Wednesday, August 10, 2011


FRIDAY, JULY 29, 2011

Where did the ice cream man go?

This morning on my walk, I noticed something odd. Here we are, smack in the middle of summer break, and not a single child was outside playing. We live in an area where there are children galore, yet block after block, in the middle of suburbia, the only evidence of outdoor activity was the occasional bike ditched on a lawn or a stray ball forgotten in the gutter. And since I clearly don’t have a lot of important stuff to think about on these walks, it got me wondering how in the world the ice cream man makes a living anymore.

Now I know times have changed a bit, and these days we live in a more dangerous world, but when I was a kid, which wasn’t that long ago, all of us in the neighborhood would congregate as soon as the sun came up, and continue wreaking whatever havoc we were wreaking that day until well after sundown. Being inside was cruel and unusual punishment, and we would just use that time to plot our next outdoor escapade. Activities ranged from standard to ridiculous. We rode bikes, played tag, climbed trees, built forts…all the usual games.

One of the more ridiculous (and by ridiculous I mean stupid) games we played was called Cars. Cars involved hiding behind something, another car, a fence, or a hedge, whenever we saw a car coming down the street.  We must not have been feeling very creative when we invented this one…but at any rate, we would faithfully dive behind nearby obstructions upon first sight of a car. On one occasion injury ensued, as it often did, when we all dove behind a bush and my friend’s Airwalk-clad foot came down on my eye. Shockingly, I didn’t end up with a black eye, and I’m pretty sure Cars was tabled for the day.

But no matter what we were up to, hearing the ice cream man’s telltale music always made us stop in our tracks. We’d all dash inside, beg our parents for some money, raid our piggybanks if we had to, and hope we could make it back out in time to catch him. My standard purchase was one of two things: a Choco Taco or a Missile Pop.

Two side notes regarding ice cream:

1. If you’ve never had a Choco Taco, stop reading right now, get in your car, and find your nearest convenience store with an ice cream case. Track down the ice cream man if you have to (wherever he may be these days). We recently introduced this culinary delight to Andy’s 90-year old aunt. She was very skeptical upon hearing the description of a chocolate covered ice cream taco, but finally agreed to try a bite of Andy’s, after which she promptly instructed him to go buy her one of her own.

2. When my sister was little, my mom didn’t want to have to buy her ice cream all the time, so she told her that the colorful, singing truck driving up and down the street was just the “music truck,” and that it’s sole purpose was to entertain the masses with Pop Goes the Weasel on repeat. Apparently, my mom got away with this lie story until my sister hit the wise old age of four, when she was tipped off by a neighbor who unknowingly broke the news when he offered to buy her a treat. My mom curses him to this day. (In an unrelated “my-mom-lied-to-her-kids-a-lot-just-for-the-fun-of-it” story, she told me that dragonflies could sew your mouth shut. To this day I am terrified of dragonflies. Thanks Mom.)

Anyway…all this long-winded reminiscing is just to say that the ice cream man used to drive by several times a day, every day of the week. Now I can’t remember when I last heard one, but I can only imagine that it’s because there are no kids outside.  If I were the ice cream man, I wouldn’t waste my time either. I’d just sit in the shade eating my weight in Choco Tacos. (Based on that, I’d better scratch “Ice Cream Man” off my list of professions to try.)

If you made it this far in my ramblings, thank you…your reward is a boozy popsicle.

Mango Mojito Pops

Makes 6

1 1/2 cups chopped mango (2 mangoes)
1 ounce rum (I used Bacardi Superior White)
1 lime, juiced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons chopped mint
1/2 cup water

Put mangoes, rum, lime juice and sugar into a blender. Run until mixture is completely smooth. (Taste to check sweetness. Add more sugar if desired.) Add mint and water. Pulse until water is just blended into mixture and you can still see flecks of mint.

Pour into popsicle molds and place popsicle sticks into the middle of each. Freeze. Once frozen through, run molds under warm water to release.

Try these for a minty, fresh happy hour on a stick. Or just eat a Choco Taco. Both are fantastic.

You won’t care where the ice cream man is when you have these in your freezer. And when your kids complain that they can’t eat them, just tell them it could be worse…at least they aren’t scared of dragonflies.


Louisa Chu

Louisa Chu is a chef, writer, producer, and adventurer. She has cooked around the world, from Paris to Alaska. She trained at El Bulli, Ducasse, Alinea, Moto, and other restaurants. She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris with Le Grand Diplôme for concurrent studies in cuisine and pâtisserie. She has appeared on Food Network's Iron Chef America, Travel Channel's Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, PBS's Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie, and other outlets. Her writing has appeared in Gourmet, CHOW, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and other publications.

