Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 12:43 am
It's 9 a.m. on a Sunday, and my bathrobe and hair already reek of garam masala — burnt garam masala, to be exact. Who'd have known that the key to this Indian-Pakistani recipe for lamb biryani would be the French cooking mantra of mise-en-place? Or that the minute it takes for the pile of spices to get "aromatic" in hot oil is not nearly long enough to both measure and photograph them before they turn to ashes?
A few years back, the Kenyan government wanted to encourage exports. So the government said to local businesses: For every $100 of stuff you sell to someone outside Kenya, we'll give you Kenyan shillings worth another $20.
A con artist saw an opportunity. He launched a company that exported nonexistent gold for nonexistent dollars, and collected a real government bonus. Then, when he was about to get caught, he started his own bank. That's when the scam really took off.
Nick d'Aloisio displays his mobile application Summly, which Yahoo recently purchased for a reported $30 million. But the Internet company is killing the app and integrating the algorithm that drives it into its own technology.
There's not much about Ben Sollee's career that could be described as conventional. The singer-songwriter's primary instrument is the cello, and his work ranges from traditional classical music to Asian folk tunes. Even his preferred method of transportation on tour deviates from the norm; he's been known to travel from one show to the next on a bicycle with his cello strapped to the back.
Coprates Chasma in the <a href="http://astrogeology.usgs.gov/geology/mars-valles-marineris">Valles Marineris</a> on Mars, photographed <a href="http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Mars_Express/Coprates_Chasma_and_Coprates_Catena">by the Mars Express spacecraft</a>. Appearing in the top half of this image, it ranges from 60-100 km wide and drops 8-9 km below the surrounding plains.
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 1:00 pm
You step down from the all-terrain camper and out into the bright sunlight. Your boots crunch on the cold desert soil. It's been three solid months in the office with just Sundays off (at best). But now, finally, you are out in the open once again. Above you the sky is its usual brown-hued butterscotch color. Ahead of you is the trail leading to the canyon. The plan is to spend the day walking a trail at the edge of Coprates Chasma, a canyon almost a thousand kilometers long (more than twice the length of the Grand Canyon, they say).
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 1:17 pm
I've been buying headphones for 30 years now, have owned more they I can possibly remember and still haven't found the perfect pair. I must chew through one or two sets a year in a never-ending, desperate (and futile) search to find the right acoustics, feel and functionality. I've tried in-ear buds, over-the-ear hooks, full-sized cans and wireless. Some sound great but fit horribly. Or the fit is perfect but the sound too tinny, or the controls don't quite work. The truth is, I hate headphones, especially because I hate being tethered to my stereo. It's like wearing a leash.
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 11:42 am
In the thousand-plus or so emails I get each time a ScuttleButton puzzle is posted, I invariably will get dozens and dozens of complaints that it was just too easy, that it insulted their intelligence, that I need to make them more challenging. That was clearly the case last week, as there were nearly 100 such emails.
Well, be careful what you wish for. This week's puzzle is one of the most difficult.
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 11:37 am
As The Voice returns to NBC this week for its fourth season, viewers are seeing two new, if quite familiar, faces as Shakira and Usher occupy the coaches' seats vacated by Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green. Its talent-show rival over on Fox, The X Factor, will also see two new judges when (if? no, "when," surely) it comes back in the fall.
So why does The Voice seem so healthy and The X Factor so wobbly?
Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 12:43 pm
In 1997, Kazakhstan, recently freed from the Soviet Union, packed up its border-location capital, and moved it to the inhospitable steppe, smack in the middle of the country. That's where the country's president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, thought it should be. It was named "Astana," which translates to ... "capital."