Majority of EU Nations Seek Opt-Out From Growing GM Crops 325

schwit1 writes: Nineteen EU member states have requested opt-outs for all or part of their territory from cultivation of a Monsanto genetically-modified crop, which is authorized to be grown in the European Union, the European Commission said on Sunday. Under a law signed in March, individual countries can seek exclusion from any approval request for genetically modified cultivation across the 28-nation EU. The law was introduced to end years of stalemate as genetically modified crops divide opinion in Europe. The requests are for opt-outs from the approval of Monsanto's GM maize MON 810, the only crop commercially cultivated in the European Union, or for pending applications, of which there are eight so far, the Commission said.

Michigan Mammoth May Have Been Butchered By Humans 41

Forbes reports that a mammoth recently unearthed in rural Michigan includes evidence that the animal was butchered for food: From the article: A small stone that could potentially be a cutting tool was also found with the mammoth bones. To confirm that this animal was butchered by humans, researchers will examine the bones for cut marks that would indicate people were processing it for meat. A third piece of evidence is the organized way the neck vertebrae of the mammoth were found. "An animal doesn't just come apart naturally leaving a sequence of tightly articulated vertebrae like that," Fisher said, indicating that the animal would have had to have been moved by humans for paleontologists to find the bones laid out in such a fashion.

The Decline of 'Big Soda': Is Drinking Soda the New Smoking? 568 writes: Margot Sanger-Katz reports in the NYT that soda consumption is experiencing a serious and sustained decline as sales of full-calorie soda in the United States have plummeted by more than 25 percent over the past twenty years. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are actively trying to avoid the drinks that have been a mainstay of American culture but bottled water is now on track to overtake soda as the largest beverage category in two years. The changing patterns of soda drinking appear to come thanks, in part, to a loud campaign to eradicate sodas. School cafeterias and vending machines no longer contain regular sodas. Many workplaces and government offices have similarly prohibited their sale.

For many public health advocates, soda has become the new tobacco — a toxic product to be banned, taxed and stigmatized. "There will always be soda, but I think the era of it being acceptable for kids to drink soda all day long is passing, slowly," says Marion Nestle. "In some socioeconomic groups, it's over." Soda represents nearly 25% of the U.S. beverage market and its massive scale have guaranteed profit margins for decades. Historically, beverage preferences are set in adolescence, the first time that most people begin choosing and buying a favorite brand. But the declines in soda drinking appear to be sharpest among young Americans. "Kids these days are growing up with all of these other options, and there are some parents who say, 'I really want my kids to drink juice or a bottled water,' " says Gary A. Hemphill. "If kids grow up without carbonated soft drinks, the likelihood that they are going to grow up and, when they are 35, start drinking is very low."

Scientists Discover How To Get Kids To Eat Their Vegetables 257 writes: Roberto Ferdman writes in the Washington Post that researchers at Texas A&M University, looking for patterns in food consumption among elementary school children, found an interesting quirk about when and why kids choose to eat their vegetables. After analyzing plate waste data from nearly 8,500 students, it seems there's at least one variable that tends to affect whether kids eat their broccoli, spinach or green beans more than anything: what else is on the plate. Kids are much more likely to eat their vegetable portion when it's paired with a food that isn't so delicious that it gets all the attention. For example, when chicken nuggets and burgers, the most popular items among schoolchildren, are on the menu, vegetable waste tends to rise significantly. When other less-beloved foods, like deli sliders or baked potatoes, are served, the opposite seems to happen."Our research team looked at whether there is a relationship between consumption of certain entrees and vegetables that would lead to plate waste," says Dr. Oral Capps Jr. "We found that popular entrees such as burgers and chicken nuggets, contributed to greater waste of less popular vegetables."

Traci Man, who has been studying eating habits, self-control and dieting for more than 20 years, believes that food pairings are crucial in getting kids to eat vegetables. "Normally, vegetables will lose the competition that they're in — the competition with all the other delicious food on your plate. Vegetables might not lose that battle for everyone, but they do for most of us. This strategy puts vegetables in a competition they can win, by pitting vegetables against no food at all. To do that, you just eat your vegetable first, before any of the other food is there," says Mann. "We tested it with kids in school cafeterias, where it more than quadrupled the amount of vegetables eaten. It's just about making it a little harder to make the wrong choices, and a little easier to make the right ones."

Curbing the For-Profit Cybercrime Food Chain 19

msm1267 writes: A new report coauthored by Google researchers and a host of academics explains that firewalls, two-factor authentication and other traditional defensive capabilities put security teams in a constant dogfight against cybercrime. Instead, the focus, they says, should be on attacking the criminal infrastructure. The report outs a number of soft spots and inter-dependencies in the criminal underground that could be leveraged to cut into the efficacy of cybercrime. "Commoditization directly influences the kinds of business structures and labor agreements that drive recent cybercrime," the researchers write. While shutting down the black market is easier said than done, the paper notes a few ways to deter the behavior of attackers, if not fully break the chain.
Hardware Hacking

1000-key Emoji Keyboard Is As Crazy As It Sounds 146

hypnosec writes: A YouTuber named Tom Scott has built a 1,000-key keyboard with each key representing an emoji! Scott made the emoji keyboard using 14 keyboards and over 1,000 individually placed stickers. While he himself admits that it is one of the craziest things he has built, the work he has put in does warrant appreciation. On the keyboard are individually placed emojis for food items, animals, plants, transport, national flags, and time among others.

