‘Sustainability’ Gone Awry: China Turns Sewer Waste Into Cooking Oil

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“Gutter oil” industry takes street slop and animal scraps and renders it into black-market cooking oil.

Considering the rampant amount of food waste that occurs in America, the move toward thriftiness in regards to utilizing scraps and leftovers is a promising development.

For restaurants (and home cooks) who work with whole animals, from chickens to 300 pound hogs, rendering the fat from scraps of meat is one delicious way to make sure as much of the animal can be utilized as possible.

In China, however, that mentality has been taken to disgusting, dangerous ends in what’s known at the Gutter Oil Industry.

In a video posted on AlterNet, produced by Radio Free Asia, a woman is shown pulling slop out of the sewer, scooping up globs of crud into a bucket. “Her slop eventually winds up in a processing plant like this one,” says the narrator, the screen showing a bubbling vat, “where its combined with other animal fat refuse to create recycled cooking oil.”

Remember London’s “fatberg”? Gutter oil is basically a rendered, refined cooking oil based on similar such waste. Unsurprisingly, the cheap cooking oil has been found to contain carcinogens and other toxins. But in China, oil, a requisite for wok-cooking, is in high demand, and the cheap price of gutter oil draws customers despite the grease’s source. The video says that an estimated 1/10 of oil sold in China is gutter oil.

And that sizable market means this form of recycling is big (albeit illegal) business. As AlterNet’s Rod Bastanmehr notes, the government recently moved to shutdown black market production in 13 cities.

“The shutdown occurred after a five-month investigation yielded a reported 3,200 tons of gutter oil,” Bastanmehr writes, “which authorities estimated had been sold to a staggering $1.6 million profit.”

Mapping the migration of words

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Mapping the migration of words: Infographic reveals the roots of Europe’s languages and how countries are linked to the wider world

  • Words in the maps, such as rose, church and tea, show a shared history
  • For instance, differences in the word ‘tea’ are largely due to trade routes
  • Dutch traders had their main contacts in Fujian and used ‘tea’ or ‘thee;
  • Eastern Europe and Asia, which got their tea overland, tend to use forms such as chai

By Ellie Zolfagharifard

PUBLISHED: 12:50 EST, 15 November 2013 | UPDATED: 12:51 EST, 15 November 2013

A cup of tea or a mug of ‘cha’ might taste the same, but the choice of words for the brew can reveal a great deal about a person’s ancestry and even the history of the world.

Recently published maps plotting the different words used for various objects make it clear that a simple term can say a lot about a country.

The infographics, posted by Reddit user Bezbojnicul, show that some seemingly mundane words can explain a country’s links to trade, its history of conflict and migration.

Enlarge   etymology maps by Reddit user Bezbojnicul The maps show how many words for ‘tea’ found in different languages are ultimately of Chinese origin. Languages spoken in eastern Europe and Asia which got their tea overland rather than from the Dutch tend to use forms such as chai

For example, there are many words for ‘tea’ found in different languages but are all ultimately of the same Chinese origin.

Those differences, however, give an insight into how the product arrived in the country.

The Dutch traders, who were the main importers of tea into Europe, had their main contacts in Amoy in Fujian.

For this reason they adopted the word for ‘tea’ as ‘thee’, and in this form it then spread to large parts of Europe.

Enlarge   etymology maps by Reddit user Bezbojnicul The English word rose comes from French, which itself comes from Latin rosa – one of the languages that most influenced English. Interestingly, the map shows how garoful, the ancient Greek word for rose, today only remains in north eastern Italy

The first European tea importers in the 16th century, however, were Portuguese.

Portuguese uses the term ‘chá’, derived from Cantonese ‘cha’.

As a result, languages spoken in eastern Europe and Asia which got their tea overland rather than from the Dutch tend to use forms such as ‘chai’.

These European Etymology maps provide a fascinating insight into how words have changed across a geographical area.

The English word ‘rose’, for instance, comes from French, which itself comes from Latin ‘rosa’ – one of the languages that most influenced English.

Enlarge   Church Church is common to many Teutonic, Slavonic and other languages under various forms. In German it is kirche, in Swedish kirka in Danish kirke and in Finnish kirkko

The modern Persian word for ‘rose’ is ‘gul’, which developed through a series of regular sound changes from the word ‘varda’.

Interestingly, the map shows how ‘garoful’, the ancient Greek word for ‘rose’, today only remains in the north east of Italy.

The maps also reveals how Greek influenced the English word ‘church’.

‘Church’ is common to many Teutonic, Slavonic and other languages under various forms.

