World’s First Bug Snack Vending Machine in Kumamoto, Japan

10 varieties of ready-to-eat bug snacks are sold for 600 yen to 1,900 yen each pack.

Moroccan-style Baked Fish

Ingredients

1 whole fish, such as a striped bass or snapper, about 3 to 3-1/2 lbs, cleaned but with head and tail left on
1 Tbsp coarse salt
1 lemon, cut into halves (one for juice, and one to cut in wedges for a garnish)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp paprika
1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
5 garlic cloves, chopped
black pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Wash the fish, then cut slashes on its outside skin. Rub half the salt and lemon juice into the cuts and inside the fish. Leave to sit for 15-25 minutes. Rinse with cold water, and dry with a paper towel.
  3. Combine the olive oil, cumin, paprika, cilantro, garlic, pepper, and remaining salt, and mix into a paste. Rub the paste over the skin of the fish, inside and out, also inside the slashes.
  4. Place the fish on a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the fish is done; its flesh will feel firm but not hard. Take care not to overcook.
  5. Serve hot, accompanied by wedges of lemon, and a cruet of olive oil if desired, for drizzling.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Olives

In Pictures: Home-cooked Shrimp and Egg Dishes

Genetically Modified Food Opponents Know Less than They Think, Research Finds

Andrew Sorensen wrote . . . . . . . . .

The people who hold the most extreme views opposing genetically modified (GM) foods think they know most about GM food science, but actually know the least, according to new research.

The paper, published Monday in Nature Human Behaviour, was a collaboration between researchers at the Leeds School of Business at CU Boulder, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Toronto and the University of Pennsylvania.

Marketing and psychology researchers asked more than 2,000 U.S. and European adults for their opinions about GM foods. The surveys asked respondents how well they thought they understood genetically modified foods, then tested how much they actually knew with a battery of true-false questions on general science and genetics.

Despite a scientific consensus that GM foods are safe for human consumption and have the potential to provide significant benefits, many people oppose their use. More than 90 percent of study respondents reported some level of opposition to GM foods.

The paper’s key finding is that the more strongly people report being opposed to GM foods, the more knowledgeable they think they are on the topic, but the lower they score on an actual knowledge test.

Psychology of extremism

“This result is perverse, but is consistent with previous research on the psychology of extremism,” said Philip Fernbach, the study’s lead author and professor of marketing at the Leeds School of Business. “Extreme views often stem from people feeling they understand complex topics better than they do.”

A potential consequence of the phenomenon, according to the paper’s authors, is that the people who know the least about important scientific issues may be likely to stay that way, because they may not seek out—or be open to—new knowledge.

“Our findings suggest that changing peoples’ minds first requires them to appreciate what they don’t know,” said study co-author Nicholas Light, a Leeds School of Business PhD candidate in marketing. “Without this first step, educational interventions might not work very well to bring people in line with the scientific consensus.”

Beyond genetically modified foods

The paper’s authors also explored other issues, like gene therapy and climate change denial. They found the same results for gene therapy.

However, the pattern did not emerge for climate change denial. The researchers hypothesize that the climate change debate has become so politically polarized that people’s attitudes depend more on which group they affiliate with than how much they know about the issue.

Fernbach and Light plan to follow this paper with more research on how their findings play into other issues like vaccinations, nuclear power and homeopathic medicine.

Source: University of Colorado Boulder

Study: Vitamin D Supplements are of Little Benefit to the Over 70s

There is little benefit for those over 70 taking higher dose vitamin D supplements to improve their bone strength and reduce the risk of falls, new research has revealed.

Older people are often encouraged to take supplements of vitamin D to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

But a Newcastle University-led study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has backed previous research which shows there is no gain for older people taking vitamin D.

Aim of study

Almost 400 people, aged 70 years or older, were randomly allocated to one of three doses of vitamin D given once a month for a year – the doses were 300 µg, 600 µg or 1200 µg (equivalent to a daily dose of 10 µg, 20 µg or 40 µg).

The study’s aim – funded by Versus Arthritis – was to measure in these older people the effect of vitamin D supplementation on the change in bone mineral density (BMD), a recognised indicator of bone strength, and changers in markers of bone metabolism.

The findings revealed that there was no change in BMD over 12 months between the three doses. However, the study did show that doses equivalent to 40 µg a day are safe in an older population and there was a beneficial effect on bone metabolism up to the highest dose.

Dr Terry Aspray, Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University’s Institute of Cellular Medicine, who is supported by the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, led the Vitamin D supplementation in older people study (VDOP).

He said: “Vitamin D deficiency is common in older people, and it may lead to bone loss, impairment of muscle function and an increased risk of falls and fractures.

“The results from previous studies assessing the effect of vitamin D on bone mineral density have yielded conflicting results, and our study is a significant contribution to the current debate.

“While our findings do not support evidence of the benefit of high dose vitamin D supplements, at least on bone mineral density, we do, however, identify that higher doses of the vitamin may have beneficial effects on bone metabolism and that they are safe for older people.

“I would suggest that older people should focus on maintaining a healthy, balanced diet, adequate sun exposure and take regular exercise to keep their bones as strong as possible.

“While some may need to take vitamin D supplements, there is little benefit to taking more than 10 µg a day.”

Further studies

Further analysis is underway, including by a Newcastle University PhD student, on the effects sun exposure on vitamin D levels in older people and the impact of vitamin D supplements on muscle strength.

Experts are also looking at the impact of genes and kidney function on vitamin D levels and their function in the blood.

Benjamin Ellis, Versus Arthritis Senior Clinical Policy Adviser, said: “Older people are at increased risk of falls and fractures, which are debilitating and erode people’s self-confidence, depriving them of their independence.

“Vitamin D helps build and maintain strong bones and muscles. People who are deficient in vitamin D are at increased risk of falls and fractures.

“In the summer months, Vitamin D is manufactured by the body when sunlight falls on the skin. We can also get vitamin D from certain foods, or dietary supplements.

“Over the one year of this study, higher doses of vitamin D neither improved measures of bone strength nor reduced falls among older people.

“The current guidance is still that people at risk of low vitamin D should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement, as should everyone during the winter months.

“Work is needed to implement effective strategies to prevent falls and fractures among older people, and to understand the role of medications and dietary supplements in this.”

Source: Newcastle University