Bringing home the bacon: A kindergartner tests the future of food

May 15, 2020 by  
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Bringing home the bacon: A kindergartner tests the future of food Jim Giles Fri, 05/15/2020 – 00:05 Today I bring you exclusive data from the cutting edge of food science. Let me begin by managing expectations. This experiment is so grievously flawed that, to paraphrase Groucho Marx, I would not submit it to any journal likely to accept it. The experiment in question is a taste test of a new product from Berkeley-based startup Prime Roots . Its flaws begin with the sample size, which is n=1. Our sole tester is Jay Giles, aged 6. Here he is, pre-test: Jay is nonetheless an interesting subject, because he frequently exhibits high levels of hostility toward novel foodstuffs. Requests that he eat something not on his (extremely short) list of pre-approved foods are typically met with claims that “today is the worst day ever,” followed by various acts of low-level vandalism. Jay’s list of pre-approved foods includes bacon. It does not include fake bacon made from fungi grown in a vat, the subject of our test. Because I value my sanity and the structural integrity of my home, I have told him that it is real bacon. Which brings us to the question I set out to answer: Will he notice the difference? I had no good explanation for why his breakfast was sitting in a pool of yellow froth, so I opted for misdirection and reminded him that he was getting a side of toast. My experiment may be ridiculous, but this question isn’t. Most experts say that reducing meat consumption is an essential part of cutting greenhouse gas emissions from food systems, which contribute a quarter of the global total . It’s also one of the easier ways that individuals can make a difference. Shifting to a vegetarian meal just one day a week, for instance, saves the equivalent of driving more than 1,000 miles over the course of a year. A lot more meat-eaters will make that change if they can switch to a convincing substitute. Prior to my experiment, my wife offered to wager me any sum of money that our tester would not eat the bacon. I opened the packet and was glad I declined. The new bacon looks, at best, bacon-ish:   Then I sniffed: Hint of dank. I was reminded of a musty basement from a childhood home. It wasn’t an altogether unpleasant smell, but it didn’t exactly shout “breakfast” at me.  Luckily our tester was too busy playing with Lego to notice, so I hastily began frying. Matters improved. The bacon-not-bacon sizzled, the dank odor lessened and I got wafts of real bacon. Our tester wandered over. He looked hesitant. “What are those bubbles?” he asked. I had no good explanation for why his breakfast was sitting in a pool of yellow froth, so I opted for misdirection and reminded him that he was getting a side of toast. Calamity averted, he sat down. I served Jay with a plate of fungi masquerading as bacon. “What’s this?” he said, looking skeptical as he tentatively chewed the edge of one slice. “Bacon,” I lied. He frowned. Sensing disaster, I abandoned methodological integrity and offered him tomato ketchup. Too late. Jay piled up the neatly sliced pieces of bacon and deposited them on my place. To my relief, he then turned his attention not to retribution but to his buttered toast. Was that it for this great emissions-reducing superfood? It seemed so… but wait! What’s this? A second tester! Eight-year-old Sam Giles was excluded from our experimental protocol because he does not like bacon. Until this morning, that is. Now he’s munching away, renewing my hope in humanity’s ability to save itself from climate catastrophe through low-carbon eating. “I don’t like the normal kind but I do like this one,” said Sam. “You’re the only one,” replied Jay. “It tastes like tree trunks.” I’m tempted to speculate on what this means for the future of alternative proteins, but I suspect the answer is not very much. So I’ll just say that I joined Sam and enjoyed my breakfast. Prime Roots bacon doesn’t taste much like bacon, but it’s salty and crispy and generally pretty good. I’ll eat it again. Pull Quote I had no good explanation for why his breakfast was sitting in a pool of yellow froth, so I opted for misdirection and reminded him that he was getting a side of toast. Topics Food Systems Alternative Protein Featured Column Foodstuff Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A taste test of a new product from Berkeley-based startup Prime Roots. Close Authorship

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Bringing home the bacon: A kindergartner tests the future of food

