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Madrid Fusión 2013 Post-Mortem

Madrid Fusión 2013 Post-Mortem

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Back across the Atlantic in New York, a couple of days after the lights went out on this year's edition of the annual international gastronomic exhibition called Madrid Fusión, I've been taking a look back at the event and comparing it to previous iterations.

Bad news first: The 2013 show suffered from the soullessness and relative inaccessibility of its venue, Pabellón (Pavilion) 14, stuck away at the back of the massive Feria de Madrid complex. (In previous years, it has been held nearby in the much smaller, more convenient, better designed, and warmer Palacio de los Congresos; this facility is currently shuttered for safety code upgrades, following the trampling deaths of three girls last year at a Halloween party at another city-owned structure, Madrid Arena.) There also seemed to be fewer live demonstrations on the main auditorium's awkward catwalk stage, and a greater dependence on video — something more than one young chef, attending in the hopes of seeing some of his or her heroes actually cooking, was overheard to complain about. Commercial sponsorship of various presentations, while understandably important, seemed more heavy-handed this year than in the past (Quique Dacosta's onstage infomercial for Korea's Jang condiments seemed particularly egregious). And though there were numerous big-name chefs, from Spain and elsewhere, there wasn't really one compelling must-see headliner this year — a position occupied from the mid-2000s through 2010 by Ferran Adrià, with Nathan (Modernist Cuisine) Myhrvold unexpectedly proving a dynamic follow-up last year.

I must confess, in fact, that on the first day, I was walking around the show's exhibition space, seeing many of the same faces and same products that had been there last year and the year before that and the year before that, and wondering if I really need to come to Madrid Fusión again. By the last day, though, I had most definitely changed my mind.

The presence of a contingent from Brazil — a number of chefs from the state of Minas Gerais (including the amiable Ivo Faria of Vecchio Sogno in Belo Horizante, whom I'd met in Minas itself in August, and the modest but brilliant Alex Atala, whose D.O.M. in São Paulo has been called the best restaurant in South America) — added plenty of color and flavor to the proceedings; demonstrations by this group, separately and together, were some of the most revelatory of the whole show. There was also a good showing by chefs from Peru, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia. Factor in appearances by such major culinary figures as Anatoly Komm from Moscow, Wojciech Modest Amaro from Warsaw, Heinz Reitbauer from Vienna, Dominique Persoone from Bruges, and Pascal Barbot from Paris, and the truly international nature of Madrid Fusión comes into vivid focus. All too many American culinary extravaganzas depend on newly minted "stars" from food TV, the temporarily big names who draw crowds. One of the great things about this show is that it brings together genuinely talented chefs from all over the world, chefs who may or may not be household names in their own countries (and are rarely famous internationally) but who have been pursuing their own paths for years, developing mature cuisines specific to their homelands. I don't know of another event anywhere that features such a diverse collection of culinary talents.

Of course, the Spanish are well-represented, too — everyone from new media darlings like the punk-style David Muñoz of DiverXo in Madrid to icons of Spanish looking like Juan Mari Arzak. Make a list of the most important chefs in Spain today and you would have found most of them here — Arzak (and his daughter, Elena) and Muñoz but also Joan and Jordi Roca, Albert Adrià, Quique Dacosta, Martín Berasategui, Dani García, Andoni Luis Adùriz, Ángel Léon, Jordi Butrón, Paco Roncero, Sergi Arola… Though they all know and respect each other and often find themselves at the same events in various configurations, they all seem to bring their best game to Madrid Fusión.

One of the frustrations of the event is that there are always several things going on at the same time, some in the main auditorium, some on a multi-purpose stage out in the exhibition area, some — described in the English-language program as "Brilliant Workshops" (a bad translation of Talleres Magistrales, which might be better rendered as "Master Classes") — in a smaller auditorium. Among the events I missed, and would liked to have seen, were a presentation about quinoa by Diego Muñoz from Astrid y Gastón in Lima (and one on avant-garde uses of that and other Andean grains by Muñoz working with Joan Roca), a coffee seminar by Paco Roncero (the Ferran Adrià protégée who cooks at the Michelin-two-star La Terraza del Casino in Madrid) and Bernard Lahousse of the Belgian flavor analysis organization Foodpairing, Ángel Léon's appreciation of canned seafood, and a tasting of early 20th-century vintage Málaga wines, hard to find and far less well-known than they should be.

Trends spotted this year at Madrid Fusión? Lots of imaginative uses of indigenous ingredients — including quinoa, cassava, and many unfamiliar herbs and vegetables. (The Brazilians led the way with this, as they are doing on the international culinary scene in general, but their other South American counterparts were no slouches either, and Modest Amaro from Poland kept right up with them.) Lots of seaweed in great variety and in numerous forms. Beets (a reflection of the season, no doubt). Avant-garde chocolate and patisserie. Oh, and tweezer-and-squeeze-bottle cuisine is still going strong.

