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More benefits of wine

Glass of wine

I recently came across the Science Daily web site and signed up for their free email of current science news. The emails come with an enormous number of headlines each day. A few wine-related stories that interested me…

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Brain’s ‘Sixth Sense’ For Calories Discovered


I just read this news at Science Daily

Researchers from Duke University have found that, in mice, the brain has an ability to quickly (around 10 minutes) understand the caloric content of food, independently of how sweet it tastes.  It was previously thought that this was deduced from taste signals.  Their experiment involved creating mice that could not taste sweetness, and then feeding them both sucrose and sucralose (which is non-caloric).  They found that the sucrose triggered the dopamine reward system in their brains, even without the taste trigger.

This could be very useful in understanding human eating and over-eating issues and may help to explain differences between for instance sucrose and fructose in the diet.

Ivan de Araujo and colleagues published their findings in the March 27, 2008, issue of the journal Neuron.


Savia Cannolo

I just spent a few days with my very kind and generous friend Mario in his home town of Catania, Sicily.  He took us to his favourite pasticceria, Savia in the centre of Catania.  They make wonderful arancine – fried balls of filled rice, the Catanian version has aubergine, tomato and cheese filling.  And they make some of the best cannoli in the world (as shown above).  Their pastry seems to be less well-cooked than other producers/areas – and that seems to go better with the ricotta, which is also less sweetened than in other versions.  They are garnished with chopped pistacchio nuts instead of candied orange in the Palermo tradition.

More photos of the trip are here.

India trip and Navdanya

Navdanya logo made from seeds

We just got back from a two week trip to India, mainly looking at the work of Vandana Shiva’s organisation Navdanya

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Delhi and Clean Traffic 2

Further to my previous post, it seems that, with the increase in vehicle numbers in Delhi, the pollution problem is worsening again…

If you don’t see the slideshow above, click here.

Delhi and clean traffic

Richshaw queue

I had only been in India once before, in Hyderabad in the south. I remembered there being a big problem with traffic pollution – old, poorly maintained vehicles belching lots of smoke.

After arrival in Delhi a couple of weeks back, it took me a little while to notice the absence of this problem there. I started to realise that however battered the buses or rickshaws looked, there were no clouds of smoke coming out of them. And where the general atmosphere was not exactly clear, there being a constant haze of pollution, it was not considerably worse when near busy roads.

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Food Ethics Magazine – Water

Food Ethics Magazine Spring 2008 Cover

The spring edition of the Food Ethics Council‘s magazine deals with the subject of water. The magazine is available as a subscription from their website.

Many of the advances in food production quantities seen in the last 50 years have been facilitated with the use of irrigation, for example enabling agriculture in regions that would not fully support it with natural rainfall. However, in many places the water use has not been designed to be sustainable and the aquifers and other sources are being depleted, requiring the drilling of deeper and deeper wells. Climate changes are exacerbating the situation in some areas and the expansion of bio-fuel agriculture compounds the problem. When viewed at the global level, this issue has serious implications for food security.  Here are some of the issues covered…

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