MIT’s fusion reactor sets new world record

October 14, 2016 by  
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MIT ‘s nuclear fusion reactor Alcator C-Mod set a new world record on its last day of functioning at their Plasma Science and Fusion Center . Due to lack of government funding, the experimental reactor closed the end of September, right after scientists broke the plasma pressure record. MIT set the previous record over a decade ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0SzyJr73uE Fusion energy powers the sun, but it’s not so easy to replicate on Earth. In order for scientists to successfully generate fusion energy, plasma must reach a certain temperature, be confined for a certain amount of time, and reach a certain particle density. Density and temperature create pressure, which according to MIT is two-thirds of what scientists require to successfully create fusion energy, so pressure records are a big deal. Related: Princeton experimental fusion reactor breaks after $94 million upgrade The last record, set in 2005, sat at 1.77 atmospheres. The new record of 2.05 atmospheres means MIT improved pressure by around 15 percent. When Alcator C-Mod set the world record, the temperature inside the reactor was more than 35 million degrees Celsius, which is roughly twice as hot as the sun’s center. Other fusion experiments have attained such high temperatures, but at much lower pressures. The plasma in the reactor generated a staggering 300 trillion fusion reactions every second. The area required for this feat was tiny; according to MIT, it was just 1 cubic meter, or about the size of a coat closet. Alcator C-Mod operated for 23 years until Congress decided to stop funding it in 2012. They ultimately decided to fund Alcator C-Mod for three more years, a time period that ended September 30, 2106. Scientists praised MIT’s accomplishments. Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory former deputy director Dale Meade said in a statement, “The record plasma pressure validates the high-magnetic-field approach as an attractive path to practical fusion energy.” If you have questions about nuclear fusion energy or the reactor, MIT scientists, faculty, and students will participate in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on October 20 at 1PM EDT. Via MIT News Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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MIT’s fusion reactor sets new world record

‘Abortion drone’ to deliver drugs to Polish women denied procedure

June 25, 2015 by  
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This Saturday a drone packed up with medical abortion pills will make its way from Germany to Poland to help women safely terminate pregnancies in a country where the practice is restricted. Women on Waves , an organization dedicated to making reproductive health practices accessible to women everywhere, is behind the experimental endeavor, but it is unclear how the government will react when the drone lands. Read the rest of ‘Abortion drone’ to deliver drugs to Polish women denied procedure Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: abortion access , abortion drone , european abortion access , poland abortion access , reproductive health , women on waves

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‘Abortion drone’ to deliver drugs to Polish women denied procedure

The world is perilously close to global food shock

June 25, 2015 by  
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A new report envisions a nightmare scenario in which just three climate change -driven disasters could lead to global food shock , resulting in food riots as the price of basic crops skyrockets and stock markets experience significant losses. The risk assessment , which was produced by insurer Lloyd’s of London—with support from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and vetted by academics from a number of institutions—shows just how close humanity may be to catastrophic collapse by mid-century unless significant changes are made to slow global warming . Read the rest of The world is perilously close to global food shock Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agriculture climate change , crop disease , crop prices , food prices , food riot , food scarcity , food security , food shock , global warming farming , lloyds of london , risk assessment climate , water scarcity

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The world is perilously close to global food shock

LIVE STREAM: Watch Japanese Architect Shigeru Ban Receive 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize in Amsterdam

June 13, 2014 by  
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This video © The Hyatt Foundation / Pritzker Architecture Prize . This year we were thrilled to announce that one of our favorite architects, Shigeru Ban , won the 2014 Pritzker Prize –and today, for the first time in history they are livestreaming the awards ceremony! Often referred to as the “Nobel Prize” of architecture, this prestigious honor was awarded to Ban for his experimental and environmentally conscious designs, particularly when applied to disaster-relief situations. Watch the feed above to see Ban receive the award at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. To see more of his work, check out our links below. Innovative Japanese Architect Shigeru Ban Wins the 2014 Pritzker Prize! 10 Incredible Designs by 2014 Pritzker Prize Laureate Shigeru Ban + The Pritzker Architecture Prize Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 2014 Pritzker Prize , Pritzker Prize , pritzker prize awards ceremony , pritzker prize laureate 2014 , pritzker prize live stream , priztker prize winner shigeru ban , Rijksmuseum , shigeru ban , shigeru ban pritzker prize