The elusive Pakistani mango
by Louisa Chu | Aug. 10, 2011

The legendary Pakistani Chaunsa mango, arguably the best in the world, landed for the first time in the United States at O’Hare about two weeks ago, but unless you were among the mango chosen few, you’ll have to wait until next year to taste them in Chicago.

None of the initial 2,800 pound shipment made it out to market. Many were eaten at the Inaugural Ceremony of Pakistani Mangoes at the Palmer House Grand Ballroom on July 30th. 

Some were shipped to politicians from City Hall to the White House.

I checked Madni Mart, a Pakistani grocery in Chicago. 

Owner Ali Akbar was not in the store, but his brother Muhammad Tariq, just helping out, said he hasn’t seen the Chaunsas. 

“We’re on Devon. If anybody would have had them we would’ve known about it,” said Tariq, “Everyone’s been anxiously waiting for them. They’re the best in the world - no doubt about it.”

“We might have them next year,” he said, “maybe at the end of June or July. They have a life of a month only.”

Eventually all Pakistani mangoes will land first in Chicago then go to a Sioux City, Iowa electron beam irradiation facility.

Back at the ceremony, a young guest pointed out to me that the host, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani, is actually on Twitter - and “the coolest ambassador." 

Haqqani welcomed Chicago’s Pakistani leaders - CEO’s, doctors, lawyers, engineers - with a mango-centric menu including shrimp skewers with a spicy mango salsa, mango cheesecake, mango lassi, mango kulfi, mango ice cream, and toasted with non-alcoholic mango margaritas and sparkling mango strawberry sangria.

A four-tier mango showpiece cake - draped in green, white, and mango colored fondant, with a towering vine of pastry-chef-made mangoes tumbling artistically off - could have been the wedding cake of this Pakistani-American mango marriage arranged to ease diplomatic tensions.

Previously mango fanatics planned entire vacations to Canada to eat Chaunsas, legal there.

“The most important thing for people to realize (is) that this is an unprecedented situation,” said Asad Hayauddin, Consul for Trade and Commerce at the Consulate General of Pakistan in Chicago to WBEZ’s own Odette Yousef.

Yousef also reported, “Hayauddin began working closely with US and Pakistani officials three years ago to figure out how to satisfy regulations set by the US Department of Agriculture that had long kept the fruits from reaching the US market. The USDA forbade the import of mangoes for fear that the fruit would carry pests that might harm US crops.”

“This is the first time in the history of US-Pakistan commercial or trade relations that perishable commodities are coming in,” said Hayauddin, 

“It was a massive team effort from the top political (level) down, to the diplomatic representatives, to the technical people on the ground.”

I asked Madni Mart's Tariq how he eats mangoes. “The traditional way in Pakistan. We put them in cold water until they’re chilled, then peel, cut them into slices or small cubes, and eat with a fork,” he said.

He expects the Chaunsas will sell for $30 to $40 a dozen, the going rate for Indian Alphonso mangoes, which made their big debut in 2007, also widely considered the best, not surprisingly by Indians.

“As the biggest importer of mangoes in the world (with $250 million in mango imports) America was a ripe market for the Pakistani mango, Ambassador Haqqani said to the Tribune’s Monica Eng.

While you no longer need to try to smuggle Chaunsas into this country, I did smuggle a few out of the ceremony. 

They’ve been ripening in my kitchen for over a week now - some might say over ripening. I left them out on the counter until I could smell perfume from their stem end. 

The first one I ate by simply biting into it like an apple, sucking the escaping juices, peeling back the skin with my teeth, until I reached the soft golden flesh. 

It was almost too sweet, with a texture like custard, and held a faint yet deep, musky aroma. There was no tartness or citrus notes as found in some other mangoes.

There are over 1,000 different mangoes around the world. 

Mango aficionados may argue the merits of Chaunsas versus Alphonsos and them some, but it’s like, in a way, comparing apple to oranges.


World's biggest cargo plane in surprise visit

Dean Kirby

October 20, 2006

PLANE spotters were in for a treat when this supersized jet made a surprise visit to Manchester Airport yesterday.

The aircraft, called the Beluga after the beluga whale, looks just like a giant unpainted Thunderbirds' model and is said to be the world's largest cargo carrier.

It is understood the A300-600ST Super Transporter, as it is also known, was heading from Hamburg to the BAe Systems factory at Broughton, near Chester.

But the pilot is thought to have diverted to Manchester because cross-winds were buffeting the runway at his destination.

