Saturday, October 26, 2013

The latest from the front lines of literature

Work in Progress: The Latest from the Front Lines of Literature

After the Jelly Bean Incident
Samira Kawash

My candy story begins with an oft-told tale I call "The Jelly Bean Incident." I relate the story at length at the beginning of Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure, so I'll just give you the punch line here: when I offered a few jelly beans to a little pre-school friend, his parents flipped out. I mean, you-might-as-well-give-him-crack flipped out. It was a tense moment.

What I don't talk about in the book is what happened next.

After I had safely locked the jelly beans/crack away that day, we all headed to the beach. The mom had packed a snack hamper for the kids. Inside: juice boxes and a new convenience store item called "Smuckers Uncrustable Peanut-butter and Jelly," which is a frozen pouch of white bread-like material surrounding a layer of peanut butter and jelly. Nutritionally, this snack is the equivalent of a candy bar washed down by a lollipop. But somehow, the similarity of the contents was not what mattered to these parents. What mattered was the difference in form: candy on one side, sandwich on the other.

Read on...

Beyond Frankenstein
Costumes for the Science Savvy
Emily Anthes

Frankenstein's monster is so passé. Especially when you consider all the strange new creatures that scientists have breathed into being in the two centuries since Mary Shelley's "wretched devil" took its first lumbering steps. This Halloween, retire your Frankenstein costume and dress up as one of these brave new beasts instead.

Glowing Cat

In 2008, scientists at Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species, in New Orleans, transferred a jellyfish gene into a cat embryo. The gene coded for a protein known as green fluorescent protein (GFP), a compound that gives off a bright green glow whenever it's hit by blue or black light...

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The Dirty Half Dozen
The Six Best Psychopaths of Film & Literature
Kevin Dutton

Patrick Bateman (American Psycho)

If you thought Gordon Gekko was the undisputed champion of corporate psychopathy, then think again because Bateman makes Gekko look like the angst-ridden, self-harming treasurer of a Mormon prayer group. Impeccably well versed in business couture, Bateman's Achilles' heel is his penchant for prostitutes and chainsaws - and for his "unchivalrous" amalgamation of the two. (That and his predilection for Huey Lewis.)

Read on...

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