food & drink

Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road

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A majority of people the world over eat meat, yet many of these same people experience discomfort when the meat on their plate is linked to the death of animals. We draw on this common form of moral conflict — the meat-paradox — to develop insights into the ways in which morally troublesome behaviors vanish into the commonplace and every day.

Drawing on a motivational analysis, we show how societies may be shaped by attempts to resolve dissonance, in turn protecting their citizens from discomfort associated with their own moral conflicts. To achieve this, we build links between dissonance reduction, habit formation, social influence, and the emergence of social norms and detail how our analysis has implications for understanding immoral behavior and motivations underpinning dehumanization and objectification.

{ Personality and Social Psychology Review }

The fire’s in their eyes and their words are really clear

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Pterois is a genus of venomous marine fish, commonly known as lionfish.

Lionfish are known for their venomous fin rays, an uncommon feature among marine fish in the East Coast coral reefs. The potency of their venom makes them excellent predators and venomous to fishermen and divers. Pterois venom can cause systemic effects such as extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, breathing difficulties, convulsions, dizziness, redness on the affected area, headache, numbness, paresthesia (pins and needles), heartburn, diarrhea, and sweating. Rarely, such stings can cause temporary paralysis of the limbs, heart failure, and even death.

Lionfish are skilled hunters, using specialized bilateral swim bladder muscles to provide exquisite control of location in the water column, allowing the fish to alter its center of gravity to better attack prey. The lionfish then spreads its large pectoral fins and swallows its prey in a single motion.

Lionfish have few identified natural predators, likely from the effectiveness of their venomous spines. Moray eels, bluespotted cornetfish, and large groupers, like the tiger grouper and Nassau grouper, have been observed preying on lionfish. It remains unknown, however, how commonly these predators prey on lionfish. Sharks are also believed to be capable of preying on lionfish with no ill effects from their spines. Park officials of the Roatan Marine Park in Honduras have attempted to train sharks to feed on lionfish as of 2011 in an attempt to control the invasive populations in the Caribbean. Predators of larvae and juvenile lionfish remain unknown, but may prove to be the primary limiting factor of lionfish populations in their native range.

The lionfish is a predator native to the Indo-Pacific. It aggressively preys on small fish and invertebrates. They can be found around the seaward edge of reefs and coral, in lagoons, and on rocky surfaces to 50 m deep. Two species of Pterois, the red lionfish (P. volitans) and the common lionfish (P. miles), have established themselves as significant invasive species off the East Coast of the United States and in the Caribbean. They have been described as “one of the most aggressively invasive species on the planet”. They resemble those of the Philippines, implicating the aquarium trade.

The lionfish invasion is considered to be one of the most serious recent threats to Caribbean and Florida coral reef ecosystems.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

Lionfish eat herbivores and herbivores eat algae from coral reefs. Without herbivores, algal growth goes unchecked, which can be detrimental to the health of coral reefs. […]

Whole Foods has begun selling fresh lionfish. Employees at stores carrying the fish have been trained to remove the spines, leaving white fish meat that’ll go for $8.99 per pound.

{ Quartz | Continue reading }

still { Karl Stromberg tests James Bond’s fish knowledge in the film The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977 }

police responding to N Yale/Macrum - report of a “Beer Olympics” taking place - participants urinating on cars

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A 2013 study published in the journal Circulation found that men who skipped breakfast had a significantly higher risk of coronary heart disease than men who ate breakfast. But, like almost all studies of breakfast, this is an association, not causation. […]

In a paper published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013, researchers reviewed the literature on the effect of breakfast on obesity to look specifically at this issue. They first noted that nutrition researchers love to publish results showing a correlation between skipping breakfast and obesity. […] They also found major flaws in the reporting of findings. People were consistently biased in interpreting their results in favor of a relationship between skipping breakfast and obesity. […]

Further confusing the field is a 2014 study that found that getting breakfast skippers to eat breakfast, and getting breakfast eaters to skip breakfast, made no difference with respect to weight loss. […]

Many of the studies are funded by the food industry, which has a clear bias. Kellogg funded a highly cited article that found that cereal for breakfast is associated with being thinner. The Quaker Oats Center of Excellence (part of PepsiCo) financed a trial that showed that eating oatmeal or frosted cornflakes reduces weight and cholesterol.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

oil on canvas { Jeff Koons, Hair, 1999 }

related { Corn Flake Portraits of Pop Stars }

Quante uova a settimana possiamo mangiare?

