by Kaitlyn Goalenphotographs by Nick PironioFor most Southern cooks, field peas are as familiar and enduring a staple as their summertime harvest-mates, tomatoes. This year, however, an heirloom varietal of pea, thought to have vanished, will be grown within Raleigh city limits. And it all started with a dead woman’s fridge.Two years ago, Raleigh-based farmer Sean Barker traveled back to his native town in Mississippi to visit family. Amid catch-ups with relatives and reminiscing about old friends, Barker and his uncle struck up a conversation about Mama Hill, Barker’s grandmother who had passed away in 1999.Mama Hill had been an A-class gardener and a Southern cook of the highest order. In fact, Barker credits her for giving him the “agricultural bug” that grew into his profession. As he and his uncle sat on the porch, Barker recalled some of the crops he ate from Mama Hill’s garden as a child: okra, oversize summer squash, and a particularly delicious calico field pea unlike any he’d had before or since.Barker’s uncle paused. “You know,” he said, “when we were cleaning out the house after Mama Hill died, I moved her refrigerator to my house but never really went through it; I just plugged it into the wall in my garage and sort of forgot about it.”It prompted an immediate visit to the matriarch’s fridge, and an amazing discovery inside: Sitting on a shelf was a grocery bag full of seeds Mama Hill had saved. There were rice peas and lady peas, and a third bag of peas with a scrap of paper tucked into it: In Mama Hill’s script it read: “polecat pea, 1984.”To a farmer, this was the equivalent of winning the lottery. Here were the calico peas of Barker’s youth, forgotten until now. After his mother successfully grew a test crop last season, Barker decided to plant a plot of the heirloom at Raleigh City Farm, where he and his business partner, Corbett Marshall, grow produce under the name Kailyard Farm.If all goes according to plan, Mama Hill’s polecat peas will likely be harvested this month, along with about 20 other varietals Barker planted this season. Kailyard Farm sells its produce, including field peas, at the Raleigh City Farmer’s Market (Wednesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. at City Market).Grab some, if you can, and rekindle your romance with one of the South’s shining summer stars. Clockwise starting from the red seeds, Harico Rouge, Calico Crowder, Lady Pea, and Vietnamese Black.Field Peas with Cornbread and Tomato VinaigretteWhen I asked Barker how Mama Hill cooked her peas, he told me that she had a few tricks, including adding just a touch of sugar. In an ode to that maneuver, this recipe pairs the peas with a barely sweet tomato vinaigrette and cornbread crumbles. Like panzanella, the classic Italian tomato-and-bread salad, this dish works best with day-old cornbread.Serves 4-62 slices smoky bacon, cut into ½-inch thick pieces½ cup diced onion1 clove garlic, smashed2 cups fresh field peasKosher salt and freshly ground black pepper2 beefsteak tomatoes, cored and sliced in half1 tablespoon sherry vinegar1 teaspoon fresh minced tarragon1 teaspoon fresh minced parsley½ cup extra-virgin olive oil6 ounces chevre, crumbled4 cups cornbread, broken up into 2- to 3-inch piecesIn a saucepan over medium heat, add the bacon. Cook until it begins to brown a bit and release fat, about five minutes. Add the onion, garlic and field peas and stir to coat. Add water until the field peas are covered by an inch. Bring to a simmer and cook until the peas are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the peas, discarding the cooking liquid and the garlic clove. Transfer the peas to a bowl and season with salt to taste.Over a large bowl, use a box grater to grate the flesh of the tomatoes (discard the tomato skin). Whisk in the vinegar, tarragon and parsley. Whisk in the oil in a slow steady stream until the mixture is fully emulsified. Add the field peas, corn bread and chevre, and toss to coat. Transfer to a platter and serve.
Jillian Clarkby Mimi MontgomeryAs the city of Raleigh grows ever-faster, so does its number of visitors. One thing that hasn’t kept pace is the number of hotel rooms. A recent report commissioned by the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance says that the city needs more rooms to keep pace with demand.The new Aloft Raleigh, which opened this past October, is one of five new hotels expected to open by 2018. Geared towards the hyper-connected global traveler, the Starwoods Hotels-owned Aloft is a testament to Raleigh’s growing clout as a business hub. On Hillsborough Street across from the N.C. State bell tower, a healthy walk from downtown, the stylish 135-room hotel features tech-forward innovation and art, and holds events targeted to the young entrepreneurial crowd.The spirit of Raleigh is alive in two Thomas Sayre works – one an outdoor sculpture (shown above), the other an indoor installation incorporating clay from the North Carolina piedmont. The hotel’s collection also features pieces from nearby Roundabout Art Collective. The local food scene is represented by homegrown favorites like Gonza Tacos y Tequila and Jubala coffee shop; Videri chocolate is also a perk for guests. The WXYZ bar, which features an open-balcony view of Hillsborough Street and the downtown skyline, showcases Raleigh tunes with the hotel’s Live at Aloft Hotels music series. Guests who want to check the city out can borrow bikes.Aloft is betting big on the growth of the Triangle. A branch opened in Chapel Hill a few years ago, another in downtown Durham last fall, and a third is set to open near Brier Creek in the spring.2100 Hillsborough St.; starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels
Nick Pironioby Fanny SlaterOnce upon a basket of cornbread, I made a decision that would forever change the course of my life. I slouched into the cozy, familiar booth at Margaux’s Restaurant and asked my family: “What about some kind of tangerine chicken?”My mom looked up from her Caesar, puzzled. It was now three days before the finale of Rachael Ray’s Great American Cookbook Competition. I was one of two remaining contestants, and we had been sent home and given one week to choose our final recipe. For some bizarre reason, I couldn’t let go of tangerine chicken. I had never even made tangerine chicken before in my life. This was clearly the moment when I began grasping for anything. Anything at all. In this case: tangerine chicken.After winning Rachael Ray’s Great American Cookbook Competition, Slater appeared on the show. Here, she is shown with Jacques Pépin and Rachael Ray. Slater’s book will be available March 1.My boyfriend Tony slid the shiny basket of still-warm cornbread under my nose. I peeled apart a crumbly, golden square and swiped it through a ramekin of whipped butter. I looked up at my dad – whose expression was solemn (unusual for someone who wears cartoon rotisserie chicken socks). “Why don’t you end where you began?” he suggested.I thought back to the first recipe I’d submitted for the competition: “The Tin Foil Surprise.” It was my spin on our family’s favorite to-go English muffin breakfast sandwich. My updated version featured creamy taleggio cheese and floral, homemade orange lavender fig jam. I stuffed the fluffy cornbread into