In German it is ‘kirche’, in Swedish ‘kirka’, in Danish ‘kirke’ and in Finnish ‘kirkko’.

These all originate from the Greek word ‘ecclesia’ which means ‘assembly’, with the meaning of the word transferred from the community to the building.

Enlarge   etymology maps by Reddit user Bezbojnicul In many places the pineapple has a name similar to ananas derives from nana, a Tupi Indian term for the fruit. Christopher Columbus is alleged to have named the pineapple, calling it the ‘pine of the Indies’ due to its resemblance to a pine cone.

The word pineapple, however, seems to be something of an anomaly.

In many countries, it has a name similar to ‘ananas’, which derives from ‘nana’, a Tupi Indian term for the fruit.

Christopher Columbus is alleged to have named the pineapple, calling it the ‘pine of the Indies’ due to its resemblance to a pine cone.

Another unusual word illustrated on a map is for the orange fruit. In the West it comes from Sanskrit narangas (‘orange tree’).

Enlarge   etymology maps by Reddit user Bezbojnicul ‘Apple’ has a lot of diversity. The word in Finland and Estonia may come from an Indo-Iranian origin

However, the dominant word in much of eastern and northern Europe comes from a word meaning ‘apple’ from China, such as the Dutch word ‘sinaasappel.’

‘Apple’, meanwhile, has a great deal of diversity. The word in Finland and Estonia may come from an Indo-Iranian origin.

‘Bear’ seems to be influenced by Russia which has the largest brown bear population in Europe can be found.

The most dominant word literally means ‘honey-eater.’

BearBear seems to be influenced by Russia which has the largest brown bear population in Europe can be found

Scientists killed world’s oldest living creature

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Scientists killed world’s oldest living creature

Date
November 15, 2013 – 10:01AM
Ming the clam: was 507 years old when he died.

Ming the Mollusc: was 507 years old when he died.

When scientists inadvertently killed what turned out to be the world’s oldest living creature, it was bad enough.

Now, their mistake has been compounded after further research found it was even older – at 507 years.

The ocean quahog – a type of deep-sea clam – was dredged alive from the bottom of the North Atlantic near Iceland in 2006 by researchers. They then put it in a freezer, as is normal practice, unaware of its age.

It was only when it was taken to a laboratory that scientists from Bangor University studied it and concluded it was 400 years old.

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The discovery made it into the Guinness Book of World Records however by this time, it was too late for Ming the Mollusc – named after the Chinese dynasty on the throne when its life began.

Now, after examining the ocean quahog more closely, using more refined methods, the researchers have found the animal was actually 100 years older than they first thought.

Dr Paul Butler, from the University’s School of Ocean Sciences, said: “We got it wrong the first time and maybe we were a bit hasty publishing our findings back then. But we are absolutely certain that we’ve got the right age now.”

A quahog’s shell grows by a layer every year, in the summer when the water is warmer and food is plentiful. It means that when its shell is cut in half, scientists can count the lines in a similar way trees can be dated by rings in their trunks.

The growth rings can be seen in two places; on the outside of the shell and at the hinge where the two halves meet. The hinge is generally considered by scientists as the best place to count the rings, as it is protected from outside elements.

When researchers originally dated Ming, they counted the rings at the hinge.

However because it was so old, many had become compressed. When they looked again at the outside of the shell, they found more rings.

It means the mollusc was born in 1499 – just seven years after Columbus discovered America and before Henry VIII had even married his first wife, Catherine of Aragon in 1509.

Scientists say they can study the clam’s layers to find out about sea temperatures and water masses from thousands of years ago.

Jan Heinemeier, associate professor at the University of Denmark, who helped date Ming, told Science Nordic: “The fact alone that we got our hands on an animal that’s 507 years old is incredibly fascinating, but the really exciting thing is of course everything we can learn from studying the mollusc.”

The Daily Telegraph, London

Next Time You’re in a Nuclear Meltdown, You Might Want to Eat Some Broccoli

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The Silkwood Shower of the future might be a plate of vegetables.

November 4, 2013

Willy Blackmore

Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor. He has written for The Awl, LA Weekly, and elsewhere.
Broccoli May Protect People From Radiation Sickness
(Living in Monrovia/ Flickr)

When Hollywood eventually gets around to cannibalizing Silkwood, the Meryl Streep-starring 1983 film about corporate malfeasance at a plutonium plant in Oklahoma, a vegetable may end up playing a role in the infamous shower scene.

Instead of having Streep’s character abraded with a stiff brush after radiation exposure, a new version of the Mike Nichols movie might show the leading lady locked in a room full of broccoli, eating plate after plate of the cruciferous vegetable.

