Kori and Amanda Learn

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Olives, Furr’s, and Glazes May 24, 2010

Filed under: Annoying things,Cooking,Science — Amanda @ 5:17 PM
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Learned thing #1:  More people eat dinner at Olive Garden at 4:30pm on Sunday afternoons than you would imagine.   

My roommate Who Eats Mozzarella Sticks for Dinner (RWEMSD) and I have been planning an outing to Olive Garden for weeks to celebrate the end of LOST and to reminisce on a time in our lives when the only restaurant choices available to us in our suburban hell hometowns were places like Applebee’s, Red Lobster, and Chili’s.  We planned the whole evening: dinner 4:30-6:30pm, LOST recap show 7-9pm, LOST season finale 9-11:30pm.    

As we walked up to the South Bay Shopping Center Olive Garden, melodious Kenny G. version of My Heart Will Go On wafting through the air, RWEMSD commented on how many cars were in the parking lot.  “Oh, they’re probably at Target next door,” I said.  “Look at all those kids running around in the grass out front,” he said.  “Better than running around our table whilst we try to enjoy dinner,” I said.     

RWEMSD pulls open the fake stone door, I get my first whiff of unlimited salad and bread sticks and make my way to the hostess stand, “two for an early bird dinner!”  “Thirty minutes,” the hostess says.  RWEMSD: “huh?”  “It’s a thirty minute wait, unless you want to sit in the bar.”   

SIDEBAR: People who eat dinner before 7pm freak me out.  What time did you eat lunch?  Won’t you be hungry again before bed?  Do you eat early dinners because you go to bed at 8pm?  Going to bed at 8pm is frightening.  Eating dinner before 7pm reminds of a time in my life when weekly meals with Grandma and Grandpa were at Furr’s Cafeteria.  Furr’s might be called Furr’s Family Dining now.  If you don’t know what Furr’s Cafeteria is, click here.   Basically, you get a tray and walk down a school cafeteria-esque line picking out tiny bowls of cauliflower puree and Jell-O.   

Anyway, as you can imagine, the decision to eat dinner at 4:30pm  on Sunday was a made only out of a necessity to be home in time for 4 1/2 hours of LOST.   The fact that the punk hostess was telling us that we had to wait 30 minutes to eat dinner at 4:30pm was appalling.  I was 3 seconds away from marching out in a huff and walking next door to Applebee’s when the punk hostess says, “or you can sit in the bar.”  Oh, can we?  Thank you, punk hostess, for pausing just long enough for me to hate you.   

So, we sat at the bar.  Everything was just above par and totally what we wanted.  Salad.  Bread sticks.  Eggplant parmesan.  Yum.  

Learned thing #2: Vegan baking is basically a science experiment.     

In the spirit of our office Cake-Tatorship, I made a poppy seed bundt cake with blueberry glaze this weekend.  The recipe called for buttermilk, which confounded me at first because 1) I wasn’t quite sure what makes buttermilk buttermilk and 2) I’ve never seen vegan buttermilk at the store.   

First, I did what any 21st century woman would do: I Google’d it.  Buttermilk is basically cultured, or curdled milk with acid, typically lactic acid.  Second, I Google’d “vegan buttermilk” and discovered that adding 1 tbsp of vinegar to 1 cup of soy milk will create the necessary conditions for delicious, cultured, vegan “buttermilk.”  It was amazing.  It was science. 

Here’s the original recipe from Joy the Baker.  I substituted 1/2 cup of vegan yogurt for every egg and vegan “buttermilk” made from vinegar and soy milk.  For the glaze, I had to add almost 1/2 cup more powdered sugar to get the desired texture.  

Freaking Delicious

Vegan Poppy Seed Bundt Cake with Blueberry Glaze


Martufo’s Contribution to LEARNING May 13, 2010

Filed under: Science — martufocontributes @ 2:34 PM
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Dear World,

First and foremost, I must thank Kori and Amanda Learns to provide such a widely read and highly regarded platform of learning so that I may share my truth bombs.

Friends, let’s be real: Vitamins are dangerous and can make you sick and maybe even die (!)

 My crusade against vitamin poisoning (also known as hypervitaminminea) goes back to this cautionary tale of a Young Martufo who loved learning and her imaginary horses almost as much as her Flintstone vitamins. Delicious and candy flavored, Young Martufo enjoyed a handful of Dinos, Wilmas and Bettys as an afterschool treat. Young Martufo’s mother, the Extremely Patient Upbringer of Young Martufo, discovered this mass ingestion of HanaBarbara characters with great fear. As a victim to the alleged ‘health movement’, Martufo’s Extemely Patient Mother had purchased these delicious health supplements in anticipation of a metered and supervised administration. She did not anticipate Young Martufo’s helper monkey-like dexterity and ability to climb counters and manipulate the child-safe cap. After admonishment and a healthy dose of education of the dangers of vitamin poisoning, Young Martufo was drawn to, nay, charged with the crusade against hypervitaminminea (or hypervitaminosis if you want the proper but less fun name of the diagnosis).

