Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The 13 Best Cheese Shops in America

The 13 Best Cheese Shops in America

The 13 Best Cheese Shops in America

Posted: 13 Aug 2014 11:06 AM PDT

Cheese—in all its gooey, crumbly, farm-fresh, or cave-aged incarnations—is having a moment. Thanks to the restaurant trend of gourmet mac and cheese and the opening of at least one grilled cheese truck per town, even kids are learning to distinguish Emmentalers from Edams, Goudas from Gruyères. Historic or hip, America’s best cheese shops are as widely varied as the dairy products they peddle.

Cured, Boulder, CO

Leave it to an active town like Boulder to support a cheese shop owned by a professional cyclist: Will Frischkorn, who oversees Cured with his wife, Coral, rode in the Tour de France before going to culinary school. Although the Frischkorns are partial to American creameries, each summer they honor Will’s past life with a Tour-themed tasting series, featuring a regional cheese and a beer or wine from each leg of the race.

Cheesemonger’s Choice: Fruition Farms’ sheep’s-milk ricotta, from nearby Larkspur, which is available seasonally, while its flock is at pasture from spring to late fall, and is delivered still warm from the farm ($28/pound).

Star Provisions, Atlanta

Atlanta is considered the capital of the New South, so it's only right that its best gourmet market stocks the largest selection of southern cheeses in the U.S.—made in Georgia, Tennessee, the Carolinas, and beyond. Its Cheese & Crackers program lets members sample three regional offerings per month. Located in the Westside, Star Provisions is attached to fine-dining spot Bacchanalia and also includes a butcher, a bakery, and a seafood counter.

Cheesemonger’s Choice: Hunkadora, an ash-covered, farmstead chèvre round from North Carolina’s Prodigal Farm, where goats live in and around old school buses ($9).

Formaggio Kitchen, Cambridge, MA

Renowned for its rare selections, Formaggio Kitchen was opened in 1978 by Ihsan Gurdal, a former member of the Turkish Olympic volleyball team. In 1996, the store added America’s first man-made cheese cave, constructed in a subterranean office space to mimic the same cool, damp environment used to age cheeses throughout Europe.

Cheesemonger’s Choice: Ekiola Ardi Gasna, which takes its name from the Basque for a mountain hut—the sort that husband-and-wife owners Désiré and Kati Loyatho take turns sleeping in during the summer while their sheep graze in the high Pyrenees pastures ($31/pound).

Fromagination, Madison, WI

Nicknamed America’s Dairyland, Wisconsin produces more than a quarter of the nation’s cheese. Fromagination (est. 2007) stocks a wide assortment from the state’s creameries, plus Madison-made items, such as crackers, charcuterie, preserves, and relishes—perfect ingredients for a picnic just across the street in Capitol Square.

Cheesemonger’s Choice: Martone, a mixed-milk cheese from LaClare Farms in the nearby town of Malone, which features a mild, buttery flavor imparted by cow’s milk and a tangy citrus note from goat’s milk ($19.99).

James Cheese Company, New Orleans

Richard and Danielle Sutton opened their Uptown shop in 2006, a year after Hurricane Katrina, when the city was still in its rebuilding phase. But it wasn’t the first time they took a major risk in the name of cheese: in 2002, they left their jobs and moved to London, where Richard became manager of the 200-year-old Paxton & Whitfield cheese shop. The store’s location in the St. James neighborhood inspired the name of their cheese company upon their return to the Big Easy.

Cheesemonger’s Choice: Dancing Fern from Tennessee’s Sequatchie Cove Farm, a delicately grassy Reblochon-style wheel with a slight walnut flavor ($26.95/pound).


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Justin Bieber Pleads Guilty in Deal in Florida

Posted: 13 Aug 2014 11:00 AM PDT

(MIAMI) — Pop singer Justin Bieber pleaded guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor charges of careless driving and resisting arrest seven months after his arrest in Miami Beach following what police initially called an illegal street drag race.

The 20-year-old pop star’s plea deal with prosecutors, detailed at a court hearing, includes a 12-hour anger management course, a $50,000 charitable contribution and fines. The deal allows Bieber to avoid a driving under the influence conviction.

Bieber was not present at the hearing before Miami-Dade County Judge William Altfield. Defense attorney Mark Shapiro said Bieber had already given the $50,000 to a local children’s charity.

