In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe; natural wonders and supernatural blunders.

"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."

-George Carlin

“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.

-Albert Einstein

“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”

-Carl Sagan

The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

-Christopher Hitchens

 

Okay seriously, with all the talk about Gluten-Free diets, what is it really? Get the scientific facts on whether gluten is actually bad for you:

wildcat2030:

The audacious plan to end hunger with 3-D printed food

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Anjan Contractor’s 3D food printer might evoke visions of the “replicator” popularized in Star Trek, from which Captain Picard was constantly interrupting himself to order tea. And indeed Contractor’s company, Systems & Materials Research Corporation, just got a six month, $125,000 grant from NASA to create a prototype of his universal food synthesizer.

But Contractor, a mechanical engineer with a background in 3D printing, envisions a much more mundane—and ultimately more important—use for the technology. He sees a day when every kitchen has a 3D printer, and the earth’s 12 billion people feed themselves customized, nutritionally-appropriate meals synthesized one layer at a time, from cartridges of powder and oils they buy at the corner grocery store. Contractor’s vision would mean the end of food waste, because the powder his system will use is shelf-stable for up to 30 years, so that each cartridge, whether it contains sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein or some other basic building block, would be fully exhausted before being returned to the store.

(via The audacious plan to end hunger with 3-D printed food - Quartz)

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Highly recommended read

friendlyatheist:

gatsbysfuneral:

sulitati:

La Cosecha / The Harvest (2011)

“Every year there are more than 400,000 American children who are torn away from their friends, schools and homes to pick the food we all eat.  Zulema, Perla and Victor labor as migrant farm workers, sacrificing their own childhoods to help their families survive.  The Harvest / La Cosecha profiles these three as they journey from the scorching heat of Texas’ onion fields to the winter snows of the Michigan apple orchards and back south to the humidity of Florida’s tomato fields to follow the harvest and provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of these children who struggle to dream while working 12 – 14 hours a day, 7 days a week to feed America.”

just goes to show you that not consuming animals does not mean you are supporting a system that is cruelty free 

Wow. Never thought of it that way…

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

mothernaturenetwork:

New laws would punish those who shoot undercover video of livestock abuse
Videos from PETA and other organizations have helped to uncover animals living in unsafe and inhumane conditions. But a new law may prohibit the practice.

They call them “Ag-Gag” bills: state laws designed to prevent animal-rights groups from taking undercover video or photographs at farms to reveal inhumane treatment of livestock. About a dozen states have proposed or passed such laws in the last few years, according to a report from The New York Times. The worst of the laws even go so far as to label offenders as “terrorists.”

mothernaturenetwork:

New laws would punish those who shoot undercover video of livestock abuse

Videos from PETA and other organizations have helped to uncover animals living in unsafe and inhumane conditions. But a new law may prohibit the practice.

They call them “Ag-Gag” bills: state laws designed to prevent animal-rights groups from taking undercover video or photographs at farms to reveal inhumane treatment of livestock. About a dozen states have proposed or passed such laws in the last few years, according to a report from The New York Times. The worst of the laws even go so far as to label offenders as “terrorists.”

confrontingbabble-on:


Almost half of the world’s food thrown away, report finds
Figures from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers show as much as 2bn tonnes of food never makes it on to a plate
As much as half of all the food produced in the world – equivalent to 2bn tonnes – ends up as waste every year, engineers warned in a report published on Thursday.
The UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) blames the “staggering” new figures in its analysis on unnecessarily strict sell-by dates, buy-one-get-one free and Western consumer demand for cosmetically perfect food, along with “poor engineering and agricultural practices”, inadequate infrastructure and poor storage facilities.
In the face of United Nations predictions that there could be about an extra 3 billion people to feed by the end of the century and growing pressure on the resources needed to produce food, including land, water and energy, the IMechE is calling for urgent action to tackle this waste.
Their report, Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not, found that between 30% and 50% or 1.2-2bn tonnes of food produced around the world never makes it on to a plate.
In the UK as much as 30% of vegetable crops are not harvested due to their failure to meet retailers’ exacting standards on physical appearance, it says, while up to half of the food that is bought in Europe and the US is thrown away by consumers.
And about 550bn cubic metres of water is wasted globally in growing crops that never reach the consumer. Carnivorous diets add extra pressure as it takes 20-50 times the amount of water to produce 1 kilogramme of meat than 1kg of vegetables; the demand for water in food production could reach 10–13 trillion cubic metres a year by 2050.
This is 2.5 to 3.5 times greater than the total human use of fresh water today and could lead to more dangerous water shortages around the world, the IMechE says, claiming that there is the potential to provide 60-100% more food by eliminating losses and waste while at the same time freeing up land, energy and water resources.
read in full  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/10/half-world-food-waste
Also:
The reasons for the inequitable distribution of human nourishment, worldwide, are complex and hotly debated. Many regions of the world still don’t have reliable systems of distribution. Political corruption and corporate greed take their toll. Starvation has, true to Malthus’ predictions, never been eradicated. We’ve had the means to solve the worldwide hunger problem but, apparently, not the motivation. Our agricultural tools have been equal to this task for several decades, but our political devices have fallen short.  In the wealthy parts of the world people have never, seemingly, been sufficiently inspired to overcome the challenges of feeding those in the Earth’s poorer neighborhoods. It is clearly not a simple matter to distribute surplus Iowa corn to the pantries of drought-famished Africa. Evidence would suggest that good nutrition, worldwide, is not impossible, only improbable. And contemporary phenomena like climate change and population growth only make that challenge more vexing.
As the planet becomes more heavily populated with human beings, lines of communication become more efficient. As we’ve become more crowded, we’ve also become more aware, generally, of the circumstances of human life worldwide. Today’s poor Mexican laborer knows that the price of his tortillas goes up when ethanol producers in the United States put new demands on the grain supply. The soccer mom in New England fills the fuel tank on her minivan with at least a general awareness that she’s having an effect on the global economy. Suddenly we’re conscious that our decision to drive a 12-mile-per-gallon SUV may increase food prices for a poor family somewhere, straining to buy a few pounds of grain.
http://www.motherearthnews.com/rancho-cappuccino/why-are-people-starving.aspx

