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Archive for the ‘food’ category

Jun 20, 2018

Scientists find evidence of 27 new viruses in bees

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

An international team of researchers has discovered evidence of 27 previously unknown viruses in bees. The finding could help scientists design strategies to prevent the spread of viral pathogens among these important pollinators.

“Populations of bees around the world are declining, and viruses are known to contribute to these declines,” said David Galbraith, research scientist at Bristol Myers Squibb and a recent Penn State graduate. “Despite the importance of bees as pollinators of flowering plants in agricultural and natural landscapes and the importance of viruses to bee health, our understanding of bee viruses is surprisingly limited.”

To investigate viruses in bees, the team collected samples of DNA and RNA, which is responsible for the synthesis of proteins, from 12 bee species in nine countries across the world. Next, they developed a novel high-throughput sequencing technique that efficiently detected both previously identified and 27 never-seen-before viruses belonging to at least six new families in a single experiment. The results appear in the June 11, 2018, issue of Scientific Reports.

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Jun 19, 2018

Waymo, Uber, Ford, and others are joining forces to explore the ‘human impact’ of self-driving cars

Posted by in categories: employment, food, government, robotics/AI, transportation

Driverless vehicles could eliminate millions of jobs in the future, from cabbies to truckers to food delivery workers. But the companies that are hoping to hasten the adoption of this disruptive technology don’t want to seem callous to this brewing labor crisis, so they are joining forces to study the “human impact” of robot cars.

The Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity (PTIO) is a newly formed group comprised of most of the major companies that are building and testing on self-driving cars. This includes legacy automakers like Ford, Toyota, and Daimler; tech giants like Waymo (née Google), Uber, and Lyft; and logistics providers like FedEx and the American Trucking Association. The new organization is being formed as a 501©(6), which allows it to accept donations like a nonprofit and lobby government like a chamber of commerce.

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Jun 17, 2018

RIPPA The Farm Robot Exterminates Pests And Weeds

Posted by in categories: education, food, robotics/AI, space, sustainability

RIPPA, a fully autonomous robot, can cover five acres a day on a solar charge — finding and exterminating pests and weeds on every single plant over the equivalent of four football fields. Are robots like RIPPA the future of farming?

RIPPA stands for “Robot for Intelligent Perception and Precision Application”.

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Jun 17, 2018

The incredible career of NASA’s Peggy Whitson, who applied to become an astronaut 10 times before she broke the American record for space travel

Posted by in categories: food, space travel, sustainability

She retired from NASA on Friday after blazing a trail for countless female astronauts.


NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, the 58-year-old from Iowa farm country who spent a record-breaking 665 days in space, retired from the space agency on Friday.

“I have hit my radiation limit,” Whitson told Business Insider during a recent interview. “So not going into space with NASA anymore.”

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Jun 14, 2018

How microgrids could boost resilience in New Orleans

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

During Hurricane Katrina and other severe storms that have hit New Orleans, power outages, flooding and wind damage combined to cut off people from clean drinking water, food, medical care, shelter, prescriptions and other vital services.

In a year-long project, researchers at Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories teamed up with the City of New Orleans to analyze ways to increase community resilience and improve the availability of critical lifeline services during and after severe weather.

The team used historical hurricane scenarios to model how storms cause localized flooding, disrupt the electrical system and cut off parts of the community from lifeline services. Sandia researchers then developed a tool to analyze and identify existing clusters of businesses and community resources in areas less prone to inundation—such as gas stations, grocery stores and pharmacies that could be outfitted with microgrids to boost resilience.

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Jun 13, 2018

Researchers reveal how disrupting gut-brain communication may affect learning and memory

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

The connection between food and memory is one of those fundamentally human experiences we can all relate to. A compelling new study from the University of Southern California has revealed an intriguing explanation behind this phenomenon, and it illustrates how strongly the “second brain” in our gut communicates with our brain.

Inside our gastrointestinal tract lies a massive mesh of neurons often referred to as our “second brain.” While this neuronal control system primarily works to independently manage our digestive system, it also has been found to directly communicate with the brain via a long nerve, called the vagus nerve.

The vagus nerve has been found to mediate a great deal of metabolic communication between the gut and the brain. For example, one recent study revealed how feeding behavior, modulated by activity in the hippocampus, is directly activated by vagal nerve stimulation, mediated by signals from the gastrointestinal tract.

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Jun 13, 2018

Lentils significantly reduce blood glucose levels, study reveals

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

Replacing potatoes or rice with pulses can lower your blood glucose levels by more than 20 per cent, according to a first-ever University of Guelph study.

Prof. Alison Duncan, Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, and Dan Ramdath of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, found that swapping out half of a portion of these starchy side dishes for can significantly improve your body’s response to the carbohydrates.

Replacing half a serving of rice with lentils caused to drop by up to 20 per cent. Replacing potatoes with lentils led to a 35-per-cent drop.

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Jun 12, 2018

Starch can replace normal plastic in food packaging

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

Eventually all petroleum-based material in food packaging will have to be replaced with bio-based material. Research done at Karlstad University shows that a mixture of starch and other polymers forms an equally effective protective barrier.

“Food packaging has to protect and extend the of food, and should also work during transport,” says Asif Javed, doctor in Chemical Engineering at Karlstad University. “To meet these demands, a protective barrier is needed in paper-based packing such as those used for juice or dairy.”

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Jun 10, 2018

Isaac Launches New Era of Autonomous Machines

Posted by in categories: food, robotics/AI

ComputexNVIDIA today announced the availability of NVIDIA® Isaac™, a new platform to power the next generation of autonomous machines, bringing artificial intelligence capabilities to robots for manufacturing, logistics, agriculture, construction and many other industries.

Launched at Computex 2018 by NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang, NVIDIA Isaac includes new hardware, software and a virtual-world robot simulator.

“AI is the most powerful technology force of our time,” said Huang. “Its first phase will enable new levels of software automation that boost productivity in many industries. Next, AI, in combination with sensors and actuators, will be the brain of a new generation of autonomous machines. Someday, there will be billions of intelligent machines in manufacturing, home delivery, warehouse logistics and much more.”

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Jun 4, 2018

Cockroach sushi? Inside a farming revolution that could cure cancer, compost waste – and shake up menus

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

There is a history of insects’ acceptability as ingredients for Chinese medicine, as pets, and even as food. Yet in selling the idea to the general public, especially those living in big cities, there is still a way to go.


Hundreds of cockroach farmers across China are unleashing the insects’ potential in the country’s war on waste, in medicine, and deep or stir-fried.

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