Beyond beauty: Korean makeup provides ‘cosmeceuticals’

(CNN)There’s face powder in panda palettes, hand gel in gummy bears and bubble tea sleeping packs.

Often packaged in bright colors and decked out with cartoon characters, Korean beauty products are too cute to ignore, but they also provide some health benefits.
It’s “skin-tertainment,” said Christine Chang, who co-created the Glow Recipe brand to bring Korean beauty products to the American market. She and partner Sarah Lee travel to South Korea multiple times a year to find new products and are repeatedly “blown away by the new innovation in the market.”
    The Korean beauty market is among the top 10 around the world, with an estimated worth of over $13.1 billion in salesin 2018, according to Mintel, a global market intelligence agency. Facial skin care products alone make up half of the total market share and are projected to reach $7.2 billion by 2020. And one in five facial skin care launches in South Korea, the agency reports, is actually a mask.
    “For a long time, France and Japan were considered a symbol of cosmetics business around the globe,” said Ryan Park, who founded the Korean beauty brand Whamisa in 1999. “Korea was able to catch up with them within a very short time thanks to the balance of its accumulated fundamental industry, chemistry, bioscience and Korean Wave culture.”
    The Korean wave, called “hallyu,” is about the spread of South Korean pop culture and how all things Korean — food, dramas, makeup, movies and music — have propagated throughout the world through social media and online platforms. A lot of this wave radiates off of the music, K-pop, with artists like PSY, Wonder Girls and BTS whose edgy look, style and sound attract global fans.
    Simply put, consumers want the skin of Korean celebrities, who supposedly use it too, said Dr. Soyun Cho, a dermatology professor at Seoul National University.

    Starting trends

    Korea is also one of few countries with “functional cosmetics,” Cho said, a label allowed by the Korea Food and Drug Administration for anti-wrinkle, elasticity-boosting, pigment-fading and sunscreen properties. This has fueled more research for better products, she said.
    “Korea has become the test bed of many world-famous cosmetic companies,” said Cho, who has studied the behavior behind cosmetic use in Koreans. “Korean consumers are very knowledgeable about different cosmetic types and ingredients, and they are picky. They are early adapters of new products, and cosmetic trend comes and goes at a very fast rate in Korea, partly due to the ubiquitous high-speed internet and heavy use of social media.
    “Young Korean women are very keen to try the new trend, and they don’t want to be left out of the loop when all their friends are using a new product.”
    To showcase new Korean beauty products,Chang co-founded Glow Recipe in 2014 after working at Kiehl’s in global skincare marketing and at L’Oreal in Korea and the US. “A key strength of K-beauty products is the experience,” she said. “Formulas often have enjoyable, unique textures or flexible usage methods.”
    Chang cites the use of aloe instead of water for intense nourishment, applying “rubber masks” — instead of paper sheet face masks — for better nutrient absorption and fermented botanicals for more efficient absorption into the skin.
    Fermented botanicals contain micro-organisms that release enzymes that ferment and break down molecules into the raw material, resulting in the creation of new substances that benefit the skin, explains dermatology professor Cho. Fermentation helps the skin absorb the product better due to the smaller molecular sizes, and it also reduces skin irritation, because the fermentation process neutralizes potentially toxic substances like pesticides.
    Another exampleof innovation is the combination of beauty balm cream, BB cream, with an air cushion compact, Cho said. Although these creams were created in Germany, Korean companies popularized the merging of foundation, moisturizer, anti-aging cream, whitening agent and sunscreen in one product.
    The air cushion compact “wicks the formula off a sponge and effortlessly applies evenly onto the face for that dewy, no-makeup makeup look,” Chang said.
    Many of these products follow that “baby-like” look with “cosmeceuticals,” Cho said, combining cosmetics and therapeutics with such natural ingredients as traditional Korean herbs and plant extracts. Snail slime has also been a popular component in many Korean beauty products,because it reportedly improves skin imperfections like scars, wrinkles and acne.

    Unique recipes

    Glow Recipe worked with Whamisa on a green tea line with antioxidants and botanical extracts that melts makeup and removes pore-clogging impurities. Its star product, the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, sold out eight times with the French cosmetics giant Sephora last year and had a wait list of over 20,000 on the Glow Recipe website.
    The Soko Glam e-commerce site helps people find Korean skin care and opened a pop-up shop in Bloomingdales in New York last year. Co-founders and spouses Charlotte and David Cho also recommend products with botanicals like E Nature Birch Juice Hydro Cream Sheet Mask.
    “Our Birch Juice Hydro line formulas completely replace water, commonly used as the main ingredient for other skin care products, with birch sap, which is the liquid that is tapped straight from Japanese birch trees,” E Nature’s Anna Kim said. “Birch sap has been deemed the next ‘coconut water’ because it is full of electrolytes and antioxidants, thus providing the skin with intense hydration and soothing abilities when it is applied.”
    The brand SkinFood takes this even further with “food cosmetics,” applying the belief that “you are what you eat,” with products that contain natural food extracts rather than artificial preservatives. Their research finds ingredients by “eating, applying and studying foods,” said Jae-mo Park from SkinFood. He recommends their products with black sugar, like Black Sugar Mask Wash Off, which softens the skin.
    Seoul National University’s Cho says many of these Korean makeup products are beneficial because they contain sunscreen filters with high SPF, which help protect the skin from the sun’s harmful rays. But as for the effectiveness of their botanical ingredients, they are “basically all antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-aging functions, albeit weak.”
    Some ingredients may be beneficial, she said. Black sugar can leave the skin surface more hydrated, and birch sap can reduce inflammation and retain moisture.
    However, while rubber masks help with absorption, she doesn’t believe a facial mask is any more beneficial than a good moisturizing cream but can be “a fun way to pamper yourself for 15 minutes.”
    Besides health benefits, Korean beauty products also tout eco-consciousness. E Nature uses packaging that is recyclable, and Innisfree incorporates eco-friendly ingredients, such as organic green tea and camellia flower petals, grown in Jeju Island in Korea.
    As for the future of Korean beauty products, they’re only going to get better, Cho said.
    “As all Asians age with wrinkles and age spots, multifunctional cosmeceutical products with whitening and anti-aging properties all in one will continue to be in high demand,” she said. “With continued advancement of cosmetics science and technology, new products with more innovative and functional properties will keep coming out.”

    Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/11/health/korean-makeup-beauty-health-benefits/index.html

    Cambodias Leopards Are On The Brink Of Extinction

    In Cambodia, the world’s last breeding population of Indochinese leopards is on the brink of extinction.

    Once widespread across Indochina – an area encompassing Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam – Indochinese leopard populations have declined by 72 percent over a five-year period. A study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal revealed one of the lowest concentrations of leopards ever reported in Asia – just one cat per 100 square kilometers (39 square miles).

    “This population represents the last glimmer of hope for leopards in all of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam – a subspecies on the verge of blinking out,” said study co-author Dr Jan Kamler in a statement. “No longer can we, as an international community, overlook conservation of this unique wild cat.”

    News of the decreased population comes just two years after researchers announced the Indochinese leopard lost more than 95 percent of its range. Now, researchers estimate there are just over 1,000 breeding adults in Southeast Asia and expect the IUCN to list the subspecies as “critically endangered” this year.   

    Leopards are threatened by a number of things, nearly all of which are human-related. Illegal hunting to meet the world’s rising demand of bushmeat means poachers indiscriminately set snares that can capture and kill them, as well as decline their natural food sources.

    As tiger populations continue to decrease, researchers say poachers are also turning to leopard skins and other body parts to sell through the illegal wildlife trade.

    Oddly enough, this decline in tigers is providing space for the highly-adaptable and opportunistic leopards to fill a predatory void. Scientists found that leopards are feeding on banteng, a species of wild cattle five times larger than the leopard. They’re the only leopard that targets such a large prey and believe the cats have shifted their prey targets after local tiger populations went extinct in 2009.

    From snow leopards to pumas, big cats on every continent are facing increasing pressures – and the world is beginning to pay attention.

    “The story is similar for all the big cats,” said UN Secretary‑General António Guterres in a statement. “They are collectively under threat from habitat loss, climate change, poaching, illicit trafficking, and human‑wildlife conflict. We are the cause of their decline, so we can also be their salvation.”

    The United Nations has dedicated its annual World Wildlife Day on March 3 to big cats under the banner “Big Cats: Predators Under Threat”.

    “As the world gathers to celebrate World Wildlife Day this Saturday, we must band together in action, not just in words, to curb the epidemic of poaching facing this gorgeous big cat and others around the globe,” said Kamler.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/cambodias-leopards-are-on-the-brink-of-extinction/

    These 5 entrepreneurs want to eliminate global food waste

    Image: PIXABAY

    Most people know that global hunger is a pressing issue — but what you may not know is that food waste is equally concerning. 

    This doesn’t seem to make sense: How is it that so many go hungry if there’s so much usable food heading to landfills? If you think the issue of food waste is counterintuitive, you’re not alone. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals outline a series of objectives to tackle global problems including hunger and food waste, among others. 

    There are a number of entrepreneurs who recognize that food waste is an unacceptable problem in our modern world — and they’re doing their part to bring the UN’s SDGs like zero hunger, sustainable agriculture practices, and sustainable consumption and production to fruition. Below are five individuals who are making a serious impact on every level of the food waste chain — from farming and agriculture to supermarkets and retail, all the way down to the individual consumer.

    Tristram Stuart, founder of Feedback

    Campaigning to improve every link of the “food waste” chain.

    When Tristram Stuart was just a teenager, he noticed a problem that many of us have likely observed at one point or another: Supermarkets, restaurants, bakeries, and grocers throwing away bins full of perfectly usable food.

    “We were wasting food at every link in the entire chain,” Stuart says in a video detailing his philosophy behind Feedback, the company he started in 2009 to address the problem of food waste. Feedback organizes action and awareness campaigns (as well as events) that target food waste from — literally — the ground up. From working with governments and international institutions to educating businesses and rallying grassroots organizations and the public, the group aims to be a catalyst for changing global attitudes about food waste.

    Stuart has dedicated his career to the issue; while researching for his book Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, he realized how many of the food waste issues facing supermarkets are tied up in buying policies and cosmetic standards — and sometimes, even stemming from obscure governmental regulations. He founded Feedback to fight these policies on a systemic level.

    Feedback’s first awareness event took place in London’s Trafalgar Square in December 2009 and fed 5,000 people — and the resulting media coverage was a catalyst for the UK government to change some of its policies about food waste. Today, Feedback has hosted similar events in 45 cities, and has had significant global impact on the way the world views waste.

    Tristram Stuart is part of the UBS Global Visionary program. Read more about his story and learn about other young entrepreneurs making an impact around the world.

    Nnaemeka Ikegwuonuu, founder of ColdHubs 

    Mitigating post-harvest losses for farmers in developing nations.

    In Nigeria, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, more than 35 million tons of fruits and veggies are produced each year. Yet, according to startup ColdHubs, 45% of this food spoils due to inadequate storage methods. And beyond this region of the world, post-harvest losses of fresh fruits and vegetables affect 470 million farmers and retailers in other developing nations. The bottom line: Small farmers may lose as much as 25% of their annual income due to spoilage.

    Enter Nnaemeka Ikegwuonuu, a Nigerian agriculturist. His startup is a social venture that produces modular, walk-in cold rooms that extend the shelf life of perishable foods — and not just by hours or days, but by weeks. The rooms are fueled by solar panels and high-capacity batteries, making them an eco-conscious solution for portable refrigeration. 

    Image: Nnaemeka Ikegwuonuu

    The company designs, assembles, installs, and commissions these rooms, which farmers purchase on a pay-as-you-store subscription model. Ikegwuonuu has long-term goals for ColdHubs: He plans to have 1,000 units operating in the next five years.

    Tessa Cook, founder of OLIO

    Addressing food waste on the consumer level.

    While food waste on a mass scale often occurs on the front lines of consumerism (places like grocery stores and supermarkets) or on an agricultural level, in the developed world, almost half of all food waste takes place in the home. Entrepreneur Tessa Cook wanted to do something to cut down the £13 billion worth of food that the UK collectively throws out each year.

    “It’s crazy that our solution to too much good food is to throw it away, and that there’s been no innovation since the rubbish bin,” says Cook. 

    To combat this issue, Cook and co-founder Saasha Celestial-One started OLIO, a free app that connects neighbors with local shops and cafes so that surplus food can be repurposed. The app (available for both Android and iPhone) is simple to use: Just snap a photo of items you wish to discard, and neighbors receive alerts and can request whatever piques their interest. Pickup is arranged via private message.

    There are multiple use cases for the app, Cook explains: Like when families go on a diet, move home, leave for vacation, over-cater a party, or receive unwanted gifts. (Finally, something to do with all those holiday fruit cakes.) 

    “Demand for surplus food is incredibly high, with 40% of listings requested in less than an hour, and 86% of listings requested in less than 24 hours,” Cook says. The app, which launched in the UK in January 2016 and globally in October 2016, has accrued more than 225,000 users to date.

    “So many go hungry and the environmental consequences are nothing short of devastating,” says Cook. “OLIO aims to make food sharing a viable alternative to the bin, and to do so in a way that is simple, convenient, and fun.”

    Amanda Weeks, cofounder of Industrial/Organic

    Putting food waste to good use.

    So, what about food waste that’s already on its way to the landfill? Amanda Weeks is an entrepreneur tackling the problem from another angle: Using waste as a resource. 

    Image: amanda weeks

    Industrial/Organic, Weeks’ Brooklyn-based startup tackling food recycling in urban areas, finds ways to put the water, energy, and nutrients of food waste to work. Through a multi-step recovery process (technically termed “anaerobic fermentation”), the company plans to up-cycle waste into bio-based products including household cleaners, fragrances, and organic fertilizer. It goes beyond composting; the process generates no methane, and produces fewer emissions and odors than other solutions.

    “Our approach closes several crucial loops necessary to support public health, environmental resilience, and economic growth,” explains the Industrial/Organic website. “We reclaim the resources spent on food that is wasted, and reuse them to create a more sustainable system for future generations.”

    Keiran Whitaker, founder of Entocycle

    Coming full circle: Up-cycling waste for agriculture.

    Keiran Olivares Whitaker‘s company, Entocycle, takes another creative approach to food waste recycling — harnessing the power of nature.

    “We are using nature to fight on two fronts: Tackling both the food waste we create, and the unsustainability of the protein farming industry,” explains Whitaker.

    Entocycle transforms food waste into sustainable, protein-based feed for the agriculture industry — all using the power of insects. The company is developing the first fully automated “smart factory” that produces insect protein meal.

    Image: keiran whitaker

    “Insects are nature’s recyclers, and a natural food for animals,” Whitaker explains. Entocycle’s darlings are black soldier flies, which transform food rubbish — things like spent beer grains, potato peelings, and fruit and vegetable waste — into viable animal feed pellets. The system employs vertical farming, so it’s able to produce large volumes of product in very small spaces. The whole up-cycling process takes less than a week.

    Entocycle’s facility is currently up and running in the heart of London. In collaboration with the Good Kitchen accelerator program, Entocycle aims to revolutionize the $150 billion animal feed industry, eventually replacing environmentally destructive solutions like fish and soy meal.

    Partnership for the goals: Achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals

    UBS White Paper

    This paper for the WEF Annual Meeting explores our progress in meeting our commitment to the UN SDGs, in particular our pledge to raise USD 5bn of client money within five years to fund the SDGs. We unveil more than 30 partnerships which UBS has forged with public and private organizations to support positive social and environmental change.

    Want to learn more about how to support organizations like those profiled here? Find out more about impact investing or read on about these other social entrepreneurs tackling global issues in innovative ways.

    The value of investments can go down as well as up. Your capital and income is at risk. Assets used for secured borrowing are at risk if you do not keep up with repayments. In the UK, UBS AG is authorized by the Prudential Regulation Authority and subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and limited regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority. © UBS 2017. All rights reserved.

    Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/02/05/food-waste-social-entrepreneurs/

    Nestle Debuts Natural Ruby Chocolate in KitKat-Crazed Japan

    Nestle SA will sweeten Japan’s Valentine’s Day with ruby-chocolate KitKats, choosing one of the world’s most candy-obsessed markets for the debut of the first new type of natural chocolate in more than 80 years.

    Nestle struck a deal with Zurich-based Barry Callebaut AG, the developer of ruby chocolate, giving it exclusive rights for six months to the breakthrough product with a pinkish hue and a natural berry flavor that’s sour yet sweet. The ruby chocolates go on sale at KitKat boutiques in Japan and South Korea as well as online beginning Thursday, ensuring chocolate lovers will have access to the treat before the Feb. 14 holiday.

    While Japan has seen many colors and flavors for KitKats before — its penchant for eccentric flavors such as wasabi or Hokkaido melon has attracted both locals and tourists — this is the first time ruby chocolate is going on sale since Barry Callebaut announced the innovation in September.

    “Japan is the market that has made KitKat so iconic in terms of all the different flavors they’ve developed,” Sandra Martinez, Nestle’s global head of confectionery, said in an interview. “This makes Japan the ideal market to go with this news, and KitKat is a brand that’s modern and connects well with millennials, so it’s the right brand to put the first ruby chocolate in the world.”

    Read this: Chocolate Gets First Addition to Color Palette in 80 Years

    The move also underscores Nestle’s commitment to the KitKat brand, even after taking a major step away from chocolate this week by selling its U.S. confectionery unit to Italian Nutella maker Ferrero SpA. The $2.8 billion sale of the business, which includes Butterfinger and Baby Ruth candy bars, comes as Nestle plans to focus on healthier and faster-growing categories like coffee, pet food and water.

    Ruby chocolate, which is based on a special type of cocoa bean found in Ivory Coast, Ecuador and Brazil, is naturally a pinkish color from the powder extracted during processing. Standard chocolate KitKats are made from a blend of cocoa liquor, milk and cocoa butter, and the colored varieties are produced using natural food dyes.

    The innovation comes after about a decade of development. Barry Callebaut, which works behind the scenes to produce chocolate sold by all the major producers including Hershey Co. and Cadbury, chose to introduce the product through Nestle, which invented white chocolate more than 80 years ago. Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestle will introduce the bars in Australia by the second quarter, and is eyeing Latin America by the end of the year.

    Asia's Sweet Tooth

    Japan leads Asia's chocolate confectionery market

    Source: Euromonitor International

    Japan’s $5 billion chocolate confectionery market is Asia’s largest, according to Euromonitor International. It’s also one of KitKat’s biggest markets, creating enough demand that Nestle last summer built its first KitKat factory in 26 years. Meiji Holdings Co., a Japanese chocolate maker, is investing some 27 billion yen ($240 million) into extending two domestic factories amid growing chocolate consumption in the country.

      Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-18/nestle-debuts-natural-ruby-chocolate-in-kitkat-crazed-japan

      35+ Actors Who Underwent Dramatic Transformations For A Role

      Acting, how hard can it be? Many of us have probably fancied ourselves as a bit of a star in the making who, with a bit of luck and some help memorising the lines, could quite easily play the role of a leading man or lady. As actors themselves know however, it’s a job that takes incredible amounts of skill and dedication. It often goes far beyond slipping into character to deliver a few lines here and there, wearing some make-up or perhaps a fake moustache.

      Here at Bored Panda we have decided to pay homage to those actors that took their transformations to the extreme, those who undertook vast physical and mental efforts to portray their characters in the most authentic and accurate way possible. Many of these actors won prestigious awards for their work, and rightly so! Scroll down below to see and learn about the dramatic changes these stars underwent for their craft, and don’t forget to vote for your favourite!

      In The Machinist (2004), Christian Bale plays the role of Trevor Reznik, a machinist with severe insomnia. The lack of sleep leads to severe weight loss, so Reznik becomes extremely thin. To be fit for the character Bale needed to look drastically thin, so he had to lose a lot of weight. He went from from 173 pounds to 110 pounds. To lose these 63 pounds, the actor followed a draconian diet: for…

      In The Machinist (2004), Christian Bale plays the role of Trevor Reznik, a machinist with severe insomnia. The lack of sleep leads to severe weight loss, so Reznik becomes extremely thin. To be fit for the character Bale needed to look drastically thin, so he had to lose a lot of weight. He went from from 173 pounds to 110 pounds. To lose these 63 pounds, the actor followed a draconian diet: for almost four months he ate only one can of tuna fish and one apple per day.

      This type of diet is a very low calorie diet, ensuring only around 260 calories a day. There are 194 calories in one can (6.5 ounce) of tuna in water, and one medium size apple (about 150 g) has 80 calories. The “menu” was completed with black coffee and water.

      Besides the extremely low calorie intake, the foods chosen for this diet are, by themselves, metabolism boosters. Due to the caffeine content, coffee increases the metabolism. The apples are high in sugar and pectin (a soluble fiber) which dampens down the appetite.

      To lose weight faster, Christian Bale exercised hard. The star’s exercise regime included intensive cardio workouts and intensive resistance/weight training workouts.

      (Source: Diethics.com)

      Of all the actors who had to pack on mass for a movie, few in recent memory have taken to the task with such zeal, and notable success, as Chris Hemsworth when he landed the part of Thor.

      For the first film, Hemsworth hit the gym with trainer and former Navy SEAL Duffy Gaver, who applied an old-school bodybuilding approach—with careful attention given to Hemsworth’s arms and…

      Of all the actors who had to pack on mass for a movie, few in recent memory have taken to the task with such zeal, and notable success, as Chris Hemsworth when he landed the part of Thor.

      For the first film, Hemsworth hit the gym with trainer and former Navy SEAL Duffy Gaver, who applied an old-school bodybuilding approach—with careful attention given to Hemsworth’s arms and shoulders. Thor, after all, often appears sleeveless, but rarely shirtless. All told, Hemsworth gained 20 pounds, laying the foundation for a physique he’s maintained at or close to peak condition for Thor’s recurring role in The Avengers and the solo sequel, Thor: The Dark World.

      Hemsworth was a model of consistency, and the physique he built has made “Chris Hemsworth Workout” the top search suggestion when you punch the actor’s name into Google.

      “People see Chris and they think he was on steroids, but he didn’t touch a single substance,” Gaver says. “It was just red meat, heavy weights and some protein powder. He crushed every single workout. He simply decided to look like Thor.”

      (Source: Muscle and Fitness)

      Jonah Hill’s weight has fluctuated back and forth from lean to full-figured over the past few years. He slimmed down for the action-comedy 22 Jump Street in 2014, but gained 40lbs for his role in War Dogs in 2016 to play real-life arms dealer Efraim Diveroli.

      These days Hill is a much slimmer figure in general and appears to have put his weight battles behind him. His physique looks almost unrecognizable compared…

      Jonah Hill’s weight has fluctuated back and forth from lean to full-figured over the past few years. He slimmed down for the action-comedy 22 Jump Street in 2014, but gained 40lbs for his role in War Dogs in 2016 to play real-life arms dealer Efraim Diveroli.

      These days Hill is a much slimmer figure in general and appears to have put his weight battles behind him. His physique looks almost unrecognizable compared to his burly figure in films like Superbad, The Sitter, and This Is the End, making for quite the body transformation.

      Gyllenhaal gained 15lbs of muscle to play a middleweight boxer in the movie ‘Southpaw,’ by working out six hours a day for six months, including at the Las Vegas gym of Floyd Mayweather, the champion boxer.

      Southpaw’s director, Antoine Fuqua said that “We literally turned him into a beast. Jake, my god, he’s a very electric, powerful fighter in this movie. He’s so committed and gives his…

      Gyllenhaal gained 15lbs of muscle to play a middleweight boxer in the movie ‘Southpaw,’ by working out six hours a day for six months, including at the Las Vegas gym of Floyd Mayweather, the champion boxer.

      Southpaw’s director, Antoine Fuqua said that “We literally turned him into a beast. Jake, my god, he’s a very electric, powerful fighter in this movie. He’s so committed and gives his heart. The word is sacrifice.”

      He was spending so much time in the gym and was so committed to the role that his relationship with Alyssa Miller ended. “The amount of time you have to put into it, the sacrifice that you put into your body, it’s not something that you’re eager to do again. It’s a huge commitment.” Gyllenhaal said about his gruelling preparation for the role.

      (Source: Huffpost)

      An astounding aspect of the movie ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ is actor Matthew McConaughey’s remarkable weight loss. He dropped over 40lbs for the based-on-true-events story of AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, a man who challenges the US government to bring unapproved medication to other sufferers. McConaughey explained how, despite concerns from others over the potential negative impact on his health, he found he had plenty of energy, mentally at least…

      An astounding aspect of the movie ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ is actor Matthew McConaughey’s remarkable weight loss. He dropped over 40lbs for the based-on-true-events story of AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, a man who challenges the US government to bring unapproved medication to other sufferers. McConaughey explained how, despite concerns from others over the potential negative impact on his health, he found he had plenty of energy, mentally at least – to complete the unremitting 25-day shoot.

      “The amount of energy I lost from the neck down, I gained from the neck up,” he says. “I’ve seen people dying from HIV and cancer, and the last thing to go is the neck up. They are just savage from the neck up – their body is withering away but they are like a starving baby eagle in the nest waiting for the worm. So during filming, I had plenty of energy. I needed three hours less sleep a night.”

      “I did it in as healthy a way as I found possible,” he says.

      “I met with a nutritionist. I gave myself four months to lose the weight. I had my programmed meals, lost 3.5lb a week – like clockwork – and got down to my desired weight.’’

      (Source: Radio Times)

      “Three or four hours a day of just consistent, ass-kicking hard work.” Is how Chris Pratt, star of the film ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ditched 60 pounds in six months. Pratt, who is most known for playing Andy Dwyer in the sitcom ‘Parks and Recreation,’ was in the neighborhood of 300 pounds when he auditioned for the Marvel movie.

      Marvel would pair Pratt with personal trainer Duffy Gaver and nutritionist…

      “Three or four hours a day of just consistent, ass-kicking hard work.” Is how Chris Pratt, star of the film ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ditched 60 pounds in six months. Pratt, who is most known for playing Andy Dwyer in the sitcom ‘Parks and Recreation,’ was in the neighborhood of 300 pounds when he auditioned for the Marvel movie.

      Marvel would pair Pratt with personal trainer Duffy Gaver and nutritionist Phil Goglia. Goglia revamped Pratt’s diet, hiking his caloric intake to 4,000 calories a day and adding lots and lots of water—one for every pound he weighed.  “I was peeing all day long, every day. That part was a nightmare,” Pratt said.

      Admittedly, Pratt had started gaining weight purposely for his Parks and Recreation character, but now he’s committed to remaining ripped: “It gave me a sense of absolute control,” he said.

      (Source: Men’s Fitness)

      Natalie Portman endured a punishing schedule for her role as a ballerina in Black Swan, which left her fearing she was going to die.

      The waif-like 29-year-old lost 20lb for the role, eating little more than carrots and almonds on a punishing diet, and spent eight hours a day in rehearsals. Ms. Portman, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of the desperately ambitious, perfectionist dancer, said:…

      Natalie Portman endured a punishing schedule for her role as a ballerina in Black Swan, which left her fearing she was going to die.

      The waif-like 29-year-old lost 20lb for the role, eating little more than carrots and almonds on a punishing diet, and spent eight hours a day in rehearsals. Ms. Portman, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of the desperately ambitious, perfectionist dancer, said: “There were some nights that I thought I literally was going to die.”

      The film left her physically and emotionally drained: “It was the first time I understood how you could get so wrapped up in a role that it could sort of take you down.”

      The actress, who dislocated a rib during rehearsals, said recently: “All dancers are always dancing with an extreme injury. Not just a sore muscle, they’re dancing on a sprained ankle or with a twisted neck or something. You’ll see them do incredible stuff and then limp off stage, straight to a bucket of ice. Part of the art is hiding all the pain.”

      The film received mixed reviews from ballerinas. Racheal Prince, of Ballet British Columbia, said she thought Ms. Portman’s character was exaggerated. “She’s anorexic, bulimic, crazy,” the 26-year-old dancer said. “I’m sure every dancer struggles with little things here and there, but for one girl to struggle with every single problem out there, it just makes us look crazy.”

      (Source: The Independent)

      The lengths to which Leto went for his latest role might seem just a tad extreme. To play John Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman, in J.P. Schaefer’s film, “Chapter 27,” Leto packed 67 pounds onto his lanky frame to better approximate the killer’s doughy physique. By the end of filming, the extra weight had taken such a toll that he could no longer walk to the set. It’s…

      The lengths to which Leto went for his latest role might seem just a tad extreme. To play John Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman, in J.P. Schaefer’s film, “Chapter 27,” Leto packed 67 pounds onto his lanky frame to better approximate the killer’s doughy physique. By the end of filming, the extra weight had taken such a toll that he could no longer walk to the set. It’s easily his most dramatic transformation to date.

      “I’m not sure it was the wisest choice,” he admits. “A friend of mine was recently going to gain weight for a film, and I did my best to talk him out of it. Just because you can lose the weight doesn’t mean the impact it had on you isn’t there anymore.”

      The abruptness of Leto’s weight gain gave him gout and a doctor’s recommendation to take Lipitor. But Leto says slipping into Chapman’s skin was the best way to understand him. “The script didn’t say, ‘Page 1: You gain 67 pounds, and you’re miserable for two months.’ But as I started to research, I realized that the physical representation of this guy had so much to do with who he was.”

      (Source: LA Times)

      Jared Leto lost an astonishing 40 pounds to play a transsexual with AIDS in ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ alongside his co-star Matthew McConaughey whose weight loss is described above.

      How did he do it? “I stopped eating, it wasn’t an easy thing to do. It was 30 or 40 pounds. After a while I stopped counting.”

      Ultimately his weight dropped to 114 pounds to play Rayon, a…

      Jared Leto lost an astonishing 40 pounds to play a transsexual with AIDS in ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ alongside his co-star Matthew McConaughey whose weight loss is described above.

      How did he do it? “I stopped eating, it wasn’t an easy thing to do. It was 30 or 40 pounds. After a while I stopped counting.”

      Ultimately his weight dropped to 114 pounds to play Rayon, a transsexual with the HIV virus and then AIDS. Losing that much weight changed him, he said. “It changes the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you think,” he said.

      After his extreme weight gain for the movie ‘Chapter 27,’also described above, it’s clear that Leto is incredibly dedicated to his art. The hard work and dedication paid off as ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ won a plethora of awards, and he bagged an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film.

      (Source: The Wrap)

      “When it came to conditioning my body for the role of Charles Bronson there was no official regime: I did very non-specific exercises such as press ups, pushups, abs work and resistance training with the help of my boy Pnut, who is 16 stone of pure muscle and also an ex-US Marine. Essentially I was using him as my machine; he was like a walking gym. My approach…

      “When it came to conditioning my body for the role of Charles Bronson there was no official regime: I did very non-specific exercises such as press ups, pushups, abs work and resistance training with the help of my boy Pnut, who is 16 stone of pure muscle and also an ex-US Marine. Essentially I was using him as my machine; he was like a walking gym. My approach was to do a lot of repetitions in order to send messages to my muscles: this helps them start to grow in a way that you can’t make them in the gym. To achieve dense muscle, you need a specific kind of training. Also, to “become” Charlie Bronson I had to quickly put a lot of weight quickly on my forearms, chest and neck. By the time I’d finished, my legs looked like those of a stork in comparison to the top half of my body.”

      “I had five weeks to make the transition into Britain’s most dangerous criminal and it was a race against the clock: We didn’t have any time to waste, so I started eating and my arse very quickly got very fat. For Bronson, I put on about 7lbs a week — with no steroids. In the end I’d put on about 2 and a half stone by eating chicken and rice, which was my staple diet throughout the day. Then I’d have a pizza, Häagen-Dazs and Coca-Cola: So not good stuff, but I had to put weight on. I needed to put a layer of fat on my body, because Bronson when he was younger was a big guy, a brawler. My diet was lenient as we weren’t going for the Bruce Lee look and we weren’t looking for the cut.”

      “Initially Charles Bronson was very disappointed when he saw me. He said “This kid will never be able to play me.” I just told him, “Don’t worry Charlie I’ll fix it.”  When I came back two weeks later he was thoroughly impressed with what he saw. His sister had been telling him good things about the way I’d been doing his voice and the way I moved like him, but his concern was the physicality of my portrayal of him, but I think I did a good job in the end.”

      (Source: AskMen)

      The actor had to put on 50 lbs (23 kg) during pre-production to make him look like a middle-aged man. When Tom Hanks was in this shape, they shot the parts of the film before the island scenes, and then took a year off to let Tom lose weight to impersonate a real cast away. He didn’t shave or cut his hair for weeks and shed 55lb in…

      The actor had to put on 50 lbs (23 kg) during pre-production to make him look like a middle-aged man. When Tom Hanks was in this shape, they shot the parts of the film before the island scenes, and then took a year off to let Tom lose weight to impersonate a real cast away. He didn’t shave or cut his hair for weeks and shed 55lb in four months with a diet and a tough exercise regime.

      “The idea of looking at four months of constant vigilance as far as what I ate, as well as two hours a day in the gym doing nothing but a monotonous kind of work-out was formidable. You have to power yourself through it almost by some sort of meditation trickery. It’s not glamorous,†Hanks said.

      His diet consisted mainly of: crab, fish, vegetables, very little carbohydrate from fruits, coconut milk and water. When Hanks felt hungry, he ate large amounts of vegetables. This allowed him to consume natural food without having to go hungry between meals. This diet later became famously known as the Castaway Diet.

      (Source: WatchFit)

      The Queens rapper 50 Cent shed nearly 60 pounds to play a football player who has been diagnosed with cancer in the Mario Van Peebles film, ‘Things Fall Apart.’

      Fitty, who normally tips the scales at 214 pounds, released a photo of himself at a frail 160lbs.

      The rapper says he lost the weight by going on a liquid diet and spending three hours a day…

      The Queens rapper 50 Cent shed nearly 60 pounds to play a football player who has been diagnosed with cancer in the Mario Van Peebles film, ‘Things Fall Apart.’

      Fitty, who normally tips the scales at 214 pounds, released a photo of himself at a frail 160lbs.

      The rapper says he lost the weight by going on a liquid diet and spending three hours a day on the treadmill for nine weeks.

      “I was starving,” he said. The 34-year-old, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, also removed his arm tattoos for ‘Things Fall Apart.’ “It cuts down on the amount of time I have to spend in makeup covering them up.â€

      (Source: NY Daily News)

      Chris Hemsworth says he lost around 15 pounds in the course of shooting the historical seafaring epic ‘In the Heart of the Sea.’ That may not seem like a huge amount when compared to say the 60-or-so pounds Christian Bale famously made disappear for 2004’s The Machinist, but Hemsworth had already trimmed down to star in the thriller Black Hat, which he had shot immediately before.

      “When you’re already starting off lean,…

      Chris Hemsworth says he lost around 15 pounds in the course of shooting the historical seafaring epic ‘In the Heart of the Sea.’ That may not seem like a huge amount when compared to say the 60-or-so pounds Christian Bale famously made disappear for 2004’s The Machinist, but Hemsworth had already trimmed down to star in the thriller Black Hat, which he had shot immediately before.

      “When you’re already starting off lean, it’s brutal to chew through that kind of weight. Every pound feels like a kilogram.,†he said.

      In the based-on-real events film, Hemsworth plays a 19th-century seaman called Owen Chase, first mate of whaling ship the Essex. After a whale destroys their ship, Chase and the rest of the crew have to survive the elements, and lack of food, in tiny, lifeboat-sized craft.

      To convincingly depict starving men, the cast members’ diets were steadily reduced over the course of the production. By the time they began to shoot on the open sea around the Canary Islands, the actors were consuming just 500 calories a day.

      “We kind of went insane, weighing ourselves every day,†says Hemsworth. “We all felt like a bunch of supermodels, trying to get down in weight for a show, or something. That’s all we spoke about. You’ve got 15 burly blokes on the sea and all we talked about was our diet, and who’d lost more weight, and who’s looking really skinny. It’s ridiculous!â€

      (Source: Entertainment Weekly)

      Charlize Theron gained 30lbs for ‘Monster’, the movie role that showed audiences Theron was far more than a pretty face. Charlize Theron’s weight gain for Aileen Wuornos, the real life serial killer she portrayed, showed how committed she was to the role and her position as an actress in Hollywood.

      Charlize Theron’s diet, and that word is used loosely, for her role in ‘Monster’ consisted of donuts…

      Charlize Theron gained 30lbs for ‘Monster’, the movie role that showed audiences Theron was far more than a pretty face. Charlize Theron’s weight gain for Aileen Wuornos, the real life serial killer she portrayed, showed how committed she was to the role and her position as an actress in Hollywood.

      Charlize Theron’s diet, and that word is used loosely, for her role in ‘Monster’ consisted of donuts and potato chips to pack on the 30lbs needed to look more like Wuornos. It wasn’t the first time she put herself through dieting of some kind for a role – though the actress did the opposite when she portrayed a dying woman in ‘Sweet November.’

      However, Theron has said that getting “fat†wasn’t the actual goal in her makeover for Wuornos, who she says wasn’t fat at all. It was more about lifestyle, letting herself go so she could get closer to the place Wuornos was physically.

      (Source: Foods For Better Health)

      To prepare for the part, the usually tall, slender beauty looked unrecognizable — gaining 30 pounds, wearing prosthetic teeth, piling on make-up and practicing a tougher physical posture. “Monster” writer-director Patty Jenkins spoke to CNN about Theron’s transformation, saying it was less about making Theron “fat and ugly” and more about the little things. “Yeah, just shocking because it was little details. It was, ‘Oh, she was homeless. She lived on the street in bad weather. OK, well that means sun damage.’ Well, then we addressed the sun damage. She was insecure about her hair, OK, well, then we address the hair. It was little little layers and then suddenly she’s Aileen,” Jenkins said.