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LIVE STREAM: Watch Japanese Architect Shigeru Ban Receive 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize in Amsterdam

Thrustcycle SRT: A perfect balancer with gyroscopic stabilizing system

August 26, 2011 by  
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Ruchika Pahwa: Thrustcycle SRT Three wheeled electric vehicle Running on the gyro or flywheel system, the Thrustcycle SRT is a three-wheeled vehicle that amazingly balances itself, as well as its driver – and that too by harvesting the braking-generated kinetic power and standing on all three of its wheels in a straight lateral line! Doesn’t it sound quite different from the regular delta-configuration vehicles with a single wheel in front, or from the tadpole-configuration vehicles with a single wheel in the back? Well, this is made possible by the mechanical gyroscopic stabilizing system that supports it to remain upright even while it stands still in the parking. Such a system extends the range of the vehicle by operating on the stored kinetic energy, generated due to braking. Thrustcycle SRT Three wheeled electric vehicle The Thrustcycle SRT’s latest version gets powered by its electric hub motor installed in its middle wheel, while the vehicle’s rear wheel provides steering and its front wheel controls direction. When the driver gets into the parked vehicle and powers it, the gyroscopic effect of the vehicle’s flywheel system makes it stand on its own. Though it leads into turns, but gyro always pulls it back upright. The kinetic energy from braking, as stored by flywheel, augments the chemical battery of the vehicle and makes it move longer on a single charge. Check out the following video that displays this innovative creation hover and glide, while making a superb balance. Unlike other experimental usages of this flywheel energy storage system in vehicles, the harness of gyroscopic tendencies has been successful in the Thrustcycle SRT, which has been able to offer a very good balance. In an interview, one of the Thrustcycle’s team members explained that this vehicle magnifies a gain in efficiency because of a recycling of braking and downhill energy. The member also informed how the gain in aerodynamics, reduction in rolling resistance, and decrease in the weight of the vehicle get multiplied. It was also discussed how this gyroscopic system enables an aerodynamic in-line vehicle that is narrow and has no wheel wells. Thrustcycle SRT Three wheeled electric vehicle A not-so-good fact about this SRT is that, in near future, it will not be seen coming out of the assembly line, and even if something is planned, there is no cost estimation that has been done by the company as such by now. But, the happy part is that you may still own it! Yes, the company is ready to provide versions with gas, hybrid or electric engines – and that too, per the client’s customized requirements. Is it not a great chance to give it a try then? Via: Gizmag

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Thrustcycle SRT: A perfect balancer with gyroscopic stabilizing system

!F Film Festival: Thai Director’s Lost ‘Agrarian Utopia’

February 14, 2010 by  
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A still from Agrarian Utopia .

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Three Horrible Reasons to Avoid Natural Beauty Products

January 3, 2010 by  
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When considering whether to wade into the experimental waters of eco-friendlier makeup and skin care, consequently taking on the hassle and expense that always accompany such decisions, you’ll likely find yourself creating a mental list of pros and cons. To complicate matters, misinformation in the beauty industry abounds on both sides of the fence, making it hard for a glamour-lovin’ gal to know what to do

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Three Horrible Reasons to Avoid Natural Beauty Products

Eco Tech: Duke University engineers to develop system to harvest nature’s motions

November 10, 2009 by  
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Eco Factor: Non-linear devices to harvest energy from a wide range of frequencies. The need to devise machines that harvest energy from renewable sources has tempted researchers to think of systems that can harness energy from motion and convert it into precious electricity

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Eco Tech: Duke University engineers to develop system to harvest nature’s motions

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