Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Tomato Code

What's got 31,760 genes and is red all over? Tomatoes, that's what! It's the moment we've all been waiting for folks: after nine years, a group of plant geneticists from 14 countries have finally decoded the entire tomato genome. Hopefully this will lead to tasty-yet-shelf-stable tomatoes of the FUTURE. Or, possibly, tomatoes that need less pesticide to thrive. For now, we can only hope.

For those of you who are counting, that means that tomatoes have about 7,000 more genes than humans. Although this isn't all that unusual, since many plants have extremely large genomes (wheat, for example, has a genome that is five times the size of humans'), I wouldn't turn my back on them. No one wants to be surprised by something like this.

(via the NYT)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Coffee drinking linked to reduced death risk

 So today, in health news that makes me happy (for once!), a recent study links coffee consumption with reduced death risk. The study followed 400,000 adults for 14 years and found that men and women who drink 4-5 cups of joe a day had the lowest death risk - 12% less than non-coffee drinking people. Even a daily cup of coffee reduced the risk of death compared to non-drinkers by 6%. Good news for those of us who have a rough morning without our daily dose of caffeine (although the correlation still exists for those who mostly drink decaf, suggesting that caffeine itself is not beneficial in this way).

Just a note: As usual, science reporting generally goes for the sensational above the technically correct. The statement that "Coffee may be the key to living longer" accompanying the above article is misleading because it implies that drinking coffee causes you to live longer, while the study has not proved that at all. Repeat after me, science scouts: "Correlation does not imply causation!"

(Image: Coffee in the morning, a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 licensed image from chichacha's photostream)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fractal Pancakes

I think they probably require way more talent than I possess to make, but these fractal pancakes (via BoingBoing) are super cool.

Along with the Mobius Bagel, they make a mathalicious (if carb-laden) breakfast.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Home Made Kimchi

If you could pick anyone in the world to teach you how to make your own Kimchi, you could do worse than to pick a Korean grandmother who's been making it for seven decades or so. If you're the type of person who's inclined to ferment their own cabbage and you have access to some Korean ingredients, check out the video below (via GOOD), and then go take a look at the full recipe at CoolHunting.

Kimchi (or Kim Chee) is a fermented Korean dish, usually made with cabbage and/or radishes with dried red chilis. Like many other naturally fermented foods (like yogurt, sauerkraut, and fermented pickles, etc.), it contains bacteria that may have beneficial health effects. It's also low in calories and contains lots of healthy vitamins, so eat up!