      The actor worked with fitness trainer Patrick Murphy four to five times a week for four to six months to prepare for ‘Baywatch,’ while following a strict, clean diet that entailed giving up sugars and carbs completely for days on end.

      “Patrick’s training was confusing at first…I just thought I was showing up to lift weights and get a deeper six pack (which is hard enough already),”…

      The actor worked with fitness trainer Patrick Murphy four to five times a week for four to six months to prepare for ‘Baywatch,’ while following a strict, clean diet that entailed giving up sugars and carbs completely for days on end.

      “Patrick’s training was confusing at first…I just thought I was showing up to lift weights and get a deeper six pack (which is hard enough already),” Zac said. “But rather than the typical bodybuilding type of movements I had become accustomed to, Patrick pushed me to my ‘functional’ limits with a very multifaceted style: strength, explosiveness, fast paced, calculated, diverse and gut-wrenching workouts. It was fun…you never know what he’s going to throw at you the next day.”

      But which workouts did the actor not enjoy so much? Group circuits with power moves. What exactly does this entail? Something like “20 alternating jump lunges in one place, 20 jump squats, 60 mountain climbers, power pushups, followed by a run up five flights of stairs, then one-leg squat hops using a TRX rope,” explained the trainer.

      Rest…for one minute. Then he would have to do the circuits again…twice. “That’s more than 1,000 repetitions on the body,” he added. To prevent fitness plateau, the trainer would switch up the routine to push the actor harder.

      To recap, in order to get Zac Efron-status fit, we need to work out three times a day, change up our workouts, listen to our body, correct our form and eat a whole-foods-form diet. Easy.

      (Source: E! News)

      J.K. Simmons seriously underwent a shred in order to play Commissioner Gordon in Justice League.

      Aside from a tremendous amount of dedication to his regimen, Simmons credits part of his success to his trainer Aaron Williamson. An ex-Marine, Williamson’s been providing elite-level training—morphing Hollywood A-listers into bona fide muscleheads like he’s cranking out action figures on an assembly line—to the likes of Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson, Jamie…

      J.K. Simmons seriously underwent a shred in order to play Commissioner Gordon in Justice League.

      Aside from a tremendous amount of dedication to his regimen, Simmons credits part of his success to his trainer Aaron Williamson. An ex-Marine, Williamson’s been providing elite-level training—morphing Hollywood A-listers into bona fide muscleheads like he’s cranking out action figures on an assembly line—to the likes of Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson, Jamie Foxx, and Jai Courtney. He first got his hands on Simmons in 2015 to help him shape up for Terminator Genisys.

      At first, Simmons wanted to escape the doldrums of the film’s set, which was based in Louisiana, but after shooting wrapped Simmons felt he was ready for a full-body change.

      “He wanted to get into the best shape he had ever been in,” Williamson says, adding, “J.K.’s goal was to adopt a healthy lifestyle and never have to worry again about health issues.”

      (Source: Men’s Fitness)

      Transforming into Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil, the first female Navy SEAL, for the movie G.I. Jane was not an easy task. The Demi Moore workout and diet are what she used to become G.I Jane, and included real Navy SEAL training, combined with a lot of strength, cardio, and martial arts.

      For G.I. Jane, Moore’s workout would start at 4:00 am, in order to finish before filming started….

      Transforming into Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil, the first female Navy SEAL, for the movie G.I. Jane was not an easy task. The Demi Moore workout and diet are what she used to become G.I Jane, and included real Navy SEAL training, combined with a lot of strength, cardio, and martial arts.

      For G.I. Jane, Moore’s workout would start at 4:00 am, in order to finish before filming started. Living in New York City at the time, she had multiple security guards following her while running in Central Park.

      She used celebrity trainer Gregory Joujon-Roche for getting in shape, and Navy SEAL instructor Stephen Helvenston to gain that visceral, Navy SEAL mindset while filming. To immerse herself in the role she shaved her head, did Navy SEAL obstacle courses and other military-type exercises such as underwater running,  one arm pushups and sit-ups in the mud.

      (Source: Pop Workouts)

      Before he knocked audiences on their asses with American History X, Edward Norton wasn’t much more than a solid actor with a bad haircut and few decent flicks under his belt.

      Then he stomped onto the screen as Derek Vinyard, a raging neo-Nazi skinhead with the kind of physically imposing look that would make most men cross the street. Norton didn’t just have the cut biceps and…

      Before he knocked audiences on their asses with American History X, Edward Norton wasn’t much more than a solid actor with a bad haircut and few decent flicks under his belt.

      Then he stomped onto the screen as Derek Vinyard, a raging neo-Nazi skinhead with the kind of physically imposing look that would make most men cross the street. Norton didn’t just have the cut biceps and chiseled chest of a typical Hollywood leading man, he looked like a guy who had spent some time lifting weights in the joint. So how did the scrawny Ivy Leaguer go from Yale grad to jail bird? A high protein diet mixed with strength-building exercises like squats and presses.

      His coach Anthony Krotes put the emphasis on weight training with heavy weight and low repetitions. The result was 30lbs of muscle and a lean, mean look that perfectly suited his tough character in the movie.

      (Source: Men’s Fitness)

      The 47-year-old Oscar winner transformed his appearance to play gold prospector Kenny Wells, adding 47 lbs. to his typically athletic frame.

      McConaughey famously lost 38 lbs. for ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ but ‘Gold’ marked the first time he’d ever gained weight for a role without adding muscle mass. “I haven’t ever done that. I said, ‘McConaughey, you have six months to say yes to whatever you want to…

      The 47-year-old Oscar winner transformed his appearance to play gold prospector Kenny Wells, adding 47 lbs. to his typically athletic frame.

      McConaughey famously lost 38 lbs. for ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ but ‘Gold’ marked the first time he’d ever gained weight for a role without adding muscle mass. “I haven’t ever done that. I said, ‘McConaughey, you have six months to say yes to whatever you want to eat and whatever you want to drink. Whenever.’ That was fun,” he says. “The only thing that gets tiring is the thought of quitting. It was fortunate that I was like, ‘Oh, this is also my job, so let’s go—all green lights.'”

      Surprisingly, packing on the pounds was much easier than he’d anticipated.

      “My favorite food is cheeseburgers, so I was eating cheeseburgers all the time. I was making cheeseburgers. I was trying out all these fast food restaurants that I’ve never had, or I’ve only had one time,” he explains. “Not that much sweets. Cheeseburgers and beer will do the trick.”

      In addition to eating “whatever I wanted,” McConaughey stopped working out altogether. “I wouldn’t even take the stairs to the second floor,” he says. “That would be too much exercise.”

      McConaughey’s three children with wife Camila Alves “loved” their dad’s gluttonous phase. “I was Captain Fun—that was my nickname around the house, because I was saying ‘yes’ to everything. I was a really fun dad for that six months because I was like, ‘No, pizza night’s not just Friday night—it’s Tuesday night; it’s Wednesday morning.'”

      (Source: E! News)

      The 30-year-old actress was so committed to the role that she chopped off her signature long brunette tresses and dropped 25 pounds for the film ‘Les Miserables.’ There were even rumors she was on an extreme crash diet and eating fewer than 500 calories a day in order to achieve rapid weight loss. But according to Hathaway’s representative the reports were “a huge exaggeration,†adding that Hathaway was…

      The 30-year-old actress was so committed to the role that she chopped off her signature long brunette tresses and dropped 25 pounds for the film ‘Les Miserables.’ There were even rumors she was on an extreme crash diet and eating fewer than 500 calories a day in order to achieve rapid weight loss. But according to Hathaway’s representative the reports were “a huge exaggeration,†adding that Hathaway was indeed on a special diet, but she was consuming more than 500 calories a day.

      However, rumors of a starvation diet don’t sound too far off from reality. The actress lost 10 pounds courtesy of a strict cleanse before filming began, and followed it up by losing another 15 pounds by eating just two thin squares of dried oatmeal paste a day. For Hathaway, losing the weight for the role was a consuming experience:

      “I had to be obsessive about it—the idea was to look near death. Looking back on the whole experience—and I don’t judge it in any way—it was definitely a little nuts. It was definitely a break with reality, but I think that’s who Fantine is anyway,†she explained.

      “I was in such a state of deprivation—physical and emotional. When I got home, I couldn’t react to the chaos of the world without being overwhelmed. It took me weeks till I felt like myself again.â€

      (Source: HuffPost)

      http://www.boredpanda.com/actors-who-changed-for-movie-role-body-transformation-weight-loss-gain/

      Chipotle Plummets After Storms, Hacker Attack Ravage Profit

      Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. fell as much as 11 percent in late trading after recent hurricanes and a hacker attack hammered earnings last quarter, adding obstacles to the burrito chain’s elusive comeback.

      Profit amounted to 69 cents a share last quarter, net of expenses tied to the data-security breach earlier this year and hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Analysts had estimated about $1.63 a share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

      The results suggest that Chipotle’s turnaround effort remains slow going. The Denver-based company has been reeling since an E. coli outbreak struck in 2015, crushing its sales, profit and stock price. The chain had started to recover in the past year, but then a norovirus incident in Virginia — along with a video of mice at a Dallas location — sparked a fresh round of negative headlines.

      “There is a sense that Chipotle’s rebirth is running out of steam,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. “There is no single reason for the slowdown; rather, a number of factors have conspired in making this a somber quarter for the company.”

      Chief Executive Officer Steve Ells acknowledged that the latest results weren’t what he hoped for, but he believes the company’s revival is still on course.

      “We’re embracing the things we need to reach our full potential,” Ells said in an interview. “From a structure standpoint — and a feeling internally — the teams are ready.”

      Investors may still need more convincing. Chipotle shares fell as low as $290 in extended trading. The stock had slipped 14 percent to $324.30 this year through Tuesday’s close.

      “There were a lot of unusual items in the quarter,” Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung said. In addition to the breach and the storms, higher avocado prices hurt results. These aren’t recurring costs, he said.

      But even when ignoring Chipotle’s one-time setbacks, its numbers were a bit worse than analysts had projected. Same-store sales grew 1 percent, missing the 1.2 percent estimate. Total revenue came in at $1.13 billion, short of the $1.14 billion projection.

      The company expects same-store sales to gain 6.5 percent this year. That’s below the 7.2 percent estimate compiled by Consensus Metrix.

      One bright spot was the rollout of queso last quarter. Sales gained 4 percent after the item was added to menus nationwide in September, Hartung said.

      Chipotle executives have been banking on queso to help the chain regain its allure. On the previous earnings call in July, company officials mentioned the new product roughly two dozen times. The cheese dip is the centerpiece of Chipotle’s attempts to win back customers with advertising.

      The company has said that customers have requested queso for years. It’s typically made with processed cheese, but Chipotle created a recipe that was designed to meet its natural-food standards.

      Some customers have complained on social media that the consistency is grainy. The criticism led Chief Marketing Officer Mark Crumpacker to implore employees to ignore the outcry in a companywide memo last month.

      Chipotle suffered through five straight quarters of same-store sales declines in the aftermath of 2015’s E. coli outbreak. The company’s stock had hit an all-time high of $757.77 earlier that year, but it’s now lost more than half of its value.

      The data breach, meanwhile, struck Chipotle’s payment systems in the spring. The company warned investors about the problem in April and said in May that it had successfully removed malicious software from its systems.

      The restaurant chain also has been reining in its growth ambitions. It’s now looking to open slightly fewer locations this year than the low end of its previous range of 195 to 210. And management expects to add a smaller number of restaurants in 2018.

      “The company has lost quite a lot of the momentum it built over the past six months,” GlobalData Retail’s Saunders said.

        Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-24/chipotle-plummets-after-storms-and-hacker-attack-ravage-profit

        Heres what happens when you cut out just 10% of meat from your diet

        Vegetarians and vegans in the UK are up in arms against an alternative health food brand after it promoted full-fat milk on Instagram. 

        Rude Health is a London-based company that prides itself of selling natural ingredients-only muesli, granola, almond and coconut milks with no artificial ingredients and nothing refined. 

        For this reason, it’s incredibly popular not only among lactose-intolerant and health-conscious people, but also among vegetarians and vegans. 

        However, their latest Instagram post, featuring a gif of a guy throwing stones in a river, seems to suggest Rude Health’s ethos about food is pivoting in a different direction. 

        The post, which has the motto “You’re in Rude Health when…you skim stones, not milk,” reads:

        “We may be dairy alternative producers but that doesn’t mean we are against dairy. Quite the opposite. We are for good quality, proper milk…we’re talking whole milk. Full fat milk. We don’t use skimmed milk powder in any of our foods. Nature has provided us with an ingredients that is the perfect balance of protein, good fats and natural sugars (lactose). Why mess with it? When they take cream out of milk, they remove most of the texture and all of the joy. We are not skimmed milk people, we live life to the full, with full fat dairy products.”

        Even from the first line — “we’re not against milk” — the post has a whiff of a PR move or publicity stunt. It’s unclear if the company is planning to release dairy products, but it’s certainly advocating them. 

        Safe to say the vegan community on Instagram and Twitter wasn’t happy, to say the least: 

        Some people and shops said they’d be boycotting Rude Health from now on: 

        But that is not all. 

        What really enraged Rude Health customers is an anti-vegetarian and anti-vegan rant from co-founder Camilla Barnard. 

        In a blog post dated 26 September, which resurfaced now after the full-fat milk saga, Barnard hits out against those two regimes saying they promise “to save you from cancer and early death and save the animals while you’re at it” if you fall for “What the Health, Okja and other popaganda films masquerading as documentaries on Netflix.”

        Her words have been interpreted as an inexplicable and sanctimonious way to alienate Rude Health’s main customer base:

        People had a lot of feelings about it: 

        And the boycott movement seems to be growing:

        Camilla Barnard and Nick Barnard told Mashable that the company is not against vegetarianism or veganism or other food or lifestyle choices but it is concerned about “anxiety around food and anxiety around eating or not eating certain foods or food groups.”

        “For those who know us only for our dairy-free drinks, which happen to be vegan as well as dairy-free, it may seem strange that Rude Health does not promote itself as a vegan company,” they said in a statement. 

        “Our range is about quality and choice and our focus is on flavour, responsible sourcing and the enjoyment of food, so much so, that we tend to rant about it from time to time, be that on social media, on our website, or in a field in North Wales.

        We worry about people feeling confused or guilty about the food they eat. We rave about eating as a social activity and about reconnecting with food, through education. We rave about choice. 

        At Rude Health we believe food is more than a way to simply nourish us; it should be a pleasurable, social and thoughtful part of our lives. We eat to live and live to eat and embrace all foods as long as they are sustainably produced and as unrefined as possible. What we really want is for everyone to be in rude health. How each and every one of us achieves this goal is truly personal and very individual.”

        Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/19/rude-health-alternative-food-vegans-vegetarians/

        Could this ‘miracle’ grain from Africa become the next quinoa?

        (CNN)As a child, Pierre Thiam didn’t think there was anything extraordinary about fonio; a tiny-grained cereal he often ate on summer vacations at his grandparents’.

        Decades later he sees it as the “miracle” grain that could replace quinoa and transform the economy of the Sahel.
        Fonio has been grown for over 5,000 years and is possibly the oldest cultivated cereal in Africa. The gluten-free grain, native to Thiam’s birth country, Senegal, has been touted as the next quinoa.
          “It is nutritious, particularly rich in methionine and cysteine, two amino acids that are deficient in most other major grains: barley, rice or wheat to name a few,” the chef said of fonio at the recently concluded TEDGlobal Conference in Tanzania.
          And it is from exporting this grain that he believes the Sahel can turn its economy around.

          The mystery of a grain

          Years ago while doing research for his cookbook, Thiam was reintroduced to fonio, the grain he knew from childhood.
          He would later learn that everywhere fonio was grown, it was shrouded in myths and superstitious beliefs.
          “In Casamance, Senegal (where my parents are from), growing fonio around one’s compound is believed to keep away the evil eye,” he said.
          His study led him further down a rabbit hole of discovery.
          Natives of Dogon in Mali believe it is “the seed of the universe” where the Earth sprouted, while in ancient Egypt the grain was found in the pyramids’ burial grounds.
          “I became more interested in this grain that was deemed worth taking to the afterlife by early Egyptians,” he said.

          Rich grain, poor land

          Fonio is cultivated in Kédougou, a place Thiam describes as “one of the poorest regions of Senegal.”
          “Because of desertification and lack of job prospects, much of Kédougou’s young population has left. They chose the deadly path of migration in search of ‘better’ opportunities. Often, they risk their lives trying to reach Europe,” he said in his TEDtalk.
          For him, exporting the resilient fonio, which “thrives where nothing else will grow,” might be the answer to the looming poverty.
          “Although we are still at an early stage of development, we are collaborating with an NGO called SOS Sahel to recruit, train and equip the youths throughout the Sahel region, including Kédougou. The youths are happy to have the opportunity of a paying job,” he later told CNN.

          One grain, many possibilities

          Despite the great potential fonio has, he says there is a lot of work to be done in changing Senegalese locals’ perception of it as “country-people” food.
          In an effort to upgrade its status and share it with the world as a “world-class crop,” Thiam struck a deal with the largest natural food chain in America, Whole Foods, which started selling packs of fonio this year.
          “The first location (Harlem) is selling really well and we are now planning to unroll through their 36 Northeast region locations,” he said.
          He is keen to continue pushing fonio even further, and his dream is to see his native grain developed into every food type on the market.
          “We have developed several fonio products that we plan to gradually introduce to the market. Crackers, cereals and pastas.”
          If Thiam’s dream comes true, fonio could rival quinoa around the world.

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/29/africa/pierre-thiam-fonio/index.html

          Plastic-Eating Fungus Found At A Landfill Site In Pakistan

          One of the defining characteristics of the Anthropocene, the geological epoch we have recently ushered in, is the massive amount of plastics that we manufacture and discard. One of the reasons we use so much of it is because it’s difficult to degrade, but this also means that the billions of tons of plastic that we have produced are still hanging around in landfills and in the oceans.

          Yet fascinatingly, this new environment is also attracting organisms that are seeking to exploit it. Researchers have found a species of fungus, known as Aspergillus tubingensis, that is able to feed off of plastic. In lab experiments, published in Environmental Pollution, scientists found that the mycelium of the fungus colonizes polyester polyurethane plastic, causing surface degradation and scarring.

          This is not the first time that organisms have been found to be able to feed off plastic waste. There have been multiple discoveries of bacteria that are able to break down plastic, and earlier this year it was even found that a much bigger creature, the wax worm, can naturally degrade plastic, due to its similar structure to that of its natural food beeswax.

          These findings, and the increased rapidity in which they are occurring, is interesting in a number of ways. While researchers have not yet figured out how we might harness this ability to break down the ghastly amounts of plastic we as a species are churning out and chucking away, it does show how we are creating entirely new environments. It also shows that life is doing what it always has and carving out a niche in which to live.

          The most obvious use of such a process would be to degrade the mountains of plastic we currently have. The study found that after two months in a liquid medium, A. tubingensis had degraded a sheet of polyester polyurethane to such a degree that it had effectively completely fallen apart. These experiments are early and very tentative, but show proof of concept that the use of such microorganisms can indeed break the plastics down.  

          There is also, however, a far more sinister side to all of this. One of the reasons that plastic has ballooned into ubiquity around the planet is because of the fact that in general it is inert and therefore sterile. This has led to it being used in everything from food packaging to pacemakers to aviation. The fact that microorganisms are seemingly evolving to take advantage of this super abundant resource may one day be of significant concern.

          Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/plasticeating-fungus-found-at-a-landfill-site-in-pakistan/

          Organic Doritos Give Snack Giant a Way Into the New Whole Foods

          Amazon.com Inc.’s acquisition of Whole Foods is coming at just the right time for Frito-Lay, the snack giant known for Doritos, Ruffles and Funyuns. 

          The division of PepsiCo Inc. now has versions of 11 core chip brands without artificial ingredients — including Lay’s, Tostitos and Cheetos — and it’s aiming to break out of the traditional snack aisle and get into organic grocery stores. The lineup, marketed under the name “Simply,” meets all the criteria needed to be sold in Whole Foods, according to PepsiCo executive Jonathan McIntyre.

          Simply Organic Doritos

          Source: PepsiCo

          It’s all part of a push to build a more healthful reputation for Frito-Lay brands, a significant undertaking at a company famous for bright-orange cheese powder. Natural products are the biggest source of growth for the industry right now, said McIntyre, who oversees research and development for PepsiCo’s snacks. And Frito-Lay sees an opportunity to reach new customers — and charge higher prices — by targeting organic-food shoppers.

          There’s also more pressure to get a foothold at Whole Foods during a time when Amazon is threatening to upend the supermarket industry. The e-commerce site is using the grocery chain to support its food-delivery business and looks to take market share by cutting prices and integrating online and offline operations. But the big enticement at Whole Foods remains the promise of healthful and wholesome products.

          “The notion of clean and simple is very important to a segment of consumers,” Frito-Lay Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Saenz said in an interview at the division’s headquarters in Plano, Texas. “They’re searching for that.”

          Key Ally?

          The main question is whether Whole Foods will be an ally in helping Frito-Lay establish good-for-you credibility. So far, the chain hasn’t shown signs of embracing Doritos and similar brands, which some shoppers consider junk food. But Amazon’s takeover of the grocery chain could bring an opportunity to make inroads.

          The e-commerce behemoth already sells Frito-Lay’s Simply line on its website, and it’s clearly willing to make changes at Whole Foods. When the acquisition closed on Monday, Amazon immediately slashed prices on many products and began stacking its Echo devices next to groceries.

          The old Whole Foods might have turned up its nose at big makers of consumer-packaged goods, but Amazon could have different ideas — especially because smaller suppliers may not be able to meet its more ambitious demands, said Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Ali Dibadj.

          “Amazon’s acquisition makes it much more likely that Whole Foods will carry these better-for-you brands, even if they’re made by large incumbent CPG players,” he said. “The smaller brands just can’t keep up with the spending and velocity required from Amazon anymore. We expect Whole Foods to carry more — and more big brands too.”

          Read more: What organic foods do and don’t offer — a QuickTake explainer

          PepsiCo declined to discuss its relationship with retailers, but it’s working on several fronts to reach the type of shoppers who frequent Whole Foods. Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi has emphasized the importance of better-for-you products and laid out health targets for its food and beverage portfolio.

          Along the way, the Purchase, New York-based company is creating new brands, reformulating existing products and acquiring upstart businesses. PepsiCo released an organic version of Gatorade last year to appeal to the natural-food set. Frito-Lay introduced Simply Organic Doritos and Simply Cheetos Puffs White Cheddar Jalapeno this year, and the snack maker plans to continue adding brands to the Simply lineup moving forward.

          One of the most daunting challenges is changing Frito-Lay’s reputation. Most people don’t associate its main snack brands with words like natural or organic, Saenz said. That’s why Frito-Lay introduced the Simply name.

          On the packaging, the “Simply” appears in capital letters above the brand logos, and labels prominently spell out the lack of artificial ingredients. The company found that shoppers often needed some convincing, Saenz said.

          “Some of the feedback we hear often is, ‘An organic Dorito? Really?”’ she said. “We want to make sure that the credibility is coming through loud and clear.”

          Frito-Lay needs to push into premium products because its core business is getting squeezed, Bernstein’s Dibadj said. Private-label products are stealing customers at the low end, and the natural brands are attracting well-heeled shoppers.

          “All consumer companies right now are trying to figure out how to get into the natural shelf space and the natural home’s pantry,” Dibadj said.

          PepsiCo isn’t the only food giant burnishing its nutrition panels. 

          Industry Push

          Mondelez International Inc. developed a line of crackers and snack bars, called Vea, that have no artificial ingredients or genetically modified organisms. Campbell Soup Co. agreed to pay $700 million for an organic soup and broth company in July. And Kraft Heinz Foods Co. is working to clean up its hot dogs.

          PepsiCo’s chief beverage rival, Coca-Cola Co., is reformulating more than 200 products to reduce the sugar in its drinks.

          Acquisitions are another way to reach organic shoppers. In 2006, PepsiCo bought Stacy’s Pita Chips, whose products are already in Whole Foods. But until the Simply line came out, the company’s core snacks never met the grocer’s requirements. Frito-Lay has been gradually releasing products under the new banner.

          Whole Foods didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

          “The challenge is, will Cheetos ever connote ‘good for you’? That’s a difficult premise to work on,” Dibadj said. “But perhaps Cheetos Simply can connote ‘better for you,’ and that might be enough for some consumers.”

            Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-30/organic-doritos-give-frito-lay-a-path-into-amazon-s-whole-foods

            Unicorn Noodles Are An All-Natural Food Trend You Might Actually Get Behind

            First, there was the unicorn latte. Then there was the unicorn frappuccino. There have been a whole host of crazy food trendsrelating to unicorns, and there will be a whole host after these, and theyll probably make you roll your eyes.

            But we want to take a moment to pause at the beauty of our favorite multi-colored unicorn food to be created to date: unicorn noodles.

            Behold, unicorn noodles.

            Theyre as close as food gets to a work of art.

            Unicorn noodles are basically just noodles theyre made using clear or white noodles that have been naturally dyed. To dye the noodles blue, purple cabbage is boiled in a large pot of water to release the color. Noodles are left to soak in the colored water for 5-10 minutes. How much water-to-cabbage you use will affect the darkness of the blue, as will how long you leave the noodles to soak.

            The noodles are then turned shades of pink and purple with a simple squeeze of a lemon. In fact, turning them these shades is one of the best parts of making unicorn noodles. You squeeze the juice and watch them change colors right in front of your eyes.

            It looks like magic, but it’s really science at work. When you add acid to the purple noodles, the pigment from the purple cabbage –called anthocyanin — reacts by changing color.

            Three colors of unicorn noodles

            Ready to try it at home? Give The Indigos Kitchen recipe a go and never eat a boring plate of noodles again.

            Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/unicorn-noodles_us_592da492e4b0065b20b8a2f5

            Satellite Eye on Earth: June 2017 in pictures

            Patagonias icefields, Australias changing tides, and volcanic activity in Alaska are among the images captured by Nasa and the ESA last month

            Alaskas remote Bogoslof Island volcano erupted in a series of explosions starting in December 2016, triggering the highest aviation alert as it shot ash plumes at least 35,000ft into the atmosphere. By monitoring the volcano via satellite and seismologic data, scientists can provide a warning of when further eruptions could pose a risk to aircraft. This image shows just a small puff of smoke rising from the volcano, while a sediment plume drifts towards the top left of the image, turning the Bering Sea a bright blue-green.

            The

            The Vanuatu archipelago is situated in the South Pacific Ocean; this image shows two of its islands: Pentecost island to the north and Ambrym island to the south. The red-hot lava lakes of Ambryms two active volcanoes can be seen through the clouds, with a smoke plume drifting out to the west.

            Black
            Photograph: Modis/Aqua/Nasa

            Turquoise swirls in the Black Sea indicate a phytoplankton bloom. Coccolithophores are one kind of phytoplankton found in the Black Sea, and are plated with white calcium carbonate that makes the water appear bright from space. But not all phytoplankton have this effect diatoms, which also bloom in the Black Sea, darken the water instead, say Nasa scientists.

            Patagonia
            Photograph: OLI/Landsat 8/Nasa

            Patagonias icefields stretch for hundreds of kilometres along the Andes mountains in Chile and Argentina. Two areas, a north and south icefield, are all that remains of a vast ice sheet that reached its peak 18,000 years ago. Today, climate change is thinning the ice further still. This image shows the entire north Patagonian icefield the smaller of the two.

            Larsen
            Photograph: TIRS/landsat 8/Nasa

            Nasas Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) allows scientists to capture the rift on the Larsen C ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula even in the dark of winter. In this false-colour image the blue hue of the crack can be compared to the orange of the warmer areas of open ocean and thin sea ice, and the lighter blues and whites of the colder ice shelf.

            Indus
            Photograph: VIIRS/Suomi NPP/Nasa-Noaa

            The snaking shape of Pakistans Indus River can be seen even in nighttime satellite imagery. Though the river itself is barely visible, the dark crops and vegetation growing along its banks reveal the general shape of the river, with the brighter desert beyond.

            Sri Lanka

            Before and after images show the extent of severe flooding in Sri Lanka, in the town of Matara, one of the hardest hit places.

            Donana
            Photograph: ISS/Nasa/ESA

            The Spanish town of Isla Mayor, is located near the marshlands of the Unesco listed Doana national park. The fish ponds there seen here as larger, multi-coloured squares are fed with river water, which contains natural food including algae and shrimp, rather than commercial fish feed or antibiotics, to help preserve the wetlands. The smaller, dark rectangles are rice fields, an agricultural practice that is being phased out, along with cattle raising, to further encourage the return of a more natural wetland landscape.

            Smoke
            Photograph: MODIS/Aqua/Nasa

            Smoke plumes spread out over Lake Baikal and the Angara River in southern Siberia after wildfires broke out in late June, burning at least 27,000 hectares (100 sq miles) in the Irkutsk Oblast region and another 27,000 hectares in neighbouring areas, according to Russian state media.

            The
            Photograph: Sentinel-2A/ESA

            The Great Barrier Reef off Australias northeast coast.

            Tomales
            Photograph: OLI/Landsat 8/Nasa

            Tomales Bay lies about 50km (30 miles) northwest of San Francisco. In this image, two shades of green clearly show the different types of vegetation on the island dark green conifer forests on the western shore and light green grasslands on the east. What we cant see beneath the surface is the San Andreas Fault line that runs between two tectonic plates and famously partitions California for hundreds of miles.

            The
            Photograph: ISS/Nasa

            The central Meidob volcanic field in western Sudan covers an area of about 5,000 sq km and is dotted with nearly 700 vents that are thought to be about six million years old. The area shown here has distinctive landforms that include explosively-formed maar craters, lava domes built by viscous lava flows, and scoria or cinder cones formed around a single volcanic vent.

            The
            Photograph: Sentinel-2A/ESA

            The Thar Desert in India, with the city of Bikaner visible in the lower part of the image, surrounded by agricultural land and sand dunes. The red areas are vegetation. Satellite data on land cover and land cover changes can be used to combat drought and desertification in regions such as this.

            Kings
            Photograph: OLI/Landsat 8/Nasa

            Kings Sound, on Australias northwest coast. The sound has one of the worlds largest tidal ranges, at about 11-12 meters, second only to that of the Bay of Fundy on Canadas Atlantic coast. Lighter shades show areas that are often exposed, darker shades are areas that are only above water at low tide, with the darkest shade being perpetually submerged areas.

            An Australian research team has created an intertidal zone map for the entire Australian coast approximately 50,000 km (30,000 miles) using 28 years of Landsat data. The maps can be used by coastal resource managers to help protect intertidal zones and the benefits they provide, particularly in response to the growing pressures of sea-level rise and land reclamation.

            5 Shocking Ways The World Is About To Change

            First off, fuck the apocalypse and everybody who predicts it. There’s always an apocalypse somewhere, and our pop culture’s obsession with an America ruined by war/disease/starvation basically boils down to, “Can you imagine if the shit that’s constantly happening in the Third World happened to us?” There’s somebody out there living the social breakdown of The Walking Dead right now. Only instead of zombies, it’s some warlord’s death squads, and a crossbow won’t do shit.

            No, this article is about the future, but isn’t about the apocalypse or a dystopia — this isn’t about killer robots (which we already have!) or a looming American police state. You’ve seen all that shit in movies. This is about the super weird changes that are coming in your lifetime that Hollywood doesn’t seem to care about.

            Semi-related note: My new novel about cybernetic super-criminals and shit is out right now!

            #5. You’ll Eat Bugs (And You’ll Like It)

            If you found a cockroach in your cereal, your whole year would be ruined. We have such a physical revulsion to bugs that the above headline probably sounds like a threat: “In the future, food will be so scarce that you’ll scarf down a grasshopper! You know, right after cooking and eating your own diiiiick!”

            “I wish my kids were here to witness this, but I ate them out of desperation first.”

            But I’ve already told you this isn’t about making you afraid of a nightmare future. I’m saying that bugs will slip seamlessly into our diets the same way high fructose corn syrup did, only this time the world will be much better for it. I’m going to prove it to you in five steps. Ready?

            A) You already eat bugs; you just don’t know it. The strawberry flavoring in your milkshake/yogurt/smoothie contains crushed insects — specifically this guy, the Dactylopius coccus:

            It’s a type of beetle that creates a nice red dye when ground up, and food companies have been using it as a natural food coloring for as long as anybody can remember (note: If you see “cochineal” on the label, that’s ground-up beetle). You didn’t mind, because you didn’t know it was there. And in the future they’ll come up with some other name for the ground-up cricket meat in your burger. See, that’s the thing — when I said “eating bugs” earlier, you imagined shoving a writhing praying mantis into your mouth. But you wouldn’t eat a chicken that way — there’s a bunch of shit they do to it at the factory first. It’ll be fine. “But,” you say, “anyone would puke the moment they saw the cockroach farm where their ‘food’ is being grown!” To which I respond: Ever been inside a slaughterhouse?

            B) It’s the only way to feed the world meat without permanently ruining the environment. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but bugs seriously don’t give a shit — they can pretty much live anywhere and eat anything. They breed like crazy even when we’re desperately trying to kill them. So, with the same amount of resources, insects will produce about 800 percent more meat than beef and generate a fraction of the greenhouse gases. It doesn’t seem like there’s much “meat” on an insect, but for instance 80 percent of a grasshopper is edible as opposed to only 40 percent of a cow. They’re boneless!

            And they go great in pie.

            C) They’re healthier to eat. Per calorie, a cricket has 40 percent more protein than beef and 40 percent less fat. Your rebuttal is probably, “But what does that matter if it tastes like shit? Or rather, tastes like a bug, since most people would rather eat shit than a cricket?” But consider that …

            D) About 2 billion people already happily eat insects. In Mexico, the only reason they don’t eat more grasshoppers (chapulines) is because they can’t afford them — demand is so high that grasshoppers cost more than beef or pork. They’re trying to scale up production as we speak (right now they don’t farm the insects so much as try to go out and catch them — you can imagine what a pain in the ass that is, people running round with nets and shit).

            E) Visceral disgust is something humans get over pretty easily. Remember that these huge, disgusting insect-like monsters …

            … used to be so revolting to people that they were fed to the poor and prisoners. Lobsters used to wash up on the beaches in big, gross, smelly heaps, the giant, red, mutant cockroaches of the ocean. Now you’ll pay $40 for that ugly bastard. This:

            Is meat stuffed into a tube that used to be filled with a pig’s actual shit. And it’s fine; we rinse it out and stuff it full of ground-up entrails and spices and eat it in the parking lot of a football stadium. Someday, you’ll just as happily eat a sausage made of mealworms. I think 80 percent of you don’t believe me (I actually left the bug-eating bit out of my book because I thought readers would immediately treat it as a horror novel) and that’s fine — if you can’t get over it, your kids and grandkids will. That’s because humans adapt. That’s what we’re good at.

            #4. At Some Point, Lying Will Become Impossible

            I have a question for any children who might be reading this: Do you still have that “Liar Kid” at your school? I and everyone I know had at least one in our class, the kid who’d just make up grandiose bullshit for no purpose. He’d claim he found a shark swimming in the creek near his house, or that his uncle was a stunt man who played the yellow Power Ranger — just a font of name-drops and fascinating anecdotes, all of which were pulled straight out of his asshole.

            I ask because, well, how can that kid exist today? A trip to Google on your iPhone would disprove all of those things in five seconds.

            “OK, you say your dad beat up Steven Seagal at a club in Bangkok? What was the exact date?
            I’m just going to check to see if he was in the country at the time.”

            It’s a whole personality type that would presumably be put out of business by modern technology. You know, the same as how the sleazy used car salesman is facing extinction for the same reason — anyone with an Internet connection can find out what a car is actually worth. So who else is about to see their dishonest house of cards come tumbling down?

            How about sex offenders? Or just the dude who goes on vacation and hits the clubs pretending he doesn’t have a wife and three kids back home? Sure, right now it might be considered rude to do a background check on a dude while he’s sitting on the next bar stool offering you a ride on his yacht, but soon all of that will be done automatically, on the fly. Google Glass failed because it looked stupid and didn’t work, but the general concept — the ability to instantly make key information pop up right in front of your eyeball — is inevitable. Facial recognition will scan everyone you encounter, a little pop-up box letting you know that dude not only isn’t an Internet millionaire but is a fugitive known to the police as “The Key West Disemboweler.” If a search doesn’t raise any red flags but he still seems generally dishonest, that’s OK — they’ll have software that will watch his facial movements and tone of voice to see if he’s telling the truth.

            Now let’s pause for a moment to appreciate how that little advancement will utterly change interpersonal relations in a way that’s almost too profound to comprehend.

            “Now, when you say the porn on your computer must have been ‘put there by a hacker’ …”

            I mean, I don’t know if you’ve really stopped to think about it, but lies are kind of what make civilization possible. Try to get through just one day without A) lying or B) intentionally withholding information and/or spinning the truth — see how long it takes you to ruin every relationship in your life. “Honey, you said you liked your Christmas present, but TruthApp says your eye movements indicate a 99.96 percent chance of falsehood. Now tell me you love me; I want to watch your face this time …” Oh, and just wait until your kids are old enough to use it, and ask you which child is your favorite.

