As orchards go, truffle orchards are upside-down and backwards. The magic happens beneath the oak and hazel trees, where a richly flavored mushroom sprouts from fungal colonies laced about the trees' roots. They're called black Perigord truffles, or tuber melanosporum.
These truffles are notoriously hard to cultivate, even in France, where Perigords orginate. Now, in the rolling hills and clay soils of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, a growing number of farmers are hoping to establish southern Appalachia as the new truffle capital of the world.
Our brains are filled with billions of neurons, entangled like a dense canopy of tropical forest branches. When we think of a concept or a memory — or have a perception or feeling — our brain's neurons quickly fire and talk to each other across connections called synapses.
How these neurons interact with each other — and what the wiring is like between them — is key to understanding our identity, says Sebastian Seung, a professor of computational neuroscience at MIT.
Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 6:54 am
Jonathan Cohn is a senior editor at The New Republic.
Did Mitt Romney win the Michigan primary? Or did he merely survive it? That really depends on your perspective.
As recently as a few days ago, Romney was trailing in the polls. And as recently as Tuesday afternoon, Romney staffers were talking down expectations. But Romney won a clean victory on Tuesday night. He won handily in the Detroit metro area, his home turf, but he also ran strong in more contested counties, like Livingston and Jackson, to the west.