The atmosphere at Madrid Fusión is very collegial: chefs, restaurateurs, food producers, winemakers, journalists, and more mix on the exhibition floor, and there's always plenty of discussion and gossip. My initial misgivings aside, I really do think this is a unique opportunity for food folk to come together and learn from each other. I'll certainly be there next year, if they'll have me.

Madrid Fusión 2013 Post-Mortem - Recipes

Dani García was born in the coastal town of Marbella, Spain, where his award-winning Restaurante Calima now attracts national and international attention. Indeed, as much as he is now known an innovator, García is still primarily a chef with pride in his native land, a pride he&rsquos carried with him throughout his career in Spain, and beyond.

A graduate of La Consula Hospitality School in Málaga, García was among the several apprentices of iconic Spanish Chef Martín Berasategui, who, in turn, became leaders in modern Spanish cuisine. As his career progressed, García found himself combining local Andalusian flavors with his own imagination and cutting-edge technique. He began to develop his own voice when he took over the kitchen at the Tragabuches in the mountain town of Ronda. And in 2004, when he was tapped by the Meliá hotel group to helm the kitchen of Calima in Marbella, García dove fully into experimentation.

It was in the kitchen of Calima that García, along with Professor Raimundo García del Moral of the University of Granada, first developed culinary applications for liquid nitrogen, now a modernist culinary staple. In addition to experiments with other beloved Andalusian ingredients&mdashsuch as Ibérico pork and olive oil&mdashGarcía is also credited for discovering that certain marine species &ldquoblow up&rdquo when submerged in a certain temperature of olive oil, their skin cooking crisply while the flesh inside steams. A frequent headliner at Madrid Fusión, García has advanced his avant-garde technique within an expanding empire, including Uno by Dani García in Madrid, Calima Palacio de Isora in the Canary Islands, and his original Calima. And in 2012, he brought his homegrown passion to New York, with the opening of hyper-modern Spanish tapas bar Manzanilla.

Madrid Fusión 2013 Post-Mortem - Recipes

A first-generation American born to Portuguese farmers, with memories of home-cooked meals and salt cod soaking in the garage, George Mendes came to cooking with vibrant traditions in his arsenal. And he built upon them, first graduating from the Culinary Institute of America and then taking on a job&mdashand a mentor&mdashat the original Bouley. A stage at Alain Passard&rsquos L&rsquoArpège in Paris taught him the two principles of cooking that remain with him to this day: sourcing and simplicity.

When Bouley closed in 1996, Mendes became the executive chef of Le Zoo, a small French bistro in Greenwich Village. He returned to fine dining two years later as executive sous chef at the three-star Lespinasse in Washington, D.C., working under Sandro Gamba and traveling to France to stage at Le Moulin de Mougins with Roger Vergé, and at La Bastide de Moustiers with Alain Ducasse.

Mendes returned to New York to help friend and fellow Bouley alum Kurt Gutenbrunner open Austrian restaurant, Wallsé, but he returned to Europe in 2003 to stage with Martin Berasategui at his eponymous restaurant in San Sebastián, Spain, exploring the heritage and contemporary culinary trends of the Iberian Peninsula. Returning to New York, he joined Tocqueville, keeping his Iberian inspiration on the back burner as he cooked refined, market-driven cuisine.

Post-mortem care – prep for the journey

CNAs, whether working in hospital or long-term care settings are called upon to assist with post-mortem care. If you’re not clear on this going in, perhaps a different career choice would be best. Just sayin’.

Yes, death gives darn near everyone the heebie-jeebies, yours truly included. Everyone’s reaction to death and corpses is individual. What can be standardized is a competent, professional response to the practical need to prepare the body for 1. family to spend time with the departed and 2. need to get things settled/cleaned/straightened before rigor sets in. We’ve certainly come a long way since the time of the Black Death.

In the hospital, the nurse may supervise this care, or it may be performed by a couple of CNAs working together. A CNA may also perform this duty solo, but usually this doesn’t occur, for the practical reasons that positioning is more safely accomplished with two or more workers, and that post-mortem care does an emotional/spiritual number on even the most grizzled, seasoned health care worker.

Sometimes, the nurse needs emotional support. He or she has supported the patient through efforts to save his/her life, then through hospice or “comfort care” and then the dying process. The nurse has to be supportive of family/loved ones as well, and their reactions to the dying process. Last but not least, the nurse is responsible for final charting, finding out which funeral service the family would like used, dealing with belongings, and supervising/performing post-mortem care according to facility policy.

So, what’s our role as the CNA in all this? There are three areas: rules of behavior/etiquette, rules of gathering supplies, and rules of post-mortem care.