            Some of you have already lived long enough to see how, for instance, it’s gotten way harder to lie at work. If you’re a professional driver, you don’t stop at a bar on the way and claim you got stuck in traffic — they’re using GPS to track your vehicle and (if you have a company-issued phone in your pocket) your body at all times. Work at a warehouse and miss your quota for the day, don’t bother claiming you got sidetracked by another project or had “equipment problems” — they’re literally tracking your every footstep; they know you’re dragging your ass. Some companies have developed sensors for employees that “identify a person’s tone of voice, movement, and even their posture when communicating with others.” Awesome! You’ve never gotten angry at a co-worker, right? Or gossiped behind someone’s back?

            “Hi, Janet! When you get a chance would you kindly take a moment
            to eat my shit? Thanks!”

            Of course, that’s not even mentioning the obvious: cameras, cameras everywhere. It’s legal for companies to record you everywhere but in the bathroom, and the law isn’t even completely settled on that. And don’t bother lying about what you did away from work, either; Facebook has developed software that can search every photo on the Internet for your face. “Steve, it’s come to corporate’s attention that you were at a party this weekend in which drugs were being consumed. As you can see, you’re plainly visible in the background of this Instagram photo here, between the man with the bong and the chimpanzee wearing a bra. Now, as you know, the company has strict policies about employee conduct when in public …”

            Yeah, those last two words are going to come up a lot — your concept of what counts as “in public” is going to change radically over the next couple decades. But that just brings us to the fact that …

            #3. Your Genitals Will Be For Public Consumption

            And I don’t mean this in a good way. Regular readers know that I had a nude video leak to celebrity site TMZ, who has yet to publish it even though I’ve continued to “leak” it to them over email every few days since June. I’ve just decided that this is where the world is going, so I need to get ahead of it.

            After all, these days when an Internet privacy issue surfaces, it’s met mostly with a few alarmist blog posts and then a collective yawn — like when it came out that Windows 10 literally logs your every keystroke and sends the data back to headquarters. “Eh, I’m sure it’ll be fine.” The only way these breaches make headlines is if they include A) photos/video of a famous naked person or B) a famous person saying something racist.

            And when nude photos of a bunch of celebrities leaked recently, it was interesting to see the sharp divide in the reactions. Anyone older than, say, 25 seemed to be in disbelief that these people would have ever taken a naked photo of themselves, on any device, ever. Among those younger than 25, well, somewhere between 70 percent and 90 percent have themselves sent a lewd photo or message of some kind. In just a few years that practice went from “Clearly the work of a depraved exhibitionist who needs some kind of therapy” to “Standard rule of dating for everyone but prudish weirdos.” That means that at some point we will hit what experts don’t call the Dick Pic Singularity: the point at which everyone will have nude photos or video of themselves on the Internet, and it just won’t be seen as a big deal. We will all be nudists.

            Are you repulsed by that? As repulsed as you were by the concept of eating bugs earlier? Because it’s the same deal — either you’ll get over it or your kids will.

            “Huh, back in his day Grandpa was quite the fuckboi.”

            I can tell you firsthand that I’ve seen just as big a change in my lifetime. I grew up way back in the day when your teenage poetry, gossip, and horrible thoughts went in a locked diary that you kept hidden under your mattress. These days, it goes on Tumblr or YouTube for 3 billion Internet users to view if they so desire. Growing up, I was trained to be self-conscious on camera; today, my computer, phone, and television all have cameras that watch me back while I use them. We’re all “in public,” all the time, and that’s just the way it is.

            And you know how they’re pushing to put body cameras on police, to make sure they’re not shooting dudes just for the hell of it? Don’t be surprised when they put body cameras on servers at restaurants, to make sure they’re being polite to customers, and soon after that, body cameras on everyone. In that book that I keep linking to, I speculate that these will become standard, everyday gear, not because some oppressive government is making us but because we want to. Just, stream it all — stream everything. Whatever need for privacy we once had, we’ve decided the need for the approval of an audience is greater.

            “I’m leaving you. It’s not you or me; my viewers just think you’re boring.”

            So, these days when somebody gets fired because they were secretly recorded saying something awful in the privacy of their own home (as Hulk Hogan was), we don’t worry about the “secret recording” aspect at all. “Hey, if they didn’t want their employer hearing them say it, then they shouldn’t have said it! Even in private, at home!” But are you sure you want that to be the rule, that everything you do is for public consumption? If you’re reading this as a defense of telling racist jokes, let me ask you:

            Do you like your job?

            If not, do you ever vent about it?

            Because you can say goodbye to that — no employer is going to keep you on the payroll if you complain about what a shitty company it is in public (where “in public” now means “in your own home, near a microphone you didn’t know was recording”). Now think about the secretly atheist kid in a religious family who now has to self-censor every conversation for fear of it getting out. Or the closeted gay/trans teenager, or the secret revolutionary in an iron-fisted dictatorship. Even if you rid your own life of cameras and microphones (which itself will tag you as a reclusive weirdo), you’ll be surrounded by strangers who have their own.

            And if you complain about how back in your day kids weren’t obsessed with documenting
            their lives, everyone will know.

            At my first job out of college, the guideline was, “Never put anything into an email you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the New York Times.” You are, they said, creating an electronic record of your words, and the mere existence of that record gives anyone an automatic right to publish it. Well, in an era when every conversation creates an electronic record, you can amend the rule: Instead of, “Never put anything too controversial into an email,” it’ll be, “Never say anything too controversial out loud.” Unless, of course, we stand up and demand the right to not automatically lose our livelihood just because we got upset and said some stupid shit one time.

            In other words, this doesn’t have to be part of our future unless we let it. Which just leads me to the fact that …

            #2. Our Concept Of Employment Is About To Radically Change

            It’s easy to shrug when you see a headline screaming that about half of our current jobs will soon be done by robots, or that there’s a factory in China that needs no workers at all. That whole “robots are taking our jobs!” bit has been around since before they invented robots. In the 1800s they told cautionary tales of a great man made obsolete by a steam engine; today we’re shown videos of hotels staffed by robot dinosaurs:

            And yet … the trend is pretty clear.

            A hundred years ago, the average American worked about 60 hours a week; it’s about 34 hours now. The percentage of American adults either working or trying to find jobs has been dropping since the ’90s, now matching the lowest point in 40 years, and of the ones who are working, more of them are part-time. So this prediction of a future “job-free” economy isn’t some crazy Nostradamus prophecy, it’s the direction we’ve been heading for a while now — each time there’s an economic crash, the jobs never quite come back to where they were before.

            But when/if this jobless future arrives, the problem won’t be the robots taking over (how can it be a bad thing that we’re able to make more stuff with less effort?). No, the issue is how much we humans hate each other.


            Spoiler: a lot.

            See, the idea is that soon the only jobs left will be the ones that computers can’t do — tasks that take creativity, or people skills, or that are just plain too complicated (it’s actually hard to imagine a robot plumber doing all the steps needed to find and fix a leak inside your wall). So there will be a certain class of people who have those complex skills, and then there will be everyone else (and feel free to speculate on what percentage will be in each group).

            Now, it doesn’t make sense that everyone but the most talented will be left to starve (as so many pessimistic articles seem to imply) — the corporations buying those expensive robots need customers to buy the shit they’re making, and the evil billionaires and politicians who run the world need happy consumers. This is where ideas like a guaranteed basic income come into play — basically the government gives everyone a paycheck just for being alive. The idea is that if we don’t need humans to do the work, we do still need them to make and raise children, to not riot in the streets, and to consume things so that the economic Circle of Life keeps running.

            They’re going to start opening the stock market by holding out a child, with a dollar sign
            drawn on its head, Simba-style.

            And at the mere suggestion of that, a whole bunch of you just felt a sense of physical revulsion. “You mean 200 million people will be on welfare?!?” You’ll spit that last word like an accusation, in the same way you’d scream “TRAITOR!” or “WHORE!” That’s because most of us have been raised from birth to hate the able-bodied poor, and I mean Hate with a capital H. To see them as leeches, as a cancer in the system. As thieves. That guaranteed income will be taken out of the pocket of the robot repair guy who still has a job; what is his reaction going to be when he’s walking home, exhausted after a double shift, and sees your jobless ass hanging out at a coffee shop and spending your government check on robot-made Frappuccinos? It doesn’t matter that his job makes him 10 times more than you get, because that doesn’t change the fact that his paycheck would be 50 percent bigger if he wasn’t having to support your lazy ass.

            We don’t have to guess his reaction, of course — go to any Fox News comment section. Listen to Mitt Romney.

            Unemployment, they say, is immoral. Sinful. Here’s a story about somebody setting a homeless man on fire. Here’s another one. We’re as repulsed by them as we are by, I don’t know, a bug we found in our food or something.

            “It’s time we start eating the real insects in our society. Vote for Smith. Vote for cannibalism.”

            The cruel irony is that if this automated future comes about, we’ll have all the makings of what sci-fi writers used to describe as a utopia — we’ll be growing the food and building the houses just fine. The obstacle won’t be a lack of resources; the obstacle will be us, and the fact that we have been taught to motivate ourselves with the hatred of the “lazy” lower classes. And when we start kicking them around, what can they do about it? Go on strike? They don’t have jobs. Refuse to buy anything? Then they’ll starve. Riot in the streets? We’ll roll in with tanks. And notice how I’m saying “we” like I won’t be one of the ones left out? How many of you are doing the same thing? No wonder I’m pushing this book shit so hard.

            But that just brings me to the final point …

            #1. There Will Be A Fundamental Shift In Power — We Just Have To Decide What It Looks Like

            Raise your hand if you rent your home, rather than own it. Now raise your other hand if your landlord has ever done something that would get a person fucking shot if they’d done it to a homeowner — like let themselves in to check your fire alarm while you were asleep in the next room. There is a fundamental difference in power between renting and owning — “your” home is literally not yours. They decide if you have a pet, or smoke, or repaint the place. Oh, and guess what — home-ownership is at its lowest point in half a century. Everything is heading that direction — the entire concept of owning things is slowly going away. This is a bigger deal than you think.

            You gamers out there already know what I’m talking about; once upon a time you would go to the store and buy a physical object called a video game, which you fully owned, forever, to do with as you pleased. Now, you’re just renting, regardless of what they call it. A few years ago a Steam user found this out the hard way when Valve banned him from using any of the 250 games on his own computer due to a misunderstanding that was eventually cleared up. I bet until that day he actually thought those were “his” games. Today, more and more non-game software is being sold via a monthly subscription so that you lose access to it the moment you stop paying.

            “Look who’s come crawling back” -MS Paint when your Adobe subscription starts to equal your rent

            Meanwhile, the biggest competitor to Ford and Toyota isn’t Tesla — it’s Uber — the future will most likely be a swarm of cars, all networked together, probably driverless, conveniently picking you up and dropping you off on command. No need for you to get a car loan or pay for gas and repairs (renting is always more convenient than buying). And then one day, when you’re running late for work, you’re going to try to order a ride on your phone and the app will tell you that you’ve been banned from Uber. And only then will you realize that, as in all of the above situations, you traded power for convenience.

            I mean, what’s to stop them from shutting you out if, say, you were heard insulting the company in public? They can just add it to the terms of service you didn’t read before tapping the “Accept” button. You know, the same as how PayPal can freeze access to your own money if they think you’ve broken their terms of service and can lock out your access to your money for six months while they investigate.

            “It’s cool; I’ll just tell my colon cancer to chill.”

            “So? I’ll just use some other company!” Well, here’s the thing: For whatever reason, this new economy seems to favor monopolies. Amazon dwarfs the next biggest e-commerce site, and can you even name an auction site other than eBay? When’s the last time you used a search engine other than Google? PayPal is 80 percent of the online payment market; Steam utterly dominates PC game sales

            That means we’re heading toward a future in which you rent the things you have to have, from the only game in town. The future is Comcast.

            Now think about the entry above, about the jobs. Having your own unique skill and source of income also comes with power; you have something the world needs, and as long as you do, you “own” your livelihood. But if the government is simply giving you a check, then you are at their mercy — like how they’re constantly threatening to cut off welfare recipients for doing drugs. Now you’re “renting” — you can find yourself completely locked out of the system because you violated somebody’s terms of service. So you’d better damned well fall in line. You will make that power-for-convenience trade until your life is full of convenience and devoid of power. It will be very nice and comfortable, right up until you do something They don’t like.

            “That’s the last time QueefMaster420 calls my company Fartcast.”

            Now, I wasn’t lying when I said this article wouldn’t be scare-mongering about a coming dystopia. That’s because it doesn’t have to happen. We will have to reclaim that power. I’m not talking about quitting society to go live in the wilderness or forming mobs to burn down the banks. We will instead have to come together as a people and guarantee the fundamental rights of even the most unprofitable human beings. Getting over our distaste of those outside the economy will be no different from getting over our distaste of bugs — we’ll do it because it’s what we need to do, as most of us will eventually be in that same bug-eating boat.

            We won’t let our own pettiness destroy society. I’m … almost sure of it.

            Uh, right?

            Guys?

            Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-shocking-ways-world-about-to-change/

            Karen Carpenter: starved of love, by Randy Schmidt | Extract

            Karen Carpenter's velvet voice charmed millions in the 70s but behind the wholesome image she was desperately unhappy. In a revealing new biography Randy Schmidt tells the full story of her losing battle with anorexia

            The Carpenters were one of the biggest-selling American musical acts of all time. Between 1970 and 1984 brother and sister Richard and Karen Carpenter had 17 top 20 hits, including “Goodbye to Love“, “Yesterday Once More“, “Close to You” and “Rainy Days and Mondays“. They notched up 10 gold singles, nine gold albums, one multi-platinum album and three Grammy awards. Karen’s velvety voice and Richard’s airy melodies and meticulously crafted arrangements stood in direct contrast to the louder, wilder rock dominating the rest of the charts at the time, yet they became immensely popular, selling more than 100m records.

            Richard was the musical driving force but it was Karen’s effortless voice that lay behind the Carpenters’ hits. Promoted from behind the drums to star vocalist, she became one of the decade’s most instantly recognisable female singers.

            But there was a tragic discrepancy between her public and private selves. Offstage, away from the spotlight, she felt desperately unloved by her mother, Agnes, who favoured Richard, and struggled with low self-esteem, eventually developing anorexia nervosa from which she never recovered. She died at the age of 32.

            In 1996 journalist Rob Hoerburger powerfully summed up Karen Carpenter’s tribulations in a New York Times Magazine feature: “If anorexia has classically been defined as a young woman’s struggle for control, then Karen was a prime candidate, for the two things she valued most in the world her voice and her mother’s love were exclusively the property of her brother Richard. At least she would control the size of her own body.” And control it she did. By September 1975 her weight fell to 6st 7lb (41kg).

            Karen’s quest to be thin seems to have begun innocently enough just after high school graduation when she started the Stillman water diet. Although she was never obese, she was what most would consider a chubby 17-year-old at 10st5lb. (She was 5ft 4in tall.) She levelled off at around 8st 8lb and maintained her weight by eating sensibly but not starving herself. Even so, eating while on tour was problematic for Karen, as she described in 1973: “When you’re on the road it’s hard to eat. Period. On top of that, it’s rough to eat well. We don’t like to eat before a show because I can’t stand singing with a full stomach You never get to dinner until, like, midnight, and if you eat heavy you’re not going to sleep, and you’re going to be a balloon.”

            Karen was shocked when she saw photos from an August 1973 Lake Tahoe concert where an unflattering outfit accentuated her paunch. She hired a personal trainer, who made visits to her home and recommended a diet low in calories but high in carbohydrates. Instead of slimming down as she had hoped, Karen started to put on muscle and bulk up. Watching the Carpenters on a Bob Hope television special that autumn, she remarked that she had put on some extra weight. Richard agreed she looked a bit heavier. She was discouraged and vowed she was going to “do something about it”. She fired her trainer, and immediately set out on a mission to shed the unwanted pounds on her own. She purchased a hip cycle, which she used each morning on her bed, and because it was portable the equipment was packed and taken with her on tour.

            “She lost around 20lb and she looked fabulous,” recalls Carole Curb, the sister of Karen’s then boyfriend, record executive Mike Curb. “She weighed 110lb [7st 12lb] or so, and looked amazing If she’d been able to stop there then life would have been beautiful. A lot of us girls in that era went through moments of that. Everybody wanted to be Twiggy. Karen got carried away. She just couldn’t stop.”

            Having witnessed Karen’s meticulous routine of counting calories and planning food intake for every meal, Richard complimented her initial weight loss during a break from recording as the two dined at the Au Petit Caf, a favourite French bistro on Vine Street near the A&M studios. “You look great,” he told her.

            “Well, I’m just going to get down to around 105.”

            “A hundred and five? You look great now.”

            Karen’s response worried Richard. In fact, this was the first time he paused to consider she might be taking the diet too far. Friends and family began to notice extreme changes in Karen’s eating habits, despite her attempts at subtlety. She rearranged and pushed her food around the plate with a fork as she talked, which gave the appearance of eating. Another of her strategies involved offering samples of her food to others around the table. She would rave on about her delicious meal and then insist that everyone try it for themselves. “Here, you have some,” she would say as she enthusiastically scooped heaps on to others’ plates. “Would you like to taste this?” By the time dinner was over, Karen’s plate was clean but she had dispersed her entire meal to everyone else. Her mother, Agnes, caught on to this ploy and began to do the same in return. “Well, this is good, too,” she would say as she put more food on to her daughter’s plate. This infuriated Karen, who realised she would have to find other ways to avoid eating.

            By the time Karen’s weight dropped to 6st 6lb, she looked for ways to disguise the weight loss, especially around those she knew would make comments or pester her to eat more. She began to layer her clothing, a strategy her agent Sherwin Bash noticed in the early part of 1975. “She would start with a long-sleeved shirt and then put a blouse over that,” he explains, “and a sweater over that and a jacket over that With all of it you had no idea of what she had become.”

            But family friend Evelyn Wallace was shocked when she caught a glimpse of Karen’s gaunt figure as she sunbathed topless in the back garden of the Carpenters’ home in Downey, California, one afternoon. “They put this screen around her so nobody else could see her,” Wallace explains. “She loved to go lay out in the sunshine. I don’t know whether it was to get a tan or get away from her mother. Anyhow, I happened to go out to the kitchen for something and I saw her out there. She just had on her little bathing suit shorts. You couldn’t tell whether it was a girl or a boy. She had absolutely no breasts.”

            Karen’s new slim figure required that she purchase a new stage wardrobe, and she opted for a number of low-cut silky gowns, some strapless or even backless. Bash was horrified to see her bony shoulders and ribs. Even her hip bones were visible through the thin layers of fabric. He asked Karen to rethink the wardrobe choices before going on stage. “I talked her into putting a jacket on over the bare back and bare arms,” he said, “but the audience saw it.”

            There was often a collective gasp from the audience when Karen would take the stage. In fact, after a few shows, Bash was approached by concerned fans who knew something was terribly wrong but assumed she had cancer or some other disease. Even critics took note of her gaunt appearance. A review for Variety praised Karen’s emergence from behind the drums to centre stage but commented on her deteriorating appearance. “She is terribly thin, almost a wraith, and should be gowned more becomingly.”

            No one really understood why Karen wasn’t eating. To those around her the solution seemed simple: eat. “Anorexia nervosa was so new that I didn’t even know how to pronounce it until 1980,” band member John Bettis said. “From the outside the solution looks so simple. All a person has to do is eat. So we were constantly trying to shove food at Karen My opinion about anorexia is it’s an attempt to have control something in your life you can do something about, that you can regiment. That just got out of control with her.”

            Band members witnessed her exhaustion. She was lying down between shows, something she had rarely, if ever, done before. They were shocked to see how she could be flat on her back one minute and on stage singing the next. Even when doing back-to-back shows, Karen displayed “a tremendous amount of nervous energy”, said Bash. Unlike her parents, Bash had no qualms about confronting Karen on the issue of anorexia. “The fact that she was anorexic was discussed innumerable times There was every attempt to get her to seek professional help, but I believe her family was the kind of family where the mother would say, ‘We can take care of ourselves. We don’t need to have someone help. This is a family matter.'”

            When Karen dieted, or “overdieted”, Bash explains, there was a rush of attention from the family, especially Agnes. “Karen had never had attention from Agnes before her mother doted exclusively on Richard so she liked it. The experts say that one of the things that seems to drive young girls to overdiet is that they were oftentimes the kids that never got attention. It’s a way of getting the love from their family that they never got before.”

            By the autumn of 1975 Karen’s failing health could no longer be ignored. In addition to her skeletal appearance, she was mentally and physically exhausted. Although she made it through a series of shows in LasVegas without a major incident, upon returning to Los Angeles she checked into Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, where she spent five days while doctors ran tests. “She is suffering a severe case of physical and nervous exhaustion,” said Dr Robert Koblin in a statement to the press. “She had a hectic four-week schedule lined up in Europe but I could not allow her to go through with it. In my opinion it would have been highly dangerous to her long-term health.” Melody Maker reported that the Carpenters’ tour would have been the highest-grossing tour in Britain and that approximately 150,000 people were set to see them during the planned 28-day European trek. Ticket sales for the 50 shows, which sold out in a matter of hours, were refunded. It was reported that the Carpenters may have easily lost upward of $250,000 due to the cancelled concerts.

            Under Agnes Carpenter’s close watch, Karen slept 14-16 hours a day. “My mother thought I was dead,” she told biographer Ray Coleman. “I normally manage on four to six hours. It was obvious that for the past two years I’d been running on nervous energy.” Her weight eventually climbed to 7st 6lb.

            Over the next five years Karen continued to struggle with anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Meanwhile Richard Carpenter fought and won a battle with Quaalude addiction. Then in June 1980, after an unsuccessful attempt to launch a solo career, Karen announced her engagement to a property developer called Tom Burris.

            Thirty-nine-year-old Tom Burris met a number of Karen’s requirements in a potential husband. “He was very attractive, very nice, and he seemed very generous,” said Carole Curb. Two months into their relationship, Burris told Karen he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. The couple’s plan for a year-long engagement was ditched when they announced in July their plans for an August ceremony. The push to be married alarmed Karen’s friends. According to Karen ‘Itchie’ Ramone, Karen’s friend and the wife of producer Phil Ramone, “That’s when everybody’s antennas went up.” Days before the wedding rehearsal Burris dropped a bombshell: he had undergone a vasectomy prior to their meeting. Karen was dumbfounded. He offered to reverse the procedure but their chances at a family would be significantly lessened.

            Karen felt betrayed. Burris had lied to her; he had withheld this information for the duration of their courtship and engagement, knowing full well that starting a family was at the top of Karen’s list of priorities. This was a deal breaker. The wedding was off. Karen picked up the phone and called her mother. She cried to Agnes as she explained the deceit that left her with no choice but to cancel the ceremony. But Agnes told her she would do no such thing. Family and friends were travelling from all over the country to attend the event. Moreover, the wedding expenses had already cost what Agnes considered to be a small fortune. “The invitations have gone out. There are reporters and photographers coming. People magazine is going to be there. The wedding is on, and you will walk down that aisle. You made your bed, Karen,” she told her. “Now you’ll have to lay in it.”

            Most of Karen’s family and friends had assumed Burris’s lifestyle and net worth were comparable to her own. The expensive cars and other possessions gave him the appearance of a multimillionaire, but what others did not realise was that he was living well beyond his means.

            “It wasn’t long after they got married that he started asking her for money,” recalls Evelyn Wallace. “He’d give her some excuse, and she’d give him the money. He’d ask for $35,000 and $50,000 at a time. Finally it got down to the point where all she had left was stocks and bonds.”

            As Itchie Ramone recalls, “Tom couldn’t afford the houses, the cars, her wedding ring; he couldn’t pay for anything.” Karen began to share with friends her growing misgivings about Tom, not only concerning his finances but also his lack of feelings for her. He was often impatient, and she admitted being fearful when he would occasionally lose his temper. “He could be very cruel to her,” says Itchie. But Karen’s longing to be a mother proved to be stronger than her desire to leave her husband. At their house in Newport Beach Karen expressed to Burris her desire to get pregnant and start a family. His response was brutal. She was still crying hysterically when she called Itchie Ramone for support. Burris had told her he wouldn’t even consider having children with her and called her “a bag of bones”. According to Itchie, this marriage was “the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was absolutely the worst thing that could have ever happened to her.”

            Friends suggested she and Burris seek marital counselling. Instead, the Carpenters prepared to leave for Europe and South America. Itchie went along to keep Karen company. In reality, however, according to Itchie, “Laxatives were her major companion. When we were in Paris we made quite a scene in a pharmacy across the street from our hotel about her needing to buy more laxatives. I suggested natural food groups that might relieve her ‘constipation’ but she always won those arguments.”

            Following a brief stop in Amsterdam, the Carpenters arrived at London’s Heathrow airport on Wednesday, 21 October 1981. They made numerous promotional appearances while in London, both in person and on television. On Thursday they taped an interview for Nationwide, a popular news magazine on BBC television. Barely one minute into their visit, host Sue Lawley surprised Karen by casting light on her darkest secret. “There were rumours that you were suffering from the slimmer’s disease anorexia nervosa,” Lawley said. “Is that right?” “No, I was just pooped,” Karen said with an intense frown. “I was tired out.”

            “You went down to about six stone in weight, I think, didn’t you?” Lawley asked. “I have no idea what ‘six stone in weight’ is,” Karen replied, becoming noticeably uncomfortable and increasingly agitated. She struggled to fake a laugh, rolling her eyes at the interviewer, who quickly converted the amount to approximately 84lbs. “No,” she said, shaking her head adamantly. “No.”

            In actuality her weight was hovering around 5st 10lbs even then. The interviewer’s continued efforts to pinpoint a reason for Karen’s skeletal appearance prompted Richard to come to his sister’s defence. “I don’t really feel that we should be talking about the weight loss,” he told Lawley. “Maybe it’s better to take a pass on the whole thing. It’s really not what we’re here for.”

            “I am just asking you the questions people want to know the answers to,” Lawley replied.

            Returning to Los Angeles in November 1981, Karen filed for divorce. Leaving behind the pieces of her broken marriage, she set out on a year-long recovery mission, relocating to New York City’s Regency Hotel in January 1982. Manager Jerry Weintraub arranged for Karen and Itchie Ramone to share a two-bedroom suite. Cherry O’Neill, the eldest daughter of singer Pat Boone who had herself recovered from anorexia, had recommended Karen consider coming to the northwest and seeing the doctor who helped her. But in Karen’s world, one name was synonymous with anorexia treatment, and that name was Steven Levenkron. He was a psychotherapist specialising in eating disorders and his successful book The Best Little Girl in the World had become a highly acclaimed television movie, which aired in May 1981. Levenkron agreed to treat her. He received 100 for each hour-long session five days a week, totalling $2,000 a month. “I liked Levenkron, at least in the beginning,” Itchie Ramone says. “No one really knew why someone would get the disorder or how to treat it, so we were really looking to him to ‘save’ her.”

            Arriving at Levenkron’s office at 16 East Seventy-Ninth in Manhattan, Karen weighed in at an alarming 5st 8lb. A week into their daily sessions, Karen admitted to Levenkron she was taking a large number of laxative tablets 80-90 Dulcolax a night. This did not surprise Levenkron. In fact, it was a common practice for many anorexics. “For quite some time, I was taking 60 laxatives at once,” admits Cherry O’Neill. “Mainly because that was how many came in the box I would ingest the entire contents so as not to leave any evidence.”

            What did stun Levenkron was Karen’s next casual disclosure. She was also taking thyroid medication 10 pills a day. He was shocked, especially when she explained that she had a normal thyroid. Realising she was using the medication to speed up her metabolism, Levenkron confiscated the pills. This was the first case of thyroid medication abuse he had seen in his dozen years in the field.

            According to Levenkron’s 1982 book, Treating and Overcoming Anorexia Nervosa, the patient must become totally dependent upon the therapist. Once the patient has transferred their dependence on to him, he tries to teach them how to create their own sense of identity, and he helps them disengage from their dependence on him with new behaviours, habits, and thought patterns.

            Karen took advantage of the beautiful spring weather and began a new exercise routine to and from her sessions with Levenkron a brisk two-mile round-trip walk. This was yet another method to burn extra calories. Outwardly Karen seemed committed to the idea of therapy, but as evidenced by her daily walking regimen, she was not as committed to making actual changes that would result in real progress. “She was still walking a lot, and she was exercising,” Carole Curb says. “And then she was into throwing up and taking pills that make you lose water-weight. Debilitating things like that.”

            Several months into his sessions with Karen, Levenkron began to suspect that she had fallen off the wagon. He invited the Carpenter parents and Richard to a 90-minute family therapy session at his office. “They did come to New York finally,” Itchie Ramone recalls, “and only after a lot of nudging. By then, Karen seemed to be starting to turn the corner a bit emotionally.”

            The stigma surrounding mental illness and a need for therapy was frightening for the family, especially Agnes, who felt Karen was simply going overboard as far as dieting was concerned. If only she would stop being so stubborn and just eat. Over the years the family tried every possible approach to get through to her and make her eat. “Everyone around her did everything that they could have humanly done,” Richard said in 1993. “I tried everything the heart-to-heart, the cajole, the holler It can just make you crazy. Obviously it wasn’t about to work, and I was upset.”

            Levenkron explained that the family’s attempts to threaten or bribe Karen out of her behaviours would never make them go away. According to his book, “Failure of the family to understand this produces division within the family that in turn results in feelings of anger and guilt. The family atmosphere is chaotic, reinforcing the anorexic’s belief that she and no one else knows what is best for her.” Levenkron suggested to the family that Karen was in need of a more tactile, demonstrative kind of love. Karen cried uncontrollably during the meeting. She told them how sorry she was for having put them in a situation where they felt a need to defend her upbringing, and she went so far as to apologise for ruining their lives. “I think Karen really needs to hear that you love her,” Levenkron told the family.

            “Well, of course I love you,” Richard told her unreservedly.

            “Agnes?” The therapist tapped the mother’s shoe with his own.

            Rather than address her daughter, Agnes explained how she preferred to be called Mrs Carpenter. “Well, I’m from the north,” she continued. “And we just don’t do things that way.”

            “Agnes couldn’t do it,” says Itchie Ramone, who discussed the meeting with Karen and Levenkron after the family left. “She couldn’t do it In therapy you’re basically stark naked. Then your own mother can’t reach out to you? And the way she doted on Richard. Most children would try to dance as fast as they could to make their parents love them, but it was at that point that I think Karen decided it was time to take a step back.”

            After the meeting with Levenkron, Richard became angry with the treatment plan, which he thought to be worthless. He was upset that Karen had not checked herself into an inpatient facility as one would do to conquer substance abuse. He and his parents returned to California and chose to keep their distance after this painful encounter. They made no further attempts to contact Karen’s therapist. “What I find interesting,” Levenkron stated in 1993, “is that in the entire time Karen was in New York, I got zero calls from the family. I have never treated anyone with anorexia nervosa whose family didn’t call regularly because they were concerned.” Likewise, Richard claimed to have never received a call from Levenkron.

            Karen and Itchie were surprised to learn that Levenkron was not an actual doctor. “We used to call him ‘Dr Levenkron’ all the time,” Itchie explains. “Then we found out that he wasn’t even a real doctor. Any medical issues she had, we had to go see this other doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital.”

            According to Evelyn Wallace, “Karen picked the wrong guy to go to. He wasn’t even a doctor. It seemed like Levenkron was simply trying to talk Karen out of having anorexia, but she’d talk to him and she’d go back to the same routine.”

            By the autumn of 1982 Karen showed no real signs of progress. In fact, her walks to and from sessions with Levenkron kept her body weight beneath the six stone mark. Itchie Ramone called Levenkron and voiced her concerns. “Look, Karen’s getting thinner and thinner,” she exclaimed. “Plus, it’s obvious she doesn’t have her usual energy anymore. When do you expect this turnaround? She’s just skin and bone.”

            The therapist agreed that Karen seemed extra tired and was not responding as quickly as he had hoped, and vowed to try another approach. After her next session with Levenkron, Karen asked Itchie if she could borrow a swimsuit. “What?” Itchie asked. “There’s no pool in the hotel. Besides, it’s cold out!”

            “No, I have to wear it tomorrow for Levenkron,” Karen answered. The two stopped by the Ramones’s apartment to pick up a size 2 light green bikini belonging to Itchie. Karen changed into the bikini and emerged smiling. Itchie was mortified and unable to hide her reaction. “What’s the matter?” Karen asked. “It fits.”

            “Uh, yeah, it fits,” she said hesitantly. “You can use it tomorrow, I guess.”

            Returning to Levenkron the following day, Karen was asked to change into the bikini and stand in front of the office mirror. He urged her to survey and evaluate her body. “She didn’t really see any problem with how she looked,” Itchie recalls. “In fact, she thought she was gaining a little weight. But she was 79lb.”

            In mid-September Karen phoned Levenkron and told him her heart was “beating funny”. She was quite upset, anxious, and confused. She complained of dizziness to an extent that she was unable to walk. Despite not being medically qualified, he recognised her symptoms as those of someone suffering extreme dehydration. Karen was admitted to New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital on 20 September 1982 to begin hyperalimentation, or intravenous feeding.

            The next morning she went into surgery to have a small-bore catheter implanted within the superior vena cava (right atrium of the heart). An unexpected complication was discovered later that day when she complained to the nurse of excruciating chest pain, and X-rays revealed the doctors had accidentally punctured one of her lungs in their attempts to insert the tube.

            As her lung began to heal, Karen’s body quickly responded to the artificial means of feeding. The hyperalimentation process completely replaced all of her nutritional needs, and a precise daily calorie intake was dispensed through the catheter. This loss of control was known to often spark fear in patients, and doctors who oppose hyperalimentation argue that it does not teach the patient to eat properly. However, Karen went along with it and gained 12lb in only a few days. Solid foods were slowly reintroduced as the level of assistance from Karen’s IV lessened, and she continued to gain weight steadily. Unlike many other patients she seemed pleased and excited to show visitors her progress. Richard flew in to visit on 25 October and, like most who saw her there, was shocked and saddened. She was still horribly emaciated and barely identifiable by this stage. “You see how much better I look?” she asked.

            Richard nodded in agreement but only to appease his sister. In an attempt to divert the attention away from herself, Karen told him of other patients who were much worse off. But he was not sidetracked. “Karen, this is crap,” he said suddenly. “Don’t you understand? This is crap! You’re going about this all the wrong way. This guy isn’t getting anything accomplished because you’re in a hospital now!”

            By November Karen was eating three meals a day at Lenox Hill, and trying to stay positive about the weight gain, by then approaching the 30lb mark. The return of her menstrual cycle, which had ceased during the previous year, seemed to signify an improvement in emotional and physical wellbeing.

            On 16 November Karen visited Steven Levenkron for the last time and presented him with a farewell gift, a framed personal message in needlepoint. The large green-threaded words “you win I gain” served as tangible proof of the long hours Karen had spent alone in the hospital. Learning of her plan to leave, Levenkron reminded Karen she was abandoning the program much too soon, and that treatment takes at least three years. He suggested a therapist in Los Angeles so that she might continue a routine of some sort upon her return home, but she declined. She promised to call him and swore she would not take any more laxatives or diuretics. Agnes and Harold (Karen’s father) met up with her at Levenkron’s office that day. The couple had flown to New York City to bring their daughter and her 22 pieces of luggage home. It was obvious to most that Karen’s treatment was inadequate and ending too soon.

            “She tried to get help,” says her longtime friend Frenda Franklin. “She went to New York to try. It just wasn’t the right way to do it. If this had happened in today’s world I think Karen would have lived. I think we would have had a good shot. They know so much more. We were dancing in the dark.”

            Karen ate heartily on Thanksgiving Day, much to the delight of her family, and she even called Itchie Ramone that night to tell her of all she had eaten. “She said to me, ‘I ate this and that and all my favourite things,'” she recalls. “She was very proud of herself then. We were all very proud of her. It seemed like progress.”

            In the weeks following her return to Los Angeles Karen went back to shopping and socialising without delay. Although others felt she was still quite fragile and thin, Herb Alpert, who had first signed the Carpenters to A&M, saw Karen shortly after the New Year and recalled her looking terrific. She bounced into his office saying, “Hey, look at me, Herbie! What do you think? How do I look?” Alpert agreed that she looked happier and healthier than he had seen her in some time, and felt she appeared to have won the battle. “I am so happy,” she told him.

            “I’m ready to record again, and Richard and I have been talking about getting the group together and performing.”

            Despite her high spirits, she was taking more naps than usual and sometimes lying down by seven in the evening. Richard did not believe she was well, and he told her so. On Thursday 27 January Florine Elie drove to Century City for her weekly cleaning of Karen’s apartment at Century Towers. There the housekeeper made an unnerving discovery. “When I was working up there I found Karen,” Elie says. “She was lying on the floor of her closet.” She gently shook Karen who awoke but was groggy. “Karen, is there something wrong?” she asked.

            “No, I am just so tired,” she replied.

            “Maybe you better go lie on your bed,” she said, helping Karen up and tucking her into bed.

            Florine checked on Karen again before leaving. By then she was awake and adamant she was OK.

            Tuesday 1 February found Karen dining with her brother, this time at Scandia on Sunset Boulevard. They were joined by stage producer Joe Layton, and the trio discussed plans for the Carpenters’ return to touring. Karen ate with enthusiasm and after dinner returned to Century Towers. This was the last time Richard would see his sister alive.

