Portside Culture

Posted by Portside on November 23, 2015
Food Product Design
In the 1980s and 90s, science rediscovered the existence of umami and in 2002 identified its taste receptor. And, as they say, the rest was history. Not only has umami been universally recognized in sensory science, it’s become the darling of professionals looking to enhance the taste of savory foods. Umami can be leveraged, not just for tastier foods, but for healthier ones.
Posted by Portside on November 22, 2015
Washington Post
The series is a nice reminder that although comic books are derided as a kids’ medium, their supernatural setups can provide us with clarifying thought experiments that allow us to approach our present dilemmas with fresh perspectives.
Posted by Portside on November 20, 2015
Pilsen Snow: Poems
At the turn of the 20th Century Czech immigrants flocked to the Chicago neighborhood of Pilsen on the city's near west side attracted there by the offer of jobs. Mississippi-based poet Philip C. Kolin depicts their hopes and realities in a newly-published chapbook.
Posted by Portside on November 19, 2015
The Guardian (UK)
The security services set out to ensnare Lessing. But they weren't sure where she lived, why she went to Communist party meetings or even whether her nickname was Tigger or Trigger. M15 spied on Doris Lessing for 20 years, declassified documents reveal. Lara Feigel interrogates the secret archives.
Posted by Portside on November 18, 2015
Los Angeles Review of Books
Is contemporary altruism the new activism? Or is it what writer Teju Cole once called an iteration of a "White Savior Industrial Complex"? Ashley Karlin takes up these complicated questions in this review of Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World, by scientist-turned-Buddhist philosopher Matthieu Ricard. The answers, she suggests, may have as much to do with questions of power as with the desire to do good.
Posted by Portside on November 17, 2015
The Atlantic
Prior to the Boston Globe’s investigation, the sexual abuse of minors by priests was one of the Catholic Church’s worst-kept secrets. Spotlight's telling of the Church’s sex abuses reminds viewers how good, honest journalism has the power to transform a community.
Posted by Portside on November 16, 2015
Smithsomian Magazine
Food scientists are trying to figure out if very faint scents can trick your brain into tasting something that isn’t there.