Tag: Hypernature

Back to the Tribe

Kid Convinces Mother to go Vegan

While numerous children nowadays believe the woods smell of shampoo, there are also some critical young minds out there, willing to question things. Meet Luiz Antonio. When his mother tells him to eat his octopus, little Luiz responds by asking his mother where the octopus comes from and how it ended up on his plate. The mother explains the situation to Luiz, after which he responds with a pleading that drives his mother to tears.

splashing milk
Food Technology

Why Isn’t Cream Cream-Colored?

While cream from the dairy aisle is pure white, most people would agree that cream the color is a pale shade of yellow. So why the discrepancy? It turns out that language preserves a form of dairy that has all but disappeared from our diets.

Though it’s over a decade old, Emily Green’s essay Is Milk Still Milk? is a fascinating history of how milk was transformed from a high-fat, high-protein and highly variable food into a homogenized industrial product. In regards to cream-the-color vs. cream-the-liquid, Green describes the results of a milk taste test performed with UC Davis students. While the students ranked raw milk from Jersey cows as better-tasting than supermarket milk from Holsteins, they also gave it the lowest scores for appearance. “It wasn’t white,” Green notes. “They had never seen cream-colored milk.”

Just as we’re surprised to learn the origin of the color cream, our children may be surprised to find out that the ‘ca-click’ of their smartphone’s camera is actually the sound of an analog shutter.

Read more over at the LA Times.

sexually bored woman seeks female viagra
Fitness Boosters

Bored with Sex? There’s a Pill for That

Over at the New York Times Magazine, there’s a fascinating long read about the quest to find the “female Viagra”. Calling it Viagra is a bit disingenuous, as these treatments don’t necessarily address female sexual response, but desire. Contrary to what evolutionary psychologists have been telling us for years, women grow bored more quickly than men in long-term relationships, and may be more inclined to promiscuity than ever expected. Using pills to flip lust on and off, as we now do with erections, depression, and concentration, would have fascinating ramifications:

“Gaining control of their reproduction in the ‘60s affected not just women’s sex lives but also everything from their social standing to economic empowerment. What might it mean for conventional structures if women could control, with a prescription, the most primal urge? So many things, personal and cultural, might need to be recalibrated and renegotiated, explicitly or without acknowledgment. The cumulative effect of all those negotiations could be hugely transformative, in ways either thrilling or threatening, depending on your point of view.”

Read the full story here. Image via She Knows.

blog2
Augmented-Bodies

The Holy Grail of Immortality

The biggest fight we have as an organism is life itself. Continuously resupplying our body with nutrients and energy takes its toll. Our cells that are constantly working, dying and dividing as we go through our life provide us with the means to live. However, these systems inevitably break down. Is this the way things have to be?

Read more

Micro'be dress
Biocustomization

Grow Your Clothing with Microorganisms

Clothing can be made out of more than just woven fabrics or synthetic fibers. Lady Gaga proved this with her infamous raw beef dress. But the meat dress is not the only piece of organic garment out there.

Artist Donna Franklin and scientist Gary Cass have designed Micro’be, a fashion line consisting of clothing made from microorganisms. Where conventional clothing is woven in parts and stitched together, Micro’be consists of one seamless piece. The clothes are made from wine, and with the addition of the bacteria Acetobacter, the wine is fermented into vinegar. The by-product of this fermentation is cellulose, which is in turn used to grow the garment. The color of the fabric is determined by which wine is used. Red wine gives a red fabric, while white wine (and even beer) gives a translucent material.

genetically modified sheep
Genetic-surprises

Modifying Milk and Glowing Livestock

A team of scientists from the Animal Reproduction Institute of Uruguay have genetically modified nine sheep with a phosphorescent jellyfish protein. This causes the lambs to grow a neon green colour when exposed to ultraviolet light. Besides the lambs’ predisposition to glow green, they are otherwise perfectly healthy and normal.

Genetically modifying the sheep to glow under UV light is an attempt to advance and perfect the technique that will allow scientists to add beneficial new genes to livestock. Once the genes are integrated into an animal’s DNA, it can produce milk with various medical advantages for humans. Perhaps this could lead to the creation of a real-life Korova Milk Bar, the bar from “A Clockwork Orange” that offers drug-laced milk.

Story via redorbit. Image via Fundación IRAUy / J. Calvelo

BB-rock_big
Hypernature

Baseball Rocks

Our peculiar image of the week invites us to reflect upon the status of everyday artifacts like a baseball. Tomorrows Fossils? The rocks were fitted with a leather string by artist Elizabeth de Maray. A real baseball can be seen in the background.

nanosponge
Augmented-Bodies

Nanosponges “Soak Up” Toxins and Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Engineers at the University of California have developed a “nanosponge” that can safely remove a variety of dangerous toxins from the bloodstream. Unlike other antitoxin platforms, this technology is not limited to a single type of threat. These nanoscale sponges can “soak up” MRSA, E. coli and other antibiotic-resistant bacteria, as well as venom from snakes and bees. Studies performed on mice show that 89% of the test subjects inoculated with the sponges survived a lethal dose of MRSA. Those injected after exposure to a lethal dose still had a high survival rate of 44% .

The nanosponges are made of a biocompatible polymer core. In order to evade the immune system and remain in circulation in the bloodstream, the sponges are wrapped in red blood cell membranes. A single red blood cell membrane can generate thousands of nanosponges. The nanosponges work by outnumbering red blood cells, serving as “decoys” for the bacteria and toxins.

Via Eurekalert.org 

CMYK-Plaque
Designed-by-Evolution

The Prefuture of Synthetic Biology

Somewhere between a vat of expensive face cream and a baby Neanderthal lies a probable future for synthetic biology. While synbio start-ups – large and small – struggle with the reality of scaling up microscopic cellular factories into profitable business models, stories of DIY anti-cancer research, Neanderthal cloning, limitless ‘green’ kerosene, and tumor-killing bacteria are told as outcomes of a likely future where humans have full control over biology.

Over the last decade, many diverse interests have contributed to this ambition of an easy-to-manipulate biology, as the field of synthetic biology has spread around research labs all over the world. Scientists, engineers, policymakers, industrialists, space agencies, politicians, and even designers are constructing a future defined by the grand rhetoric of a world-changing, world-saving technology.

Read more