my mouth and grinned. “If the rest of my life is riding on an English muffin,” I declared, “I think everything is going to be okay.”Many of my richest memories have taken place over a basket of Margaux’s cornbread. I grew up with a dad who prepared top-notch homemade meals on a near-nightly basis, so naturally, my family’s restaurant expectations have always been high. But it’s never been pretentious, complicated cuisine we’re after – just good food made with soul. And butter, of course.Margaux’s opened its North Raleigh doors in 1992 and instantly became our second kitchen. It was where we boogied for my sister Sarah’s post-Bat Mitzvah brunch (and for mine four years later). It was where my parents celebrated birthdays and anniversaries. It was where we even broke our cardinal ritual of a homestyle Thanksgiving to unapologetically surrender to the sinful buffet one memorable year. And it was Margaux’s where we took “Macho Man” Randy Savage to dinner. No, seriously. But that’s another story.Apple; treeIn 1975, my mom founded the nationally-acclaimed bakery business Rachel’s Brownies. In the beginning stages of her eventual business partnership with my dad, she would tenaciously re-wrap the brownies he’d dutifully tried to wrap to meet her impeccable standards. For her, each chocolate morsel was a work of art. My dad, while not a whiz-bang brownie-wrapper like my mom, was a highly-experienced marketing guru and self-taught kitchen wizard. He kept a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking on his nightstand. When I was four, he scooted a chair up to the stove and handed me a spatula. In first grade, he came into my class at Ravenscroft and taught us all how to braid and bake homemade challah. That’s pretty much all I remember from first grade. Needless to say, I grew up on good eats, and it was only a matter of time before I took the cooking into my own hands.As a Ravenscroft first-grader, Slater performs a cooking demonstration with her father.My last year at Peace College (now William Peace University), I was assigned a final writing project to fulfill my English major. Sitting in my advisor’s office, I talked in circles until I somehow convinced him to allow me to intern at my favorite Raleigh restaurant and write about it. Several weeks later, I found myself standing in that esteemed kitchen, looking out onto the dining room where I had spent many meals enjoying cornbread, peppered duck, and delicate profiteroles. In Margaux’s kitchen, I felt as though I had been granted entrance to a mystical universe where few elite members were allowed. I silently bowed my head at the crab cakes.A few years later, right around the time I turned 25 and moved to California, the restaurant movement in the Triangle began to erupt. When I came home to visit, I thought I’d be eager to dive into the trendy new hot spots. But it turned out it was familiar flavors I craved. Between my dad’s sublimely-seared scallops and Margaux’s expertly-wrapped shrimp summer rolls, I was happy. After all, I had a short window of time at home and only so many pairs of stretchy pants in my suitcase.I eventually returned to the East Coast (downtown Wilmington to be exact), where I got close enough to sample the exquisite fare of Raleigh’s most gifted chefs. This is how Ashley Christensen became my best imaginary friend. As Julie Powell, of Julie & Julia, once said, “I have this fantasy that she comes for dinner and I show her my new lemon zester. We become very close.”Slater prepares a root vegetable frittata in her Wilmington home kitchen. “I always have eggs and veggies and cheese on hand,” she says. Maybe it’s because Ashley’s food is full of imagination – but also reminds me of home – that I daydream of this citrus-inspired friendship. Because at the root of it all, I am still influenced by the flavors that have stuck with me all of this time. The anecdotes and recipes you’ll find in my cookbook,Orange, Lavender & Figs: Deliciously Different Recipes from a Passionate Eater, are modern tributes to the food moments that have shaped my life. Case in point: to honor Margaux’s succulent, butter-slathered cornbread – which has provided me with countless memories – I crafted these honey cornmeal pancakes with vanilla bean-fig butter. But first, back to the beginning… I decided to submit “The Tin Foil Surprise” as my final recipe for Rachael’s competition. I think you can guess how it all turned out. I knew that if I stayed true to myself, my love for nostalgia, and my whimsical spirit, I couldn’t lose. After all, coming from a family who relentlessly encouraged my silliness and my love of cooking, it’s no surprise I come up with eclectic, playful food. Can you blame me? Because, well, with a name like Fanny – it’s pretty hard to fit into the crowd.But I’m okay with that.
The Powell GT chorus rehearses before its performance in Meymandi Concert Hall on April 5. The fourth-and fifth-graders had practiced for months, coming in to rehearse at 8 a.m. before their school day began.Raleigh Fine Art Society’s Choral Celebrationby Mimi Montgomeryphotographs by Jillian ClarkIt’s a Tuesday evening in April, and Meymandi Concert Hall is packed. In a few short minutes, Powell GT elementary school’s chorus will take the stage, and the kids are shushing each other as they wait in the wings for their cue. Their fourth- and fifth-grade faces are bathed in the blue light of backstage bulbs as they whisper last-minute notes and bits of advice to each other under the din of the audience outside and the sounds of the accompanists warming up. They’ve been counting down the months to this night. Their moment is finally here. On the other side of the curtain, it’s not the usual symphony crowd anticipating a night of classical music – it’s kids like them, all of whom will also have their own chance to perform. This is the first night of an annual two-night Raleigh Fine Arts Society Choral Celebration, bringing Wake County elementary school choruses to the capital city’s finest stage to perform for their parents, friends, and the public. The kids are all dressed in their best, some in white button-downs and dress pants, and others in black dresses and bows. As the audience goes quiet, the Powell students fidget anxiously and giggle; at the last minute, their teacher, Terri Gervais, confiscates phones from two of them. The kids stand up straight. It’s time to go on. “I’m so ready,” Damarian King, 11, mouths, a grin on his face.Leaving a legacy Powell is one of dozens of schools that have participated over the last 17 years in this annual concert, held each spring. Created in 1999 by RFAS founding member Martha Zaytoun, the event added music to the group’s lineup of programs designed to promote literature and the visual arts. The event rose in prominence in 2001 when it moved to Meymandi, and so many schools wanted to participate that RFAS had to add an extra evening to accommodate them all. Its popularity has only grown. This year’s Celebration included a record 16 schools and nearly 1,000 children singing. From the beginning, the event has showcased fourth- and fifth-grade choruses from Wake County schools, and has aimed to help improve their music as well as showcase it. The choruses are reviewed by an adjudicator, who provides notes and