Criminal Defense Attorney inWhite Stone, SC

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CDH Law Firm: Giving Hope to
Criminal Defense Clients in
White Stone, SC

Getting charged with a crime in White Stone can be a traumatic experience. Even "petty" crimes can cause an individual's life to fall apart professionally and personally. Spending time in jail is bad enough, but the ramifications of a criminal record run deep, resulting in loss of employment, loss of friends, and even family. For many people, having a zealous criminal defense attorney in White Stone, SC, to defend their rights is the only shot they have of living a normal life.

That's why, if you have been charged with a crime, you need the help of a veteran criminal defense lawyer early in the legal process. That's where CDH Law Firm comes in to give you or your loved one hope when you need it the most.

Our criminal defense law firm was founded to help people just like you - hardworking men and women who are looking at diminished employment opportunities and a possible lifetime of embarrassment. But with our team of experts fighting by your side, you have a much better chance of maintaining your freedom and living a normal, productive life. When it comes to criminal law in White Stone, we've seen it all. With decades of combined experience, there is no case too complicated or severe for us to handle, from common DUI charges to complicated cases involving juvenile crimes. Unlike some of our competition, we prioritize personalized service and cutting-edge criminal defense strategies to effectively represent our clients.

Criminal Defense Attorney White Stone, SC

Clients rank Cobb Dill & Hammett, LLC as the top choice for White Stone criminal defense because we provide:

  • One-on-One Counsel
  • Education on the White Stone Legal Process and Its Risks
  • Ardent, Effective Representation
  • Commitment to Our Clients and Defending Their Rights
  • Prompt Inquiry Response
  • Robust Experience with Criminal Law Cases in White Stone
  • Innovative Defense Strategies
  • Effective, Thorough Research and Investigation

Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer in White Stone can mean the difference between conviction and acquittal. Our firm has represented thousands of clients in the Lowcountry, and we're ready to defend you too. Some of our specialties include:

 Law Firm White Stone, SC

DUI Cases
in White Stone, SC

DUI penalties in White Stone can be very harsh. Many first-time DUI offenders must endure a lifelong criminal record, license suspension, and the possibility of spending time in jail. Officers and judges take DUI very seriously, with 30% of traffic fatalities in South Carolina involving impaired drivers, according to NHTSA. Criminal convictions can have lasting impacts on your life, which is why CDH Law Firm works so hard to get these charges dismissed or negotiated down. In some cases, we help clients avoid jail time altogether.

 Criminal Defense Lawyer White Stone, SC
When you hire our DUI defense firm, our team will always work towards your best interests and will go above and beyond to achieve the best outcome in your case. Depending on the circumstances of your DUI charges, we will investigate whether:
  • Your DUI stop was legal
  • You were administered a field sobriety test correctly
  • The breathalyzer used was calibrated correctly and properly maintained
  • Urine and blood tests were administered and collected properly

The bottom line? Our criminal law defense attorneys will do everything possible to keep you out of jail with a clean permanent record. It all starts with a free consultation, where we will take time to explain the DUI process. We'll also discuss your defense options and speak at length about the differences between going to trial and accepting a plea bargain.

DUI Penalties in White Stone, SC

The consequences of a DUI in White Stone depend on a number of factors, including your blood alcohol level and how many DUIs you have received in the last 10 years. If you're convicted, the DUI charge will remain on your criminal history and can be seen by anyone who runs a background check on you. Sometimes, a judge will require you to enter alcohol treatment or install an interlock device on your automobile.

If you're on the fence about hiring a criminal defense lawyer in White Stone, SC, consider the following DUI consequences:

Criminal Defense Attorney White Stone, SC

First Offense


48 hours to 90 days

in jail

with fines ranging from

$400 to $1,000

Second Offense


Five days to three years

in jail

with fines ranging from

$2,100 to $6,500

Third Offense


60 days to five years

in jail

with fines ranging from

$3,800 to $10,000

Additional consequences can include:


Alcohol or Drug Treatment

When convicted of DUI in South Carolina, most offenders must join the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. This program mandates that offenders complete a drug and alcohol assessment and follow the recommended treatment options.

