Chuckles of the Day


Old Goats

Groups of Americans were traveling by tour bus through Holland.

As they stopped at a cheese farm, a young guide led them through the process of cheese making, explaining that goat’s milk was used. She showed the group a lovely hillside where many goats were grazing. ‘These’ she explained, ‘Are the older goats put out to pasture when they no longer produce.’

She then asked, ‘What do you do in America with your old goats?’

A spry old gentleman answered, ‘They send us on bus tours!

* * * * * * *

Rubber Gloves

Next time you use a pair of rubber gloves, you’re going to smile when you think of this…

A dentist noticed that his next patient, a little old lady, was very nervous, so he decided to tell her a little joke as he put on his latex gloves.

“Do you know how they make these gloves?” he asked.

“No, I don’t,” she replied.

“Well,” he spoofed, “there’s a building here in Canada with a big tank of latex, and workers of all hand sizes walk up to the tank, dip in their hands, let them dry, then peel off the gloves and throw them into boxes of the right size.”

She didn’t even crack a smile.

“Oh, well,” he thought, “at least I tried.”

But about five minutes later, during a delicate portion of the procedure, she suddenly burst out laughing.

“What’s so funny?” he asked her.

“I was just envisioning how condoms are made!”

Gotta watch those little old ladies! Their minds are always working!

Nacho Wings with Guacamole Dip


Marinated Wings

1.35 kg whole chicken wings
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

Guacamole Dip

1 large ripe avocado
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

Nacho Coating

225 g plain salted tortilla chips (about 8 cups)
1-1/2 tsp dried oregano
1-1/2 tsp ancho or other chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin


  1. Remove tips from chicken wings and separate wings at joint.
  2. In glass baking dish, whisk together buttermilk, egg, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Add wings, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  3. Make Guacamole Dip: Scoop avocado flesh into bowl. Mash until fairly smooth. Stir in sour cream, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Make Nacho Coating: In food processor, finely grind tortilla chips to make about 2 cups crumbs and transfer to bowl. Stir in oregano, chili powder and cumin.
  5. Remove wings from marinade and discard marinade. Press wings into coating, turning to coat all over. Roast on rack on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet in 400°F (200°C) oven, turning once, until crisp and juices run clear when wings are pierced, about 45 minutes.
  6. Serve with dip and vegetables.

Makes about 30 pieces.

Source: The Complete Chicken Cookbook

You Probably Won’t Catch the Coronavirus From Frozen Food

Katherine J. Wu wrote . . . . . . . . .

Amid a flurry of concern over reports that frozen chicken wings imported to China from Brazil had tested positive for the coronavirus, experts said on Thursday that the likelihood of catching the virus from food — especially frozen, packaged food — is exceedingly low.

“This means somebody probably handled those chicken wings who might have had the virus,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University. “But it doesn’t mean, ‘Oh my god, nobody buy any chicken wings because they’re contaminated.’”

Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintain that “there is no evidence to suggest that handling food or consuming food is associated with Covid-19.” The main route the virus is known to take from person to person is through spray from sneezing, coughing, speaking or even breathing.

“I make no connection between this and any fear that this is the cause of any long-distance transmission events,” said C. Brandon Ogbunu, a disease ecologist at Yale University. When the virus crosses international boundaries, it’s almost certainly chauffeured by people, rather than the commercial products they ship.

The chicken wings were screened on Wednesday in Shenzhen’s Longgang district, where officials have been testing imports for the presence of coronavirus genetic material, or RNA. Several samples taken from the outer packaging of frozen seafood, some of which had been shipped in from Ecuador, recently tested positive for virus RNA in China’s Anhui, Shaanxi and Shandong provinces as well.

Laboratory procedures that search for RNA also form the basis of most of the coronavirus tests performed in people. But RNA is only a proxy for the presence of the virus, which can leave behind bits of its genetic material even after it has been destroyed, Dr. Ogbunu said. “This is just detecting the signature that the virus has been there at some point,” he said.

To prove that a dangerous, viable virus persists on food or packaging, researchers would need to isolate the microbe and show in a lab that it can still replicate. These experiments are logistically challenging and require specially trained personnel, and aren’t a part of the typical testing pipeline.

After samples taken from the surface of the meat came up positive, officials performed similar tests on several people whom they suspected had come into contact with the product. They also tested a slew of other packaged goods. All samples analyzed so far have been negative for coronavirus RNA, according to a statement released by the Shenzhen Epidemic Prevention and Control Headquarters Office.

But the same statement cautioned consumers about imported frozen products, and early reports of the news sparked alarm on social media. In New Zealand, where a new outbreak has set off another lockdown, officials are tentatively exploring the possibility that the virus might have reentered the country via frozen products imported from abroad.

