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Scientists think cockroach milk could be the superfood of the future

Scientists think cockroach milk could be the superfood of the future | Culture and Technology | Scoop.it
An international team of scientists has just sequenced a protein crystal located in the midgut of cockroaches. The reason?

It’s more than four times as nutritious as cow’s milk and, the researchers think it could be the key to feeding our growing population in the future.

Although most cockroaches don’t actually produce milk, Diploptera punctate, which is the only known cockroach to give birth to live young, has been shown to pump out a type of ‘milk’ containing protein crystals to feed its babies.

The fact that an insect produces milk is pretty fascinating – but what fascinated researchers is the fact that a single one of these protein crystals contains more than three times the amount of energy found in an equivalent amount of buffalo milk (which is also higher in calories then dairy milk).

Clearly milking a cockroach isn’t the most feasible option, so an international team of scientists headed by researchers from the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India decided to sequence the genes responsible for producing the milk protein crystals to see if they could somehow replicate them in the lab.

"The crystals are like a complete food - they have proteins, fats and sugars. If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids," said Sanchari Banerjee, one of the team, in an interview with the Times of India.

Not only is the milk a dense source of calories and nutrients, it’s also time released. As the protein in the milk is digested, the crystal releases more protein at an equivalent rate to continue the digestion.

"It’s time-released food," said Subramanian Ramaswamy, who led the project. "if you need food that is calorifically high, that is time released and food that is complete. This is it."

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There is no difference between computer art and human art – Oliver Roeder | Aeon Ideas

But the honest-to-God truth, at the end of all of this, is that this whole notion is in some way a put-on: a distinction without a difference. ‘Computer art’ doesn’t really exist in an any more provocative sense than ‘paint art’ or ‘piano art’ does. The algorithmic software was written by a human, after all, using theories thought up by a human, using a computer built by a human, using specs written by a human, using materials gathered by a human, at a company staffed by humans, using tools built by a human, and so on. Computer art is human art – a subset rather than a distinction. It’s safe to release the tension.

A different human commentator, after witnessing the program beat the human champ at Go, felt physically fine and struck a different note: ‘An amazing result for technology. And a compliment to the incredible capabilities of the human brain.’ So it is with computer art. It’s a compliment to the human brain – and a complement to oil paints and saxophone brass.

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This electric go-kart for kids can be controlled by parents' iPhones

Play in the real world Get Actev
Via Guillaume Decugis
SLienert's insight:
Cool! But where have you been all my life??
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Guillaume Decugis's curator insight, February 23, 2:46 AM
Interesting concept at first look but there seems to be many constraints. To start with, having enough save space to make a proper circuit. Not convinced...
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'Foodporn' predates Instagram by at least 500 years - Futurity

'Foodporn' predates Instagram by at least 500 years - Futurity | Culture and Technology | Scoop.it
All the food images that your foodie friends post on Instagram might have seemed familiar to Renaissance master painters.

Researchers analyzed the contents of 500 years of European and American food paintings. Their findings suggest our obsession with looking at tasty, exotic food isn’t just a social media fad.

The researchers found indulgent, rare, and exotic foods were historically popular in paintings despite being foods not readily available to the average family living at that time.

“Our love affair with visually appealing, decadent or status foods is nothing new,” says Andrew Weislogel, curator of earlier European and American art at Cornell University’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. “It was already well established 500 years ago.”

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Martian Colonists Could Be Genetically Engineered for Democracy - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus

Martian Colonists Could Be Genetically Engineered for Democracy - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus | Culture and Technology | Scoop.it
It sounds like science fiction: A citizenry genetically engineered to be democratic. It’s not implausible. Last month, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report touting the promise of a biological engineering technique called gene drive—particularly for dealing with public health problems such as the Zika virus, malaria, and dengue fever. Last year, Anthony James, a biologist at the University of California, Irvine, led a team that used the gene drive to genetically fashion mosquitos with an immune system that inhibits the spread of the malaria-causing parasite. “Quite a few people,” he told STAT, “are trying to develop a gene drive for population-suppression of Aedes”—Aedes aegypti, the mosquito carrying the Zika virus. But officials at the National Academy Sciences say it’s best to be cautious with a technique likely too immature for field use.

It seems like only a matter of time, though, before gene drive becomes a mature technique. After all, it’s just a way to encourage—or block—the inheritance of select genes in a given population. Once it has, what’s to stop gene drive from being used for all sorts of other applications, including ones that enhance the fitness of organisms rather than weakening them? The underlying technology for it, CRISPR Cas9—a gene-editing tool adapted from the prokaryote immune system—can precisely, easily, and cheaply snip strands of DNA, allowing for customizable genomes. With such an accessible technology, it seems likely humans will start to not just take away bad things—like illnesses transmitted by mosquitos—but also add good things.
Consider the ideal Mars colonist. Elon Musk’s SpaceX was founded to colonize the Red Planet, and he recently said that colonists on Mars should engage in direct democracy because “the potential for corruption is substantially diminished in a direct, versus a representative, democracy.” Makes sense. Now all Mars needs are women and men who are up for the task. Turns out, political engagement might be in the genes.

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Hello, Higgs Boson: Why the Discovery Is Such a Big Deal

Hello, Higgs Boson: Why the Discovery Is Such a Big Deal | Culture and Technology | Scoop.it
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2013 was awarded jointly to François Englert and Peter W.
SLienert's insight:

Physics is very challenging for me to grasp but I still find the Higgs Boson discovery fascinating. 

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