Bieber was arrested early Jan. 23 in Miami Beach after what police described as an illegal street race between Bieber’s rented Lamborghini and a Ferrari driven by R&B singer Khalil Amir Sharieff. Neither was charged with drag racing and there was little evidence they were even exceeding posted speed limits.

Alcohol breath tests found Bieber’s level below the 0.02 limit for underage drivers, but urine tests showed the presence of marijuana and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in his system. Bieber was also charged with resisting arrest after a profanity-laced tirade against police officers, as well as driving on an expired license.

The urine test itself became a battle between media companies, including The Associated Press, that sought access to video of the test and Bieber’s lawyers arguing it was an invasion of privacy. Ultimately, Altfield ordered the video released with sensitive portions blacked out. Other police video depicted Bieber walking unsteadily during a sobriety test.

In July, Bieber resolved another criminal case by pleading no contest to a misdemeanor vandalism charge for throwing eggs at a neighbor’s house in Los Angeles. In that case, Bieber agreed to pay more than $80,000 in damages and meet a number of other conditions.

Bieber is also charged in Toronto with assaulting a limousine driver in late December. His lawyers have said he is not guilty in that case.

Also in Miami, Bieber is being sued by a photographer who says he was roughed up while snapping pictures of the singer outside a recording studio.

The Canadian-born Bieber shot to stardom at age 15, with his career overseen by two music industry heavyweights, singer Usher and manager Scooter Braun, after initially gaining notice through YouTube videos. He was nominated for two Grammy Awards for his 2010 full-length album debut “My World 2.0.”

Treating Cancer With Bacteria Shows Real Promise

Posted: 13 Aug 2014 11:00 AM PDT

Bacteria are generally considered more foe than friend, but that may change, if results from a pioneering study are confirmed.

Reporting in the journal Science Translational Medicine, scientists led by Dr. Saurabh Saha found that directly injecting Clostridium novyi, a common bacteria species that doesn't need oxygen to survive, into tumors in both dogs and a single human patient shrunk or eliminated tumors and possibly bolstered the immune system to continue targeting tumor cells for up to two years.

"We don't use the word ‘cure’ often in cancer. We need to remain humble," says Saha. "But when we started treating the dogs, we achieved cures. That gets you really excited."

MORE: There's a Vaccine Against Cancer, But People Aren't Using It

The fact that bacteria could potentially be a valuable ally in fighting cancer first emerged more than a century ago, when William Coley, a bone surgeon, observed that some cancer patients who developed severe bacterial infections also experienced remission of their cancer. Coley began using Streptococcus pyogenes to treat cancer, but wasn't able to generate a consistent enough response. The bacteria also produced more toxic reactions than anti-tumor responses.

But in recent decades, researchers at Johns Hopkins led by Bert Vogelstein, director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics, revisited the idea, combing through databases of bacteria for just the right combination of features that included thriving in low oxygen conditions while producing few adverse reactions from infection such as fever and inflammation.

C. novyi, when stripped of its primary toxin-producing gene, seemed to fit the bill. First in mouse studies, then in trials involving dogs, the bacteria was a precise and effective tool for eliminating tumors. Saha trained under Vogelstein and was galvanized by the promising data. Because it grows best under oxygen-starved conditions, C. novyi targets just the stubborn cancer cells that are hardest for current anti-cancer treatments to reach.

Among a group of 16 dogs who had soft-tissue sarcomas, six responded to the bacterial treatment. The pets received anywhere from one to four cycles of 1 billion spores each. In three of the animals, the tumors completely disappeared and the animals remain cancer-free nearly two years later. In three others, the growths shrank by at least 30% after 21 days.

MORE: On the Horizon at Last, Cancer Drugs that Harness the Body's Own Immune System

That success encouraged the team to consider testing in humans, and the first patient to try therapy in an early trial enjoyed similar results. A 53-year-old woman with a rare cancer that had spread to her liver, lungs, shoulder and leg bones agreed to get an injection of the C. novyi preparation, albeit at a much lower dose than the dogs. Around 10,000 spores were injected directly into a tumor in her right shoulder. She developed an abscess when her immune system tried to battle the bacteria, but after four days, an MRI of the growth showed it had dramatically shrunk. Nearly a month later, the tumor continued to get smaller.