            The next day Karen spoke with Itchie Ramone, who was pregnant with her and Phil’s first child. Karen shared her plans for the week. She would sign the final divorce papers on Friday and then prepare to leave for New York. “That weekend, 6 February, she was going to hop on a plane and be there for the birth,” Itchie recalls.

            Shortly after midnight, staying overnight with her parents, Karen went over her to-do list with Frenda Franklin by phone, and finalised plans for the next day. “OK, I am going to drive in. There shouldn’t be a lot of traffic,” she said. According to Frenda, Karen enjoyed keeping up with traffic reports. “Then we’re going to go get the red fingernail polish.” The two had a noon appointment for a manicure in celebration of her divorce.

            On Friday morning, 4 February, Karen awoke and went downstairs to the kitchen, where she turned on the coffeepot her mother had prepared the night before. She went back upstairs to get dressed. When the coffee was ready, Agnes dialled the upstairs bedroom phone, but its ring, heard faintly in the distance, went unanswered. Agnes went to the foot of the stairs and called to her daughter but there was no response. Entering the room, Agnes found Karen’s motionless, nude body lying face down on the floor of the walk-in wardrobe. Her eyes were open but rolled back. She was lying in a straight line and did not appear to have fallen. “She had just laid down on the floor and that was it,” Agnes recalled.

            The autopsy report listed the cause of death as “emetine cardiotoxicity due to or as a consequence of anorexia nervosa.” The finding of emetine cardiotoxicity (ipecac poisoning) revealed that Karen had poisoned herself with ipecac syrup, a well-known emetic commonly recommended to induce vomiting in cases of overdose or poisoning.

            Levenkron claimed to know nothing of Karen’s use or abuse of ipecac. In their phone calls she assured him she was maintaining her new 7st 10lb figure and had completely suspended use of all laxatives. He never suspected she was resorting to something much more lethal.

            In a radio interview taped shortly after Karen’s death, Levenkron discussed the autopsy findings: “According to the LA coroner, she discovered ipecac and started taking it every day. There are a lot of women out there who are using ipecac for self-induced vomiting. It creates painful cramps, tastes terrible, and it does another thing that the public isn’t aware of. It slowly dissolves the heart muscle. If you take it day after day, every dose is taking another little piece of that heart muscle apart. Karen, after fighting bravely for a year in therapy, went home and apparently decided that she wouldn’t lose any weight with ipecac, but that she’d make sure she didn’t gain any. I’m sure she thought this was a harmless thing she was doing, but in 60 days she had accidentally killed herself. It was a shocker for all of us who treated her.”

            In one of Levenkron’s most recent books, Anatomy of Anorexia, the author boasts of his above-average recovery rate in working with those suffering from eating disorders. “In the last 20 years I have treated nearly 300 anorexics,” he wrote. “I am pleased to state that I have had a 90 per cent recovery rate, though tragically, one fatality.” That was Karen Carpenter.

            Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/oct/24/karen-carpenter-anorexia-book-extract

            This Is What Your Favorite Foods Look Like In Their Natural Habitats

            When we buy food from the grocery store or order it from a restaurant, we see it in a certain way. Most of the time, the food that we eat doesn’t appear the same way in nature. In a lot of cases, people would be unable to identify common food items that they consume almost every day if they saw them in nature.

            So enlighten yourself and have a look at the weird origins of your favorite foods and spices.

            1. Kiwis

            2. Broccoli

            3. Peanuts

            4. Blackberries

            5. Saffron

            6. Walnuts

            7. Mangoes

            8. Potatoes

            9. Pistachios

            10. Coffee

            11. Cashews

            12. Watermelons

            13. Pineapples

            14. Black Pepper

            15. Sesame

            16. Blueberries

            17. Vanilla Beans

            18. Bananas

            19. Almonds

            20. Cacao

            21. Mustard

            (via My Modern Met)

            If I didn’t know better, I would never believe that these are the same things we eat all the time! What a difference it is from the plant to the plate. Nature is pretty amazing, isn’t it?

            Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/natural-food/

            People Are Totally Clueless About What ‘Natural’ Food Labels Mean

            There’s a good chance the word “natural” doesn’t mean what you think it does.

            At least not when you find it on food packaging. A substantial chunk of the population has at least some misconceptions about what the term means on food labels, according to a recent survey by Consumer Reports.

            Out of 1,005 respondents, 63 percent believed that the “natural” label meant a packaged food was produced without pesticides, 62 percent believed it meant the product contained no artificial ingredients, and 60 percent believed it meant a product was free of genetically modified organisms (GMO).

            When it comes to meat and poultry, 64 percent of survey-takers thought it meant the animals were raised without artificial growth hormones, 57 percent thought it meant they were raised without antibiotics or other drugs, and 50 percent believed it meant the animals “went outdoors.”

            While we didn’t analyze Consumer Reports’ statistical methods, it seems safe to say that a good number of people are less than clear on how natural these “natural” foods really are.

            In fact, the word has no official, legal definition in the United States. The FDA website explicitly states that the agency “has not developed a definition for the use of the term.”

            David Stewart via Getty Images
            It’s true.

            What the FDA does have is a “longstanding policy” that they “consider” the word to mean that “nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food.” The policy means that this is the criteria the FDA may use to determine whether a “natural” label is misleading or not, if it’s brought to their attention. (The FDA does not pre-approve food labels.)

            Note that the current definition has nothing to do with pesticides, artificial growth hormones, GMOs or animal welfare.

            And as Consumer Reports points out, there are plenty of products out there with the “natural” label that don’t seem to fit even the FDA’s informal definition.

            But the lack of regulations around the “natural” label could change. In response to demands that the word have some official, formal meaning, the FDA is soliciting feedback from the public on what they think it should designate on food labels. Find out how to submit a comment here. 

            Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/01/27/natural-food-label-meaning_n_9092430.html

            Record year for fish releases in England’s rivers – BBC News

            Image copyright Environment Agency
            Image caption All the fish reared on the Environment Agency’s fish farm are “fit for purpose” and are effectively wild fish when they are released

            A record number of captive-bred fish were released in 2015 to boost populations in England’s rivers, says the Environment Agency.

            Almost two million coarse fish were released, helping to restock populations where water quality was improving after years of pollution.

            The species that were captive-bred by the Environment Agency included chub, bream, tench and roach.

            The fish and larvae were bred at the agency’s Calverton farm in Nottingham.

            Fish farm team leader Alan Henshaw said there were two main reasons why 2015 was a record-breaking year.

            “One was the weather; it was a very good year for growing fish,” he explained.

            “Fish do not like surprises so if we have a summer where the temperature is consistent, that is far better.

            “It is not good when the temperature gets over 24C or 25C (75-77F) because they get a little more difficult to grow because the water is warmer. Basically, a good year for growing fish is when it is not a good year for a sun tan.”

            The second reason was a result of the discovery that fish rearing was more successful when there was a larger mix of species within the farms tanks and ponds, he told BBC News.

            “Before, we’d only grow three species in a pond – that would have been a bottom feeder, mid-water feeder and a surface feeder.

            “But we have realised that if we keep the biomass – the total amount of fish – the same but make that biomass up out of five or six species, the fish do much better. It’s called polyculture. We didn’t invent it, they have been doing it in Europe since the Middle Ages. We’ve tweaked it and it is working really well.”

            Image copyright Environment Agency
            Image caption Eggs and sperm are collected from wild fish, ensuring that the reared fish maintain the genetic integrity of wild populations when they are released into rivers

            In order to maintain the fitness and genetic integrity of the wild populations, the team at the fish farm do not keep brooding adults. Instead they collect adult fish from rivers each year in order to harvest eggs and sperm that will be used to grow the fish.

            Mr Henshaw said: “The fish we produce here are never more than one generation from wild.

            “It is not like a trout farm that is producing fish for the table. The whole idea behind our fish is that they are fit for purpose – they are not naive and they are prepared for life in the wild.”

            Image copyright Environment Agency
            Image caption Fish are reared for 18 months in tanks and ponds that replicate environmental conditions the fish will encounter in the wild

            The fertilised eggs are incubated for 3-30 days, before the larvae is transferred to ponds under polytunnels to protect the tiny animals from predators and cold temperatures for the first year.

            They are moved to outdoor ponds for the second summer of life, and are fed natural food and experience flowing water.

            “We drop the food in the flow and if the fish want to eat then they have got to swim – and we feed them on natural food so they know what natural food is,” Mr Henshaw explained.

            “Our fish are effectively wild fish that have just so happened to have spent the first two years of their life growing on a fish farm. We have grown them in as natural rearing conditions as we possibly can.”

            Image copyright Environment Agency
            Image caption It takes about 18 months from egg to the fish being released into rivers to boost natural populations

            Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-35551906

            Researchers Develop Biodegradable Plastic That Extends The Shelf Life Of Food

            In modern life, food is readily available for us, and though we may think little of it, it often comes with masses of packaging. Almost every food item youre likely to buy comes covered in plastic, which often is simply thrown away to end up in landfill. Yet a team of researchers think they may have developed a solution.This could not only solve the problem of plastic by wrapping our food in a biodegradable material, but may also go some way to reducing the amount of food that is thrown awayby extending the product’s shelf life.

            The new material is being touted as an environmentally friendly alternative for food packaging, and exploits anatural biodegradable material derived from the shells of shrimp and crabs: chitosan. Already used in a variety of contexts, from wine making to blood clotting, the researchers fortified a chitosan-based film with grapefruit seed extract, which has natural antibiotic properties. By forming a material using both components, theteam from the University of Singapore developed a product that not only biodegraded naturally, but also kept food fresher for longer. There might be a slight hitch though, as chitosan is not vegetarian.

            Not only is the extract from grapefruit seeds thought to be antibacterial, but there is evidence to suggest, claim the researchers, that it also has strong antioxidant and fungicidal qualities. This, along with the composite material’s ability to block ultraviolet light, slows down the degradation of theperishableproduct within, such as bread, extending its shelf life. Increasing attention has been placed on the development of food packaging material with antimicrobial and antifungal properties, in order to improve food safety, extend shelf-life and to minimize the use of chemical preservatives, explains associate professor Thian Eng San, who spent three years perfecting the formula.

            Hopefully, this could lead to an overall reduction in the amount of food that is thrown away. Its thought that around 50 percent of all food produced ends up in the bin before it has had the chance to reachthe plate. In fact, recent research found that in U.K. households alone, 34,000 tonnes (37,500 tons) of raw and cooked beef are thrown out every year, totalingaround $360 million of meat. This comes in at the equivalent of 300 million beef burgers. This colossal amount of waste is not only incredibly inefficient and costly, but the food could be used to feed those who are starving.

            The newly developed film still retains a flexibility and strength similar to that of current plastics being used for food products, just with added environmental benefits. As mentioned above though, the fact that it is not vegetarian could be a potential problem. The researchers plan on conducting further tests to improve the product, while also further testing how it could be used commercially.

            Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/researchers-develop-biodegradable-plastic-which-also-extends-food-shelf-life

            Heres how to treat and ease gout suffering from home, and prevent another flare-up

            Gout is still very prevalent in this day and age.

            It can be very, very painful as well, as it is a severe form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid creating crystals around joints. This uric acid buildup is caused by
            high levels of purine.

            Here are ways you can counteract high levels of purine and avoid gout:

            1. Watch what you eat and drink

            Specifically you want to avoid meats, refined carbs, fructose and yeast as all of these can cause high purine. The notorious suspects are organ meats like liver and kidneys, as well as sardines, anchovies and mussels. Sodas and fruit juices should be limited as well as beer intake.


            2. Mix healthier foods into your diet

            Rather than completely changing your diet, you can implement healthy foods into your diet. For example implementing cherries in your meals can be beneficial as cherries are a natural food that counteracts gout effects. They are high in antioxidants and anthocyanins, which reduces inflammation that can occur. Apples are good as well as they contain malic acid which can neutralize uric acid. Bananas too as they have potassium which can liquefy and flush out the crystals.

            3. Try these alternative remedies

            You can also try apple cider vinegar that has been watered-down as this can relieve pain due to its acidity. To prevent inflammation you can try ginger root in liquid or powdered form.

            Activated charcoal in the form of a paste (charcoal and water) applied to your gout area as a lotion or bath can be beneficial. Baking soda (half a teaspoon) can be mixed with water, and this can also reduce the uric acid.

            Dont forget to stay hydrated as well as this allows kidneys to process uric acid, passing it through the urine. Putting your body in cold water (the parts that are hurting) can also help but dont go overboard with cold water treatment as it could make it worse by promoting crystallization of uric acid.

            Of course visiting a doctor and receiving recommendations for dealing and treating gout is a must as well.

            Share this with friends and family so they can be knowledgeable in the treatment of gout!

            Read more: http://damn.com/heres-how-to-treat-and-ease-gout-suffering-from-home-and-prevent-another-flare-up/

            How Did Mass Poisoning Fail To Eradicate Rats On A Small Pacific Island?

            In August of 2011, 75tonnes (82 tons) of rat bait laced with poison was dropped from helicopters on Henderson Island in the South Pacific. Mass mortality of Pacific rats (Rattus exulans) followed immediately afterward. Then, in March of 2012, a single rat was seen, and in the time since, rat numbers have fully recovered. What went wrong? A few dozen didnt take the bait, according to a case study published in Royal Society Open Science this week.

            Remote oceanic islands house a huge diversity of animals that arent found anywhere else on the planet. But because the introduction of non-native species especially rats from the genus Rattus have driven many native species to extinction, conservation efforts have led to rodent eradication operations on 719 islands. Dropping poisoned bait from helicopters has worked 80 percent of the time. Understanding the reasons behind the failures depends on knowing how close they wereto success.

            The uninhabited, 43-square-kilometer (16.6-square-mile) Henderson Island is home to four species of land birds found nowhere else and four breeding species of ground-nesting petrels, such as the Henderson petrel (pictured above). Their chicks often fall victim to predation by Pacific rats, which arrived with Polynesian settlers 800 years ago. To eradicate the invasive rats, 75 tonnes (82 tons) of bait laced with the anti-coagulant toxicant brodifacoum was dropped on the island in a $2 million undertaking. And no rats were seen for three months afterward. Seven months after the drop, however, a single rat was spotted, and now somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 rats thrive on the island.

            A team led by Michael Brooke from the University of Cambridge collected rat tissue from before and after the eradication attempt on Henderson. Using snap-trapping, they collected about 2 centimeters (0.78 inches) of the tail, then they extracted DNA from these tail tips. The team also gathered samples from other islands and island groups: Pitcairn, the Gambier archipelago in southeast French Polynesia, and the Cook Islands.

            Re-introduction from neighboring islands was not the source of continued rat presence. Nor did the survivors develop brodifacoum resistance, based on experiments with brodifacoum-laced peanut butter.

            Instead, a comparison of the genetic diversity of Henderson rats before and after the bait drop revealed that the entire rat population these days descended from about 50 rats that survived. The eradication attempt was, as the team described, “very nearly successful.” Its possible that the survivors either didnt encounter the poison pellets or they preferred natural food over bait especially if there was an abundance of available food.

            Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/how-did-tons-and-tons-poison-fail-eradicate-rats-small-pacific-island

            Is it time to change how we label ‘healthy’ food?

            (CNN)Ever find yourself zipping through the aisles of a grocery store, crunched for time, and grabbing whatever highlights itself as “healthy,” “nutritious” or “wholesome”? Your strategy could be flawed.

            Experts warn that these labels do not really mean very much and can even be misleading in some cases. But changes could be in motion to make things better.
              Several weeks ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration started discussing plans “to amend its ‘healthy’ nutrient content claim regulation,” a change that would be based upon significant scientific agreement among experts in the field.

              What is ‘healthy’?

              The FDA’s current criteria, created in 1994, specify that levels of total and saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol within foods need to be below a certain cutoff in order to be marketed as healthy. They must also have at least 10% of the daily requirements for vitamins, fiber and other nutrients.
              “Nothing happens overnight with any of that,” said Sara Haas, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “That’s why dietary guidelines are updated, too: There’s always new information out there, and it makes sense to re-evaluate all that stuff every once in a while.”
              The latest version of the U.S. dietary guidelines put a limit on added sugar, advising consumers to limit their intake to 10% of their total calories. The update kept previous recommendations to consume no more than 10% of total calories from fat but expanded on the concept of heart-healthy “good fat” found in oils and some fish.
              “I think it is wise to update [the criteria] to show what research shows,” Haas said. “If I was a less knowledgeable person in the food world, that would make me feel better as a parent to know this was more tightly regulated.”

              Would we be ‘healthier’?

              In reality, if the criteria were revised and foods, such as nuts, started to feature the term “healthy” on their packaging, it would be unlikely to change consumer behavior. “Certain foods they innately know are healthy, like nuts, fruits and veggies,” Blake said.

              See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

              Where better label regulations will be useful is in assuring consumers that products based on foods they know are healthy, such as frozen salmon steaks, are good for them as the level of healthy fats within them hold them back from being labeled “healthy.” Such labeling could also keep shoppers from reaching for “healthy” cereals and snacks that are, in fact, high in added sugar, added Blake.
              One change that could prove to be more important than redefining what it means to be “healthy” is forcing food companies to list the amount of added sugar in the nutrition facts panel of a product instead of just total sugar, according to Blake.
              “I think that is the biggest thing that would wake up consumers,” she said.

              Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/13/health/fda-food-labeling-healthy-fats-and-sugar/index.html

              McDonald’s Has Been Secretly Testing Fresh Beef For Months Now

              Without even knowing it, McDonald’s fans in Dallas have likely spent the last few months chomping on a surprising ingredient:fresh beef. 

              McDonald’s has been testing out fresh beef patties in 14 Dallas restaurants since November, The Associated Press reports.

              Tests have been run “without any advertising” on Quarter Pounder burgers only, according to CNN Money. The fresh beef is an alternative to the chain’s standard flash-frozen burger patties, which are frozen when ground and reheated two to three weeks later. Mmm.

              It’s too early to tell if fresh beef patties will be incorporated into McDonald’s restaurants nationwide, spokesperson Lisa McComb told The Los Angeles Times.

              Earlier this year, Wendy’s released an ad shaming other restaurants for freezing their beef. While fresh beef seems closer to the source, it may not actually be healthier: It’s typically fine to freeze beef for a month or more, as it keeps its nutritional content intact, according to Washington Post research. 

              However, the move is a sign of the growing consumer craving for less processed and healthier, more natural food. McDonald’s is one of many chains committed to switching to cage-free eggs in the coming years, and artificial colors and flavors are on their way out of many eateries, too. 

              But the best burgers, of course, are the ones made under your own roof. Happy grilling!

              Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/05/16/mcdonalds-fresh-beef-test_n_9993606.html

              Advertising Lies You Believe On A Daily Basis

              Many millennia ago, our ancestors developed language so that we could coordinate our hunting, band together against the elements, and tell each other what podcasts to listen to. The purpose of language is to communicate meaning. Unless you work in advertising. Then the purpose of language is to create meaning-like sound sharts to get people to buy things. Here are five common advertising claims that aren’t just half-truths; they’re empty nonsense which advertisers have tricked us into thinking actually convey information. They’re like the Coke Zero of language: They give the impression of substance, but have no real content and are probably giving us butt cancer.

              #5. “Up To 15 Percent Or More”

              When they hear “You could save up to 15 percent or more,” most people interpret that as something like, “Most people will save around 15 percent by using our product.” But that is precisely what the ads have — very intentionally — failed to say. It’s not that you couldn’t save 15 percent or more by using a given product; you certainly could! You could also save zero percent! Or -60 percent! Or all of reality could be the dream of a sleeping space turtle, and switching to this service might make you king of the dream! None of these things would falsify the sentence “You could save up to 15 percent or more.”

              “Up to 15 percent or more” means “literally any number.” They have included 15 as a mockery of the usual informativeness of numbers. Or maybe they used to date a girl named “15 Percent Jones,” and this is their sly way of throwing shade at her and offering her up for everyone as a prize — but a prize no one will ever get, because their number-fudging bullshittery means you won’t save jack and she’ll never return their calls.

              “Honey, call the math department. The wireless bill is here.”

              The statement “You could save 15 percent or more on car insurance” is vacuously true, saying nothing more than “Switch to our service. Also, 15 percent is a number.”

              Products that qualify: insurance plans, bulk package of batteries, letting your dad talk you into a timeshare

              #4. “Made From All-Natural Ingredients”

              We all want to eat healthy foods that haven’t been covered in pesticides, preservatives, and factory worker goo. Is that too much to ask? As it turns out, yes. Yes it is. “But what if I eat only things labeled ‘natural?'” asks some poor schmuck who still thinks words have meaning. “Surely, those have to be natural, right?”

              Most of us haven’t thought much about what the word “natural” means when used on a food label, and as it turns out, neither has the FDA! The regulators have not defined “natural,” in part because it actually doesn’t make much sense to apply it to human food other than salads and fresh veggies.

              The FDA is considering regulating this term, so they asked people to write in what they thought it should mean. Predictably, the internet gave them some poorly-thought-out answers with a light dusting of racism. People said that “natural” food shouldn’t be “processed” or contain “chemicals.” That’s hard to do, because basically all matter …

              Like water, for example.

              … is made up of chemicals. Similarly, most of us actually do want our foods to be processed. Specifically, “cooking” is a process most of us like a lot of our food to have gone through, lest we bite into a sweet salmonella nugget and end up in the ER. “Being cut up” is another process people are fond of, for anything from watermelons to chickens — both of which you can eat whole, but at a great toll to your spiritual and social existence.

              People also seem to think that “natural” means good. I do not know where they got this idea from, given that mankind has spent most of its existence locked in a battle to not be drowned, starved, poisoned, or crushed by nature. All kinds of terrible things occur naturally. Chewing on a bunch of apple seeds will release enough cyanide to kill you. Frogs in a completely natural rainforest contain the natural extremely lethal poison batrachotoxin. Hell, even plutonium and the cast of Real Housewives occur naturally.

              Only one of those last two things makes us fear for the future of the world, and it’s not pictured here.

              The combination of people not knowing what’s meant by “natural” and still having a positive association with the word means that advertisers use it on any product they like, just to mean “good.” They get to use it even when their ingredients include things like potassium sorbate, natamycin, and sodium benzoate. My family’s traditional recipe for sodium benzoate involves centrifuging the cranberry extract by hand. Sure, it takes longer, but you can really taste the benzoate.

              Crude oil is every bit as natural as sea salt. Opium is more natural than a beet and goat cheese salad. In order to have completely unnatural ingredients, you would have to summon them to Earth from a different dimension, and in his house in R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu who waits dreaming would sprinkle them on your Cheerios and the FDA would still be mostly OK with calling it natural if they survived.

              Products that qualify: ammonia, feces, Pete Burn’s face

              #3. “Best”

              Another word that advertisers have forcefully stripped of its meaning is “best.” It’s gotten so bad that we even let a store name itself “Best Buy” when it is one of the worst places to buy anything, especially the things they actually carry.

              In order to claim that your product is the best, you just need some metric on which your product is the best. It doesn’t matter if this metric isn’t what most people care about when it comes to your product. For example, your metric for “best writer” could be the one my dad loves unconditionally. If you picked that one, you could put ads up saying that the best writer in the world is Tony Robbins.

              Best teeth, too.

              Sure, that isn’t what most literate people mean by “best writer,” and it’s a painful reminder of my personal failings each and every time dad calls to recap a chapter to my voicemail, but legally speaking, it isn’t any less valid a metric than any other.

              This is why all four cellphone carriers in the U.S. can claim to have the “best” service in some respect. Verizon has the best download speeds, Sprint has the best latency, and AT&T is the best at being a company named “AT&T.” The other company is the best at me not remembering who they are. It all depends what measurements we pay attention to.

              All you have to do is refrain from saying how your product is the best. Then you can call your product “the best” just as easily as you can drink from a “World’s Best Dad” mug (which should maybe be harder to get than they currently are).

              Products that qualify: buys, western inns, Taekwondo movies starring Eric Roberts

              Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/its-non-toxic21-objectively-dumb-ways-were-sold-stuff/

              America’s appetite for natural food is changing, and General Mills noticed.

              General Mills just made a big decision to make its cereal products more … well, like real food.

              It’s a pretty huge move for the company, which sells a ton of cereal (like, more cereal than any other company in the U.S.), and it was prompted by one simple fact: Americans are demanding better.

              We’re simply listening to consumers and these ingredients are not what people are looking for in their cereal today,” Jim Murphy, president of General Mills’ cereal division, explained.

              The cereal giant announced that it’s aiming to have artificial flavors and colors removed from every last one of its cereal brands by the end of 2017.

              Cool! But wait, will my breakfast taste less delicious?

              Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/americas-appetite-for-natural-food-is-changing-and-general-mills-noticed?c=tpstream

              A different kind of tea party: how US farmers are brewing up a new industry

              Unchon Ramos has kickstarted an American tea farming revolution right from her farm in Virginia but growers say the industry is still in the wild west stage of development

              As a girl growing up in South Korea, Unchon Ramos recalls her mother would always give her green tea to drink at bedtime when she didnt feel well.

              And when she washed my hair, she always put a couple green tea leaves in the water, Ramos said.

              Slowly, she learned about green teas many benefits: that its loaded with antioxidants, which prevent cells in the body from deteriorating, and that it can improve brain function and boost immune system functionality. Green tea is also high in flavonoids, associated with reducing cardiovascular disease and preventing cancer. A study in 2007 by the US Department of Agriculture found that a single cup of brewed green tea has seven times more flavonoids than brewed black tea, nine times more than a single apple, and nearly five times more than a glass of wine.

              So when Ramos and her husband, Louis, decided to buy a rundown old farm in Virginia in 2012, it didnt take her long to decide what to grow. But local farmers told her Virginia is not the kind of place to grow tea. My hometown is the same weather as Virginia, and theyre growing tea, so I thought: Im going to try anyway.

              Ramos now runs Virginia First Tea Farm, which sells soap, shampoo, dish soap and laundry detergent, all infused with green tea grown on an 80-acre farm in Spotsylania, Virginia. This year, building on a thriving mail-order business, the familys products became available at eight Whole Foods Markets in Virginia and Washington, DC. Next, Ramos wants to process green tea for drinking.

              Unchon
              Unchon Ramos with a display of Virginia First Tea Farm products at a Whole Foods store in Newport News, Virginia. Photograph: Joanna Ramos

              Brewing a local industry

              Although tea growing has a millennia-long history in Asia, it has virtually none in the US. There are only about 30 established farms in the US growing Camellia sinensis, the shrub from which all tea varieties are produced, according to the US League of Tea Growers. Although that number is small, it has tripled since 2011. Approximately an equal number of farms grow tea in Hawaii, where the climate is more accommodating. (Camellia sinensis is sensitive to harsh weather and soil conditions.)

              Rie Tulali, spokeswoman for the US League of Tea Growers, attributed the growth to people who simply like tea. More than half of all Americans drink tea daily, according to a report by the Tea Association of the USA. That consumption is growing about 5% annually, and the US is the only Western country experiencing growth. Also, that increase is coming entirely in the arena of specialty loose-leaf teas, while familiar bagged tea sales remain flat.

              Tea parlors and cafes have an increased presence in major cities throughout the US, as do commercial tea shops like T2 and Les Palais des Thes, which sells loose leaf teas in dozens of varieties from around the world. Even Starbucks is entering the game. In 2012, it purchased Teavana, a US chain of 300 specialty tea retailers, for $670 million, its largest acquisition ever.

              People really are concerned about their food sources and what their carbon footprint is, said Judson LeCompte, a research associate in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at Mississippi State University, home to one of the nations largest tea research programs. So if they can get a locally produced product, thats much more appealing and theyre willing to pay for it. That gives our products a niche market they can fit into.

              But, while the opportunity for American farmers who want to experiment with tea is growing, there are significant hurdles.

              Its still kind of in this wild west stage of development, where no one has really figured out the model for growing tea yet, Tulali says. Even if someone figures it out in Mississippi, its a completely different story in the Pacific Northwest, or California, or Maine because the environments are so different.

              For example, a single region of China may have 300 tea varieties, or genetic cultivars, that have been bred over centuries to tolerate particular soil conditions and local weather extremes. In all of the US, Tulali says, there are still only three or four cultivars.

              One lure for American farmers is that tea growing presents few barriers to entry. Although learning to grow and process tea can be challenging, a lucrative crop can be raised on very small plots of land. A grower can plant 6,000 tea bushes on a single acre of land for about $20,000, LeCompte said. That might be 20 times the cost to plant an acre of corn, but the corn must be replanted annually. Tea bushes will produce for hundreds of years, and ultimately yield specialty loose-leaf teas that might sell for $30 an ounce or more 10 times the price of a familiar box of Lipton tea bags found in every grocery store.

              Even so, LeCompte said US tea growers are not likely to ever threaten the dominance of their counterparts in Asia.

              Out of the billions of servings that we import a year, we would be fortunate to produce 1% of that, he says. But I do think China and other countries have something to learn from us. And I think we have so much to learn from them.

              The
              The Virginia First Tea Farm property near Spotsylvania, Va. Photograph: Joanna Ramos

              Learning from the masters

              Both green tea and black tea come from Camellia sinensis. The difference between the teas comes in the processing. Black tea is allowed to oxidize after harvest before being dried. This produces a stronger flavor and transforms the leaves with a dark brown color. Green tea is heated through steaming or pan firing, which prevents oxidation. As a result, the leaves remain green and have a more delicate, fresh flavor.

              At first we were, like, This sounds really difficult, says Joanna Ramos, Unchons daughter and a co-owner of the business. Its very experimental, its still in its infancy, but its going good so far. We are able to get enough green tea to use for our soaps.

              Virginia First grows the tea plants using organic methods, although the company is still working to obtain official organic certification. Weeds are pulled by hand, and no chemical pesticides or fertilizers are used.

              Tulali says most US tea growers are not yet using organic methods, because they are focused on producing a viable crop from the finicky plant and finding a viable market for teas that are relatively new and expensive in the US market. US growers are still experimenting with their plant material and honing their craft, Tulali says. But what they do have as a benefit is their farms are typically very small, so they have better quality control over the lots they do have.

              When Ramos launched her business, she made more than 10 trips to her home region of Kumsan, South Korea, to study tea growing. She brought back tea seeds and a Korean recipe for green tea soap. Her husband, Louis, oversees farm operations after retiring from a career in the US Air Force.

              While many soaps use animal products like milk and glycerin (often made from animal fat), and fillers such as gluten, the Ramos family sticks to basic ingredients that are sourced locally whenever possible. For example, some of their products include cucumber and dried berries, which are obtained form local organic farms.

              A
              A batch of tea leaves and other ingredients being brewed to make Virginia First Tea Farm shampoo and conditioner. Photograph: Joanna Ramos

              The family began selling soaps by word-of-mouth and at local farmers markets in the Williamsburg, Virginia, region. Slowly, local natural food markets agreed to carry their products. This year, seven Whole Foods Markets became distributors.

              They are extremely popular, says Morgan Franklin, assistant manager of Rebeccas Natural Foods in Charlottesville, Virginia, and one of the first stores to offer Virginia First Tea Farm products.

              Unchon says the soaps are made by mixing in a powder from crushed tea leaves. The farm also sells matcha (a powdered green tea beverage) made from tea imported from Korea.

              Green tea soaps are relatively common in groceries that focus on selling healthy products, but most are imported. Joanna says as far as she knows, her familys company is the only one in the US that sells green tea soaps made from tea leaves also grown in the US.

              Next, Unchon wants to start selling tea for drinking. But first, the family must acquire facilities for drying and roasting the leaves. Unchon hopes the first tea products for drinking will be produced early next year.

              Were not trying to be in every supermarket, because that would just be a ridiculous standard to keep up our quality, Joanna says. The goal is to be able to keep our quality up and not worry about quantity.

              Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/jul/16/us-tea-farming-local-industry-carbon-footprint-t2

              Coconut oil: are the health benefits a big fat lie?

              Its the latest superfood, endorsed by wellness bloggers and celebrities, yet contains more saturated fat than lard

              It wasnt that long ago that the closest most Britons got to a coconut was at the fairground or on the inside of a Bounty bar. Yet in the past three years, this hard, hairy drupe (thats the official term) of the coconut palm tree has emerged as the latest superfood extolled by celebrities and health food shops for its nutritional, healing and mind-enhancing powers.

              Aisles of health food shops are packed with bags of flour, snacks, milk, sugar and drinks made from its meat and milk. And leading the way is coconut oil, a sweet smelling, greasy fat used for frying, baking, spreading on toast, adding to coffee or simply rubbing into your skin.

              Its hard to exaggerate how much hype surrounds coconut oil on health food websites, blogs and YouTube channels. Wellness Mama lists 101 uses including as a mental stimulant, hair conditioner and treatment for insomnia, heartburn, cuts, acne, haemorrhoids, mosquito bites and sunburn. Everdine recommends using coconut oil to cook with at every meal due, while Holland & Barrett claims coconut oil is very healthy, adding: Coconut oil is the little black dress of wellbeing everyone should have some!

              Sites such as these, along with celebrity endorsements from the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Kourtney Kardashian, have helped UK sales of coconut oil rise over the past four years from around 1m to 16.4m last year, according to consumer research group Kantar.

              When it comes to superfoods, coconut oil presses all the buttons: its natural, its enticingly exotic, its surrounded by health claims and at up to 8 for a 500ml pot at Tesco, its suitably pricey. But where this latest superfood differs from benign rivals such as blueberries, goji berries, kale and avocado is that a diet rich in coconut oil may actually be bad for us.

              Earlier this month, the American Heart Association (AHA) warned that coconut oil contains the same level of saturated fat as beef dripping. In fact, its so oozing with artery-clogging saturated fat that lard is a healthieroption.

              The AHA alert, which has followed similar observations from scientists over the years, has triggered an online battle between those who claim the science of coconut oil is more complex and more sophisticated than food scientists acknowledge and those who say food faddists have been duped by clever marketing.

              So who is right? Even if coconut oil really is full of saturated fats, are all saturated fats bad? And why do we get such conflicting messages about the fat in our diet?

              Coconut oil is pressed from the meat of a coconut. It has been used in Africa, Asia and South America for centuries and was routinely used in American processed food in the middle part of the 20th century. In the 1940s, it was the main source of non-dairy fat in the US diet until it was replaced by vegetable oils, particularly soya bean oil. Concerns about its high saturated fat content emerged in the middle of the last century and are rife today, even as the oil makes a revival among health foodlovers.

              Priya Tew, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, says: Coconut oil is a high saturated fat. Its about 92% saturated fat so more than lard or butter. If a woman has two tablespoons, she is eating 20g of saturated fat, her recommended dailyamount.

              In the long-established pecking order of fats laid down over many years by public health officials, trans fats are classed as the least healthy. The chemical transformation makes them hard for our bodies to process. They raise levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol and lower good (HDL) cholesterol, increasing the risk of developing heart disease and strokes; they are also linked to type 2 diabetes. In contrast, unsaturated fats are pretty universally accepted as beneficial because they raise levels of good HDL cholesterol. That leaves saturated fats somewhere in the middle.

              Since the 1970s, the message from public health bodies has been that they raise bad cholesterol, fur up arteries and increase the risk of strokes, heart disease and heart attacks. Thats the view of the UK government, the World Health Organisation and virtually every other public health body in the world. So where does the idea of coconut oil, one of the richest sources of saturated fat available, being a health food come from?

              One branch of evidence often cited by the pro-coconut oil lobby is work done by Dr Marie-Pierre St-Onge, associate professor of nutritional medicine at Cornell University Medical School, in the early 2000s. Her team was looking at the impact on health of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a form of fat molecule that has shorter chains of fatty acid than most and which is found in coconut oil in higher concentrations than any other natural food.

              In 2003, her team published research comparing the effects of diets rich in MCTs or long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) on 24 overweight men. She found that eating more MCTs over the month-long study led to losing an extra pound in weight compared with those eating a similar amount of LCTs. Further studies had similar findings. In 2008, she showed that a diet containing MCTs led to more weight loss than a similar diet containing olive oil.

              It was a fascinating result and a reminder that not all saturated fats are the same. And it was leapt upon by coconut oil supporters. Holland & Barretts website, for instance, claims that the majority of fat in coconut oil is made up of MCTs. But the link from these studies to coconut oil was arguably a leap too far. Recent studies suggest that coconut oil actually comprises just 13-15% MCTs. The rest are traditional LCTs.

              From what I can tell, my research is being used to say that coconut oil is healthy, but this is a very liberal extrapolation of what weve actually studied, says Dr St-Onge.

              In her tests, volunteers were given a concoction made from 100% MCTs.

              We dont know if the amount in coconut oil is sufficient to have similareffects as pure MCT oil in releasing energy expenditure and improving satiety and weight management. From recent studies, it seems that it is not.

              Coconut
              Coconut flesh, to be made into oil, drying in Papeete, French Polynesia. Photograph: Gregory Boissy/AFP/Getty Images

              If theres little evidence that coconut oil is less fattening than other saturated fats, what about another often made claim that it lowers levels of harmful cholesterol? Some studies appear to show that people who eat more coconut in their diets have higher levels of HDL cholesterol the healthy version linked to lower rates of strokes and heart disease. One reason for this cholesterol boost is likely to be the high level of a substance called lauric acid in coconut oil. A meta-analysis of 60 trials in 2003 found lauric acid increased good HDLcholesterol.