The aircraft's rare stop-off delighted the huge number of spotters who gather at the airport each day to monitor the skies.

John Cully, from Swinton, said: "It's a fantastic sight, isn't it? You don't see anything else like that in the world of aviation."


USAF C-5 Galaxy Transport

C-5 Galaxy US Air Force


Ukrainian An-124 "Ruslan" Heavy Transport Aircraft


Wednesday, August 10

Time-Lapse Camera

Ever wonder how to catch those time-lapse images of a growing flower or the changing seasons? It usually involves a few thousand dollars' worth of equipment and a whole lot of patience. But now those of us who prefer to spend our vacation in a hammock nursing a daiquiri rather than sitting patiently behind a camera can get in on that pro-style photography.

Just set up this sturdy new Time-Lapse Camera, click a few buttons, and leave it to its work shooting frame after frame and stitching them together into a time-lapse video. So you can bring home footage of the changing light across a cityscape, the rise and fall of the equatorial sun, or a full day of your kids frolicking on the beach. All of the payoff with none of the effort? That's our idea of a vacation.

Time-Lapse Camera, available from Photojojo, $149


Panama Locks Set for Maintenance Shutdowns
Joseph Bonney 

| Aug 8, 2011 1:28PM GMTThe Journal of Commerce Online - News Story

East lane of the canal’s Gatun Locks will be will be closed for two 26-hour periods this month

Vessel traffic through the Panama Canal will be affected this month by maintenance and dredging.

The east lane of the canal’s Gatun Locks will be will be closed for two 26-hour periods this month for removal and reinstallation of miter gates and other scheduled maintenance.

The west lane at the Pedro Miguel locks will be closed for three days this week for dredging near the locks’ southwest approach wall.

The Panama Canal Authority said it will put its transit reservation system in effect from Thursday through Saturday and on Aug. 18.

The canal authority also said that during July the canal handled between 25 and 38 transits a day by oceangoing vessels, for a daily average of 33.1 transits.

-- Contact Joseph Bonney at Follow him on Twitter @josephbonney.


México: Aplican fitorreguladores para incrementar la calidad del mango en Sinaloa

La intención del proyecto es lograr uniformidad y aumentar el contenido de sólidos solubles totales en mangos Kent y Tommy Atkins, mediante la aplicación precosecha de etefón y sales de potasio

De acuerdo con la información proporcionada por productores de mango en el sur de Sinaloa, las empresas locales que destinan el mango a la industria lo compran entre 0.80 centavos y 1.20 pesos por kilogramo (datos de 2008). 

Sin embargo, otras empresas foráneas (Fresh Export, por ejemplo) compran el kilogramo de fruta en 1.80 pesos, con el requisito de que los frutos tengan valores alrededor de 8.0 °Brix (medida que indica en qué proporción están los azúcares con respecto a los ácidos). 

Los productores indican que con una estrategia para satisfacer la demanda de calidad en el nivel de sólidos solubles totales (SST), esta y otras empresas incrementarían al menos en 20 mil toneladas por año sus compras de frutos de las variedades Kent y Tommy Atkins, con la consiguiente utilidad extra de 1 peso por kilogramo, en promedio. Por otra parte, con el incremento y uniformidad de los SST se rechazarían menos frutos, disminuyendo la rezaga.

Los mejores resultados se presentaron en la variedad Tommy Atkins
El titular del proyecto Aplicación precosecha de fitorreguladores y sales minerales para incrementar sólidos solubles totales (°Brix) en mango Kent y Tommy Atkins en el sur de Sinaloa, que Fundación Produce Sinaloa, A.C., apoyó a través de su Consejo Consultivo zona norte, durante el ciclo 2010-2011, demostró a los productores los progresos de la investigación.

Fuente: FPS

Fecha de publicación: 10/08/2011


Wednesday, August 10th

    We'll keep Horn of Africa hunger relief open another week. Please share!

$1 Sends an Elite Team to Rescue
Endangered Animals Captured by Poachers 

A taxi bumps down a muddy road in Cambodia. A group of armed men flank it quickly on motorcycles. 
But this is no heist. 
Acting on an informant’s intel, authorities subdue the driver and search the trunk. Inside, they discover over 1,000 live geckos.
This is a day in the life of the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team, an elite squad of military police and forest rangers funded by the Wildlife Alliance. Their mission? To stop the illegal wildlife trade. 
Give $1

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Science News

Carbon Sink: Up-And-Coming Forests Replacing Aging Forests of Upper Great Lakes

ScienceDaily (Aug. 10, 2011) — The aging forests of the Upper Great Lakes could be considered the baby boomers of the region's ecosystem. The decline of trees in this area is a cause for concern among policymakers and ecologists who wonder whether the end of the forests' most productive years means they will no longer offer the benefits they are known for: cleansed air, fertile soil, filtered water and, most important to climate change analysts, carbon storage that offsets greenhouse gas emissions.

