Part Indiana Jones, part Willy Wonka, the 42-year-old Markus helps America’s best restaurants maintain their reputations for James Beard Award-winning cuisine by importing the world’s rarest ingredients. Chefs from all over the country revered for their haute cuisine–Thomas Keller and Wolfgang Puck among them–rely on his exotic goods to stay creative. Every menu Grant Achatz has ever offered at his three-Michelin-starred Chicago restaurant, Alinea, has deployed delicacies from Markus’ arsenal, and six months after opening Madame Zuzu’s Teahouse in Chicago, Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan made Markus his exclusive supplier.
Meriem Chabani and colleagues won first prize in the latest Jacques Rougerie Competition for their Arctic Harvester, which is designed to support 800 people. The idea is to float this donut-shaped facility off the coast of Greenland, where workers would collect small bergs from the surrounding area and move them into a central bay where they'd melt. The freshwater would be used to feed plants grown in a hydroponic greenhouse. The fruits and vegetables produced could be sold to people living near the coast of the mainland.
Flood-resistant rice is now spreading as fast as the waters themselves. Five years after the first field trials, 5m farmers across the world are planting more than a dozen varieties of rice with flood-resistant genes, collectively called “Sub 1”. They are proliferating even faster than new rice varieties during the heady early days of the first green revolution in the 1960s. “And Sub 1 is the first of a new generation of seeds,” says Mr Zeigler. If all goes well, over the next few years plants that tolerate drought, salinity and extreme heat will revolutionise the cultivation of mankind’s most important source of calories. But that will depend on the technology working as promised and, in particular, on public policies that support a second green revolution.
“They are landscape architects, environmentalists, urban farmers, soil scientists, and horticultural visionaries who have turned their personal passions into pursuits that collectively reshape our homes, gardens, neighborhoods, and public spaces.”
This handheld device from Trimble can calculate NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) – an indicator of the health of a section of a field. The sensor emits brief bursts of red and infrared light, and then measures the amount of each type of light that is reflected back from the plant. The NDVI readings from across the field can be fed into the Connected Farm Scout app to calculate levels of fertilizer applications.
Like most foodstuffs, wine has been thoroughly industrialized. Million-gallon batches are cooked up in behemoth factories in Australia or California’s less-dreamy-sounding Central Valley and made of grapes that come from just about anywhere. And vintners are under constant pressure to find new ways to save money—California grape prices have shot up 46 percent over the past decade. That leaves little room for error. If something goes even slightly wrong in a 350,000-gallon tank, winemakers can’t afford just to dump it. So they’re turning to science—high tech machines (like the Spinning Cone Column below) and chemical additives (like Mega-Purple) —to doctor their product into something more drinkable.
Since electronic cigarettes hit the market in 2007, yearly sales have reached $1 billion in the U.S. Although they’re popular, it’s still unclear how safe they are. Last year, a study from an international group of scientists showed that the toxins in e-cigarette vapor are 9 to 450 times lower than in tobacco smoke. The Food and Drug Administration is still determining its regulatory stance. It’s sponsoring more research while sorting out its position.
Happy Cinqo de Mayo! As attention turns to jallapeno and other peppers today, the reality is one person’s five alarm chili can actually be blander than someone else’s Thai Hot curry.
The world needs a spice scale as we quantify everything in our lives. Sure there is the Scoville scale, but go check how few even the hot sauces on the “Wall of Fire” at the cajun restaurant Heaven on Seven in Chicago show the scale.
Expect more brands like Kraft to provide more quantification as in the packaging below.
“Kraft redesigned the packaging of its line of spicy cheese to include a "heat scale." Five chili peppers show the level of spice from mild (Smoky Chipotle) to extra hot (Hot Habañero). The company is considering adding ghost pepper, known as one of the world's spiciest, to fill in the fifth pepper on the scale” says the WSJ.