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Tabasco.com

The Island Where Tabasco Peppers Grow

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Tabasco.com

OK, so there aren’t bottles growing off of bushes, and you won’t find a magical red waterfall of spicy sauce flowing from the rocks. But if you love Tabasco and all things spicy, Avery Island is your Wonka’s chocolate factory.

Named after a family that settled there in the 1830s, Avery Island is a little piece of land in Louisiana that's home to something big: A salt dome where virtually every drop of Tabasco sauce is produced. The legend goes something like this: Back in the 1860s, Edmund McIlhenny, who married into the Avery family, was given some Capsicum frutescens peppers to try growing at his in-laws’ plantation on Avery Island. They flourished, and McIlhenny quickly discovered that mashing them with some white vinegar and the island’s natural salt made for a pretty tasty sauce that greatly improved the bland food of the day. It turned out that others thought the spicy concoction was pretty good, too.

Although Tabasco sauce is produced on Avery Island, not all of the peppers are actually grown there. Sometime in the 1960s, demand outgrew the island's capacity to produce peppers—the land mass, after all, is only about 2,200 acres and 3 miles across at its widest point. In response, the company started shipping their seeds to various locations in Latin America, where they now own farms. They do grow some Tabasco-destined peppers on their property, though partially for research purposes. For example, they tested a machine that would automate the pepper-picking process (say that three times fast), but found that it was unable to detect the precise shade of red ripeness the peppers should be when harvested. As a result, Tabasco peppers are still hand-picked by workers who use a colored stick to match the right shade.

In addition to the pepper farm, the island is also home to about half of the company's 200 employees. Many of them are descendants of employees who worked there more than 100 years ago. There's also a bird colony, rare plants, and a shrine housing a giant, 900-year-old Buddha statue, which was a gift to McIlhenny in 1936. The little island that produces a sauce with a big kick is worth a visit—even if you're not a fan of all things spicy.

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science
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.

1. SHE WAS BORN TO, AND FOR, GREATNESS.

A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.

2. HER PARENTS' MARRIAGE WAS A MODEL FOR HER OWN.

Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.

3. SHE AND HER HUSBAND WERE AN UNSTOPPABLE PAIR.

Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.

4. THEY FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE.

The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.

5. SHE WAS NOT CONTENT WITH THE STATUS QUO.

Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.

6. SHE WORKED HERSELF TO DEATH.

Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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iStock

After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like Delivery.com or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with Delivery.com or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]

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