It turns out the bacteria are almost the perfect cancer-fighting weapon, able to target stubborn tumor cells and microscopically destroy just the malignant cells while leaving normal tissue alone. "When the spores reach the [low-oxygen] regions, they germinate and start growing, producing substances and enzymes that are toxic to tumor cells and cause their destruction," says Nicholas Roberts, a co-author of the paper and a post doctoral fellow at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

When they reach the edges of the tumor, says Saha, the bacteria stop their destructive activity. "Once they see the well-oxygenated rim of the tumor, they self-eliminate, and can't grow any more. They are almost like a surgical, biological scalpel. Surgeons can't get to that level of precision in terms of cutting out a tumor."

Saha, whose biotech company is working on further testing of the approach in human patients, hopes that it will become part of the cancer-fighting arsenal in coming years and believes bacteria, used in combination with other immune-based approaches or even chemotherapy or radiation, could help to improve cancer outcomes. Unlike the latest targeted drugs that hone in on specific genetic mutations in cancer cells, the bacteria can be effective against any solid tumor that has a low-oxygen region, regardless of whatever genetic mutation caused it grow out of control.

If the results hold up, the strategy would be among the first in which a bacterial infection is a welcome thing. "There is a lot of hope in moving forward with this," says Roberts.

WHO: More Than 1,000 Killed in Ebola Outbreak

Posted: 13 Aug 2014 10:53 AM PDT

More than 1,000 people have been killed by Ebola in West Africa, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization. Some 1,069 of the 1,975 people infected with the disease have died, with 128 new cases and 56 deaths between August 10 and 11 alone.

Sierra Leone is home to the majority of the Ebola cases, at 783, while Guinea has the highest number of deaths, at 337. The outbreak is so far contained to those two countries as well as nearby Nigeria.

The WHO additionally reports that about 94-98% of people who have been in contact with Ebola patients in West Africa have been tracked down in a process called “contact tracing.” The process is important because if those contacts are sick, they can be isolated, and if they have no symptoms, they are warned about their risk and told to go to treatment centers if they start to feel unwell. The hope among health experts is that the spread of the disease is curbed by this process of tracking down and isolating contacts. More effort is needed in Liberia, however, where the Liberian Army is continuing to quarantine provinces.

The latest data come just a day after a WHO-organized panel deemed it ethical to use experimental drugs and vaccines to fight the current outbreak, even if they haven’t been approved for use in humans. There are still questions to be answered about the best and safest way to distribute the drugs, and the WHO will issue further guidance by the end of the month. At that point, countries will determine to whom they plan to give the drugs, with Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health telling TIME that they will prioritize doctors and health care workers.


HBO Says More Leftovers Please

Posted: 13 Aug 2014 10:48 AM PDT

HBO has ordered a second season of The Leftovers, an eerie drama about life after 2% of the world’s population mysteriously disappears.

The show, which brought in about 1.58 million viewers last Sunday, is based on the Tom Perrotta novel with the same name and created by Lost show-runner Damon Lindelof.

"It has been truly exciting to see the overwhelming response to their provocative and original storytelling," HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing the journey as the show delves deeper in the lives of those who remain."

Man Un-Ironically Calls Cops to Report Chicken Crossing the Road in Portland, Oregon

Posted: 13 Aug 2014 10:37 AM PDT

A man un-ironically called the Portland, Oregon, police Monday to report a chicken was crossing the road, causing traffic.

“Hi, um this is actually not a prank call,” the man began in his call to a non-emergency dispatcher. “I had to slow down to almost to a complete stop.”

According to the Associated Press, Sgt. Pete Simpson said responding officers could not locate the bird and thus, “were unable to determine the chicken’s intent.”

The Portland Police very ironically posted the call on YouTube:

Whether this is the greatest or worst thing of all time is up for interpretation.

Study: 9/11 Dust Cloud Likely Caused Widespread Pregnancy Complications

Posted: 13 Aug 2014 10:35 AM PDT

Expecting mothers who lived near the World Trade Center when the twin towers fell on September 11, 2001 were more likely to give birth prematurely and have babies with low birth weights, according to new research.

The massive dust cloud that enveloped Lower Manhattan after the collapse of the Twin Towers was a highly toxic environmental hazard that consisted of asbestos, cement, gypsum, glass fibers, lead and other metals and was highly alkaline. Past research has shown it caused asthma and cancer in many first responders and local residents.

A new working study, released this month by Janet Currie and Hannes Schwandt of Princeton University, shows that the 9/11 dust caused pregnancy complications in expecting mothers. The study has not been peer-reviewed.