Let's Not Go To Mars 684 writes: Ed Regis write in the NYT that today we an witnessing an outburst of enthusiasm over the literally outlandish notion that in the relatively near future, some of us are going to be living, working, thriving and dying on Mars. But unfortunately Mars mania reflects an excessively optimistic view of what it actually takes to travel to and live on Mars, papering over many of the harsh realities and bitter truths that underlie the dream. "First, there is the tedious business of getting there. Using current technology and conventional chemical rockets, a trip to Mars would be a grueling, eight- to nine-month-long nightmare for the crew," writes Regis. "Tears, sweat, urine and perhaps even solid waste will be recycled, your personal space is reduced to the size of an SUV., and you and your crewmates are floating around sideways, upside down and at other nauseating angles." According to Regis every source of interpersonal conflict, and emotional and psychological stress that we experience in ordinary, day-to-day life on Earth will be magnified exponentially by restriction to a tiny, hermetically sealed, pressure-cooker capsule hurtling through deep space and to top it off, despite these constraints, the crew must operate within an exceptionally slim margin of error with continuous threats of equipment failures, computer malfunctions, power interruptions and software glitches.

But getting there is the easy part says Regis. "Mars is a dead, cold, barren planet on which no living thing is known to have evolved, and which harbors no breathable air or oxygen, no liquid water and no sources of food, nor conditions favorable for producing any. For these and other reasons it would be accurate to call Mars a veritable hell for living things, were it not for the fact that the planet's average surface temperature is minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit." These are only a few of the many serious challenges that must be overcome before anyone can put human beings on Mars and expect them to live for more than five minutes says Regis. "The notion that we can start colonizing Mars within the next 10 years or so is an overoptimistic, delusory idea that falls just short of being a joke."

UK Researchers Developing Influenza-Resistant Birds 54

New submitter ravensmith0821 writes: UK researchers are working on disease-resistant chickens, adding a gene to eggs before they hatch that renders the bird less susceptible to avian influenza. Reuters reports: "Their research, which has been backed by the UK government and top chicken companies, could potentially prevent repeats of this year's wipeout: 48 million chickens and turkeys killed because of the disease since December in the United States alone. But these promising chickens - injected with a fluorescent protein to distinguish them from normal birds in experiments - won't likely gatecrash their way into poultry production any time soon. Health regulators around the world have yet to approve any animals bred as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for use in food because of long-standing safety and environmental concerns."
United States

US-Appointed Egg Lobby Paid Food Blogs and Targeted Chef To Crush Vegan Startup 317

An anonymous reader writes: The American Egg Board targeted publications, popular food bloggers, and a celebrity chef as part of an effort to combat a perceived threat from Hampton Creek, an egg-replacement startup backed by some of Silicon Valley's biggest names, according to internal emails. The Gaurdian reports: A detailed review of emails, sent from inside the AEB and obtained by the Guardian, shows that the lobbyist's anti-Hampton Creek campaign sought to:
  • Pay food bloggers as much as $2,500 a post to write online recipes and stories about the virtue of eggs that repeated the egg lobby group's "key messages."
  • Confront Andrew Zimmern, who had featured Hampton Creek on his popular Travel Channel show Bizarre Foods and praised the company in a blog post characterized by top egg board executives as a "love letter."
  • Target publications including Forbes and Buzzfeed that had written broadly positive articles about a Silicon Valley darling.
  • Unsuccessfully tried to recruit both the animal rights and autism activist Temple Grandin and the bestselling author and blogger Ree Drummond to publicly support the egg industry.
  • Buy Google advertisements to show AEB-sponsored content when people searched for Hampton Creek or its founder Josh Tetrick.

Google To Deliver Groceries 92

An anonymous reader writes: Out of carrots? Fire up Google and search for some. They might just show up at your house. Bloomberg reports that the search giant will start testing a grocery delivery service later this year in San Francisco and one other city. Google will be partnering with Costco, Whole Foods, and other grocery stores to source their products. "Google is investing in delivery services for homes and businesses as it seeks to lure more traffic to its websites. The move puts the company in more direct competition with Amazon, which has rolled out its AmazonFresh service in several U.S. cities. ... The fresh-food trial, including fruits and vegetables, is part of a move away from making deliveries from warehouses, which can add complexity and requires refrigeration."