Try not to fall victim to the siren's call of "health" "supplements"

I am relieved to claim that my crusade has been successful and it is only because of me (pretty much) that there are usually no vitamin poisoning related deaths every year. In fact, there are more deaths related to ingesting laundry products than vitamin abuse (probably because Young Martufo’s Extremely Patient Mother placed said laundry products out of helper monkey reach was Young Martufo able to avoid this perilous fate… thanks, Mom!).

Victoriously, and with the proper amount of humility, I’m here to remind you, world, don’t mess up my perfect record. Don’t be a Young Martufo. I suggest healthy afterschool snacks such as apples or even Dunkaroos, because childhood obesity is decidedly preferable to nerve damage (caused by assorted vitamins B), yellowed and unattractive skin (vitamin A…you’ll never beat my father’s record of 11 girlfriends with skin like that) or digestive issues (vitamin C …also: ew).

Hypervitaminminea… it’s real. Just ask Amanda Learns! She took a seemingly harmless multi-vitamin and had a headache… a HEADACHE. Can you IMAGINE if she took the vitamin for another day?! She’d be dead! Well…hopefully not but you can never tell in the world of vitamins when danger is lurking around every metaphorical and proverbial corner. Crusade on!


Only Kori Learns May 3, 2010

Filed under: Animal Kingdom,Crossword,Science — Kori Learns @ 2:47 PM

Today Kori Learns learned about the Loris, which is not to be confused with the Lorax of Dr. Seuss fame.  Lorises are small primates that apparently come in one of two subfamilies, slender or slow.  I am uncertain as to whether they can be both slender and slow, but it appears unlikely.

Lorises are nocturnal and insectivores.  Also, the females practice infant parking, which sounds like something amusing but really only means they leave their babies at home in the nest.  Most interestingly mothers groom their babies with their allergenic saliva to deter predators, which is simultaneously cool and gross.

The reason that only Kori learned is because Amanda already knew about the Loris and this is not the “Kori Learns and Amanda Remembers What She Learned” blog.  Kori Learns finds it surprising that Amanda Learns is the one familiar with this small tree dwelling primate since Kori Learns is the one who has cable and watches too many nature programs like Life, Planet Earth and When Animals Attack.

Lorises are also cute.

Learn Loris Lore here.


An Argument for Naps April 23, 2010

Filed under: Brilliant things,Science — Amanda @ 9:35 AM
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A new paper, published in the journal Cell Biology, suggests that napping after learning something new could help commit it to memory.  The study found people who dream about a new task perform it better on waking than those who do not sleep or do not dream.  

Volunteers were asked to learn the layout of a 3D computer maze so they could find their way within the virtual space several hours later.  Those allowed to take a nap and who also remembered dreaming of the task, found their way to a landmark quicker.

The researchers think the dreams are a sign that unconscious parts of the brain are working hard to process information about the task.  Dr Robert Stickgold of Harvard Medical School, one of the authors of the paper, said dreams may be a marker that the brain is working on the same problem at many levels.

Our conclusion: KoriandAmandalearns should take a nap after learning things at lunchtime.

Read the full article at BBC.com.


How to count penguins. April 21, 2010

Filed under: Animal Kingdom,Science — Kori Learns @ 10:46 AM

Five easy steps for counting emperor penguins:

1) Have your government develop a sophisticated satellite imaging system.  Convince them to do this by telling them they should really track potential nuclear weapon sites and other dangerous sorts of things.

2) Once the satellite is up and running, convince them that their fancy shmancy satellites can be used for other types of good, like scientific research.  Everyone loves science!

3) Sob story time.  Plead your case about how it’s really, really hard to try and count emperor penguins.  Explain how you’ve tried attaching radio transmitters, climbing on ladders above their huddling masses, and even attempted to use jets to track them from the air, but to no avail.  These suckers are hard to count.  Plus Antartica’s really cold so no one wants to go there in person.

4) Tell the super secret government spy people that they could easily solve the worlds penguin counting problems if they just took a few minutes out of their day to take satellite photos of emperor penguins in Antartica!

5) Offer to pay.

Please note that these five steps only work for counting emperor penguins in the wild.  If you just want to count any old group of penguins, there are easier ways.  One way would be to go to the New England Aquarium.  Or South Africa, which is way warmer than Antartica and has lots of penguins.

For a more detailed account of penguin counting please click here.


Dwarf Lemurs are pretty AWESOME! April 14, 2010

Filed under: Science — Kori Learns @ 5:41 PM

Today, well not really today and more like yesterday or Monday, we learned that scientists have re-discovered the DWARF LEMUR OF MADAGASCAR which they believed was extinct.  After analyzing this petite lemur’s DNA they conclusively determined that this was in fact a distinct species of lemur!  It is also quite adorable, but please note wild animals should never be handled without expert care and do not make good pets.

Dwarf Lemur Article HERE!!!


Giant Man-Eating Isopods! April 6, 2010

Filed under: Science — Amanda @ 12:59 PM

Resembling giant woodlice, isopods are oceanic bottom-feeders, dining mostly on whale carcasses and the like. The vast majority of them are found at depths below 1,200 feet, so they are not generally sought out in any commercial capacity and therefore we don’t see them very often. However, we hear isopod is something of a delicacy in Taiwan, where its white, lobster-like meat is boiled and enjoyed in seaside restaurants.

Watch the awesome video here:  Isopods eat whales