comments ahead of the performance, in which each school performs two songs individually and sings three all together. Because young children’s voices have their own special quality, working with them is different than conducting teenagers or adults, and requires experienced conductors trained in elementary music. The Celebration’s advisors (Ann LeGarde, Kenya Snider, and Ann Goldfinch) are all former or current teachers certified to teach music to children; they help structure the flow of the performance and help each participating school’s conductor select music that will showcase their children’s voices in the best way. This year, RFAS also assigned a choral clinician to each school who attended two rehearsals, and not only worked with the children on their selected music pieces, but provided feedback to their teachers, too. In addition, RFAS invited all of the schools’ choral teachers to a workshop with Dr. Frances Page, a professor of music at Meredith College and the conductor of the Capital City Girls Choir. Teachers filled out professional development forms before and after their school’s performances, as well, to chart their own growth and reflect on their students’ improvements. “This is something else we can do where we’re giving back,” says Dena Silver, chair of the Choral Celebration. “This is something where kids learn, where teachers learn. So, over time, you’re building on all that.” Silver says that’s important, because lower school choirs are at risk. “A lot of teachers and school administrators don’t feel that they’re necessary. So, we felt we needed to continue to improve the profile of those schools and elementary choral programs, and if we did that, they would maybe have a longer life.” Celebration advisor and Farmington Woods teacher Ann LeGarde says it’s working. “They gain so much confidence from that opportunity. When you finally see them on stage and hear them … their faces are lit up by the beautiful lights and they’re so excited and so proud of themselves,” she says. “It’s definitely a memory that lasts a lifetime. It’s just beautiful. It’s really beautiful.”The chorus stands at attention during one of their early morning practices.Going the extra distance Of the 16 schools participating in the Choral Celebration, Powell is one of four newcomers. A Raleigh magnet school, it is a diverse, arts-based elementary school near the Oakwood area focused on play and ingenuity. The children in its fourth- and fifth-grade chorus love to perform and go to great lengths to do so, arriving at 8 a.m. to rehearse before the school day begins. One March morning, some are sleepy, dragging their backpacks into the colorful room, but most seem excited. There’s a palpable buzz in the air – today their RFAS-assigned choral clinician, Anne Mormon-Smith, is there to listen to the group rehearse the two pieces they’ll sing in the Celebration. It’s clear that Gervais, Powell’s general music and chorus teacher, has set expectations for her students: They perch on the edge of their seats with rail-straight backs. In Gervais’ book, learning the correct way to carry a note or breathe from their stomachs is just as important as learning professionalism, responsibility, and cooperation. The group prepares to launch into a version of their favorite song, The Moon. “What is the feeling in The Moon?” Gervais calls out to her class. “Calm!” one child shouts out. “Soothing,” says another. “It makes me feel inspired and hopeful,” pipes up a voice from the back. She implores the group to use that imagery to infuse the piece with emotion. Gervais employs a variety of techniques to communicate what could be complicated musical terms to a group of elementary schoolers. She asks the kids to “color” the music with their voices to create emotion and movement in the music, and uses visuals like pulling an imaginary ribbon through the air to have them carry out a note and build a crescendo. “The kids that are coming really, really love to sing,” says Gervais. “They just have a natural ability.”Clinician Anne Mormon-Smith works with the children. After a rousing rendition of their second song, the classic Simple Gifts, and some helpful feedback from Smith, it’s time for the first class of the day. Everyone’s in a good mood after a morning of singing. Fourth-grader Elexis Creech, 10, says she can’t wait to perform at Meymandi. Her brother has seen the auditorium, and “he said that it was humongous and that it’s pretty. So, I’m really excited.” And more than a little ready to belt out the tunes. “I honestly think I was born to be in the spotlight,” she adds. That zest for performing runs through the group. Timmy Richardson, a 10-year-old fifth-grader, says he’s “just a little bit nervous,” but that he loves “to be in front of an audience.” The excitement is well-earned, Gervais says. The kids have taken it seriously, and it’s going to pay off. It’s an important lesson in working diligently towards achieving a goal. “It is hard work,” she says. “I tell them all the time – it’s hard work, but it’s fun. That’s what everything worthwhile is.”Teacher Terri Gervais conducts. Gervais knows all about that. “She’s gone above and beyond,” says Curtis Brower, Powell’s principal; he credits the chorus’ success to Gervais’ dedication, offering early rehearsals and ensuring that students who want to participate will be able to do so. Interest in what she’s doing has been so high she’s recently added a third-grade chorus, too, and many of her students have gone on to audition for outside groups like the Raleigh Boychoir. When she told her students they were headed to Meymandi April 5, they couldn’t contain themselves. “They were jumping up and down,” she says. It’s a first-time experience for many of the children in her group. The opportunity to perform in a real auditorium on a professional stage with excellent acoustics is a rare one. “This is a blending of backgrounds of kids,” says Gervais. “Some kids have probably gone to see things at the theater itself or the concert hall … (but) a lot of the other kids were never exposed to that. … So this is really a big thing for them to be able to sing on that stage.”Choral teacher Terri Gervais conducts the Powell GT chorus as they perform on the stage at Meymandi Concert Hall.Keep singing On performance night, it all comes together. The kids beam as all 500 of them come together to sing the last communal song of the evening, Stars, a piece commissioned by RFAS to honor Zaytoun. The sound of so many earnest voices rising up and into the ceiling of the auditorium is the pinnacle of an already memorable evening, and the students rush out to meet their waiting parents with grins on their faces. Teachers hand out cookies and hugs, and the kids high-five each other. They did it. It’s RFAS’ hope that many of the participants will continue singing long after this evening and help to preserve this celebration of music in Wake County. As everyone begins to leave, many of the students keep carrying the tunes even as they exit Meymandi with their families, humming the familiar melodies as they go their opposite directions into the night. Some are headed off to middle school next year; some have another year in thechorus. But one thing’s pretty clear: They will all keep singing.Scanning the music.
