July 23, 2014
Electronic Dance Music is hot. Outdoor music festivals are hot. Sriracha is hot (and also hot). It was inevitable, we suspect, that at some point someone would attempt to merge all three - and now it's happening, at the Electronic Sriracha Festival taking place in San Jose this August. Attendees can enjoy 3 stages of electronic music, dozens of acts, and over 120 Sriracha-enhanced dishes. Further details are slim, but if there's one thing we can be sure of, it's that this crowd that will be going through a lot of bottled water.
July 10, 2014
Between Quirky, Nest and Google's new Android L operating system, the idea of the connected home has picked up a lot of steam over the last few months. But what about expanding that to the garden? A startup called Edyn has already tripled their fundraising goal on Kickstarter with a solar-powered, networked sensor that can give you real-time updates about your garden's humidity, temperature, soil nutrition and light. In addition to the sensor, Edyn is also offering a water valve that can actually control your watering system through an algorithm based on the sensor's input.
Considering how popular it's become to grow your own vegetables - and, at the same time, how time-crunched those same leading-edge gardening enthusiasts often are - Edyn looks to be in a very promising position.
July 9, 2014
We can all identify with the impulse to capture an image for posterity; in the era of the smartphone, that urge to preserve and share has become an overwhelming part of many people's lives. But it increasingly appears that we're on the edge of an exponential boom in our ability to record and experience images.
We of course love the Oculus Rift, and we're excited to see that similar virtual reality products are appearing on the horizon from Google, Sony and Samsung. But the other side of the equation - capturing or creating the virtual environments that Rift-wearers can explore - was really due for some innovation. A new iPad add-on, called the Structure Sensor, now appears poised to bring 3D scanning up to speed. Using a camera made by PrimeSense, the same people behind the Kinect, it's capable of recording photographs with depth, thus building surprisingly accurate models of objects, people, and rooms.
If looking at family snapshots makes you misty-eyed, imagine being able to don a headset and walk through your childhood home, between guests at your high school graduation party, or down a city street you once explored that has since been redeveloped. Three-dimensional scanning sounds like a pretty geeky concept, but we think the consumer applications of this technology will be all about the heart.
June 25, 2014
Adults don’t get the summer off, the way kids do, but there are some compensatory pleasures – like a nice cold beer. Some recent beer offerings, however, seem to be playing directly to consumers’ nostalgia for childhood.
PBJ (& B)
Catawba Valley Brewing Co. set out to recreate the “childhood goodness” of mom-packed school lunches with their new Peanut Butter Jelly Time brown ale. Aged atop a bed of raspberries and real peanuts, and light on the hops, the pale brew has a layered flavor that really is redolent of bread, peanut butter and jelly. Sadly, to try it for yourself, you need to make a trek to Catawba’s home state of North Carolina.
Japanese beer maker Kirin has dabbled in the slushie game before, but only this year has the brand offered a dedicated appliance to let consumers make their own beer slushies at home. Kirin’s Frozen Beer Slushie Maker creates a foamy frozen head on top of your brew, which not only tastes great – it keeps the beer cold longer (though it seems doubtful that any drinker will let it sit that long!).
Perfect for Breakfast?
Anaheim, CA-based microbrewery Noble Ale Works is toying with the heart strings of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal fans everywhere. Their newest beer is called Cinnamon Roast Crunch, and it combines the brewery’s popular Naughty Sauce brew (a delicious, milky-sweet stout infused with Guatemalan coffee, oats and milk) with cinnamon and sugar. But not too much sugar because, after all, grownups tend not to like things as sweet as kids.
June 19, 2014
We all know that when it comes to nutrition, “conventional wisdom” can boomerang in the space of just a few years (just look at the redemption of fat!) – giving hope to even the most demonized of foods.
At the moment, no food has a lower nutritional reputation than white bread (or what, in decades past, would just have been called “bread”). It’s been in a steep decline since 2010, when sales of whole wheat bread surpassed. And, in fact, a full 56% of shoppers say they currently want nothing to do with it.
But if scientists at the University of Oviedo in Spain are correct, the time could be right for a re-evaluation.
Now, nobody is debating the nutritional benefits of whole grains, in bread or otherwise. But the recent study found a positive association between the intake of white bread and levels of Lactobacillus (that’s a good kind of intestinal microbiota). In other words, people who ate more white bread had higher Lactobacilli numbers, which means that not only whole cereal grains can have a prebiotic effect.
While it’s too soon to know if future studies will support the case for refined white flour, the new study indicates that just maybe an old-fashioned PB&J on white doesn’t need to be considered a rare treat anymore.