Every four years Adidas invents a new soccer ball to be used in the World Cup and every four years people love to bitch about it. They just unveiled the “Brazuca” for the 2014 World Cup, and a NASA aerodynamics expert who evaluated the much-maligned “Jabulani” ball told me that in theory the new one shouldn’t “knuckle-ball” like that one. I might have a bead on some actual data from an independent researcher too who has tested both. Really enjoyed nerding out on this one!
Why Wal-Mart’s hottest Black Friday seller was a 29-cent towel.
"The idea of people fighting over towels is pretty outrageous," said Louis Hyman, an assistant professor in the Labor Relations, Law, and History department at Cornell University.
"It’s something that you imagine most people have. It’s not the equivalent of a Cabbage Patch Doll. They’re not fighting over a PS4 (game console). They’re fighting over towels."
The popularity of the bathroom commodity during a day usually associated with big-ticket gadget purchases and trendy toys reflects the country’s low levels of consumer credit card borrowing and stagnant wage growth over the past few years, he said. Consumer credit card debt is down 17 percent from its July 2008 pre-recession high. And wages, on an inflation-adjusted basis, peaked in 1973.
"They have neither wages nor credit, so this is what people can afford to get," said Hyman.
I got curious about how brining vs dry curing a turkey works so I reached out to T.J. Delle Donne, Chef Instructor at Johnson & Wales University, which has a renowned culinary arts program. Here’s how does a low-sodium, brine injected - as opposed to “bathed” - turkey that has high flavor and juice factor.
I brine my turkey and “lather” my turkey. I’ve seen experiments done with dry rubbing…and the results make perfect sense as to how salt on the surface will pull natural juices out of the meat and allow for reabsorption or the osmosis affect, in other words allowing natural turkey flavor and salt to be reabsorbed into the meat making for a more flavorful juicier product, but the tests I’ve done and seen are usually on skinless CUTS of meat…not skin on 30 pound birds…so the amount of salt rub I’d need on a bird that size is scary to think about. So I look to the 2 things that everyone loves…moist meat and crispy skin. I make a 5 percent brine solution…meaning which ever amount of water (by weight) I use 5 percent of that weight in salt…dissolve the salt in the water over a medium heat with aromatics…what can they be…well anything you really want…I use rosemary, thyme and garlic cloves to season my brine. I then use a large basting needle to inject the cooled brine into the turkey at vital parts (under the skin…most importantly so I’m not puncturing the skin…into each breast 5-6 places…and into the thigh and leg via the cavity or the underside of the thigh and leg to avoid puncturing the skin also) I do this a day before roasting. This will allow the flavored brine to absorb into the meat while not having to submerge the bird in a cooler or a take up the entire fridge with a big plastic bucket. I pat the outside of the bird dry the day of…and make an aioli or a mayonnaise (oil and egg, emulsified in a blender)…to this aioli I add any seasoning I’d normally add to the outside of the turkey…salt, pepper, onion powder, cayenne, paprika…what every you desire…I lather the outside of the bird with the seasoned aioli making sure I hit every nook and cranny…using this rub will ensure that my seasoning is perfectly distributed on the bird and that the fat I need to attract the oven heat is perfectly distributed and adhered to the bird (as opposed to using just cooking oil on the outside which will run off the skin when heated)…the fat in the aioli will make the skin super crispy and highly seasoned as the bird roasts…the brine internally will assist with loss of moisture…and don’t forget to baste…good ole basting…the more we can manually redistribute fat and moisture on the bird the better…use a bi-metallic thermometer and cook your bird to 165 internal temperature at its thickest part…the manufacturer thermometers will always go off at a much higher temperature which could be why some home cooks are overcooking birds to begin with.
The Black Friday Diehards I interviewed last year, people who got down and dirty in the scrum, working in teams with spreadsheets, this year sat it out, preferring to hang with family then scrap over lackluster deals. Here are their stories.
Melissa Rush says:
Black Friday is really a whole new game this year. With so many stores opening up earlier in the night and many stores having pre-black friday sales, it is making the “chase” less exciting. There are quite a few stores opening up at 6pm and will have sales well on into Friday. I am feeling reluctant to go black friday shopping this year because the deals are now in every store for a majority of the weekend.I’m considering going this year just to see the turnout, but you can guarantee that I will not be there at 6 pm. I will be eating dinner and dessert with my family before I go.All of the stores are catching on to the black friday madness and trying to capitalize on consumers. Its less of a game for consumers now and has become a game for corporations. :)
Chace Cannon says:
My plans for this year have changed a little and I hate to say this, but I am not sure if I will be going out much. There are some great deals out there as I have looked through the ads, but with stores opening earlier it is starting to cut into family time. It seems that greed has started to take over on the parts of the store. Before I felt like it was a fun thing to do, but now it has a feeling of greed for more money. I also feel bad for those that have to work. With that being said, there are a couple of items that I want to get from one store so I may try to get those and be done after that. I don’t think I will line up more than an hour before the store opens. The odds of getting the item I want will go down dramatically, but spending time with family is more important than saving a few hundred bucks on a TV. You never know how long someone will be around for.
Strung out by credit card debt, Americans turn to layaway to make Christmas happen. But it can sometimes be even more expensive.
“Even during the holidays when stores waive the typical $5 service fee to open the layaway plans, they carry cancellation fees, penalizing those who fail to make the payments. For example, if a shopper with $100 worth of presents on layaway and a $15 downpayment failed their layaway, the cancellation fee would be like paying $10 in interest for the right to borrow $85 for two months. That’s equivalent to a 93 percent annual percentage rate. If the customer failed within the first month, the rate could go up over 141 percent.”
In comparison, the average credit card interest rate is currently about 15 percent, though it could go higher —the median penalty rate is 29.9 percent—if you fall behind on payments. After fees, the average payday loan, an alternative financial product that some consumer advocates have criticized as predatory, carries an effective interest rate of 391 percent.”
…It’s like the freakin’ Hunger Games out there.
May the odds be ever in your FLAVOR!
Lotta Hunger Games references out there to coincide with Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping bloodsport.
Black-wrapped Black Friday floor packages at Home Depot. Here it comes!
You might not be able to escape a co-passenger that won’t shutup now that the government is considering allowing passenger to make in-flight cellphone calls.
"I got into this giant argument with the head of Zappos that he’s trying to tell me what I need to focus on. Meanwhile, he sells all this (expletive) product to everybody, his whole thing is based off of selling (expletive) product," said West.
Zappos replied by launching a new product on its site, a toilet, with plunger and toilet paper, for $100,000.
"Yes, it’s true that we sell (expletive) product," said Hsieh in a statement linking to the page.
Not enough puns. The lights in a real newsroom would shut off if people stopped making puns.