A team of ecologists led by Ohio State University researchers says, however, that coming up right underneath the old forests is a new generation of native trees that are younger, more diverse and highly competitive. 

They represent a vast unknown compared to what ecologists have long theorized about how forests work as carbon sinks, but these researchers expect the next generation to carry on the important work of carbon storage.

"There's a conventional theory that aging forests, for a variety of reasons, store less carbon over time. We contend that that may be true in certain systems that are less species-rich. But in our forests in the Midwest, the tree species we will end up with are much different from what we started with," said Peter Curtis, professor and chair of evolution, ecology and organismal biology at Ohio State and a lead investigator on this research.

"We argue that in this case, as forests age, they get rejuvenated with younger individuals of different species -- a more complex and diverse community will be replacing the old guard. They may even outdo the boomer generation and be more productive."

Curtis and colleagues base their predictions on preliminary findings from a project in which they have accelerated the generational shift in part of a forest in northern Michigan. By cutting strips of bark from thousands of aspen trees to hasten their death, the scientists are able to observe the characteristics of the trees that will replace this 100-year-old cohort.

So far, the scientists are finding that the canopy created by the newcomers' leaves use light more efficiently to manufacture carbohydrates and release oxygen through photosynthesis than did the aspen canopy that preceded it. 

The researchers also are able to use sophisticated instruments to quantify nitrogen cycling in the transitioning forest, and observe that nitrogen losses throughout the system are small even with the death of thousands of trees. 

As long as nitrogen remains available -- within tree wood and leaves as well as in the soil -- for the trees to renew themselves annually, the forest will continue to function as an effective carbon sink.

Curtis presented portions of the research on August 10 at the Ecological Society of America annual meeting in Austin, Texas.

The research team conducts its work at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS). The composition of this forested research facility is representative of the forests stretching about 40,000 square miles -- the equivalent of the land mass of Ohio -- across the entire upper Midwest.

Aspens compose the vast majority of old trees in the region, cropping up quickly after a period of deforestation between 1880 and 1920 that was followed by abandonment of the land and a rash of wildfires.

Curtis describes aspens as trees that "live fast and die young." Their seeds spread easily and that allowed the species to revegetate the deforested areas rapidly, but they do not grow well in shade underneath their own canopies. Because of that weakness, the aspens are being replaced by tree species that were once native to the region but take longer to get established.

Aspens live only about 100 years on average, compared to the oak, sugar maple, beech, hemlock and pine species that are replacing them, which can live for as long as 600 years.

The researchers previously calculated that the Midwestern forests could offset the greenhouse gas emissions of almost two-thirds of nearby populations by storing an average of 1,300 pounds of carbon per acre -- a total of 350,000 tons -- per year.

To test the forests' future carbon storage capacity, the researchers launched the Forest Accelerated Succession Experiment (FASET) in 2008, girdling almost 7,000 aspen trees across about 100 acres. Girdling involves cutting a strip of bark from the circumference of a tree trunk. To date, about 75 percent of the aspen trees are dead, and about 15 percent have fallen.

Their demise is making way for a more diverse forest, Curtis said. Though some ecological theories suggest that a simple system -- say, all pine or all aspen -- can be more productive in the short term, a more complex system is needed to withstand the inevitable disturbance that will accompany climate change, he said.

"The more diverse system can solve problems that are thrown at it by the environment," Curtis said. "Adaptation is a key word here. As animal and plant species are moving around or changing seasonally, a diverse and resilient ecosystem is going to be much better able to provide ecological niches and the goods and services that we can hope to get from it."

So far, the accelerated succession is showing that with the loss of the aspens, the light-use efficiency of the forest canopy increased.

"Even with fewer leaves, the leaf area was better distributed. It's happening quite rapidly. As soon as you take away these aspen, you get a lot more nitrogen and more light, and other species react to that very quickly," Curtis said. "There was more nitrogen available because aspens weren't there to take it up, and dead leaves and dead roots were releasing nitrogen."

Considering the magnitude of the disturbance of killing thousands of trees, the researchers were surprised to see that the system lost almost no nitrogen. Plants use nitrogen, which becomes available through the decomposition of organic matter, to produce the next year's leaves and wood. Plants also need nitrogen to take up carbon.

