I didn’t know we ate dandelions

Until 8:30AM this morning, all I ever knew about dandelions was one thing: dandelion seeds are pretty.

After all, who hasn’t played with dandelion seeds, watching them tumble around town?

Well, I have. And I always thought that was the only relationship I had with dandelions (until I discovered at 8:30 this morning) was that I — gasp — eat them. Not only eat them, but really LOVE eating them.

World, did you know that delicious, hearty hindbeh is quite literally just dandelion leaves? Okay. Let’s be more specific, to give hindbeh the true glory it deserves: it’s dandelion leaves glistening with olive oil, garnished with crunchy pine nuts and crispy caramelized onions, then drizzled with lemon juice.

Goodness me.

Hindbeh has always been one of my all-time favorite dishes, and it’s just a shock to realize what it’s made of at the grand age of 30.

Yum.

Yusra, the Amazing Palestinian Woman Who Found One of the Earliest Human Records

From io9:

Yusra was one of the many women from the villages of Ljsim and Jeba in the Wady el-Mughara region of Palestine who became part of Dorothy Garrod’s excavation team. Yusra was the most expert, her work deeply valued by Garrod. She stayed with the project through its full six-years, acting as excavation fore(wo)man – her trained eyes alert to stone tool and bone fragments.

Garrod encouraged Yusra to come study at Cambridge, and Yusra seemed eager to do it. In 1932, she found the famous Tabun-1 Neanderthal skull. Roughly 100,000 years old, it was an incredible find because most of the cranium and some of the facial features were intact. As Herridge notes, this would have been a career-making discovery for any other paleontologist. But for Yusra, a Palestinian woman without a college degree, it wasn’t even enough for history to remember her last name:

Excavating at et-Tabun, alongside Jacquetta Hawkes, Yusra spotted a tooth. That tooth led to a crushed skull – one of the most important human fossils ever found.

Discoveries like hers are a once-in-a-career (and often career-making) event for a palaeontologist – just thinking about it makes my heart race.

Despite this, Yusra never made it to Cambridge. History intervened. Ljsim and Jeba were destroyed in 1948, and – as of 2010 – the Palestinian component of Garrod’s team untraceable. I haven’t even been able to discover her surname.

It’s unclear what happened to Yusra, and it’s tragic that we know so little about this citizen scientist who changed the way we understand human history.

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1969: Niagra Falls Without Any Water (Seriously)

It turns out I have another amazing reason other than Woodstock to travel back to 1969… to see Niagra Falls without any water.

Seriously. Imagine that in 1969, some engineers turned off Niagara Falls. They did it to clean up the area and to check for structural integrity, basically tuning this:

Into this:

Environmental design blog Mammoth explains the context:

For six months in the winter and fall of 1969, Niagara’s American Falls were “de-watered”, as the Army Corps of Engineers conducted a geological survey of the falls’ rock face, concerned that it was becoming destabilized by erosion. During the interim study period, the dried riverbed and shale was drip-irrigated, like some mineral garden in a tender establishment period, by long pipes stretched across the gap, to maintain a sufficient and stabilizing level of moisture. For a portion of that period, while workers cleaned the former river-bottom of unwanted mosses and drilled test-cores in search of instabilities, a temporary walkway was installed a mere twenty feet from the edge of the dry falls, and tourists were able to explore this otherwise inaccessible and hostile landscape.

Read all story on io9