(Roughly) Daily

“By preventing dangerous asteroid strikes, we can save millions of people, or even our entire species”*…

The probability of an major asteroid strike on earth at any given moment is low, but the consequences could be catastrophic… and the odds of it happening at some point grow frighteningly large. Happily, the B612 Foundation and Asteroid Institute has developed a way of identifying potentially dangerous asteroids so that they can be deflected by NASA…

Protecting the planet: The Asteroid Institute, @b612foundation.

* Rusty Schweickart, astronaut and co-founder of B612

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As we dodge disaster, we might recall that it was on this date in 1957 that the space age– and the space race– began in earnest: Sputnik 1 was launched by the Soviet Union into earth orbit.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 4, 2022 at 1:00 am

“The Big Rock Candy Mountain”*…

Rock candy (or sugar candy or rock sugar or crystal sugar) is a type of sweet composed of relatively large sugar crystals, formed by allowing a supersaturated solution of sugar and water to crystallize onto a surface suitable for crystal nucleation (e.g.,a string, a stick, or plain granulated sugar). As Anna and Kelly Pendergrast explain, they have a pattern embedded through the entire length, using techniques perfected by master candy craftspeople over generations…

A 1957 film shows the making of rock candy (often better known by its place of origin, for instance, Blackpool rock or Brighton rock..

A more recent demonstration shows the technique has remained practically unchanged for 75 years…

Crafting a confection: How Rock Candy is Made, from @APndrgrst and @k_pendergrast in The Prepared (@the_prepared).

Harry McClintock

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As we let it melt in our mouths, we might note that this is National Caramel Custard Day. A caramel custard is an egg custard, lightly topped with caramel, on a caramel base; a variation, Creme Brulee, is a distant cousin of rock candy, in that the caramel is not at the bottom, but only the top of the custard, and is “carmelized” (hardened) with a red-hot salamander (a cast-iron disk with a long wooden handle) or with a butane torch.

Caramel Custard

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 3, 2022 at 1:00 am

“No offense to real jobs, but comics seemed a lot more fun”*…

It’s been just over 12 years since (R)D last visited Dinosaur Comics (though your correspondent checks in regularly). Ryan North— the creator of Adventure Time (comics), Squirrel Girl, numerous books (e.g., How To Take Over The World and How To Invent Everything),and other delights– is still doling out prehistoric profundity…

So much more at Dinosaur Comics (@dinosaurcomics).

* Ryan North

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As we parse percipience, we might recall that it was on this date in 1950 that the daily comic strip Peanuts premiered in eight newspapers: The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Minneapolis Tribune, The Allentown Call-Chronicle, The Bethlehem Globe-Times, The Denver Post, The Seattle Times, and The Boston Globe.  Its creator, Charles Schulz had developed the concept as a strip (L’il Folks) in his hometown paper, The St. Paul Pioneer Press, from 1947 to 1950.  At its peak, Peanuts ran in over 2,600 newspapers, with a readership of 355 million in 75 countries, and was translated into 21 languages.

First Peanuts strip

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 2, 2022 at 1:00 am

“Surrender to it. It’s nacho time.”*…

As Mark Dent explains, anytime you order nachos at a sporting event, there’s a good chance they came from a molten-cheese empire in San Antonio, Texas…

Ballpark nachos are a concession stand staple… For all of Major League Baseball, that statistic would translate to ~13m orders.

And for every order, there’s one key figure to thank: San Antonio businessman Frank Liberto.

Decades ago, he added a twist to a popular Mexican appetizer and originated the concept of the ballpark nacho. If you’ve purchased nachos at a sporting event or a movie theater, odds are you’ve bought chips, cheese sauce, or jalapeños from the Liberto family’s longtime business…

The fascinating story of “The family that built a ballpark nachos monopoly,” from @mdent05 in @TheHustle.

For a somewhat more (or at least differently) aspirational appreciation of nachos, see “Toward a Theory of Perfect Nachos,” from @rosecrans in @SAVEURMAG.

* Kristen Bell

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As we crave the crunch, we might recall that it was on this date in 1971 that Walt Disney World, outside of Orlando, opened. The property covers nearly 25,000 acres (39 sq mi; 101 km2), of which half has been used. The resort has grown to contain four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom), two water parks, 31 themed resort hotels, nine non-Disney hotels, several golf courses, a camping resort, and other entertainment venues, including the outdoor shopping center Disney Springs.

Nachos are served.

The Hub of Magic Kingdom

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 1, 2022 at 1:00 am

“Take this job and shove it”*…

Chauncey Hare, “Self Portrait at EPA” (1980)

Chauncey Hare hated his job, so he captured the drudgery of office life in order to protest it…

Photography started as a hobby for Chauncey Hare. For 27 years, he worked as a chemical engineer at the Standard Oil Company of California, using his camera to escape the tedium of the office. By 1977, he couldn’t take it anymore. But before he declared himself a “corporate dropout” and committed to art full-time, Hare trained his camera on the world he hoped to leave behind…

“Head of Female Worker Seen Over Office Cubicle, Standard Oil Company of California” (1976–77)
“Office worker seated at a desk, ‘Standard Oil Company of California refinery, Richmond, California’” (1976-77)

Paradoxically, the same medium that once served as a respite from the banality of Hare’s professional life soon came to feel oppressive in its own right. In Quitting Your Day Job, a forthcoming critical biography of Hare, the scholar Robert Slifkin connects Hare’s sly, arresting portraiture to the artist’s critiques of capitalist power structures, including the cultural institutions that embraced him. (Hare won three Guggenheim fellowships, an honor shared only by Ansel Adams and Walker Evans.) The photographer went on to disavow “official art” and accept a part-time job at the Environmental Protection Agency to support himself. A self-portrait from that time [the photo at the top]shows Hare back in an office environment, where a poster hanging on a cubicle wall poses a question that its surroundings implicitly answer: What’s bugging you? By 1985, Hare had given up photography altogether and become a therapist specializing in “work abuse.”…

More of Hare’s remarkable work, and of his equally-remarkable story, at “Under the Fluorescent Lights,” by Hannah Giorgis. See also “These Photographs Were Made in Protest.”

* songwriter David Allan Coe (made famous in a recording by Johnny Paycheck)

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As we gag at our gigs, we might recall that it was on this date in 1911 that the first motion picture “stunt man” was hired, when Lt. Henry “Hap” Arnold, a pioneer military pilot, was brought onto director William J. Humphrey‘s production of The Military Air-Scout to do stunt flying for the film; the two-reeler was released the following December.

Lt. Arnold went on to become an Army General (head of the Army Air Corps) and then the commanding general of the U.S. Air Force; he remains the only person every to hold a five-star rank in two different U.S. military services. On retirement, he helped found both Project RAND, which evolved into one of the world’s largest non-profit global policy think tanks, the RAND Corporation, and Pan American World Airways.

“Hap” Arnold, stunt pilot

Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 30, 2022 at 1:00 am

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