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European regulators declare mealworms safe food for humans

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has approved mealworms as safe food for human consumption, providing a huge boost for the burgeoning edible insect industry.

The decision was made based on the work done by a French IPIFF Food Task Force and its members. However, the favourable assessment will have to be confirmed by the European Commission’s Health Directorate General, which will give the final authorisation for market approval in the European Union.

The announcement has been hailed as a giant leap forward for the industry, paving the way for future approvals of ‘defatted insect protein consumption’.

“This breakthrough is a major achievement that rewards the work that has been done for years by the entire European insect industry gathered under the IPIFF umbrella,” said Antoine Hubert, CEO of Ynsect. “We hope that this positive assessment will be the first of many.”

The yellow mealworm is the first insect to receive a positive safety evaluation for human consumption in the world, which recognises it as premium product, uniquely ‘food grade’ compared to insects used only in animal feed.

Yellow mealworm is expected to be mass farmed across Europe in the near future.

Source. (Inside FMCG)

Biomarkers in fathers’ sperm linked to offspring autism

PULLMAN, Wash. – Biomarkers in human sperm have been identified that can indicate a propensity to father children with autism spectrum disorder. These biomarkers are epigenetic, meaning they involve changes to molecular factors that regulate genome activity such as gene expression independent of DNA sequence, and can be passed down to future generations.

In a study published in the journal Clinical Epigenetics on Jan. 7, researchers identified a set of genomic features, called DNA methylation regions, in sperm samples from men who were known to have autistic children. Then in a set of blind tests, the researchers were able to use the presence of these features to determine whether other men had fathered autistic children with 90% accuracy.

“We can now potentially use this to assess whether a man is going to pass autism on to his children,” said Michael Skinner, professor of biological sciences at Washington State University and corresponding author on the study. “It is also a major step toward identifying what factors might promote autism.”

Incidence of autism spectrum disorder has increased dramatically over time from 1 in 5,000 people in 1975 to 1 in 68 in 2014. While improved diagnosis and awareness can account for some of that change, many researchers believe the recent increase over the last two decades may be due to environmental and molecular factors. Previous studies have also shown that children can inherit the disorder from their parents, and that fathers are more often linked to autism transmission than mothers.

In the current study, researchers from WSU, Valencia Clinical Research Center and Valencia University in Spain, looked at sperm epigenetics, the molecular processes that affect gene expression, in two groups of men: 13 who had fathered sons with autism, and 13 who had children without the disorder. They looked specifically at DNA methylation, a chemical modification that happens when a methyl group attaches to a DNA strand and can turn genes on or off.

Read more here. (Washington State University)

Psychedelic Mushrooms Grew in a Man's Veins After He Injected Them

A man’s experiment with psychedelic mushrooms went disastrously wrong and nearly killed him, according to his doctors. In a new case report released this week, they detailed how the man injected a “tea” made from the mushrooms into his body and developed a life-threatening infection that had them growing in his blood. The experience left him in the hospital for close to a month. Fortunately, he survived.

According to the report, the 30-year-old man had been brought to the emergency room by his family after exhibiting confusion. He had a history of bipolar disorder as well as opioid dependence and had recently stopped taking his prescribed medications, his family told doctors. In the course of trying to self-medicate his depression and dependence, he came across research showing some benefit from using psychedelic drugs like mushrooms and LSD.

Days before the ER visit, he had decided to use mushrooms by first boiling them down into what he called “mushroom tea,” then filtering the mixture through a cotton swab and intravenously injecting it. Soon after, he developed symptoms including lethargy, jaundice, diarrhea, and nausea, along with vomiting up blood.

By the time he was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit, multiple organs had started to fail, including his lungs and kidney. Tests revealed that he had both a bacterial and fungal infection in his blood, meaning that the mushrooms he injected were now literally feeding off him and growing. Among other treatments, he was given an intense course of antibiotics and antifungal drugs.

It took 22 days in the hospital, including eight in the ICU, but the man did eventually pull through. At the time his doctors had finished writing the case up, though, he was still being treated with a long-term course of antimicrobials.

