The Underground — Issue #74
Everything you need to know about in this weekly series: the science of Synesthesia (tasting colors, seeing smells), how long it takes to read some of the most popular books and book series, the limits to human space travel, the trailer for an upcoming video game film that could change everything, and a fantastic ribs recipe to try this summer.
At Social Underground we go beyond the mainstream stuff and see what’s underneath the surface. What should we get into, listen to, read, eat or watch? If there is something in our culture that needs attention that’s our job: Show you the underground things that you need to know about: Books, music, television, movies, comedians, art, and whatever else we can find to get you into something you never knew about. That’s The Underground.
1. The science of Synesthesia. I first heard about Synesthesia when I began listening to an artist who goes by the name Aphex Twin. His music was either erratic and strange or wonderful and relaxing. However, it’s much more complicated than that. What a person with the condition is able to do is perhaps look at a group of numbers, but each number will have a color.
For example: a person without Synesthesia would have a difficulty finding all the 2’s among he 5’s in the chart below. They’re all the same shape, but the 2’s are merely turned around and makes your brain work hard to separate them among the 5’s. Since the person with Synesthesia has the ability to separate them due to seeing each number as a color, they can do so easily.
It sounds like it could be the coolest thing in the world, but it doesn’t come without problems. Synesthesia is involuntary. If you have it and hear a word that is processed as a taste, whenever someone says a certain word, it will leave a bad taste in your mouth. It’s a very strange neurological happening in the brain. Let this Big Think video below explain it further.
2. Just how long does it take to read the most popular books on the shelves? I have just recently started rereading A Song of Ice And Fire. It’s quite the achievement in writing, but I’m still on the first book and it’s been about a week. I’m a fast reader, but when each book is single-spaced, has a small font, and is over 800 pages long, you know you’ll be there for quite a while. This led to me looking online for how long it will take me to reread these books. It turns out it will take a long time. Not only that, but other books or book series that I have read also took a long time, but not as long as these.
A Song of Ice And Fire still has 2 books to go, and that mammoth epic is clocking in at close to 100 hours to finish 5 books. Harry Potter is second when it comes to length. Twilight shouldn’t be considered literature, but it’s up there as well. So, before you dive into some of these books, just know that there is a huge time commitment to reading them. Hell, this past Sunday I spent 5 hours read A Game of Thrones. By the time I looked at the clock, it was time to watch Game of Thrones. You get lost in the books!
3. What are the limits of human space travel? When you watch Star Trek, you see Enterprise use its warp-drive to travel faster than the speed of light all the time in the films and the TV series. The average viewer will think the crew is travelling to distant galaxy’s and meeting new civilization and exploring new planets. True, they are exploring and doing all of that, but they never leave the Milky Way. It’s just too big.
The Milky Way is separated by quadrants in the show: Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta. The Alpha and Beta quadrants are close together on the show which is why the ships pass the borders all the time, but in Star Trek: Voyager, the ship is transported all he way across the galaxy to the Delta quadrant. Even with their warp drive, it will take decades to get home.
That was a long comparison, but the question it renders is how far can humans travel into space even with the technology we try to imagine in our science fiction. The video below explains everything you want to know about out potential travel in the cosmos. Hopefully there are no Borg. They’re pretty much the D-bags of space. Give this video a watch, and then deal with the crushing reality that we are a speck of dust in the observable universe.
4. The Assassin’s Creed trailer adds more hope to video game films not being crap. This movie, along with Warcraft, gives us all hope for seeing the great video game stories given a good adaptation on film. For years we’ve had to deal with Uwe Boll make hamster sh* movies one after another based off of video games. The Resident Evil film franchise has gotten so bad that watching it is like being eaten by a zombie willingly, but more enjoyable than the movies.
Premise: Career criminal Callum Lynch is rescued from his own execution by Abstergo Industries, the modern-day incarnation of the Templar Order. He is forced to participate in the Animus Project and relive the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha, an Assassin during the Spanish Inquisition. As Lynch continues to experience Aguilar’s memories, he begins to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to confront the Templars—age-old enemies of the Assassins—in the present day.
From what the trailer has to offer, it seems that the filmmakers really wanted to capture the beauty of the game as well as the action. Michael Fassbender has pretty much been nailing it in every roll he’s been in since 300, so I have no doubt he will help usher in video game adaptations that aren’t terrible.
Check out the trailer below.
5. It’s warm out, so it’s time to check out some of the best BBQ ribs you’ll ever taste. Warm weather means BBQ and beer. There is no reason not to start BBQin the moment the Sun comes out and you have a free day open on the weekend. Just make sure you don’t drink too much beer and forget about the food on the grill. No one wants to eat a hockey puck hamburger.
Have a look at some of this delicious rob recipe you can try on the barbecue this year:
Sweet Cola Ribs
Sweet Cola Barbecue Sauce:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups ketchup
1 can cola
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon ground mustard
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 racks pork spare ribs (about 3 pound each)
For the sauce:
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, add oil. Once heated, add the onion and garlic and saute until tender. Add all the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for 1 hour 15 minutes.
For the dry rub:
Whisk all dry ingredients together in a small bowl. This can be stored up to 6 months in an airtight container.
For the ribs:
Rinse and dry ribs. Place on a clean cutting board, pull off the membrane and trim the ribs of excess fat. Liberally season both sides of the ribs with rub. Wrap ribs with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 to 12 hours so flavors can permeate.
Preheat grill to 250 degrees F. using hickory and charcoal. Set up your grill for indirect heat.
Place ribs, meatier side down, on the grill away from the coals. Close grill cover. Cook the pork ribs for 1 hour 15 minutes; flipping several times for even cook. *Coat ribs with Sweet Cola Barbecue Sauce and cook for another 20 minutes.
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post, UPROXX, BGR and by just looking up his name.