Thursday, September 27, 2007

5 Nutritious Habits of the Planet's Healthiest Countries

The oldest man in the world currently resides in Japan. When awarded with the certificate of his esteemed status, he told presenters that he'd rather being eating his fish and tofu (All right, not really, but I'm sure he would have if anyone had asked).

CNN's article "5 Nutritious Habits of the Planet's Healthiest Countries" points out that a diet of Twinkies and Captain Crunch, while appetizing, may be perpetuating the current fat epidemic that is sweeping the American countryside. Other countries, however, continue to practice what we all learned in elementary school but resist trying for ourselves: Eat your fruits and vegetables and one day you may get a certificate from Guiness as well.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The 5 Most Kick-Ass Apocalyptic Prophecies

Convinced Nostrodamus's Mabus stands for G.W. Bush? Perhaps has some insight on why we should consider running for the hills. "The 5 Most Kick-Ass Apocalyptic Prophecies" will remind you that stocking up on bottled water and refreshing your flesh-eating zombie killing techniques may not necessarilly be a bad thing. Just look what happened to the Hopi Indians.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Orange Bitters

This most excellent recipe for Orange Bitters comes from Savuer magazine via Whitney Hall (Woo! Thanks, H). Mixology is quite the rage right now with restaurants priding themselves on "hand-made" cocktails replete with house-brewed infusions, hand-cut ice-cubes, home-made syrups and old-timey recipes. Finally, I can live out my childhood dream of becoming and alchemic apothecary.

The orginal recipe can be found here.

Makes about 2 1⁄2 cups
Once a barman's staple, orange bitters—a potent concoction of botanicals used to deepen the character of many cocktails—is nowadays hard to find. The simplest way to enjoy this homemade version is to stir a teaspoon or two into a glass of tonic water; you can also use it to complete any number of cocktails, such as the manhattan, the dry martini, and the Fitty-Fitty. The process takes over three weeks, but it's well worth it.

4 seville oranges
2 whole cloves
2 whole coriander seeds
1 whole allspice
1 cardamom pod
1 pint 90-proof vodka

  1. Preheat oven to 175°. Scrub oranges well; remove and reserve the whole peel. (Save orange segments for another use.) Finely chop peel into 1⁄4" pieces and spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake peel, turning 2 or 3 times with a spoon, until almost completely dry, about 2 hours; let cool.

  2. Put peel, cloves, coriander seeds, allspice, cardamom pod, and vodka into a large jar. Secure tightly with a lid and set aside in a dark place to let steep for 3 weeks, giving the jar a good shake every day or two.

  3. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a clean jar, secure tightly with a lid, and set vodka mixture aside.

  4. Next, transfer the peel and spices to a small pot, add 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Transfer contents of pot to a small bowl, cover, and set aside to let steep for 24 hours. Strain contents of bowl through a fine sieve into the vodka mixture, pressing down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids.

  5. Strain the bitters again through 4–5 layers of cheesecloth into a medium bowl, then return to jar. Store for up to 6 months.

First published in Saveur, Issue #99

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Excellent Blog Designs

Ever notice how utterly important it is for your blog to not look like a blog? “30 More Excellent Blog Designs” from Smashing Magazine comes in handy. It totally fills in the infinite loop of how a “blog” seems to fill one's head with an infinite amount of ghastly images taken from the page of one's electronic journal and replaces them with the clean, well thought out designs of a free lance writer with s design department and more wisdom than can fit in their own novels. As if.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The 22 Most Corrupt Members of Congress

In light of Congress recently sticking it to Washingtonians (the Senate narrowly voted down even hearing the DC Right to Vote bill), I'm posting the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's (CREW) third annual report on "The 22 Most Corrupt Members of Congress". CREW has launched a tandem website, Beyond Delay, offering short summaries of each member’s transgressions as well as full-length profiles and accompanying exhibits. I read it, so should you.

You don't know exactly how congress is sticking it to Washingtonians? Oh, you do, but are caught up in that "Washington, DC is not a state" argument? Just check out these brief statistics that you too can view at the U.S. Census website:

Pop. State of Wyoming: 506,000 2005
Pop. of Washington DC: 554,000

Fed Tax Revenue of Wyoming: 2,245,265 Thousand Dollars
Fed Tax Revenue of Wash, DC: 3,963,547 Thousand Dollars

Wyoming Seats in Congress: 3
Wash., DC Seats in Congress: 0

Oh, I suppose there is an easier solution if one wants to preserve the sanctity of the Constitution and refuse D. C. citizens representation in Congress. Exclude D. C. citizens from Federal taxes. Or we could secede back to the United Kingdom. After all, our forefathers rebelled against the tyranny of one King George, a second shouldn't make much of a difference.