              But before you are tempted to celebrate by smearing some coconut oil on toast, theres a caveat. The same analysis found it also raised harmful LDL cholesterol. And theres little evidence that the rise in good cholesterol from eating coconut oil outweighs the rise in the bad stuff.

              There is nothing unusual about coconut oil in this respect all saturated fats raise both good HDL and bad LDL cholesterol levels. What seems to matter is the ratio of these two types of cholesterol in our blood. So while Lauric acid may raise good cholesterol, the increase could be offset by a rise in the bad stuff.

              Theres an added complexity. Tew points out that not all HDL cholesterol is necessarily good. As the science of cholesterol is explored in more detail, researchers are discovering that some types of HDL are protective, while others are non-functional and do nothing for the heart. She suspects that some of the rise in good HDL associated with lauric acid may be an increase in the non-functional type of cholesterol, which, while looking good on paper, wont protect us from heart attack or stroke.

              The presence of this non-functioning HDL cholesterol and the rise in bad cholesterol when we consume lauric acid could help to explain other studies that show lauric acid in our diets as being associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

              Its not just the claims about weight loss and cholesterol that dont stack up. A paper in the British Nutrition Foundations Nutrition Bulletin last year concluded that there is simply not enough evidence for any health claim based on coconut oil.

              Dr Stacey Lockyer and Dr Sara Stanner of the BNF wrote: Claims relating to potential health benefits ofcoconut oil are often based solely on animal or in vitro studies or humanstudies feeding one componentof coconut oil rather than the whole food.

              There is, for instance, no good evidence that it helps boost mental performance or prevent Alzheimers disease, they say.

              The theory is that the fat in coconut oil metabolises more quickly than other fats because of the high MCT content. The argument goes that the brain cells of people with Alzheimers disease are unable to use glucose properly and so starve. Coconut oil is an easier to use source of energy and so keeps brain cells going. Its an interesting idea, but not one based on evidence, according to the Alzheimers Society. A clinical trial into the potential impact was discontinued because there were not enough people taking part.

              Coconut oil is also said to be a good source of antioxidants. Although this is true, its nowhere near as good as fruit and vegetables. Tom Sanders, emeritus professor of nutrition and dietetics at Kings College London, says: It is a poor source of vitamin E compared with other vegetable oils. Coconut oil is also deficient in the essential fatty acids, which makes it much worse than lard or palm oil.

              As for its much touted antimicrobial qualities that help restore gut bacteria, theres virtually no evidence either way. For Tew, the coconut oil issue is another example of the perils of classifying some foods as superfoods. She, like most dietitians, believes its an unhelpful concept, used by marketers. Labelling products as superfoods can fool people into thinking they are eating well when they are not. Munching a handful of goji berries after fried steak and chips wont make the meal healthy.

              The obsession with expensive, exotic superfoods also means we forget the easy, cheap foods that are more likely to keep us healthy apples, oranges, broccoli and milk. But if canonising foods is unhelpful, then perhaps so is demonising them. And here, public health officials may have been guilty of oversimplification and an unfair assessment of fats. In the past few years, the debate over whether fats have been wrongly turned into villains has become intense and polarised.

              At one extreme are cardiologists such as Dr Aseem Malhotra, who last year told the media, during the launch of a controversial National Obesity Forum report into fat: Eat fat to get slim. Dont fear fat. Fat is yourfriend.

              But even more moderate voices acknowledge that the low-fat diet health message is too crude and not always supported by the evidence. One of the best studies into saturated fats and heart disease was a Cochrane review of 15 clinical trials covering 59,000 people, which found that cutting out saturated fat and replacing it with carbs and proteins made no difference to cardiovascular disease. Yet when the saturated fats were replaced with unsaturated fats, there was a 27% drop in heart disease.

              It seemed to be showing that saturated fats are no worse for us than carbs but that the real benefits come when we swap them for olive oils, nut oils and the fats in avocado.

              Sanders believes not all saturated fats are the same. It is nuanced and it depends where they come from, he says. A high intake of processed and red meat is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, but dairy seems to be quite neutral. Dairy provides other things magnesium, calcium and nutrients that may counteract the effects of saturated fat.

              But while not all fats are equal, Sanders, like most food scientists, remains unconvinced by the health claims for coconut oil or the suggestion that the saturated fat in coconut oil is less harmful than other saturated fats. There is, he says, insufficient evidence for such claims.

              There is an incredible amount of hype around the coconut that is driven by marketing, not science, he adds.

              Christine Williams, professor of human nutrition at the University of Reading, agrees.

              There is very limited evidence of beneficial health effects of this oil and marketing has won out over science again, she says.

              Coconut oil may be no superfood, but equally, it is no villain. What it is is a reasonable tasty if overpriced occasional alternative to other equally unhealthy saturated fats and one that, unusually, you can rub into your face without smelling like a butchers shop or cheese counter. But if youre after a miracle cure for obesity, insomnia or piles youll probably have just as much success with a Bounty bar.

              David Derbyshire is a former Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph science correspondent. He has written for the Observer on acupuncture, mindfulness and the science of wine-tasting

              Coconut claims debunked

              According to health food websites, coconut oil can be used to treat everything from thyroid disorders to thrush, via brittle bones and dementia. But in a recent report, the British Nutrition Foundation said: There is no strong scientific evidence to support health benefits from eating coconut oil. So where has this idea come from? Coconut oil advocates believe that it has powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties because it contains lauric acid, a fatty acid also found in breast milk. It is true that lauric acid derived from coconut oil acts as an antibiotic, but this has only been seen in vitro and at super-concentrated doses. So while lauric acid can kill bacteria, it seems coconut oil cant. In studies where the two have been directly compared, coconut oil was shown to be as useful as water at killing bacteria. Here are three more of the most commonly cited, scientifically dubious health uses for coconut oil to be wary of. Agnes Donnelly

              Woman
              Photograph: Alamy

              Skin
              While it is true that coconut oil is found in many sunscreens, coconut oil on its own has an SPF of around 1. The NHS recommends that when you are in the sun you should be using a sunscreen with SPF 15 at the very least. Therefore coconut oil alone is notgoing to be enoughto protect your skin from the suns UV rays, a major cause of skin cancer.

              Back
              Photograph: Alamy

              Hair
              Coconut oil is believed to moisturise, provide nutrients, kill bacteria and improve circulation of blood in the scalp. Some websites even promote it as a way to slow hair loss. In truth, coconut oil contains tiny amounts of nutrients and its antibacterial properties are unproved. Any effect it has on your hair is purely cosmetic.

              Woman
              Photograph: Alamy

              Health
              Pulling is a practice where people swill liquid oil around their mouths for up to 30 minutes because they believe it draws harmful bacteria and toxins out of their mouth. There is no evidence that this works. However, there have been cases of lipoid pneumonia, when the oil is accidentally inhaled into the lungs and causes disease.

              Know your fats

              Dietary fat can be divided into two camps the solid, mostly animal-derived saturated fats such as lard, dripping and butter and the liquid, unsaturated fats such as olive oil and nut oil, mostly derived from plants.

              We are so used to bandying around words such as saturated and trans fat that many of us (or at least those of us without a chemistry A-level) rarely consider what the words mean.

              Whether a fat is saturated or unsaturated depends on the way that carbon atoms in the long chains of fatty acids found in fat molecules are connected to one another.

              In an unsaturated fat molecule, one or more carbon atoms are linked by double bonds. If the circumstances are right, one of these bonds can loosen and connect to a passing hydrogen atom, adding another hydrogen atom to the molecule. However, in a saturated fat such as lard, all the carbon atoms are held together with single bonds. There is no spare capacity for the fat molecule to take on any more hydrogen atoms and so the fatty acid is said to be saturated with hydrogen.

              The ability of unsaturated fats to take on hydrogen atoms is exploited when vegetable oils are hydrogenated converted into solid trans fats by exposing them to hydrogen gas and a catalyst. Trans fats are cheaper than normal saturated fats, more suitable for industrial scale baking and have a longer shelf life.

              A fat is monounsaturated if it contains just one double bond among its carbon atoms. If it has many double bonds, it is polyunsaturated.

              Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jul/09/coconut-oil-debunked-health-benefits-big-fat-lie-superfood-saturated-fats-lard

              For The Love Of God, Stop Feeding Seagulls. Here’s Why.

              Mary Poppins had it all wrong never, EVER feed the birds.

              An admittedly hilarious video by Twitter user @ohthatstricia shows an attempt to feed a seagull that went very, very wrong. Nearly a dozen seagulls swarm and chase a child down the beach in slow motion, no less for one measly little nugget.

              The scene is like something out of Alfred Hitchcock’s horror film “The Birds.” How do we stop these seagulls before we’re driven screaming from the beach this summer?

              The answer is simple: stop feeding the dang birds.

              Many beachgoers toss their scraps to seagulls. Why let the food go to waste, right? Unfortunately, this feeding behavior teaches gulls to lurk near humans for a free handout, and even emboldens them to get aggressive. Wily seagulls near Brighton beach in England have been known to peck at women until they drop their food.

              If you’re feeding birds out of love, know that you’re actually doing them more harm than good. Your tasty tidbits are much easier for seagulls to get than their natural food sources. Seagulls end up forgoing fish and insects in order to live on a diet of bread, fries and ice cream. If that diet isn’t good for humans, it certainly isn’t good for gulls

              Now, many of us don’t feed the birds, but that doesn’t stop them from stealing our beach eats. Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by Regina George a seagull.

              There are a few things you can do to avoid a dive-bombing seagull at the beach this summer. First, don’t eat your food out in the open where the birds can see. Stand by a wall or underneath an awning while you snack. If you must eat on-the-go, try walking under an umbrella to block potential attacks. And when you see seagulls beginning to congregate nearby, you can always go back to basics: wave your arms and scream like a madman to scare them off. 

              Next time you consider tossing a few fries to a seagull, picture Tippi Hedren getting pecked nearly to death in “The Birds” and think again. Don’t ruin the beach for everyone this summer. Keep your snacks to yourself.

              Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/stop-feeding-seagulls_us_578cc60be4b0867123e1be2e?section=

              Top Doctors Are Now Warning Anyone Over 40 To Stop Taking Ibuprofen Immediately. Heres Why

              Ibuprofen is very common when it comes to prescribing something for a wide range of symptoms including headaches, toothaches and back pain. While the pain never seems to permanently go away, doctors still encourage patients to take pills to cover it up. And it looks like this covering up method is starting to catch up with us as we are now finding out that in the long run Ibuprofen could be toxic to the heart muscle. Even death is now being said to be a possible outcome after continued use.

              There are other options. Turmeric, for example, is actually a natural and much safer way to relieve pain. Its origin is that of a plant which is native to southern Asia. It has the healing powers of pain that is hidden and pain that is pronounced. Its been used by people for thousands of years in Asia, and is actually a big deal as far as Asian medicine goes.

              It is loaded with powerful polyphenols. The spice form, which many are familiar with, can be purchased in grocery stores, as well as natural food stores. It has a unique taste of earthiness and spice. There are many recipes you can use turmeric in. Heres a great recipe that can help out your body a lot:

              Mix the following:

              One tablespoon of turmeric powder, one cup of honey and the juice of one squeezed lemon in a glass.

              Stir the combination using a wooden spoon. Add a teaspoon of this mixture to a cup of warm water or tea.

              Take this pain-relieving cocktail three times a day.

              You should see results quickly.

              Next, get rid of that nasty ibuprofen!

              You can also mix turmeric into your fruit and vegetable shakes or smoothies. Also, tossing it into random recipes can add some interesting flavor, as well as the health benefits.

              Check out this study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine:

              Turmeric was shown to help in treating osteoarthritis, and out of the 109 patients who had previously been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee, during a six week period, some were given 800mg of ibuprofen and the others 2,000mg of turmeric. The turmeric group experienced better results!

              So next time the doc throws the Ibuprofen suggestion your way, head to the grocery store seasoning aisle, and get that pain relieving turmeric recipe going!

              Read more: http://damn.com/top-doctors-are-now-warning-anyone-over-40-to-stop-taking-ibuprofen-immediately-heres-why/

              Long-studied Alaskan wolf pack may be dead after years of aggressive hunting

              East Fork wolf pack, found near Denali, was first researched in the 1930s and had shrunk significantly this year and its now believed all may have perished

              The worlds longest-studied wolf pack may have been wiped out, wildlife officials fear amid an escalating battle between federal and state authorities in Alaska over the aggressive hunting of predators such as wolves and bears.

              The East Fork wolf pack, found near Denali, North Americas tallest mountain, was first researched in the 1930s and provided the first detailed accounts of wolf behavior and ecology. But years of hunting, trapping and habitat disturbance reduced numbers to just one known female, a male and two pups earlier this year. Its now believed all may have perished.

              Bridget Borg, a biologist at the National Park Service, said that the body of the radio collared male wolf was seen at a hunting camp and there appears to be no sign of the female nor pups.

              We investigated a den site after, Borg told Alaska Public Media. There was clear evidence it was not being used as evidenced by vegetation that was growing around the entrance to the den site.

              Three of the four pack members fitted with tracking collars have now been killed by hunters in the past year. The possible demise of the entire pack, which was once a common sight for visitors entering Denali, also Americas largest national park, is likely to heighten criticism of Alaskas intensive hunting of its largest predators.

              On Friday, the US Fish and Wildlife Service ruled that hunters will not be allowed to conduct predator control in Alaskas vast national refuges unless there are exceptional circumstances. National wildlife refuges span more than 73m acres of Alaska, including the 20m acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge the largest land-based protected area in the US.

              The move prohibits controversial practices such as the killing of bear cubs or their mothers, bear baiting and the targeting of wolves and coyotes during the spring and summer denning season. The shooting of bears from a plane or helicopter will also be restricted. However, subsistence hunting by indigenous communities will still be allowed.

              Alaska reinforced the trapping and shooting of predator animals after the Republican senator Frank Murkowski was elected as governor in 2002.

              His successors, including Sarah Palin, have all supported a policy of intensive management that removes wolves and bears with the goal of boosting moose and caribou numbers for hunters. This stance has led to significant numbers of bears and wolves being killed if they wander away from national park land.

              But the state has repeatedly clashed with the FWS, which has now decided to clamp down on hunting on federal land. Dan Ashe, director of the FWS, said special interest groups have worked to undermine the protection of species and landscapes.

              Public lands are not game farms managed for a slice of their diversity for the benefit of a few people who would call themselves hunters, Ashe said. Nor are they places where we can or should allow the practices authorized under Alaskas intensive predator management initiative.

              In the name of hunters and hunting, [Alaska has] approved shooting of brown and grizzly bears over bait; shooting mother bears with cubs, and even the cubs themselves; targeting bears and wolves from planes; and killing wolves and wolf pups in their dens. This is not sportsmanship.

              Conservationists and some scientists welcomed the decision, pointing out there is little evidence that culling bears and wolves actually leads to a big increase in prey species.

              Alaskas economy depends on the lure of grizzly bears, wolves and other megafauna, and this rule will go a long way toward keeping the living capital in place, said Michael Haukedalen, Alaska state director for the Humane Society

              But Alaskas department of fish and game claimed the the new FWS regulations override the states sovereign authority to manage wildlife.

              This is continued erosion of the states authority to manage fish and wildlife for the benefit of Alaskans, said Bruce Dale, director of Alaskas division of wildlife conservation. Moose, caribou, deer are important sources of natural food and food security for many Alaskans and cornerstones of the subsistence way of life.

              Alaska Republican congressman Don Young said he will work every angle in congress to repeal the new FWS rule, arguing that it is against the law.

              If this rule is allowed to stand, we could see an opening for future jurisdictional takings by the federal government, transforming a cooperative relationship between Alaska and the Fish and Wildlife Service to one of servitude, Young said.

              Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/08/alaska-wolf-pack-east-fork-denali-dead-hunting

              16 Ridiculous ‘Facts’ About Animals You Should Really Stop Repeating

              Who hasn’t shared an amazing science fact about sharks, cats, bats, ostriches, or other animals, only to feel embarrassed later on when you find out the information was wrong?

              No more.

              It’s time to put an end to these myths, misconceptions, and inaccuracies about animals passed down through the ages.

              To help the cause we’ve rounded up and corrected dozens of the more popular myths we keep hearing repeated.

              Have any favorites we missed? Send them to science@techinsider.io.

              Kevin Loria, Lauren Friedman, Kelly Dickerson, Jennifer Welsh, and Sarah Kramercontributed to this post. Robert Ferris contributed to a previous version.

              MYTH: There are bugs in your strawberry Frappuccino.

              This one is no longer true.

              Before April 2012, Starbucks’ strawberry Frappucino contained a dye made from the ground-up bodies of thousands of tiny insects, called cochineal bugs (orDactylopius coccus).

              Farmers in South and Central America make a living harvesting and smashing the bugs that go into the dye. Their crushed bodies produce a deep red ink that is used as a natural food coloring, which was “called cochineal” red but is now called “carmine color.”

              Starbucks stopped using carmine color in their strawberry Frappucinos in 2012. But the dye is still used in thousands of other food products from Nerds candies to grapefruit juice. Not to mention cosmetics, like lovely shades of red lipstick.

              Sources: Business Insider, CHR Hansen, AmericanSweets.co.uk, FoodFacts.com, LA Times

              MYTH: Beaver butt secretions are in your vanilla ice cream.

              You’ve probably heard that a secretion called castoreum, isolated from the anal gland of a beaver, is used in flavorings and perfumes.

              But castoreum is so expensive, at up to $70 per pound of anal gland (the cost to humanely milk castoreum froma beaveris likely evenhigher), that it’s unlikely to show up in anything you eat.

              In 2011, the Vegetarian Resource Group wrote to five major companies that produce vanilla flavoring and asked if they use castoreum. The answer: According to the Federal Code of Regulations, they can’t. (The FDA highly regulates what goes into vanilla flavoring and extracts.)

              It’s equally unlikely you’ll find castoreum in mass-marketed goods, either.

              Sources: Business Insider, Vegetarian Resource Group, FDA, NY Trappers Forum

              MYTH: Dogs and cats are colorblind.

              Dogs and cats have much better color visionthan we thought.

              Both dogs and cats can see in blue and green, and they also have more rods the light-sensing cells in the eye than humans do, so they can see better in low-light situations.

              This myth probably comes about because each animal sees colors differently than humans.

              Reds and pinks may appear more green to cats, while purple may look like another shade of blue. Dogs, meanwhile, have fewer cones the color-sensing cells in the eye so scientists estimated that their color vision is only about 1/7th as vibrant as ours.

              Sources: Today I Found Out, Business Insider

              MYTH: Lemmings jump off cliffs in mass suicides.

              MYTH: Lemmings jump off cliffs in mass suicides.

              kgleditsch

              Lemmings do not commit mass suicide.

              During their migrations they sometimes do fall off cliffs, or if they wander into an area they are unfamiliar with.

              No one knows exactly when the myth started, but a 1958 Disney video called “White Wilderness,”which won an Oscar for best documentary feature, has emerged over the years as the likeliest suspect but the “documentary” was faked.

              Source: Tech Insider,Alaska Department Of Fish And Game

              MYTH: Sharks don’t get cancer.

              Back in 2013, researchers reported a huge tumor growing out of the mouth of a great white shark, and another on the head of a bronze whaler shark.

              And those aren’t the only cases of shark cancers. Other scientists have reported tumors in dozens of different shark species.

              MYTH: Sharks don't get cancer.

              Wendell Reed/Flickr

              The myth that sharks don’t get cancer was created by I. William Lane to sell shark cartilage as a cancer treatment.

              Sources: Journal Of Cancer Research,LiveScience

              MYTH: Ostriches hide by putting their heads in the sand

              MYTH: Ostriches hide by putting their heads in the sand.

              Trisha Shears

              Ostriches do not stick their heads in the sand when threatened. In fact, they don’t bury their heads at all.

              When threatened, ostriches sometimes flop on the ground and play dead.

              Source: San Diego Zoo

              MYTH: People get warts from frogs and toads.

              MYTH: People get warts from frogs and toads.

              USDA

              Frogs or toads won’t give you warts, but shaking hands with someone who has warts can.

              The human papillomavirus is what gives people warts, and it is unique to humans.

              Source: WebMD

              MYTH: This dinosaur is called a Brontosaurus.

              MYTH: This dinosaur is called a Brontosaurus.

              public domain

              Many people would call this dinosaur a Brontosaurus even Michael Crichton did in “Jurassic Park.”

              It is actually called the Apatosaurus. The myth emerged some 130 years ago during a feud between two paleontologists.

              Source: NPR

              MYTH: Sharks can smell a drop of blood from miles away.

              This one is a big exaggeration. Jaws is not coming for you from across the ocean if you bleed in the water.

              Shark have a highly enlarged brain region for smelling odors, allowing some of the fish to detect as little as one part blood per 10 billion parts water roughly a drop in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

              But it the ocean is much, much, much bigger and it takes awhile for odor molecules to drift. On a very good day when the currents are favorable, a shark can smell its prey from a few football fields away not miles.

              MYTH: Sharks can smell a drop of blood from miles away.

              tahitiflyshoot/Dronestagram

              Source: American Museum of Natural History

              MYTH: Bats are blind.

              MYTH: Bats are blind.

              DeeAnn Reeder/Bucknell University

              Being “blind as a bat” means not being blind at all.

              While many use echolocation to navigate, all of them can see.

              Source: USA Today

              MYTH: Goldfish can’t remember anything for longer than a second.

              Goldfish actually have pretty good memories.

              They can remember things for months, not seconds like many people say.

              Source: ABC News

              MYTH: Giraffes sleep for only 30 minutes a day.

              Giraffes have fairly typical sleeping patterns.

              To debunk this one, researchers closely monitored a herd of five adult and three young giraffes for 152 days, counting all of their naps and deep sleeps.

              The animals typically slept overnight and napped in the afternoon (sound familiar?).

              In total, each giraffe slept about 4.6 hours every day.

              Source: European Sleep Research Society

              MYTH: Sharks die if they stop swimming.

              You often hear sharks can breathe only when swimming pushes water over their gills.

              That’s true of some sharks, but many others like bottom-dwelling nurse sharks can pump oxygen-rich water over their gills without swimming.

              All sharks lack swim bladders, however, so if they stop swimming they will sink to the bottom. Luckily a shark’s body is incompressible and rapid descents or ascents don’t harm them.

              MYTH: Sharks die if they stop swimming.

              Elias Levy/Flickr

              Source: American Museum of Natural History

              MYTH: Poinsettias contain deadly poison.

              MYTH: Poinsettias contain deadly poison.

              fontplaydotcom

              Poinsettias won’t kill you or your pets, though you still shouldn’t eat them.

              The flowers might make you a bit sick with some gastrointestinal issues.

              Source: The New York Botanical Garden

              MYTH: Humans got HIV because someone had sex with a monkey.

              MYTH: Humans got HIV because someone had sex with a monkey.

              flickr user: kvn.jns

              HIV probably didn’t jump to humans through human-monkey sex.

              It probably jumped to humans through hunting of monkeys for bushmeat food, which led to blood-to-blood contact.

              Source: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives In Medicine

              MYTH: Humans evolved from chimpanzees.

              MYTH: Humans evolved from chimpanzees.

              Alain Houle/BMC Ecology Image Competition

              Chimps and humans share uncanny similarities, not the least of which is our DNA about 98.8% is identical.

              However, evolution works by incremental genetic changes adding up through many, many generations. Chimps and humans did share a common ancestor between 6 and 8 million years ago but a lot has changed since then.

              Modern chimps evolved into a separate (though close) branch of the ape family tree.

              Sources: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, American Museum of Natural History

              Read the original article on Tech Insider. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Copyright 2016.

              Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/16-ridiculous-facts-about-animals-you-should-really-stop-repeating/

              Panera announces ‘clean bacon’ now being served nationwide

               (Panera Bread)

              As part of an ongoing effort to improve the quality of its food, Panera Bread announced Wednesday it will only be serving clean bacon.

              We cleaned out some of the junk, Sara Burnett, Paneras director of food policy, told Bloomberg.

              But what is exactly is a “clean” processed breakfast meat? 

              For starters, the chain has eliminated the use of artificial additives used in the curing process. Celery powder will now be used as the natural curing agent (replacing items like sodium nitrate, sodium phosphate and sodium erythorbate). No liquid smoke or artificial flavor enhancements will be used, either. Panera says it will use extra Applewood smoke instead.

              On its website, Panera lists the official ingredients for its “Applewood Smoked Bacon” as pork, water, sugar, sea salt, celery powder, and thyme extract. By comparison, McDonald’s “Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon” used in its breakfast sandwich doesn’t contain many ingredients either but does use preservatives like sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, and sodium nitrite.

              Inspired by a Thanksgiving turkey, the bacon will be herb-brined in sea salt, sugar and thyme extract. Since 2015, the meat itself has been sourced from pigs raised on a vegetarian diet, without antibiotics or gestation crates for pregnant sows. 

              The move to rid its bacon of artificial ingredients comes after the chain announced that it had eliminated artificial additives from 85 percent of its menu last year.  Part of that effort was geared toward working with suppliers to remove artificial nitrates and preservatives from the bacon used in its salads and sandwiches at its roughly 2,000 locations.

              Clean bacon is an example of how you can amplify when you simplify, Panera founder and CEO Ron Shaich said in a statement. By removing artificial additives, we made a switch to better ingredients, better texture and, ultimately, better flavor. Were not just offering clean bacon; its bacon that has been elevated in every way.

              But like “natural,” the term “clean” when it comes to food has no legal definition. Bacon, whether it has artificial ingredients or not, is still a cured product with a lot of salt.

              Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2016/09/22/panera-announces-new-clean-bacon-being-served/

              Birds Are Becoming Totally Dependent On Our Delicious Landfills

              This article is part of HuffPost’s Reclaim campaign, an ongoing project spotlighting the world’s waste crisis and how we can begin to solve it.

              Conservationists and those concerned about human hunger pretty much agree that the enormous amount of food wasted around the world is a huge problem — and that concerted efforts to reduce food waste are a good thing.

              But while tackling the issue of food waste, it’s important to consider how doing so could have some unintended, negative consequences for the natural world, says Professor Iain Gordon, deputy vice chancellor of tropical environments and societies at Australia’s James Cook University.

              Gordon, who has spent his career studying biodiversity and promoting sustainable land use, has researched how some animal species — particularly birds — have become dependent on human food waste. Reducing food waste without taking that into consideration, he says, could have devastating consequences for those species.

              In many cases, Gordon says, the animals became dependent on food sources like landfills in the first place because humans destroyed their habitat or depleted their natural food sources.

              “For species such as the white ibis in Australia the use of landfill sites correlates with the reduction in the wetland habitats that ibis naturally use and also prolonged droughts, which reduced the area of wetlands,” he told The Huffington Post in an email. “For other species such as gulls it may relate to our overharvesting of fish species that would have been the normal prey.”

              In some cases, the abundance of human food waste has even altered the natural behavior patterns of birds. A March study led by a U.K. scientist found that white storks in Europe, which previously migrated to Africa for the winter, have started staying in Spain and Portugal year-round because they are “addicted” to the “junk food” they eat at landfills in those countries.

              Even the majestic bald eagle hasn’t been immune to the lures of landfills — which Gordon notes is an “easy food source” for the birds of prey.

              “They appear to feed on red meat and bones and even prey on other birds and rats on the landfill sites,” he said. “Evidence suggests particularly young birds use landfills and there may be individual variation such that some birds become landfill specialists.”

              Jupiterimages via Getty Images
              A bald eagle in flight. It’s unclear whetherthis bird is a “landfill specialist,” but someeagles use landfills as an easy way to get food.

              All that said, Gordon stressed that he was by no means suggesting that people keep wasting food. Reducing food waste sent to landfills is overall a good thing for biodiversity. Among other benefits, cutting down on excess food production reduces pressure on land to produce food and reduces pollution, he noted.

              Instead, Gordon said, we should be researching which animals are largely dependent on our food waste, and then figure out ways to mitigate the potential negative impacts of food waste reduction on them.

              “We should look at restoring the habitats and natural food supplies of those species which have become dependent on landfills,” he said. “For those species that use it as supplementation and that have alternative food sources, the main thing will be to reduce the food and they will move elsewhere.”

              More stories like this:

              Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/birds-food-waste-landfills_us_5852ccd3e4b054eeaea2186b

              Is protein powder safe? What every athlete should know

              Theres whey protein, soy protein, pea protein, and more. Do these protein powders legitimately help with weight loss and muscle building? We chatted with the experts to find out.

              What are the benefits of protein powder?
              Heres how protein powders could help weight loss and toning: Protein powders contain, well, protein. And everyone needs protein. How much depends on things like your gender, age, activity level and health. Someone who is regularly exercising, whether its an activity like running or strength training (or both), needs extra protein. Protein before a workout helps make amino acids available to your body so it doesnt use the protein in your muscles to fuel a workout  and protein post workout helps repair damage to your muscles that occurred during the workout, helping to prevent injury and also helping to make those muscles bigger and stronger.

              But does that protein need to come from a powder, versus a food? Nope. Protein powder doesnt have any magical powers when it comes to weight loss or muscle building, Mandy Enright, MS, RDN, a registered yoga teacher and creator of the couples nutrition blog Nutrition Nuptials, told Fox News.

              CAN YOU OVERDOSE ON VITAMINS?

              But it can make it easier to get the proper amount of protein for people who need extra, like athletes, or who have dietary restrictions, like vegetarians or vegans. I am a believer! Tara Collingwood, MS, RDN, team dietitian for Orlando Magic and official nutritionist for runDisney, told Fox News. I like the versatility of protein powders and the fact that you can get so much protein at one time.

              Can using protein powders really help you lose weight? And build muscle?
              The science is slim when it comes to connecting protein powders and weight loss, Angie Asche, MS, RD, a sports nutritionist and owner of Eleat Sports Nutrition, told Fox News. If weight loss occurs after someone begins using a protein powder as a meal replacement, it would more likely be the result of an overall reduced calorie intake, she said.

              On the other hand, there is science to connect protein powders with muscle building. Most protein powders whether milk, whey, or plant based are considered complete proteins, Asche said. This means protein powders typically contain all the essential amino acids your body needs to repair tissues, and build and maintain muscle mass. And complete proteins contain branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which work to help fuel working muscles, stimulate protein synthesis, and promote muscle recovery, Asche said.

              LOSE WEIGHT WITH THESE 8 LITTLE CHANGES

              Much of that research is tied to whey protein powders. I typically recommend whey-based protein powders to my clients, especially athletes, because research shows they are most effective for replenishing tired muscles, Collingwood said.

              Is protein powder risky?
              Protein in excess of what your body needs isnt automatically stored as muscle. It might be stored as fat. In addition, too much protein puts strain on the kidneys, can lead to dehydration, bloating, nausea, osteoporosis, and more, Collingwood said.

              And, of course, protein powder on its own is not a meal. Combine it with a carbohydrate like oats, a healthy fat like peanut butter, and a fruit or vegetable for a balanced meal. Mix the powders into smoothies, pancake mixes, oatmeal and more, Collingwood said.

              And while its not a risk, protein powder is processed. If you want fewer processed foods in your life, then try to get all of your protein through natural food sources, Collingwood said. Try eggs, chicken breast, salmon, milk and more. You can also make your own protein powder from whole ingredients like dry milk powder, oats, and almonds try this Homemade Protein Powder recipe from Serena Ball, MS, RD, co-owner of Teaspoon of Spice.

              How do you choose a safe protein powder?
              All protein powders are not created equal.  A big reason: Supplements such as protein powders do not require FDA approval for marketing. Because of this, they may contain less protein, more sugar, and differing amounts of other ingredients versus what they label claims. You run into the risk of not actually knowing what youre consuming, Asche said. Look for one thats NSF Certified for Sport, which means a product has undergone third-party testing to assure that whats listed on the package is actually in the product. Even if you arent an athlete, I still highly recommend seeking out a protein powder with this certification because its gone through rigorous testing to assure it is legit, Asche said.

              Amy Gorin is freelance writer and owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

              Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2017/05/02/is-protein-powder-safe-what-every-athlete-should-know.html

              Kuli Kuli raises $4.25 million to make moringa a mainstay in the US diet

              Oakland-based food startup Kuli Kuli has raised $4.25 million in a Series A round of funding to bring moringa, a high-protein plant, to more kitchens in the U.S., according to CEO and co-founder Lisa Curtis.

              During her time working in Niger for the Peace Corps, Curtis got a taste for the moringa plant, which grows pervasively in tropical climates and is higher in iron, calcium and protein than other leafy greens, even kale. But on her stateside return, she couldnt find moringa in groceries. She co-founded the company in 2011 with a dual mission to make moringa popular back home and support women farmers around the world.

              Kuli Kuli connects with women who are farmers in West Africa, South America and the Caribbean, purchasing their moringa harvests at a fair price and sometimes providing additional support, through select projects, which help the farmers and their communities plant moringa trees, and learn about nutrition. To date, the company reports that it has supported 800 women farmers and helped to plant 200,000 moringa trees.

              The Kellogg Companys new venture arm, Eighteen94 Capital, led the Series A round in the for-profit for-good startup Kuli Kuli. The fund was joined by food and environment-minded investors S2G Ventures and InvestEco, along with individual angels. The deal represents the first for Kelloggs new fund, which it formed with Touchdown Ventures in June last year.

              Eighteen94 Capital Managing Director Simon Burton said while Kelloggs doesnt produce any food items that use moringa as an ingredient, the company will help Kuli Kuli Foods figure out how to navigate through its next stage of growth. He said, Theres a lot of potential here, whether its the nutrition or the super food angle, for moringa and Kuli Kuli to scale. Were seeing search trends that look like the trend lines around something like quinoa ten years ago.

              Since its earliest days, Kuli Kuli has employed technology in fundraising, debuting its products on Indiegogo, connecting with angel investors through AgFunder and raising a loan through Kiva. The startup also uses proprietary technology in processing the moringa plant, a so-called superfood, into bars, powders, tea and energy shots.

              It has also run recipe competitions online, including one judged by elite chef Jos Andrs, to drum up interest in cooking with moringa. Winners got a trip to dine with the chef at his China Chilcano restaurant in Washington, D.C.

              Kuli Kuli also has new products in the works for release in 2017, Curtis said. The company will likely sell those direct to consumers online first, before rolling them out nationally to brick and mortar groceries. But funds will mainly be used forgetting Kuli Kulis moringa products into more customers hands.

              Our goal with this capital is to really expand our distribution. We are in 3,000 stores already including lots of natural food stores, Whole Foods and others. But there are more places wed like to be, including conventional retailers. We have a first to market advantage and the wind is at our backs right now, the CEO said.

              Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/11/kuli-kuli-raises-4-25-million-to-make-moringa-a-mainstay-in-the-us-diet/

              Well-Meaning New Zealander’s Are Killing Endangered Birds By Accident

              Well-meaning residents of New Zealands capital may be killing the city’s endangered birds with kindness. It turns out that the chicks of the kk birds that live in Wellington are failing to survive because locals are feeding the parents the wrong type of food.

              Anurban ecology team for Wellington have been keeping track of the birds that live in the parks and reserves surrounding the city, and found that last year 80 percent of the chicks failed to make it to adulthood. Investigating this devastating survival rate, they found that residents feeding the adults food such as nuts, seeds, and bread, which then go on to regurgitate it for their offspring, is causing the chicks to develop metabolic bone disease.

              This causes problems with the strength of the bones in developing birds. Some kk have been found to grow up with deformed limbs and bone abnormalities, including beaks that struggle to close. It is thought that even if the chicks do survive to adulthood, their bones are so weak that the slightest of knocks can cause them to shatter.

              Last year we did autopsies on kaka chicks we found dead and in a number of them we found nearly every bone in their body had fractured because of the disease, the councils urban ecology team leader Myfanwy Emeny told the Guardian. The saddest thing about this condition is it is a preventable disease. People just love the birds, they are trying to do the right thing by feeding the parents but it is resulting in this horrible condition in the chicks.

              The birds are a type of large parrot that are native to the islands, but have been decimated in numbers in recent times. Usually found living in the forests, the kk have declined greatly due to habitat loss, invasive predators, and competition with wasps and bees. The introduced stoats are known to predate on nesting females as they incubate their eggs, while breeding birds are being outcompeted by wasps in the collection of a vital food source: honeydew.

              This is not the only example of people trying to do good by feeding wild birds but instead inadvertently harming them. Angel wing is a condition that can afflict ducks and geese that are fed a diet too high in bread, causing the wings of developing chicks to grow to such an extent that they are not able to fly.

              The urban ecology team recommend that rather than feeding the kk nuts and bread, residents should instead plant native trees and shrubs, in addition to providing drinking water. They say that there is plenty of natural food in the surrounding parks to keep the birds sustained.

              Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/wellmeaning-new-zealanders-are-killing-endangered-birds-by-accident/

              The rise of biodynamic farming: a return to ‘the way farmers farmed for millennia’

              Biodynamic foods are more nutritious than conventionally farmed crops but critics are questioning biodynamic farmings ability to feed the masses

              When John Chester, a filmmaker from California, quit his job to become a farmer, he didnt do it out of a desire to feed the world. Instead, he says: Im trying to feed my neighbors and if everyone did that, we would be able to replicate this.

              He is referring to Apricot Lane Farms, a 213-acre biodynamic and organic farm in Moorpark, California, that Chester runs with his wife, Molly. The couple nurtures 100 different types of vegetables, 75 varieties of stone fruit, and countless animal residents: Scottish highland cattle, pigs, chickens, sheep, ducks, hens, horses and livestock dogs. Last year, Apricot Lane Farms was recognized by the National Wildlife Federation and the North American Butterfly Association for supporting so much wildlife not a recognition typically given to farms.