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Dinner is served at 7:16 and finished at 7:20 P.M. […]

My only nourishment consists of food that is white: eggs, sugar, grated bones, the fat of dead animals, veal, salt, coconuts, chicken cooked in white water, fruit-mould, rice, turnips, camphorated sausages, pastry, cheese (white varieties), cotton salad, and certain kinds of fish (without their skin). […]

My doctor has always told me to smoke.

{ Erik Satie | Continue reading }

art { Andy Warhol, Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster) (detail), 1963 }

‘Tu as été rêvée (ouïe) dans mon rêve sans l’avoir voulu. Mais cela ne t’autorise pas à y rêver à ton tour pour me déposséder encore. Je ne connais pas les soins pour que tu ne souffres plus. Le son, la musique sont partout.’ —Jean Palomba

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Researchers at Brigham Young University and Colorado State University have found that the noise your food makes while you’re eating can have a significant effect on how much food you eat.

The “Crunch Effect,” as they call it, suggests you’re likely to eat less if you’re more conscious of the sound your food makes while you’re eating. Therefore, watching loud TV or listening to loud music while eating can mask eating sounds that keep you in check.

To be clear, the researchers are not talking about the sizzle of bacon, the crack of crème brulee or popcorn popping. The effect comes from the sound of mastication: chewing, chomping, crunching.

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading }

Why bodybuilders are a poor source of pharmaceutical advice

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“Can I ask you why you’re buying fat-free half-and-half?” I said.

“Because it’s fat-free?” she responded.

“Do you know what they replace the fat with?” I asked.

“Hmm,” she said, then lifted the carton and read the second ingredient on the label after skim milk: “Corn syrup.” […]

The woman apparently hadn’t even thought to ask herself that question but had instead accepted the common belief that fat, an essential part of our diet, should be avoided whenever possible.

Then again, why should she question it, given that we allow food companies, advertisers and food researchers to do our thinking for us? In the 1970s, no one questioned whether eggs really were the heart-attack risk nutritionists warned us about. Now, of course, eggs have become such a cherished food that many people raise their own laying hens. Such examples of food confusion and misinformation abound. […]

Our beloved kale salads are not “healthy.” And we are confusing ourselves by believing that they are. They are not healthy; they are nutritious. […] If all you ate was kale, you would become sick.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

Expect problems and eat them for breakfast

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A growing body of literature has shown that environmental exposures in the period around conception can affect the sex ratio at birth through selective attrition that favors the survival of female conceptuses. Glucose availability is considered a key indicator of the fetal environment, and its absence as a result of meal skipping may inhibit male survival.

We hypothesize that breakfast skipping during pregnancy may lead to a reduction in the fraction of male births. Using time use data from the United States we show that women with commute times of 90 minutes or longer are 20 percentage points more likely to skip breakfast. Using U.S. census data we show that women with commute times of 90 minutes or longer are 1.2 percentage points less likely to have a male child under the age of 2. Under some assumptions, this implies that routinely skipping breakfast around the time of conception leads to a 6 percentage point reduction in the probability of a male child. Skipping breakfast during pregnancy may therefore constitute a poor environment for fetal health more generally.

