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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Kale is about to have an Identity Crisis

Oh boy . . .  Read this from NPR Science News


Kale Is About To Have An Identity Crisis

To develop a new variety of kale tailored to American palates, plant researchers are surveying consumer attitudes on the leafy green. Study participants took home the six varieties of kale pictured.

The takeaway so far? "Be less like kale."

Kale is getting a makeover, and the very essence of kaliness may hang in the balance.

To develop a new variety of kale tailored to American palates, horticulture professor Philip Griffiths of Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Science and graduate student Hannah Swegarden are soliciting consumers' kale reflections — the good, the bad, and the ugly. The scientists face a philosophic question for the ages. Asks Swegarden:

"How far can you push a consumer's concept of what kale is, before it's not kale anymore?"

Kale, like many other vegetables, has been bred with agricultural practicality in mind, selected for virtues like drought- and disease-resistance. But Swegarden says those traits don't necessarily translate into a better taste and appearance, qualities that matter more to consumers. Griffiths has been working with kale for years, so he and Swegarden decided to see if they could develop strains to seduce farmers and consumers alike.

As the first step in their research, the scientists organized a focus group in September with 14 people who self-identified as liking and consuming kale. They sent the participants home with six different kale types varying in shape, color, texture and taste. The kaleblazers prepared each kale variety as they wished and recorded their impressions in journals. (Yes, kale journals.)

After two weeks, the participants came together to discuss their feelings about kale for three hours. "By the time they came in, they were really knowledgeable," says Swegarden.

After kale-loading for days, the participants had lots of feedback. But some of their recommendations took aim at traits central to kale's identity. For example, the participants liked the idea of a softer, less fibrous leaf. "It's difficult to do that because that's changing the plant a lot," says Swegarden. In addition, she says a softer plant might be more susceptible to insects.

Kale's iconic bitterness also came onto the chopping board. "It was an association all the consumers made," says Swegarden. "But not necessarily a positive."

Swegarden, whose perfect piece of kale is a slow-braised green leaf with a pink stem, says the initial focus group was formed to identify kale questions for further research, rather than establish a comprehensive dataset of opinions. The scientists will use the focus group feedback to create a survey, which they'll distribute to a wider population of consumers.
"I'm kind of indifferent about it," says Zach James of New York City. "I've made a kale smoothie before, and that was pretty good. But mostly because I put berries in it."
Kale naysayers will have to wait a while longer before a new breed of kale gets a chance to convert them. Because of the time required to grow and reproduce kale, it will likely be at least eight years before a new variety hits the shelves, says Swegarden.

In the meantime, there's another option for those who want a softer, less bitter leaf: romaine.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

You can't Live without Dying

You cannot live without dying. You cannot live if you do not die psychologically every minute. 

This is not an intellectual paradox. 

To live completely, wholly, every day as if it were a new loveliness, there must be dying to everything of yesterday, otherwise you live mechanically, and a mechanical mind can never know what love is or what freedom is. 

- Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known, 77

More on the teachings of J. Krishnamurti (and to sign up for daily quotes):

Friday, July 1, 2016

Kingsborough Unleashed in Concord

A Show Report by Jim Ocean

New generation rockers Kingsborough plugged in, stepped up to the mic, and then like geckos, they grabbed the audience with two great cover tunes. 

They then unleashed their originals which stole the night with all the song elements hitting just right. Tight rhythms, 3 and 4 part harmony, excellent lyrics, tasty solos...nothing missing...masterful song-writing! 

As a final flourish they covered the Joe Cocker version of With a Little Help From My Friends to thank the 4,000+ Concord fans who were on their feet screaming.

--June 30th at Concord's Music and Market Series 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Gotta Love Millennials

We're just a couple of old geezers having fun poking at millennials.  (Seriously though, I'm a fan and think we'll be in fine hands.)

About the Video:

Published on Apr 30, 2016
This video was a parody that opened a talk at the Church Leaders Conference encouraging people to see past the stereotypes and recognizing the unique potential that millennials have!

Video by Micah Tyler

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Edgar Mitchell's "Big Picture Effect" just in time for the Political Season

"Politics and wars look so petty from space. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, 'Look at that, you son of a bitch.’” 

--Edgar Mitchell 

Learn more about Edgar Mitchell's life and legacy from this May 14th article by Alex Pasternack published in The Motherboard and by checking out the organization he founded: The Institute of Noetic Sciences.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Michael Jackson on Beer Bottles

Now here's an example of recycling at its finest. Enjoy! More information about THE BOTTLE BOYS here:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Our Story In 2 Minutes

This 17-year old's high school project puts our human experience in perspective.