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Making Ice Cream That Tastes Like Color

In September 2014, on one of her frequent stops in New York City, Jeni Britton Bauer swung by the Museum of Modern Art to see Henri Matisse’s Cut-Outs. Bauer, who had studied art at Ohio State University and now owns Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, was familiar with the artworks; she had books about them and posters of them on her walls as a kid. But the reproductions in no way prepared her for the intensity of the real thing. “They felt like a vacuum—like they were going to suck me in,” she tells mental_floss. “The blue is so dry and beautiful ... I started to think what about I was tasting when I saw it.” There was a sweet-tart candy flavor on her tongue, and she knew she wanted to make a line of ice creams and frozen yogurts inspired by The Cut-Outs. The line, Jeni's Colors Collection, is available to order today.

It took Bauer and her team 12 weeks of daily tweaking to create the line, which consists of six flavors: Ultramarine Blue, Ombre Brulee, Cadmium Yellow, Garance Vert Clair, Persian Orange, and Noir d’Ivoire (you can learn more about them below). “There are many, many more colors, of course, but we wanted something from each part of the spectrum,” Bauer says. “And then we chose which ones we thought were the most striking and successful as flavors.” (A candy apple red with a grenadine scent and hot cinnamon didn’t make the cut, and she tried a purple that used ylang-ylang, “but they ended up too floral,” Bauer says. “I thought people wouldn’t like them as much.”) Bauer’s favorites are Persian Orange and Ultramarine Blue.

She created the flavors with pulverized fruits and essential oils, which she used to scent the butterfat that’s in cream. “Most of the flavor in ice cream is scent—I got into ice cream through perfuming, so layering scent in ice cream is what’s exciting to me,” she says. “You add your essential oils [to the mixture] and freeze it. As soon as you eat it, it melts immediately, and all the flavors release into your nose.”

The Colors Collection is accompanied by a book, which Bauer hopes will drive conversation about taste and color and the experience of eating ice cream. “The idea is that our interpretation of the flavors may not be your interpretation of the flavors,” she says, “but that’s part of the fun.”

ULTRAMARINE BLUE BUTTERMILK FROZEN YOGURT

This flavor incorporates not just pulverized wild blueberries from Maine but also edible raspberry extract, and pineapple. “When I was looking at it, it gave me a really tart pineapple,” Bauer says, “which is really odd, because it’s not yellow, it’s blue.”

NOIR D’IVOIRE ICE CREAM

This licorice-infused flavor also includes sea salt and crunchy dark chocolate shavings.

CADMIUM YELLOW BUTTERMILK FROZEN YOGURT

Crushed whole lemons, as well as bergamot and white grapefruit, create this yogurt's flavor.

GARANCE VERT CLAIR ICE CREAM

Bauer used lemongrass, coriander leaf, and spirulina in this flavor, as well as Douglas fir essential oil—a “blue green pine,” she says, “with kind of a resinous flavor. It tilted [the flavor] just a little bit onto that blue side.”

PERSIAN ORANGE BUTTERMILK FROZEN YOGURT

In addition to oranges, this flavor features mango, passion fruit, and blood orange zest.

OMBRE BRULEE ICE CREAM

This ice cream incorporates brown sugar cookie butter and Peru Balsam essential oil, one of Bauer’s favorite scents to work with. “It’s this resin from a tree in Ecuador, and I think it’s awesome,” she says. “It’s almost like a vanilla pipe smoke in flavor.”

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10 Things We Know About The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2
Hulu
Hulu

Though Hulu has been producing original content for more than five years now, 2017 turned out to be a banner year for the streaming network with the debut of The Handmaid’s Tale on April 26, 2017. The dystopian drama, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 book, imagines a future in which a theocratic regime known as Gilead has taken over the United States and enslaved fertile women so that the group’s most powerful couples can procreate.

If it all sounds rather bleak, that’s because it is—but it’s also one of the most impressive new series to arrive in years (as evidenced by the slew of awards it has won, including eight Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards). Fortunately, fans left wanting more don’t have that much longer to wait, as season two will premiere on Hulu in April. In the meantime, here’s everything we know about The Handmaid’s Tale’s second season.

1. IT WILL PREMIERE WITH TWO EPISODES.

When The Handmaid’s Tale returns on April 25, 2018, Hulu will release the first two of its 13 new episodes on premiere night, then drop another new episode every Wednesday.

2. MARGARET ATWOOD WILL CONTINUE TO HELP SHAPE THE NARRATIVE.

Fans of Atwood’s novel who didn’t like that season one went beyond the original source material are in for some more disappointment in season two, as the narrative will again go beyond the scope of what Atwood covered. But creator/showrunner Bruce Miller doesn’t necessarily agree with the criticism they received in season one.

“People talk about how we're beyond the book, but we're not really," Miller told Newsweek. "The book starts, then jumps 200 years with an academic discussion at the end of it, about what's happened in those intervening 200 years. We're not going beyond the novel. We're just covering territory [Atwood] covered quickly, a bit more slowly.”

