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Archive for the ‘food’ category

Jun 23, 2022

As chemical fertilizer shortages persist, peecycling — the process of recycling human urine — could increase the yield of nutrient-rich crops

Posted by in categories: chemistry, cybercrime/malcode, food, internet, military, satellites, sustainability

The need to find alternative sources for fertilizer have become urgent as chemical fertilizer shortages from the Ukrainian war threaten countries globally.


A Chinese military analyst suggested countermeasures for the Starlink satellite system developed by Musk’s SpaceX – including ways to hack or destroy the service.

Continue reading “As chemical fertilizer shortages persist, peecycling — the process of recycling human urine — could increase the yield of nutrient-rich crops” »

Jun 23, 2022

Neocortex saves energy

Posted by in categories: food, neuroscience

Despite constituting less than 2% of the body’s mass, the human brain consumes approximately 20% of total caloric intake, with 50% of the energy being used by cortex (Herculano-Houzel, 2011). The majority of this energy is spent by neurons to reverse the ion fluxes associated with electrical signaling via Na+/K+ ATPase (Attwell and Laughlin, 2001; Harris et al., 2012). Excitatory synaptic currents and action potentials are particularly costly in this regard, accounting for approximately 57% and 23% of the energy budget for electrical signaling in gray matter, respectively (Harris et al., 2012; Sengupta et al., 2010). Given this cost, and the scarcity of resources, the brain is thought to have evolved an energy-efficient coding strategy that maximizes information transmission per unit energy (i.e., ATP) (Barlow, 2012; Levy and Baxter, 1996). This strategy accounts for a number of cellular features, including the low mean firing rate of neurons and the high failure rate of synaptic transmission, as well as higher order features, such as the structure of neuronal receptive fields (Albert et al., 2008; Attwell and Laughlin, 2001; Harris et al., 2015; Levy and Baxter, 1996; Olshausen and Field, 1997; Sterling and Laughlin, 2015). Scarcity of food, therefore, appears to have strongly sculpted information coding in the brain throughout evolution.

Energy intake is not fixed but can vary substantially across individuals, environments, and time (Hladik, 1988; Knott, 1998). Given that the brain is energy limited, one hypothesis is that in times of food scarcity, neuronal networks should save energy by reducing information processing. There is some evidence to suggest that this is the case in invertebrates (Kauffman et al., 2010; Longden et al., 2014; Plaçais et al., 2017; Placais and Preat, 2013). In Drosophila 0, food deprivation inactivates neural pathways required for long-term memory to preserve energy (Plaçais et al., 2017; Placais and Preat, 2013). Experimental re-activation of these pathways restores memory formation but significantly reduces survival rates (Placais and Preat, 2013). Similar memory impairments are seen with reduced food intake in C. elegans (Kauffman et al., 2010). Moreover, in blowfly, food deprivation reduces visual interneuron responses during locomotion, consistent with energy savings (Longden et al., 2014). However, it remains unclear whether and how the mammalian brain, and cortical networks in particular, regulate information processing and energy use in times of food scarcity.

Here we used the mouse primary visual cortex (V1) as a model system to examine how food restriction affects information coding and energy consumption in cortical networks. We assessed neuronal activity and ATP consumption using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings and two-photon imaging of V1 layer 2/3 excitatory neurons in awake, male mice. We found that food restriction, resulting in a 15% reduction of body weight, led to a 29% reduction in ATP expenditure associated with excitatory postsynaptic currents, which was mediated by a decrease in single-channel AMPA receptor (AMPAR) conductance. Reductions in AMPAR current were compensated by an increase in input resistance and a depolarization of the resting membrane potential, which preserved neuronal excitability; neurons were therefore able to generate a comparable rate of spiking as controls, while spending less ATP on the underlying excitatory currents. This energy-saving strategy, however, had a cost to coding precision. Indeed, we found that an increase in input resistance and depolarization of the resting membrane potential also increased the subthreshold variability of visual responses, which increased the probability for small depolarizations to cross spike threshold, leading to a broadening of orientation tuning by 32%. Broadened tuning was associated with reduced coding precision of natural scenes and behavioral impairment in fine visual discrimination. We found that these deficits in visual coding under food restriction correlated with reduced circulating levels of leptin, a hormone secreted by adipocytes in proportion to fat mass (Baile et al., 2000), and were restored by exogenous leptin supplementation. Our findings reveal key metabolic state-dependent mechanisms by which the mammalian cortex regulates coding precision to preserve energy in times of food scarcity.

Jun 22, 2022

What did Megalodon eat? Anything it wanted, including other predators

Posted by in category: food

New Princeton research shows that prehistoric megatooth sharks—the biggest sharks that ever lived—were apex predators at the highest level ever measured.

Megatooth get their name from their massive teeth, which can each be bigger than a human hand. The group includes Megalodon, the largest shark that ever lived, as well as several related species.

While sharks of one kind or another have existed since long before the dinosaurs—for more than 400 million years—these megatooth sharks evolved after the dinosaurs went extinct and ruled the seas until just 3 million years ago.

