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Charting chocolate chip cookies. Image credit: Google News Lab/Truth and Beauty.

Google Charts the Seasonal Patterns of Food Trends

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Charting chocolate chip cookies. Image credit: Google News Lab/Truth and Beauty.

Google trends can tell us a lot, from the country’s top political concerns to the likelihood of traffic jams. They’re also a good indicator of what Americans have on their plate in any given season. What’s on the menu for December? Hot chocolate, peppermint, and tamales. According to The Rhythm of Food, a collaboration between Google News Lab and Truth & Beauty, searches for all three peak around this time of year.

As WIRED reports, the data visualization project consists of hundreds of infographics representing 12 years worth of food-related searches. The graphs below show how certain keywords rise to prominence during specific months. For instance, more people search for stew during the winter than the fall, and searches for gefilte fish see a sharp spike around Passover.

The website’s clock graphs chart the trajectory of food trends though the seasons as well as through the years, with each year represented by a different color. One chart shows that—surprise, surprise—pumpkin spice lattes trend around autumn, but it also illustrates that searches for the term have been cropping up earlier in recent years.

The Rhythm of Food project began by plotting data points linearly. This is a handy way to look at the rise and fall of shorter-lived food trends (kale, for example, has been declining in popularity since 2014, while searches for cauliflower are on the rise). But as their circular infographics show, breaking searches down by week can tell us even more, like that chia seeds are a hot post-New Year’s diet food and people are more likely to search for marshmallows around Thanksgiving than summertime because of its popularity as a sweet potato topper.

[h/t WIRED]

All images courtesy of the Google News Lab/Truth & Beauty.

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You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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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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The Seemingly Simple ‘Math’ Problem That Stumped the Internet
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If you’re a regular Mental Floss reader, you know that we love a good brain teaser. And the one below, which originated on Facebook and has been shared more than 150,000 times, is a great one to test just how sharp you are on a Friday evening at the end of a long workweek.

It’s a seemingly simple enough task: spot the error. Your time starts now…

We’ll give you a minute …

And a little space for you to scroll down to find the answer …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you figure it out?

The “mistake” is that the word “mistake” is misspelled on the instruction sheet on the left. If you missed that completely, you’re not alone: the grid of numbers is what immediately grabs your attention.

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