The photo shown below was taken at a market in Shanghai, China.
Can you guess what they are?
If you guessed, water caltrop 菱, you're right!
Water caltrops (Trapa natans) are the seeds of a floating annual aquatic plant that's native to warm temperate parts of Eurasia and Africa. The plant grows in slow-moving water up to 5 m deep, and bear an ornately shaped fruit that resembles the head of a bull or the silhouette of a flying bat. Each fruit contains a single very large, starchy seed. T. natans and T. bicornis have been cultivated in China and the Indian subcontinent for at least 3,000 years for the edible seeds that are used in pastries, served steamed or boiled from street vendors, and even as a remedy for inebriation.
Here's what happens when you pour 1 984°F/1 085°C molten copper on a Big Mac. This demonstration has nothing to do with the fact that McDonald's uses persevatives in its ingredients. This is simply a demonstration of the Leidenfrost effect - a scientific principle explaining the phenomena that occurs when a liquid comes in near contact with a solid that is significantly hotter than its boiling point; the surface of the liquid comes to a nearly immediate boil, and creates a thin layer of protective steam. It's much the same effect as when one drops water onto a hot pan and the droplet is seen to dance across the surface. In this instance, the inherent moisture in the burger protects it for a few moments before the copper (at nearly 2 000 de [ ... ]
Unlike conventional plants, the Venus flytrap copes with poor soil by eating bugs! But the cost of insect hunting is high. Catching prey requires Dionaea muscipula to snap down quickly and then carry out the energy-intensive process of digestion. To balance the costs and benefits of eating meat, the plants have developed a counting system to identify real prey from false alarms, according to a new study.
To understand how the flytrap distinguishes a potential food source from a false alarm like a raindrop, researchers observed the electrical and chemical response of the plant to touch stimulation. In order to mimic insect prey, the scientists stimulated the hairlike sensors located on the plant’s trap. Touching the sensors two times quick [ ... ]
You've probably heard the saying 'don't eat yellow snow', for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, you shouldn’t eat any snow. Snow has been found to act as a rather effective sink for tiny particles that are found primarily in car exhaust fumes, so any consumption of it is effectively like eating a pollution-flavored Popsicle.
Researchers of this study found that from just one hour of exposure, the levels of pollutants within the snow increased dramatically, with toxic particles becoming trapped within the small ice particles or dissolved within pockets of meltwater. This means that snow is a particularly effective “sink” for car exhaust pollution.
Mad honey is a rare hallucinogenic honey that is made by the Giant Bee of Himalayas (Apis dorsata laboriosa) in Nepal. The bee lives and nests at altitudes between 2 500 and 3 000 meters, where it builds very large nests under overhangs on the south-western faces of vertical cliffs. The honey possesses hallucinogenic properties because it contains an ingredient from rhododendron nectar called grayanotoxin - a natural neurotoxin that, even in small quantities, brings on light-headedness and hallucinations. Since it is difficult to harvest and has special properties, this kind of honey is expensive and sells for about five times the price of normal honey in the foreign market. So, the honey hunters take absurd risks to get the honey from over [ ... ]
Someone who greatly enjoys sweet foods is said to have a "sweet tooth." Experimental evidence now shows us that eating sweets forms memories that may control eating habits. In other words, people may enjoy eating sweets because the taste is correlated with positive memories.
The findings, published online in the journal Hippocampus, show that neurons in the dorsal hippocampus, the part of the brain that is critical for episodic memory, are activated by consuming sweets. Episodic memory is the memory of autobiographical events experienced at a particular time and place.
In the study, a meal consisting of a sweetened solution, either sucrose or saccharin, significantly increased the expression of the synaptic plasticity marker called activity [ ... ]
Did you know that McDonald's famous burger, the Big Mac, contains addictive ingredients inside its bun? Yes, it's true, the bun isn't as harmless as your probably thought.
The Big Mac bun contains high levels of high-fructose corn syrup and sodium. Both ingredients are addictive, and therefore make your body crave more of them. These ingredients are also harmful and can cause obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, BUT not directly. Remember, the higher sweetness of high-fructose corn syrup increases craving and consequently the amount consumed. Obesity isn't caused by diet alone - when combined with decreased physical activity, that is when it contributes to the weight gain epidemic and personal health problems.
Most foods today are fortified with essential oils like omega-3 fatty acids. Naturally, these oils are found in fish, and are known to benefit many parts of the body, including the eyes, brain, heart, and joints. So, are these so-called beneficial oils important for people who lack the DNA profile needed to metabolise them?
It turns out that the extra omega-3 might not do much good at all. According to a study published in Science, Inuit people living in Greenland whose traditional diet of fish and marine mammals have the right enzymes in their bodies needed to metabolise these foods that are very high fat content.
The researchers reported that their DNA that was most different was on chromosome 11, specifically among genes that control the [ ... ]
I was shopping around in Michigan a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon this product proudly made by the Velvet Peanut Butter Company. I was appalled when I read that it's made from Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, while the trans-fat count is at zero grams - a very misleading claim.
This product is literally poisonous for human consumption, yet it is prepared for young children and people of lower socioeconomic status, given its low price tag. Hydrogenated oil is scientifically known to increase LDL 'bad' cholesterol and lower HDL 'good' cholesterol, thereby leading to heart disease and cancer. It should be against the law to feed it to kids.
In the United States, labelling a product trans-fat free doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't conta [ ... ]
According to a recent editorial by three researchers specializing in human biology, while physical activity can stave off the effects of several common and debilitating diseases, when it comes to weight loss, the devil is in the diet. "A recent report from the UK's Academy of Medical Royal Colleges described 'the miracle cure' of performing 30 min of moderate exercise, five times a week, as more powerful than many drugs administered for chronic disease prevention and management," they write. "Regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some cancers by at least 30 percent. However, physical activity does not promote weight loss."
Thanks to a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea, we now know what 170-year-old champagne (kept in near perfect aging conditions) tastes like! Tasters described the aroma of the champagne - likely the oldest ever imbibed - as spicy, smoky, and leathery.
At 9% alcohol by volume, it was significantly less alcoholic than the modern version, which contains about 12% alcohol, likely due to a less efficient fermentation process. The researchers also found traces of chemicals from wood, suggesting that the champagne was fermented in barrels.
While they are super sweet, syrup made from this ancient fruit has antibacterial compounds that are more effective than honey. In case you've never had it or seen it before, dates are a thick, dark brown, and super-sweet fruit used in Middle Eastern cuisine. New research suggests that date syrup contains chemical compounds that help ward off a number of bacterial infections, including those caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. This was discovered after scientists inhibited the growth of these pathogens for about six hours, which researchers say is faster than manuka honey - a honey known for its antibacterial and wound healing properties. [ ... ]
The green wings of luna moths, with their elegant, long tails, aren't just about style. New research finds they also help save the insects from becoming bat snacks by creating a distracting acoustic signal, which causes these predators to zero in on the wings rather than more vital body parts.
According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Grenoble in France, the results published were plain and simple - men who enjoyed dipping their food into hot, spicy sauce happened to have higher levels of free testosterone floating around their bloodstream after the meal. Salt preference, however, didn’t seem to have any link to testosterone levels. What does this correlation entail? Does capsaicin - the chemical responsible for spiciness - increase testosterone, or are those who are more likely to take risks possess higher levels of this potent male hormone? [ ... ]
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