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11 Bold Facts About Doritos

No matter how many bags of Nacho Cheese or Cool Ranch Doritos you’ve munched your way through, you might not know everything about the snack juggernaut.

1. THE IDEA FOR DORITOS MIGHT HAVE BEEN BORN IN A DISNEYLAND TRASHCAN.

The exact origins of Doritos are a little murky, but at least one story has pinpointed the location of the chip's beginnings as the happiest place on Earth. In its early days, Disneyland featured a Mexican restaurant based around another hugely popular corn chip. The Casa de Fritos offered tamales, enchiladas, and, of course, bags of Fritos. As author Gustavo Arellano recounts in Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, in the early 1960s a sales rep for Alex Foods, which supplied the Casa de Fritos with its wholesale ingredients, saw cooks throwing out unwanted tortillas. The rep told the cooks that in the future they should save the tortillas and fry them into chips. 

Patrons liked the improvised chips so much that they went on the menu. As the story goes, the next year, Frito-Lay marketing executive Arch West visited the restaurant, saw how popular the tortilla chips were, and started planning a national rollout for the snacks. 

2. THE ORIGINS MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN THAT MAGICAL. 

While the Disneyland angle is intriguing, when West passed away in 2011, his obituaries told a less Disney-intensive story. The Washington Post doesn’t mention Disneyland, simply saying, “He was on a family vacation in Southern California in 1964 when he first bought a grease-smeared bag of toasted tortillas at a roadside shack.” Similarly, the New York Times quoted West’s daughter, Jana Hacker, who remembered a vacation to San Diego and a stop at “a little shack restaurant where these people were making a fried corn chip.” 

3. THE LINEUP TOOK SOME TIME TO EVOLVE.

Wherever West got the idea, he made the most of it. He sold his bosses at Frito-Lay on marketing the toasted corn chips, and Doritos stormed American shelves in 1966. To give the line more of a Southwestern flair, in 1968 Frito-Lay introduced taco-flavored Doritos. The eventual workhorse of the family, nacho cheese, debuted in 1972, with cool ranch following in 1986

4. THE NAME IS NO LONGER TOTALLY ACCURATE. 

While the mere mention of the word “Doritos” probably conjures visions of neon orange chips, the name originally referred to their un-dusted color and means “little golden things.” 

5. A 1992 REFORMULATION HAS A VERY SPECIFIC BENEFIT.

When Frito-Lay tweaked the nacho cheese variety’s recipe in 1992, it only set out to improve the seasoning’s flavor to create a nacho cheesier future. Instead, it helped the romantic prospects of Doritos devotees. For whatever reason, the reformulated recipe that included more natural cheese also eliminated “Dorito breath,” the unpleasant lingering of snack aromas long after the last chip was gone. 

6. DORITOS GOT AN EVEN BIGGER MAKEOVER IN 1994. 

By 1994, Doritos was raking in $1.3 billion a year, tops in the snack category. Parent company Pepsico didn’t quit while the chips were ahead, though. Instead, Pepsico invested a reported $50 million in what the New York Times called “the costliest redesign in Frito-Lay's history.” The revamped Doritos boasted a stronger flavor, while each chip was 15 percent thinner and 20 percent larger. The new chips also had rounded corners where the previous version had sharp points, a triumph for both eaters and fans of efficiency. Frito-Lay director of corn products Jerry Vogel told the Times, “It's easier to eat them, without the sharp corners. And a lot of the scrap in the bottom of the bag was from the corners breaking off. It was just a waste."

7. THE FLAVORS CAN GET PRETTY WILD.

If you’re bored with nacho cheese and cool ranch, break out your passport. Japan has inventive flavors like Tuna Mayonnaise Doritos and Clam Chowder Doritos; Turkish snackers can enjoy Yogurt and Mint Doritos; and Belgium offers Pure Paprika Doritos.

8. EVEN A-LIST STARS CAN'T ESCAPE DORITOS DUST.

Getty Images

When Jennifer Lawrence earned an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actress for her work in David O. Russell’s 2013 film American Hustle, at least a few tiny Doritos particles were along for the ride. Costume designer Michael Wilkinson revealed in a discussion panel covered by Vanity Fair that Lawrence had sullied a few of her costumes in the film with smears of Doritos. Wilkinson had made four versions of a revealing white gown Lawrence’s character wears, and during the panel he explained why he was glad he had a few extras: “Jennifer Lawrence is a very ... let’s say ... raw and intuitive young lady, and she’s not against eating Doritos and snack food in her costume.” 

9. Home cooks can make their own Doritos dust. 

Of course, if you’re not on camera, a little Doritos dust can be a great thing. Cooks have embraced the zesty, flavorful possibility of Doritos dust as a seasoning for everything from vegetables to popcorn. Don’t want to buy a bag of Doritos to harvest the dust every time you make dinner? Epicurious has you covered with recipes for both nacho cheese and cool ranch dust. 

10. DORITOS LOCOS TACOS WERE AN EVEN BIGGER HIT THAN YOU THOUGHT.

When Taco Bell debuted the Doritos Locos Taco in 2012, America’s favorite vaguely Mexican-ish food franchises made fast food history. Diners may have rolled their eyes at the high-concept taco, but they were so intrigued by the idea that they had to give it a try. At its peak, the Doritos Locos Taco was flying out of stores at a rate of a million orange tacos a day. The special proved so popular that it powered strong corporate profits for both Taco Bell and its parent company, Yum Brands. 

Fans of the novelty taco were surely worried in May 2015 when Taco Bell announced it was removing artificial flavors and colors from its foods by the end of the year, but nothing can stop the Doritos Locos Taco. Taco Bell quickly announced that co-branded products wouldn’t be affected by the new policy.

11. ALIENS MAY BE CRAVING A BAG. 

Doritos aren’t even 50 years old, and they’ve already conquered the world snack market. Where can such a successful brand find new customers? Deep space. In 2008, Doritos used a transmitter in the Arctic Circle to send one of its British ads 42 light years away to a solar system in Ursa Major. While the publicity stunt likely didn’t move many bags of chips outside this solar system, New Scientist reported that the agency that operates the station that transmitted the message got a donation from Doritos for playing along.

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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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