 Law Firm White Stone, SC


Community Service

Some first-time DUI offenders in White Stone may choose to complete community service in lieu of jail time. Community service hours are usually equal to the length of jail time an offender would be required to serve.

 Criminal Defense Lawyer White Stone, SC

Sanctions to Your Driver's License

Typically, when a person is convicted of driving under the influence in White Stone, their driver's license is restricted or suspended. The length of restriction or suspension depends on how many prior DUI convictions an individual has.

First DUI Offense

First-time DUI offenders must endure a six-month license suspension. Drivers convicted with a blood-alcohol level of .15% or more do not qualify for a provisional license. However, sometimes they may still drive using an ignition interlock device.

Second DUI Offense

Offenders convicted of a second DUI charge must use an ignition interlock device (IID) for two years.

Third DUI Offense

Offenders convicted of a third DUI charge must use an ignition interlock device (IID) for three years. That term increases to four years if the driver is convicted of three DUIs in five years.

Immobilized Vehicle

For offenders with two or more convictions, the judge will immobilize their vehicle if it is not equipped with an IID. When a judge immobilizes a vehicle, the owner must turn over their registration and license plate. Clearly, the consequences of receiving a DUI in White Stone can be life-changing, and not in a good way. The good news is that with CDH Law Firm, you have a real chance at beating your charges and avoiding serious fines and jail time. Every case is different, which is why it's so important that you call our office as soon as possible if you are charged with a DUI.

Traffic Violation Cases

Most drivers brush off traffic law violations as minor offenses, but the fact of the matter is they are criminal matters to be taken seriously. Despite popular opinion, Traffic Violation cases in White Stone can carry significant consequences like fines and even incarceration. If you or someone you love has been convicted of several traffic offenses, your license could be suspended, restricting your ability to work and feed your family.

Every driver should take Traffic Violations seriously. If you're charged with a traffic crime, it's time to protect yourself and your family with a trusted criminal defense lawyer in White Stone, SC. Cobb Dill Hammett, LLC is ready to provide the legal guidance and advice you need to beat your traffic charges. We'll research the merits of your case, explain what charges you're facing, discuss your defense options, and strategize an effective defense on your behalf.

Common White Stone
Traffic Violations That CDH Law
Firm Fights

There are dozens and dozens of traffic laws in White Stone, all of which affect drivers in some way. Our White Stone defense attorneys fight a full range of violations, including but not limited to the following:

Criminal Defense Attorney White Stone, SC
  • Driving Under Suspension: If you drive while your license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, you could be looking at 30 days in jail and fines up to $300.
  • Driving Under the Influence: Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol is illegal and often results in jail time and fines.
  • Reckless Driving: You could be ordered to pay up to $200 in fines or jailed for up to 30 days if you drive with wanton disregard for the safety of other people.
  • Racing: You can be cited and fined if you aid or participate in street racing.
  • Hit and Run: When you leave the scene of an accident that involved injury to another party, you can be arrested. This serious charge can lead to up to one year in jail and fines of up to $5,000 for first-time offenders.
  • Disregard Traffic Signals: Drivers must obey all traffic signals and control devices, less they be ticketed and sometimes fined.

As seasoned traffic violation lawyers, we know how frustrating it can be to get charged with a Traffic Violation. While some traffic charges can be minor, others are severe and can affect your life for years to come. Don't leave your fate up to chance call CDH Law Firm today for the highest-quality Traffic Violation representation in White Stone.

Juvenile Crime Cases in
White Stone, SC

At Cobb Dill Hammett, LLC, we understand that children are still growing and learning about the world around them. As such, they may make mistakes that get them into trouble with the law. Children and teens who are arrested in White Stone can face much different futures than other children their age. Some face intensive probation, while others are made to spend time in jail.

This happens most often when a child's parents fail to retain legal counsel for their son or daughter. Cases referred to the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice often move quicker than adult cases, so finding a good lawyer is of utmost importance. With that said, a compassionate criminal defense attorney in White Stone, SC, can educate you and your child about their alleged charges. To help prevent your child from going to a detention center, we will devise a strategy to achieve favorable results in their case.

