Friday, February 8, 2013

Best of the Week #92

Oh hello Friday where have you been all my week?

Per always I’ve been busy doing many things on my weeknights, including (but not limited to): pooling, deep dish pizza, 3.5 hours of rock climbing (!!! that was on Wednesday and my hands/arms are still tired), and the Portrait Gallery’s "Portraiture Now" exhibit.

And as for this weekend, I’m looking forward to tonight’s Wizard’s game, Les Mis (I realize I’m about a month late to the table on this one), and a 20-mile run (!) followed by pancakes and a documentary. Sounds pretty great, huh?

Alright, my most popular post this week was Mocha Coconut Fudge. Oh and if you’re planning on doing some Mardi Gras baking next week, check out my King Cake Cupcakes!

And now for some Best of the Week linkage love.

OMG but really, how do I become a chocolate taster??? “Best in the Box” – all about salted caramel chocolates.

  • During our tasting, two things quickly became clear. The first was that the balance of salt, caramel and chocolate is crucial. And, as Florence said, “Who knew there were so many ways to make a salted caramel chocolate?” (The full tasting report is below.) We tended to prefer the caramels that were more sparing in their use of salt, including several with just a few crystals sprinkled on top. Similarly, we all liked the confections with just enough thin, crisp chocolate to contain the caramel center. A thick chocolate shell was distracting.
Interesting essay. The only flaw in this logic is that I am the type of person who should be calling it "Washington"...but I always say "DC." -- "Two Cities in One."
  • Washington, D.C., is a city of divides. There are racial divides, most notably a black D.C. and a white D.C. There are ethnic enclaves, with a Salvadoran D.C. sharing space with the Ethiopian D.C. There are the geographic boundaries that came to represent economic boundaries, like “east of the river” and “west of the park,” or the image divides between the tony Northwest section of the city and the formerly gritty Southeastern quadrant.
  • But to me, the most telling divide is a verbal one — does one live in D.C. or Washington? The question reveals the indelible truth: which city you live in depends on who you are. 
I don't entirely understand how Tumblr works...but some of these are pretty funny: “32 Of The Greatest Things That Have Ever Happened On Tumblr.”

Well now this really isn’t funny. “Somalia Making Play for Lucrative Men’s Rights Activist Tourism Market?
  • Remember that time Somalia decided to arrest and imprison a woman who accused members of the police force of raping her? Sure you do. And remember when they also arrested the freelance journalist to whom she’d told her story, along with her husband, and the two people who had supposedly introduced her to the journalist?
  • Well, today she was convicted of the crime of “insulting a government body,” and sentenced to a one-year prison term. Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim, the journalist (who, mind you, never actually published any details of their conversation), was given the same sentence. Her husband and the two intermediaries were acquitted.
Quinoa Flakes – have you heard of these? Has anyone tried them? They're like the quinoa version of instant oatmeal...I may need to look into this.

So I realize I respond to everything with corgis this way, but BEST THING EVER. "9 Rules For A Really Big Corgi Meetup At The Beach." Haha I love that it ends with "This list was pointless. It was just an excuse to post corgi pictures. Bye!"

Me or Sister2, at Train Town (which is a real place), circa 1993. "Adorable Little Railfan Is Infectiously Elated About Her Very First Train Ride."

"The secret lives of North Korea."
  • What is life like for the non-elite in this closed land? Do citizens really believe that mountains dance when a leader is born? Britain's former ambassador describes the people he knew there
  • After work, they might have to attend a political meeting. When I asked my contacts what these meetings were about they told me that they did not remember. At first, I thought they were politely saying that they were not going to tell me, but I once came across an open-air political meeting at which the audience all appeared to have glazed eyes, despite the best efforts of the speaker. Perhaps my contacts were telling the truth – that they effectively entered a kind of catatonic state in these meetings, simply switching off, and genuinely could not remember what they were about.
Pretty much.

This guy is 100% bad-ass: "Rodney Jackson hikes high into the Himalayas to help snow leopards." [Sidenote: So you know the book series by Philip Pullman, “His Dark Materials” (i.e. The Golden Compass etc.)? And how the characters all have “demons” which are kind of like spirit animals? Well I’ve decided that my demon would be either a snow leopard or a mountain lion. Right?]

  • Rodney Jackson and his team take 20 to 30 yaks, each loaded with 250 to 300 pounds of gear, into the Himalayas to study snow leopards, which take the word 'elusive' to an extreme.
  • Snow leopard territory starts at 10,000 feet above sea level and goes as high as 21,000 feet, spread over 12 countries in Asia. And they aren't easy to find. A snow leopard roams about 50 square miles of territory, Jackson explains, adding that he could go two or three years between sightings. (Another researcher who has been studying them since 2005 says he has yet to see a snow leopard in the wild.)
  • Despite the difficulties of dealing with multiple bureaucracies – including the governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China – Jackson says that overall conditions are improving for the mountain-dwelling cat. "I think snow leopards are better off now than they were 20 years ago," he says.
I love this. I want to be eating a dhosa in India RIGHT NOW. "A Day In India."

  • It’s hard to put your camera down in India.  With so much beauty and filth, food and poverty, happiness and stress: its an overwhelming (and wonderful) place to film.  We came back exhausted, full and still overwhelmed (this time with the task of editing all the footage into a short video). Because India is a big place, and each area varies dramatically,  we attempted to construct a day across India: from north to south, from dawn till dusk.

Ok that's it. Hope you survive your Friday and have a great weekend!