Tag Archives: food

A science and safety lesson re: Microwaves

Short post here, busy week, but this is pretty interesting, and does a good job of explaining a concept quickly and succinctly. I don’t microwave a lot of stuff, but this is definitely good to know:

SciShow “Why can’t I put metal in the microwave?”

New restaurant staffed exclusively with deaf waiters

Here is a neat idea. I have been watching a show called Switched at Birth, which has done a lot to educate me about deaf culture, and to spark an interest in me to learn some sign language. And here is a place I could go to get some practice:

The restaurant is called Signs, and if you go there, you will have to order your food using sign language. If you’d be interested in that kind of experience, you should check it out.

As the spokesperson in the video says, there are lots of very talented and qualified deaf people out there who can do a great job, they just needed to be given a chance, and this gives them that chance.


Curiosity Recap (Jul 20, 2014)

Outside of the blog, new episode of the released today – a very special episode. I !
Also, this past week I released my Ebook , a collection of written pieces (all ).

– Some thoughts and insights from a fellow polymath friend of mine
– Meet our friend, the precuneus
– Mindmapping and to-do list software is explored
– A humorous video with depictions

– Better understanding leads to better acceptance and support
– For the visual learners, curious about the concepts
– Some history and food for thought
– Sir Ken Robinson’s latest TED Talk, video and transcript
– After a sometimes frustrating week long stint of researching computer programming information and 翻墙 resources, I do a bit of a quick run down. Not sure when I’ll be writing part 2 but this is a quick primer
– These words are similar and somewhat related, but not the same things
– Don’t worry, this post features no puns beyond the title, just a really cool picture and some commentary
– As the name suggests, I linked to the original article because all the tips were captioned images
– A bit of computer history, where we’re at now, and where the future might take us
– French company finds a way to sell “ugly” (but still perfectly good) fruit and vegetables
– I highlight two in particular, but this is good life advice
 – Understanding and acceptance, they are beautiful things
(amazing athlete!) – American Ninja Warrior contestant Kacy Catanzaro does what no woman before her has done, and blows away everyone in the crowd (and the commentators) in the process
– Celebs who endorse them mean well, but have not done their research
– Can you guess?
Now you can!
– I found a written piece that provides insight into where we are probably going off the tracks as a society
– Did you know just how much they can do? And they don’t even have any bones!


A clever way to reduce food waste

Would you buy (or eat) the carrots on the right? Probably not, since they don’t look so great. Well, .

Unfortunately I can’t embed the video from this article (not sure why), so you’ll have to go watch it yourself. The video is just 3 minutes long so it won’t take much time out of your day.

The crux is this:

Eating 5 fruits and vegetables a day can seem like a difficult task if you aren’t counting fries within that number. Sadly, approximately 300 million tons of food is wasted in a year; including those vegetables penis enlargement you never got around to eating. Intermarché, a chain of French supermarkets decided to do their part by purchasing the  fruits and vegetables their suppliers usually throw away and sell them at a discounted price.

For people to realize that the misshapen vegetables and fruits were just as good as their regular produce, they distributed “inglorious” fruit juices and soups. The end result? A success! They quickly sold out, and brought both attention and an easy solution to food waste.

Very cool, very positive, and as often seems to be the case, Europeans are doing a good job at being ahead of the curve on dealing with social issues that North America still lags painfully behind on.

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Post-Christmas Reading List

For the record, I am not much of a Christmas person. I think the holiday has been horribly over-run by consumerism and materialism, and it makes me both sad and angry to hear about the pandemonium on Black Friday. I am pleased to say that my family (one side of it anyway) is moving towards a more reasonable “enjoy quality time together without gifts” type of celebration. Any gifts given will be purely practical. As it stands, “Christmas Shopping” in my family thus far has been an exercise in separately obtaining gift cards or entertainment items of equal value and exchanging them. I’d rather just get what I need and then enjoy a nice dinner and conversation without worrying about wrapping paper and boxes and things to carry home.

That all said, since part of my family does still subscribe to the “buy all the presents!” way of thinking, I still had to come up with a wish list. This year I asked for mostly books, and I ended up getting all the ones I asked for.