 Law Firm White Stone, SC
 Criminal Defense Lawyer White Stone, SC

Juvenile Detention Hearings

Unlike adults, juveniles don't have a constitutional right to a bond hearing. Instead, once your child is taken into custody a Detention Hearing is conducted within 48 hours. This hearing is similar to a combination of a Bond Hearing and a Preliminary Hearing. Unfortunately, there is little time to prepare for these hearings, which is why you must move quickly and call CDH law firm as soon as possible.

Our team gathers police reports, petitions, interviews your child at the DJJ, speaks with you about the case and talks to the prosecutor to discover if they have plans for detention. In most cases, we strive to avoid detention and seek alternatives like divisionary programs or treatment facilities. This strategy better addresses your child's issues and keeps them out of the juvenile legal system in White Stone. If your child is charged with a crime, and South Carolina decides to prosecute, your child will appear before a family court judge, who will find them delinquent or not delinquent. There are no juries in juvenile cases in South Carolina, which is why it's crucial to have a lawyer present to defend your child if they go in front of a judge.

Common penalties for juveniles charged with crimes in White Stone include:

Criminal Defense Attorney White Stone, SC
  • Probation: Children charged with probation are released to their parents or guardians. Depending on their charges, they must abide by certain stipulations while at home and may be subject to random drug screenings. Violation of probation often results in jail time.
  • 90 Days in Juvenile Detention Center: When probation is not a viable option, prosecutors may push for 90 days of jail time in a juvenile detention facility.
  • Juvenile Detention: Children who commit very serious crimes can be sent to a juvenile detention center for a long time. These sentences can last up to the child's 21st birthday.
  • School Expulsion: When a child is convicted of a crime, their school is notified of the offense. Sometimes, the administration may decide to expel the child from school for the misdemeanors or felonies they commit.

We Fight to Protect
Your Rights So You Can
Provide for Your Family

Whether you are facing a DUI charge or a serious traffic violation, CDH Law Firm is here to fight for your rights so you can continue living life. The future might seem bleak, but our criminal defense lawyers in White Stone, SC, have the tools, experience, and strategy to win your case, as we have with so many others. Don't lose hope call our office today and maintain your freedom tomorrow.

Ask us anything

Call Now 843-936-6680 PH

Latest News in White Stone, SC

Uncovering an Overlooked Source for Iconic Alabaster Statues

Medieval and Renaissance sculptors carved gorgeous statues and religious icons from alabaster, a soft, creamy white stone similar to marble. Much of their work, from visages of the Virgin Mary to angels slaying demons, now reside in museums like the Louvre in Paris and others across Europe. But a mystery remains: Where did the alabaster come from?“This is quite a frustration for museum art historians to have qu...

Medieval and Renaissance sculptors carved gorgeous statues and religious icons from alabaster, a soft, creamy white stone similar to marble. Much of their work, from visages of the Virgin Mary to angels slaying demons, now reside in museums like the Louvre in Paris and others across Europe. But a mystery remains: Where did the alabaster come from?

“This is quite a frustration for museum art historians to have question marks everywhere,” said Wolfram Kloppmann, a geochemist at the French Geological Survey.

In a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Kloppmann and a team of art historians, geologists and geochemists traced the origins of more than 60 alabaster statue. While many came from known quarries in England and Spain, the analysis of the stone also revealed an overlooked hub for alabaster production in the western French Alps. The site was a much richer source of the mineral than previously thought. The researchers’ work helped reconstruct an art trade route that existed across western Europe from the 12th to 17th centuries.

“This gives a picture of Medieval Europe in details we didn’t suspect before,” Dr. Kloppmann said.

The team asked museums and galleries across Europe and in the United States if they could take samples from their alabaster artwork for chemical analysis. They all said yes, allowing the team to investigate the origins of several royal and papal tomb figures, as well as the 14th century Carrying of the Cross from the Louvre, the 14th century the Archangel Gabriel from an Annunciation Group from the Cleveland Museum of Art and a 17th century seated greyhound originally from a gallery in London.

