Ruby Chocolate, New Horizons, McDonald’s Feces – 12/27/2018

Credit: NestléUKI

The announcement of Ruby chocolate stirred a worldwide reaction to the “new’ bean. People across the world wondered to themselves across television screens, across tablets and phones and even radio what exactly it was. How could it be new? Hadn’t we discovered all that had sprouted forth from mother Earth? Where in all of creation had they originated from? How had a company so ingeniously veiled them from all others? These questions have yet to receive any answer approaching satisfaction as Callebaut steeled themselves into secrecy, revealing only that which we would crave more or more than their chocolate. As we unwrap this delicious selection of treats and sweets, keep in mind that the taste of ruby chocolate differs from all others and will inherently express a new flavor when mixed with consumer favorites including caramel, nuts or nugget. Indulge at your discretion and prepare yourself for the sugar parade.

Callebaut describes their chocolate as, “Intense fruitiness and fresh sour notes” and have it available for sale on their website along with recipes and videos about their new found creation. Don’t be fooled though, Callebaut don’t intend to be the only purveyors. A number of other companies have already begun releasing their versions of the chocolate. The following consists of a list of these:

Credit: NestléUKI

  • Never to be left the odd one out, Nestlé flung itself into the new craze, introducing a ruby version of its Baci Perugina chocolate in the UK for a limited time with Nestlé Italiana following suit. Their KitKat also has its own ruby chocolate version in the UK, Australia, Japan and South Korea in the flavors Sublime Ruby and Black Label Ruby.
  • Ruby Chocolate is coming to the US. Vosges Haut-Chocolat, based in Chicago, will be the first to release it and are making ruby cocoa truffles.
  • Fortnum & Mason, a London based company, have a ruby chocolate bar available for sale online now. It’s actually one of the few places I’ve found which has a completely normal, unaltered bar. Last I checked it’s £6.50 so get buying.
  • The Fazer Group in Finland is launching their own ruby chocolate bar for a limited time through a visitor center, cafes and their online store, encouraging interaction with the public in an open forum.
  • India also had its first experience when ITC Ltd launched Ruby Gianduja by Fabelle.
  • Arriving in South Africa, ruby chocolate was for sale since Barry Callebaut opened the Chocolate Academy in Johannesburg. It can also be found at Chocoloza or My Sugar which is in Cape Town.

It is only a matter of time before this chocolate hits the shelves and every second it isn’t is a wasted marketing opportunity. Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Christmas are all prime opportunities for this chocolate to be utilized to its maximum efficiency. Perhaps by next year it will become a craze across social media as any unique releases commonly are. I’m awaiting my piece of pink chocolate out of simple curiosity but if you’ve already tasted a bit feel free to contact me or leave your opinions below to help me and the larger community get an idea of what exactly it’ll taste like.

You can see a Fortnum & Mason Ruby Chocolate Bar here:


Space

Over a decade into its mission to explore the little planet, not planet, Pluto, New Horizons is about to perform another first, easily breaking records for successful space probes. I discussed this years ago when New Horizons had observed Pluto up close. The secondary objective assigned to the explorer was to seek out and examine the Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) 2014 MU69, nicknamed Ultima Thule. If everything goes fine New Horizons will arrive on New Year’s Day, which could give birth to a very interesting holiday tradition for astrophysicists. For those of you rusty on your astrophysics, let’s look at the Kuiper Belt. For those of you who are indifferent, skip the next paragraph.

The Kuiper Belt is similar to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter except for a variety of differences. While it is composed of many small objects and bodies it is far larger and between 30-50 AU away, starting after Neptune as well as mainly containing volatile bodies made more from ice, ammonia and methane than rocks like carbon or silicon. 1 astronomical unit or AU is the average distance between the Earth and Sun and is commonly used for measuring distance from the Sun for everything else in our Solar System. It is also well known as the site where many objects were ejected to after the initial formation of the planets. This presents itself as an excellent opportunity to study these objects to gain a deeper understanding behind the initial stages of the birth of our Solar System.

Getting back on topic, people have already sent NH plenty of messages and the researchers working on the team are very excited to get a close-up look at this KBO, a first in astrophysics history. We’ve only known about Ultima Thule since the Hubble Telescope discovered it in 2014 and it’ll be a pretty rapid discovery to exploration timetable. The team working on New Horizons can submit a name for the object (its name is unofficial) but have preferred to wait until more is known about it before naming it. Researchers still aren’t confident if Ultima Thule is one object or two. The team behind New Horizons is also looking forward to extending the probe’s mission deeper into the Kuiper Belt to gain further insights into a region of space we hardly ever visit. It would still require NASA approval however. In the meantime, I’ll be awaiting some fancy pictures I can use as wall art. Hello Ultima Thule!

This long description helps to understand why we haven’t explored the Kuiper Belt yet:

There’s already a mystery surrounding….since they’ve been having a difficult time detecting variations in the light from Ultima Thule:


China successfully launched their Chang’e 4 lander and rover which will be heading to the far side moon, a landing which hasn’t been accomplished yet. Since we have an Earth-based perspective we’d naturally be interested in the brighter side which always faces us but the Moon needs to be fully explored before we can document all of its resources and geological features. It’ll also help in an eventual moon landing, a goal the Chinese are very interested in.


The NASA satellite OSIRIS-REx has finally arrived at Bennu, an asteroid travelling across our Solar System. There won’t be any landing until 2020 though. It’s going to spend some time staring at the big ball of rock before it lands. After the asteroid is sampled and explored a bit OSIRIS-REx will make the voyage home, earthbound to NASA full of space goodies for scientists to get their hands on.


Automation

Finally, in a rather unsightly turn for the automation of human labor, a disgusting discovery was made at several McDonald’s in the U.K. at London and Birmingham. Swabs were taken from the screens thousands of people pour over every day to buy their quick meals and they came back positive for gut and fecal bacteria. This of course is nothing new, we’ve known for a long time how filthy public places can be. However it once again raises the issue of how clean these screens need to be. Should they be constantly cleaned to stem the spread of dangerous infections? Should we place warning signs and use gloves? Would ordering on an app on your phone and registering it at a kiosk be a better alternative than touching the screen? All of these will be necessary to prevent another public health scare. McDonald’s will also be forced to account for it whether or not it is their fault. It only takes a few sick customers to turn public perception against you and disease has long been the ire of the food business. Take heed when you visit the screen, you don’t know what is crawling around.


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