September 17, 2010
The return of Chef Chang
Constant readers will recall my ode to master chef Peter Chang and his singular creations (from the top down: Dry-Fried Eggplant with Hot and Numbing Pepper; Roasted Fish with Green Onion and Pepper; Hot and Numbing Beef Rolls), which appeared here on March 31, 2010.
But don't take my word for it: Calvin Trillin's "Annals of Gastronomy" article about Chang in the New Yorker and Washingtonian food critic Todd Kliman's Oxford American "6,755-word love letter" titled "The Perfect Chef" should give you a sense of the regard in which others hold this wizard of Szechuan cuisine (below).
Marijean Jaggers emailed me this past Tuesday with just one word in the subject line: "Chang!"
The email contained a link to a story by Dave McNair that had appeared the same day on the Hook website, the long and short of which was that chef Chang planned to sign a lease this week for a restaurant that "... should open in December or January."
I'm so excited about this development, having become, like so many others who've experienced his artistry, a devotee.
The enigmatic Chang suddenly left town in March of this year, the latest departure in a career studded with them.
I dawdled and delayed my first visit to his local restaurant at the time, A Taste of China, such that it didn't occur until a week before his unexpected exit.
I'd planned out the menus for my next five visits by then, and was dumbfounded and exasperated by my having put off going for months after I'd learned he was in town.
That won't happen this time around.
My chefchang Twitter page, dormant for months after he left town for points unknown, will be the center of all the news I can gather on the return of the master as the date for the grand opening approaches.
Wrote Hannah Karp in the September 15, 2010 Wall Street Journal, "A new product is just the thing for football coaches paranoid about lip readers: a shield called the BoomGuard that fits over a headset microphone. Inventor Ramone Ward [above], a 31-year-old teacher in Dix Hills, N.Y., is convinced there's demand: If coaches 'weren't concerned they wouldn't put their play cards over their mouths,' he said."
According to New Orleans City Business, "Coaches at three Long Island [N.Y.] high schools used the lip shielding device last season."
"For all the Rex Ryans out there, the BoomGuard also acts as a profanity filter, allowing saucy syllables to fly without offending the viewing audience. 'Sometimes, you really don't want to read their lips,' Ward notes."
Much more here.
GazoPa — Reverse image search on steroids
Very impressive and interesting.
Rex Hammock sent me a few photos of a mystery object (top) yesterday with a request for help identifying it.
I failed but did find this:
on the second page of my GazoPa search.
Anyone have any clues as to what the mystery object up top is?
Rex wrote, "I can describe it this way: it looks exactly like an innertube but it's made out of stainless steel. It is hollow and floats and probably fell off a boat, as it was found along a shore in Maine, according to the guy who had it hung up in his garage."
"When I asked him what it was, he said, 'I have no idea.'"
The outside diameter of Rex's mystery object is about 17" and its inside diameter about 8".
Jot — "Hold it right there"
Res ipsa loquitur.
But in case you don't speak the language, it's a portable suction cup 1.8" in diameter
with pretty much limitless capability.
Contrary to popular belief, you can take it with you.
Zorse, Liger and Wholphin — Truth is stranger than Photoshop
Above, a Zorse.
It's the offspring of a zebra and a horse.
Below, a male liger.
Yes, the product of a lion and a tiger.
Below, a wholphin.
It is the result of the mating of a dolphin and a false killer whale.
How such hybrids may turn out to be advantageous in the long run was the subject of Sean B. Carroll's September 13, 2010 New York Times "Remarkable Creatures" essay.
On May 15, 1985, trainers at Hawaii Sea Life Park were stunned when a 400- pound gray female bottlenose dolphin named Punahele gave birth to a dark-skinned calf that partly resembled the 2,000-pound male false killer whale with whom she shared a pool. The calf was a wholphin, a hybrid that was intermediate to its parents in some characteristics, like having 66 teeth compared with the bottlenose’s 88 and the 44 of the false killer whale, a much larger member of the dolphin family.
While several examples of human-bred animal hybrids are well known and can thrive in captivity including zorses (zebra-horse), beefalo (bison-beef cattle) and, of course, mules (donkey-horse), naturally occurring animal hybrids have many factors working against their longer-term success.
One of the main obstacles is that, even if members of different species might mate, when the two species are too distant genetically or carry different numbers of chromosomes, the offspring are usually inviable or infertile (like zorses and mules), and are therefore evolutionary dead ends. A second problem is that any hybrid will usually be vastly outnumbered and outcompeted by one or both parent species.
The most provocative report of possible hybridization came from the recent analysis of more than 60 percent of the Neanderthal genome sequence, which raised the specter of our ancestors commingling their genes with a long-diverged cousin.
Analyses of the overall genetic distance between Neanderthals and modern humans reveal that our DNA is 99.84 percent identical to that of Neanderthals. This small divergence indicates that the two lines split off from each other about 270,000 to 440,000 years ago. The fossil evidence shows that Neanderthals were restricted to Europe and Asia, whereas Homo sapiens originated in Africa. Various kinds of evidence indicate that modern humans migrated out of Africa and reached the Middle East more than 100,000 years ago and Europe by about 45,000 years ago, and would have or could have encountered Neanderthals for some time in each locale. The crucial question for paleontology, archaeology, and paleogenetics has been what transpired between the two species. To put it a little more crudely, did we date them or kill them, or perhaps both?
If the former, then there could be a bit of Neanderthal in some or all of us. The first comparisons of small sections of Neanderthal DNA did not indicate any hybridization, and the lack of interbreeding became a widely accepted conclusion. That remained the case until this year, when a much greater portion of the Neanderthal genome was obtained by Svante Paabo and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. It now appears that 1 percent to 4 percent of the DNA sequence of Europeans and Asians, but not Africans, was contributed by Neanderthals mixing with Homo sapiens, perhaps in the Middle East 50,000 to 80,000 years ago. It is possible that some Neanderthal versions of genes enabled modern humans to adapt to new climates and habitats.
The discovery of hybrid species and the detection of past hybridizations are forcing biologists to reshape their picture of species as independent units. The barriers between species are not necessarily vast, unbridgeable chasms; sometimes they get crossed with marvelous results.
Hunter's Toilet Paper — "Don't get shot with your pants down"
From the website:
In the woods, when you gotta go, you gotta go.
don't get shot with your pants down!
By using Rutt Wipe Blaze Orange toilet paper instead of standard white TP, you let other deer hunters know you’re not Bambi's white flashing tail.
This simple act could
spare you from a tragic Cheney-like hunting accident.
And Rutt Wipe is
biodegradable and nontoxic, so you're not harming the environment.
Each bright orange roll has 250 soft 2-ply sheets.
Manufacturer's warranty against defects.
Does your toilet paper come with a warranty?
Didn't think so.
2 rolls: $9.99.
"Justin.tv brings live broadcasting to its iPhone app"
Is this it?
The holy grail that will finally enable bookofjoeTV, for years a topic of speculation and dashed hopes, to go live?
It would appear so.
Time to head to the store for my very first iPhone and see just what it can do.
Oh, I almost forget: the app is free, the way we like it.
And it works over both 3G and WiFi.
I said be careful that paper plate isn't
Does Rob Walker know about this?
From the website:
We Aren't Paper Plates — We Just Look Like Them
What fun to set the table, indoors or out, with our reusable melamine sets.
They look just like the disposables we've used for years, but are dishwasher-safe — and a strong wind won't blow them away.
4 plates: $17.98.