Both Dr. Ogbunu and Dr. Rasmussen said that an extraordinarily unusual series of events would need to occur for the virus to be transmitted via a frozen meat product. Depending on where the virus originated, it would need to endure a potentially cross-continental journey in a frozen state — likely melting and refreezing at least once along the way — then find its way onto someone’s bare hands, en route to the nose or mouth.

Even more unlikely is the scenario that a virus could linger on food after being heated, survive being swallowed into the ultra-acidic human digestive tract, then set up shop in the airway.

“The risks of that happening are incredibly small,” Dr. Rasmussen said.

Some viruses might be able to weather such an onerous pilgrimage. But the coronavirus probably isn’t one of them because it’s a so-called enveloped virus, shrouded in a fragile outer shell that’s vulnerable to all sorts of environmental disturbances, including extreme changes in temperature.

Viruses are often frozen in laboratories that maintain stocks of pathogens for experiments. But virologists must monitor that process carefully to avoid destroying the vulnerable bugs.

“The act of freezing and unfreezing is a kind of violent thermodynamic process,” Dr. Ogbunu said. “A virus, for all its toughness and robustness, is a very delicate instrument of infection.”

The C.D.C. has noted that “it is possible” that the coronavirus can spread through contaminated surfaces, including food or food packaging. But that’s not known to be among the main ways the virus gets around.

If you don’t want get infected, avoiding direct contact with other people is probably a better use of your time, Dr. Ogbunu said.

“Yes, we should continue to wash our hands and be mindful of surfaces where a lot of individuals are,” he said. “But it’s close proximity to others that can really facilitate transmission.”

Source: The New York Times

Education Benefits the Brain Over a Lifetime

A new study confirms what your parents always told you: Getting an education opens the door to career opportunities and higher salaries. But it may also benefit your well-being in old age.

“The total amount of formal education that people receive is related to their average levels of cognitive [mental] functioning throughout adulthood,” said researcher Elliot Tucker-Drob, from the University of Texas, Austin. “However, it is not appreciably related to their rates of aging-related cognitive declines,” he added in a news release from the Association for Psychological Science.

The researchers said that people with more education have a higher level of mental function in early and middle adulthood, so the effects of brain aging are less obvious initially.

In other words, people who go further in school may have a longer period of mental impairment before going below the “functional threshold” — the point when brain decline becomes so obvious it interferes with daily activities, the study authors explained.

This finding disputes the theory that formal education in childhood and early adulthood protects against cognitive aging.

According to study co-author Martin Lövdén, from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, “Individuals vary in their rates of aging-related cognitive declines, but these individual differences are not appreciably related to educational attainment.”

For the study, the researchers looked at data from dozens of previously published studies. They found that adults with more years of formal schooling have higher mental functioning, on average, than those with fewer years of schooling.

The study emphasizes the importance of formal education for the well-being of individuals and societies throughout life, including old age, Tucker-Drob noted.

“This message may be particularly relevant as governments decide if, when, and how to reopen schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such decisions could have consequences for many decades to come,” he said.

The report was published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest.

Source: HealthDay

Antioxidant-rich Powders from Blueberry, Persimmon Waste Could be Good for Gut Microbiota

Feeding the world’s growing population in a sustainable way is no easy task. That’s why scientists are exploring options for transforming fruit and vegetable byproducts –– such as peels or pulp discarded during processing –– into nutritious food ingredients and supplements. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have shown that blueberry and persimmon waste can be made into antioxidant-rich powders that might have beneficial effects on gut microbiota.

In recent years, fruit and vegetable powders have become popular as a way to add beneficial compounds, such as polyphenols and carotenoids (two types of antioxidants), to the diet, either by consuming the powders directly or as an ingredient in food products. However, in many cases these healthful compounds are present at similar or even higher levels in byproducts compared to those in other parts of the fruit or vegetable. Noelia Betoret, María José Gosalbes and colleagues wanted to obtain powders from persimmon and blueberry wastes, and then study how digestion could affect the release of antioxidants and other bioactive compounds. They also wanted to determine the effects of the digested powders on gut bacterial growth.

The researchers obtained powders from persimmon peels and flower parts, and from the solids left behind after making blueberry juice. The type of powder, drying method, fiber content and type of fiber determined the release of antioxidants during a simulated digestion. For example, freeze-drying preserved more anthocyanins, but these were more easily degraded during digestion than those in air-dried samples. Then, the team added the powders to a fecal slurry and conducted a mock colonic fermentation, sequencing the bacteria present before and after fermentation. Incubation with the fruit powders resulted in an increase in several types of beneficial bacteria, and some bacteria grew better with one powder compared to the other. These findings indicate that persimmon and blueberry waste powders could be included in food formulations to boost the content of carotenoids and anthocyanins, which could have a positive impact on human health, the researchers say.

Source: American Chemical Society

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