Apparently, this is an excerpt from Pfeiffer’s book Lyme: The First Epidemic of Climate Change which comes out later this month. There’s no Kindle edition listed presently: I hope the publisher adds one so I can check it out.
“Staring at her popsicle for five minutes under the sun, a 30-year-old woman who was visiting from Chiba Prefecture, said, “No change in the appearance. . . .When heat from a dryer was applied in an air-conditioned room, a vanilla popsicle that was purchased from a regular shop began melting around the edges almost instantly. But the Kanazawa Ice retained its original shape even after five minutes. It also tasted cool.”
The magic ingredient is polyphenol extracted from strawberries. Food scientists are my third favorite kind of scientists!
I feel like Japan is the home of the most amazing food I’m never going to get to eat.
A bunch of NASA researchers headed by Junji Morokuma just published an article describing how they sent flatworms to the International Space Station for 5 weeks.
Flatworms are cool because if you cut them in half each half will regenerate the missing part. And Morokuma & Co didn’t just send whole flatworms. They sent 15 “pre-amputated” flatworm segments from which they had chopped off both heads and tails. And one of these flatworm segments, when returned to earth, did not regenerate a head and a tail. Instead it grew two heads.
Then they cut both heads off the body again, and the body fragment still re-grew two heads. Whatever changes had been caused by the time in space remained in the organism.
Morokuma’s team also detected “physiological, behavioral, morphological, and microbiological changes” in the flatworms. For example, for unknown reasons the space worms had considerably less tendency to avoid light than the control worms who remained on earth.
Research on the effects of extended periods in space have generally focused on the big things: muscle loss, blood pressure, affects of gravity loss etc. But humans carry 1kg of bacteria in their gut, and there are totallyfascinatingconnections between gut biota and human social behavior (including a controversial association with autism). Humans like to think we have free will, but the more we understand ourselves as a giant cluster of interdependent cells, mitochondria, and bacteria the more we realize we’re fooling ourselves. We’re not human individuals deciding we want to watch Game of Thrones with a friend, we’re a fleshy “brain–gut–microbiome axis” responding to constant chemical signals that affect our social communication.
Tree-trunk-shaped hole, meet small boy. Voila, a parents’ worst nightmare. My favorite part is Argyilan — who was actually there that day — not believing the parents when they said their son had been eaten by the dune, because science said sand dunes couldn’t be hollow. See, Nathan is an N of 1, and anecdotal experience is not evidence. Statistically, even now, no one has ever been eaten by a sand dune. Argyilan figured the kid was hiding.
After authorities recovered Nathan, still and cold and “gasping like a fish”, ground-penetrating radar found more than 60 spots where the sandy surface covered voids lurking beneath.
And now I’m wondering if there are any skeletons lying unsuspected inside the dune: very thin humans who took an unwary step and didn’t have doting parents as witnesses. One day the dune will move again, and we might all find out. And if you’re visiting the Indiana lakeshore, watch your step.
Transplanting a brain onto another body isn’t just giving an existing personality a new home, it’s creating a whole different being. I think we should go for it, but we have to acknowledge we can’t know what the outcome going to be like.
The future is barreling toward us and we’re not ready.