Clear-cutting trees would allow nitrogen to drain out of the bottom of the system because no roots would exist to intercept that loss, Curtis explained. Though the rapid loss of aspens did lead to about a 10 percent loss of nitrogen, almost that same amount was recaptured in atmospheric nitrogen that comes down to the land surface in rain.

The wood mass and soil organic matter are vital to a forest's carbon-storage capacity; in the UMBS forest, stem wood, leaves and debris contain about 42 percent of the carbon there. Though forests also release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the instrumentation used by these researchers to analyze the ongoing carbon exchange between the forest and atmosphere has been able to confirm the forest's status as an important national carbon sink, Curtis said.

The concept of using forests to store carbon has steadily gained attention among policymakers, especially since the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 as a global program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Curtis's group has received $1 million in additional funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to continue evaluating forests' role in storing carbon.

Co-investigators include Christopher Gough of Virginia Commonwealth University; Lucas Nave, Christoph Vogel and Knute Nadelhoffer of the UMBS; Brady Hardiman of the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology at Ohio State; Gil Bohrer and Kyle Maurer of Ohio State's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Geodetic Science; Abby Halperin of Oberlin College; James Le Moine of the University of Michigan; Jed Sparks of Cornell University; Brian Strahm of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; and Alexandra Munoz of New York University


The NMB website link to USDA data is up and running after a temporary glitch this morning...

U.S. Import Volume
Per Day

Daily report for date range: August 1, 2011 through August 10, 2011Export to Excel

Commodity NameOrigin NameDatePoundsBoxes of 8.8 lbs



Grand Total


Source: USDA Market News -


ComPair Data Rate Capacity Nexus Report

Dear Reader,

Rates are falling and capacity is fluctuating by the week, but do you have a good handle on how capacity affects rates?

On key trades from South China to all U.S. ports, capacity was increased in the second quarter and it had a negative impact on rates as demand slowed. Rates from Busan to North America plummeted in the second quarter due to increased capacity in the first quarter. The link between capacity and rates is clear.All this and more is included in the latest edition of the ComPair Data Rate-Capacity Nexus Report, Click Here to purchase the report.

The report analyzes the movement of capacity and rates for 100 port-to-port pairs from the third quarter of 2010 through the first half of 2011, giving a complete picture of how these two crucial variables influenced one another over the past four quarters. The report uses rate information from partner and ComPair Data’s detailed allocated capacity estimates on a host of key trades to and from North America. Rates from SeaIntelligence are based on average all-in, port-to-port FAK rates, on a 40-foot-equivalent unit (FEU) basis.

Rate-Capacity Nexus:
Details how carriers increased capacity from South China to all major U.S. destinations in the second quarter in the hopes that demand would rebound ahead of peak season
Examines the rise of direct service capacity from Vietnam and Mumbai to the United States in relation to capacity from the traditional transshipment hubs of Singapore and Colombo
A comprehensive table of rates and capacity, quarter-by-quarter for more than 100 port pairs

To purchase the report, go to: or call Robert King at +1-904-355-2601, Ext. 23.

Thank you for your time and continued readership


Hayes H. Howard


ComPair Data, Inc.

Copyright ©2011 by ComPair Data, Inc. All rights reserved.

This E-mail was sent to:Will Cavan at
Sent By: ComPair Data, 200 West Forsyth Street, Suite 1000, Jacksonville, FL 32202, +1.904.355.2601


August 10, 2011

The National Mango Board (NMB) website ( link to the USDA commodity report is not working.

This what users learned when they tried to access import volume report:

Return to Report Type selection

NMB Crop Reports

Select F.O.B. Price report options:Where a list of items are provided, you may hold down the Ctrl key to select more than one item.

Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Too many connections in /home/applets/public_html/ on line 190

Warning: mysql_query(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /home/applets/public_html/ on line 194

A database error has occurred:

Server: localhost
Error message: Too many connections
Query: select count(*) from applets_cropforecast.usda_shipping_point
You may try the option again, or contact support.

Return to Report Type selection

NMB Crop Reports

Select F.O.B. Price report options:

Where a list of items are provided, you may hold down the Ctrl key to select more than one item.
Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Too many connections in /home/applets/public_html/ on line 190

Warning: mysql_query(): supplied argument is not a valid MySQL-Link resource in /home/applets/public_html/ on line 194
A database error has occurred:
Server: localhost
Error message: Too many connections
Query: select count(*) from applets_cropforecast.usda_shipping_point
You may try the option again, or contact support.