Which colors should you eat? Here’s a guide

You’ve heard of eating locally or seasonally – but what about eating by color?

Bringing attention to the importance of healthy eating habits, New York City-based artist Tattfoo Tan’s Nature Matching System represents 88 common fruits and vegetables by their colors. A visual mash-up of nutrition and design – did you know, for instance, that okra corresponds to the Pantone Matching System code of 378U? – the system has been displayed as a large-scale public art mural in various New York City locales, including beneath the Manhattan Bridge and at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

NMS—Nature Matching System disposable paper placemat. Photo: Tattfoo.com

Eating a diet that varies in color is a crucial part of eating right, according to the American Dietetic Association, which touted March’s National Nutrition Month with the slogan “Eat Right With Color.” For maximum benefit, eat a diet high in phytonutrients, which give some vegetables their vivid colors as well as nutritional value.

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Dan Savage brings his ‘It Gets Better’ message to bookstores

When popular sex columnist Dan Savage created the “It Gets Better Project” video project, which was designed to reach out to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) youth struggling with anti-gay bullying, he never thought it would become the viral sensation of 2010. Now, seven months after the video project’s inception, Savage has co-authored the “It Gets Better” book with his partner Terry Miller. The compilation of stories is inspired by the thousands of submissions they received from people all over the world in response to the video project.

I recently spoke to Savage about the popular videos and his book.

Dreux Dougall: You created the “It Gets Better Project” in September 2010 with your partner, Terry Miller. What prompted that decision and what did you initially hope to accomplish?

Dan Savage: What prompted the decision was the realization that in the YouTube era, as a gay adult, I no longer needed the permission of parents to talk to LGBT kids, or an invitation from a school. Billy Lucas was this kid in Greensburg, Ind., who killed himself. He was bullied for being gay. He wasn’t out, he may or may not have been gay — not all victims of anti-gay bullying or violence are gay.

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Photo: Light my fire

The Door to Hell in Turkmenistan, April 2010. Photo: Flickr/flydime

Nothing says “destination wedding” like a trip to the “Door to Hell.” If you find yourself in Turkmenistan any time soon, take a day trip to the Derweze area (also called Darvaza). Here, in the middle of the desert, is a 230 foot pit of fire that locals affectionately call the “Door to Hell.”

In 1971, geologists drilling in the area accidentally tapped into a cavern filled with natural gas, and promptly lost their drilling rig, when a large hole opened up beneath them. Engineers decided it would be safer to burn off the escaping gas instead of releasing it into the atmosphere, as methane is a potent greenhouse gas. They assumed the fire would burn off the remaining gas after a few days. It’s still burning. It has been 40 years.

The president of Turkmenistan has ordered that the hole be closed after a visit to the site in April 2010, so get your tickets soon. If a trip to the gas-rich Turkmenistan desert just isn’t in the cards for your family this year, here is some video of the flaming pit of doom:

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Photo: Seeds of dissent

Visitors walk through the art installation 'Sunflower Seeds' by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in London on Oct. 11, 2010. The specially commissioned art installation at the Tate Modern Gallery consists of more than 100 million unique, handmade porcelain sunflower seeds. Weiwei, one of China's most famous contemporary artists and dissidents was detained by police at Beijing's airport on Sunday and his whereabouts are currently unknown. Photo: AP/Lennart Preiss

Countdown to the ‘Feathered Four’

March Madness may be drawing to its close, but elsewhere, over in a specialized corner of the Internet, another tournament is quietly heating up. Pssst. Over here.

It’s March Migration Madness. That’s right: birds. And if you’re just tuning in, the first round — “the Tweet 16″ — is history, and we’re one game into the second — “the Airborne 8.” There is already a lot of buzz about the cedar waxwing, that flashy wild card that upset the top-seeded red-tailed hawk in round one. It was quite a blow to raptor fans.

“A lot of people are saying the cedar waxwing could go all the way,” said Hugh Powell, science editor for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which is hosting the tourney. He is a little pleased. As a co-creator of the game, Powell selected the cedar waxwing as a wild card entry, and he seemed gratified by its success. “I do have a soft spot for the cedar waxwing.”