1. Rules of behavior/etiquette:

  • Watch your mouth! It is said that hearing is the last sense to go. So keep it proper! Plus, many hospitals only have a curtain between you and family members lingering outside the room, other staff, management, and passers-by.
  • It’s not about you, it’s about the consumer! (Best business advice ever, courtesy of Joe Dirt.) Nobody wants to hear how you handled the death of someone in your family. They are having their own experience, save the stories and advice for another time and location. So STFU.
  • Be discreet! If the family will be coming back into the room post-mortem to spend time with their departed loved one, put the body bag in a drawer or cupboard. Bag up extra non-needed medical wastes (catheters, lines, drips, etc.) and get’em out of the room. Lower the lights so things don’t look so stark.
  • Be realistic about time frames. Post-mortem care can take 15-30 minutes to accomplish with a team of two or more, depending on how much there is to remove/clean, and how much bleeding/oozing is going on. Keep the family informed so they don’t freak out on you.

Rules of gathering supplies:

  • 10 mL syringe for removing Foley cath
  • 60 mL Luer-lock syringe for removing stool/fecal management system (excellent product video from Bard – select the removal procedure video)
  • plenty of chux
  • paper tape (less damaging to skin)
  • drain sponges/gauze (needed along with tape for securing holes where lines used to be)
  • surgical scissors (find in procedure cart as needed) – needed for removing sutures holding in PICC, central, art lines (these are too tight to get at with trauma shears, which have blunted leading tips)
  • body bag with tags (usually 3 – for body, outside of body bag and for belongings) – to use per facility protocol (LTC – usually the funeral service brings this item)
  • bags for belongings if not already taken by family – don’t forget to tag them
  • clean gown
  • clean bed linen
  • basin
  • soap
  • water
  • wash cloths/towels
  • comb
  • EMPTY garbage cans with plenty of liners (don’t forget the biohazard bags – you’re gonna need ’em) – it just plain sucks to start post-mortem care with every waste can in the room chock-full!
  • did I mention – plenty of chux? OK.

Hopefully you had a good CNA textbook that covered this topic and you read it during your CNA course. If not, might be a good idea to review it before taking a new position. I highly recommend the following article: Post-Mortem Care.

Remember to put a chux down under orifices (or is it orifi?) on the side you are rolling the body to, because drainage happens. This one piece of advice will hopefully save you a few post-mortem linen changes.

Remember, this is the patient’s (and their family’s) last experience with your facility, so make it a professional one.

Our Authors: Kalyan Karmakar

Kalyan began blogging about eight years back when his wife, who was tired of listening to him talk about food all the time, opened a blog for him.

His blog, which she named, has grown to be considered as one of India's leading food blogs. It has won the FBAI awards consistently every year since the awards were introduced in 2013.

Originally a market researcher, Kalyan is now also a food columnist and has written for publications such as Femina, Mumbai Mirror & MW Magazine and sites such as Eazydiner. He is the Foodie Hub (a global network of food experts) rep in Mumbai and a jury member of their global awards. He has been invited to share the Indian food story in international food summits such as Host Milano, Casa Asia and Madrid Fusion.

He has recently launched his YouTube channel called The Finely Chopped. He conducts personalised food walks in Mumbai where he introduces the city to participants through the dishes of his favourite food haunts.

He remains connected to his market research roots and works with Karvy Insights as a consumer insights specialist.

To unwind he heads to his kitchen where he loves to play with ingredients and his mantra is hassle-free, gut feel-based cooking.

Kalyan lives in Mumbai with his wife. He moved in here a decade and a half back from Kolkata after spending his early years in Iran and the UK.

When asked what she feels about her introducing him to blogging, Kalyan’s wife Kainaz says "I have forgotten the taste of hot food thanks to his photographing everything on the table before we can eat it".

Kalyan is on twitter as @finelychopped and on instagram as @thefinelychopped.

According to a 2016 report published by Indian Cuisine RR, Kalyan has also been rated as 'top Indian food influencer on Twitter'.

Einstein’s brain a wonder of connectedness

Albert Einstein had a colossal corpus callosum. And when it comes to this particular piece of neural real estate, it’s pretty clear that size matters.

Chances are, that brawny bundle of white matter cleaving the Swiss physicist’s brain from front to back is part of what made his mind so phenomenally creative. The corpus callosum carries electrical signals between the brain’s right hemisphere and its left. Stretching nearly the full length of the brain from behind the forehead to the nape of the neck, the corpus callosum is the dense network of neural fibers that make brain regions with very different functions work together.

When the corpus callosum works well, the human brain is a marvel of social, spatial and verbal reasoning. When it malfunctions, as it appears to do in autism, fetal alcohol syndrome and certain genetic disorders, as well as after traumatic brain injury, the effect on cognition can be disastrous.

