Coming to grocery stores near you

Researchers are experimenting with the abundantly available insect for producing a margarine-like product. It’s yellow, with a similar nutritional makeup of 50-50 canola and soybean oil. It has no trans fats, and the solid mealworm fat is low in saturated fats, but is missing much of the healthy omega-3 fatty acid that other oils contain. The advantage is in the good it does the Earth, rather than the body: mealworms are readily cultivated and a sustainable source.

Mmm…no thanks.


Good-bye to Gene Wilder

One of my favorite funnymen.

Gene Wilder, who established himself as one of America’s foremost comic actors with his delightfully neurotic performances in three films directed by Mel Brooks, his eccentric star turn in the family classic “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and his winning chemistry with Richard Pryor in the box-office smash “Stir Crazy,” died Sunday night at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 83.


Another sign of the apocalypse

A University of Iowa professor is asking the athletics department to make the university’s mascot, Herky the Hawk, display friendlier facial expressions, arguing that his angry grimace is traumatizing students.

“I believe incoming students should be met with welcoming, nurturing, calm, accepting and happy messages,” Resmiye Oral, a clinical professor of pediatrics, wrote Tuesday in an email to athletic department officials, obtained by the Iowa City Press-Citizen.


Slow life

Amazing time lapse videography from BioQuest Studios of corals and sponges in motion:

Corals and sponges build coral reefs and play crucial roles in the biosphere, yet we know almost nothing about their daily lives. These animals are actually very mobile creatures. However their motion is only detectable at different time scales compared to ours and requires time lapses to be seen.

Make sure you watch the video on a large screen. This clip is displayed in Full HD, yet the source footage (or the whole clip), is available in UltraHD 4k resolution for media productions.

Has Col. Sanders’ recipe been revealed?

Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Original Recipe has long been my favorite fried chicken (besides my mother’s, of course). About once a month, nothing will do but to run to the KFC restaurant down the street for a bucket of finger licking goodness. I was never sure what makes it so tasty, but it definitely involved black pepper.

The Chicago Tribune thinks they have seen the recipe:

The recipe came to us by way of Colonel Harland Sanders’ nephew, Joe Ledington of Kentucky. He says he found it in a scrapbook belonging to his late Aunt Claudia, Sanders’ second wife. Ledington, 67, says he used to blend the spices that went into his uncle’s world-famous fried chicken, and the recipe in question is the real deal.

The Tribune staff, through a little trial and error, fried up a batch that they claim was mighty close to the Colonel’s chicken. It did involve one more ingredient, but don’t worry, they included that bit of info in the story.

KFC’s reaction? “Lots of people through the years have claimed to discover or figure out the secret recipe, but no one’s ever been right.”


Today’s odd diagnosis

Alice In Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland syndrome is one of the most fascinating neurological symptoms described in the medical literature. Estimated to occur among about 10-20% of the population, Alice in Wonderland syndrome is an infrequent event that is believed to occur only a few times throughout the lives of most affected individuals. It is an experience that people can describe with varying levels of detail, the consistent feature being a fleeting sense of dystrophism without associated long-term or short-term disability.

Case reports illustrate a cluster of related symptoms. Most often, a perception of becoming physically smaller or physically larger in comparison to surroundings is the central detail. However, there may be an impression that a person’s surroundings are growing or shrinking rather than the person himself. Other narratives include distortions in visual awareness, including the sense that fixed surroundings are moving.

Given the fleeting passage of the experience and the lack of major medical issues associated with the perceptual peculiarities, it is difficult to ascertain with certainty whether Alice in Wonderland syndrome affects more people than the numbers estimated in the medical literature. Most people who experience it would be unlikely to report it to a medical professional without a reason.

Among adults, people who have migraine, epilepsy, or head trauma are the most likely to report Alice in Wonderland syndrome. Alice in Wonderland syndrome in the context of migraine aura is by far the most prevalent association described on adults. Children who relay the features of Alice in Wonderland syndrome are noted to have an approximately 50% chance of developing a subsequent infection and a very high likelihood of developing migraine headaches as they get older.

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she’s ten feet tall