To millions of Americans, March means only basketball. Sweaty bodies in peak form showcasing some of the finest feats of our species. But for millions of others, it means migration. The birds are back! They’ve spent the winter getting fat in Florida or Mexico or Argentina. They’re sporting their full colors. And they’re hungry.

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Douglas Rushkoff wants you to do something

Douglas Rushkoff. Photo: Johannes Kroemer

“So I browsed the Net for three hours. Did I make anyone happier? Did it earn me money? Am I a better person? So why did I do it?”

On Wednesday evening, media theorist Douglas Rushkoff engaged a standing-room-only crowd in a converted movie theater in midtown Manhattan.  His quick wit, fearless dystopian warnings, and heartening calls to action have made him a favorite among those questioning the future of our digitally mediated culture; there were a lot of big ideas slung our way.

A visualization of a social graph

One visualization of a social graph. Friends' names appear around the edge, and lines depict those friends' relationships to each other. Photo: flickr/inju

For one, the commodification of human relationships (“the social graph”), which is the unfortunate business plan of Facebook and many elements of the monetized web, is not in our best interest. At all. Vigilance on this count – and awareness that “we are the product being sold” – will help protect us. While the social web can be an invaluable tool, we must control it, speak its language and learn its tricks, Rushkoff said.

“Your [social] graph is better preserved than if it was chiseled into the Parthenon, owned by a company managed by a**holes!”

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Fooled you: another year, another hoax

Photo: Flickr/Joey Rozier

The day’s origins are contested, but the web remains a breeding ground for April Fools’ gags, be it Starbucks’ new Mobile Pour campaign with scooter-delivery services, Hulu’s back-in-time home page, or news like Virgin founder Richard Branson purchasing Pluto in order to restore its planetary status.

For better or for worse, putting up a prank on April 1 has become de rigueur for many brands and media outlets. This year, YouTube got into the game with its  Top 5 Viral Pictures of 1911 and the Guardian — its hoax history dating back to a feature on the imaginary island of San Serriffe in the pre-Internet days of 1977 — rolled out a live royal wedding blog, complete with leaked “transcript” of Prince Harry’s best man speech.

Google continued its annual ritual with Gmail Motion, which introduced revolutionary motion-activated e-mail capabilities, and Comic Sans for Everyone, declaring the often persecuted font a soon-to-be Internet standard (Google “Comic Sans” for yourself and see) .

Whether you were the perpetrator or the victim, what are some of your favorite April Fools’ jokes, online or off? Post your comments below.

Photo: Antelope on the rebound

A lowland Nyala wanders his enclosure wearing a cast at a zoo in Hannover, Germany, on Friday. The 8-week-old antelope named Howard broke his leg while jumping and playing. In two weeks, the cast will come off, leaving him free to temp fate again. Photo: Nigel Treblin/dapd

Jon Meacham’s new role at Need to Know

In a few weeks, Jon Meacham will be stepping back from his role as co-anchor for Need to Know’s broadcast. He’ll still be conducting interviews for the show and keeping up with his popular “In Perspective” essays, but starting in mid-April, Alison Stewart will be our sole anchor.

We’ve loved having Jon as our co-host and are glad that he will continue to offer his extensive historical knowledge, wit and insight to Need to Know. Below is a note about his new role from our station’s president, Neal Shapiro:

Jon was named Executive Vice President and Executive Editor at Random House Publishing in January 2011 and is currently editing a book by former Vice President Al Gore as well as working on two new books of his own. Though we’ll miss him with Alison in the anchor role on Need to Know, we think it’s more important that his voice inform a broader range of our programming.

Jon has been co-anchor with Alison Stewart since Need to Know’s debut in May 2010. Calling his stint as co-anchor with Alison “a highlight in my career,” Jon has expressed his commitment to appearing on Need to Know and being involved with other programming from WNET.

In his new role Jon will lead “Perspectives,” a new WNET series of conversations that will convene authoritative voices in New York for interviews to be broadcast across WNET platforms. He will also anchor occasional special reports and documentaries, and will contribute commentary to the upcoming WNET series Metrofocus and to Need to Know.

We have truly been honored to have a journalist of Jon’s caliber join us for the launch of Need to Know and look forward to a continued partnership in bringing news and public affairs programming to WNET audiences.