I don’t read much fiction anymore, but a friend of mine told me about one fiction book that caught my interest when I read the synopsis.

Wool (by Hugh Howey):

In a ruined and toxic landscape, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep. There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.

I’m a sucker for good post-apoc fiction, and this instantly got my attention and made me want to check it out.

Next are all the non-fiction books.

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum (by Temple Grandin):

When Temple Grandin was born in 1947, autism had only just been named. Today it is more prevalent than ever, with one in 88 children diagnosed on the spectrum. And our thinking about it has undergone a transformation in her lifetime: Autism studies have moved from the realm of psychology to neurology and genetics, and there is far more hope today than ever before thanks to groundbreaking new research into causes and treatments. Now Temple Grandin reports from the forefront of autism science, bringing her singular perspective to a thrilling journey into the heart of the autism revolution.
Weaving her own experience with remarkable new discoveries, Grandin introduces the neuroimaging advances and genetic research that link brain science to behavior, even sharing her own brain scan to show us which anomalies might explain common symptoms. We meet the scientists and self-advocates who are exploring innovative theories of what causes autism and how we can diagnose and best treat it. Grandin also highlights long-ignored sensory problems and the transformative effects we can have by treating autism symptom by symptom, rather than with an umbrella diagnosis. Most exciting, she argues that raising and educating kids on the spectrum isn’t just a matter of focusing on their weaknesses; in the science that reveals their long-overlooked strengths she shows us new ways to foster their unique contributions.

From the “aspies” in Silicon Valley to the five-year-old without language, Grandin understands the true meaning of the word spectrum. The Autistic Brain is essential reading from the most respected and beloved voices in the field.

I have yet to write a comprehensive post about Autism, but it is a subject I have read a lot about and even have a personal connection to. I’ve heard Temple Grandin in interviews and listened to a review of her book, and it sounded fascinating and very well researched, so I am very exciting to crack this one open. There is also a hollywood movie made about Temple Grandin which seems to be a reasonably accurate biopic and will give you a sense of what she’s all about. I highly recommend it.

Animals Make Us Human (by Temple Grandin):

I actually don’t know much about this one, but since she wrote it and I’m interested in the subject matter, it was a no-brainer.

In her groundbreaking and best-selling book Animals in Translation, Temple Grandin drew on her own experience with autism as well as her distinguished career as an animal scientist to deliver extraordinary insights into how animals think, act, and feel.Now she builds on those insights to show us how to give our animals the best and happiest life—on their terms, not ours.

It’s usually easy to pinpoint the cause of physical pain in animals, but to know what is causing them emotional distress is much harder. Drawing on the latest research and her own work, Grandin identifies the core emotional needs of animals.Then she explains how to fulfill them for dogs and cats, horses, farm animals, and zoo animals.Whether it’s how to make the healthiest environment for the dog you must leave alone most of the day, how to keep pigs from being bored, or how to know if the lion pacing in the zoo is miserable or just exercising, Grandin teaches us to challenge our assumptions about animal contentment and honor our bond with our fellow creatures.

The Sports Gene (by David Epstein):

The debate is as old as physical competition. Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training?
The truth is far messier than a simple dichotomy between nature and nurture. In the decade since the sequencing of the human genome, researchers have slowly begun to uncover how the relationship between biological endowments and a competitor’s training environment affects athleticism. Sports scientists have gradually entered the era of modern genetic research.

In this controversial and engaging exploration of athletic success, Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein tackles the great nature vs. nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving this great riddle. He investigates the so-called 10,000-hour rule to uncover whether rigorous and consistent practice from a young age is the only route to athletic excellence.

After listening to the interview with David about his book on the Probably Science Podcast, I knew I had to read it.

I didn’t ask for this one for christmas, but I have been reading it.

Wheat Belly (by William Davis)

Wheat Belly is a provocative look at how eliminating wheat—even so-called healthy whole grain wheat—from our diets is the key to permanent weight loss and can offer relief from a broad spectrum of health and digestive problems.