“These findings provide the first consistent evidence that the 9/11 dust cloud had detrimental impacts on pregnancy outcomes,” said the authors. “Residence in the affected area increased prematurity, low birth weight, and admission to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) after birth, especially for boys.”

For mothers who were in their first trimester during 9/11, exposure to the dust cloud more than doubled the probability of premature delivery. Newborn boys were more likely than girls to have birth complications, and there was an increase in low birth weight of about 5 percentage points among boys as well as 7.6 percentage points in the probability of male infants being admitted to the NICU.

The probability of premature delivery for mothers exposed to the dust cloud was 7.75% for girls and 8.16% for boys, the study said.

Previous studies have failed to find a significant connection between the dust cloud and pregnancy complications, but they didn’t take take into account that many women living in Lower Manhattan when the towers fell were generally less likely to have poor birth outcomes.

The neighborhoods most affected by the 9/11 dust cloud include Lower Manhattan, Battery Park City, SoHo, TriBeCa, Civic Center, Little Italy, Chinatown and the Lower East Side, the study said.

The authors said that the birth outcomes could also have been partially affected by changed maternal behaviors after 9/11 unrelated to the dust.

Watch Allison Williams Take Her First Flying Lesson For Peter Pan

Posted: 13 Aug 2014 10:24 AM PDT

Girls actress Allison Williams is now preparing for her next big role as Peter Pan in a live NBC performance in December. She began flight training this week and shared a video of her first lesson on Instagram:

Instagram Photo

She also used the post as an opportunity to honor Robin Williams. “First day of flying lessons for Pan,” the actress wrote. “Thinking about and missing a hero of mine who once did this and left big shoes to fill.”

(h/t Vulture)

MORE: “Lena Dunham” Congratulates “Allison Williams” on Peter Pan (Humor)

WATCH: Brian Williams Pulls the Ultimate Dad Move When Announcing His Daughter’s Peter Pan Casting

White House Says Obama ‘Values’ Hillary’s Opinion

Posted: 13 Aug 2014 10:23 AM PDT

The White House said Wednesday that President Barack Obama “values” Hillary Clinton’s opinion, just hours before he’s set to “hug it out” with his former Secretary of State and rival.

With their relationship at its lowest point since the 2008 presidential primary as Clinton has tried to distance herself from the Obama Administration’s foreign policy woes, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Obama is looking forward to seeing Clinton on Wednesday night.

“They have a close and resilient relationship,” he said. “They continue to agree on a broad majority of issues confronting our country, even if they have the occasional policy difference.”

On Tuesday, Clinton called Obama in an effort to clear the air before their meeting, and a Clinton spokesman said she was not trying to distance herself from Obama in an interview with the Atlantic. "Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle," Clinton said as she prepares for a possible White House bid in 2016, a reference to the phrase White House aides use to characterize Obama’s foreign policy vision.

Obama confidant David Axelrod fired back at Clinton on Tuesday, bringing up her support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. "Just to clarify: 'Don't do stupid stuff' means stuff like occupying Iraq in the first place, which was a tragically bad decision," he wrote on Twitter.

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill walked back the criticism Tuesday, saying “the Secretary called President Obama to make sure he knows that nothing she said was an attempt to attack him, his policies, or his leadership,” acknowledging lingering differences over arming Syrian rebels but softening the broader critique of Obama’s foreign policy.

The flare-up, and Clinton’s swift walk-back, are indicators of the delicate balance Clinton will have to walk as she plots a repeat bid for the Oval Office. She must distinguish herself from Obama and his response to multiple foreign policy crises, while avoiding alienating the Democratic base and the president who maintains significant sway within the party.

Schultz said that since Clinton left the Administration, the two have kept in touch “regularly,” and discuss policy issues. “He definitely values her opinion,” Schultz said. “And they definitely both talk. When they see each other they talk socially and they catch up on each other's personal lives. But I am sure they talk about the pressing issues of the day as well.”

Heavy Rain Smashes Records Across America

Posted: 13 Aug 2014 10:18 AM PDT

A historic storm system flooded cars, turned parking lots into lakes and smashed records on New York’s Long Island, where one town got more than a foot of rain in just six hours on Wednesday.

Flash-flood watches were in effect across New England as the dousing chugged east. The National Weather Service described the Long Island flooding as dangerous and life-threatening. The town of Islip, which had never recorded more than seven inches of rain in a single day, reported almost 13 inches. The pictures looked like something out of a hurricane…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News


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