It’s no wonder that Pueblo pottery is considered some of the most beautiful in the world: the Pueblo people have been refining their techniques for over a thousand years. These days there are nineteen Pueblo tribes with land strung like a beaded necklace across northern New Mexico, and each boasts artists who hand-sculpt and fire clay pots according to their own local (and personal) styles. How are they able to craft such a wide variety of smooth, matte, slick, and colorful pots using only materials found in the ground around here?
There’s nothing quite like sipping a cold beer on a warm night, a pastime made possible as early as March here in the sun-baked Southwest. It’s barely spring according to the calendar, but even up in Albuquerque’s high desert I’ve already had the pleasure of sampling Santa Fe Brewing’s draughts at Green Jeans Farmery while the sun dipped low over the volcanoes on the western horizon. Between that, and recent encounters with Chama River Brewery’s Sleeping Dog Stout and Marble Brewery’s Wildflower Wheat, I’m officially inspired to dive into the world of New Mexico’s thriving beer scene.
Science-style, of course! Let’s break down the chemistry of a good brew...
What’s addictive, rots your teeth, and plays a starring role in AMC’s hit New Mexico-based drama Breaking Bad?
Sugar, obviously. Why, what were you thinking?
Well, if you’ve seen the series you undoubtedly thought of methamphetamine, the illicit drug that launches an ordinary man down the dark path from cook to dealer to head of a deadly empire. But just as the ruthless Walter White was played by a light-hearted, child-like Bryan Cranston, his ruinous crystal meth was played by sweet, child-friendly rock candy. Does something as lovely as sugar really bear a chemical resemblance to something as destructive as meth?
Love it or hate it, you know the sensation of biting into spicy salsa: the burn, the rush, the sudden sweats (or eye-watering or nose-running). Behold, the power of capsaicin!
And that power is in fact a burn, not a flavor. Capsaicin doesn’t trigger the gustatory receptors in our taste buds or the olfactory receptors way up in the nasal cavity, so what exactly is it doing to our mouths—and our brains?
If you’re a Betty Crocker fan, you know her boxed mixes have super-simple instructions—with one caveat. If you’re at a high altitude (“3,500 - 6,500 feet”), the ingredients are re-proportioned and the bake-time is recalculated. What gives?
Still debating which branch of science is best? Maybe Randall Munroe’s “purity” ordering will help you consider their merits. Or you can wait another week and start judging based on our discussions of science in New Mexico!