Are You a Supertaster?

The acuteness of our sense of taste is to our evolutionary advantage, to direct us to foods of high nutritional value and to help us steer clear of foods that might sicken or even poison us. The science of taste is today so much more complicated than simply a question of sour or sweet, bitter or salty. Umami, calcium, kokumi, even metallicity—among others—are just a few of the newly recognized tastes that have entered into the discussion. A super-taster can have up to twice as many taste buds as the average person, making for a much richer dining experience given the presence of all of these tastes to explore. But the reality is that super-tasting often makes for picky eaters.

Image from: Wikimedia.

Taste is so much more complicated than sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Image from: Wikimedia.

For more, read the following article from The National Geographic:

http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2014/09/30/are-you-a-supertaster/

Kickstarter in Europe

Kickstarter is a popular crowd-funding website, a platform where artists, inventors, and innovators of all kinds can fundraise for just about any project imaginable, taking donations from as small $1 to as large as contributors are generous enough to offer. Investors are often just everyday people with an interest in the prospective creation, people who are often rewarded with perks in exchange for donations. The best part is that the website is about so much more than raising money. Through Kickstarter, creators can begin to develop the basis for a community to engage with and enjoy the project even when it is still in its planning stages.

And now Kickstarter is coming to continental Europe.

Kickstarter, which already had a basis in the U.S., U.K., Ireland, N.Z., and Australia, recently began broaching Europe by opening up its website to the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. The goal is to “become available to more European countries,” a heads-up for any European creators who might be interested in investing some time in using Kickstarter’s services.

File:Kickstarter logo.png

Kickstarter is a popular crowd-funding website that has recently expanded into Europe. Image from: Wikimedia.

For more information, take a look at the Kickstarter website here (https://www.kickstarter.com/learn?ref=nav) or the following article reporting on the expansion here (http://tech.eu/news/crowdfunding-kickstarter-netherlands-europe/).

A Look at 9/29/1789 and the Close of the First Session of the U.S. Congress

1789 was a very exciting time to be alive. The French Revolution famously began with the storming of the Bastille, the element uranium was accidentally discovered in Germany, and—let’s not forget—Thomas Jefferson returned home from overseas, the first macaroni machine to enter the U.S. in tow. 1789 was the end of the world as a lot of people knew it, but it also marked a very fundamental beginning.

As of today, two hundred and twenty-five years ago, the first session of the United States Congress officially came to a close. Haunting the hallways of the Senate building in those days were figures as legendary as the indelible John Adams and Robert Morris who left his signature on both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. In a period of six short months, legislation as monumental and fundamental as the creation of a system of courts and the establishment of the State Department, then dubbed the Department of Foreign Affairs, was passed, the one act followed shortly after by another.

Image from: Wikimedia.

Jefferson’s drawing of a macaroni machine from 1787. If you want to check out his pasta recipe click here. Image from: Wikimedia.

It is easy to forget when we look back at this incredibly idealized point in our history, at the semi-mythical lives of these important figures in our past that we perhaps associate so closely with one another, that these men were not, in fact, so inclined to see eye-to-eye in terms of politics. Thomas Jefferson’s vision of America’s future was almost diametrically opposed to Alexander Hamilton’s. And Alexander Hamilton’s life would be cut tragically short fifteen years later due to a political rivalry with Aaron Burr that escalated to the point where he died dueling Burr on the coast of New Jersey. From the onset, a great political fear was factionalism and disunity.

Yet despite individual- and larger party differences, the first session of the United States Congress was as productive as it was. And so was the second after that. And the third after that. And so on.

1789 was an exciting time to be alive because of the spirit of unity and progress that bound the young United States together despite moments of political tension. It drove forward real, tangible political momentum. 1789 was a moment of creation, the moment of defining the American identity, a definition that has not remained static but continues to change and to evolve with its history. It is not the straightest line from 1789 to 2014, but here we are again. In any case, I know I’ll be celebrating the 225th anniversary of pasta in the United States.

Sources:

From the Library of Congress (http://goo.gl/D8zMb1http://goo.gl/6xd6Q3)

From Monticello (http://goo.gl/l4Ey6m)

Common Sense

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/

Common Sense

Common Sense

Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.

According to the site, [they] exist because […] children spend more time with media and digital activities than they do with their families or in school, which profoundly impacts their social, emotional, and physical development . As a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, [they] provide trustworthy information and tools, as well as an independent forum, so that families can have a choice and a voice about the media they consume.

(part of description from Common Sense website – thanks to Magia Krause for pointing it out)

Watch a short video below explaining what the site is about:

Books That Shaped America | National Book Festival – Library of Congress

http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/books-that-shaped-america/

Books That Shaped America

Books That Shaped America

The Library of Congress, the world’s largest repository of knowledge and information, began a multiyear “Celebration of the Book” with an exhibition on “Books That Shaped America.” The initial books in the exhibition are displayed on the site.

“This list is a starting point,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “It is not a register of the ‘best’ American books – although many of them fit that description. Rather, the list is intended to spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives, whether they appear on this initial list or not.”

As it happens, today (September 5, 2012) is the 55th anniversary of the defining novel of the 1950s’ Beat generation, as described by its author.  Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” is one of the most important literary works of the second half of the 20th century. The book is a semiautobiographical tale of a bohemian cross-country adventure, narrated by character Sal Paradise. Kerouac’s odyssey has influenced artists such as Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and Hunter S. Thompson and films such as Easy Rider. On the Road has achieved a mythic status in part because it portrays the restless energy and desire for freedom that makes people take off to see the world.

(part of description from LOC website)

Pinterest

http://pinterest.com/

Pinterest

Pinterest

The new big name on the web. It has been around for a few months now, and it keeps attracting attention from companies and individuals alike.

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. To get started, request an invite.

(part of description from Pinterest website)

Watch a video below on why Businesses should be on Pinterest, titled “A Marketer’s Guide to Pinterest”:

The Numbers Guy | a blog by Wall Street Journal

http://blogs.wsj.com/numbersguy/

WSJ - The Numbers Guy

WSJ – The Numbers Guy

A different kind of blog, dealing with a variety of subjects, but examining them through the available data/numbers on each issue.  A better explanation is given on the site itself: “The Numbers Guy examines numbers in the news, business and politics. Some numbers are flat-out wrong or biased, while others are valid and help us make informed decisions. Carl Bialik tells the stories behind the stats, in occasional updates on this blog and in his column published every Saturday in The Wall Street Journal. Carl, who holds a degree in mathematics and physics from Yale University, also writes daily about sports numbers on WSJ.com.”

One of the latest issues examined is the the potential costs to Greece and to other world economies if Greece were to exit the euro zone.

(part of description from Wall Street Journal [WSJ] website)

Discover America

http://www.discoveramerica.com/

Discover America

Discover America

Traveling to the United States? Want information about the states or cities you will be visiting? What about museums, places of interest, where to eat, how to get around, how to rent a car, etc?

Visit Discover America to get tourist information about the United States. The Corporation for Travel Promotion, now doing business as Brand USA, was created in 2010 to encourage travelers from all over the world to visit the United States of America. The public-private marketing entity works in close partnership with the travel industry to maximise the economic and social benefits of travel in communities around the country. The site is very easy to navigate, with great interactive features, videos, photo galleries, and detailed information about each state.

Watch the music video for “Land of Dreams,” the original song written and sung by Rosanne Cash with celebrated musicians Los Lobos and Bebel Gilberto. Encouraging travelers to come and find your “Land of Dreams,” they are featured in the first ever global tourism campaign for the United States: [You can also download the song in mp3 format here]

(part of description from Discover America website)

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