Gadget: Kitchen Knife that Can be Used for 25 Years Without Regrinding

Laser Fusion of Titaninum Carbide and Stainless Steel

Watch video at Vimeo (1:24 minutes) . . . . .


Fettuccine with Steamed Vegetables


350 g fettuccine
100 g broccoli florets
4 baby carrots, halved lengthwise
1 red bell pepper, cubed
1 green bell pepper, cubed
1 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
60 g fava beans
30 g peas
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/3 cup freshly grated Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup plain yogurt
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper


  1. Bring a large quantity of salted water to a boil in the base of the steamer and add the pasta.
  2. Place all of the vegetables in a wax paper-lined steamer tier, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and steam over the pasta for 10 minutes. Check the pasta before 10 minutes to ensure it does not overcook.
  3. Add the cheese, yogurt and cayenne pepper to the vegetables and keep warm.
  4. Drain the pasta and transfer to a warm serving dish. Top with the vegetables, season well and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Steam Cuisine

Today’s Comic

In Pictures: Character Bento


How Appetite Affects the Brain

Robert Sapolsky wrote . . . . .

New research finds that hunger doesn’t just make people want food—it makes us want more stuff in general

Scientists often distinguish between “wanting” (“when I get this thing, life is better”) and “needing” (“unless I get this thing, life is worse”). In other words, “want” applies when you’re still trying out something; “need” applies when it owns you.

There is an equally interesting, if subtler, distinction between “wanting” and “liking.” Many times, we want more of something without liking it more. This category often covers things that we use instrumentally to achieve a long-term goal: For example, “I don’t like these gewgaws, but I want them all very badly because there’s a great potential market of people who want them even worse.”

A recent paper by Alison Jing Xu of the University of Minnesota and colleagues, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows how brain wiring can throw a wrench into this logic of wanting versus liking—so that we end up wanting something that we not only don’t like but also can’t use to better our lives in any way.

We start with a no-brainer: When our bodies are low on calories, we feel hungry. We animals then hunt more tenaciously, climb higher to search in trees for fruit, look longer for bugs to eat and—if we are pets—push our empty food bowls more irksomely against our owners’ ankles. In other words, hunger motivates food-acquisition behavior.

As it turns out, hunger also subliminally shifts our cognition. Prof. Xu’s team had volunteers look at a screen where combinations of letters appeared for a fraction of a second, and subjects had to rapidly say whether the letters formed correctly spelled words. Subjects who were hungry were more accurate at recognizing food-related words (”I have no idea if that was ‘broom’ or ‘broon,’ but that sure was ‘cookie’.”) So our basic animal wiring (“me hungry, me get food”) can unconsciously infiltrate how we perform the very sophisticated human task of reading comprehension.

But Prof. Xu’s team found something even more intriguing. When subjects doing the word/nonword task were hungry, they not only improved on food-related words but get better by an equal measure at assessing the accuracy of words related to acquisition in general (e.g., want, obtain, gain). Hunger doesn’t just prime us to think about food acquisition; it primes us to think about acquisition in general.

The researchers also found other evidence of this motivational shift. They gave 77 subjects a list of five food and five nonfood items and asked them to rate how much they wanted each one. Hungry subjects wanted both the food and the nonfood items more intensely than sated ones did.

The scientists also told their subjects about a new type of binder clip, offered them samples and asked how many clips they wanted. Hungry subjects wanted more of them. The researchers then conducted field work showing that department-store shoppers bought more nonfood items when they were hungry.

So hunger generates a generic, nonspecific want. Which makes sense in an evolutionary way, since only in the fairly recent past have humans produced inedible stuff to acquire. No primate ancestor ever left fewer copies of her genes because she mistakenly foraged for iPhones instead of termites when she was hungry. Now things have changed, but our brains haven’t quite caught up.

Then came what strikes me as the most interesting finding in the new research. While hunger made people want these inedible objects more, it didn’t make them like them more. Hungry subjects who wanted 4,000 binder clips didn’t rate themselves as liking them more than subjects who, having eaten recently, were content with getting just one clip. Wanting and liking were dissociated.

The hunger component of this study offers a practical lesson: Don’t go to expensive binder-clip stores just before lunch. But the finding about the wanting-liking difference resonates in a deeper way. Hunger, whether metaphorical or literal, can produce dissociation: When we’re hungry, we tend to acquire things that won’t prove satisfying because they are unrelated to the cause of our hunger, and besides, we don’t even like them all that much.

Source: Wall Street Journal