Green Tomato-Mozzarella AranciniThese are best eaten hot, straight from the fryer. After all, I’ve never been one for patience.1½ cups Arborio riceKosher salt4 green tomatoes, cored and cut into quarters2 tablespoons unsalted butter2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided1 cup whole milk1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano1 teaspoon chopped oregano2 garlic cloves, finely minced3 eggs, divided12 ounces whole milk mozzarella, cut into ½-inch cubes2 cups fresh breadcrumbsCanola oil, for fryingIn a medium saucepan, bring 6 cups salted water to a boil. Add the rice, lower to a simmer, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the rice and spread on a baking sheet in an even layer to cool. Place the tomato quarters and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor and pulse until chopped, but not completely pureed. Transfer the tomatoes to a fine-mesh sieve to drain; let drain for at least 20 minutes. Then, press down on the tomato mixture to drain any more excess juices. Meanwhile, make the roux: In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add 2 tablespoons flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to turn golden in color. Whisk in the milk, whisking until completely smooth. Cook, whisking, until the sauce begins to bubble gently (it will be quite thick). Remove from heat. In a large bowl, combine the rice, sauce, reserved green tomatoes, Parmigiano, oregano, garlic, 1 egg, and 2 teaspoons salt. Mix well. To form the mixture into balls, place about 2 tablespoons of the rice batter in the palm of your hand and flatten into an even layer. Place 1 cube of the mozzarella in the center, then cup the rice batter around the cheese so that it’s completely covered and mold it into a golf-ball size round. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining batter and cheese. (You should have about 24 balls.) Place the remaining 2 cups flour in a shallow dish and season with 1 teaspoon salt. Beat the remaining 2 eggs in another shallow dish. In a third shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs and 1 teaspoon salt. Working one at a time, roll a rice ball in the flour, shaking off any excess, then roll it in the egg, letting any excess drip off. Finally, roll it in the breadcrumbs, making sure to get an even crust. Set the ball on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining rice batter. (You can make the balls up to this point and freeze them. Place them on a baking sheet in an even layer in the freezer for 1 hour, then transfer to a resealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 6 months. Do not thaw when ready to fry; just increase the frying time by 3 minutes or so.) In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat 3 inches of oil until it reaches 330 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. Add the rice balls in batches, taking care not to overcrowd the pan, and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, flipping the balls with tongs throughout, until they are deep golden brown on all sides. Transfer the rice balls to a paper-towel-lined plate and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Serve hot. by Kaitlyn Goalenphotographs by Jillian ClarkThey say patience is a virtue, but it’s never been one that I can claim. Nowhere is my shortcoming more apparent than in the kitchen. I’m always going to be one of those cooks that paces in front of the stove while something is cooking, daring to take a peek before it’s done. I’m always going to dread the wait between spring and summer, when the weather is warm but my favorite produce is still unripe on the vine. Thankfully, it’s become something of a trend to cook with unripe, or “green” produce. It might seem like a head-scratcher: What, from a culinary perspective, would make unripe fruit attractive? It turns out that its tart flavor, when harnessed intentionally, can be a delicious boon to a cook. Unripe ingredients also have less moisture, which is ideal for things like pies or pickles. Unripe strawberries are a good example: They make excellent pickles, a fact which well-known chefs across the country have taken advantage of. Of course here in the South, we’ve been ahead of the game as far as cooking with unripe fruit goes. Green tomatoes have long been a staple, even an icon, of Southern cuisine. While I can’t be sure, I like to think that fried green tomatoes are a holdover from our agrarian roots, a farmer’s way to use the tomatoes that fell from his vines too early. I like fried green tomatoes as much as the next person, but green tomatoes have endless potential that deserves to be explored beyond that familiar dish. Green tomato pies are another old-school use for the fruit, and I’ve also experimented with green tomatoes as a base of a green gazpacho, capitalizing on their tart vegetal flavor. But I’m particularly enamored with using them to stud Sicilian-style arancini, a type of cheesy, deep-fried rice ball that makes an amazing snack. It capitalizes on the green tomatoes’ adeptness for being fried, and pairs it with plenty of gooey mozzarella.
Tatiana BirgissonFounder, Mati EnergyTatiana Birgisson is the founder of Mati Energy, the healthy energy drink she created in her Duke dorm room five years ago. Today, a new 30,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Clayton has her brewing as many as one million cans a month for sale at Whole Foods Market and other retailers in 12 states across the Southeast and beyond.She made Forbes magazine’s list of “30 Under 30” in the Food and Drink category this year – unsurprising, perhaps, for a business growing more than 100 percent a year.So what she says she wants to talk about at WINnovation might come as a surprise: “My story really starts with depression,” she says, “and my story is about the mental skill set that I gained to overcome depression.”She did it with perseverance, grit, and focus – not unlike the way she’s built her company, which focuses on health and well-being.“Even though life deals you a tough card, you can become a much stronger person,” she says. As Mati also goes from strength to strength, producing more than 100,000 cans a month of her proprietary combinations of tea and juice for an ever-expanding customer base, Birgisson’s hard-earned success has also resulted in wisdom worth sharing.
