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How to Make Bagna Cauda, the Official Condiment of Luxury

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Illustration for article titled How to Make Bagna Cauda, the Official Condiment of Luxury

Photo: Claire Lower

Luxury is a tricky concept. Expensive things are often thought of as luxurious, but luxury has less to do with price point, and more to do with time and labor. Though it shouldn’t be, having the time to shop, cook, and feed oneself at a leisurely pace is quite luxurious, as are goods that require a lot of labor or time to source and prepare.

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It is easy to make expensive food taste luxurious, but making cheap food taste expensive takes a little more skill, or at least an understanding of which cheap foods are capable of it. Two such foods are garlic and salty fish, which naturally have a lot of flavor. And when gently cooked in olive oil, they form a muddled, melted mass known as “bagna cauda,” and they absolutely scream “luxury.”

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It doesn’t look opulent, but don’t let that fool you. Unlike the flashy, brightly colored foods of summer, bagna cauda is tastefully dull, with an earthy, honest hue that lives somewhere in between brown and grey. It’s all delicious substance, which I think makes it stylish, and it serves more flavor than it has any right to. It’s also exceptionally easy to make.

There are a lot of different recipes out there for bagna cauda. The ingredients are always the same, but the proportions vary, so don’t feel tied to the amounts I list below. I like one can of anchovies and a whole of garlic in mine, but others prefer two cans of fish and less garlic; I obliterate my garlic in the food processor, while others prefer to mince some and slice the rest. Play around and see where you land.

No matter the proportions, you’ll start out by cooking the garlic and anchovies in a bath of olive oil over extremely low heat. Once the little fish have melted and the garlic has mellowed, whisk a little butter in at the last moment to make an aggressively flavorful, savory, decadent sauce. It’s traditionally eaten as a warm dip with fall vegetables to celebrate the arrival of the season in the Piedmont region of Italy, but it’s pretty delicious on any damn thing. Drizzle it on potatoes, toss it with pasta and a little parm, or shake it with a little vinegar to make a quick salad dressing. To make this absolute luxury of a condiment, you will need:

  • 3/4 cup of olive oil
  • 10 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 can of oil-packed anchovies (should be 12 in one can)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

Heat the olive oil in a small sauce pan over very low heat (I used my lowest setting on my electric stove), and mince your garlic (you can use a knife or pulse it in the food processor; the former will give you a more consistent mince but the latter is faster). Add the garlic and the anchovies to the oil and let cook over low for about 20 minutes, occasionally stirring and mashing with a wooden spoon until the garlic is fragrant and the anchovies have completely melted into the oil. (Be sure to keep the heat very low—you do not want the garlic to brown even a little bit.)

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Remove from the heat, whisk in the butter, and serve warm with lots of vegetables (and maybe some bread) for dipping. If you have a fondue pot that keeps things warm by candle, even better. Leftover bagna cauda can be stored in the fridge for up to four days, but I honestly cannot imagine it lasting that long.

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Chrome OS may finally be getting a dark mode

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Chrome OS may finally be getting a dark mode, but so far it’s only been spotted in its experimental Canary channel, Android Central reported.

Before you go tinkering with Canary just be advised: Canary is Google’s “bleeding edge” Chrome OS path, which receives daily updates of features before they’ve been widely tested. It can only be accessed from Chromebooks switched into a special developer mode (not to be confused with the Chrome OS Developer channel). Google warns that Canary can be “unstable.”

But at the moment, to activate dark mode on your Chromebook, you need to have the Canary channel installed. Once you’ve done that, Android Central says you just open Chrome and type in chrome://flags/#enable-force-dark and chrome://flags/#enable-webui-dark-mode into the URL bar. I should note I tried this on my older Chromebook and wasn’t able to get it to work. But here’s the view Android Police captured:

A look at the experimental Chrome OS dark mode
Android Police

Android Central says the dark mode has some bugs, but notes it seems to apply across the UI, not just as darker backgrounds.

Google has rolled out dark mode versions for its Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Fit, and its mobile app over the last several months. Both iOS and Android both began supporting dark mode at the system level last year.

We reached out to Google to see if there are plans to roll out dark mode in Chrome OS to all users, and will update if we hear back.

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The science of why lockdown barely affected global temperatures

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Countries across the world took unprecedented action in the first few months of 2020 to control the spread of COVID-19. At its peak, one-third of the world’s population was in lockdown. Around the world, car travel fell by 50%, the number of flights plummeted by 75% and industrial activity fell by around 35%.

With so many cars parked, aeroplanes grounded and factories closed, global carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions fell by around 17% compared with the same period in 2019. But greenhouse gases such as CO₂ weren’t the only emissions to fall, and not all pollution heats the planet. Some of the industrial activities that shut down – particularly heavy industry, including steel and cement making – also produced aerosols, which are tiny particles that linger in the atmosphere for weeks and reflect heat from the Sun.

Previous studies have suggested that if a lot of these industrial processes were to suddenly shut down, it would lead to short-term warming because the atmosphere would lose the reflective effect of aerosols. But as the lockdown cleared skies, temperatures didn’t rocket.

[Read: What audience intelligence data tells us about the 2020 US presidential election]

In new research, we show that lockdown had a negligible effect on global temperatures. So what really happened?

Climate and chemistry

Sulphur dioxide (SO₂) gas is mainly produced in industrial processes that burn coal. In the atmosphere, it reacts to form white sulphate aerosols. These particles offset some of the heating caused by greenhouse gases such as CO₂ by reflecting sunlight back into space, in a process known as global dimming. If SO₂ were the only pollutant whose emissions fell, we would expect Earth’s temperature to increase.

