In case you were wondering, yes, it is possible to crack someone's skull by hitting them on the head with a beer bottle. That revelation, courtesy of a Swiss forensic pathologist, is just one of the jaw-droppingly important items from the 2009 New York Times Magazine Year in Ideas issue. There's also an extension of the concept of terroir — the idea that wines taste of the soil in which the grapes were grown — to food. Northern California agricultural activist Laura Parker has been holding soil tastings where people sniff soil from a local farm and then taste the foods grown from the same place. Many diners can identify the same qualities (e.g., earthy, creamy) in both the soil and the food.
The Ninth Annual Year in Ideas [NYT Magazine]