According to a letter to the editor published Thursday in the journal Brain, Einstein’s corpus callosum at the time of his death was a veritable superhighway of connectivity, “thicker in the vast majority of subregions” than the corpus collosi of 15 elderly healthy males and thicker at five key crossings than those of 52 young, healthy males who served as a comparison group.

Upon Einstein’s death of an aortic aneurysm at age 76, his heirs approved the removal of his brain. A trove of histological slides were made, documenting minute slices of the theoretical physicist’s brain. While some of those are housed at Princeton University, where Einstein spent his final years, and at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington D.C., many have been lost or stolen. Without a full picture of Einstein’s brain, the basis of the theoretical physicist’s genius eludes scientists.

But photographs of Einstein’s postmortem brain unexpectedly came to light recently, giving neuroscientists a glimpse of the genius that lay within. Last November, the journal Brain published a remarkably detailed look at the surface of Einstein’s brain. The latest analysis is based on several of these photographs, which showed the separated right and left hemispheres of Einstein’s post-mortem brain. Those revealed the corpus callosum with great resolution and accuracy, and allowed the current analysis.

The authors of the study -- physicists from East China Normal University in Shanghai and Florida State University anthropologist Dean Falk -- were particularly impressed by the relative brawn of Einstein’s corpus callosum at the splenium -- a region of the corpus callosum that facilitates communication among the parietal, temporal and occipital lobes and between those regions and the brain’s intellectual command center, the prefrontal cortex. The parietal and occipital lobes, in particular, are key to imagining and manipulating visuospatial information and images and to conducting mathematical operations.

Earlier studies of Einstein’s brain have found some regions, notably Einstein’s parietal lobes, were just plain bigger than those of normal people. But the authors write, “our findings suggest that Einstein’s extraordinary cognition was related not only to his unique cortical structure and cytoarchitectonics, but also involved enhanced communications routes between at least some parts of his two cerebral hemispheres.”

Peter U. Tse, a Dartmouth College neuroscientist who recently explored the underpinnings of artistic, scientific and mathematical creativity, said the study’s findings underscore that the ways in which we use our brains, and the consistency with which we do so, may matter more as we age. Tse noted that, while Einstein’s brain was much better connected than those of similarly-aged men, it was not quite as strikingly more connected than those of healthy young controls.

That might reflect the fact that Einstein continued to exercise his brain strenuously, forestalling much of the atrophy that comes with age.

“It might just be that Einstein’s brain was more like a young person’s brain in that sense,” said Tse. “A recent article has shown that the brain is like a muscle in the sense that neural circuits that are used often tend to change in their organization.” That, in turn, may lead to increases, or at least changes, in connective tissues such as the corpus callosum, he added.

“We should therefore not conclude that Einstein’s genius was caused by some part of his brain being slightly larger than average. It might be that his brain was slightly larger in these areas because he exercised these regions more than the average person.”

16 comments on &ldquoA Startup’s Post-Mortem&rdquo

Glad he’s still able to maintain that perfect smile throughout this sorry tale.

I don’t know a whole lot about venture capital, investing, or startups, so you can take this with a salt lick, but it seems like the lack of real-world validation of the technologies was the problem. The failure of the first technology wasted a lot of money and its estimated status mandated a different type of management than what was actually needed (which forced the change in management and made the leadership difficult), and the second didn’t seem to be as close to prime-time as was advertised, so that lots of the work and money was used in getting the company’s technology to where the investors thought it was in the first place.
At some point, people are going to get tired of investing in neat technologies that don’t work at anything other than getting glamor papers and tenure.

I worked in On-Q-ity on the CTC program until the last moment of the company’s life. The company spent a lot time to reproduce the results from the original publication but failed. We ended up redo every single aspect of the technology and made it work even better than current market leader. Actually, in the last few months, we were starting to get previously unidentified CTCs in some patient samples. But we couldn’t find that $10-15M needed for the clinical trials. Had the company started out solely focused on CTC platform, I believe this would be a different story.

Wow, what a sentence:
“It’s also fair to say the background and experience of some of the team didn’t map well to the high strategic entropy and lack of organizational support common in startup roles.”
The next time I’m tempted to say “clusterf__k” in polite company, I’ll have to remember that it can be called “strategic entropy”.

Wow, what a sentence:
“It’s also fair to say the background and experience of some of the team didn’t map well to the high strategic entropy and lack of organizational support common in startup roles.”
The next time I’m tempted to say “clusterf__k” in polite company, I’ll have to remember that it can be called “strategic entropy”.

The original academic work referred to appears to be this:
Alexander at al., Clin Cancer Res. 2010 Dec 116(23):5796-804. DNA repair protein biomarkers associated with time to recurrence in triple-negative breast cancer. (
Anyone with a sense of how research really progresses would be making a risky bet based on that data. So I think it’s unfair of VCs to point the finger at academia when such bets fail.

