Saturday, 20 September, 2014
Cade Metz, Wired
Inside a squat building on San Francisco’s 10th Street, packed into a space that looks a lot like a high school chem lab, Hampton Creek is redesigning the food you eat. Mixing and matching proteins found in the world’s plants, the tiny startup already has created a reasonable facsimile of the chicken egg—an imitation of the morning staple that’s significantly cheaper, safer, and possibly healthier than the real thing—and now it’s working to overhaul other foods in much the same way.
At the back of the room, spread across the long stainless steel science desks, among the centrifuges, scales, bottles, and beakers, biochemists systematically extract proteins from plants like the Canadian yellow pea to analyze their makeup and behavior. Beside them, food scientists combine these proteins in new ways, mixing them with other natural substances to create something that looks, feels, and tastes like the foods we know today. In the next row over, chefs—including Chris Jones and Ben Roche, recruited from Chicago’s celebrated gastromolecular eatery, Moto—strive to turn these creations into something you could serve to your family: an omelet or some french toast or a chocolate chip cookie.
Neil Swidey, The Boston Globe
For 60 years, owning a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise or two has been the elevator that legions of hard-working strivers have used to lift themselves up out of the ranks of factory workers and into the realm of, if not the rich, at least the pretty comfortable. But even if most regular Joes waiting in drive-through lines have no idea, the Dunkin’ franchisee landscape has been shifting dramatically. As New England’s beloved brand aggressively expands and the price of admission for franchising continues to climb, ever-growing franchisee networks are crowding out the moms and pops. More and more, the elevator is traveling only to the penthouse.
Friday, 19 September, 2014
John Jeremiah Sullivan, New York Times
Some critics have lamented over the years that his characters don’t really “change,” but they do; it’s just that they devolve, they go mad.
Ezekiel J. Emanuel, The Atlantic
Let me be clear about my wish. I’m neither asking for more time than is likely nor foreshortening my life. Today I am, as far as my physician and I know, very healthy, with no chronic illness. I just climbed Kilimanjaro with two of my nephews. So I am not talking about bargaining with God to live to 75 because I have a terminal illness. Nor am I talking about waking up one morning 18 years from now and ending my life through euthanasia or suicide. Since the 1990s, I have actively opposed legalizing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. People who want to die in one of these ways tend to suffer not from unremitting pain but from depression, hopelessness, and fear of losing their dignity and control. The people they leave behind inevitably feel they have somehow failed. The answer to these symptoms is not ending a life but getting help. I have long argued that we should focus on giving all terminally ill people a good, compassionate death—not euthanasia or assisted suicide for a tiny minority.
Thursday, 18 September, 2014
Boer Deng, Slate
First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”
John Freeman, The Boston Globe
How few novelists have evolved with this freedom and created a morally rigorous environment, one embracing the questions God provokes. What is right or wrong? Will there be an accounting, in the end? It’s why we read so much crime fiction. Can there be virtue without punishment?
Emma Brockes, The Guardian
It mightn’t be authentic Italian, but it is authentic something. American pastoral, perhaps? I couldn’t have had a better time if I’d been eating at Nobu.
Aaron Gordon, Pacific Standard
Forty years ago, thanks to an organization founded by four high school friends, human rights beat out the free market—and now we can all pee for free.
Matt Singer, The Dissolve
Flanked by handlers, assistants, and Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts strides into the Galleria D’Arte di Roma. She looks beautiful, nervous, and extremely pregnant. Only this isn’t Julia Roberts—at least not exactly. This is Julia Roberts playing Tess Ocean, wife of master thief Danny Ocean (George Clooney) in Ocean’s Twelve. But it’s also Julia Roberts playing Tess Ocean playing Julia Roberts; after Danny’s plan to swipe a priceless Fabergé egg goes south, it’s up to Tess to finish the job, by posing as the one celebrity she uncannily resembles.
Wednesday, 17 September, 2014
Scott Porch, The Daily Beast
Forty years ago today, Caro’s magisterial 1,296-page life of New York master builder Robert Moses rewrote the rules of biography.
Dennis Overbye, New York Times
It was in 1964 that Dr. Higgs, then a 35-year old assistant professor at the University of Edinburgh, predicted the existence of a new particle — now known as the Higgs boson, or the “God particle” — that would explain how other particles get mass. Half a century later, on July 4, 2012, he pulled out a handkerchief and wiped away a tear as he sat in a lecture hall at CERN, the European Organization of Nuclear Research in Geneva, and heard that his particle had finally been found.
Tuesday, 16 September, 2014
Jennifer Schusessler, New York Times
People may swoon over colorful expressions and interesting etymologies. And Mr. Jurafsky’s book offers plenty of that, including a chapter tracing the complicated global journey that turned the Fujianese fish sauce known as “ke-tchup” into the familiar American red stuff. But for linguists, the less obviously colorful aspects of our food-talk reveals much about the deeper structures of our language and psychology.
Thomas Hobbs, The Guardian
It’s all beefy buzzwords – grass-fed, dry-aged, specially reared, authentically British, generally served up in a glazed brioche bun. All promise to take me to a state of beef burger nirvana. So why then am I so completely bored by it all?
Monday, 15 September, 2014
Winnie Lim, Medium
Why you should write even if you think nobody is reading.
David Roberts, OutsideOnline.com
From my perspective, that time involved a dazzling variety of activities: reading, blogging, gossiping, shopping, listening to music, watching movies. But from Huck’s perspective, I only ever did one thing: sit on my computer. Maybe he had a point.
Laura Miller, The Guardian
It may sound dauntingly experimental, but the hallmark of Smith's fiction is that she approaches her formal adventures with a buoyant, infectious warmth and her feet planted firmly on the ground.
Sunday, 14 September, 2014
L.V. Anderson, Slate
The answer, I recently learned from a colleague who constructs crossword puzzles, is that advanced puzzlers do the diagramless without knowing the location of the first letter of 1 Across. If the clue were given with the puzzle, it would spoil part of the challenge for these highly skilled puzzlers.
Kathryn Hughes, The Guardian
More specifically, he was born in York to a father who worked at the head office of the London & North Eastern. Lulled to sleep by the clanking wagons in Dringhouses marshalling yard, he later learned snooker from the drivers who congregated in the Railway Institute. Best of all, as a manager's son, Martin got a first-class travel pass, which means that he grew up thinking of the British rail network as his own personal train set. He once went to Aberdeen for the day just because he could.
Rebecca Steinitz, The Boston Globe
Because the new Sarah Waters novel, which finds the author at the height of her powers, weaves her characteristic threads of historical melodrama, lesbian romance, class tension, and sinister doings into a fabric of fictional delight that alternately has the reader flipping pages as quickly as possible, to find out what happens next, and hesitating to turn the page, for fear of what will happen next.
David Crystal, The Guardian
A remarkable creativity surrounds the vocabulary of death. The words and expressions range from the solemn and dignified to the jocular and mischievous, and they reflect the changing ways we have thought about life and death over the centuries.
Noam Cohen, New York Times
Never before has the boundary between geek culture and mainstream culture been so porous.