Unrelated to all that, 2/28 edition


White and gold or blue and black?

white and gold whitehouseFrank Underwood sends his regards.

Japan has it figured out

white and gold lighting

My bet is that this is a light-source-prior issue.

Kitchen Rhythm: A Year in a Parisian Patisserie

What is missing from this description, the bare-bones sketch in the red address book that alphabetizes all of my work recipes, is the physical sensations. When I started my apprenticeship in Paris a year ago, I learned that baking can be at once precise and vague. Measure everything to the last gram, simple enough. Harder to describe what the meringue mixture should look like when it is just right, hard to put the steady pressure of a hand piping cream into words. I looked and looked and was frustrated over and over.

Then I started listening. When the dough for puff pastry is sufficiently kneaded it will start to clunk in the mixer. When the cream for the chocolate mousse is softly whipped it will fall with a slap slap slap into the bowl. Drifts of cream, like rumpled silk, not stiff damask. Pour the boiling sugar onto the egg yolks and listen as the hornet’s nest whir changes to a pata-pata-pat-a-pat.

Gorgeous writing. It really highlights the importance of multisensory perception in even the smallest tasks.


Breakthrough DNA Editor Borne of Bacteria

Doudna was not a gray-haired emerita being celebrated for work she did back when dirigibles ruled the sky. It was only in 2012 that Doudna, Charpentier and their colleagues offered the first demonstration of CRISPR’s potential. They crafted molecules that could enter a microbe and precisely snip its DNA at a location of the researchers’ choosing. In January 2013, the scientists went one step further: They cut out a particular piece of DNA in human cells and replaced it with another one.

In the same month, separate teams of scientists at Harvard University and the Broad Institute reported similar success with the gene-editing tool. A scientific stampede commenced, and in just the past two years, researchers have performed hundreds of experiments on CRISPR. Their results hint that the technique may fundamentally change both medicine and agriculture.

Fantastic introduction to CRISPR. It is pretty amazing how quickly its use has grown.

The girl who gets gifts from birds

As she got older, she rewarded their attention, by sharing her packed lunch on the way to the bus stop. Her brother joined in. Soon, crows were lining up in the afternoon to greet Gabi’s bus, hoping for another feeding session…

It was after they adopted this routine that the gifts started appearing.

The crows would clear the feeder of peanuts, and leave shiny trinkets on the empty tray; an earring, a hinge, a polished rock. There wasn’t a pattern. Gifts showed up sporadically – anything shiny and small enough to fit in a crow’s mouth.

One time it was a tiny piece of metal with the word “best” printed on it. “I don’t know if they still have the part that says ‘friend’,” Gabi laughs, amused by the thought of a crow wearing a matching necklace.

Wes Anderson-style knockout mice


Yum custard


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