CLOSE
Original image

Dietribes: A Pocket Full of Rye

Original image

• Rye is a hardy substance. It can grow in poor soils with less sun and at higher altitudes than wheat, and it can thrive through dampness and drought. The bread made from rye also lasts longer. And for some, it is a spiritual thing.

• George Washington had a much-loved recipe for rye whiskey that combined rye, corn and malted barley (in 1799 it was the most profitable part of his plantation). In 2011, his distillery was reopened briefly to produce 600 bottles of the famous mixture at a price of $95 each (and a limit to two per customer) for those who wanted a literal taste of history.

• Rye fields are also good for creating some amazingly creative crop circles.

• Speaking of the work of the devil, could rye have led to the Salem witch trials? Rye (as a cereal or as a bread) can be infected with ergot, a fungus which invades developing kernels under warm and damp conditions - known to have been the case in Salem at the time. "Convulsive ergotism causes violent fits, a crawling sensation on the skin, vomiting, choking, and--most interestingly--hallucinations.  The hallucinogenic drug LSD is a derivative of ergot."

• Is rye a better alternative to wheat? In a study done in 2010 it was found that mice that ate wheat gained significantly more weight than mice on a rye diet. "A possible explanation would be that wheat prompts a higher insulin response than rye, which means that the cells in the body can store more fat. The fact that rye contains more soluble fibers than wheat also plays a role, since they probably prevent the uptake of fat and other nutritional substances in the intestine."

• This may be my favorite Dietribe fact of all time: "Pumpernickel, 'a coarse, dark, slightly sour bread made of unbolted rye', is from German, as one might expect. The word was originally used in German as an insulting term for anyone considered disagreeable. Its elements are pumpern (to break wind) and Nickel (a goblin; devil; rascal), originally a nickname from Nicholas. Pumpernickel, in other words, literally means 'farting bastard'."

• What exactly is the significance of the "pocket full of rye" in "Sing a Song of Sixpence"? Essentially just what you would expect: an ingredient for making bread, cake or pie crust. But the rest of the nursery rhyme's meaning may not be what you remembered ...

• As of 1985 (so we can assume that it has increased dramatically since then), 7500 copies of Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" checked out of the public libraries in Chicago had never been returned.

• A book billed as the sequel to "Catcher in the Rye" has been banned from release in the US.

• Are any of you partial to rye bread? Do you find pumpernickel indigestible? Can you really distinguish the difference between rye whiskey and bourbon? Do tell!

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

‘Dietribes’ appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.

Original image
Opening Ceremony
fun
arrow
These $425 Jeans Can Turn Into Jorts
May 19, 2017
Original image
Opening Ceremony

Modular clothing used to consist of something simple, like a reversible jacket. Today, it’s a $425 pair of detachable jeans.

Apparel retailer Opening Ceremony recently debuted a pair of “2 in 1 Y/Project” trousers that look fairly peculiar. The legs are held to the crotch by a pair of loops, creating a disjointed C-3PO effect. Undo the loops and you can now remove the legs entirely, leaving a pair of jean shorts in their wake. The result goes from this:

501069-OpeningCeremony2.jpg

Opening Ceremony

To this:

501069-OpeningCeremony3.jpg

Opening Ceremony

The company also offers a slightly different cut with button tabs in black for $460. If these aren’t audacious enough for you, the Y/Project line includes jumpsuits with removable legs and garter-equipped jeans.

[h/t Mashable]

Original image
iStock
fun
arrow
This First-Grade Math Problem Is Stumping the Internet
May 17, 2017
Original image
iStock

If you’ve ever fantasized about how much easier life would be if you could go back to elementary school, this math problem may give you second thoughts. The question first appeared on a web forum, Mashable reports, and after recently resurfacing, it’s been perplexing adults across social media.

According to the original poster AlmondShell, the bonus question was given to primary one, or first grade students, in Singapore. It instructs readers to “study the number pattern” and “fill in the missing numbers.” The puzzle, which comprises five numbers and four empty circles waiting to be filled in, comes with no further explanation.

Some forum members commented with their best guesses, while others expressed disbelief that this was a question on a kid’s exam. Commenter karrotguy illustrates one possible answer: Instead of looking for complex math equations, they saw that the figure in the middle circle (three) equals the amount of double-digit numbers in the surrounding quadrants (18, 10, 12). They filled out the puzzle accordingly.

A similar problem can be found on the blog of math enthusiast G.R. Burgin. His solution, which uses simple algebra, gets a little more complicated.

The math tests given to 6- and 7-year-olds in other parts of the world aren’t much easier. If your brain isn’t too worn out after the last one, check out this maddening problem involving trains assigned to students in the UK.

[h/t Mashable]

SECTIONS
BIG QUESTIONS
BIG QUESTIONS
JOB SECRETS
QUIZZES
WORLD WAR 1
SMART SHOPPING
STONES, BONES, & WRECKS
#TBT
THE PRESIDENTS
WORDS
RETROBITUARIES