Noel Weston, owner of Lakeview Daylily Farm in Garner, NCIN FULL BLOOMLakeview Daylily Farmby Jessie Ammonsphotographs by Geoff WoodNoel Weston knows plants. As the first-ever horticulturalist for the City of Raleigh, he spent three decades managing park blooms, roadside annuals, and the trees and grasses of other public spaces. After all of those years, one flower stood out for him: daylilies. Weston says the plant’s low maintenance and reliably bright annual blooms make for a crowd-pleaser. “They’re easy and people love them,” he says. “That’s good enough for me.” At Weston’s Lakeview Daylily Farm in Garner, a sea of 1,100 daylily varieties blooms across five acres, and most of them are for sale. There are traditional smooth-edged flowers in golden hues, and then there are varieties with names like little fat cat, bursting loose, white predator, and exotic flag. Weston’s favorite is called Connie can’t have it. Some have ruffled petals, others have colors as vibrant and varied as a palette of paint. Weston has been collecting cultivars for decades, he says, gathered from various gardening group meetings, visits to publc and private gardens, and the Raleigh Hemerocallis (daylily) Club. The daylily club’s president, Wanda Quinn, and her husband, Ray, operated a commercial garden for many years that helped jump-start Weston’s collection. But now, Lakeview Daylily Farm’s wide variety hails “from all over.” Although Weston sells between 5,000 and 7,000 plants a year, he’s not too concerned with the numbers. “I loved my job” as horticulturalist, he says, and this is his way to love retirement. “People who don’t work when they retire don’t last long.” A love of gardening also inspires the other 15 acres at Lakeview (which adjoins Weston Farms, where daughter Erin Weston grows magnolias for her luxury wreath and tablescape business). In addition to daylilies, Noel Weston also has a few koi ponds; some banana, apple, and pear trees; a recently planted okra plot; and some blueberry bushes – for the moment. He’s also dabbling in raising guppies, but he’s not ready to sell them. Yet.Noel Weston, owner of Lakeview Daylily Farm in Garner, NC For the most part, Weston maintains Lakeview himself. During the peak blooming season of June to August, he’ll hire a few people to help out. Then it’s back to the patient rhythm of strolling the grounds, keeping a close eye on each plant, season to season. With the weathered visage of one who has spent more of his years outside than in, and a cache of naturalist witticisms – “Daylilies: also known as deer candy” – it’s clear that Weston’s retirement has legs. Open during bloom season Fridays – Sundays 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., or by appointment; 1000 Benson Road, Garner; weston-farms.com/daylilies
A Piece of the PieA sweet way to support the communityby Katherine Poolephotograph courtesy of Share the PieThis month, Step Up Ministry and Alliance Medical Ministry want to put a pie in your face.With a joint mission known as Share the Pie, the nonprofits aim to raise funds and awareness for the work they do to build stable families through access to employment and healthcare.The Share the Pie project sells Thanksgiving pies baked voluntarily by some of the region’s top restaurants. A major success since it began two years ago, Share the Pie has experienced a groundswell of support through its viral social media campaign of pie-in-the-face challenges as well as the enthusiastic participation of local businesses, churches, and individuals.Last year, Share the Pie raised $33,000. This year, with the help from volunteer bakers at Angus Barn, 18 Seaboard, Ashley Christensen Restaurants, K&W Cafeterias, Irregardless Cafe, Lucettegrace, Standard Foods, Winston’s Grille, StepUp, Alliance Medical Ministry, and many other restaurants and organizations, Share the Pie’s fundraising goal is $50,000.How can you share the pie? Buy the pie! There are also numerous volunteer opportunities (sign-ups are available online) for individuals and groups interested in supporting this community-driven effort. Pie boxes need to be assembled, labeled, and delivered. Pies must be picked up from bakers, quality-checked and delivered to pick-up sites.During this season of thoughtful giving, Step Up and Alliance Medical Ministry walk the talk: when we come together to support every person in our community, these groups attest, we can create enough pie for all.sharethepie.org
Taylor HattoriEver heard of caracals? Binturongs? They are among the 20-plus species of exotic animals at the Conservators Center in Mebane, North Carolina, along with jungle cats, lynxes, lions, and tigers. The Center celebrates them this month at its annual Lions, Tigers, and Beer fundraiser May 4: six local chefs and six local brewers are paired with six animal regions for creative food and drink, all set up just steps away from the furry creatures. “You’re 50 feet from the leopards, cooking really good food,” says Kathy Patterson, a volunteer with the Conservators Center.The event is intimate and its 80 tickets sell out quickly; luckily, the celebration serves as icing on the cake to spread awareness about the center, Patterson says. “Lions, Tigers, and Beers is a really good incentive for people to come see us, but usually once you learn about us you want to visit anyway.”If you miss the chance to sample a bite from Kimbap in Raleigh and a sip from Sanctuary Brewing Company in Hendersonville inspired by Eurasian lynxes – at least this year – you can visit for a tour or a “treat safari” most any weekend. As daylight stretches on longer and longer, Patterson especially recommends twilight tours: “The animals become really talkative at dusk. There are so many sounds in the park.” Sights and sounds aplenty. –Jessie Ammons RumbleyTo learn more: conservatorscenter.org
courtesy Barry JacobsYou can feast among the foliage this month at Moorefields’ brunch gala. This year’s annual event is June 3, including a buffet from Hillsborough’s Louisiana-style restaurant LaPlace and live jazz music. The historic home, built in 1785 and renovated in 1982, will be open for tours, as well as tours of the grounds, including the organic farm and pesticide-free gardens and greens. All proceeds from the daytime gala support the historic preservation of Moorefields.Moorefields executive director Barry Jacobs says he looks forward to hosting in a style befitting the place. “Moorefields is a great example of why so many Orange County and Triangle residents are committed to allying preservation with growth, nature with history.” —Catherine Currin12 noon – 3 p.m.; $50 per person; moorefields.org
The report makes a series of recommendations which have been summarised below:efforts should be made to realise the full potential of the Good Friday Agreement, including implementation of a Civic Consultative Body with NGOs/Civil Society and the All-island Consultative Body, providing opportunities for a greater diversity of voices in the decision-making processes of the two Governments, keeping environmental issues on the agenda;given the undermining of the North-South Ministerial Council by the lack of a Stormont Executive and the subsequent lack of authority of civil servants in decision-making, “focus for continued and enhanced co-operation should be on East-West co-operation, as North-South co-operation at a political level is deadlocked by the failure of executive formation”;outstanding environmental issues in Northern Ireland need to be addressed by either an Executive or the UK Government, the most pressing of which is the lack of an independent regulator in Northern Ireland;an overarching UK-wide regulator for environmental compliance would provide “much needed consistency in the area of environmental governance across the UK”;an all-island governance mechanism that can hold both governments to account on environmental protection issues;a broader all-island mechanism, charged with monitoring all cross-border co-operation under the Good Friday Agreement, not just the environment;ensuring current funding streams for environmental co-operation; andthat stakeholders in the Brexit process should prioritise the maintenance of co-operation under the Agreement. Outlined by the authors is the potential for the Agreement’s bodies to act as a vehicle to maintain policy and regulatory alignment, although legal challenges arise in Ireland aligning with a non-EU member. While it is possible that the UK could match developments in Ireland (which will follow EU standards as a minimum), the report that such an approach may be “problematic in practice” given the background to Brexit and the “narrative of ‘taking back control’”.A deal creating a close regulatory alignment between the UK and the EU could enable the Good Friday Agreement bodies to be used to maintain alignment in the implementation of common standards and such a deal would allow for enhanced levels of cross border co-operation on the environment, and tackling problems co-operatively.It’s also noted that the Agreement’s guarantee of common human rights standards could be used for enforcement of some of the current environmental standards, including where they impact on an individual’s right to a clean and healthy environment. However, it is noted that maintaining regulatory alignment in some aspects is not equivalent to environmental co-operation and is instead a “precondition for it”. A recent report commissioned by the Environmental Pillar and Northern Ireland Environment Link has relayed concerns that Brexit and any change to the Good Friday Agreement could cause “innumerable problems” for cross-border co-operation on the environment.