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“It’s us vs them”

Canadian Goose Landing 1This is why I love Mayor Bloomberg.

The mayor responding to questions about New York City’s plan to kill 18,000 Canadian geese to improve air safety:

“People are not going to stop flying and we have to make a decision. It’s geese or human beings.” And which faction does the mayor support in this inter-species warfare? “I can tell you where I come out on that. I don’t think you need a quote from me.”

[via New York Mag]

Apparently we give “State Quarters” to the colonies now…

McDonald’s heir beaten by French

Toledo, McDonald's 1967Definitive proof that the French hate freedom:

via Gawker:

A pack of robbers armed with baseball bats beat and robbed 60-year-old Geoffrey McDonald) and his wife in their villa in the south of France.

McDonald’s is in Eygalières, a village in Provence where Brangelina recently purchased a $15 million mansion. The thugs stole $360,000 in cash, jewelery, and passports from the “severely shocked” couple. France is too dangerous, Geoffrey—come home to America, where we will revere you as a demigod and protect you and your loved ones with our lives.

And you thought it was all your driving that was causing climate change

Turns out, it is Chinese mine fires.

Via Marginal Revolution:

China alone loses between 100 million and 200 million tons of coal each year to mine fires, as much as 20 percent of their annual production, according to the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, based in Enschede, Netherlands. The Institute estimates that carbon dioxide emissions from these fires are as high as 1.1 billion metric tons, more than the total carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles in the United States. Second to China is India, where 10 million tons of coal burns annually in mine fires, contributing a further 51 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

I guess that means we call all feel better about cruising around with the our windows down and the A/C blasting.

The Kremlin runs on Dunkin? [progress]

Grand Opening: Dunkin Donuts on Forbes Ave, Squirrel HillA little more than a decade after it pulled out, Dunkin Donuts is planning a big comeback in Russia. The coffee and donut retailer recons that the introduction of Starbucks to the Russian market and the recent proliferation of domestic coffee shops has softened up the ground enough to make another go at it.

The plan is to open 50 outlets in Russia over the next few years. There are currently 27 Starbucks in the country. We can only hope that the combined Dunkin/Starbucks/McDonalds onslaught will make the Russian coffee market safe for Americans (unlike the horrible coffee situation in France).

The only question I have is will the donuts be 89 cents like they are in America or nearly $2 like they are in Berlin?

Victory!

American sodaThe Philadelphia soda tax, which would have slapped a two cent per ounce tax on soda, juice and other sugary drinks, appears to be dead.

Needless to say, this is tremendous news as the soda tax as proposed would have almost certainly ended free refills in the city of brotherly love. It is time to drink a Super Big Gulp in celebration!

DON’T TREAD ON ME!

Michigan did it [distracted driving]

From Gongwer:

The House has just approved a move to make texting while driving a primary offense.

The Republican-controlled Senate passed the primary offense measure after the House originally had approved making texting while driving a secondary offense, meaning a police officer would have to pull someone over for another traffic violation to cite a person for also texting while driving.

HB 4394, which passed 74-33, is tie-barred to a similar measure comprised in SB 468, which the House has not taken up for a vote yet. The Senate will have to concur in the House changes before all the bills become law (HB 4370).

The ban would take effect July 1.

Per Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates, I predict this will save zero lives.

(Hat tip: John)

Happy Patriots’ Day! [Massachusetts and Maine only]

235 years ago, Massachusetts militia members fired on British troops in the towns of Lexington and Concord setting off the Revolutionary War. Today the start of the American Revolution is only officially celebrated in Maine and Massachusetts, which is ironic because I’m pretty sure Massachusetts is part of the European Union—or at least that is what Fox News led me to believe.

Here is a nice Schoolhouse Rock video in case you need a quick refresher on your American Revolution history.

Is the Double Down the most delicious sandwich ever?

Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight ran the nutrition numbers on KFC’s new Double Down and found that it just may be the most unhealthy sandwich ever. It is not so much that the Double Down has a load of calories (it only has 540), but rather that it contains more sodium, fat and cholesterol per calorie than any other burger he looked at.

Of course when I hear about something with a lot of salt and fat I generally start licking my lips. After all, these are the flavors that make food so delicious and there is some evidence we are addicted to them.

So while the Double Down may be the most unhealthy sandwich ever from a ‘nutrition’ stand point. The flip side is that packs in more deliciousness in each bite than any other sandwich on the market today.

American food science at its finest!

Why does French espresso suck?

Coffee, Cup and BeansIt is no secret why French coffee sucks.  It is because instead of brewing it properly they use the instant variety. But if you ask a Frenchmen about this, he will most likely reply that real French don’t drink “weak American-style coffee,” they drink espresso. The Nescafe Instant Coffee in every store, he’ll say, is just there so tourists have something to drink.

This is a lie, Europeans are second only to Asians in consuming instant coffee. But even if it were true, it does not explain why France, the cafe capitol of the world, has such horrible Espresso.

The New York Times steps in to answer the question.

I want to put it in stronger terms, but I’ll leave it to Duane Sorensen of Stumptown Coffee Roasters, who once asked me: “Why does the coffee in Paris suck so bad?”

Why, indeed?

Maybe it’s because Paris cafes do all the little things wrong: old beans, over-roasted beans, second-rate machines. Coffee is ground in batches, not to order. Order a café crème or noisette and out comes a box of U.H.T. milk, a shelf-stable dairy product. Even the venerable Cafés Verlet (256 rue Saint-Honoré, 011-33-01-42-606-739) ignores a basic rule and keeps roasted beans in open barrels.

The composition of most espresso blends doesn’t help things. James Freeman of Blue Bottle Coffee often points out that the French have a taste for robusta, a low-cost, low-quality bean that gives good crema but can taste thin and harsh. Or, to paraphrase a conversation I had with Corby Kummer, drinking robusta is like putting balsa wood in your mouth.

So there you have it. Not only do the French drink loads of low-quality instant coffee, they also cut corners when brewing their espresso. If you want a quality cup of coffee next time you’re traveling in Paris, you best bet it to find the nearest McDonald’s or Starbucks.  Thankfully they’ve just opened up a new McDonald’s in the Louvre.

(Hat tip: Joey)

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