confrontingbabble-on:

Almost half of the world’s food thrown away, report finds

Figures from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers show as much as 2bn tonnes of food never makes it on to a plate

As much as half of all the food produced in the world – equivalent to 2bn tonnes – ends up as waste every year, engineers warned in a report published on Thursday.

The UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) blames the “staggering” new figures in its analysis on unnecessarily strict sell-by dates, buy-one-get-one free and Western consumer demand for cosmetically perfect food, along with “poor engineering and agricultural practices”, inadequate infrastructure and poor storage facilities.

In the face of United Nations predictions that there could be about an extra 3 billion people to feed by the end of the century and growing pressure on the resources needed to produce food, including land, water and energy, the IMechE is calling for urgent action to tackle this waste.

Their report, Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not, found that between 30% and 50% or 1.2-2bn tonnes of food produced around the world never makes it on to a plate.

In the UK as much as 30% of vegetable crops are not harvested due to their failure to meet retailers’ exacting standards on physical appearance, it says, while up to half of the food that is bought in Europe and the US is thrown away by consumers.

And about 550bn cubic metres of water is wasted globally in growing crops that never reach the consumer. Carnivorous diets add extra pressure as it takes 20-50 times the amount of water to produce 1 kilogramme of meat than 1kg of vegetables; the demand for water in food production could reach 10–13 trillion cubic metres a year by 2050.

This is 2.5 to 3.5 times greater than the total human use of fresh water today and could lead to more dangerous water shortages around the world, the IMechE says, claiming that there is the potential to provide 60-100% more food by eliminating losses and waste while at the same time freeing up land, energy and water resources.

read in full  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jan/10/half-world-food-waste

Also:

The reasons for the inequitable distribution of human nourishment, worldwide, are complex and hotly debated. Many regions of the world still don’t have reliable systems of distribution. Political corruption and corporate greed take their toll. Starvation has, true to Malthus’ predictions, never been eradicated. We’ve had the means to solve the worldwide hunger problem but, apparently, not the motivation. Our agricultural tools have been equal to this task for several decades, but our political devices have fallen short.  In the wealthy parts of the world people have never, seemingly, been sufficiently inspired to overcome the challenges of feeding those in the Earth’s poorer neighborhoods. It is clearly not a simple matter to distribute surplus Iowa corn to the pantries of drought-famished Africa. Evidence would suggest that good nutrition, worldwide, is not impossible, only improbable. And contemporary phenomena like climate change and population growth only make that challenge more vexing.

As the planet becomes more heavily populated with human beings, lines of communication become more efficient. As we’ve become more crowded, we’ve also become more aware, generally, of the circumstances of human life worldwide. Today’s poor Mexican laborer knows that the price of his tortillas goes up when ethanol producers in the United States put new demands on the grain supply. The soccer mom in New England fills the fuel tank on her minivan with at least a general awareness that she’s having an effect on the global economy. Suddenly we’re conscious that our decision to drive a 12-mile-per-gallon SUV may increase food prices for a poor family somewhere, straining to buy a few pounds of grain.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/rancho-cappuccino/why-are-people-starving.aspx

america-wakiewakie:

To the technocrats out there, no, it’s not quite this simple; but to the doubters too, let me remind you of some statistical data:

“The manner in which the international political economy produces and distributes wealth is well illustrated by the production and distributions of world food resources. If the wheat, rice, and other grains produced throughout the world were distributed equally to all the world’s peoples, each individual would receive 3,600 calories per day, well above the average U.S.-recommended daily allowances of 2,700 calories for adult males, 2,000 for adult females, and 1,300 to 3,000 for teenagers. Yet 9 million children die every year from starvation, and 4 billion people do not have enough to eat. The typical Western family of four consumes more grain (directly and indirectly in the form of meat) than a poor Indian family of 20.”
—The Other World 9th ed. pg. 60

america-wakiewakie:

To the technocrats out there, no, it’s not quite this simple; but to the doubters too, let me remind you of some statistical data:

“The manner in which the international political economy produces and distributes wealth is well illustrated by the production and distributions of world food resources. If the wheat, rice, and other grains produced throughout the world were distributed equally to all the world’s peoples, each individual would receive 3,600 calories per day, well above the average U.S.-recommended daily allowances of 2,700 calories for adult males, 2,000 for adult females, and 1,300 to 3,000 for teenagers. Yet 9 million children die every year from starvation, and 4 billion people do not have enough to eat. The typical Western family of four consumes more grain (directly and indirectly in the form of meat) than a poor Indian family of 20.”

The Other World 9th ed. pg. 60

wildcat2030:

Climate change could lead to bananas becoming a critical food source for millions of people, a new report says. Researchers from the CGIAR agricultural partnership say the fruit might replace potatoes in some developing countries. Cassava and the little known cowpea plant could play increasingly important roles in agriculture as temperatures rise. People will have to adapt to new and varied menus as traditional crops struggle say the authors. Continue reading the main story “Start Quote When the farmers see the problems they are having with production, they really are willing to shift” Bruce Campbell CCAFS Responding to a request from the United Nations’ committee on world food security, a group of experts in the field looked at the projected effects of climate change on 22 of the world’s most important agricultural commodities. (via BBC News - Bananas could replace potatoes in warming world)

wildcat2030:

Climate change could lead to bananas becoming a critical food source for millions of people, a new report says. Researchers from the CGIAR agricultural partnership say the fruit might replace potatoes in some developing countries. Cassava and the little known cowpea plant could play increasingly important roles in agriculture as temperatures rise. People will have to adapt to new and varied menus as traditional crops struggle say the authors. Continue reading the main story “Start Quote When the farmers see the problems they are having with production, they really are willing to shift” Bruce Campbell CCAFS Responding to a request from the United Nations’ committee on world food security, a group of experts in the field looked at the projected effects of climate change on 22 of the world’s most important agricultural commodities. (via BBC News - Bananas could replace potatoes in warming world)

How Food And Clothing Size Labels Affect What We Eat And What We Wear Categories: Food For Thought

University of Michigan marketing professor Aradhna Krishna has studied how labels impact how much we eat. In one experiment, she gave people cookies that were labeled either medium or large, and then measured how much they ate.

 The catch? The cookies were identical in size.

What happened? You guessed it. People ate more cookies when they were labeled “medium.” Rather than trust what their stomachs were telling them, in other words, people went by the label.

"Just because there’s a different size label attached to the same actual quantity of food, people eat more. But also, [they] think they’ve not eaten as much," says Krishna.

(continue)

(Source: NPR.com)

Wyoming pig farm exposed for heinous treatment of animals.
TW: Graphic Animal Cruelty

This is kind of off topic for me, but I was so disgusted by what I saw, I had to spread the word. Wyoming Premium Farms is a Tyson Foods supplier. Hidden camera footage reveals absolutely horrid conditions and mistreatment of the animals at their facility that can only be described as senseless and psychotic. These guys deserve every bit of boycott, bad press and harassment that they (hopefully) recieve because of this.

peterfeld:

Two years after the April 20, 2010 BP oil spill, the Gulf is filled with deformed fish that the state of Louisiana says are perfectly safe to eat. Al Jazeera reports:

“At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these,” Kuhns told Al Jazeera while showing a sample of the eyeless shrimp.
According to Kuhns, at least 50 per cent of the shrimp caught in that period in Barataria Bay, a popular shrimping area that was heavily impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants, were eyeless. Kuhns added: “Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets.”
“Some shrimpers are catching these out in the open Gulf [of Mexico],” she added, “They are also catching them in Alabama and Mississippi. We are also finding eyeless crabs, crabs with their shells soft instead of hard, full grown crabs that are one-fifth their normal size, clawless crabs, and crabs with shells that don’t have their usual spikes … they look like they’ve been burned off by chemicals.”

peterfeld:

Two years after the April 20, 2010 BP oil spill, the Gulf is filled with deformed fish that the state of Louisiana says are perfectly safe to eat. Al Jazeera reports:

“At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these,” Kuhns told Al Jazeera while showing a sample of the eyeless shrimp.

According to Kuhns, at least 50 per cent of the shrimp caught in that period in Barataria Bay, a popular shrimping area that was heavily impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants, were eyeless. Kuhns added: “Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets.”

“Some shrimpers are catching these out in the open Gulf [of Mexico],” she added, “They are also catching them in Alabama and Mississippi. We are also finding eyeless crabs, crabs with their shells soft instead of hard, full grown crabs that are one-fifth their normal size, clawless crabs, and crabs with shells that don’t have their usual spikes … they look like they’ve been burned off by chemicals.”