Drawing on decades of clinical studies and the extraordinary results he has observed after putting thousands of his patients on wheat-free regimens, Dr. William Davis makes a compelling case against this ubiquitous ingredient.

I’m a few chapters into this and it is certainly interesting.

I also recommend, if you are thinking about starting your own business, you will probably want to check out Tim Ferriss’ book “Four Hour Workweek” and Michael Gerber’s book “The Entrepreneurial Myth”.

And finally, my semi-regularly updated profile on GoodReads.


Go Halfsies, help fight hunger

A few years ago I heard about a new (at the time) initiative called “Go Halfsies” (www.gohalfsies.com). Essentially what they do is allow you to order a smaller portion size (as well as healthier) meal, and instead of giving you a giant plate of food, they donate half to someone else who needs it (presumably like a shelter).

When I discovered them, they were just launching their pilot project in the US, in select cities. I was just randomly reminded of the project this week and thought I’d share it here (and added it to the resources page). I do think it’s a cool idea, because while the portion sizes here in Canada are regarded as being more reasonable compared to America, I still think they can be too big up here.

So, if you like the idea, go check out their website, read up, find out if they are in your area and support a good cause. Or heck, if you’re feeling extra helpful, maybe volunteer to get involved.

Using science to enhance taste

I’m admittedly not super pleased with this idea, it feels overly manipulative but since it is real science, and is something I think people should know about, I’m posting it.

From CBC, “Food cravings engineered by industry”:

Food scientists have even studied the architecture of the mouth. In a paper published in the Journal of Biomechanics, scientists from the Nestlé Research Center examined the “detection mechanisms in the oral cavity,” to study how well the mouth could detect the thickness of a plastic disc placed on the tongue. The researchers created a model that would predict the load exerted on the disc when it was deformed by the tongue.

Three years later, Nestlé announced a new chocolate with a shape based on the geometry of the mouth, that hits “certain areas of the oral surface, improving the melt-in-mouth quality while simultaneously reserving enough space in the mouth for the aroma to enrich the sensorial experience,” the press release announced.

Pretty crazy stuff. There is seemingly very little science can’t be used to “enhance”.

What’s the difference: Herbs vs Spices

I just made a comment to a co-worker about smelling the spice on their lunch. I was told “it’s herbs, not spice”. I replied “I thought they were basically the same thing?”. To many people this is probably a big “duh!” but seeing as I am not really a food person (“foodie”), I didn’t know. I am one of those people who pretty much cooks with microwaves, toasters and the occasional pot or frying pan. Thankfully I like a lot of fruit, which doesn’t require cooking (or spices)!

So I looked it up and learned the difference. This post is for my fellow food illerates.

The essential difference between an herb and a spice is where it is obtained  from on a plant. Herbs usually come from the leafy part of a plant, and are  usually dried. However, some herbs can be used fresh. Spices can be obtained  from seeds, fruits, roots, bark, or some other vegetative substance. Spices are  not necessarily as fresh as some herbs can be. Herbs can be found many places  around the world, while spices are more commonly found in the Far East and  tropical countries. Herbs are considered to have a few more uses than spices.  For instance, herbs have been used more frequently than spices in the medical  field. Also, herbs can and have been used to augment cosmetics and preserve  foods.

Some argue that there is no distinction between herbs and spices, considering  both have similar uses. However, a botanical definition reveals that an herb is  a plant that doesn’t produce a woody stem. It is common knowledge that in  certain areas of the United States, a dried herb is considered to be a spice.  This leads to more confusion because if a spice is simply an herb, then there  cannot be a difference between the two. However, believing this is ignoring the  fact that many herbs tend to be leafy green substances and spices are found in  plants that are tropical in nature.

This thanks to Ezine Articles.

Fresh vs Frozen – Consider This

I just watched this video a few days ago and it made me go “huh”. I get a unique happy twinge when I stumble across things that show me how something that seems perfectly logical and “the whole story” can still be deceptive. It goes to show you that you can never do too much research, the more you read you will eventually find something that challenges an established idea.

So, keep that in mind the next time you’re in the grocery store, and if you hear someone complaining about how bad frozen food is, link them to this video.