a cool, dark place. In a small sauce pan, combine solids with water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Once boil is reached, turn heat to low and let simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, pour contents of the pan into a separate airtight container and let sit one week.

  3. After a week, strain out solids through a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh strainer. Add to the original liquid that has been set aside. Let sit at room temperature for 3 days and skim off any residue that accumulates at the top. Strain again if there is any leftover sediment and bottle into dropper bottles for storage.

14 Feb 09:39

Now? Right here?

by John

Michael Shainblum's image of the Burj Khalifa being struck by lightning doesn't deserve to be embedded here in scaled-down form: follow that link and see it properly. It's worth it.

(I do hope there was a mad scientist at the top of the tower, cackling maniacally as he tried to tap the power of the lightning storm to breathe life into his creation. Seems like such a waste of a good lightning bolt, otherwise…)

[Via Bad Astronomy]