Not to attack the investigator that is primarily involved in the technology, but what disincentive exists (beyond the contracts) for them? Though I’m sure the failed company will not have the resources to push back against them maybe the investors will in terms of academic punishments? If not even antibodies can be verified, does that not hint at a long line of untrustworthy data that is being published? Should the investors challenge to have those papers retracted? Should that PI be stripped of grants if they used bad data in their grants?

@5: Glad I’m not the only one who noticed that sentence.

@ 8.Anon
The abstract of the article clearly states: “DNA repair proteins may be useful as prognostic markers in TNBC. Further study in larger, uniformly treated cohorts with additional clinical parameters is warranted.”
From this, it can be deduced that the authors admit that theirs is an innovative study, which potentially would not repeat under different circumstances.
There are numerous uncontrolled variables in any cutting-edge work that may or may not have a significant effect on the conclusions. Independent replication is more important than p-values or the reputation of the scientists involved. Evidently, a research group cannot independently replicate it’s own work.
So it surprises me somewhat that a VC firm would invest $$ when something as simple as an antibody working or not could be such an obstacle to their success. They should have commissioned an independent assessment of some of the key findings before investing.

The p values from that paper seem to be good. But digitization and further numeric evaluation of images probably involve quite a few fudge factors. A little bit here and a little bit there,you have a good p-value in the end.

@8. I had the pleasure of helping a start-up with an ab target for breast cancer. The academic group had made a mab and demonstrated inhibition of cell growth in vitro and tumors in vivo. The work was done poorly, but the results were consistent with a sellable story, namely the prospects for therapeutic benefit. Sadly, the follow-up showed a non-specific sticky antibody that when made at small scale and purified from contaminants had no activity. Good people did their best, but it was poor quality work in the end. Is the problem that there is no punishment, or that there is a reward system in the plethora of journals that will publish such work, fueling a reward system of grant dollars for work perceived to be relevant because of the potential for benefit. That benefit is often enrobed in rhetoric of patient suffering and need which hides limitations in aspirations and builds barriers for criticism.
Suffering and need can be clearly articulated. Solutions need to be vetted better technically, with as best as we can, a sober assessment of the technology without influence from need or potential $ gains (not sure recent Alzheimer’s regulatory guidance fits this).

That is a great sentence, but I don’t interpret it in quite the way you seem to be.
I think the “strategic entropy”, far from being a C.F., is the state of rapid re-prioritization and opportunism that is intrinsic to a start-up. Read this way, the sentence says something like: “We hired box-checking dinosaurs from big pharma / big biotech, and they couldn’t manage the chaos and churn of a start-up.”

10: If so many results in high-end journals hadn’t failed, you could chalk this result up to chance and poor vetting. Of course, since Booth’s written significantly about it, I guess that he probably knew that too, and looked out for it.
More of the blame ought to adhere to journals and not either to individual authors (who should take heat as well) and investors because this has happened so often. If the results published in journals are often wrong, then there is a problem. While it’s not their job to validate the results published in their journals, it is their job to assess not just that something is important and interesting but also that it’s self-consistent and sufficiently powered (steps which seem to be lacking in at least some cases).
The “this could be wrong” hedge is useful, but considering the titles and language of many papers, it has the effect of the FDA supplementeer’s warning – “we have to say this but it shouldn’t be taken as a diminishment of our claims (even though that’s precisely what it is).”

10: If so many results in high-end journals hadn’t failed, you could chalk this result up to chance and poor vetting. Of course, since Booth’s written significantly about it, I guess that he probably knew that too, and looked out for it.
More of the blame ought to adhere to journals and not either to individual authors (who should take heat as well) and investors because this has happened so often. If the results published in journals are often wrong, then there is a problem. While it’s not their job to validate the results published in their journals, it is their job to assess not just that something is important and interesting but also that it’s self-consistent and sufficiently powered (steps which seem to be lacking in at least some cases).
The “this could be wrong” hedge is useful, but considering the titles and language of many papers, it has the effect of the FDA supplementeer’s warning – “we have to say this but it shouldn’t be taken as a diminishment of our claims (even though that’s precisely what it is).”

@13 “We hired box-checking dinosaurs from big pharma / big biotech, and they couldn’t manage the chaos and churn of a start-up.”
Have you worked at a big pharma lately? They’re quite good at chaos and churn…

Bequeathing the Keys to Your Digital Afterlife

IT’S tough enough to write an ordinary will, deciding how to pass along worldly goods like your savings, your real estate and that treasured rocking chair from Aunt Martha in the living room.

But you may want to provide for your virtual goods, too. Who gets the photographs and the e-mail stored online, the contents of a Facebook account, or that digital sword won in an online game?

These things can be important to the people you leave behind.

“Digital assets have value, sometimes sentimental, and sometimes commercial, just like a boxful of jewelry,” said John M. Riccione, a lawyer at Aronberg Goldgehn Davis & Garmisa in Chicago. “There can be painful legal and emotional issues for relatives unless you decide how to handle your electronic possessions in your estate planning.”