Read more here. (Gizmodo)

The scramble to archive Capitol insurrection footage before it disappears

As a violent mob incited by President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol on January 6, halting the procedure in Congress to formally certify Joe Biden as president-elect, a Redditor with the username Adam Lynch began a thread on the subreddit r/DataHoarder—a forum dedicated to saving data that might be erased or deleted. “Archiving videos before potential removal from various websites …” it began.

The thread included a link to upload files to Mega, a New Zealand–based cloud storage service. Within minutes, the thread was so inundated with Twitter links, Snapchat uploads, and other videos that Mega briefly shut the link down. Since it was reopened, the Reddit thread has received over 2,000 comments with detailed data from the incident.

Lynch (who asked to be identified only by username, citing death threats) is Canadian and was shocked to see the images from Washington. Having seen videos, posts, and livestreams get quickly taken down by both platforms and users afraid of repercussions in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protests last summer, Lynch felt an urgency to archive this new data as soon as possible: “I knew I had to start immediately.”

Livestreams were turned off by platforms and broadcast news networks during the attack on the Capitol, and companies like Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, and Twitter have since systematically removed posts that violated policies against violent or incendiary content. As Redditors send in content, Lynch has spent hours each day uploading it to Mega, as well as to offline hard drives for backup.

“If it weren’t for the [Reddit] thread, I am very confident a substantial part of this would not be kept,” Lynch says. But many others are also working to protect information before it disappears. An Instagram account, @homegrownterrorists, garnered about 242,000 followers, crowdsourcing efforts to identify members of the mob. (The account was briefly deactivated and cleared of posts; it was reactivated and started posting ordinary links to news articles on January 8. The account holder did not respond to a request for comment.) The journalism site Bellingcat, which specializes in investigations based on publicly available online material, invited the public to contribute to a publicly editable Google spreadsheet of links, and the Woke collective is protecting livestreams from being erased by publishing them on its own YouTube and Twitch accounts. Other firms, like European search engine Intelligence X, are also collecting and storing data.

Read more here. (Technology Review)

Thanks to Data Hoarders, we are able to archive footage of the Capitol riot, before it disappears from online social media sites and cloud services. Currently, these video footage are being removed because it violates their Terms of Conduct, with no paying mind to archiving for historical reasons.

Senate Considering $10B for Highway Removal

Cities might soon get federal money to tear down inner-city highways that federal dollars built in the first place — and use that money to reinvest in communities of color that those highways destroyed.

Shortly before the holiday recess, then-Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and a coalition of 25 Democratic senators introduced a $435 billion economic justice bill called S5065 that included a $10-billion pilot program aimed at helping communities tear down urban highways, and rebuild the surrounding neighborhoods with the needs of underserved communities in mind. The Restoring Neighborhoods and Strengthening Communities Program — known among advocates as the “Highways to Boulevards” initiative — would only be available for projects located in regions with a high concentration of low income residents or residents of color.

Perhaps most critically, the initiative would make significant funds available specifically for the “community engagement and capacity building” necessary to identify what underserved residents actually want to do with all the valuable land freed up when freeways are torn down. Such funds are rarely the focus of federal transportation grants, which typically prioritize hard construction costs over the dignity of the surrounding community.

“There’s already funding available for highway deconstruction in various other pots of money at the Department of Transportation, especially as so many of our highways reach the end of their life,” said Lynn Richards, president and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism, which collaborated on the writing of the bill. “And of course, there always seems to be money for highway construction. What there’s almost no money for are for the feasibility studies, the capacity building, and the coalition building with the people who are actually impacted by highway projects — or by highway removal projects. That’s what’s really special about this bill.”

Read more here. (USA Streets Blog)

Don’t Toss It, Fix It! Europe Is Guaranteeing Citizens the “Right to Repair”

Roman Hottgenroth is surrounded by lamps, dishwashers and vacuum cleaners. Computers, smartphones and TV receivers are piled high on tin shelves behind him. A group of washing machines rattles loudly in test mode, only somewhat drowned out by the bass thumping from a hi-fi system an employee is checking.

None of these products work properly, and that’s the point.