But the team had to collect samples as carefully as possible to avoid scarring the priceless works of art. They could not drill. They could not scrape. Instead, they used a tiny chisel to collect just a flake that measured only two millimeters from the base or rear of each statue.

At their lab, the scientists analyzed the flakes for sulfur, oxygen and strontium isotopes. Such signatures are fingerprints that made it possible to match the flakes to their original alabaster quarries. Of the 66 samples, 15 came from a quarry in the English Midlands to the west of Nottingham and three came from northern Spain. Both were historically well-known as centers for the alabaster trade.

The “alabastermen” of the English Midlands are believed to have provided the material from the 12th century until 1550 when religious icons were banned during a period of civil and religious turmoil in Britain known as the English Reformation, when the Church of England broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. Many of the works were destroyed in this period. Shiploads of alabaster artwork escaped the furnaces and were sent to France. This exchange was long thought to be one of the primary sources of the country’s alabaster.

But to the team’s surprise more than 20 of the statues they analyzed originated from near Notre-Dame-de-Mésage in the western French Alps. The quarry there operated for more than five centuries, supplying material for some of western Europe’s most important artworks.

“We did not know that this was really a major source of alabaster in western Europe,” said Dr. Kloppmann. “We discovered the French part of the story.”

Jane A. Evans, an isotope geochemist from the British Geological Survey who was not involved in the study, called the paper “well-constructed” and said the technique “could be extended to look at a wider range of carvings from differing periods, and they could extend their fingerprinting methods to incorporate other isotope and geochemical methods.”

Dr. Kloppmann said the next steps for their work is to analyze alabaster in Germany, Poland and Italy and perhaps from ancient Mesopotamia, as well as use their technique to detect alabaster fakes.

We could be the last humans to see the green comet passing Earth for the first time since the Ice Age. Here's how, where, and when to watch it.

We could be the last humans to ever see the green comet hurtling past Earth from the outer reaches of the solar system in late January and early February.C/2022 E3 (ZTF), or Comet ZTF for short — the name astronomers gave this space snowball after the Zwicky Transient Facility discovered it in March — hasn't been in our cosmic neigh...

We could be the last humans to ever see the green comet hurtling past Earth from the outer reaches of the solar system in late January and early February.

C/2022 E3 (ZTF), or Comet ZTF for short — the name astronomers gave this space snowball after the Zwicky Transient Facility discovered it in March — hasn't been in our cosmic neighborhood since the last Ice Age.

Researchers calculated that the icy ball of gas, dust, and rock orbits the sun roughly ever 50,000 years, which means that Neanderthals were still walking the Earth and humans had just migrated out of Africa for the first time when the comet last whizzed by.

With no telescopes or binoculars, those ancient peoples may not have spotted the comet at all. And there may never be an opportunity to see it again.

"Some predictions suggest that the orbit of this comet is so eccentric it's no longer in an orbit — so it's not going to return at all and will just keep going," Jessica Lee, an astronomer at Royal Observatory Greenwich, told Newsweek.

So it might be worth the effort to look for Comet ZTF and become one of the few humans to ever see it up close. Here's what you need to know to maximize your chances.

When to see the green comet

In the Northern Hemisphere, the green comet was visible just before dawn in late January, according to NASA. Amateur astronomers took photographs of the green comet to show what you could see.

A completely shaded new moon provided ideal dark skies for spying the comet on January 21.

If you missed that, your last, best chance to see the comet in the Northern Hemisphere was on and around Monday, January 30, when ZTF was between the end of the Big Dipper and Polaris, the North Star.

Then on early February 1 and February 2, the comet will be visible in the Southern Hemisphere, when it makes its closest pass by Earth since the stone age at around 26 million miles away, according to EarthSky. That's nearly 109 times the average distance of the moon, but the comet is burning so bright that it could still be visible in the night sky.

