There are lots of great bags you can hang on your bike, but some things are really awkward in bags. Coffee cups and smoothies, for example, or wine bottles that clang around. Six Packs and U-Locks also make the list. This week’s edition include biking accessories that help a two-wheeled commute run a little smoother with less than optimal cargo.
Despite this year’s lack of buzzer beaters, I’m a sucker for the NCAA basketball tournament. Cinderellas, upsets, March Madness, Capital One, all that. I don’t think my Mom ever realized I would always have to stay home sick from school around the third Thursday of March (sorry, Mom). During the three weeks of the tournament 63 games (add 4 for the new play-in round, or whatever they’re calling it now) are played at 13 different venues. However, starting in 2009 you would think they are all playing in the same arena. That’s because the NCAA has rolled out a standard, featureless court at every tournament venue. From Portland to Grensboro, Phoenix to Boston, its black and blue and boredom.
moss’ newest brewery project, Begyle Brewing (formerly Argyle Brewing Co.) models itself after the increasingly popular CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and is Chicago’s first “CSB” (Community Supported Brewery). Founders Matt Ritchey, Kevin Cary and Brendan Blume decided to start their subscription based brewery after a few brainstorming sessions. Like CSAs, members will receive a share of craft beer on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Begyle is expected to open its craft beer programs starting this summer.
Though it’s new to Chicago’s shores, community-sustained brewing finds its roots deep in German history. In the 13th and 14th centuries, central brewhouses in each town would produce the liquid base of beer, called the wort, which was then collected by individual citizens. These select few would ferment the wort, and then place a special sign on their door (Zoigl, pictured above.) The six-pointed star looks just like a Star of David, but it’s actually a brewer’s star, one point for each beer-making element: hops, yeast, malt, grain, water and brewer. The Zoigl signaled to townsfolk that their neighbor had opened a temporary, communal pub in his home, a.k.a., to come over and have a cold one. After the beer from that house was gone, the next homebrewer would collect his wort and so the good people of the town were never without local beer (one hopes.)
Prone though Chicago is to crazy weather indecision, a March this sunny exceeded our expectations. Not that we didn’t already skip over a winter that was predicted to create a mass exodus from the Windy City this past season (we’re still here). We keep hearing about record-breaking temperatures all over the map, but we want superlatives this afternoon. So, what was the coldest Chicago winter day? And how did this one stack up?
The refrigerator present in most Western kitchens today wasn’t invented all that long ago. Carl Van Linde developed the technology in the 1870’s, but his ammonia-based fridges still required separate motors, and inhaling the toxic gases within led to a few deaths—not ideal. The first freestanding, commercially available fridge hit shelves (well, floors) in 1913, and wasn’t really perfected until the 1930’s. Iceboxes and burying perishables in the ground preceed both models by thousands of years.
But the current model isn’t done evolving yet. Refrigerators still consume about a 6th of the energy used in the average American home. This week’s edition includes inspiring fridges that use little to no electricity, instead keeping food cold/preserved using methods from sand to biopolymers.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the Lakeview Area Master Plan (LAMP) reveal. During the research phase of LAMP, the number one feature Lakeview residents expressed need for was more public space. One of our suggestions was to create the LowLine, sprucing up the currently dingy path below the Chicago Brown Line’s tracks with native plants and solar lamps to connect and beautify the neighborhood. More inside.
As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Department of Health will allow some “low-risk” food sellers to self-certify their inspections. This would include businesses that sell pre-packaged food and beverages with minimal food preparation. Even if this revision seems to be most relevant to 7-11s and gas stations, small food businesses will benefit from the reduced supervision. Restaurants who have not had a food safety related closing for 36 months will also be eligible to self-certify. Unfortunately, the main issue with the Department of Health has not been the frequency of inspections, so much as the amount of time it takes to have plans reviewed by the department and the inconsistent application of design regulations.
The Department of Health is a vast regulatory body that oversees everything related to public health. The Food Protection Division is just one segment of the department, and is responsible for restaurants, taverns, groceries, commissaries, and hot dog cars. Read the rest of this entry »