Soot, otherwise known as black carbon, is also made when burning dirty fuels, and emitted in large quantities from older cars. Since soot is black, it absorbs sunlight and heats the atmosphere. Cars and aeroplanes also emit lots of nitrogen oxides (NOₓ), gases that make ozone in the lower atmosphere where it acts as a greenhouse gas that warms the planet. Satellite images in March and April showed huge reductions in NOₓ over Europe as national lockdowns came into force.

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The different gases and aerosols we emit either contribute to global heating or global dimming. So determining how lockdown affected global temperatures is a matter of finding out which effect dominated.

We ran a series of computer model simulations of the atmosphere during lockdown, versus what we would have expected if the pandemic had never happened. We fed into the model the best estimates of how much emissions of SO₂, black carbon and NOₓ fell from industry, transport and aircraft for the period between mid-February and mid-June.

Our model simulations showed that reductions of these different pollutants only had a small and temporary influence on the climate, overall, in part due to their opposing effects. This may sound like a dull conclusion, but it has important lessons.

Which sectors were affected most was hugely important. The largest emissions reductions were in transport, where NOₓ and black carbon emissions are particularly high. This largely offset any heating that would otherwise have occurred from the drop in SO₂ caused by the slowdown in heavy industry.

The global average temperature saw little change, but there were regional variations. For example, the Middle East was cooler since less black carbon in the air meant the highly reflective desert sand could send more solar energy back out to space. Other regions, such as eastern China, saw more heating overall, as they had some of the largest reductions in industrial SO₂ emissions. These differences in heating patterns could affect weather systems, such as monsoon cycles.

What we’ve described here are model simulations – they’re not perfect, but they’re our best method for investigating global atmospheric changes. Simulating the effects of all these different pollutants is difficult. In fact, the struggle to simulate how aerosols affect the climate is one reason we cannot predict exactly how hot the climate will get.

The lockdown offered an invaluable test for our theories about how pollutants affect the climate. From this, we’ll be able to improve our models and make better predictions. We’ll also know better how to plan a strategy that reduces emissions from different sectors without inviting a sudden and sharp increase in global heating.

The post-pandemic climate

The long-term effects of the pandemic on our climate will be determined more by what happens to long-lived greenhouse gases, such as CO₂ and methane. These remain in the atmosphere for centuries and decades respectively, compared to a few days to weeks for NOₓ, SO₂ and black carbon. CO₂ emissions dropped during lockdown, but not enough to stop levels in the atmosphere growing. Global heating won’t stop until emissions reach zero.

It may seem daunting that the near shutdown of society didn’t cause a big enough reduction in emissions to stop climate change. But this just shows the limits of doing less of the stuff we normally do, instead of changing how our economies and infrastructure are powered. While lockdown measures have brought temporary reductions in emissions, there are better ways of doing this that cause less harm to society and people.

Only a decisive shift from fossil fuels will stabilize global temperatures. That’s why the decisions governments take to revive economic growth after COVID-19 will be pivotal. The 2008 financial crisis caused a similar slowdown, but emissions soon rebounded as a direct result of economic rescue packages which invested heavily in fossil fuels. We cannot afford to make the same mistake again.The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation by Scott Archer-Nicholls, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Atmospheric Science, University of Cambridge and James Weber, PhD Candidate in Atmospheric Chemistry, Pembroke College, University of Cambridge under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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PayPal cuts ties with domain registrar Epik over digital currency

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PayPal has terminated the account of domain registrar and web hosting company Epik for violating its “risk controls,” prompting angry letters and blog posts from Epik alleging conservative bias was to blame, Mashable reported.

Seattle-based Epik is perhaps best known for its support of right-wing social media site Gab. The site was banned by its hosting company, domain registrar, and PayPal in 2018, after it was discovered that the alleged shooter at a Pittsburgh synagogue had written anti-Semitic tirades on Gab. In a 2018 blog post, Epik CEO Robert Monster criticized what he called the “digital censorship” by other sites.

According to Mashable, the issue that got Epik kicked off PayPal has to do with Epik’s digital “alternative currency” Masterbucks. It can be used to buy Epik products or converted into US dollars, and Mashable reports Epik did not take proper legal steps to run the digital currency.

But in an open letter to PayPal employees dated October 19th and posted to Epik’s blog, Epik senior vice president for strategy and communications Robert Davis said PayPal’s actions amounted to “abuse of power and overreach by a de facto monopoly,” and questioned the timing of PayPal’s decision.

“It would appear that in a direct effort to silence conservative voices, PayPal has terminated our payment services— just two weeks before a Presidential election,” Davis writes in the post, echoing a common— but thoroughly debunked— complaint about online anti-conservative bias.

Epik did not immediately reply to a request for comment Sunday.

In a six-page letter to PayPal CEO Dan Schulman dated October 13th, Davis writes that Epik “has zero tolerance toward racism, believes itself to be a force for good in the fight against inequality,” before launching into a litany of bizarre and seemingly unrelated complaints about Hollywood, Hunter Biden, the Democratic Party, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. Davis also asserted that Epik “has been targeted and past labeled in horrifically unfair ways that did not reflect either its actions or its core beliefs.”

A PayPal spokesperson said in a statement emailed to The Verge on Sunday that “PayPal has sophisticated risk controls in place to alert our teams to potentially violative activity occurring on our platforms. The company independently reviews each matter and bases its decisions on the management of risk and compliance with our long-standing User Agreement.”

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