The comet is expected to be brightest on January 31 and February 1, though the moon will be bright and the comet will be "the faintest an object can be seen without optical aid in a very clear, very dark sky," according to the Adler Planetarium.

It's important to set yourself up for success if you're trying to spot it.

How to spot the green comet

At first, spotting Comet ZTF may require a telescope, but as it approaches Earth, viewers may be able to see it with binoculars, or even the naked eye.

"Comets are notoriously unpredictable, but if this one continues its current trend in brightness, it'll be easy to spot with binoculars, and it's just possible it could become visible to the unaided eye under dark skies," NASA wrote in an update on December 29.

For the best viewing, choose a cloudless night and get yourself far from city lights, to the darkest skies possible. When the moon is dim, or at least when it's below the horizon, the sky will be even darker.

If you're near an urban area, you may want to bring binoculars or even a telescope, in case the lights drown out the comet to the naked eye.

Where to look in the night sky for comet ZTF

Look to the right stars to see the green comet. According to, the comet will pass below Polaris — the North Star at the tip of the Little Dipper — and will be visible in the star's vicinity on January 30. It will appear earlier in the evening as it approaches Polaris.

"It will distinguish itself probably from other stars because it will look a little bit fuzzy compared to other stars," Thomas Prince, director of the WM Keck Institute for Space Studies at Caltech, told FOX Weather.

In the Southern Hemisphere, on February 10, the comet will be about 1.5 degrees from Mars, according to Prince. That's about the width of your pinky finger when you hold it at arms length. If you can locate Mars shining bright in the sky, look just around it for the comet.

EarthSky publishes maps to help you locate the reference objects — Hercules, Polaris, and Mars — in the night sky.

Why the comet is green

The comet has a "greenish coma, short broad dust tail, and long faint ion tail," according to NASA.

Many comets glow green. Laboratory research has linked this aura to a reactive molecule called dicarbon, which emits green light as sunlight decays it.

Dicarbon is common in comets, but it's not usually found in their tails.

That's why the coma — the haze surrounding the ball of frozen gas, dust, and rock at the center of a comet — is glowing green, while the tail remains white.

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Stone, Debo, Pup and Bam! South Carolina’s linebackers look (and sound) the part

Brad Johnson and Sherrod Greene were different types of linebackers.Johnson “spoiled” South Carolina’s linebacker corps with his vocal leadership and commanding physical presence i...

Brad Johnson and Sherrod Greene were different types of linebackers.

Johnson “spoiled” South Carolina’s linebacker corps with his vocal leadership and commanding physical presence in-game, defensive coordinator Clayton White said. Green was a savvy veteran, a run-and-hit linebacker. Both were staples of the Gamecocks defense for several years.

Now, both are gone.

But USC’s current linebackers were born to play the position, White told The State, speaking last week at the annual Birdies With Beamer media golf event. They’re downhill and aggressive.

Debo Williams, Stone Blanton, Bam Martin-Scott, Mohamed Kaba and Grayson “Pup” Howard ought to surprise outsiders in the way they seize the upcoming season, said White, who directly coaches the inside linebackers.

Williams and Blanton have assumed Johnson’s leadership role, White said. Williams, a redshirt junior, played in all 13 games last season, starting in two of them. He had 43 tackles, including 4.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks. Blanton played in 12 games as a true freshman, tallying seven tackles — five solo and 1.5 for loss — and a pass breakup.

Howard, a freshman out of Jacksonville, Florida, and redshirt freshman transfer Jaron Willis from Ole Miss are the new faces at the position. By virtue of their age and lack of experience, White described both players as “green.”

The transition from high school to college football is “the biggest jump in all of sports,” White said, “even a bigger jump from college to pros.”

“Instead of learning six defenses, you’ve got to learn 86 defenses,” he said. “It’s unlimited, and it’s infinity, and it can never stop because there are always pieces that can get added to it.”

Howard totaled 188 tackles, including 18 tackles for loss and 5 sacks, during his senior season of high school, according to He also recovered three fumbles, forced another one and had a rushing touchdown. He enrolled at USC for the spring, which gave him a head start on learning South Carolina’s system.

