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Saturday, March 19, 2016

An Ode To The Rice Cooker, The Smartest Kitchen Appliance I’ve Ever Owned, by Anna Maria Barry-Jester, Five Thirty Eight

Indeed, the very word fuzzy often has a negative connotation in the U.S. (see fuzzy math in politics), and goes against Western notions of logic, which are mostly built around the Aristotelian law of the excluded middle: in lay terms, the idea that a statement cannot be true and false at the same time.

Malki, however, says that fuzzy logic’s ability to incorporate gray into what was once a black and white world is what makes it so powerful. These gray areas, along with the use of language rather than just numbers, also explain why it is a foundation of artificial intelligence. “This is exactly how we as human beings think and make decisions,” Malki said. “If you ask someone how the temperature is, we don’t say 82.3 degrees. We say it’s warm.”

So what does all of this have to do with consistently perfect rice?

Unpacking Our Palates, by Susan Pagni, Los Angeles Review of Books

In the words of Jonathan Richman, I eat with gusto, damn! You bet!

That is, I did until very recently. Last spring, my middle-aged body cried uncle and I developed a host of complaints, including waterlogged joints and a persistent urge to nap. My doctor attributed it to aging, lifestyle, and stress. I could try NSAIDs and water pills, or I could change my diet. She recommended more vegetables and whole grains, less fatty meat, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, and a big reduction in sodium. I should have been relieved: a mild health problem with an easy, noninvasive solution. Instead I mourned the end of an era. Henceforth I would slog through thin, meagerly salted soups and turn down cake. Ironically, the idea of telling my friends that I couldn’t eat something, anything, filled me with shame. Oh no, I thought, I’m going to be one of those people. By which I really meant, not myself: I love food, and much of who I think I am is wrapped up in the way I eat.

‘What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours,’ By Helen Oyeyemi, by Laura van den Berg, New York Times

The pleasurable awareness of a story being told ­courses through the collection like electricity, down to the knowing quality of a title like “If a Book Is Locked There’s Probably a Good Reason for That Don’t You Think.”

Karen Hall’s Rewrites, by Laura Miller, Slate

A thriller writer gets a second chance to revise her novel 20 years after it first came out. Did she make it better?

The Elms, by Alison Brackenbury