Many services and programs have sprung up to help people prepare for what happens after their last login.

Google has a program called Inactive Account Manager, introduced in April, that lets those who use Google services decide exactly how they want to deal with the data they’ve stored online with the company — from Gmail and Picasa photo albums to publicly shared data like YouTube videos and blogs.

The process is straightforward. First go to Then look for “account management” and then “control what happens to your account when you stop using Google.” Click on “Learn more and go to setup.” Then let Google know the people you want to be notified when the company deactivates the account you’re allowed up to 10 names. You choose when you want Google to end your account — for example, after three, six or nine months of electronic silence (or even 12 months, if you’ve decided to take a yearlong trip down the Amazon).

Google has ways to make sure that your electronic pulse has really gone silent it checks for traces of your online self, for example, by way of Android check-ins, Gmail activity and Web history. Then, a month before it pulls the plug, Google alerts you by text and e-mail, just in case you’re still there. If silence has indeed fallen, Google notifies your beneficiaries and provides links they can follow to download the photographs, videos, documents or other data left to them, said Nadja Blagojevic, a Google manager.

And if you just want to say goodbye to everything, with no bequests, you can instruct Google to delete all of the information in your account.

Naomi R. Cahn, a professor of law at George Washington University Law School in Washington, says Google’s new program is a step forward in digital estate planning. “People should carefully consider the fate of their online presences once they are no longer able to manage them,” she said.

Other companies may also be of help in planning your digital legacy. Many services offer online safe deposit boxes, for example, where you can stow away the passwords to e-mail accounts and other data. Accounts like this at SecureSafe, are free for up to 50 passwords, 10 megabytes of storage and one beneficiary, said Andreas Jacob, a co-founder. Accounts can be accessed from a browser, or from free iPhone, iPad and Android apps. The company also offers premium services for those who need a larger storage space, more passwords or more beneficiaries.

There is always your sock drawer or another physical repository to store a list of your user ID’s, should you be deterred from online lockboxes by fear of cyberattacks or the risk that computer servers that may not be there in a few decades, said Alexandra Gerson, a lawyer at Helsell Fetterman in Seattle.

“Make a private list of all your user names and passwords for all the accounts in which you have a digital presence, and make sure you update the list if you change login information” Ms. Gerson said. “Don’t put user names and passwords in your will, though, as it becomes a public record when you die.”

Make sure that your executor or personal representative understands the importance of preserving these digital assets, and knows how to find them, said Laura Hoexter, a lawyer at Helsell who also works on inheritance issues. “Preferably the person should be tech-savvy,” she said, and know about your online game accounts, your PayPal account, your online presence on photo storage sites, social media accounts and blogs, and even your online shopping accounts where your credit card information is stored so that the information can be deleted.

AFTER you die, an executor or agent can contact Facebook and other social media sites, establish his or her authority to administer the estate, and request the contents of the account.

“Most accounts won’t give you the user name and password, but they will release the contents of the account such as photographs and posts” to an executor, Ms. Hoexter said.

Transfer at death can depend on the company’s terms of service, copyright law and whether the file is encrypted in ways that limit the ability to freely copy and transfer it. Rights to digital contents bought on Google Play, for example, end upon the person’s death. “There is currently no way of assigning them to others after the user’s death,” Ms. Blagojevic said.

Encryption is a common constraint, but there are exceptions. Apple’s iTunes store, for example, has long removed its anti-copying restrictions on the songs sold there, and Ms. Gerson advises people to take advantage of this in their digital planning. “Get your music backed up on your computer,” she said.

Up to five computers can be authorized to play purchases made with one iTunes account, and a company support representative advises that users make sure that their heirs have access. At Kindle, too, family members with user ID information for the account can access the digital content.

Professor Cahn in Washington says the time to prepare for the digital hereafter is now, particularly if serious illness is a factor. “If someone is terminally ill,” she said, “in addition to getting emotional and financial issues in order, you need to get your Internet house in order.”

The Blackout That Exposed the Flaws in the Grid

On a late Thursday afternoon in the summer of 2003, everything turned off. As this week’s Retro Report video illustrates, in the span of a few minutes, the biggest power outage in United States history brought swaths of the Northeast, the Midwest and Canada to a standstill. Around 50 million people were left without power. In the days and weeks that followed, reporters and investigators raced to pinpoint the source of the outage, while larger questions swirled about the stability of the power grid in the 21st century. Here, a Times reporter who covers energy technology reflects on that day and the changes that resulted.

When the lights went out for 50 million people on Aug. 14, 2003, most of them knew only that they themselves had lost electricity, not that a tightly knit system had been ripped apart all the way from Detroit to Toronto to New York City. Even the people in electric control centers were confused some of those in the Midwest knew the magnitude of the problem only because they were watching CNN, which showed a blacked-out Times Square.