Even more importantly, Miller's got Atwood on his side. The author serves as a consulting producer on the show, and the title isn’t an honorary one. For Miller, Atwood’s input is essential to shaping the show, particularly as it veers off into new territories. And they were already thinking about season two while shooting season one. “Margaret and I had started to talk about the shape of season two halfway through the first [season],” he told Entertainment Weekly.

In fact, Miller said that when he first began working on the show, he sketched out a full 10 seasons worth of storylines. “That’s what you have to do when you’re taking on a project like this,” he said.

3. MOTHERHOOD WILL BE A CENTRAL THEME.

As with season one, motherhood is a key theme in the series. And June/Offred’s pregnancy will be one of the main plotlines. “So much of [Season 2] is about motherhood,” Elisabeth Moss said during the Television Critics Association press tour. “Bruce and I always talked about the impending birth of this child that’s growing inside her as a bit of a ticking time bomb, and the complications of that are really wonderful to explore. It’s a wonderful thing to have a baby, but she’s having it potentially in this world that she may not want to bring it into. And then, you know, if she does have the baby, the baby gets taken away from her and she can’t be its mother. So, obviously, it’s very complicated and makes for good drama. But, it’s a very big part of this season, and it gets bigger and bigger as the show goes on.”

4. THE RESISTANCE IS COMING.

Just because June is pregnant, don’t expect her to sit on the sidelines as the resistance to Gilead continues. “There is more than one way to resist," Moss said. “There is resistance within [June], and that is a big part of this season.”

5. WE’LL GET TO SEE THE COLONIES.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

Miller, understandably, isn’t eager to share too many details about the new season. “I’m not being cagey!” he swore to Entertainment Weekly. “I just want the viewers to experience it for themselves!” What he did confirm is that the new season will bring us to the colonies—reportedly in episode two—and show what life is like for those who have been sent there.

It will also delve further into what life is like for the refugees who managed to escape Gilead, like Luke and Moira.

6. MARISA TOMEI WILL APPEAR IN AN EPISODE.

Though she won’t be a regular cast member, Miller recently announced that Oscar winner Marisa Tomei will make a guest appearance in the new season’s second episode. Yes, the one that will show us the Colonies. In fact, that’s where we’ll meet her; Tomei is playing the wife of a Commander.

7. WE’LL LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF GILEAD.

As a group shrouded in secrecy, we still don’t know much about how and where Gilead began. That will change a bit in season two. When discussing some of the questions viewers will have answered, executive producer Warren Littlefield promised that, "How did Gilead come about? How did this happen?” would be two of them. “We get to follow the historical creation of this world,” he said.

8. THERE WILL BE AT LEAST ONE HANDMAID FUNERAL.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

While Miller wouldn’t talk about who the handmaids are mourning in a teaser shot from season two that shows a handmaid’s funeral, he was excited to talk about creating the look for the scene. “Everything from the design of their costumes to the way they look is so chilling,” Miller told Entertainment Weekly. “These scenes that are so beautiful, while set in such a terrible place, provide the kind of contrast that makes me happy.”

9. ELISABETH MOSS SAYS THE TONE WILL BE DARKER.

Like season one, Miller says that The Handmaid’s Tale's second season will again balance its darker, dystopian themes with glimpses of hopefulness. “I think the first season had very difficult things, and very hopeful things, and I think this season is exactly the same way,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “There come some surprising moments of real hope and victory, and strength, that come from surprising places.”

Moss, however, has a different opinion. “It's a dark season,” she told reporters at TCA. “I would say arguably it's darker than Season 1—if that's possible.”

10. IT WILL ALSO BE BLOODIER.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

When pressed about how the teaser images for the new season seemed to feature a lot of blood, Miller conceded: “Oh gosh, yeah. There may be a little more blood this season.”

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NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
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Researchers in Singapore Deploy Robot Swans to Test Water Quality
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

There's something peculiar about the new swans floating around reservoirs in Singapore. They drift across the water like normal birds, but upon closer inspection, onlookers will find they're not birds at all: They're cleverly disguised robots designed to test the quality of the city's water.

As Dezeen reports, the high-tech waterfowl, dubbed NUSwan (New Smart Water Assessment Network), are the work of researchers at the National University of Singapore [PDF]. The team invented the devices as a way to tackle the challenges of maintaining an urban water source. "Water bodies are exposed to varying sources of pollutants from urban run-offs and industries," they write in a statement. "Several methods and protocols in monitoring pollutants are already in place. However, the boundaries of extensive assessment for the water bodies are limited by labor intensive and resource exhaustive methods."

By building water assessment technology into a plastic swan, they're able to analyze the quality of the reservoirs cheaply and discreetly. Sensors on the robots' undersides measure factors like dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll levels. The swans wirelessly transmit whatever data they collect to the command center on land, and based on what they send, human pilots can remotely tweak the robots' performance in real time. The hope is that the simple, adaptable technology will allow researchers to take smarter samples and better understand the impact of the reservoir's micro-ecosystem on water quality.

Man placing robotic swan in water.
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

This isn't the first time humans have used robots disguised as animals as tools for studying nature. Check out this clip from the BBC series Spy in the Wild for an idea of just how realistic these robots can get.

[h/t Dezeen]

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