              Apricot Lane is part of a growing movement in biodynamic farming. The number of biodynamic farms in the US is rapidly increasing, according to Elizabeth Candelario, co-director of Demeter USA, the nonprofit certifier of biodynamic farms and consumer products in the US. According to Demeter, the total acreage for biodynamic farming in the US increased by 16% last year, totaling 21,791 acres.

              Earlier this year, Demeter began collecting topsoil samples from biodynamic farms. This will help the organization determine if the soil quality is improving year after year on certified biodynamic farms. According to Candelario, Demeter is the only national farming organization implementing this practice. This will provide a tool for farmers who continue to focus on building healthy soil, and give voice to power about biodynamic agricultures role in mitigating the impacts of climate change, she says.

              So what distinguishes biodynamic farming from organic? Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the godfather of organic and biodynamic farming, encouraged farmers to look to the cosmos before planting and harvesting crops. The biodynamic calendar is based on the positioning of the stars and the moon, meaning a seasonal crop cycle. Many biodynamic farmers utilize the lunar calendar, although it is not a requirement for certification.

              The National Organic Program (Nop) standard forms the base to the Demeter standard so if its not allowed in organic, its not allowed in biodynamic. If a farm is certified biodynamic, it means it has met the requirements of organic, with some additional measures. For example, while organic permits imported organic fertilizers and pesticides, biodynamic requires that a farm system itself produce its own fertility meaning compost and nutrients as much as possible through the integration of livestock and the rotation of crops. There are limits to the amount that can be imported from the outside for example, no more than 36lbs of nitrogen per acre, per year.

              Also, while organic certification allows for organic feed imported to the farm from anywhere in the world, biodynamic requires 50% of livestock feed be grown on the farm. Biodynamic also requires that a farm set aside 10% of the total farm acreage for biodiversity, and strive for a balanced predator/prey relationship.

              Where a conventional farm would bring in synthetic fertilizers, and an organic farm would substitute inputs that are allowed under the Nop, a biodynamic farmer would think: Why is my farm needing this additional fertility, and how can I come up with a solution out of the farm system itself instead of being imported from the outside?

              Biodynamic agriculture treats the farm like a living organism, self-contained and self-sustainable, Candelario says. Biodynamic is what organic farming has emerged from. Its the way farmers have farmed for millennia, before the advent of industrial agriculture.

              For example, on Chesters farm, the wildlife is vital in dealing with infestations. Last year, the farm had a slug problem. I could have poured Sluggo and that would have killed them off, Chester says. But instead, I let the wildlife sort it out. As a result, Im producing duck eggs that have been enriched by an escargot diet.

              Molly
              Molly and John Chester, who run Apricot Lane Farms. Photograph: Yvette Roman

              Biodynamic principles were first introduced in the US after 1924, when Rudolf Steiner first delivered his agricultural lectures. In 1938, the Biodynamic Association was established, making it the oldest sustainable agriculture nonprofit organization in North America. Still, there are only about 300 certified biodynamic farms in the US today, compared to 21,781 certified organic operations, representing a growth of almost 12% between 2014-2015, according to data released in 2016 by the Agricultural Marketing Services National Organic Program. This is the highest growth rate since 2008, with an increase of nearly 300% since the count began in 2002. The total retail market for organic products is now valued at more than $39bn in the US, compared to $75bn worldwide.

              Candelario says the reason for the slower growth in biodynamic farms is that although its principles were adopted in the 1930s, theyve been slow to catch on. It was really winemakers that caught on first. Winemakers couldnt help but notice that some of the finest wines in the world are made from grapes grown in biodynamic vineyards. Vineyard and winery adoption has occurred so quickly that [the US] now has the third largest number of biodynamic vineyards and wineries in the world, following France and Italy.

              Now, Candelario says the natural food industry is beginning to recognize that you cant have a sustainable business model if the farming that stands behind your products is unsustainable. More than a dozen US food companies, including Republic of Tea, Back to The Roots, Amys Kitchen, Lakewood Juices and Lundberg Family Farms, are now sourcing from biodynamic farms, citing commitments to sustainable practices.

              Last year, Demeter worked with more than 50 US brands to bring biodynamic products to the market. Errol Schweizer can attest to the demand; he was the lead merchandiser and negotiator at Whole Foods for nearly a decade and now consults at numerous health food retailers across the US. When Schweizer joined Whole Foods, the company was carrying few biodynamic brands. Schweizer added more to the shelves, not only because of the farming practices but because of one basic test: taste.

              Customers want it, even if they dont recognize the biodynamic certification on a box, he said. What they want is food that tastes good and is grown ethically.

              Apricot
              Apricot Lane Farms sells its grass-pastured, soy-free eggs to local health food stores such as Erewhon. Photograph: Apricot Lane Farms

              Biodynamic foods are more nutritious than conventionally farmed vegetables and fruits, according to research. Like organic farming, biodynamic farming prohibits the use of chemical pesticides, allowing plants to produce more of their own antioxidants to fight damage. These antioxidants are not only beneficial to humans, but they also impact taste and flavor, resulting in more flavorful food.

              But, while it may be healthier and taste better, critics of biodynamic farming raise questions about its ability to feed the masses. Nikhil Arora runs Oakland-based Back to the Roots, which sells biodynamic cereal. Arora sources the wheat from Fred Kirshenmanns 1800-acre farm in Windsor, North Dakota, which is certified organic and biodynamic. Kirshenmann was an early adopter of Steiners methodology; in 1975, the farm was organic but by 1981, he had become one of the first biodynamic farms in the country.

              Launched in January 2016, Back to the Roots biodynamic cereal sells in Whole Foods and Krogers for about $5 a box, on par with health food cereals such as Kashi and Natures Path. The companys cereals are also in 2300 schools across the country. The demand has been tricky to manage. We want to scale but we have to be mindful of how much supply we have, Arora says. Were working directly with the farmer, not a commodities market. We pre-purchase the wheat before he even harvests it. So its a different model.

              Apricot Lane Farms likes to keep it local, selling eggs to local health food stores such as Erewhon. Some of the vegetables and fruits are sold to LA restaurants and the rest are sold at specialty markets as well as online.

              What people dont understand is that biodynamic farming is about responding to the farm, living, breathing it, Chester says. If you have a problem, you have to think of three solutions that come from the farm itself. Those so-called problems are part of the art of farming, which has been lost in this rat race to produce cheap food.

              Chester argues that buyers have to change the equation by voting with their purchases. Candelario agrees.

              Consumers need to continue to demand transparency in the food they purchase and support the brands, and the farms, that are bringing products to market in the most ecological way possible. The beautiful short term reward in all of this is that our food is only as good as the farming that stands behind it.

              Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/mar/05/biodynamic-farming-agriculture-organic-food-production-environment

              Leonardo DiCaprio Invests In Frozen Seafood Biz In Unexpected Move

              Talk about a fishy move!

              Leonardo DiCaprioannounced Tuesday via a press release that hes investing in LoveTheWild, a frozen food company that sells sustainably-sourced seafood kits.

              Estimates show the earths population approaching nine billion by 2050, putting tremendous pressure on our natural food resources, said DiCaprio. Seafood is a primary source of protein for nearly a billion people but climate change,acidification and over fishing are putting increased pressure on our oceans natural stability.

              He added, LoveTheWilds approach to sustainable, responsible aquaculture is promoting the development of a secure and environmentally-conscious solution to feeding our planets growing population.

              The Oscar-winning actors passion for the environment is well-known. At the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation,which was founded in 1998, he and his team work to raise awareness about climate change, indigenous rights, and wildlife and marine conservation.Given LoveTheWilds commitment to sustainable sourcing, it makes sense the actor would partner with them.

              In order to make its business environmentally sustainable, the company says it only sources four farm-raised varieties of fish: striped bass, barramundi, catfish and red trout. Labels on LoveTheWilds food ensure that customers can trace exactly where their fish comes from.

              If youre interested in finding out if the seafood you purchase is sustainable, check out Seafood Watch, a website run by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The site, which is updated regularly, offers recommendations for seafood you should be eating, as well as tips to ensure your eating and dining out habits are ocean-friendly.

              TheHuffPostLifestylenewsletterwill make you happier and healthier, one email at a time. Sign uphere.

              Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/leonardo-dicaprio-is-getting-into-the-frozen-food-business-for-one-simple-reason_us_58c03916e4b0ed718269120a?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

              ‘100 Percent OJ’ Probably Isn’t As Natural As You Think

              When we pick up a carton of 100 percent orange juice, not from concentrate from the store, the image of oranges being carefully juiced is often what comes to mind. Something like this:

              Ripe oranges being carefully squeezed by hand. 

              Its suggested in the language, so its totally normal to have that assumption. But in most cases,it couldnt be further from the truth. Our store-bought glass of morning OJ is actually made by pulverizing oranges in giant processing machinery to extract its juice.

              The process of making commercial OJ looks more like this:

              Oranges being juiced in a commercial orange juice processing plant.

              Thats not such a bad thing, but thats not all. Alissa Hamiltons book,Squeezed: What You Dont Know About Orange Juice, explained back in 2010 that theres a lot more work that goes into making commercial OJ. And its far from natural.

              Because oranges only come into season during a specific time of year different times, depending on the variety and yet orange juice is craved all year round, orange juice companies have to store the juice for long periods of time. In order to do that without the juice spoiling, the juice is stored in million-gallon aseptic tanks and the oxygen is removed from it.

              Heres the thing you should know: when the oxygen is removed from the juice, so too are the natural chemicals found in the juice that give it that orange-y flavor and smell. Karen Mathis from the Florida Department of Citrus shared with HuffPost in 2011 a little insight on the process:

              During processing, natural components such as orange aroma, orange oil from the peel, and pulp may be separated from the orange juice. After the juice is pasteurized, these natural orange components may be added back to the orange juice for optimal flavor.

              In other words, before the juice is bottled it is re-flavored and re-scented with something that in the industry callsflavor packs,which are not a natural food product but rather are designed by flavor and fragrance companies. Yes, the same companies that make your perfume.

              These flavor packs are why each carton of a brand of orange juice tastes exactly the same, despite the fact that this isnt true of the fruit itself. And thats also why each different brand of orange juice has its own unique flavor, because the company has invested in its own flavor pack.

              The reason you dont see flavor packs printed on ingredient lists is because food companies dont legally have to, since the flavors are not made from artificial ingredients theyre made from citrus essence and oils ). While this isnt as scary as some ingredients that can be found in our foods, it does illuminate the fact that OJ is a processed food.

              Might want to start juicing your own oranges from now on.

              Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/commercial-orange-juice_us_58c971a4e4b0cb7d28ce2582?gr6lzd3vm22qbmx6r&ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

              6 WTF Realities Of Common Food You Buy At The Supermarket

              We all know it’s best for everyone involved if we don’t think too hard about the mysteries that dwell within hot dogs. But assorted-liquefied-beast-filled wieners definitely aren’t the only processed food harboring terrible, barf-worthy secrets. Wanna drop a few pounds before climate change turns the entire year into “beach season”? No diet will be more effective than simply reading about all the crap (sometimes for real) they’re putting in your chow. Like how …

              6

              Pretty Much All Hamburgers Contain A Little Bit Of Poop

              The “sustainable foods” crowd found much reason to rejoice when a Consumer Reports investigation revealed that “no-antibiotic, grass fed, and organic” ground beef had a markedly lower rate of bacteria such as enterococcus and E. coli — you know, the stuff in poop. But ultimately, no matter what type of pureed bovine you eat, it’s going to contain some amount of shit.

              adl21/iStock
              “Bon apPOOtit.”

              Indeed, every single sample that was tested, from the grodiest of cut-rate bodega meat to the smuggest of natural food store offerings, contained evidence of cow-pie-related bacteria. But if you’d like to minimize your intake of the southbound emergences of northbound cows, then yes, you’re better off shopping in places where there’s also an abundance of kale and artisan cheeses. The choice is yours: Would you rather be full of shit literally or figuratively?

              Still, everyone can surely agree that the ideal situation would be if there was no poop in the equation. It’s not just the fact that it’s extraordinarily gross, but also that these (often antibiotic-resistant) colonic cow-borne bacteria can seriously fuck you up. While you’d think you might be able to flame-broil the grossness right out with enough heat, the nature of ground beef means the filth is dispersed throughout the length and breadth of your burger — but go ahead and keep ordering stuff rare, cowboy.

              5

              How Much Of Your Pantry Is Vermin Parts? We Did The Math!

              You may have heard about how the FDA allows companies to sell us food with “acceptable” amounts of horrid things (like insect parts, rat hair, etc.) that sort of accidentally come along for the ride. If you hadn’t, good news: We went ahead and did the math for you, so you can have some vividly graphic context for how repugnant eating a normal meal can be.

              For starters, a can of mushrooms is allowed to contain, for every 100 grams, an average of 20 maggots. If you have a hard time visualizing what 100 grams looks like, the average can of drained mushrooms contains about 156 of ’em. Bonus points: The maggots can be of “any size.”

              Now that you have a feel for how big a 100-gram portion is, can you picture 13 decapitated insect heads inside one? That’s what you should expect if you’re the kind of weirdo who has a jar of fig paste in your pantry. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be some fancy-pants fig gourmet to get this type of “bonus” — ground black pepper is even more lenient in terms of the inclusion of random bits of formerly-wriggling bug. As in, you can get 475 fragments per 50 grams. For those who say “Hey man, it’s all protein,” try using that argument with rat hair … which, yes, is also allowable per 50 grams of pepper. Incidentally, fuck pepper.

              This brings us back to everyone’s favorite topic: poop. And mold. And any combination thereof. Which are also all A-OK in certain quantities, according to legal standards. “But the amounts would have to be so negligible as to be practically nonexistent!” some may be whimpering as they hurriedly call a plumber to fix their fig-paste-inundated garbage disposal. Well, not in the case of canned pineapple, in which may reside no less than an “average mold count” of 20 percent or more. And yes, there is a permissible amount of “mammalian excreta,” with the exact percentage varying from food to food. But don’t worry too much — ingesting small amounts of rat feces isn’t going to kill you. Just, you know, take it in moderation, buddy.

              4

              Your Bread Might Contain Duck Feathers And Pig Fur

              For those of you who are now terrified of every snack in the fridge and have decided to spend the rest of your days nibbling on the occasional crust of bread like an ascetic monk, we have some unfortunate news. We’ve discussed before about how an average loaf might contain a disconcerting amount of human hair, but that might sound downright appetizing when you come to find that very same loaf could also be fortified with duck feathers and hog fur.

              It’s not an accidental thing wherein pigs and ducks get caught in a wheat thresher and wind up being turned into pumpernickel. Feathers and swine fuzz are ingredients in a widely used flour additive called L-cysteine. As is, it bears repeating, human hair. The hair in question is swept up from the floor of Chinese hair salons and then harvested for their amino acids — a practice that is actually kosher, as long as the hair donors weren’t dead at the time. (Please imagine a reporter asking a perplexed rabbi about this.)

              It’s also perfectly fine to take the follicle-related refuse that’s lying around on the killing floor of the ol’ rendering plant. But come on — considering that we eat animals on the regular, from snout to tongue, this is about as “natural” as it gets. Would you really feel better about it if these additives were concocted synthetically in a lab? (The answer is: Holy fuck, yes.)

              3

              One Third Of All Fast Food Packaging Contains Harmful Chemicals

              Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me may have been a total load of deception-flavored baloney, but the fact remains that eating a lot of fast food isn’t the ideal choice for maintaining a figure that doesn’t look like a sack of chewed bubble gum. Adding insult to obesity, it turns out even the wrappers and boxes fast food comes in can play their own part in reducing your grease-lovin’ life span.

              Chalermchai Chaisri/iStock
              And we’re not talking about the times you’re so hungry that you wolf down the carton like a goat.

              In fact, it’s grease (or rather, mankind’s age-old battle against it grubbing up our fingers) that’s partially to blame. According to a recent report by a coalition of U.S. researchers, the grime-repellent chemicals that are used in a third of all fast food packaging are not only carcinogenic like a motherfucker, but can also lead to conditions like “elevated cholesterol, decreased fertility, thyroid problems and changes in hormone functioning,” with “adverse developmental effects and decreased immune response in children” as a bonus. Yeah, there might be a very good reason that gawky teenager with the filthy smock keeps forgetting to give you enough horsey sauce packets.

              CNN
              “Um, would you mind cramming my 17 enchiritos into one paper cup, please?”

              The chemicals in question, called PFAS’s (short for “fluorinated out the wazoo”), can be found in all sorts of products, from furniture to carpets to rain coats. Unless those happen to be places where you store your spare sammiches for extended periods of time, though, there’s little risk of potential cancer-causing agents seeping into your meals. Why, you’d have to cover your food in PFAS’s for the danger to be real! Unfortunately, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.

              The most depressing part may be how those PFAS whatsamajiggers were intended to be an improvement on what companies were formerly inundating our bodies with — namely, Teflon. So what now? Do we start infusing our wrappers with yet another untrustworthy chemical that may or may not turn a sizable portion of the next generation into lobster babies? Or maybe we finally should all agree that it’s socially acceptable to walk around in public with both our faces and extremities resplendent and shining with delicious filth.

              2

              Most Canned Goods Still Contain BPA, A Chemical That Was Banned From Baby Bottles

              Consumers have been stressing out for a while now about the potential dangers of exposure to Bisphenol-A, better known by its dreaded acronym BPA. It’s a man-made chemical used to harden plastic, and could once be found in everything from microwaveable food containers to baby bottles. Oddly, it seems to mimic estrogen in laboratory rodents, which might explain Mickey Mouse’s high-pitched tone of voice.

              Less amusingly, BPA might be contributing to health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and reproductive problems. Oh, and every one of us likely has some of it coursing throughout our veins as we speak.

              To be clear, aside from making rats more effeminate, it hasn’t been definitively proven yet whether BPA is truly a menace. Nonetheless, the FDA decided it was a risk that wasn’t worth taking and banned its use in those aforementioned baby bottles, while many companies publicly moved away from its use in their products. The extraordinarily cautious could always avoid plastic stuff and stick to eating their beans from straight out of the can like a hobo, except that — surprise, hippies — canned foods are chock-full of BPA too.

              Yep, there’s BPA in the sealant that’s found in canned foods. Luckily, the majority of studies on BPA seem to conclude that it’s harmless in the small doses that a “normal” person gets exposed to. But then there’s that pesky “gray area” in the research — the one that doesn’t account so well for how pregnant women, babies, and small children might be affected. And those even peskier findings that even a little bit of BPA can go a long way in causing an increase in the rate of heart disease. We’re going to have to wait and see, it seems. (And maybe keep a caged rat by the cupboard.)

              1

              A Loophole Lets Companies Put The Randomest Crap In Your Food If It’s “Generally Regarded As Safe”

              There’s something called “GRAS” infiltrating grocery store shelves, and we’re not talking about the fancy kind you get from deliciously murdering a goose. These are substances which are legally “generally regarded as safe,” with the “generally” part being be code for “who the fuck knows?” It’s basically an FDA loophole that’s been around for decades, and allows companies to feed us yummy things like car wax and the anal expressions of beavers.

              No part of that last sentence is a joke.

              It’s not as if the FDA has given companies carte blanche to sneak strychnine into our Hot Pockets or anything like that (although that might be considered redundant). It’s just that the criteria for what’s “generally safe” is a bit … let’s say … loose. Since 1997, there’s been a permanent law in place that, according to Consumer Reports, “allows food companies to add new ingredients to the food supply with almost no federal oversight.” It was originally put in place to allow common ingredients like salt and vinegar to get around the lengthy review processes every time a manufacturer wanted to put them in something new. But since its inception, go figure, certain liberties have been taken in regards to what counts as “common.”

              For instance, a form of trans fat was on the GRAS books until last year. And something called carnauba, otherwise known as “the queen of waxes,” is still there. Aside from Camaro polish, carnauba can be found in all sorts of products, like varnishes, beauty supplies … or frosting, candies, chewing gum, and gravy. But is it dangerous to consume? Who knows! We have no clue what exactly it does once we eat it, due to the “almost complete lack of biological studies” ever having been performed on it.

              Then we have the vanilla flavoring known as castoreum, a substance which any discriminating connoisseur knows is derived from smack dab in the middle of a beaver’s butthole. It’s not as popular as it used to be (inexplicably), but for decades, it was in all sorts of perfumes, ice cream, cookies, and cakes. Even today, you’ll never know if you’re in fact gobbling a beaver’s colonic goo, since manufacturers can label it as “natural flavoring” thanks to the magic of GRAS.

              While munching on something that comes about through the painstaking labor of milking the sphincter of a rodent may be off-putting, there’s nothing inherently dangerous about it. So perhaps we shouldn’t work ourselves up into a lather about GRAS dining. That we recently found out that some of them might be causing rats to die horribly from cancer shouldn’t worry you in the slightest.

              E. Reid Ross is the author of Nature Is The Worst: 500 Reasons You’ll Never Want To Go Outside Again, which is in stores now and available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

              Also check out The 6 Most Horrifying Lies The Food Industry is Feeding You and 4 Disgusting Ingredients Restaurants Secretly Added To Food.

              Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out 8 Popular Foods With Ingredients That Will Haunt Your Dreams, and other videos you won’t see on the site!

              Follow us on Facebook, and let’s best friends forever.

              Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_24733_6-dark-secrets-nobody-told-you-about-food-at-supermarket.html

              It’s Time For These 101 Ridiculous Science “Facts” To Die

              Who hasn’t shared an amazing science fact only to feel embarrassed later on, when you find out the information was wrong? No more!

              It’s time to put an end to the most alluring science myths, misconceptions, and inaccuracies passed down through the ages.

              To help the cause we’ve rounded up and corrected dozens of the most shocking science “facts” that are bizarrely wrong about food, animals, the Earth, biology, space, alcohol, andhealth.

              FOOD MYTHS

              MYTH: There are bugs in your strawberry Frappuccino.

              MYTH: There are bugs in your strawberry Frappuccino.

              Ron Cogswell/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

              This one is no longer true.

              Before April 2012, Starbucks’ strawberry Frappucino contained a dye made from the ground-up bodies of thousands of tiny insects, called cochineal bugs (or Dactylopius coccus).

              Farmers in South and Central America make a living harvesting and smashing the bugs that go into the dye. Their crushed bodies produce a deep red ink that is used as a natural food coloring, which was “called cochineal” red but is now called “carmine color.”

              Starbucks stopped using carmine color in their strawberry Frappucinos in 2012. But the dye is still used in thousands of other food products from Nerds candies to grapefruit juice. Not to mention cosmetics, like lovely shades of red lipstick.

              Sources: Business Insider, CHR Hansen, AmericanSweets.co.uk, FoodFacts.com, LA Times

              MYTH: Eating food within 5 seconds of dropping it on the floor is safe.

              MYTH: Eating food within 5 seconds of dropping it on the floor is safe.

              Flickr / Rubbermaid Products

              It’s the worst when something you really wanted to eat falls on the floor. But if you grab it in five seconds, it’s ok, right?

              The five-second-rule isn’t a real thing. Bacteria can contaminate a food within milliseconds.

              Mythbusting tests show that moist foods attract more bacteria than dry foods, but there’s no “safe duration.” Instead, safety depends on how clean the surface you dropped the food on is.

              Whether you eat it or not after that is up to you, but if the people that walk on that floor are also walking around New York City, for example, we wouldn’t recommend it.

              Sources: Business Insider, Discovery.com

              MYTH: The chemical tryptophan in turkey makes you sleepy.

              MYTH: The chemical tryptophan in turkey makes you sleepy.

              Bev Currie/Flickr

              Who doesn’t love the post-Thanksgiving nap? After all, turkey contains tryptophan an amino acid that is a component of some of the brain chemicals that help you relax.

              But plenty of foods contain tryptophan. Cheddar cheese has even more than turkey, yet cheddar is never pointed out as a sleep inducing food.

              Experts say that instead, the carbs, alcohol, and general size of the turkey-day feast are the cause of those delicious holiday siestas.

              Sources: Business Insider, LiveScience

              MYTH: There’s beaver butt secretions in your vanilla ice cream.

              MYTH: There's beaver butt secretions in your vanilla ice cream.

              Via Flickr

              You’ve probably heard that a secretion called castoreum, isolated from the anal gland of a beaver, is used in flavorings and perfumes.

              But castoreum is so expensive, at up to $70 per pound of anal gland (the cost to humanely milk castoreum froma beaveris likely evenhigher), that it’s unlikely to show up in anything you eat.

              In 2011, the Vegetarian Resource Group wrote to five major companies that produce vanilla flavoring and asked if they use castoreum. The answer: According to the Federal Code of Regulations, they can’t. (The FDA highly regulates what goes into vanilla flavoring and extracts.)

              It’s equally unlikely you’ll find castoreum in mass-marketed goods, either.

              Sources: Business Insider, Vegetarian Resource Group, FDA, NY Trappers Forum

              MYTH: Eating chocolate gives you acne.

              MYTH: Eating chocolate gives you acne.Flickr/lhongchou’s photography

              False.

              For one month, scientists fed dozens of people candy bars containing 10 times the usual amount of chocolate, and dozens of others fake chocolate bars.

              When they counted the zits before and after each diet, there was “no difference” between the two groups. Neither the chocolate nor the fat seemed to have any effect on acne.

              Source: JAMA

              MYTH: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

              MYTH: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

              Imperfect

              Apples are packed with vitamin C and fiber, both of which are important to long-term health, but they aren’t all you need.

              And if certain viruses or bacteria get into your system, an apple will unfortunately do nothing to protect you.

              Go ahead and get that flu shot, even if you eat apples.

              Source: Business Insider

              MYTH: Organic food is pesticide-free and more nutritious.

              MYTH: Organic food is pesticide-free and more nutritious.

              naotakem via Flickr

              Organic food isn’t free of pesticides and it isn’t necessarily better for you.
              Farmers who grow organic produce are permitted to use chemicals that are naturally derived and in some cases are actually worse for the environment than their synthetic counterparts. However, pesticide levels on both organic and non-organic foods are so low that they aren’t of concern for consumption, according to the USDA.
              Eating organic food also doesn’t come with any nutritional benefits over non-organic food, according to a review of 98,727 potentially relevant studies.

              MYTH: Natural sugar like honey is better for you than processed sugar.

              A granola bar made with honey instead of high-fructose corn syrup is not better for you.

              That’s because sugar in natural products like fruit and synthetic products like candy is the same: “Scientists would be surprised to hear about the ‘clear superiority’ of honey, since there is a near unanimous consensus that the biological effect of high-fructose corn syrup are essentially the same as those of honey,” professor Alan Levinovitz told Business Insider.

              The problem is that candy and other related products typically contain more sugar per serving, which means more calories a difference you should actually be watching out for.

              Sources: Business Insider, SciShow, Dr. Joy Dubost/Huffington Post

              MYTH: Milk does a body good!

              MYTH: Milk does a body good!

              liz west/flickr

              This is an incredibly successful bit of advertising that has wormed its way into our brains and policiesto make milk seem magical.

              The US Department of Agriculture tells us that adults should drink three cups of milk a day, mostly for calcium and vitamin D.

              However, multiple studies show that there isn’t an association between drinking more milk (or taking calcium and vitamin D supplements) and having fewer bone fractures.

              Some studies have even shown an association with higher overall mortality, and while that doesn’t mean that milk consumption itself was responsible, it’s certainly not an endorsement.

              Sources: Business Insider, NYTimes, Journal of Bone Mineral Research, JAMA Pediatrics, The Lancet, British Medical Journal

              MYTH: Coffee stunts your growth.

              MYTH: Coffee stunts your growth.

              Susanne Nilsson/Flickr

              Most research finds no correlation between caffeine consumption and bone growth in kids.

              In adults, researchers have seen that increased caffeine consumption can very slightly limit calcium absorption, but the impact is so small that a tablespoon of milk will more than adequately offset the effects of a cup of coffee.

              Advertising seems to be largely responsible for this myth: Cereal manufacturer named C.W. Post was trying to market a morning beverage called “Postum” as an alternative to coffee, so he ran ads on the “evils” of Americans’ favorite hot beverage, calling it a “nerve poison” that should never be served to children.

              Sources: Business Insider (1, 2), Smithsonian Magazine

              MYTH: Eating ice cream will make your cold worse.

              MYTH: Eating ice cream will make your cold worse.

              lvaro Nistal/Flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)

              If you’re home sick with a cold, you can totally go ahead and comfort yourself with some ice cream.

              The idea that dairy increases mucous production is very fortunately not true, according to researchers and a doctor at the Mayo Clinic, who says “in fact, frozen dairy products can soothe a sore throat and provide calories when you otherwise may not eat.”

              Bless him.

              Sources: Business Insider, American Review of Respiratory Disease, Mayo Clinic

              MYTH: Sugar is as addictive as heroin.

              MYTH: Sugar is as addictive as heroin.

              Jake Harris/flickr

              In the 2009 book “Fat Chance,” the author, Dr. Robert Lustig, claims that sugar stimulates the brain’s reward system the same way that tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, and even heroin does, and therefore must be equally addictive. Lustig even cites studies that show parts of our brain that light-up from a sugary reward are the same parts that get excited for many types of enjoyable activities, from drinking alcohol to having sex.

              The problem, however, with these types of scientific studies of the brain is that “In neuroimaging, there is no clear-cut sign of addiction,” Hisham Ziaudden, an eating behavioral specialist, told Levinovitz.

              So, scientists don’t know what addiction in the brain looks like, yet, and until that mystery is solved we should not be living in fear from something as fanciful as sugar addiction.

              Source: Business Insider (1, 2), “Fat Chance

              MYTH: Sugar and chocolates are aphrodisiacs.

              In the mid 19th century before sugar purportedly caused diabetes or hyperactivity sugar was thought to ignite sexual desire in women, children, and, more controversially, the poor.

              One vintage Kellogg advertisement even claimed “Candies, spices, cinnamon, cloves, peppermint, and all strong essences powerfully excited the genital organs and lead to the [solitary vice].”

              So don’t get worked up over sugar. There’s little to no evidence to support the notion that it or any food, including chocolates stimulates sexual desire.

              Sources: Business Insider, Mayo Clinic

              MYTH: Sugar causes hyperactivity in children.

              MYTH: Sugar causes hyperactivity in children.

              Flickr user edith_soto

              Numerous scientific studies have tried and failed to find any evidence that supports this off-the-wall notion.

              The myth probably emerged in 1974, when Dr. William Crook wrote a letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which published it. “Only in the past three years have I become aware that sugar … is a leading cause of hyperactivity,” the letter stated.

              A letter does not include the rigorous scientific research that a paper does, and according to the National Institute of Mental Health: “The idea that refined sugar causes ADHD or makes symptoms worse is popular, but more research discounts this theory than supports it.”

              Sources: University of Arkansas for Medial Sciences, Business Insider, NIH

              MYTH: Dogs and cats are colorblind.

              MYTH: Dogs and cats are colorblind.

              flickr user: rob.wiss

              Dogs and cats have much better color vision than we thought.

              Both dogs and cats can see in blue and green, and they also have more rods the light-sensing cells in the eye than humans do, so they can see better in low-light situations.

              This myth probably comes about because each animal sees colors differently than humans.

              Reds and pinks may appear more green to cats, while purple may look like another shade of blue. Dogs, meanwhile, have fewer cones the color-sensing cells in the eye so scientists estimated that their color vision is only about 1/7th as vibrant as ours.

              Sources: Today I Found Out, Business Insider

              MYTH: Lemmings jump off cliffs in mass suicides.

              Lemmings do not commit mass suicide.

              During their migrations they sometimes do fall off cliffs, or if they wander into an area they are unfamiliar with.

              Source: Alaska Department Of Fish And Game

              MYTH: Sharks don’t get cancer.

              MYTH: Sharks don't get cancer.

              Wendell Reed/Flickr

              Back in 2013, researchers reported a huge tumor growing out of the mouth of a great white shark, and another on the head of a bronze whaler shark.

              And those aren’t the only cases of shark cancers. Other scientists have reported tumors in dozens of different shark species.

              The myth that sharks don’t get cancer was created by I. William Lane to sell shark cartilage as a cancer treatment.

              Sources: Journal Of Cancer Research, LiveScience

              MYTH: Ostriches hide by putting their heads in the sand.

              Ostriches do not stick their heads in the sand when threatened. In fact, they don’t bury their heads at all.

              When threatened, ostriches sometimes flop on the ground and play dead.

              Source: San Diego Zoo

              MYTH: People get warts from frogs and toads.

              MYTH: People get warts from frogs and toads.

              USDA

              Frogs or toads won’t give you warts, but shaking hands with someone who has warts can.

              The human papillomavirus is what gives people warts, and it is unique to humans.

              Source: WebMD

              MYTH: This dinosaur is called a Brontosaurus.

              MYTH: This dinosaur is called a Brontosaurus.

              public domain

              Many people would call this dinosaur a Brontosaurus even Michael Crichton did in “Jurassic Park.”

              It is actually called the Apatosaurus. The myth emerged some 130 years ago during a feud between two paleontologists.

              Source: NPR

              MYTH: Sharks can smell a drop of blood from miles away.

              This one is a big exaggeration. Jaws is not coming for you from across the ocean if you bleed in the water.

              Shark have a highly enlarged brain region for smelling odors, allowing some of the fish to detect as little as 1 part blood per 10 billion parts water roughly a drop in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

              But it the ocean is much, much, much bigger and it takes awhile for odor molecules to drift. On a very good day when the currents are favorable, a shark can smell its prey from a few football fields away not miles.

              Source: American Museum of Natural History

              MYTH: Bats are blind.

              Being “blind as a bat” means not being blind at all.

              While many use echolocation to navigate, all of them can see.

              Source: USA Today

              MYTH: Goldfish can’t remember anything for longer than a second.

              MYTH: Goldfish can't remember anything for longer than a second.

              Flickr user riviera2008

              Goldfish actually have pretty good memories.

              They can remember things for months, not seconds like many people say.

              Source: ABC News

              MYTH: Giraffes sleep for only 30 minutes a day.

              MYTH: Giraffes sleep for only 30 minutes a day.

              Wikimedia Commons

              Giraffes have fairly typical sleeping patterns.

              To debunk this one, researchers closely monitored a herd of five adult and three young giraffes for 152 days, counting all of their naps and deep sleeps.

              The animals typically slept overnight and napped in the afternoon (sound familiar?).

              In total, each giraffe slept about 4.6 hours every day.

              Source: European Sleep Research Society

              MYTH: Sharks die if they stop swimming.

              MYTH: Sharks die if they stop swimming.

              Elias Levy/Flickr

              You often hear sharks can breathe only when swimming pushes water over their gills.

              That’s true of some sharks, but many others like bottom-dwelling nurse sharks can pump oxygen-rich water over their gills without swimming.

              All sharks lack swim bladders, however, so if they stop swimming they will sink to the bottom. Luckily a shark’s body is incompressible and rapid descents or ascents don’t harm them.

              Source: American Museum of Natural History

              MYTH: Poinsettias contain deadly poison.

              Poinsettias won’t kill you or your pets, though you still shouldn’t eat them.

              The flowers might make you a bit sick with some gastrointestinal issues.

              Source: The New York Botanical Garden

              MYTH: Humans got HIV because someone had sex with a monkey.

              MYTH: Humans got HIV because someone had sex with a monkey.

              flickr user: kvn.jns

              HIV probably didn’t jump to humans through human-monkey sex.

              It probably jumped to humans through hunting of monkeys for bushmeat food, which led to blood-to-blood contact.

              Source: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives In Medicine

              MYTH: Dropping a penny from the Empire State building could kill someone.

              MYTH: Dropping a penny from the Empire State building could kill someone.

              Flickr user Charles 16e

              Dropping a penny from the Empire State building is very unlikely to maimanyone.

              A penny weighs roughly 1/11th of an ounce and tops out at 50 mph in freefall, which isn’t fast enough to kill. It’d hurt like heck, though.

              Sources: Today I Found Out, US Mint

              MYTH: The great wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from space.

              The Great Wall of China isn’t the only man-made structure visible from space. It all depends on where you believe space begins above Earth.

              From the International Space Station 250 miles up, you can see the wall and many other man-made structures. From the moon, you can’t see any structures at all only a dim glow of city lights.

              Source: NASA

              MYTH: The moon’s gravity pulling on water causes the tides.

              MYTH: The moon's gravity pulling on water causes the tides.

              NOAA

              This is only half true.

              On the side of Earth that’s facing the moon, the moon’s gravity does indeed pull water toward it to cause tides.

              On the other side of Earth, however, gravity is weaker (from the moon’s pull on the other side) and it’s the inertia of water from the Earth’s rotation at work: spinning at about 1,040 mph flings ocean water into a slight bulge we recognize as the tide.

              Sources: NOAA, NASA

              MYTH: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.

              Lightning does strike twice.

              Some places, like the Empire State Building, get struck up to 100 times a year.

              Source: WeatherBug

              MYTH: The Earth is a perfect sphere.

              The Earth rotates at about 1,040 mph. That’s about 60% the speed of your typical bullet after it shoots out of the muzzle.

              This inertia slightly flattens the planet’s poles and causes a bulge of rock around the equator.

              Due to global warming and the melting of glaciers (and less weight pushing down on the crust), scientists think that bulge is now growing.