I had been at the Indian Point nuclear plant that morning to report an article about handling nuclear waste. By 4 P.M. I was in southern Westchester in my parents’ kitchen, unplugging the telephone so I could connect it to my laptop modem and file to The Times. As I connected the phone line to the modem, the lights went out.

“Matthew, what have you done?” my mother asked. In daylight, it’s hard to tell that the whole neighborhood has been switched off, but a battery-powered radio tuned to an AM station (then popular — it was still 2003) confirmed that New York City was also dark.

I was soon kicking myself for having left the nuclear plant, where I might have witnessed the complicated series of responses that must be taken in a blackout to avoid a meltdown (as would be demonstrated eight years later in Fukushima, Japan).

Even when the extent of the blackout was clear, the origin was not. In those days, determining the sequence took weeks of tedious forensic work by engineers, who gathered data from recorders at hundreds of locations, and then synchronized them to establish the chronology of what was cause and what was effect. Today more of that data is available in real time.

The engineers determined that the immediate source of the problem was a cluster of lines that had failed in Ohio, unnoticed by local operators, causing electricity to surge into lines that were still open, until those overloaded and led to a cascade.

It was less than two years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and terrorism was on everyone’s mind. For many people, so was New York’s fate in the last big blackout, in July 1977, when rioters had looted and burned hundreds of shops and stores. Some remembered November 1965, when a blackout hit most of the Northeast, and the instant suspicion was a Soviet attack. But it was the spirit of Sept. 11 that prevailed, with remarkable cooperation and patience.

The grid, especially in those days, was opaque even to its operators, and problems became apparent with far too little warning for anything to be done about it. Automatic relays (basically industrial-scale circuit breakers) were programmed to protect equipment, not to ride out any disturbance, and as each one acted, isolating a power line or a transformer, the disturbance got bigger and bigger, until a huge house of cards collapsed. Later investigation showed that some utilities did not realize how prone their relays were to unplugging key components of the system.

But the investigation also showed that there was nothing high tech about the causes. One power company, FirstEnergy, had neglected to trim trees near its high voltage lines, and on hot days, when power demand is high, the metal in those lines gets longer and the lines sag in this case, three of them hit the trees, creating short circuits that took the lines out of service. The regional grid coordinator, the Midwest Independent System Operator, was supposed to have a computer program in place to monitor power flows. A technician had shut it off to upgrade the software, and then gone to lunch without turning it back on, or telling the operators what he had done. The operators themselves were not properly trained.

Neglect and error cause all kinds of problems in industrial operations, but the grid is a bit different, finely balanced and tightly linked, and one bad actor became something like a drunken sailor in a canoe.

Before the blackout, Congress had dithered for years about whether to institute mandatory performance standards for companies on the grid. The blackout settled the question, although the details were far too complicated for the government itself to put into effect. The Energy Department hired a pre-existing voluntary organization, which became the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, to develop consensus standards and then enforce them.

Utilities that had previously checked boxes on forms indicating that they were complying with recommended standards were now audited to see if they were meeting mandatory rules.

And within a few years, the group was issuing fines for the kinds of bad actions that had led to the 2003 blackout: failure to trim trees or to supervise operators, for example. Some fines came after investigations of subsequent blackouts some came as a result of audits.

Thanks to another catastrophe, the Great Recession, work is now well advanced on a system that could substantially reduce the risk of a future large-scale collapse.

The improvements were ideas that engineers had always liked, but had trouble persuading utility executives and public service commissions to pay for. But the 2008 stimulus bill paid for them. It was an investment that could end up being repaid many times over, given the billions of dollars the 2003 blackout cost the economy.

The devices now being deployed, phasor measurement units, sound like something out of “Star Trek. They are nondescript little devices — circuit boards, basically — that monitor a graph called a phasor, which shows the rising and falling voltage, 60 times a second, the alternation of the familiar AC, or alternating current. In normal conditions, with the eastern grid, which stretches from New Orleans to Halifax, that graph should look the same all over.

Among the belated discoveries in the summer of 2003 was that one phasor measurement unit in Cleveland and another in Detroit had started showing differently shaped graphs an hour before the collapse. But neither unit was set up to communicate to a central office they merely provided a post-mortem diagnosis of something that could have saved the patient a lot of grief.

Now 1,000 of the devices are being installed around the United States and Canada, wired together so that each control center can see not only its own territory, but also that of neighbors. Now, if the electrons dancing back and forth 60 times a second in Cleveland start to get out of step with the ones in Detroit, operators all over the Eastern United States will know it soon enough to take action.