Shane Beamer has been vocal about true freshmen playing at every position this year. That includes Howard, White said. The number of snaps is still to be determined, but Howard is expected to play impactful downs.

Where the whole group can improve is in its ability to diagnose plays and take control of a defense — as Johnson did.

“Brad was a voice and he was the muscle of the defense,” White said. “Our names are better (this season). We have Stone, Debo, Pup and Bam. They sound like linebackers. But they’re natural-born linebackers.”

White described Kaba as a “work in progress.” He tore an ACL against Arkansas last season and missed the rest of the year. Beamer told reporters at SEC Media Days that Kaba would be somewhat limited at practice, but “everybody should be 100% by Game 1.”

The goal is to ease Kaba back into football, White said. This was Kaba’s second ACL injury — the first came during his senior season of high school.

“The worst thing that we want to do is rush Kaba back and miss him in the month of October, November,” White said.

This Thanksgiving, let science help you roast a tastier turkey

I've got a kitchen confession: I don't do Thanksgiving turkey.It's not because of dietary restrictions, although I do try to limit my meat consumption. It's more a matter of soul-crushing disappointment every time it turns out dry and flavorless.What's the point of getting up super-early and spending hours laboring and stressing in the kitchen if you're just going to end up with a bland bird? I don't need that kind of holiday heartache.But bad turkeys are a problem that science can actually solve. That...

I've got a kitchen confession: I don't do Thanksgiving turkey.

It's not because of dietary restrictions, although I do try to limit my meat consumption. It's more a matter of soul-crushing disappointment every time it turns out dry and flavorless.

What's the point of getting up super-early and spending hours laboring and stressing in the kitchen if you're just going to end up with a bland bird? I don't need that kind of holiday heartache.

But bad turkeys are a problem that science can actually solve. That's why this year I've decided to tackle the turkey tradition once again — this time, with the help of two cookbook authors well known for demystifying the science behind good food: Nik Sharma, a trained molecular biologist and the author of The Flavor Equation, and Kenji López-Alt, a New York Times food columnist and author of The Food Lab.

As López-Alt explains, the fundamental trouble with turkey is rooted in its anatomy. You've got two different types of meat that need to hit two different internal temperatures. The white breast meat needs to reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and the dark leg and thigh meat should hit at least 165 degrees — and ideally, 175 or so. So by the time the legs hit the right temperature, your breast is overcooked.

It makes sense when you think about how turkeys use their bodies when they're alive. The white meat is made up of fast-twitch muscles — these aren't used often but are activated in short bursts. "Those types of muscles are generally low in connective tissue, low in fat and very strong. And what that means is that it's relatively easy to overcook them," López-Alt says.

Meanwhile, the dark meat is made up of slow-twitch muscle fibers that the turkey is constantly using when walking around or standing, so the dark meat has a lot of connective tissue — which means you have to cook it at a higher temperature to break it down.

So how to solve this problem rooted in bird biology? Science to the rescue! Read on.

"It would be difficult to design a worse tool for roasting a turkey than a roasting pan because you're taking a problem that already exists and making it even worse," López-Alt says.

In a roasting pan, the high sides shield the bottom of the turkey — the legs and thighs — from heat, meaning they take longer to cook to temperature. Meanwhile, the breast sticks up over the top of the pan, which means it gets the bulk of the heat and dries out more.

So one simple hack for roasting whole birds is to choose a different kind of pan — a low-rimmed baking sheet with the bird propped on a V-shaped rack. Even better, place the baking sheet on a heated pizza stone. The heat will radiate up through the bottom of the sheet tray and help the thighs and drumsticks cook faster. (Here's a how-to guide.)

Sharma and López-Alt agree that the best way to fix this white meat-dark meat temperature conundrum is to ditch the idea of serving a whole turkey and chop up your bird instead. While it may sound sacrilegious to those who cling to a Norman Rockwell-vision of a Thanksgiving feast, it's actually the key to a better bird.

There are a few ways to go about this: If you've got the skills and tools, you can cut your turkey yourself using a technique called spatchcocking — that's where you remove the backbone so the bird lays flat. (Here's a helpful how-to from López-Alt.)

