December 14, 2018

Weekend reads: 'Tis the season for … KFC's fried-chicken-scented firelog?

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    Scientists to seals: 'Make better choices'. A handful of Hawaiian monk seals recently began sticking eels up their noses—leaving researchers baffled. According to Charles Littnan, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, the behavior started about two years ago. "We have no idea why this is suddenly happening," he said. "You see some very strange things if you watch nature long enough, and this could end up being one of these little oddities and mysteries of our careers that 40 years from now, we'll be retired and still questioning quite how this happened." The "most plausible" theory for why this is happening, according to Littnan, is that monk seals "seem naturally attracted to getting into troublesome situations." Littnan added that if monk seals could understand humans, he'd gently plead for them to stop "make better choices."

    Pink Himalayan salt isn't healthier for you—it's just pink. The idea that Pink Himalayan salt is healthier than regular salt—a claim popularized by many social medial wellness influencers since the salt became trendy in 2009—simply doesn't seem to be true, according to experts, Amanda Mull writes for The Atlantic. "Although pink Himalayan salt is perfectly functional for its intended culinary purpose—making food salty—it's never before been particularly prized or venerated for its quality," Mull writes. While it's not any healthier than regular salt, it does look nice, and that seems to be its main attraction. As Ali Bouzari, a chef and food scientist, said, "It's theater, it's performance. Little flecks of unicorn cocaine on a nice charred beet? That's aesthetically appealing and that will influence flavor indirectly. … Functionally, it's good for everything that salt's good for, full stop."

    Danielle Poindexter's reads

    Baby gorilla's first flu shot. Moke, the seven-month-old gorilla who lives in the National Zoo, got his first flu shot last week. According to zoo officials, Moke's shot is "in keeping with [the zoo's] health care regimen," as research shows that gorillas are susceptible to falling ill during flu season—just like humans. The shot was administered into Moke's leg while he was playing next to his parents. Officials said "he did not even flinch" during the shot, and he went on to eat a grape after the vaccine.

    KFC's new firelog smells like a bucket of fried chicken. KFC's 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog smells exactly like the chain's original fried chicken recipe, making it "the ultimate winter necessity," according to KFC. The logs, which were made in a collaboration with Enviro-Log, are made of recycled material and can burn for up to three hours. However, there are downsides: according to KFC, the logs "may result in a craving for fried chicken"—and could "attract bears or neighbors who are hungry." But if you think you can handle that risk—and you're willing to pay $18.99 for a log—the lit log will make any home smell like the holidays without "burning actual fried chicken," KFC said.
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