“It is likely that Brexit (in any form) will interfere with Good Friday/Belfast Agreement cross-border co-operation and place obstacles in its way in general, but in particular in the area of environmental co-operation”, the report’s author states.Setting the context for concerns around the future of cross-border co-operation, the report points to the importance of maintaining the six implementation bodies and Good Friday Agreement institutions in an all-island dialogue, momentum for co-operation and common standards in the absence of common EU membership.Recognising that failure to fully implement the provisions of the Agreement means that the full potential of cross-border co-operation has not yet been realised, the authors state that the Agreement not only supports and provides impetus for cross-border co-operation around the environment but that the EU regulatory framework provides the context to allow it to happen.The Agreement nominated 12 areas for cross-border co-operation, some such as the North-South Ministerial Council and the British-Irish Council, with an explicit environmental remit, and most with environmental aspects.The backdrop to the need for environmental collaboration in 1998, when the Agreement was signed, was a legacy of failure to meet basic standards of environmental protection in Northern Ireland. Its status as a post-conflict society, successive executive formation failures and the absence of an independent environmental regulator have all been highlighted as factors influencing Northern Ireland’s environmental performance.The report states that: “The poor track record for environmental governance in Northern Ireland, and failure to implement existing regulatory measures, gives rise to a concern that if Brexit should lead to regulatory divergence downward then the actual gap in environmental protection will be much greater on the ground than the gap on paper.”It’s estimated that some 30 of the 150 areas of co-operation listed by the Department for Exiting the EU in a recent mapping exercise fall under the environmental heading ranging from river basin management through to environmental funding and radiation management. Other areas such as public transport and agriculture have environmental implications.The existing cross-border co-operation has been driven by funding programmes of the EU such as PEACE, LIFE and Interreg and Brexit threatens these streams.Other issues that threaten to “undermine the environmental integrity of the island of Ireland” include the potential for regulatory divergence. In losing the shared context of EU membership, Brexit creates the potential for less coherent environmental governance/regulation across the island as a whole. The report highlights the potential divergence from EU standards by Westminster, further complicated by differences of responsibility in the devolved regions, as potentially leading to de-regulatory pressure through market competition. Removing a shared regulatory and legal context in Ireland “may result in practical and administrative barriers to cross-border co-operation”.As well as potentially moving away from the regulatory, monitoring and enforcement function of the EU Commission, Brexit could also see Northern Ireland move away from the supra-national jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which adjudicates on breaches of European Environmental Law.Finally, the report highlights that a hard border or customs border would represent a “potential physical obstacle” to cross-border environmental projects, potentially causing “innumerable problems” from movement of staff on projects and goods necessary for the carrying out of projects, to the “more abstract problems caused by regulatory divergence and governance changes as a result of Brexit”. This includes a potential reduction in the ability to take joint action on prosecution of environmental crime.“Overall, this means that Brexit presents a challenge for instituting and maintaining cross-border cooperation. It shifts considerably the context within which the Agreement operates, simultaneously making it more important and potentially less stable than before,” the report states. Recommendations
A joint inquiry into welfare policies and their impact by the Northern Ireland Affairs (NIAC) and Work and Pensions Committees is tasked with answering “serious questions” that “risk being ignored” in the absence of an Executive, says Committee chair Nigel Mills MP.The inquiry has heard evidence given that the end of support payments, currently scheduled for 2020, would create a “toxic” combination when paired with the further rollout of the Universal Credit benefit. Eileen Evason, who chaired the working group that designed the welfare mitigation package, told the inquiry: “We hope our politicians are listening on what will happen when the mitigation, particularly with regard to the bedroom tax, comes to an end.”The inquiry was convened to investigate welfare policy and its effects in Northern Ireland in light of the passage of the Northern Ireland Budget Act and with the forthcoming end of the mitigation package that was delivered as part of the Fresh Start Agreement in mind. The inquiry was opened in April and stopped taking written submissions on 24 May. In the midst of the inquiry, Andrew Murrison MP was replaced as NIAC Chair by Simon Hoare MP.The Budget Act set out the funding for departments, while the mitigation package was the £585 million in extra social security funding set out in the Fresh Start Agreement. That funding currently provides payments to recipients in order to offset the effects of the benefit cap and bedroom tax. One of the inquiry’s responsibilities will be to determine the success of these payments and the effects of having higher benefit entitlements in Northern Ireland as compared to the rest of the UK.Kate McCauley, Policy and Practice Manager of Housing Rights told the inquiry that it was essential that the scheme be extended, even in the continued absence of Stormont. “It’s vitally important that the current protections which are administered from welfare supplementary payments continue to be administered through welfare supplementary payments,” she said. Kevin Higgins, Head of Policy for Advice NI, added that “in many ways we are in a worse position now in terms of Northern Ireland and the need for mitigation is even greater”.With 1,500 families with children, mostly lone parents, receiving an average of £42 a week according to the latest figures released by the Department for Communities, Higgins told the inquiry that those families, along with the 34,000 to be hit should the bedroom tax come into real effect in Northern Ireland, face “misery and hardship”.“We have had a four-year benefit freeze, we are talking about people who are availing of mitigations for the most part that have been hit by that benefit freeze — so if you whip that mitigation payment away from them there just isn’t that cash, people who had savings, those savings are gone,” Higgins told the inquiry. “Nobody has the wherewithal to exist if these mitigations fall.”Evidence submitted to the inquiry said that the number of households losing their bedroom tax mitigation had more than trebled in six months. The 86 families affected saw their arrears quadruple from £3,345 to £12,566. The inquiry will also study the effects of the two child cap that limits families to only being capable of claiming benefits for two children.