Here at Stilbruch, the department store in Hamburg, Germany run by the city’s sanitation department, only goods that others have thrown away are offered up for sale. But before they are sold, they are checked and, if necessary, repaired in Hottgenroth’s 7,500-square-foot workshop. The process is something of a dying art. “Unfortunately, [repair] is no longer intended for most appliances,” says Hottgenroth, Stilbruch’s operations manager.

But that may be changing. Across Europe, legislation is pushing back against a waste-based economy and restoring for citizens something companies have gradually taken away: the right to repair what they’ve bought.

Hottgenroth sees every day how many appliances end up in the trash. Although often all they need is a fresh battery or receiver, “Spare parts are hard to come by, and all the components are soldered, glued or riveted,” he says. This is why, while his employees can fix many products, many others are unsalvageable. “Because of their design, devices often break just when you try to open them.” In addition, there is usually no longer any provision for upgrading and adapting devices to new technical standards. “This should be banned,” Hottgenroth says flatly.

Read more here. (Reasons to be Cheerful)

The Polar Vortex now collapsing, is set to release the Arctic Hounds for the United States and Europe

A Polar Vortex collapse sequence has begun in late December 2020, with a major Sudden Stratospheric Warming event on January 5th, 2021. We will look at the sequence of these events, and how they can change the weather in Europe and the United States in the coming weeks.

The main “player” in these weather events, is of course the Polar Vortex. It connects the bottom of the atmosphere (our weather) with the stratosphere above it. A strong exchange of energy between these two layers can heavily disrupt the weather development across the Northern Hemisphere.

Since knowledge is the key, we will do a quick recap of what exactly is the Polar Vortex.

All of the clouds (and the weather that we feel) are found in the lowest part of the atmosphere called the troposphere. It reaches up to around 8 km (5 miles) altitude over the polar regions and up to around 14-16 km (9-10 miles) over the tropics.

Above it, there is a much deeper layer called the stratosphere. This layer is around 30 km thick and is very dry. We can see the layers of the atmosphere on the image below, with the stratosphere in green hues, and the troposphere in blue at the bottom.

Read more here. (Severe Weather EU)
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Help Users
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  • jonas jonas:
    I took the whole december off and had lots of plans... Train, practice my Chinese, develop my own projects... In the end I ended up just playing borderlands 3:cool:
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    So what's the whole reforged situation? Do we have to run the classic version bootleg now?
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    My boyfriend is super into Bethesda modding so I'm probably going to join him in that for a bit, then move on to making mobile/browser games.
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    I mostly just want to look at my old projects because I know I posted uploads on here somewhere.
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    My one game was basically Among Us but you sabotaged an entire medieval city simulated drastically inefficiently with dynamic NPCs :S
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    of course I never finished it x D
  • jonas jonas:
  • jonas jonas:
    I think you can still run the original game, just there's a chance your map won't work with the newer patches
  • jonas jonas:
    what development framework have you been looking at for mobile development?
  • jonas jonas:
    I'm currently creating (as a hobby) a space invaders like game for mobile using Xamarin, after starting a few larger projects that I also may not have finished :rolleyes::p
  • The Helper The Helper:
    Awesome! you should look at the Atari VCS platform it does not have a huge user base but the one it has is super active at around 11k and they have no games in there store
  • The Helper The Helper:
    basically it is linux
  • The Helper The Helper:
    OMG it is BanLord as Blackveiled on the forum
  • The Helper The Helper:
    what is up buddy
  • jonas jonas:
    thanks for the tip, that sounds cool. Never heard about the VCS before but seems like it should be a good match
  • tom_mai78101 tom_mai78101:
    The winter vacation left a toll on me. I missed staying up late and sleeping in late.
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    i haven't looked into it yet
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    If I could use something Python compatible it would save me some learning
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    But Unity might be easiest
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    looking at old posts here makes me happy. Makes me be all like "wow I was pretty smart in 2009"
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    mostly failing at life through adulthood really demotivated me for a while
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    ....what I don't get is why the fuck they would force us to permanently convert to a version of the game everyone fucking hated : \
  • C Cherry.Grove:
    Raid Shadow Legends texture pack smh
  • jonas jonas:
    Most people fail at life throughout their adulthood. Sometimes we get to learn from it. Usually it just feels like crap.

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