              Sources: StarrySkies.com, MythBusters the Exhibition

              MYTH: Mount Everest is the tallest mountain on Earth.

              MYTH: Mount Everest is the tallest mountain on Earth.

              Mauna Kea.Creative Commons

              The world’s tallest mountain technically is not Mount Everest.

              Mount Everest is the tallest mountain above sea level, but if we’re talking mountain base-to-summit height, then the tallest is the island of Hawaii that peaks as Mauna Kea.

              Everest stands 29,035 feet above sea level. Mauna Kea only stands 13,796 feet above seal level, but the mountain extends about 19,700 feet below the Pacific Ocean. Over half of it is submerged.

              That puts the total height of Mauna Kea at about 33,500 feet nearly a mile taller than Everest.

              Source: Tech Insider

              MYTH: Water conducts electricity.

              MYTH: Water conducts electricity.

              flickr user: elitatt

              Pure or distilled water doesn’t conduct electricity well at all.

              The reason we can get shocked when standing in electrified water is because water we come across will be contaminated by minerals, dirt, and other things that will conduct electricity.

              Source: USGS

              MYTH: There was a global warming pause.

              MYTH: There was a global warming pause.

              NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

              Earth’s average surface temperature hasn’t really budged since the start of the 21st century, but 70% of the planet is covered in water and that’s where 90% of heat trapped by global warming ends up.

              In fact, warming of the oceans has caused them to thermally expand, creating a huge share of the sea level rise that scientists see today.

              Sources: Scientific American/Climate Wire, Tech Insider

              MYTH: Tectonic plates move because volcanism pushes them apart.

              MYTH: Tectonic plates move because volcanism pushes them apart.

              NOAA

              Older edges of a tectonic plate are cooler and denser, causing them to sink into the mantle where they’re recycled. Where two plates are being yanked apart by this sinking, ocean ridges appear.

              That’s where the tectonic plate is being built by hot, buoyant rock that convects upward and emerges from the stretched-out weak point. The resulting volcanism isn’t what pulls two plates apart.

              Source: USGS

              MYTH: The Sahara is the biggest desert on Earth.

              Not all deserts are hot and full of sand. They need only be dry and inhospitable.

              Antarctica fits the bill, since it receives only two inches of precipitation a year and has few land animals.

              At 5.4 million square miles compared to the Sahara’s 3.6 million square miles, the Bottom of the World is a vastly larger desert.

              Sourcse: USGS (1, 2), NASA, Encyclopedia of Earth (1, 2)

              MYTH: Diamonds come from coal.

              Most diamonds aren’t formed from compressed coal.

              Instead, they’re carbon that is compressed and heated 90 miles below the surface of the Earth. Coal is found about 2 miles down.

              Source: Geology.com

              MYTH: People in the Middle Ages thought the Earth was flat.

              MYTH: People in the Middle Ages thought the Earth was flat.

              Shutterstock

              During the early Middle Ages, almost every scholar thought the Earth was round, not flat.

              This myth picked up steam in the 1800s, right around the same time the idea of evolution was rising in prominence and religious and scientific interests clashed.

              Sources: Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Patheos

              MYTH: Summer is warm because you are closer to the sun.

              MYTH: Summer is warm because you are closer to the sun.

              Flickr/Gilberto Filho

              The northern hemisphere of the Earth is not closer to the sun when it is summer, nor is the southern hemisphere during its summer.

              It is always warmer during the summer because Earth is tilted; during its year-long orbit, our home planet’s tilt allows the sun’s energy to hit us more directly.

              Source: NASA

              MYTH: Lightning causes thunder.

              A scientific and philosophical nitpick here, but lightning is just a stream of electrons zapping from cloud to cloud or ground to cloud. This in turn heats air into a tube of plasma that’s three times hotter than the surface of our sun.

              That tube violently expands and contracts nearby air, creating an unmistakable crack and rumble not the flow of electrons itself.

              Source: Scientific American

              MYTH: Your blood turns blue when it’s out of oxygen.

              Your blood is never blue: It turns dark red when it’s not carrying oxygen.

              Blood only looks blue because you are seeing it through several layers of tissue, which filters the color.

              Source: UCSB ScienceLine

              MYTH: Every gene in your DNA codes for exactly one protein.

              One gene does not equal one protein.

              Many genes make multiple different proteins, depending on how the mRNA from the gene is sequenced and cut up in the cell. And many other genes don’t make proteins at all.

              Source: Annual Reviews Of Biochemistry

              MYTH: Humans have five senses.

              Sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch are just the beginning.

              Don’t forget about balance, temperature, and time, as well as proprioception the body awareness that helps us not walk into things all the time and nociception, our sense of pain.

              Source: Business Insider

              MYTH: The hymen is a sheet of tissue that blocks a women’s vagina.

              MYTH: The hymen is a sheet of tissue that blocks a women's vagina.

              Flickr / CarbonNYC

              Wrong.

              Guys, the hymen is a thin membrane that only partially blocks the vaginal opening if a woman is born with one at all.

              Also, plenty of activities other than sex can stretch or damage the hymen, including exercise or inserting a tampon.

              Sources: Columbia University, College Humor

              MYTH: Eating a lot of carrots gives you great night vision.

              MYTH: Eating a lot of carrots gives you great night vision.

              MissMessie/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

              Vitamin A is a major nutrient found in carrots, and it is good for the health of your eyes especially those with poor vision. But eating a bunch of the vegetables won’t give your all-seeing superpowers.

              The myth is thought to have started during as a piece of British propaganda during World War II. That government wanted to secret the existence of a radar technology that allowed its bomber pilots to attack in the night.

              Source: Smithsonian Magazine

              MYTH: Blonde and red hair colors are going extinct.

              MYTH: Blonde and red hair colors are going extinct.

              flickr user: e3000

              Blondes and redheads are not “going extinct.”

              Genes rarely die out, and recessive genes, like those that lead to red or blonde hair color, can be carried from generation to generation without creating the hair color. (As much as 40% of some populations, for example, carry a gene that leads to red hair color.)

              When two people with the correct recessive genes have a baby, there’s a good chance the kid will have red or blonde hair color even if the parents don’t have red or blonde hair themselves.

              Sources: John McDonald/University of Delaware, BritainsDNA

              MYTH: Pregnancy gives you “baby brain” and makes you dumb.

              MYTH: Pregnancy gives you "baby brain" and makes you dumb.

              Flickr / Frank de Kleine

              Studies on this turn up mixed results, at best.

              Some studies on changes to working memory during pregnancy do show a small effect on the brain, though other studies show no negative impacts whatsoever.

              There’s actually growing evidence that being pregnant makes women more organized and smarter, at least, according to a study on rats.

              It makes sense, though, since pregnant women and new mothers have a lot more to worry about and think about for their brains to keep up they may even be getting a boost.

              Sources: Dr. Myra Wick/Mayo Clinic, New Scientist

              MYTH: Hair and nails keep growing after death.

              Hair and fingernails do not keep growing once someone dies.

              Instead, the skin dries out and shrinks, giving the appearance of further growth.

              Sources: Lecture Notes: Dermatology, Tech Insider

              MYTH: Humans can’t grow new brain cells.

              You are not born with all of the brain cells you will ever have.

              There is plenty of evidence that the brain continues to produce new cells in at least a few brain regions well into adulthood, through a process called neurogenesis.

              Source: The Scientist

              MYTH: Some people have photographic memories.

              MYTH: Some people have photographic memories.

              flicker user: slalit

              There’s actually no such thing as a “photographic” memory only very good memories.

              Even people with exceptional or autobiographic memories don’t recall events with visual details precise enough to mimic the fidelity of film or a camera sensor.

              Source: Moments of Science

              MYTH: People only use 10% of their brain.

              This myth has been debunked over and over again, but it just won’t die.

              Just because you’re not doing math equations and juggling while you write a sonnet doesn’t mean you aren’t using all the parts of your brain at once.

              You can use your entire brain, and you do the brain is 3% of the body’s mass but uses 20% of its energy.

              Source: Scientific American

              MYTH: “Left-brained” people are creative. “Right-brained” people are analytical.

              MYTH: "Left-brained" people are creative. "Right-brained" people are analytical.

              Flickr / Shaheen Lakhan

              It’s a common old canard: Creative people are right-brained, while the logically-minded are left-brained. False.

              It’s true that different hemispheres of your brain are more engaged in certain tasks (the left side is dominant in language, for example), but studies have never found overall left- or right-brain dominance in individuals.

              Sources: Business Insider, Psychology Today

              MYTH: The bigger your brain is, the smarter you are.

              Sperm whales have the largest brain of all animals significantly larger than a human’s but they aren’t the smartest creature on Earth.

              Humans don’t even have a particularly impressive brain-to-body-mass ratio.

              The winner in that category among mammals is the humble tree shrew, though that’s largely because its body is so tiny.

              Sources: Business Insider, Scientific American, Washington University

              MYTH: It takes 7 years for gum to digest if you swallow it.

              MYTH: It takes 7 years for gum to digest if you swallow it.

              flickr user: sembrandogirasoles

              Nope.

              Gum is mostly indigestible, but the occasional swallowed piece will pass through your intestines and exit the other side, just like anything else you eat that your body doesn’t need and can’t digest.

              The only cases where swallowed gum has caused a problem is when that gum is swallowed along with other things that shouldn’t be in your stomach.

              Scientific American cites a case where a 4-year-old girl suffered a gastrointestinal blockage from a wad of gum with four coins inside of it.

              Sources: Business Insider, Scientific American

              MYTH: Your microwave can give you cancer and disrupt your pacemaker.

              MYTH: Your microwave can give you cancer and disrupt your pacemaker.

              Flickr

              Microwave radiation won’t cause cancer, it just heats food up.

              Only a few types of radiation cause cancer, and these depend on the dose. Radiation from the sun can cause skin cancer, for example, but just enough helps your body make Vitamin D, too.

              Microwaves also won’t disrupt apacemaker. However, things like anti-theft systems, metal detectors, powerful refrigerator magnets, mobile phones, and even headphones can mess with the heartbeat-keeping devices.

              Sources: Cancer Research UK, American Heart Association

              MYTH: Shaving makes your hair grow back thicker.

              MYTH: Shaving makes your hair grow back thicker.

              Shutterstock

              Shaving your hair doesn’t make it thicker, it just makes it feel coarser for a time.

              That’s because the ends of the hairs are sharp and stubbly instead of smooth.

              Source: Mayo Clinic

              Unicorn Noodles Are An All-Natural Food Trend You Might Actually Get Behind

              First, there was the unicorn latte. Then there was the unicorn frappuccino. There have been a whole host of crazy food trendsrelating to unicorns, and there will be a whole host after these, and theyll probably make you roll your eyes.

              But we want to take a moment to pause at the beauty of our favorite multi-colored unicorn food to be created to date: unicorn noodles.

              Behold, unicorn noodles.

              Theyre as close as food gets to a work of art.

              Unicorn noodles are basically just noodles theyre made using clear or white noodles that have been naturally dyed. To dye the noodles blue, purple cabbage is boiled in a large pot of water to release the color. Noodles are left to soak in the colored water for 5-10 minutes. How much water-to-cabbage you use will affect the darkness of the blue, as will how long you leave the noodles to soak.

              The noodles are then turned shades of pink and purple with a simple squeeze of a lemon. In fact, turning them these shades is one of the best parts of making unicorn noodles. You squeeze the juice and watch them change colors right in front of your eyes.

              It looks like magic, but it’s really science at work. When you add acid to the purple noodles, the pigment from the purple cabbage –called anthocyanin — reacts by changing color.

              Three colors of unicorn noodles

              Ready to try it at home? Give The Indigos Kitchen recipe a go and never eat a boring plate of noodles again.

              Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/unicorn-noodles_us_592da492e4b0065b20b8a2f5

              5 Shocking Ways The World Is About To Change

              First off, fuck the apocalypse and everybody who predicts it. There’s always an apocalypse somewhere, and our pop culture’s obsession with an America ruined by war/disease/starvation basically boils down to, “Can you imagine if the shit that’s constantly happening in the Third World happened to us?” There’s somebody out there living the social breakdown of The Walking Dead right now. Only instead of zombies, it’s some warlord’s death squads, and a crossbow won’t do shit.

              No, this article is about the future, but isn’t about the apocalypse or a dystopia — this isn’t about killer robots (which we already have!) or a looming American police state. You’ve seen all that shit in movies. This is about the super weird changes that are coming in your lifetime that Hollywood doesn’t seem to care about.

              Semi-related note: My new novel about cybernetic super-criminals and shit is out right now!

              #5. You’ll Eat Bugs (And You’ll Like It)

              If you found a cockroach in your cereal, your whole year would be ruined. We have such a physical revulsion to bugs that the above headline probably sounds like a threat: “In the future, food will be so scarce that you’ll scarf down a grasshopper! You know, right after cooking and eating your own diiiiick!”

              “I wish my kids were here to witness this, but I ate them out of desperation first.”

              But I’ve already told you this isn’t about making you afraid of a nightmare future. I’m saying that bugs will slip seamlessly into our diets the same way high fructose corn syrup did, only this time the world will be much better for it. I’m going to prove it to you in five steps. Ready?

              A) You already eat bugs; you just don’t know it. The strawberry flavoring in your milkshake/yogurt/smoothie contains crushed insects — specifically this guy, the Dactylopius coccus:

              It’s a type of beetle that creates a nice red dye when ground up, and food companies have been using it as a natural food coloring for as long as anybody can remember (note: If you see “cochineal” on the label, that’s ground-up beetle). You didn’t mind, because you didn’t know it was there. And in the future they’ll come up with some other name for the ground-up cricket meat in your burger. See, that’s the thing — when I said “eating bugs” earlier, you imagined shoving a writhing praying mantis into your mouth. But you wouldn’t eat a chicken that way — there’s a bunch of shit they do to it at the factory first. It’ll be fine. “But,” you say, “anyone would puke the moment they saw the cockroach farm where their ‘food’ is being grown!” To which I respond: Ever been inside a slaughterhouse?

              B) It’s the only way to feed the world meat without permanently ruining the environment. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but bugs seriously don’t give a shit — they can pretty much live anywhere and eat anything. They breed like crazy even when we’re desperately trying to kill them. So, with the same amount of resources, insects will produce about 800 percent more meat than beef and generate a fraction of the greenhouse gases. It doesn’t seem like there’s much “meat” on an insect, but for instance 80 percent of a grasshopper is edible as opposed to only 40 percent of a cow. They’re boneless!

              And they go great in pie.

              C) They’re healthier to eat. Per calorie, a cricket has 40 percent more protein than beef and 40 percent less fat. Your rebuttal is probably, “But what does that matter if it tastes like shit? Or rather, tastes like a bug, since most people would rather eat shit than a cricket?” But consider that …

              D) About 2 billion people already happily eat insects. In Mexico, the only reason they don’t eat more grasshoppers (chapulines) is because they can’t afford them — demand is so high that grasshoppers cost more than beef or pork. They’re trying to scale up production as we speak (right now they don’t farm the insects so much as try to go out and catch them — you can imagine what a pain in the ass that is, people running round with nets and shit).

              E) Visceral disgust is something humans get over pretty easily. Remember that these huge, disgusting insect-like monsters …

              … used to be so revolting to people that they were fed to the poor and prisoners. Lobsters used to wash up on the beaches in big, gross, smelly heaps, the giant, red, mutant cockroaches of the ocean. Now you’ll pay $40 for that ugly bastard. This:

              Is meat stuffed into a tube that used to be filled with a pig’s actual shit. And it’s fine; we rinse it out and stuff it full of ground-up entrails and spices and eat it in the parking lot of a football stadium. Someday, you’ll just as happily eat a sausage made of mealworms. I think 80 percent of you don’t believe me (I actually left the bug-eating bit out of my book because I thought readers would immediately treat it as a horror novel) and that’s fine — if you can’t get over it, your kids and grandkids will. That’s because humans adapt. That’s what we’re good at.

              #4. At Some Point, Lying Will Become Impossible

              I have a question for any children who might be reading this: Do you still have that “Liar Kid” at your school? I and everyone I know had at least one in our class, the kid who’d just make up grandiose bullshit for no purpose. He’d claim he found a shark swimming in the creek near his house, or that his uncle was a stunt man who played the yellow Power Ranger — just a font of name-drops and fascinating anecdotes, all of which were pulled straight out of his asshole.

              I ask because, well, how can that kid exist today? A trip to Google on your iPhone would disprove all of those things in five seconds.

              “OK, you say your dad beat up Steven Seagal at a club in Bangkok? What was the exact date?
              I’m just going to check to see if he was in the country at the time.”

              It’s a whole personality type that would presumably be put out of business by modern technology. You know, the same as how the sleazy used car salesman is facing extinction for the same reason — anyone with an Internet connection can find out what a car is actually worth. So who else is about to see their dishonest house of cards come tumbling down?

              How about sex offenders? Or just the dude who goes on vacation and hits the clubs pretending he doesn’t have a wife and three kids back home? Sure, right now it might be considered rude to do a background check on a dude while he’s sitting on the next bar stool offering you a ride on his yacht, but soon all of that will be done automatically, on the fly. Google Glass failed because it looked stupid and didn’t work, but the general concept — the ability to instantly make key information pop up right in front of your eyeball — is inevitable. Facial recognition will scan everyone you encounter, a little pop-up box letting you know that dude not only isn’t an Internet millionaire but is a fugitive known to the police as “The Key West Disemboweler.” If a search doesn’t raise any red flags but he still seems generally dishonest, that’s OK — they’ll have software that will watch his facial movements and tone of voice to see if he’s telling the truth.

              Now let’s pause for a moment to appreciate how that little advancement will utterly change interpersonal relations in a way that’s almost too profound to comprehend.

              “Now, when you say the porn on your computer must have been ‘put there by a hacker’ …”

              I mean, I don’t know if you’ve really stopped to think about it, but lies are kind of what make civilization possible. Try to get through just one day without A) lying or B) intentionally withholding information and/or spinning the truth — see how long it takes you to ruin every relationship in your life. “Honey, you said you liked your Christmas present, but TruthApp says your eye movements indicate a 99.96 percent chance of falsehood. Now tell me you love me; I want to watch your face this time …” Oh, and just wait until your kids are old enough to use it, and ask you which child is your favorite.

              Some of you have already lived long enough to see how, for instance, it’s gotten way harder to lie at work. If you’re a professional driver, you don’t stop at a bar on the way and claim you got stuck in traffic — they’re using GPS to track your vehicle and (if you have a company-issued phone in your pocket) your body at all times. Work at a warehouse and miss your quota for the day, don’t bother claiming you got sidetracked by another project or had “equipment problems” — they’re literally tracking your every footstep; they know you’re dragging your ass. Some companies have developed sensors for employees that “identify a person’s tone of voice, movement, and even their posture when communicating with others.” Awesome! You’ve never gotten angry at a co-worker, right? Or gossiped behind someone’s back?

              “Hi, Janet! When you get a chance would you kindly take a moment
              to eat my shit? Thanks!”

              Of course, that’s not even mentioning the obvious: cameras, cameras everywhere. It’s legal for companies to record you everywhere but in the bathroom, and the law isn’t even completely settled on that. And don’t bother lying about what you did away from work, either; Facebook has developed software that can search every photo on the Internet for your face. “Steve, it’s come to corporate’s attention that you were at a party this weekend in which drugs were being consumed. As you can see, you’re plainly visible in the background of this Instagram photo here, between the man with the bong and the chimpanzee wearing a bra. Now, as you know, the company has strict policies about employee conduct when in public …”

              Yeah, those last two words are going to come up a lot — your concept of what counts as “in public” is going to change radically over the next couple decades. But that just brings us to the fact that …

              #3. Your Genitals Will Be For Public Consumption

              And I don’t mean this in a good way. Regular readers know that I had a nude video leak to celebrity site TMZ, who has yet to publish it even though I’ve continued to “leak” it to them over email every few days since June. I’ve just decided that this is where the world is going, so I need to get ahead of it.

              After all, these days when an Internet privacy issue surfaces, it’s met mostly with a few alarmist blog posts and then a collective yawn — like when it came out that Windows 10 literally logs your every keystroke and sends the data back to headquarters. “Eh, I’m sure it’ll be fine.” The only way these breaches make headlines is if they include A) photos/video of a famous naked person or B) a famous person saying something racist.

              And when nude photos of a bunch of celebrities leaked recently, it was interesting to see the sharp divide in the reactions. Anyone older than, say, 25 seemed to be in disbelief that these people would have ever taken a naked photo of themselves, on any device, ever. Among those younger than 25, well, somewhere between 70 percent and 90 percent have themselves sent a lewd photo or message of some kind. In just a few years that practice went from “Clearly the work of a depraved exhibitionist who needs some kind of therapy” to “Standard rule of dating for everyone but prudish weirdos.” That means that at some point we will hit what experts don’t call the Dick Pic Singularity: the point at which everyone will have nude photos or video of themselves on the Internet, and it just won’t be seen as a big deal. We will all be nudists.

              Are you repulsed by that? As repulsed as you were by the concept of eating bugs earlier? Because it’s the same deal — either you’ll get over it or your kids will.

              “Huh, back in his day Grandpa was quite the fuckboi.”

              I can tell you firsthand that I’ve seen just as big a change in my lifetime. I grew up way back in the day when your teenage poetry, gossip, and horrible thoughts went in a locked diary that you kept hidden under your mattress. These days, it goes on Tumblr or YouTube for 3 billion Internet users to view if they so desire. Growing up, I was trained to be self-conscious on camera; today, my computer, phone, and television all have cameras that watch me back while I use them. We’re all “in public,” all the time, and that’s just the way it is.

              And you know how they’re pushing to put body cameras on police, to make sure they’re not shooting dudes just for the hell of it? Don’t be surprised when they put body cameras on servers at restaurants, to make sure they’re being polite to customers, and soon after that, body cameras on everyone. In that book that I keep linking to, I speculate that these will become standard, everyday gear, not because some oppressive government is making us but because we want to. Just, stream it all — stream everything. Whatever need for privacy we once had, we’ve decided the need for the approval of an audience is greater.

              “I’m leaving you. It’s not you or me; my viewers just think you’re boring.”

              So, these days when somebody gets fired because they were secretly recorded saying something awful in the privacy of their own home (as Hulk Hogan was), we don’t worry about the “secret recording” aspect at all. “Hey, if they didn’t want their employer hearing them say it, then they shouldn’t have said it! Even in private, at home!” But are you sure you want that to be the rule, that everything you do is for public consumption? If you’re reading this as a defense of telling racist jokes, let me ask you:

              Do you like your job?

              If not, do you ever vent about it?

              Because you can say goodbye to that — no employer is going to keep you on the payroll if you complain about what a shitty company it is in public (where “in public” now means “in your own home, near a microphone you didn’t know was recording”). Now think about the secretly atheist kid in a religious family who now has to self-censor every conversation for fear of it getting out. Or the closeted gay/trans teenager, or the secret revolutionary in an iron-fisted dictatorship. Even if you rid your own life of cameras and microphones (which itself will tag you as a reclusive weirdo), you’ll be surrounded by strangers who have their own.

              And if you complain about how back in your day kids weren’t obsessed with documenting
              their lives, everyone will know.

              At my first job out of college, the guideline was, “Never put anything into an email you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the New York Times.” You are, they said, creating an electronic record of your words, and the mere existence of that record gives anyone an automatic right to publish it. Well, in an era when every conversation creates an electronic record, you can amend the rule: Instead of, “Never put anything too controversial into an email,” it’ll be, “Never say anything too controversial out loud.” Unless, of course, we stand up and demand the right to not automatically lose our livelihood just because we got upset and said some stupid shit one time.

              In other words, this doesn’t have to be part of our future unless we let it. Which just leads me to the fact that …

              #2. Our Concept Of Employment Is About To Radically Change

              It’s easy to shrug when you see a headline screaming that about half of our current jobs will soon be done by robots, or that there’s a factory in China that needs no workers at all. That whole “robots are taking our jobs!” bit has been around since before they invented robots. In the 1800s they told cautionary tales of a great man made obsolete by a steam engine; today we’re shown videos of hotels staffed by robot dinosaurs:

              And yet … the trend is pretty clear.

              A hundred years ago, the average American worked about 60 hours a week; it’s about 34 hours now. The percentage of American adults either working or trying to find jobs has been dropping since the ’90s, now matching the lowest point in 40 years, and of the ones who are working, more of them are part-time. So this prediction of a future “job-free” economy isn’t some crazy Nostradamus prophecy, it’s the direction we’ve been heading for a while now — each time there’s an economic crash, the jobs never quite come back to where they were before.

              But when/if this jobless future arrives, the problem won’t be the robots taking over (how can it be a bad thing that we’re able to make more stuff with less effort?). No, the issue is how much we humans hate each other.


              Spoiler: a lot.

              See, the idea is that soon the only jobs left will be the ones that computers can’t do — tasks that take creativity, or people skills, or that are just plain too complicated (it’s actually hard to imagine a robot plumber doing all the steps needed to find and fix a leak inside your wall). So there will be a certain class of people who have those complex skills, and then there will be everyone else (and feel free to speculate on what percentage will be in each group).

              Now, it doesn’t make sense that everyone but the most talented will be left to starve (as so many pessimistic articles seem to imply) — the corporations buying those expensive robots need customers to buy the shit they’re making, and the evil billionaires and politicians who run the world need happy consumers. This is where ideas like a guaranteed basic income come into play — basically the government gives everyone a paycheck just for being alive. The idea is that if we don’t need humans to do the work, we do still need them to make and raise children, to not riot in the streets, and to consume things so that the economic Circle of Life keeps running.

              They’re going to start opening the stock market by holding out a child, with a dollar sign
              drawn on its head, Simba-style.

              And at the mere suggestion of that, a whole bunch of you just felt a sense of physical revulsion. “You mean 200 million people will be on welfare?!?” You’ll spit that last word like an accusation, in the same way you’d scream “TRAITOR!” or “WHORE!” That’s because most of us have been raised from birth to hate the able-bodied poor, and I mean Hate with a capital H. To see them as leeches, as a cancer in the system. As thieves. That guaranteed income will be taken out of the pocket of the robot repair guy who still has a job; what is his reaction going to be when he’s walking home, exhausted after a double shift, and sees your jobless ass hanging out at a coffee shop and spending your government check on robot-made Frappuccinos? It doesn’t matter that his job makes him 10 times more than you get, because that doesn’t change the fact that his paycheck would be 50 percent bigger if he wasn’t having to support your lazy ass.

              We don’t have to guess his reaction, of course — go to any Fox News comment section. Listen to Mitt Romney.

              Unemployment, they say, is immoral. Sinful. Here’s a story about somebody setting a homeless man on fire. Here’s another one. We’re as repulsed by them as we are by, I don’t know, a bug we found in our food or something.

              “It’s time we start eating the real insects in our society. Vote for Smith. Vote for cannibalism.”

              The cruel irony is that if this automated future comes about, we’ll have all the makings of what sci-fi writers used to describe as a utopia — we’ll be growing the food and building the houses just fine. The obstacle won’t be a lack of resources; the obstacle will be us, and the fact that we have been taught to motivate ourselves with the hatred of the “lazy” lower classes. And when we start kicking them around, what can they do about it? Go on strike? They don’t have jobs. Refuse to buy anything? Then they’ll starve. Riot in the streets? We’ll roll in with tanks. And notice how I’m saying “we” like I won’t be one of the ones left out? How many of you are doing the same thing? No wonder I’m pushing this book shit so hard.

              But that just brings me to the final point …

              #1. There Will Be A Fundamental Shift In Power — We Just Have To Decide What It Looks Like

              Raise your hand if you rent your home, rather than own it. Now raise your other hand if your landlord has ever done something that would get a person fucking shot if they’d done it to a homeowner — like let themselves in to check your fire alarm while you were asleep in the next room. There is a fundamental difference in power between renting and owning — “your” home is literally not yours. They decide if you have a pet, or smoke, or repaint the place. Oh, and guess what — home-ownership is at its lowest point in half a century. Everything is heading that direction — the entire concept of owning things is slowly going away. This is a bigger deal than you think.

              You gamers out there already know what I’m talking about; once upon a time you would go to the store and buy a physical object called a video game, which you fully owned, forever, to do with as you pleased. Now, you’re just renting, regardless of what they call it. A few years ago a Steam user found this out the hard way when Valve banned him from using any of the 250 games on his own computer due to a misunderstanding that was eventually cleared up. I bet until that day he actually thought those were “his” games. Today, more and more non-game software is being sold via a monthly subscription so that you lose access to it the moment you stop paying.

              “Look who’s come crawling back” -MS Paint when your Adobe subscription starts to equal your rent

              Meanwhile, the biggest competitor to Ford and Toyota isn’t Tesla — it’s Uber — the future will most likely be a swarm of cars, all networked together, probably driverless, conveniently picking you up and dropping you off on command. No need for you to get a car loan or pay for gas and repairs (renting is always more convenient than buying). And then one day, when you’re running late for work, you’re going to try to order a ride on your phone and the app will tell you that you’ve been banned from Uber. And only then will you realize that, as in all of the above situations, you traded power for convenience.

              I mean, what’s to stop them from shutting you out if, say, you were heard insulting the company in public? They can just add it to the terms of service you didn’t read before tapping the “Accept” button. You know, the same as how PayPal can freeze access to your own money if they think you’ve broken their terms of service and can lock out your access to your money for six months while they investigate.

              “It’s cool; I’ll just tell my colon cancer to chill.”

              “So? I’ll just use some other company!” Well, here’s the thing: For whatever reason, this new economy seems to favor monopolies. Amazon dwarfs the next biggest e-commerce site, and can you even name an auction site other than eBay? When’s the last time you used a search engine other than Google? PayPal is 80 percent of the online payment market; Steam utterly dominates PC game sales

              That means we’re heading toward a future in which you rent the things you have to have, from the only game in town. The future is Comcast.

              Now think about the entry above, about the jobs. Having your own unique skill and source of income also comes with power; you have something the world needs, and as long as you do, you “own” your livelihood. But if the government is simply giving you a check, then you are at their mercy — like how they’re constantly threatening to cut off welfare recipients for doing drugs. Now you’re “renting” — you can find yourself completely locked out of the system because you violated somebody’s terms of service. So you’d better damned well fall in line. You will make that power-for-convenience trade until your life is full of convenience and devoid of power. It will be very nice and comfortable, right up until you do something They don’t like.

              “That’s the last time QueefMaster420 calls my company Fartcast.”

              Now, I wasn’t lying when I said this article wouldn’t be scare-mongering about a coming dystopia. That’s because it doesn’t have to happen. We will have to reclaim that power. I’m not talking about quitting society to go live in the wilderness or forming mobs to burn down the banks. We will instead have to come together as a people and guarantee the fundamental rights of even the most unprofitable human beings. Getting over our distaste of those outside the economy will be no different from getting over our distaste of bugs — we’ll do it because it’s what we need to do, as most of us will eventually be in that same bug-eating boat.

              We won’t let our own pettiness destroy society. I’m … almost sure of it.

              Uh, right?

              Guys?

              Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-shocking-ways-world-about-to-change/

              Karen Carpenter: starved of love, by Randy Schmidt | Extract

              Karen Carpenter's velvet voice charmed millions in the 70s but behind the wholesome image she was desperately unhappy. In a revealing new biography Randy Schmidt tells the full story of her losing battle with anorexia

              The Carpenters were one of the biggest-selling American musical acts of all time. Between 1970 and 1984 brother and sister Richard and Karen Carpenter had 17 top 20 hits, including “Goodbye to Love“, “Yesterday Once More“, “Close to You” and “Rainy Days and Mondays“. They notched up 10 gold singles, nine gold albums, one multi-platinum album and three Grammy awards. Karen’s velvety voice and Richard’s airy melodies and meticulously crafted arrangements stood in direct contrast to the louder, wilder rock dominating the rest of the charts at the time, yet they became immensely popular, selling more than 100m records.

              Richard was the musical driving force but it was Karen’s effortless voice that lay behind the Carpenters’ hits. Promoted from behind the drums to star vocalist, she became one of the decade’s most instantly recognisable female singers.

              But there was a tragic discrepancy between her public and private selves. Offstage, away from the spotlight, she felt desperately unloved by her mother, Agnes, who favoured Richard, and struggled with low self-esteem, eventually developing anorexia nervosa from which she never recovered. She died at the age of 32.

              In 1996 journalist Rob Hoerburger powerfully summed up Karen Carpenter’s tribulations in a New York Times Magazine feature: “If anorexia has classically been defined as a young woman’s struggle for control, then Karen was a prime candidate, for the two things she valued most in the world her voice and her mother’s love were exclusively the property of her brother Richard. At least she would control the size of her own body.” And control it she did. By September 1975 her weight fell to 6st 7lb (41kg).

              Karen’s quest to be thin seems to have begun innocently enough just after high school graduation when she started the Stillman water diet. Although she was never obese, she was what most would consider a chubby 17-year-old at 10st5lb. (She was 5ft 4in tall.) She levelled off at around 8st 8lb and maintained her weight by eating sensibly but not starving herself. Even so, eating while on tour was problematic for Karen, as she described in 1973: “When you’re on the road it’s hard to eat. Period. On top of that, it’s rough to eat well. We don’t like to eat before a show because I can’t stand singing with a full stomach You never get to dinner until, like, midnight, and if you eat heavy you’re not going to sleep, and you’re going to be a balloon.”

              Karen was shocked when she saw photos from an August 1973 Lake Tahoe concert where an unflattering outfit accentuated her paunch. She hired a personal trainer, who made visits to her home and recommended a diet low in calories but high in carbohydrates. Instead of slimming down as she had hoped, Karen started to put on muscle and bulk up. Watching the Carpenters on a Bob Hope television special that autumn, she remarked that she had put on some extra weight. Richard agreed she looked a bit heavier. She was discouraged and vowed she was going to “do something about it”. She fired her trainer, and immediately set out on a mission to shed the unwanted pounds on her own. She purchased a hip cycle, which she used each morning on her bed, and because it was portable the equipment was packed and taken with her on tour.

              “She lost around 20lb and she looked fabulous,” recalls Carole Curb, the sister of Karen’s then boyfriend, record executive Mike Curb. “She weighed 110lb [7st 12lb] or so, and looked amazing If she’d been able to stop there then life would have been beautiful. A lot of us girls in that era went through moments of that. Everybody wanted to be Twiggy. Karen got carried away. She just couldn’t stop.”

              Having witnessed Karen’s meticulous routine of counting calories and planning food intake for every meal, Richard complimented her initial weight loss during a break from recording as the two dined at the Au Petit Caf, a favourite French bistro on Vine Street near the A&M studios. “You look great,” he told her.

              “Well, I’m just going to get down to around 105.”

              “A hundred and five? You look great now.”

              Karen’s response worried Richard. In fact, this was the first time he paused to consider she might be taking the diet too far. Friends and family began to notice extreme changes in Karen’s eating habits, despite her attempts at subtlety. She rearranged and pushed her food around the plate with a fork as she talked, which gave the appearance of eating. Another of her strategies involved offering samples of her food to others around the table. She would rave on about her delicious meal and then insist that everyone try it for themselves. “Here, you have some,” she would say as she enthusiastically scooped heaps on to others’ plates. “Would you like to taste this?” By the time dinner was over, Karen’s plate was clean but she had dispersed her entire meal to everyone else. Her mother, Agnes, caught on to this ploy and began to do the same in return. “Well, this is good, too,” she would say as she put more food on to her daughter’s plate. This infuriated Karen, who realised she would have to find other ways to avoid eating.

              By the time Karen’s weight dropped to 6st 6lb, she looked for ways to disguise the weight loss, especially around those she knew would make comments or pester her to eat more. She began to layer her clothing, a strategy her agent Sherwin Bash noticed in the early part of 1975. “She would start with a long-sleeved shirt and then put a blouse over that,” he explains, “and a sweater over that and a jacket over that With all of it you had no idea of what she had become.”

              But family friend Evelyn Wallace was shocked when she caught a glimpse of Karen’s gaunt figure as she sunbathed topless in the back garden of the Carpenters’ home in Downey, California, one afternoon. “They put this screen around her so nobody else could see her,” Wallace explains. “She loved to go lay out in the sunshine. I don’t know whether it was to get a tan or get away from her mother. Anyhow, I happened to go out to the kitchen for something and I saw her out there. She just had on her little bathing suit shorts. You couldn’t tell whether it was a girl or a boy. She had absolutely no breasts.”

              Karen’s new slim figure required that she purchase a new stage wardrobe, and she opted for a number of low-cut silky gowns, some strapless or even backless. Bash was horrified to see her bony shoulders and ribs. Even her hip bones were visible through the thin layers of fabric. He asked Karen to rethink the wardrobe choices before going on stage. “I talked her into putting a jacket on over the bare back and bare arms,” he said, “but the audience saw it.”

              There was often a collective gasp from the audience when Karen would take the stage. In fact, after a few shows, Bash was approached by concerned fans who knew something was terribly wrong but assumed she had cancer or some other disease. Even critics took note of her gaunt appearance. A review for Variety praised Karen’s emergence from behind the drums to centre stage but commented on her deteriorating appearance. “She is terribly thin, almost a wraith, and should be gowned more becomingly.”

              No one really understood why Karen wasn’t eating. To those around her the solution seemed simple: eat. “Anorexia nervosa was so new that I didn’t even know how to pronounce it until 1980,” band member John Bettis said. “From the outside the solution looks so simple. All a person has to do is eat. So we were constantly trying to shove food at Karen My opinion about anorexia is it’s an attempt to have control something in your life you can do something about, that you can regiment. That just got out of control with her.”