Jun 22, 2022

Pain medicine recall: These pain pills have undeclared steroids, so check your bottles

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, health

Latin Foods Market issued a recall for an Artri King joint supplement, as it contains undeclared diclofenac and dexamethasone.


The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a health warning in mid-April concerning Artri King-branded products. The company makes a pain reliever available as a supplement for joint pain and arthritis. However, FDA testing discovered that Artri King products contain hidden drug ingredients, including diclofenac and dexamethasone.

Walmart already recalled Artri King products in late May, and now Latin Foods Market is following suit with a new recall of its own.

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Jun 21, 2022

The Brain Has a ‘Low-Power Mode’ That Blunts Our Senses

Posted by in categories: computing, food, mobile phones, neuroscience

When our phones and computers run out of power, their glowing screens go dark and they die a sort of digital death. But switch them to low-power mode to conserve energy, and they cut expendable operations to keep basic processes humming along until their batteries can be recharged.

Our energy-intensive brain needs to keep its lights on too. Brain cells depend primarily on steady deliveries of the sugar glucose, which they convert to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to fuel their information processing. When we’re a little hungry, our brain usually doesn’t change its energy consumption much. But given that humans and other animals have historically faced the threat of long periods of starvation, sometimes seasonally, scientists have wondered whether brains might have their own kind of low-power mode for emergencies.

Now, in a paper published in Neuron in January, neuroscientists in Nathalie Rochefort’s lab at the University of Edinburgh have revealed an energy-saving strategy in the visual systems of mice. They found that when mice were deprived of sufficient food for weeks at a time — long enough for them to lose 15%-20% of their typical healthy weight — neurons in the visual cortex reduced the amount of ATP used at their synapses by a sizable 29%.

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Jun 20, 2022

Gut microbiome acts on the brain to control appetite

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, neuroscience

The brain is the central information center and constantly monitors the state of every organ present in a body. Previous research has shown that the brain also receives signals from the gut microbiota.

In a new Immunity journal study, researchers discuss the work of Gabanyi et al. (2022), published in a recent issue of Science, which reveals that hypothalamic gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABAergic) neurons recognize microbial muropeptides through the cytosolic receptor NOD2, which regulates food intake and body temperature.

Jun 20, 2022

Microsoft Lasers Music into Glass for 1000 Years of Storage

Posted by in categories: food, information science, media & arts, nanotechnology, robotics/AI, security

Philip Glass to release a short silence on the matter.


The music vault is a parallel project to the Global Seed Vault (opens in new tab), which keeps the seeds of today’s trees and plants safe for the future, just in case we need to rebuild agriculture for any reason. The vault is located on the island of Spitsbergen, Norwegian territory, within the Arctic circle. It lacks tectonic activity, is permanently frozen, is high enough above sea level to stay dry even if the polar caps melt, and even if the worst happens, it won’t thaw out fully for 200 years. Just to be on the safe side, the main vault is built 120m into a sandstone mountain, and its security systems are said to be robust. As of June 2021, the seed vault had conserved 1,081,026 different crop samples.

The music is to be stored in a dedicated vault in the same mountain used by the seed vault. The glass used is an inert material, shaped into platters 75mm (3 inches) across and 2mm (less than 1/8th of an inch) thick. A laser encodes data in the glass by creating layers of three-dimensional nanoscale gratings and deformations. Machine learning algorithms read the data back by decoding images and patterns created as polarized light shines through the glass. The silica glass platters are fully resistant to electromagnetic pulses and the most challenging of environmental conditions. It can be baked, boiled, scoured and flooded without degradation of the data written into the glass. Tests to see if it really does last many thousands of years, however, can be assumed to be ongoing.

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Jun 19, 2022

AI enters archaeology, scientists use algorithms to discover evidence of human use of fire nearly 1 million years ago

Posted by in categories: food, information science, robotics/AI

The use of fire was a key factor in the evolution of Homo sapiens, not only for the creation of more sophisticated tools but also for making food safer, which in turn aided brain development.

To date, only five sites with fire evidence dating back 500,000 years have been found worldwide, including Wonderwerk Caves and Swartkrans in South Africa, Chesowanja in Kenya, Gesher Benot Ya’aqov in Israel, and Cueva Negra in Spain.

Now, a n Israeli research team has used artificial intelligence algorithms to discover a sixth site that shows traces of human fire! The study revealed evidence of human use of fire at a late Paleolithic site in Israel. The research results have been published in the journal PNAS.

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Jun 17, 2022

Major Scientific Breakthrough Toward the Benefits of Exercise in a Pill

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, health, internet, lifeboat

Michael LorreyGates is, famously, the guy who said, “Why would anyone ever need more than 640kb of memory?” and “The internet is a fad.”

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Paul Battista shared a link. Lifeboat Foundation.

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Jun 17, 2022

Exercise pill could curb food cravings for people who lack physical activity

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, health

STANFORD, Calif. — An “anti-hunger” pill could be on the horizon, according to a new study. Researchers from Stanford Medicine and Baylor University have identified a molecule that keeps people from getting hungry after exercising.

In experiments, the compound dramatically reduced food intake and obesity in mice. Study authors hope to turn it into a medication that may even replace the need to go to the gym.

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