22 August 2008Government leaders must take urgent action to ensure that weather-related hazards, which are becoming more intense and frequent due to climate change, do not lead to a corresponding rise in disasters, a new United Nations-backed report released today said. The new study identified India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Indonesia as being among global warming’s “hotspots,” or countries particularly vulnerable to increases in extreme drought, flooding and cyclones anticipated in coming decades.Commissioned by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the non-governmental organization (NGO) CARE International, it examined the possible consequences of global warming in the next 20 to 30 years.The so-called hotspot nations are already facing considerable political, social, demographic, economic and security obstacles, the report said.“Climate change will greatly complicate and could undermine efforts to manage these challenges,” said Charles Ehrhart, one of its authors, who serves as Climate Change Coordinator for CARE International.The impact of a natural disaster is determined by several factors, such as access to proper equipment and information, as well as the ability to exert political influence, he noted. “The striking lack of these explains why poor people – especially those in marginalized social groups like pastoralists in Africa, women and children – constitute the vast majority of disaster victims.”The report cited the most effective means to curb human vulnerability to disasters are: boosting the ability of local and government institutions to respond to crises; empowering local people to have a stronger say in disaster preparedness, response, recovery and rehabilitation; and providing services and social protection for the most vulnerable populations.The authors expressed hope that point out hotspots around the world will spur leaders to take action and encourage aid workers to modify their strategies to take into account the realities of new risks posed by climate change.The new study’s launch coincided with the gathering of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that kicked off yesterday in Accra, Ghana.The seven-day event is the latest round of UN-sponsored global climate change negotiations, bringing together more than 1,600 participants to discuss future greenhouse gas emission reduction targets ahead of a major summit set for 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero will also be in Sri Lanka during that period, the State Department said. However in a press statement on Monday the State Department confirmed that Blake will visit Sri Lanka between February 12-14. Assistant Secretary Blake will depart Colombo for Bangladesh, where he will stay from February 14-16 and participate in a series of education and university events. In Sri Lanka, Under Secretary Otero and Assistant Secretary Blake will meet with a broad spectrum of Sri Lankan government officials and attend a luncheon hosted by Minister of External Affairs G.L. Peiris. Under Secretary Otero and Assistant Secretary Blake will also meet with civil society representatives, youth groups, and political leaders.Following her visit to Sri Lanka, Under Secretary Otero will travel to New Delhi, India February 14-15 to meet with senior government officials, civil society representatives and youth leaders. The US State department has confirmed that US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr. will travel to Sri Lanka next week.Earlier the US Embassy in Colombo and the External Affairs remained tight lipped over his visit to Colombo despite details being leaked to the media.
Floods, drought and political turmoil have left nearly 400,000 people in Madagascar in desperate need of food aid costing some $8.4 million, the United Nations UN World Food Programme (WFP) said today.In launching the appeal, WFP said the funds would buy 18,400 tons of supplies to help feed 394,250 people over the next six months.WFP said it has already been helping to feed many of those affected by this year’s natural and man-made crises with stocks borrowed from other programmes. However, the UN agency said it is clear that its distributions need to be expanded over the coming months to reach all those in need.“Madagascar has been hit by a combination of natural disasters, political and economic upheavals that have left tens of thousands of people in need of food aid,” said Bodo Henze, WFP Country Director in Madagascar. “We need donors to provide cash urgently so we can mitigate widespread hunger and suffering.”As part of the expanded operations, WFP is planning on providing supplementary food aid to 22,500 malnourished children under five, as well as to 4,500 pregnant women in the capital, Antananarivo, and five other main urban centres. A further 20,000 households in these same six urban areas will benefit from food-for-work projects.In addition to this latest emergency operation, WFP already provides aid to 450,000 beneficiaries in Madagascar through community nutrition, school feeding and disaster mitigation and preparedness programmes. In June the UN agency also supplied corn-soya blend to the province of Fianarntosoa to help communities devastated by an influenza epidemic, which killed over 1,000 people.
by The Associated Press Posted Nov 7, 2013 8:47 am MDT BURBANK, Calif. – Netflix is doubling down on original content, saying it will buy four new live-action TV series from Disney’s Marvel and bring some lesser-known superheroes to the small screen.The Internet streaming giant ordered multiple years of original programming that will start running on its service in 2015. The first series will focus on the character Daredevil, followed by Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage.The four series of 13 episodes each will culminate in a miniseries called “The Defenders.”The deal builds on a tight relationship between the two companies already. The pair announced last year that Netflix Inc. will offer up The Walt Disney Co.’s latest movies starting with films released in theatres in 2016. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Netflix orders 4 original Marvel TV shows, mini-series based on ‘Daredevil,’ ‘Iron Fist’
The NBA’s most impressive playoff homestandsBest schedule-adjusted points per game differentials at home (according to Elo ratings) for NBA playoff teams, 1984-2018 21987Detroit Pistons70+17.0+12.5 62016Oklahoma City Thunder63+13.3+8.0 71994Indiana Pacers61+12.3+7.8 92007Utah Jazz71+10.0+7.4 With their 96-83 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, the Boston Celtics just got that much closer to becoming the first Eastern Conference team to eliminate a LeBron James-led squad in eight years. (Incidentally, the last team to do it also wore Celtics green.) And once again, it was all about the Celtics’ home-court advantage playing at TD Garden, where Boston is a perfect 10-0 in these playoffs.Where does this rank among the playoffs’ greatest historical performances at home? If we use FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings to measure each team’s schedule-adjusted performance in every game, the Celtics are winning by 7.2 more points per game than we’d expect based on the quality of their opponents. Since the 1984 playoffs (when the NBA expanded the field to its modern 16-team format), that ranks these Celtics as the 10th-best home team in any single postseason: Source: Basketball-Reference.com It wasn’t always pretty in Game 5. Despite rookie swingman Jayson Tatum’s big numbers (24 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks), the Celtics’ 36.5 percent field-goal percentage was the 10th worst by a winning team in a conference final game since 1984. But Boston’s defense made up for it. It held the Cavaliers to 88.0 points per 100 possessions, their third-worst offensive game of the whole playoffs, rendered three Cavs starters (JR Smith, Tristan Thompson and George Hill) practically invisible and limited a visibly exhausted LeBron to only the fourth game of the postseason in which he didn’t personally account for at least 20 percent of the positive actions by either team while on the court.