Book Autopsies

Brian Dettmer carves into books revealing the artwork inside, creating complex three-dimensional sculptures. The effect is a mind-boggling mix of sculpture, literature and whimsical craftmanship, both edgy and dreamlike and more than a little steam-punk in my estimation.

By altering the books without inserting or changing the location of any of the book's contents, Dettmer creates a powerful commentary on the book and its content. An intricate alternative interpretation of the books, if you will.

Feast your eyes on samples of his work at the Aron Packer gallery or at centripetal notion.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

13 things that do not make sense

Was browsing through the August issue of Discover magazine this morning and read a fascinating article regarding the race to discover Higgs boson particles. Higgs boson particles (if they exist) would help explain the existence of mass, unifying gravity with the rest of the forces in the Grand Unification Theory (GUT) and clear up gaping holes in the Standard Model (which describes all fundamental particles in the universe). It got me to thinking how something so commonplace in Physics, like mass, is not fully understood nor proven. The discovery of Higgs boson particles could be as paradigm altering as Einstein's special relativity to Newtonian laws.

In light of humanity looking through the one-way mirror of science, read this New Scientist article on "13 Things that do Not Make Sense". From Dark Matter to Homeopathy the article explores so many of out modern scientific problems that can't help but make Scientists feel like they are wondering why planets "wander" in the sky in the Ptolemaic age (Answer: planets revolve around the sun not the earth).

Monday, September 10, 2007

7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable

It's Monday. Don't you want to know why you're miserable? It may be the 21 Century that's getting you down. To find out exactly why, pay close attention to this article on Cracked "7 Reasons the 21st Century is Making You Miserable". Our inability to tolerate the little annoyances of life may be tied to the unnecessity of having to do so in our modern age.

Cracked is usually full of quirky little humorous tidbits, but this article sheds some real light on the pitfalls of electronic communication, the effect of isolation on intimacy, and the addictive electronic sensationalism that drives our most common formats of communication today. It's worth the ponder.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Excellence of Power Napping

RirianProject is a blog run by an especially meticulous Romanian student bent on improving the quality of physical and psychological life. Well, CandyBuffet is a magical thinker after all and she's all for it. Check out his recent post on power-napping, "10 Benefits of Power Napping and How to Do It".

CandyBuffet has been hypnotizing herself to sleep ever since she read "The Bridge Across Forever" by Richard Bach in College. Whether or not any actual hypnosis is going on, the mantra he used in the book works pretty well for rapidly relaxing my body into sleep form. You can try it:

Lie down (or lean on something) and become still.
Take a deep breath and think: My body is relaxing.
Take another deep breath, slower and think of each body part relaxing and sinking into the surface you are lying (or leaning) on.
Take another slow, deep breath and think: My body is completely relaxed, now.
Take another breath and think: My mind is completely relaxed, now.
Take another and think: I am in a deep sleep, now.
Take another and think: I am in a deep sleep. I shall wake in (give your body a time) as refreshed as from eight hours of deep sleep.

Keep repeating this last until, well, you don't have to any more, 'cause your asleep.

Don't forget to browse around RirianProject after you've read the article. Maybe you will learn to put your exercise bike in the kitchen, where it can be some use to you while you're on the phone.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Faster, Pussycat! Write! Write!

Last month I discussed how PicktheBrain is dedicated to your self improvement. If you haven't stopped by, you should. Yesterday, their blog section published this intriguing article on "How to Write Faster, Better, and Easier". The article is stock full of intuitive little tips like cultivating "idea time" differently then "writing time". The extra bonus? Commenters extol their favorite writing tips at the end.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Best Indie Viedo Games

Looking for that elusive 15 minutes of fun? Played your eyes out on Chip's Challenge? The Independent Gaming Source has come out with a list of "50 Really Good Indie Video Games" (with links to every one). Most of the games are free, all of them intriguing. Get your fun on in Interactive Fiction games (IF), Dungeon Level games (DL), and cool competitive simulations including timeless, hand-fashioned masterpieces like "Cave Story", "Dwarf Fortress" (DL), and "Varicella" (IF).

When you've exausted your possibilities (a lengthy task indeed) check out their bigger list of over a hundred favorite independent titles from the TIGForums community.