The FDA has proposed major changes to food labels for the first time in roughly twenty years, with the goal of helping consumers make more informed choices about the processed foods they are eating. Huh, I just learned something new about how the American lifestyle has changed in the last forty years or so; up until the 60s, there were no nutrition labels! People didn’t eat processed foods, they cooked whole foods at home.
Sci on the Fly
I grew up on Cape Cod, in a house overlooking a salt marsh and tidal creek that were home to bluefish, striped bass, blue crabs, mussels, soft shell clams, “quahogs”, oysters, hermit crabs and fiddler crabs, not to mention the archaic and very cool horseshoe crabs. At low tide we roamed the mudflats, digging for clams and chasing fish with our nets. At dusk on full moon high tides, the bluefish and striped bass came in droves, jumping out of the water and sending my dad and uncle running across the lawn with their fishing poles.
The science of climate change is firmly established.
Of course there are still many of the finer details to work out, but the basic facts are clear: the sea level is rising, temperatures are increasing, rare weather events are becoming more common, Arctic sea ice is melting, and across the globe ice sheets and mountain glaciers are shrinking rapidly--- and all of this is happening at a pace that both natural and man-made systems will have trouble adapting to. Bottom line: We know enough about climate change to know we have to act.
So why haven’t we?
Biomimicry (also known as biomimetics) is the process of using natural-world mechanisms, many of which have evolved over billions of years, to inspire man-made designs and technological innovations. The following examples highlight pioneering energy ideas and active areas of research, all inspired by nature:
Coined by American humorist Stephen Colbert, "truthy" science headlines that sacrifice accuracy for sensationalism don't serve science or the public
A press release, issued this week by the University of Leuven in Belgium, set off a flurry of reports about a “newly discovered” ligament in the human knee.
There’s only one problem. This “discovery” was made in 1879.
As a plant pathologist who has researched diseases of cacao (the chocolate tree), my work is an interesting topic for conversation at dinner parties. There are two comments I commonly receive when discussing my research on the organic production of cacao. The first always is, “It must be wonderful to work on chocolate”. It was a wonderful experience full of interesting meetings, international research and delicious chocolate samplings.
When a beautiful idea springs up independently in different situations, step back and take note of the greater principles at play, asking if they can be generalized elsewhere.
Our gut contains millions of bacteria. These symbiotic organisms, called the microbiome, help with digestion of food. As recent studies show, the microbiome can significantly impact the development of obesity by influencing fat accumulation.
This place stunk to high heaven, and I loved it. The rotten egg smell of hydrogen sulfide meant the sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) in our remediation system were happy, happy, happy.
SRB are part of the solution and part of the problem in mine waters. They are a quintessential encapsulation of yin and yang: opposing, balanced forces.