(That’s according to NBA Advanced Stats’ Player Impact Estimate metric, in which LeBron “only” graded out at 18.1 percent in Game 5. He still led all Cavs who logged any meaningful playing time, but James’s PIE was below his playoff average of 23.1 percent. That’s how high a standard we hold LeBron to: Somehow it’s seen as disappointing if he doesn’t literally do the work of two players when he’s in the game.)The Celtics’ home-court advantage in these playoffs has generally been fueled by offense as much as defense — even after Game 5, they’re scoring 11.5 more points per 100 possessions at home than on the road, while allowing 10.8 points per 100 possessions fewer — but on Wednesday night, it mostly came down to the work Boston put in at the defensive end. Pesky Celtics defenders Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart led the way on this end, holding Cleveland shooters to the game’s two lowest shot-quality numbers as individual defenders, according to Second Spectrum’s quantified shot quality metric.As for the Cavs, Game 5 continued their yearlong pattern of extreme up-and-down basketball. After losing Games 1 and 2 by an average of 19.0 points per game and then winning Games 3 and 4 by an average of 19.5, they turned around and lost Game 5 by 13. Predictably, it happened as they reverted back to their poor-shooting ways; they made just 26.5 percent of their 3-pointers Wednesday, which is the kiss of death for this Cleveland team.But who can say when they’ll heat up again? As The Ringer’s John Gonzalez wrote earlier this week, we all need to stop waiting to find out who these Cavs really are. There’s nothing to really learn about them at this point, except that they’re maddening and impossible to predict. And with Cleveland in a do-or-die situation at home in Friday’s Game 6 — remember, James’s teams are 10-3 when facing elimination since 2012 — the roller-coaster ride is far from over.Check out our latest NBA predictions. 42018Golden State Warriors71+14.8+10.5 11996Utah Jazz81+20.7+16.1 81984Los Angeles Lakers92+14.5+7.6 32016Cleveland Cavaliers91+17.9+11.9 51986Houston Rockets91+11.3+8.0 RkSeasonTeamWinsLossesPPG Diff.Vs. Expected 102018Boston Celtics100+11.5+7.2
A “breathtakingly wicked” woman driven by her greed for cash and drugs is facing a life sentence after being convicted of murdering her 82-year-old neighbour by beating her to death with a rolling pin.Sandra Weir, 41, pretended she was a friend to Mary Logie and acted as her self-appointed carer while stealing thousands of pounds to feed a heroin addiction.The High Court in Edinburgh heard the killer’s sole focus in life was to acquire money for drugs and she was prepared to do anything for it, including murder.The jury took just 55 minutes to find her guilty of killing Mrs Logie on January 5 this year and stealing around £4,000 over a period of two years.Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, told the court he believed the widow was attacked in her nightclothes at her home in Leven, Fife, in the morning and left seriously injured all day before Weir returned to deliver the final, fatal blows that evening. Mary Logie was described in court as a ‘decent and kind’ womanCredit:PA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The assault was so ferocious that Mrs Logie, known to friends as Rae, suffered 31 injuries to her head and neck and had multiple skull fractures.The mother-of-three, who lived across the landing from Weir, also had injuries to her hand and fingers, indicating that she had tried to defend herself.The court heard she trusted her neighbour with her bank card and in return was bullied and intimidated by her. When the pensioner eventually discovered Weir had been stealing from her she decided to allow her to pay the money back, rather than go to the police.In a powerful statement after the verdict, the judge Michael O’Grady QC told the killer: “You too have heard and seen the dreadful detail of the injuries you inflicted upon her that day.“You too have seen the hurt, the courage and the dignity of her children as they gave evidence and listened along with the rest of us.”And I cannot help but observe that, throughout all of this, you have neither shown nor expressed a hint of compassion or a flicker of emotion.”In these courts we do not weigh the worth of victims; nor should we. All life is precious. But on the evidence before me, Rae Logie was a decent, kind tolerant and harmless elderly lady.”Indeed, she was decent, kind and tolerant towards you and offered you no harm or offence.”That you should have betrayed her trust and kindness by theft and deceit is shocking enough. That, in the last year of her life, you should have preyed upon her and undermined her confidence and peace of mind is shocking also.”But sadly – many of us have to come to recognise that such is the pernicious grip of drug addiction, betrayal and deceit come with the territory. But of course, it is the fact and manner of her death that are so breathtakingly wicked.”He added that Weir had left her victim for dead that day and when she found later she that she was still alive she “simply finished her off”.The trial heard earlier from Ronald Logie, 60, the victim’s son, that his mother always spoke favourably of her neighbour. The family even gave Weir a bottle of whisky for Christmas, days before she carried out the murderous assault.Described in court as a “much loved mother, grandmother and friend”, Mrs Logie was born in Methil, Fife and was married to her husband Walter for 33 years.The regular churchgoer had two sons and a daughter and had just spent Christmas in Yorkshire with her son Ronald days before her death.Weir will be sentenced on January 12.
L’étonnante capacité auditive des chimpanzés États-Unis – Publiée dans la revue Current Biology, une étude expérimentale américaine montre qu’un chimpanzé initié au langage verbal humain est capable de reconnaître les mots prononcés par synthèse vocale. Une capacité que l’on croyait réservée à l’humain. Élevée au milieu des humains et familiarisée au langage verbal dès son plus jeune âge, Panzee, un jeune chimpanzé femelle, était le sujet idéal pour les expériences menées par Lisa Heimbauer, Michael Beran et Michael Owren, de l’Université de Géorgie à Atlanta.À lire aussiUne activité électrique détectée dans des mini-cerveaux développés en laboratoireIls ont diffusé à Panzee des mots émis par la voix synthétique d’un ordinateur, donc déformés, voire incomplets, avec une fréquence différente de la voix humaine. Il s’est avéré que l’animal a été en mesure de reconnaître un bon nombre de ces mots, dans des proportions qui excluent la possibilité de réponses données au hasard.Déjà mise en évidence chez l’homme, cette capacité avait incité d’autres spécialistes à suggérer une structure et des capacités uniques dans le cerveau humain : “Outre que les humains sont la seule espèce capable de produire un langage articulé en raison de leur anatomie, cette hypothèse suggérait qu’ils ont aussi un module cognitif spécialisé pour traiter la parole. Cependant, une vision alternative est que le traitement auditif est fondamentalement similaire chez la plupart des mammifères, et que les animaux ont donc des aptitudes latentes pour la perception de la parole”, explique Lisa Heimbauer.Une capacité de perception ancestrale Une théorie alternative qu’elle estime avoir illustrée avec cette expérience, qui montre que l’ancêtre commun des humains et des chimpanzés devait avoir cette capacité de percevoir la parole. “Panzee est l’un des rares animaux qui pouvaient être testés de cette manière, pour révéler ce que pouvaient être les capacités de perception de la parole d’un ancêtre commun au chimpanzé et à l’homme”, conclut la chercheuse.Le 10 juillet 2011 à 10:17 • Maxime Lambert