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Hipster-Themed Convenience Store Opens in Portland

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Are you a Portland resident or visitor who's frustrated that you can’t find Lion Heart kombucha on tap, or naturally sweetened plantain and lentil chips in your neighborhood? You might want to make a trip to Mini Mini, a hipster-themed shop that sells locally sourced products, Vice’s Munchies reports.

The idea behind the store came from former Stumptown coffee shop workers Jonathan Felix-Lund and Matt Brown, who co-own the shop with Aaron Draplin, the graphic designer behind Field Notes. After a few negative experiences at gas stations during a cross country trip, the pair decided they wanted to create a space that was more enjoyable than a standard convenience store.

"If it looks good, it feels better," Felix-Lund explained to Munchies. "The lighting in most convenience stores is really harsh; people get in and get out, and customers deserve a place that feels clean. Most convenience stores are gross."

While the store offers items you can buy at any convenience store, Mini Mini also features local artisanal products, such as Salt & Straw ice cream, Stumptown coffee, and Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwiches, as well as Double Mountain beer on tap and Hot pocket-like "Quickie Pies" from Portland’s Sizzle Pie Pizza (who also co-owns Mini Mini).

Still, the founders promise that those special offerings doesn't come at an extra cost.

"People think Mini Mini’s going to be expensive because it’s nice, but we will fill up your growler for $7 with local cider and beer," Brown insisted. "Nothing in this store is over 20 bucks."

Mini Mini hopes to expand to more areas around Portland and to tailor each convenience store experience to the needs of each neighborhood.

[h/t Munchies]

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Animals
Switzerland Just Made It Illegal to Boil Live Lobsters
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No, lobsters don’t scream when you toss them into a pot of boiling water, but as far as the Swiss government is concerned, they can still feel pain. The path most lobsters take to the dinner plate is supposedly so inhumane that Switzerland has banned boiling lobsters alive unless they are stunned first, The Guardian reports.

The new law is based on assertions from animal rights advocates and some scientists that crustaceans like lobsters have complex nervous systems, making death by boiling incredibly painful. If chefs want to include lobster on their menus, they’re now required to knock them out before preparing them. Acceptable stunning methods under Swiss law include electric shock and the “mechanical destruction” of the lobster’s brain (i.e. stabbing it in the head).

The government has also outlawed the transportation of live lobsters on ice or in icy water. The animals should instead be kept in containers that are as close to their natural environment as possible until they’re ready for the pot.

Proponents of animal rights are happy with the decision, but others, including some scientists, are skeptical. The data still isn’t clear as to whether or not lobsters feel pain, at least in the way people think of it. Bob Bayer, head of the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute, told Mental Floss in 2014 that lobsters “sense their environment, but don’t have the intellectual hardware to process pain.”

If you live in a place where boiling lobsters is legal, but still have ethical concerns over eating them, try tossing your lobster in the freezer before giving it a hot water bath. Chilling it puts it to sleep and is less messy than butchering it while it’s still alive.

[h/t The Guardian]

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Food
Hate Red M&M's? You Need a Candy Color-Sorting Machine
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You don’t have to be a demanding rock star to live a life without brown M&M's or purple Skittles—all you need is some engineering know-how and a little bit of free time.

Mechanical engineering student Willem Pennings created a machine that can take small pieces of candy—like M&M's, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, etc.—and sort them by color into individual piles. All Pennings needs to do is pour the candy into the top funnel; from there, the machine separates the candy—around two pieces per second—and dispenses all of it into smaller bowls at the bottom designated for each variety.

The color identification is performed with an RGB sensor that takes “optical measurements” of candy pieces of equal dimensions. There are limitations, though, as Pennings revealed in a Reddit Q&A: “I wouldn't be able to use this machine for peanut M&M's, since the sizes vary so much.”

The entire building process lasted from May through December 2016, and included the actual conceptualization, 3D printing (which was outsourced), and construction. The entire project was detailed on Pennings’s website and Reddit's DIY page.

With all of the motors, circuitry, and hardware that went into it, Pennings’s machine is likely too ambitious of a task for the average candy aficionado. So until a machine like this hits the open market, you're probably stuck buying bags of single-colored M&M’s in bulk online or sorting all of the candy out yourself the old fashioned way.

To see Pennings’s machine in action, check out the video below:

[h/t Refinery 29]

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