The art and science of playing with your food

Hungry scientists: While the latest developments in molecular gastronomy might be originating from the high temples of haute cuisine, a group of part-time tinkerers have been exploring quirky cooking at home.

A water pump for the people

Treadle pump: Inventor Martin Fisher designs easy irrigation tools – and his organization, KickStart, distributes manual irrigation pumps to African farmers.

Review: America Eats!

Author Pat Willard does not dwell on the historical circumstances of this Depression-era project. Instead she looks for the modern equivalents and her travels are the thrust of America Eats!

U.S. wheat acreage rises – even in New England

Wheat: There’s been no recorded tally of wheat in New England since 1946. But growing consumer demand for breads made with local flours is leading to an expansion.

China’s quake: Why did so many schools collapse?

Buildings: Earthquakes often result in a disproportionate number of student deaths. Engineering experts weigh in on why schools collapse. (Part of contributing research.)

Review: A collection of six-word mini-memoirs

In short: Norman Mailer’s 1966 poem “The shortest novel of them all” clocks in at 80 words. In other words, way too long for this collection of ultrashort literature.