black holes and gray matter. in one thousand tangos.


Mr. Golper, like many comrades in the revolutionary salt-flour-water brigade, is engaged in an ancient and ceaseless battle: against the whims of working with fermenting dough whose personality can shift on a daily or even hourly basis; against the high costs of making bread in what he considers the purest manner; against decades of commercialization that have trained the American eye and palate to expect bread that is soft, gummy, pale and tasteless.

'Most people are trying to make bread as quickly as possible… I don’t think it’s healthy.'

Instead, Mr. Golper, 36, wages a loving blitz upon the miche dough, fermenting it for up to an epic 68 hours and hardening the crust with a bake that goes on for almost double the time (at a slightly lower temperature) than you would find in the average shop. The dough itself contains six different types of flour.”

Small independent bakers in New York, California, Oregon, Virginia and North Carolina (and many points in between) are going to great lengths to approach an ideal of bread that is simultaneously cutting-edge and primordial. They’re hunting down heirloom grains, early forms of wheat like emmer and einkorn, and milling their own flour. …

They’re using unusually wet dough and stretching out fermentation times. They’re trying to conjure up the baker’s version of terroir, creating sourdough starter in the classic manner: simply by letting it sit, welcoming the bacteria in the air so the bread presumably tastes like the place where it was made.”

Read on: Against the Grain

"Earth has a volume of about one trillion cubic kilometers. Can you picture a cube 1,000 meters high, 1,000 meters deep, 1,000 meters across? Now picture a trillion of them.”

It “has a mass of 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms, or, if you prefer, 6 sextillion tons. In pounds, that’s actually … 0. Nothing. Mass is a measure of how much stuff an object contains, but weight is how hard gravity pulls on that mass. The Earth is in space, orbiting the Sun, so it’s in free fall. It has mass, but no weight at all.”

"There is no physical place where Earth’s atmosphere stops and space begins; the air just gets thinner and thinner and eventually fades away. But we love definitions, so the official height above the Earth’s surface considered to be where space begins—called the Kármán line—is at an altitude of 100 km. Anyone who gets higher than that is considered an astronaut.”

"It’s about 71 percent water by area, dominated by the Pacific Ocean, which covers a staggering 155.6 million square km (60 million square miles) of the surface. That’s nearly a third of the planet.”

But, “if you took all the water on Earth and collected it into a single drop, it would be just less than 1,400 kilometers (860 miles) across.”

"Earth is warming up. It’s a fact. Deal with it.”

Earth Day Fun Facts | Slate | NASA

©2011 Kateoplis