EU Parliament Votes To Ban Cloning of Farm Animals 116

sciencehabit writes: The European Parliament today voted to ban the cloning of all farm animals as well as the sale of cloned livestock, their offspring, and products derived from them. The measure, which passed by a large margin, goes beyond a directive proposed by the European Commission in 2013, which would have implemented a provisional ban on the cloning of just five species: cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, and horses. The supporters of the ban cited animal welfare concerns, claiming that only a small percentage of cloned offspring survive to term, and many die shortly after birth. The ban does not cover cloning for research purposes, nor does it prevent efforts to clone endangered species.

Whisky Aged On NASA's International Space Station Tastes "Different" 210

MarkWhittington writes: Back in October 2011 Ardbeg Distillery on Islay, the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, sent a vial of whisky to the International Space Station courtesy of Houston based Nanoracks. The idea was the see if microgravity affects the way that whisky ages, particularly the way terpenes that are the building blocks of food and liquors behave. A similar vial was kept on Earth as a comparison. The BBC reported that the contents of the two vials were sampled and compared. As it turns out, pronounced differences were noted.

Get Big Fast: "500 Club" Delivers Teachers For 28

theodp writes: The Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier reports that Ben Schafer, an associate CS prof at the Univ. of Northern Iowa, was recognized at's annual summit for training 570 K-12 teachers in Iowa, which is equivalent to 5.5 percent of all U.S. teachers trained. Schafer ranked No. 2 in the '500 Club', a affiliate of trainers who trained more than 500 teachers in the first year of the program.'s K-5 Affiliates "deliver one-day, in-person workshops to local elementary school teachers to teach computer science in a format that's fun and accessible". A Term Sheet explains to potential Affiliates that " will pay you $50 per workshop-attendee to cover costs, including food, and to compensate you and any teaching assistants." According to a White House' Fact Sheet, plans to use $20 million in philanthropic funds to train 10,000 teachers by fall 2015 and 25,000 teachers by fall 2016. You can follow their progress on Twitter, kids!

Google Donates €1 Million To Help Refugees In Need 320

Mark Wilson writes: The on-going refugee crisis in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East has grabbed hearts and headlines around the world. As European governments argue over who should take in the thousands of desperate people, European citizens have criticized the speed and scale of the help offered, whilst simultaneously donating money, food, and equipment to help those in desperate need. Now Google has stepped in, offering €1 million ($1.1 million) to the organizations providing help to refugees. In addition to this, (the branch of the company 'using innovation to tackle some of the world's biggest challenges') is setting up a page to make it easier for people to make donations, and says that it will match any money donated by Google users.

Video Connected Fridge Snaps Food Pics

Appliances from Bosch, Haier and AEG Electrolux are employing technology to help make grocery shopping and cooking easier.
United Kingdom

WWII Bomb Shelter Becomes Hi-Tech Salad Farm 122

asjk points out a story of how a World War II bomb shelter, situated 33 meters beneath the streets of London, has been turned into a high-tech hydroponic farm. "The growing system uses energy-efficient LEDs instead of sun, no pesticides, needs 70 percent less water than growing plants in open fields, and less energy than a greenhouse." The computer-controlled environment is designed to shorten the growth cycle of plants like coriander and radishes. They're currently only using about a quarter of the gear necessary to fill up the shelter, but they can produce 5,000-20,000 kilograms of food per year, depending on what they raise. Co-founder Steven Dring said, "We've got to utilize the spaces we've got. There's a finite amount of land and we can grow salads and herbs — which start losing flavor and quality as soon as you cut them — in warehouses and rooftops in cities near the people who will eat them. Use the rural land for things like carrots, potatoes and livestock."

Nearly Every Seabird May Be Eating Plastic By 2050 149

sciencehabit writes: According to a new study almost every ocean-foraging species of birds may be eating plastic by 2050. In the five large ocean areas known as "garbage patches," each square kilometer of surface water holds almost 600,000 pieces of debris. Sciencemag reports: "By 2050, about 99.8% of the species studied will have eaten plastic, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Consuming plastic can cause myriad problems, Wilcox says. For example, some types of plastics absorb and concentrate environmental pollutants, he notes. After ingestion, those chemicals can be released into the birds’ digestive tracts, along with chemicals in the plastics that keep them soft and pliable. But plastic bits aren’t always pliable enough to get through a gull’s gut. Most birds have trouble passing large bits of plastic, and they build up in the stomach, sometimes taking up so much room that the birds can’t consume enough food to stay healthy."

In Hawaii, a 6-Person Crew Begins a Year-Long Mars Isolation Experiment 81

The BBC reports that six volunteers have begun a planned year-long stint "without fresh air, fresh food or privacy" in a NASA simulation of what life might be like for a group of Mars colonists. The volunteers are to spend the next 12 months in the dome (11 meters in diameter, 6 meters high), except for space-suited out-of-dome excursions, where they will eat space-style meals, sleep on tiny cots, and keep up a science schedule. The current mission is the fourth (and longest yet) from the Hawai'i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation; you can read more about this mission's crew here.