Or, if you want to skip the hassle, just ask the butcher to spatchcock the bird for you when you buy it. Sharma notes you can also just buy the turkey cut up in parts.

The whole goal, really, is to get all the turkey parts to lay flat, so the breast and turkey legs and thighs all get the same amount of heat at the same time. The thighs and legs are relatively thin compared with the bulky breast, so they will cook faster. Which is what you want, because that dark meat is going to hit 175 degrees or so just as the breast is getting up to 150 degrees. "So it works out perfectly," López-Alt says.

For food safety, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. But at that temperature, López-Alt notes, breast meat will dry out. "Food safety is actually about temperature and time," he explains. While you'll kill a bunch of bacteria instantaneously if you cook your turkey to 165 degrees, you can wipe out the equivalent amount of bacteria a little more slowly at 150 degrees — as long as your turkey breast remains at that temperature for at least 3.7 minutes.

Just make sure to let the bird rest before serving it. And make sure to use a food thermometer — don't rely on just a minutes-per-pound chart, López-Alt says.

We've been focusing on better roasting tips, but of course, you want to brine your bird for maximum tenderness and flavor — something you've likely heard many times. "Salt is the most important thing in a brine because that's what's adding flavor. It's what's helping build moisture inside," says Sharma.

Sharma explains that normally during cooking, some of the proteins in meat fibers tighten up so that they end up squeezing the juices out of the turkey — like how water gets squeezed out of a sponge. But when you add salt, it loosens up the meat proteins so they hold on to more moisture and your bird stays juicier.

Traditional brines are wet — they involve soaking your meat in a saltwater bath. But López-Alt says this can lead to a bird that, while juicier, is also watery, which can dampen the flavor. He prefers a dry brine, where you rub kosher salt and perhaps herbs and spices on the bird and let it sit in the fridge for a night or two before cooking.

Too lazy to brine? Buy a kosher turkey — these come pre-salted, so they're essentially already brined.

Spatchcocked turkey, roasted to the right temperature, results in properly cooked thighs and tender breasts.

If you really want to give your turkey a science-based boost this year, Sharma says that based on his kitchen experiments, one brine rules them all: fermented dairy. Think plain yogurt, buttermilk or kefir.

The key here is the lactic acid in these products. Sharma notes that animal muscles synthesize lactic acid on a regular basis, so their cells have evolved mechanisms to regulate how much of this acid they contain. He thinks that is why marinating in lactic acid tends to have a gentler effect on meat — leaving it tender but not mushy. What's more, dairy is also rich in phosphates, and Sharma says these are even better than table salt at promoting water-binding in meat.

Sharma, who moved to the U.S. from Mumbai, India, notes that dairy-based marinades are common in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. "I find that fascinating historically," he says. "You see that wisdom without the scientific knowledge available today."

Want to give it a try? Sharma recommends this recipe for buttermilk-brined turkey from cookbook author Samin Nosrat. "It's pretty fantastic," he says. (You can also try Sharma's golden garlic roast turkey recipe.)

Bonus: If you cut up your bird, it's much easier to brine, wet or dry, because you can just put the meat in plastic bags in your refrigerator, instead of having to clear an entire shelf for a big, whole bird.

If your turkey still turns out a bit subpar, it's OK. Really. As López-Alt said to me, holiday cooking can be super-stressful, so don't lose sight of what's important:

"As long as the turkey has got people around the table, then it's done its job no matter how dry it is."

Derek Campanile of Dad With A Pan contributed photos for this report. Find his full write-up of how he makes spatchcocked turkey here.

Mystery of Orb in a Record-Breaking Leonardo Da Vinci Painting Deepens

The likely Leonardo da Vinci painting "Salvator Mundi" looks straightforward at first glance: a depiction of Jesus Christ in Renaissance-era clothing, raising one hand in blessin...

The likely Leonardo da Vinci painting "Salvator Mundi" looks straightforward at first glance: a depiction of Jesus Christ in Renaissance-era clothing, raising one hand in blessing and holding a clear orb in the other.