              Band members witnessed her exhaustion. She was lying down between shows, something she had rarely, if ever, done before. They were shocked to see how she could be flat on her back one minute and on stage singing the next. Even when doing back-to-back shows, Karen displayed “a tremendous amount of nervous energy”, said Bash. Unlike her parents, Bash had no qualms about confronting Karen on the issue of anorexia. “The fact that she was anorexic was discussed innumerable times There was every attempt to get her to seek professional help, but I believe her family was the kind of family where the mother would say, ‘We can take care of ourselves. We don’t need to have someone help. This is a family matter.'”

              When Karen dieted, or “overdieted”, Bash explains, there was a rush of attention from the family, especially Agnes. “Karen had never had attention from Agnes before her mother doted exclusively on Richard so she liked it. The experts say that one of the things that seems to drive young girls to overdiet is that they were oftentimes the kids that never got attention. It’s a way of getting the love from their family that they never got before.”

              By the autumn of 1975 Karen’s failing health could no longer be ignored. In addition to her skeletal appearance, she was mentally and physically exhausted. Although she made it through a series of shows in LasVegas without a major incident, upon returning to Los Angeles she checked into Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, where she spent five days while doctors ran tests. “She is suffering a severe case of physical and nervous exhaustion,” said Dr Robert Koblin in a statement to the press. “She had a hectic four-week schedule lined up in Europe but I could not allow her to go through with it. In my opinion it would have been highly dangerous to her long-term health.” Melody Maker reported that the Carpenters’ tour would have been the highest-grossing tour in Britain and that approximately 150,000 people were set to see them during the planned 28-day European trek. Ticket sales for the 50 shows, which sold out in a matter of hours, were refunded. It was reported that the Carpenters may have easily lost upward of $250,000 due to the cancelled concerts.

              Under Agnes Carpenter’s close watch, Karen slept 14-16 hours a day. “My mother thought I was dead,” she told biographer Ray Coleman. “I normally manage on four to six hours. It was obvious that for the past two years I’d been running on nervous energy.” Her weight eventually climbed to 7st 6lb.

              Over the next five years Karen continued to struggle with anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Meanwhile Richard Carpenter fought and won a battle with Quaalude addiction. Then in June 1980, after an unsuccessful attempt to launch a solo career, Karen announced her engagement to a property developer called Tom Burris.

              Thirty-nine-year-old Tom Burris met a number of Karen’s requirements in a potential husband. “He was very attractive, very nice, and he seemed very generous,” said Carole Curb. Two months into their relationship, Burris told Karen he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. The couple’s plan for a year-long engagement was ditched when they announced in July their plans for an August ceremony. The push to be married alarmed Karen’s friends. According to Karen ‘Itchie’ Ramone, Karen’s friend and the wife of producer Phil Ramone, “That’s when everybody’s antennas went up.” Days before the wedding rehearsal Burris dropped a bombshell: he had undergone a vasectomy prior to their meeting. Karen was dumbfounded. He offered to reverse the procedure but their chances at a family would be significantly lessened.

              Karen felt betrayed. Burris had lied to her; he had withheld this information for the duration of their courtship and engagement, knowing full well that starting a family was at the top of Karen’s list of priorities. This was a deal breaker. The wedding was off. Karen picked up the phone and called her mother. She cried to Agnes as she explained the deceit that left her with no choice but to cancel the ceremony. But Agnes told her she would do no such thing. Family and friends were travelling from all over the country to attend the event. Moreover, the wedding expenses had already cost what Agnes considered to be a small fortune. “The invitations have gone out. There are reporters and photographers coming. People magazine is going to be there. The wedding is on, and you will walk down that aisle. You made your bed, Karen,” she told her. “Now you’ll have to lay in it.”

              Most of Karen’s family and friends had assumed Burris’s lifestyle and net worth were comparable to her own. The expensive cars and other possessions gave him the appearance of a multimillionaire, but what others did not realise was that he was living well beyond his means.

              “It wasn’t long after they got married that he started asking her for money,” recalls Evelyn Wallace. “He’d give her some excuse, and she’d give him the money. He’d ask for $35,000 and $50,000 at a time. Finally it got down to the point where all she had left was stocks and bonds.”

              As Itchie Ramone recalls, “Tom couldn’t afford the houses, the cars, her wedding ring; he couldn’t pay for anything.” Karen began to share with friends her growing misgivings about Tom, not only concerning his finances but also his lack of feelings for her. He was often impatient, and she admitted being fearful when he would occasionally lose his temper. “He could be very cruel to her,” says Itchie. But Karen’s longing to be a mother proved to be stronger than her desire to leave her husband. At their house in Newport Beach Karen expressed to Burris her desire to get pregnant and start a family. His response was brutal. She was still crying hysterically when she called Itchie Ramone for support. Burris had told her he wouldn’t even consider having children with her and called her “a bag of bones”. According to Itchie, this marriage was “the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was absolutely the worst thing that could have ever happened to her.”

              Friends suggested she and Burris seek marital counselling. Instead, the Carpenters prepared to leave for Europe and South America. Itchie went along to keep Karen company. In reality, however, according to Itchie, “Laxatives were her major companion. When we were in Paris we made quite a scene in a pharmacy across the street from our hotel about her needing to buy more laxatives. I suggested natural food groups that might relieve her ‘constipation’ but she always won those arguments.”

              Following a brief stop in Amsterdam, the Carpenters arrived at London’s Heathrow airport on Wednesday, 21 October 1981. They made numerous promotional appearances while in London, both in person and on television. On Thursday they taped an interview for Nationwide, a popular news magazine on BBC television. Barely one minute into their visit, host Sue Lawley surprised Karen by casting light on her darkest secret. “There were rumours that you were suffering from the slimmer’s disease anorexia nervosa,” Lawley said. “Is that right?” “No, I was just pooped,” Karen said with an intense frown. “I was tired out.”

              “You went down to about six stone in weight, I think, didn’t you?” Lawley asked. “I have no idea what ‘six stone in weight’ is,” Karen replied, becoming noticeably uncomfortable and increasingly agitated. She struggled to fake a laugh, rolling her eyes at the interviewer, who quickly converted the amount to approximately 84lbs. “No,” she said, shaking her head adamantly. “No.”

              In actuality her weight was hovering around 5st 10lbs even then. The interviewer’s continued efforts to pinpoint a reason for Karen’s skeletal appearance prompted Richard to come to his sister’s defence. “I don’t really feel that we should be talking about the weight loss,” he told Lawley. “Maybe it’s better to take a pass on the whole thing. It’s really not what we’re here for.”

              “I am just asking you the questions people want to know the answers to,” Lawley replied.

              Returning to Los Angeles in November 1981, Karen filed for divorce. Leaving behind the pieces of her broken marriage, she set out on a year-long recovery mission, relocating to New York City’s Regency Hotel in January 1982. Manager Jerry Weintraub arranged for Karen and Itchie Ramone to share a two-bedroom suite. Cherry O’Neill, the eldest daughter of singer Pat Boone who had herself recovered from anorexia, had recommended Karen consider coming to the northwest and seeing the doctor who helped her. But in Karen’s world, one name was synonymous with anorexia treatment, and that name was Steven Levenkron. He was a psychotherapist specialising in eating disorders and his successful book The Best Little Girl in the World had become a highly acclaimed television movie, which aired in May 1981. Levenkron agreed to treat her. He received 100 for each hour-long session five days a week, totalling $2,000 a month. “I liked Levenkron, at least in the beginning,” Itchie Ramone says. “No one really knew why someone would get the disorder or how to treat it, so we were really looking to him to ‘save’ her.”

              Arriving at Levenkron’s office at 16 East Seventy-Ninth in Manhattan, Karen weighed in at an alarming 5st 8lb. A week into their daily sessions, Karen admitted to Levenkron she was taking a large number of laxative tablets 80-90 Dulcolax a night. This did not surprise Levenkron. In fact, it was a common practice for many anorexics. “For quite some time, I was taking 60 laxatives at once,” admits Cherry O’Neill. “Mainly because that was how many came in the box I would ingest the entire contents so as not to leave any evidence.”

              What did stun Levenkron was Karen’s next casual disclosure. She was also taking thyroid medication 10 pills a day. He was shocked, especially when she explained that she had a normal thyroid. Realising she was using the medication to speed up her metabolism, Levenkron confiscated the pills. This was the first case of thyroid medication abuse he had seen in his dozen years in the field.

              According to Levenkron’s 1982 book, Treating and Overcoming Anorexia Nervosa, the patient must become totally dependent upon the therapist. Once the patient has transferred their dependence on to him, he tries to teach them how to create their own sense of identity, and he helps them disengage from their dependence on him with new behaviours, habits, and thought patterns.

              Karen took advantage of the beautiful spring weather and began a new exercise routine to and from her sessions with Levenkron a brisk two-mile round-trip walk. This was yet another method to burn extra calories. Outwardly Karen seemed committed to the idea of therapy, but as evidenced by her daily walking regimen, she was not as committed to making actual changes that would result in real progress. “She was still walking a lot, and she was exercising,” Carole Curb says. “And then she was into throwing up and taking pills that make you lose water-weight. Debilitating things like that.”

              Several months into his sessions with Karen, Levenkron began to suspect that she had fallen off the wagon. He invited the Carpenter parents and Richard to a 90-minute family therapy session at his office. “They did come to New York finally,” Itchie Ramone recalls, “and only after a lot of nudging. By then, Karen seemed to be starting to turn the corner a bit emotionally.”

              The stigma surrounding mental illness and a need for therapy was frightening for the family, especially Agnes, who felt Karen was simply going overboard as far as dieting was concerned. If only she would stop being so stubborn and just eat. Over the years the family tried every possible approach to get through to her and make her eat. “Everyone around her did everything that they could have humanly done,” Richard said in 1993. “I tried everything the heart-to-heart, the cajole, the holler It can just make you crazy. Obviously it wasn’t about to work, and I was upset.”

              Levenkron explained that the family’s attempts to threaten or bribe Karen out of her behaviours would never make them go away. According to his book, “Failure of the family to understand this produces division within the family that in turn results in feelings of anger and guilt. The family atmosphere is chaotic, reinforcing the anorexic’s belief that she and no one else knows what is best for her.” Levenkron suggested to the family that Karen was in need of a more tactile, demonstrative kind of love. Karen cried uncontrollably during the meeting. She told them how sorry she was for having put them in a situation where they felt a need to defend her upbringing, and she went so far as to apologise for ruining their lives. “I think Karen really needs to hear that you love her,” Levenkron told the family.

              “Well, of course I love you,” Richard told her unreservedly.

              “Agnes?” The therapist tapped the mother’s shoe with his own.

              Rather than address her daughter, Agnes explained how she preferred to be called Mrs Carpenter. “Well, I’m from the north,” she continued. “And we just don’t do things that way.”

              “Agnes couldn’t do it,” says Itchie Ramone, who discussed the meeting with Karen and Levenkron after the family left. “She couldn’t do it In therapy you’re basically stark naked. Then your own mother can’t reach out to you? And the way she doted on Richard. Most children would try to dance as fast as they could to make their parents love them, but it was at that point that I think Karen decided it was time to take a step back.”

              After the meeting with Levenkron, Richard became angry with the treatment plan, which he thought to be worthless. He was upset that Karen had not checked herself into an inpatient facility as one would do to conquer substance abuse. He and his parents returned to California and chose to keep their distance after this painful encounter. They made no further attempts to contact Karen’s therapist. “What I find interesting,” Levenkron stated in 1993, “is that in the entire time Karen was in New York, I got zero calls from the family. I have never treated anyone with anorexia nervosa whose family didn’t call regularly because they were concerned.” Likewise, Richard claimed to have never received a call from Levenkron.

              Karen and Itchie were surprised to learn that Levenkron was not an actual doctor. “We used to call him ‘Dr Levenkron’ all the time,” Itchie explains. “Then we found out that he wasn’t even a real doctor. Any medical issues she had, we had to go see this other doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital.”

              According to Evelyn Wallace, “Karen picked the wrong guy to go to. He wasn’t even a doctor. It seemed like Levenkron was simply trying to talk Karen out of having anorexia, but she’d talk to him and she’d go back to the same routine.”

              By the autumn of 1982 Karen showed no real signs of progress. In fact, her walks to and from sessions with Levenkron kept her body weight beneath the six stone mark. Itchie Ramone called Levenkron and voiced her concerns. “Look, Karen’s getting thinner and thinner,” she exclaimed. “Plus, it’s obvious she doesn’t have her usual energy anymore. When do you expect this turnaround? She’s just skin and bone.”

              The therapist agreed that Karen seemed extra tired and was not responding as quickly as he had hoped, and vowed to try another approach. After her next session with Levenkron, Karen asked Itchie if she could borrow a swimsuit. “What?” Itchie asked. “There’s no pool in the hotel. Besides, it’s cold out!”

              “No, I have to wear it tomorrow for Levenkron,” Karen answered. The two stopped by the Ramones’s apartment to pick up a size 2 light green bikini belonging to Itchie. Karen changed into the bikini and emerged smiling. Itchie was mortified and unable to hide her reaction. “What’s the matter?” Karen asked. “It fits.”

              “Uh, yeah, it fits,” she said hesitantly. “You can use it tomorrow, I guess.”

              Returning to Levenkron the following day, Karen was asked to change into the bikini and stand in front of the office mirror. He urged her to survey and evaluate her body. “She didn’t really see any problem with how she looked,” Itchie recalls. “In fact, she thought she was gaining a little weight. But she was 79lb.”

              In mid-September Karen phoned Levenkron and told him her heart was “beating funny”. She was quite upset, anxious, and confused. She complained of dizziness to an extent that she was unable to walk. Despite not being medically qualified, he recognised her symptoms as those of someone suffering extreme dehydration. Karen was admitted to New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital on 20 September 1982 to begin hyperalimentation, or intravenous feeding.

              The next morning she went into surgery to have a small-bore catheter implanted within the superior vena cava (right atrium of the heart). An unexpected complication was discovered later that day when she complained to the nurse of excruciating chest pain, and X-rays revealed the doctors had accidentally punctured one of her lungs in their attempts to insert the tube.

              As her lung began to heal, Karen’s body quickly responded to the artificial means of feeding. The hyperalimentation process completely replaced all of her nutritional needs, and a precise daily calorie intake was dispensed through the catheter. This loss of control was known to often spark fear in patients, and doctors who oppose hyperalimentation argue that it does not teach the patient to eat properly. However, Karen went along with it and gained 12lb in only a few days. Solid foods were slowly reintroduced as the level of assistance from Karen’s IV lessened, and she continued to gain weight steadily. Unlike many other patients she seemed pleased and excited to show visitors her progress. Richard flew in to visit on 25 October and, like most who saw her there, was shocked and saddened. She was still horribly emaciated and barely identifiable by this stage. “You see how much better I look?” she asked.

              Richard nodded in agreement but only to appease his sister. In an attempt to divert the attention away from herself, Karen told him of other patients who were much worse off. But he was not sidetracked. “Karen, this is crap,” he said suddenly. “Don’t you understand? This is crap! You’re going about this all the wrong way. This guy isn’t getting anything accomplished because you’re in a hospital now!”

              By November Karen was eating three meals a day at Lenox Hill, and trying to stay positive about the weight gain, by then approaching the 30lb mark. The return of her menstrual cycle, which had ceased during the previous year, seemed to signify an improvement in emotional and physical wellbeing.

              On 16 November Karen visited Steven Levenkron for the last time and presented him with a farewell gift, a framed personal message in needlepoint. The large green-threaded words “you win I gain” served as tangible proof of the long hours Karen had spent alone in the hospital. Learning of her plan to leave, Levenkron reminded Karen she was abandoning the program much too soon, and that treatment takes at least three years. He suggested a therapist in Los Angeles so that she might continue a routine of some sort upon her return home, but she declined. She promised to call him and swore she would not take any more laxatives or diuretics. Agnes and Harold (Karen’s father) met up with her at Levenkron’s office that day. The couple had flown to New York City to bring their daughter and her 22 pieces of luggage home. It was obvious to most that Karen’s treatment was inadequate and ending too soon.

              “She tried to get help,” says her longtime friend Frenda Franklin. “She went to New York to try. It just wasn’t the right way to do it. If this had happened in today’s world I think Karen would have lived. I think we would have had a good shot. They know so much more. We were dancing in the dark.”

              Karen ate heartily on Thanksgiving Day, much to the delight of her family, and she even called Itchie Ramone that night to tell her of all she had eaten. “She said to me, ‘I ate this and that and all my favourite things,'” she recalls. “She was very proud of herself then. We were all very proud of her. It seemed like progress.”

              In the weeks following her return to Los Angeles Karen went back to shopping and socialising without delay. Although others felt she was still quite fragile and thin, Herb Alpert, who had first signed the Carpenters to A&M, saw Karen shortly after the New Year and recalled her looking terrific. She bounced into his office saying, “Hey, look at me, Herbie! What do you think? How do I look?” Alpert agreed that she looked happier and healthier than he had seen her in some time, and felt she appeared to have won the battle. “I am so happy,” she told him.

              “I’m ready to record again, and Richard and I have been talking about getting the group together and performing.”

              Despite her high spirits, she was taking more naps than usual and sometimes lying down by seven in the evening. Richard did not believe she was well, and he told her so. On Thursday 27 January Florine Elie drove to Century City for her weekly cleaning of Karen’s apartment at Century Towers. There the housekeeper made an unnerving discovery. “When I was working up there I found Karen,” Elie says. “She was lying on the floor of her closet.” She gently shook Karen who awoke but was groggy. “Karen, is there something wrong?” she asked.

              “No, I am just so tired,” she replied.

              “Maybe you better go lie on your bed,” she said, helping Karen up and tucking her into bed.

              Florine checked on Karen again before leaving. By then she was awake and adamant she was OK.

              Tuesday 1 February found Karen dining with her brother, this time at Scandia on Sunset Boulevard. They were joined by stage producer Joe Layton, and the trio discussed plans for the Carpenters’ return to touring. Karen ate with enthusiasm and after dinner returned to Century Towers. This was the last time Richard would see his sister alive.

              The next day Karen spoke with Itchie Ramone, who was pregnant with her and Phil’s first child. Karen shared her plans for the week. She would sign the final divorce papers on Friday and then prepare to leave for New York. “That weekend, 6 February, she was going to hop on a plane and be there for the birth,” Itchie recalls.

              Shortly after midnight, staying overnight with her parents, Karen went over her to-do list with Frenda Franklin by phone, and finalised plans for the next day. “OK, I am going to drive in. There shouldn’t be a lot of traffic,” she said. According to Frenda, Karen enjoyed keeping up with traffic reports. “Then we’re going to go get the red fingernail polish.” The two had a noon appointment for a manicure in celebration of her divorce.

              On Friday morning, 4 February, Karen awoke and went downstairs to the kitchen, where she turned on the coffeepot her mother had prepared the night before. She went back upstairs to get dressed. When the coffee was ready, Agnes dialled the upstairs bedroom phone, but its ring, heard faintly in the distance, went unanswered. Agnes went to the foot of the stairs and called to her daughter but there was no response. Entering the room, Agnes found Karen’s motionless, nude body lying face down on the floor of the walk-in wardrobe. Her eyes were open but rolled back. She was lying in a straight line and did not appear to have fallen. “She had just laid down on the floor and that was it,” Agnes recalled.

              The autopsy report listed the cause of death as “emetine cardiotoxicity due to or as a consequence of anorexia nervosa.” The finding of emetine cardiotoxicity (ipecac poisoning) revealed that Karen had poisoned herself with ipecac syrup, a well-known emetic commonly recommended to induce vomiting in cases of overdose or poisoning.

              Levenkron claimed to know nothing of Karen’s use or abuse of ipecac. In their phone calls she assured him she was maintaining her new 7st 10lb figure and had completely suspended use of all laxatives. He never suspected she was resorting to something much more lethal.

              In a radio interview taped shortly after Karen’s death, Levenkron discussed the autopsy findings: “According to the LA coroner, she discovered ipecac and started taking it every day. There are a lot of women out there who are using ipecac for self-induced vomiting. It creates painful cramps, tastes terrible, and it does another thing that the public isn’t aware of. It slowly dissolves the heart muscle. If you take it day after day, every dose is taking another little piece of that heart muscle apart. Karen, after fighting bravely for a year in therapy, went home and apparently decided that she wouldn’t lose any weight with ipecac, but that she’d make sure she didn’t gain any. I’m sure she thought this was a harmless thing she was doing, but in 60 days she had accidentally killed herself. It was a shocker for all of us who treated her.”

              In one of Levenkron’s most recent books, Anatomy of Anorexia, the author boasts of his above-average recovery rate in working with those suffering from eating disorders. “In the last 20 years I have treated nearly 300 anorexics,” he wrote. “I am pleased to state that I have had a 90 per cent recovery rate, though tragically, one fatality.” That was Karen Carpenter.

              Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/oct/24/karen-carpenter-anorexia-book-extract

              This Is What Your Favorite Foods Look Like In Their Natural Habitats

              When we buy food from the grocery store or order it from a restaurant, we see it in a certain way. Most of the time, the food that we eat doesn’t appear the same way in nature. In a lot of cases, people would be unable to identify common food items that they consume almost every day if they saw them in nature.

              So enlighten yourself and have a look at the weird origins of your favorite foods and spices.

              1. Kiwis

              2. Broccoli

              3. Peanuts

              4. Blackberries

              5. Saffron

              6. Walnuts

              7. Mangoes

              8. Potatoes

              9. Pistachios

              10. Coffee

              11. Cashews

              12. Watermelons

              13. Pineapples

              14. Black Pepper

              15. Sesame

              16. Blueberries

              17. Vanilla Beans

              18. Bananas

              19. Almonds

              20. Cacao

              21. Mustard

              (via My Modern Met)

              If I didn’t know better, I would never believe that these are the same things we eat all the time! What a difference it is from the plant to the plate. Nature is pretty amazing, isn’t it?

              Read more: http://www.viralnova.com/natural-food/

              People Are Totally Clueless About What ‘Natural’ Food Labels Mean

              There’s a good chance the word “natural” doesn’t mean what you think it does.

              At least not when you find it on food packaging. A substantial chunk of the population has at least some misconceptions about what the term means on food labels, according to a recent survey by Consumer Reports.

              Out of 1,005 respondents, 63 percent believed that the “natural” label meant a packaged food was produced without pesticides, 62 percent believed it meant the product contained no artificial ingredients, and 60 percent believed it meant a product was free of genetically modified organisms (GMO).

              When it comes to meat and poultry, 64 percent of survey-takers thought it meant the animals were raised without artificial growth hormones, 57 percent thought it meant they were raised without antibiotics or other drugs, and 50 percent believed it meant the animals “went outdoors.”

              While we didn’t analyze Consumer Reports’ statistical methods, it seems safe to say that a good number of people are less than clear on how natural these “natural” foods really are.

              In fact, the word has no official, legal definition in the United States. The FDA website explicitly states that the agency “has not developed a definition for the use of the term.”

              David Stewart via Getty Images
              It’s true.

              What the FDA does have is a “longstanding policy” that they “consider” the word to mean that “nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in that food.” The policy means that this is the criteria the FDA may use to determine whether a “natural” label is misleading or not, if it’s brought to their attention. (The FDA does not pre-approve food labels.)

              Note that the current definition has nothing to do with pesticides, artificial growth hormones, GMOs or animal welfare.

              And as Consumer Reports points out, there are plenty of products out there with the “natural” label that don’t seem to fit even the FDA’s informal definition.

              But the lack of regulations around the “natural” label could change. In response to demands that the word have some official, formal meaning, the FDA is soliciting feedback from the public on what they think it should designate on food labels. Find out how to submit a comment here. 

              Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/01/27/natural-food-label-meaning_n_9092430.html

              Why Food Manufacturers Can Define Their Own Versions Of ‘All-Natural’

              If a label on a food product reads, “all-natural,” it must be all-natural, right?

              If a juice box is labeled, “Made with all-natural ingredients,” it’s 100 percent natural, correct?

              Wrong.

              When I hear the word “natural,” I automatically think “made in the original form.”

              The exact definition of natural is “existing in or caused by nature.”

              Alright, that’s simple enough.

              The Grand Canyon is natural. Going make-up free means going natural. Solar energy is natural.

              But what does “natural” food really entail?

              It’s a trick question because no one knows.

              Comforting, right?

              The government does not have a legitimate definition for “natural food.” This givesmanufacturers the ability to create their own meaning of the word.

              Natural food should define food that is undisturbed, uninterrupted and created and maintained on its own.

              It should not contain chemicals, pesticides or artificial flavors.

              How can manufacturers call themselves a word that hasn’t even been defined?

              “All-natural” chips could actually just mean, “Hey, it all started from a potato.”

              Yes, but the potato did not naturally contain peanut oil, corn starch, garlic powder or yeast extract.

              The FDA considers foods with no artificial or synthetic ingredients to be natural.

              However, this does not cover production or manufacturing methods.

              Different manufacturers use different modifications for the leave-it-up-to-you definition.

              In most cases, “natural flavoring”is replacing the actual “natural” product.“Natural flavor” is the fourth most common ingredient on a list of over 800,000 ingredients.

              Grape juice can be labeled “natural” because a grape is a natural fruit.

              But, most manufacturers substitute the real fruit for a scientifically created flavor to reduce costs.

              Fruit flavoring and fruit are two different things. Just because it tastes like a natural fruit does not mean it is natural.

              These misleading food labels make it difficult for a consumer to know what he or she is getting.

              Don’t we deserve to know what we’re putting into our bodies?

              Sure, food labels exist, but unless you’re familiar with words like “maltodextrin,” you’re probably going to be easily influenced by the word “natural.”

              Many consumers are tricked every day by these “natural” brands we’ve come to love.

              Here are five “all-natural” foods and beverages that are anything but:

              1. Bottled Teas

              Many bottled iced teascontain more than just their “natural” promises.

              High levels of fructose corn syrup replace real sugar.

              Flavored teas aren’t coming from squeezed fruit. Instead, they are using “fruit flavoring” or “natural flavors.”

              Why? Because it’s cheaper.


              2. Yogurt

              Natural and artificial flavoring make up a lot of packaged yogurts.

              Unless the yogurt is organic, the dairy most likely came from a cow pumped full ofchemicals and growth hormones.

              Why? One cow can’t provide everythingnecessary in anatural way.


              3. Juice

              Bottled juices don’t contain real fruits and natural sugars like we are told.

              Naked Juice was sued for$9 million for containing many synthetic ingredients that are not, in fact, “all-natural.”


              4. Chocolate-Flavored Cookies

              The key word here is “flavored.”

              This is not real chocolate made from cocoa beans, but flavored chocolate that contains several artificial ingredients that cheaply replace cocoa beans.


              5. Cheese

              The “100 percent natural” promise doesn’t mention the fact the dairy coming from the cow was shot up with chemicals and growth hormones.

              Just because it’s coming from a cow, that doesn’t make it natural.

              The cow ingesting the chemicals is producing unnatural dairy.

              Basically, our most “natural” foods are being recreated.

              Fruits are grown with the chemicals, and sugars are added to smoothies, yogurts, cereal and granola bars.

              Dairy is coming from cows that are overloaded with chemicals and hormones.

              Manufacturers don’t want to provide us with the healthiest, cleanest ingredients. They want to provide us with the cheapest ingredients.

              In the mean time, our bodies are being deprived of what we need.

              Don’t trust food labels and “all-natural” claims.

              Why? Because there is no definition for that word.

              Read more: http://elitedaily.com/wellness/all-natural-food-labels/1357913/

              Record year for fish releases in England’s rivers – BBC News

              Image copyright Environment Agency
              Image caption All the fish reared on the Environment Agency’s fish farm are “fit for purpose” and are effectively wild fish when they are released

              A record number of captive-bred fish were released in 2015 to boost populations in England’s rivers, says the Environment Agency.

              Almost two million coarse fish were released, helping to restock populations where water quality was improving after years of pollution.

              The species that were captive-bred by the Environment Agency included chub, bream, tench and roach.

              The fish and larvae were bred at the agency’s Calverton farm in Nottingham.

              Fish farm team leader Alan Henshaw said there were two main reasons why 2015 was a record-breaking year.

              “One was the weather; it was a very good year for growing fish,” he explained.

              “Fish do not like surprises so if we have a summer where the temperature is consistent, that is far better.

              “It is not good when the temperature gets over 24C or 25C (75-77F) because they get a little more difficult to grow because the water is warmer. Basically, a good year for growing fish is when it is not a good year for a sun tan.”

              The second reason was a result of the discovery that fish rearing was more successful when there was a larger mix of species within the farms tanks and ponds, he told BBC News.

              “Before, we’d only grow three species in a pond – that would have been a bottom feeder, mid-water feeder and a surface feeder.

              “But we have realised that if we keep the biomass – the total amount of fish – the same but make that biomass up out of five or six species, the fish do much better. It’s called polyculture. We didn’t invent it, they have been doing it in Europe since the Middle Ages. We’ve tweaked it and it is working really well.”

              Image copyright Environment Agency
              Image caption Eggs and sperm are collected from wild fish, ensuring that the reared fish maintain the genetic integrity of wild populations when they are released into rivers

              In order to maintain the fitness and genetic integrity of the wild populations, the team at the fish farm do not keep brooding adults. Instead they collect adult fish from rivers each year in order to harvest eggs and sperm that will be used to grow the fish.

              Mr Henshaw said: “The fish we produce here are never more than one generation from wild.

              “It is not like a trout farm that is producing fish for the table. The whole idea behind our fish is that they are fit for purpose – they are not naive and they are prepared for life in the wild.”

              Image copyright Environment Agency
              Image caption Fish are reared for 18 months in tanks and ponds that replicate environmental conditions the fish will encounter in the wild

              The fertilised eggs are incubated for 3-30 days, before the larvae is transferred to ponds under polytunnels to protect the tiny animals from predators and cold temperatures for the first year.

              They are moved to outdoor ponds for the second summer of life, and are fed natural food and experience flowing water.

              “We drop the food in the flow and if the fish want to eat then they have got to swim – and we feed them on natural food so they know what natural food is,” Mr Henshaw explained.

              “Our fish are effectively wild fish that have just so happened to have spent the first two years of their life growing on a fish farm. We have grown them in as natural rearing conditions as we possibly can.”

              Image copyright Environment Agency
              Image caption It takes about 18 months from egg to the fish being released into rivers to boost natural populations

              Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-35551906

              Researchers Develop Biodegradable Plastic That Extends The Shelf Life Of Food

              In modern life, food is readily available for us, and though we may think little of it, it often comes with masses of packaging. Almost every food item youre likely to buy comes covered in plastic, which often is simply thrown away to end up in landfill. Yet a team of researchers think they may have developed a solution.This could not only solve the problem of plastic by wrapping our food in a biodegradable material, but may also go some way to reducing the amount of food that is thrown awayby extending the product’s shelf life.

              The new material is being touted as an environmentally friendly alternative for food packaging, and exploits anatural biodegradable material derived from the shells of shrimp and crabs: chitosan. Already used in a variety of contexts, from wine making to blood clotting, the researchers fortified a chitosan-based film with grapefruit seed extract, which has natural antibiotic properties. By forming a material using both components, theteam from the University of Singapore developed a product that not only biodegraded naturally, but also kept food fresher for longer. There might be a slight hitch though, as chitosan is not vegetarian.

              Not only is the extract from grapefruit seeds thought to be antibacterial, but there is evidence to suggest, claim the researchers, that it also has strong antioxidant and fungicidal qualities. This, along with the composite material’s ability to block ultraviolet light, slows down the degradation of theperishableproduct within, such as bread, extending its shelf life. Increasing attention has been placed on the development of food packaging material with antimicrobial and antifungal properties, in order to improve food safety, extend shelf-life and to minimize the use of chemical preservatives, explains associate professor Thian Eng San, who spent three years perfecting the formula.

              Hopefully, this could lead to an overall reduction in the amount of food that is thrown away. Its thought that around 50 percent of all food produced ends up in the bin before it has had the chance to reachthe plate. In fact, recent research found that in U.K. households alone, 34,000 tonnes (37,500 tons) of raw and cooked beef are thrown out every year, totalingaround $360 million of meat. This comes in at the equivalent of 300 million beef burgers. This colossal amount of waste is not only incredibly inefficient and costly, but the food could be used to feed those who are starving.

              The newly developed film still retains a flexibility and strength similar to that of current plastics being used for food products, just with added environmental benefits. As mentioned above though, the fact that it is not vegetarian could be a potential problem. The researchers plan on conducting further tests to improve the product, while also further testing how it could be used commercially.

              Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/environment/researchers-develop-biodegradable-plastic-which-also-extends-food-shelf-life

              Heres how to treat and ease gout suffering from home, and prevent another flare-up

              Gout is still very prevalent in this day and age.

              It can be very, very painful as well, as it is a severe form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid creating crystals around joints. This uric acid buildup is caused by
              high levels of purine.

              Here are ways you can counteract high levels of purine and avoid gout:

              1. Watch what you eat and drink

              Specifically you want to avoid meats, refined carbs, fructose and yeast as all of these can cause high purine. The notorious suspects are organ meats like liver and kidneys, as well as sardines, anchovies and mussels. Sodas and fruit juices should be limited as well as beer intake.


              2. Mix healthier foods into your diet

              Rather than completely changing your diet, you can implement healthy foods into your diet. For example implementing cherries in your meals can be beneficial as cherries are a natural food that counteracts gout effects. They are high in antioxidants and anthocyanins, which reduces inflammation that can occur. Apples are good as well as they contain malic acid which can neutralize uric acid. Bananas too as they have potassium which can liquefy and flush out the crystals.

              3. Try these alternative remedies

              You can also try apple cider vinegar that has been watered-down as this can relieve pain due to its acidity. To prevent inflammation you can try ginger root in liquid or powdered form.

              Activated charcoal in the form of a paste (charcoal and water) applied to your gout area as a lotion or bath can be beneficial. Baking soda (half a teaspoon) can be mixed with water, and this can also reduce the uric acid.

              Dont forget to stay hydrated as well as this allows kidneys to process uric acid, passing it through the urine. Putting your body in cold water (the parts that are hurting) can also help but dont go overboard with cold water treatment as it could make it worse by promoting crystallization of uric acid.

              Of course visiting a doctor and receiving recommendations for dealing and treating gout is a must as well.

              Share this with friends and family so they can be knowledgeable in the treatment of gout!

              Read more: http://damn.com/heres-how-to-treat-and-ease-gout-suffering-from-home-and-prevent-another-flare-up/

              Fast food serves up phthalates, too, study suggests

              (CNN)A new study finds that those fast food drive-thru hamburgers and take-out pizzas could increase your exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates.

              Researchers looked at the relationship between how much fast food people consume and the level of phthalates in their urine. The data were collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2003 and 2010 as part of nationwide surveys on health and nutrition that included more than 8,877 children and adults.
                About one-third of the participants in the study said they had eaten fast food in the last 24 hours. Those who consumed a lot of fast food during that time, meaning that at least 35% of their calories came from fast food, had 23.8% and 39% higher levels of two phthalates called DEHP and DiNP, respectively, compared with participants who did not report having any fast food in the last day. More modest fast food consumers — those who ate fast food but it made up fewer than 35% of their calories — had 15.5% and 24.8% increases in DEHP and DiNP in their urine.
                More studies will need to be done to see which menu items specifically lead to spikes in phthalates, Birnbaum said. The current study found that grain-based items and fast foods containing meat were linked with greater increases in phthalate levels. This could be because of the way these foods are processed and packaged or because the fats in these foods bind phthalates better.
                Although the current study did not find a link between fast food consumption and BPA exposure, it is too soon to say for sure, Birnbaum said. One of the biggest sources of BPA is thought to be canned foods, and fast food restaurants that serve canned soda could also be serving up BPA, she said. Birnbaum was not involved in the current study, although she has recently done research with Zota looking at the relationship between pesticides and other environmental pollutants and cancer markers in the body.
                The study looked at two phthalates, but the CDC survey included measurements for about 10 phthalates in total, and some of them could also have been higher in people who eat a lot of fast food, Zota said. She and her colleagues focused on DEHP and DiNP because they are the main phthalates used in food processing and packaging to keep plastics soft.

                See the latest news and share your comments with CNN Health on Facebook and Twitter.

                So far there is the most evidence incriminating DEHP and its effect on health, including brain development, behavior and respiratory health, but studies are starting to suggest that DiNP could have similar effects, Zota said. As a result, efforts to replace DEPH with DiNP in consumer products, which her earlier research suggested could be taking place, could be futile, she said.
                DEHP has been banned from all children’s toys in the United States and Europe, and DiNP has also been banned from toys that children put in their mouth.
                The National Restaurant Association and the American Chemistry Council, which are working together to review the study, said the levels of phthalates in the CDC surveys are “well below” the levels the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency deemed likely to increase health risk. A spokesperson for the National Restaurant Association said that consumer safety is paramount in the restaurant industry.
                However the levels the Environmental Protection Agency set for DEHP have not been revised since 1988, and in the meantime, “there has been a wealth of additional scientific evidence suggesting adverse health effects of [DEHP and DiNP] at low levels,” Zota said. Many of the studies that have found a link between phthalate exposure and reproductive and developmental problems involved populations that had similar low levels of exposure as in the CDC sample, she added.

                Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/15/health/fast-food-phthalates-endocrine-disruptors/index.html