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Pizza is essentially the perfect food. Well, so long as you aren't lactose intolerant or have problems with gluten. We realize that those are pretty big caveats, but stay with us for a second -- it'll be worth it: NPR spotted a study of why different cheeses diverge in looks and taste when baked. Seriously. In a paper called "Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality," researchers found that, among other things, the reason why mozzarella is so unique of a topping has to do with the way it's prepared. The cheese bubbles and browns because of its inherent elasticity due to stretching. In contrast, cheddar isn't as ideal because it isn't very elastic, thus it doesn't bubble as well. The same apparently goes for Edam and Gruyere, too.

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Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Virtual Reality
by The Verge

Unless you've been under a rock the last couple of years, you've read some collection of words about the return of virtual reality at the hands of Oculus and others. Thanks to a multifaceted interactive piece from the folks at The Verge, you can get caught up on the technology's history, its current state of affairs, VR in pop culture and more. Heck, there's even a look at a step-by-step process for building a simple, 3D-printed headset for an iPhone.

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What good is having an ultra-powerful PC if you're still connecting it to a dusty old monitor? We reckon doing so would be pretty silly. Good thing that alongside the new Alienware Area 51, Dell's pulled the curtain back on its 34-inch Ultrasharp U3415W display then. It boasts a wider-than-widescreen 21:9 aspect ratio that's paired with 3,440 x 1,440 lines of resolution (just under 4K's 3,840 x 2,160) and a curved screen. Dell says that the monitor's wide field of view mated with its curves will give gamers a leg up on the competition because, compared to flat monitors, less eye movement is needed to take advantage of the player's peripheral vision. Intrigued to test that claim? You can do so come this December. We're hoping that regardless of size, though, a curved screen doesn't necessarily equate to an expensive screen -- Dell hasn't announced pricing for these displays just yet.

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So we know that Twitch's online broadcasts trump those of WWE and traditional sports, but how does it stack up against cable networks like CNN? According to the New York Times, the game-streaming giant's peak viewership numbers have surpassed the average prime-time viewers for Headline News, CNN, E!, MSNBC and TruTV since this January. At its best, Twitch had over 720,000 viewers in July alone, but as the NYT points out, it's still pretty far behind the likes of Netflix and YouTube when it comes to total hours-viewed per month. It's all pretty fascinating stuff, and there are even breakdowns for what competitive gaming tournament broadcasts are getting the most eyes, too. Spoiler: for this month it's Riot Games' League of Legends. Considering that we've seen Twitch expanding into more than just gaming broadcasts recently (hosting concerts and even entire conventions) it's pretty likely that the outfit's numbers will only continue to climb. Surely Jeff Bezos wouldn't mind.

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Project Loon's balloons could not be more different than your typical party variety -- it's loaded with research equipment and LTE capability, providing high-speed internet connection wherever they go. Obviously, Google's X Lab researchers (the ones behind this crazy balloons-as-hotspot project) will want their data and expensive equipment back. So, they equipped their balloons with GPS and formed a special team to retrieve the floating hotspots when they land. Apparently, the researchers plan out when and where to land balloons for whatever reason (they mostly choose flat areas that are uninhabited but have decent road access), which the field personnel then seek out through their coordinates.

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You know what can teach you Braille and piano a lot more quickly than traditional means? Vibrating gloves, or gloves with haptic feedback, if you will. In fact, IEEE Spectrum senior editor David Schneider was so intrigued by the idea, that he put together his own version to serve as a haptic touch-typing tutor for his 11-year-old son. He admits that his gloves (made using transistors, $14 worth of vibration motors purchased from eBay and long cords connecting them to an Arduino Nano board) aren't as sleek as Georgia Tech's piano-teaching ones. But, hey, they worked, and once he created a program to go along with them, they did their job well enough.

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Amazon is loading up a new pilot season of original TV shows, and while Netflix's content juggernaut was shut out at the Emmys, at least it was nominated. So what can Hulu do? In addition to its own list of original shows, exclusively licensed content from UK channels and Criterion, it's added the Starz hit series Party Down, just in time for your Labor Day weekend viewing binge. The show only ran for two seasons, but all 20 episodes are ready to watch for Hulu Plus subscribers, featuring Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan, Jane Lynch, Ken Marino, Martin Starr and Megan Mulally as employees of a Hollywood catering service. If you've somehow missed it until now, this is the perfect time to watch -- we teared up when the show disappeared from Netflix along with all of the other Starz Play content a couple of years ago. Now Hulu has picked up the license, and even if you're not a subscriber you can watch the first five episodes for free on the show page right here.

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Jonesing for a taste of the HTC One M8 lifestyle but don't have the cash to make it happen? Never fear -- Sprint has just started offering the fantastic-in-plastic HTC One E8 to customers who want M8 horsepower without the matching price tag. No, really: in case you've forgotten, the E8 features the exact same screen, BoomSound speakers, processor and RAM as its slightly upmarket brother. The only real difference is that the E8 only comes with 16GB of internal storage (which is mitigated pretty nicely by its microSD card slot) and the fact that HTC ditched the Duo camera setup in favor of a more traditional 13-megapixel sensor 'round the back. In the event that your gear acquisition syndrome just started flaring up, you can lay claim to your very own E8 (in either white or gray) for $400 outright, $0 down and $20.84/month for 2 years with Sprint's Easy Pay option, or $99 with a standard 2 year contract.

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While you're gearing up for the weekend, why not peruse a collection of photos snapped from high above Earth's surface. Thanks to Dave MacLean's interactive map, you can do just that with over 650 images taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The cartographic library plots the location each photograph was captured, color-coded orbiter on Expeditions 40 and 41. On top of that, you're able to see exactly were the ISS is currently in orbit. Pretty neat, if you ask us.

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