But that orb defies the laws of optics, creating a controversy over just what da Vinci was using as his inspiration. Now, a new study argues that the orb may be a realistic depiction of a hollow glass ball.

The work has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, but a preprint of the findings is posted on the preprint site arXiv. University of California, Irvine, researchers used a computer-rendering technique to show that the appearance of the orb would have been physically possible in the real world, if the orb were made of thin blown glass.

Related: Leonardo Da Vinci's 10 Best Ideas


Live Science

But the paper is unlikely to settle the long-running debate over da Vinci’s intentions.

"The paper of the sphere is just one of many examples of scientists making ill-judged interventions in Leonardo studies based on ignorance of the sources," da Vinci scholar Martin Kemp, an emeritus professor of the history of art at the University of Oxford's Trinity College, wrote in an email to Live Science.

$450 million mystery

The "Salvator Mundi" is a painting with a dramatic past. It probably dates to around 1500 and was acquired by Charles I of England at some point in the 1600s. Charles I was executed in 1659 after a civil war, and in 1651 a mason named John Stone purchased the painting. In 1660, he returned the artwork to Charles II, the son of Charles I who retook the throne that year. The trail of the painting then goes cold until 1900, when it was resold not as an original da Vinci, but as the work of one of the master’s students.

It wasn’t until 2011 — after professional conservators got ahold of the painting and repaired sloppy conservation work that had built up over the years — that art experts reassessed the "Salvator Mundi" and realized that it was likely painted by da Vinci himself. In 2017, a Saudi prince bought the painting at auction for a record-breaking $450 million.

Embedded within the painting is a persistent mystery. The orb held by Christ contains a few painted sparkles that look like inclusions within a solid sphere or crystal. But a solid orb would magnify and invert the image of anything behind it due to the refraction of light, and the orb in the painting doesn't do that. Christ's robes appear undistorted behind the glass.

Da Vinci was an avid student of optics and likely wouldn't have made that mistake carelessly. Art historians have been arguing for decades about what the orb was made of and whether Da Vinci deliberately painted it inaccurately. The new paper brings a method called physically based rendering to the question. UC Irvine computer scientist professors Michael Goodrich, Shuang Zhao and doctoral student Marco (Zhanhang) Liang used this method to simulate light in the scene that is depicted in the painting.

Controversy in lights

They found that a combination of dim environmental light, a strong light source from overhead and a hollow blown glass sphere could re-create the scene in the "Salvator Mundi." The glass could have had walls up to 0.05 inches (1.3 millimeters) thick without creating any refraction disrupting the lines of Christ's robes behind it, the researchers wrote in their paper posted on arXiv. (A hollow orb wouldn’t create the same magnify-and-flip effect as a solid orb.)

Liang and his colleagues declined to comment on their work, which Liang said is now under review at a scientific journal. Kemp was not convinced by the study, however. In a section of his new book, "Leonardo's Salvator Mundi and the Collecting of Leonardo in the Stuart Courts" (Oxford University Press, 2020), Kemp traces the context of the orb from entries in da Vinci’s journals, finding that the artist had a fascination with rock crystals and their optics at the time the "Salvator Mundi" was painted. He also lists examples of paintings in which da Vinci tweaked the laws of physics and light to create a more pleasing composition. In paintings of the baptism of Christ, for example, the painter and his contemporaries skipped depicting the refraction of light in water that would have made the figures' legs look skewed. Da Vinci also painted baby Jesus as unnaturally large, an artistic way to highlight the Christ child's divinity.

"His paintings were not raw demonstrations of optical science, any more than they were stark demonstrations of anatomy," Kemp wrote. In other words, da Vinci was known to use artistic license in his works, and likely did so with the orb in "Salvator Mundi."

Leonardo "is not making a 'photographic image,'" Kemp told Live Science. "If he was, all his 'Christ childs' would be the progeny of giants! He is using his knowledge of natural laws to give conviction to devotional paintings."

Originally published on Live Science.

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Live Science Contributor

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.


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