T-minus 10 Years...

So I'm sitting at a red light today, turning the AC up another notch, when suddenly the guy in front of me opens his window and dumps his entire ashtray of cigarette butts on the ground! Can you imagine?! It's bad enough people toss them out individually, but there must have been three or four packs worth in there.

Aside from irritating me so much that I leaned on my horn and let him know it (not sure if I expected him to apologize, get out and pick them up, or pull a gun on me), it made me wonder how long it takes those babies to biodegrade. Which, of course, leads us to our weekly random Google search.

Because it turns out that "it takes 10 years for one cigarette butt to biodegrade."


It takes ten years for a new drug in the laboratory to get to the market.

It takes 10 years for land to recover after an oil spill.

It takes ten years for a Horseshoe Crab to reach sexual maturity to reproduce.

After CFC's are emitted, it takes ten years for them to reach the stratosphere. Once there, they can continue to destroy ozone molecules for 75 to 100 years, depending on their type.

Averagely, it takes ten years for an HIV + positive person to develop the disease condition known as AIDS.

It takes ten years for an olive tree to bear fruit.

It takes ten years for a new technology to move from its beginnings in the lab to the point where it is available in sufficient quantities at a low enough price that it affects the general market. Five years from lab to street; five more years to drop in price and increase in availability.

Maybe somewhere, right now, someone's working on some new technology that, 10 years from now, will help us deal with all the stray cigarette butts? Would be nice.

The Simple Way to Reheat Your French Fries and Not Have Them Turn Into a Soggy Mess

Some restaurant dishes are made to be doggy-bagged and reheated in the microwave the next day. Not French fries: The more crispy and delectable they are when they first arrive on your table, the more of a soggy disappointment they’ll be when you try to revive them at home. But as The Kitchn recently shared, there’s a secret to making leftover fries you’ll actually enjoy eating.

The key is to avoid the microwave altogether. Much of the appeal of fries comes from their crunchy, golden-brown exterior and their creamy potato center. This texture contrast is achieved by deep-frying, and all it takes is a few rotations around a microwave to melt it away. As the fries heat up, they create moisture, transforming all those lovely crispy parts into a flabby mess.

If you want your fries to maintain their crunch, you need to recreate the conditions they were cooked in initially. Set a large pan filled with about 2 tablespoons of oil for every 1 cup of fries you want to cook over medium-high heat. When you see the oil start to shimmer, add the fries in a single layer. After about a minute, flip them over and allow them to cook for half a minute to a minute longer.

By heating up fries with oil in a skillet, you produce something called the Maillard Reaction: This happens when high heat transforms proteins and sugars in food, creating the browning effect that gives fried foods their sought-after color, texture, and taste.

After your fries are nice and crisp, pull them out of the pan with tongs or a spatula, set them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil, and sprinkle them with salt. Now all you need is a perfect burger to feel like you’re eating a restaurant-quality meal at home.

[h/t The Kitchn]

Bone Collector


More from mental floss studios