{ Biodemography and Social Biology | Continue reading }

photo { Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Occasion for Diriment, 1962 }

related { Determinants of online sperm donor success: How women choose }

The rain falls hard on a humdrum town, this town has dragged you down

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Group 1 - Carcinogenic:

This is the group for which there is the most evidence of cancer risk. […]

• Arsenic and arsenic compounds

[…]

• Solar radiation
• Tamoxifen6
• Tobacco, smoking, second-hand smoke
• Ultraviolet radiation
• X-Radiation and gamma radiation
• Processed meat

[…]

Group 2A - Probably carcinogenic:

Limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans, sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. […]

• Shift work that disrupts sleep patterns
• Red meat

[…]

Group 2B - Possibly carcinogenic:

Limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans, less than sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. […]

• Magenta dyes
• Pickled vegetables

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

And then he’s drunk and never even told her that he cared

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This research examines the role of alcohol consumption on self-perceived attractiveness. Study 1, carried out in a barroom (N= 19), showed that the more alcoholic drinks customers consumed, the more attractive they thought they were.

In Study 2, 94 non-student participants in a bogus taste-test study were given either an alcoholic beverage (target BAL [blood alcohol level]= 0.10 g/100 ml) or a non-alcoholic beverage, with half of each group believing they had consumed alcohol and half believing they had not (balanced placebo design). After consuming beverages, they delivered a speech and rated how attractive, bright, original, and funny they thought they were. The speeches were videotaped and rated by 22 independent judges. Results showed that participants who thought they had consumed alcohol gave themselves more positive self-evaluations. However, ratings from independent judges showed that this boost in self-evaluation was unrelated to actual performance.

{ British Journal of Psychology | PDF }

For when Eric eats a banana an amazing transformation occurs. Eric is Bananaman.

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Chinese ice cream is different, and those differences reflect a different economic and technological context. American ice cream is mainly sold by grocery stores in large containers to be eaten at home. So the basic assumption is that people have freezers at home in which to store the ice cream. Even when ice cream is sold on-the-go, it is sold out as scoops out of those big containers. But historically in China most people did not have freezers at home, though many more of them do now. Ice cream in China is therefore usually sold by convenience stores or roadside stalls, in small packages to be eaten immediately. So rather than big vats of ice cream, it is mostly individual bars.

These constraints have pushed innovation in Chinese ice cream in different directions. You can get all kinds of amazing wacky ice cream flavors in the US, but they are all delivered in mostly the same form: a tub of ice cream eaten with a spoon. Chinese ice cream innovates on form and texture more than with ingredients, with many bars featuring not just crunchy outer layers of chocolate but interior elements made of various yummy substances.

The structural complexity of some ice-cream bars is so great that it’s common for the package to have a 3-D cutaway diagram to illustrate all the goodies on the inside.

{ Andrew Batson | Continue reading }

Why is the caps lock key still so prominent on keyboards?

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Hospitality is always a matter of urgency, always a question of speeds. The unexpected guests arrive and there is always a rush of activity: a hurried welcoming at the door, a quick cleaning up, a surreptitious rearranging or putting back into order, a preparing of food and drink. But even when the guest is expected, has been expected for a long time, there is a sense of urgency. The guests arrive — always too early or too late, even if they are ‘on time.’ Coats are taken; tours are given of the immaculate, impossibly ordered home; drinks are served, food presented. For there to be a place for hospitality, for hospitality to take (the) place, the host must hurry.

{ Sean Gaston | via Austerity Kitchen/TNI | Continue reading }

[Taylor is pretending the coffee he and Bill are drinking is champagne] I propose a toast

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There’s been a ton of news recently about how awesome coffee can be for many aspects of your health – heart disease, longevity, depression, Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s.  The scientific data has been so strong that the nation’s top nutrition panel recommended earlier this year that people might even want to consider drinking a bit more.

Now comes a sobering report.

In a study evaluating 1,445 people, scientists found that consistently drinking one to two cups of coffee each day is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) — a precursor to dementia and Alzheimer’s — compared to those who never or rarely consumed coffee. That supports previous work, published in 2010, that showed that caffeine may have a neuroprotective effect.

The surprise was that participants who increased their consumption over time saw their risk of mild cognitive impairment shoot up significantly. Those who went from one cup to more than one cup had twice the rate of MCI as those who reduced their drinking to less than one cup and 1.5 times the rate of MCI as those who continued to drink one cup a day.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

watercolor and gouache on paper { Sam Francis, Black and So On, 1958 }