Author Archives: Nicola

Bike-Powered Rice

I was first introduced to the Randall’s Island rice paddies in miso form, as part of former Momofuku R&D chef Dan Felder’s experiments to develop a truly local terroir for the restaurant’s New York City iteration of Asian cuisine. IMAGE: 2014′s rice seedlings germinating inside the greenhouse at Randall’s Island Urban Farm. All photographs by Nicola […]

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From Paris, With Smell

The first telegraph sent across the Atlantic, on 16 August, 1858, read: “Glory to God in the highest; on earth, peace and good will toward men.” The contents of the first transatlantic telephone call, placed by AT&T President Walter S. Gifford on 7 January, 1927, were more mundane: a report the next day in The […]

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Vanilla Is The Old Black

The words “vanilla” and “chocolate” are used with equal frequency as both flavour and colour descriptors — but, curiously, the particular shades they describe have not always been the off-white and brown they signify today. Instead, according to anthropologist Kathryn Sampeck, one of the earliest appearances of “chocolate”-colour, in Abraham Werner’s 1821 Nomenclature of Colours, […]

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Forest Hydraulics

The maple syrup season was late this year, and so am I in posting these images of a late March visit to two sugar-making operations in the Hudson Valley. The first sugar shack we visited, Soukup Farms in Dover Plains, NY, is a third-generation maple producer with an old-school, wood-fired sap evaporator. IMAGE: The sugar […]

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The Carrot Hack

People who sell seeds have always struggled with an inconvenient reality: Their merchandise reproduces itself. So writes Lisa Hamilton, one of my fellow Fellows from the inaugural UC Berkeley/11th Hour Food & Farming Fellowship programme, summing up a problem that plant breeders have struggled with for generations: how to monetise the effort and ingenuity embedded […]

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Three Strikes

A quick promotional note about three events that I’m excited about — and will be speaking at — in the next few weeks. First of all, if you’re in New York City this weekend, I’ll be speaking as part of a panel discussion at Gizmodo’s Home of the Future. One of a series of awesome […]

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Fromidable!

Posted mainly for the pleasure of typing “Fromidable!” repeatedly. Thanks to the wonders of Canada’s bilingual labelling laws, and Loblaw’s stupendous “No Name/Sans Nom” brand packaging, we now have a fantastic new adjective to describe Johnny Hallyday’s greatest hits. And, of course, processed cheese spread. Fromidable! Posted to Twitter by @Wheeler, discovered via @doingitwrong.

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Mouldscape Architecture

IMAGE: Metamorfos 0611, Hans Jörgen Johansen via All Good Found/Liljevalchs. These atmospheric photographs document mould landscapes grown by Hans Jörgen Johansen. IMAGE: Metamorfos 0803, Hans Jörgen Johansen via All Good Found/Liljevalchs The Swedish artist is pioneering the practice of mouldscape architecture: designing and cultivating his way through a catalogue of horticultural styles, from the romantic […]

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Dot Bio

IMAGE: Mycorrhizal fungi connected to plant host roots. Photo: Yoshihiro Kobai, NWO. Last week, I received a press release promising that, as of April 14, 2014, “the organic world will have its own space on the Internet”: .bio. I was, naturally, rather intrigued. Was .bio to be a Gibsonian matrix, in which otherwise discrete, glitchy, flesh-and-blood […]

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Dietary Superpowers

The better part of an aisle of in most pharmacies and supermarkets is usually dedicated to dietary supplements: vitamins, minerals, and extracts that promise various flavours of biological optimisation, from an immune system boost to healthy joints or even stronger fingernails. Even a trip to Starbucks offers the option of ingesting substances that will speed […]

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