5 Intriguing Things: Tuesday, 11/26

The chicken of tomorrow, personal genomics, the Max Headroom hack, suckee beebish, and the frankenturken.

1. Meet the Chicken of Tomorrow! Courtesy of the poultry journalism historian, Emily Pawley.

"Yes, sir, make mine chicken. The chicken of tomorrow that is. [trumpet blast]"


2. The FDA issued a cease-and-desist order to 23andMe, the personal genomics company. Broad Institute professor Daniel MacArthur summed up how I think about the situation in a series of tweets.

"Firstly, the FDA is being typically heavy-handed, scare-mongering about potential mastectomies rather than demonstrated harms. Secondly, I think the risk of  actually being shut down is very low, and I'm not worried about losing my raw data. Thirdly, while sympathetic to 's mission, I think this letter suggests a massive failure of management on their part. Finally, I think health-focused consumer genomics is dying anyway - partly thanks to FDA, but mostly due to lack of market interest."


3. The strangest (and maybe best) TV-signal takeover of all time.

"A squat, suited figure sputtered into being, and bounced around maniacally. Wearing a ghoulish rubbery mask with sunglasses and a frozen grin, the mysterious intruder looked like a cross between Richard Nixon and the Joker. Static hissed through the signal; behind him, a slab of corrugated metal spun hypnotically. This was not part of the regularly scheduled broadcast. "


4. Following up on yesterday's sliceable apple jelly, a friend of the newsletter's grandfather owns the patent for "the jelly in which gefilte fish is suspended. It's called "suckee beebish" in yiddish."

"To the initial broth thus prepared there is added a polysaccharide, which is an extract of a species of red seaweed known as furcellaria of the agarophyte family. The selected seaweed is separately prepared, the powdered product thereof being first dissolved in a small quantity of cold -water to achieve a paste-like consistency. It is then simmered in hot water under controlled temperatures no higher than 212° F."


5. The US government played a key role in the development of artificial insemination for chicken and turkey breeding during the 1930s. And along they way, they tried to cross turkeys and chickens to create FRANKENTURKENS! 

"Warren and Scott in 1935 crossed chickens with turkeys by artifical insemination. They obtained fertile eggs from both the chicken and turkey hens, but most embryos died at an early age. No living offspring were obtained. Quinn, Burrows, and Byerly also attempted the turkey-chicken and the turkey-chicken crosses with much the same results."


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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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