This is not to say that more blackouts are impossible this week, government and utility officials are holding a drill to simulate a cyberattack on the grid. As Dr. Deepakraj M. Divan, then the chief executive of a grid equipment company called Soft Switching Technologies, put it at a hearing shortly after the blackout, “I can report that the laws of physics still work, and I’m afraid they will continue to work, to our detriment, until we do something.”

This week’s Retro Report is the 19th in a documentary series. The video project was started with a grant from Christopher Buck. Retro Report has a staff of 13 journalists and 10 contributors led by Kyra Darnton, a former “60 Minutes” producer. It is a nonprofit video news organization that aims to provide a thoughtful counterweight to today’s 24/7 news cycle. The videos are typically 10 to 14 minutes long.

Ferran Adria is closing El Bulli. It's time to tackle his cookbook

Ferran Adria's Folie salad. It includes cat's claw shoots (a creeper found in South America) and pickled daisy buds.

Ferran Adria's Folie salad. It includes cat's claw shoots (a creeper found in South America) and pickled daisy buds.

S o, Ferran Adria has announced that El Bulli – the best restaurant in the world – is set to close for a couple of years, and jaws have dropped wide enough to shove a whole tasting menu in. "No meals will be served in El Bulli in 2012 and 2013," Adria told the Madrid Fusion gastronomic conference on Tuesday. "With a format like the current one it is impossible to keep creating. In 2014, we will serve food somehow. I don't know if it will be for one guest or 1,000."

First, some numbers: Adria, 47, serves his €200 [£174] tasting menu to 50 people a night, for just six months of the year at El Bulli, the three Michelin-starred restaurant north of Barcelona, where he has been head chef since 1983. He receives requests from two million people for one of the 8,000 seats available each season. And the rest of the year is devoted to concocting new creations in his laboratory in Barcelona. But Adria has always shunned the "molecular gastronomy" tag, preferring to describe his work, when pressed, as "avant garde" or "deconstructivist".

Where will the critics who slobber at his feet, and foodies who would gratefully lap up his potato peelings, go now? You could book a table at La Alqueria, Adria's sister restaurant near Seville, which serves a smaller tasting menu of old El Bulli favourites, but it won't be the same – and it's still not clear if this will stay open anyway. No, from 2012, there is only one way to sit down with the El Bulli 30-course tasting menu, and that is to make it yourself, with the help of Adria's cookbook, A Day at El Bulli.

This, according to the book, is what you need to do to serve your own El Bulli-inspired meal. First, you should know that dinner there is divided into four acts. Act One – 14 separate dishes, and a margarita that you eat with a spoon – should be, for authenticity's sake, served on your terrace overlooking the Costa Brava coastline. This will include Adria's signature Spherical-1 green olives – not actual olives, but little green balls that remind me of bath pearls. The idea is that the membrane bursts in your mouth, flooding it with an intensely flavoured olive juice. The book tells you how to whip them up in five simple steps: you will need some algin (a gelling agent), xantana (a thickener) and calcic (which helps turn the olive juice base into a sphere). Oh, and at least 48 hours to prepare.

Act Two "consists of the savoury tapas-dishes". Ten, in fact, starting with "Thaw 2005". The preparation of this includes making an infusion of green pine cones, then freezing it in your Pacojet, a machine that creates frozen powders. You will also need to freeze pine nuts in liquid nitrogen, make two different meringues (liquorice and pine cone), a slice of caramel and several other mind-boggling components, before arranging them on a plate in specific locations (Adria advises that you think of a clock face to help with this).

I can't face even trying to comprehend the recipe for "Folie" salad, other than to say that, among its complicated sub-recipes and numerous obscure ingredients, it includes those spherical olives, cat's claw shoots (a creeper found in south America), pickled daisy buds and lecite, an emulsifier that is used to make foams ("tuna oil air" in this case).

Act Three consists of desserts, such as peach liquid (crack open the liquid nitrogen again for this) and chocolate air with crispy raspberry sorbet, which involves the use of a freeze-dryer for 48 hours. And the final act? A passion fruit tree: first freeze-dry the passion fruit infusion you made earlier, then spin it into candy floss in your candy floss machine and serve on some twigs.

To stay true to Adria's menu, you'll need to create another three desserts to consume before coffee, one of which – yoghurt and raspberry mochi – you won't be able to make anyway, because of a confidentiality agreement with the man who taught the chefs how to make the dough for the mochi, a Japanese rice cake. See, it's simple.

The paperback version of A Day at El Bulli will be published by Phaidon at £24.95 in June.

Watch the video: Cerveza SanFrutos vetada en Madrid Fusión 2015


  1. Royan

    Yes, quite

  2. Leverett

    I have long wanted to ask you, the author, where do you live? In the sense of a city? If not serket :)

  3. Goltik

    Of course. All of the above is true. Let's discuss this issue.

  4. Kazralmaran

    I suggest you visit the site, with a huge number of articles on the topic that interests you.

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