That’s if the initial research published last month by a group of scientists from Georgetown University Medical Center proves to be as applicable to humans as it is to mice. The study, published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that broccoli, long championed for its cancer-fighting properties, may be uniquely equipped to help prevent and treat radiation sickness.

The Silkwood shower-like chemical hiding within the vegetable, a radioprotector, is known as diindolylmethane (DIM), which blocks healthy cells from irradiation. According to the report, the chemical “protected rodents against lethal doses of total body irradiation . . . whether DIM dosing was initiated before or up to 24 hours after radiation.”

The survival rate was 40 percent for mice who were given an initial dose of the radioprotector within 4 hours, and 30 percent for those who received their first DIM after 24 hours.

The research points to another application outside of an accidental radiation exposure context that could change the way cancer is treated. While the DIM protects healthy cells, it leaves cancerous cells unprotected, leaving them to fry. It’s conceivable that giving cancer patients DIM (or just a whole ton of broccoli?) could help with “preventing or mitigating late normal tissue damage to partial body radiation exposures” during chemotherapy. Professor Michael Fenech, who studies nutrigenomics, told the Australian website News.com.au that the study hinted that DIM could “allow higher doses of radiation to be used to increase the certainty that the cancer is eliminated.”

If broccoli’s growing array of health benefits—it’s also been credited with, to varying degrees, protecting heart vessels, decreasing the risk of bladder cancer, fighting arthritis and helping prevent skin cancer—hasn’t convinced you to move from the President George Bush-led camp of devoted haters and become its champion, a la President Barack Obama, then try cooking it this way.

Even if you don’t like it, you might be better prepared to weather the nuclear fallout.

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Sometimes it is good to be reminded of the fact we are not alone on this planet.

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Any Animal That Touches This Lethal Lake Turns to Stone

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Any Animal That Touches This Lethal Lake Turns to Stone

There’s a deceptively still body of water in Tanzania with a deadly secret—it turns any animal it touches to stone. The rare phenomenon is caused by the chemical makeup of the lake, but the petrified creatures it leaves behind are straight out of a horror film.

Photographed by Nick Brandt in his new book, Across the Ravaged Land, petrified creatures pepper the area around the lake due to its constant pH of 9 to 10.5—an extremely basic alkalinity that preserves these creatures for eternity. According to Brandt:

I unexpectedly found the creatures – all manner of birds and bats – washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. No-one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake. The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.

I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life’, as it were. Reanimated, alive again in death.

The rest of the haunting images follow and they feature in Brandt’s book, available here. Or, you could go and visit for yourself—but keep a safe distance from the water, please. [New Scientist]

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Any Animal That Touches This Lethal Lake Turns to Stone

All images via © Nick Brandt 2013 Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NY

30 Unique and Must-See Photos From our Past

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30 Unique And Must-See Photos From Our Past

Alex Wain May 30, 2013 49

Photographs have long been used to record special and unique moments – birthdays, weddings and the occasional selfie are all commonplace. But these next 30 photographs go beyond the norm – they encapsulate the mood, tone and values of yesteryear, a compelling account of the evolution of our values if you will.

From landmarks in history, strange feats of physical endurance through to peculiar devices & oddball characters we hope this series of images will astound, confound and enthrall you.

1. Unpacking the Head of the Statue of Liberty delivered June 17, 1885

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

2. The hippo belonged to a circus and apparently enjoyed pulling the cart as a trick 1924

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

3. Charlie Chaplin in 1916 at the age of 27

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

4. Annie Edison Taylor (1838-1921), the first person to survive going over Niagara Falls in a barrel in 1901.

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

5. Sharing bananas with a goat during the Battle of Saipan, ca. 1944

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

6. Advertisement for Atabrine, an anti-malaria drug. Papua, New Guinea during WWII

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

7. Artificial legs, United Kingdom, ca. 1890

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

8. 1920′s lifeguard

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

9. Bookstore ruined by an air raid, London 1940

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

10. Testing new bulletproof vests, 1923

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

11. Suntan vending machine, 1949

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

12. A space chimp poses for the camera after a successful mission to space in 1961
30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

13. Unknown soldier in Vietnam, 1965

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

14. Little girl comforting her doll in the ruins of her bomb damaged home, London, 1940

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

15. Illegal alcohol being poured out during Prohibition, Detroit 1929

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

16. Austrian boy receives new shoes during WWII

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

17. Construction of the Berlin wall, 1961

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

18. Animals being used as a part of medical therapy in 1956

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

19. Hitler’s officers and cadets celebrating Christmas, 1941

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

20. Children eating their Christmas dinner during the Great Depression: turnips and cabbage

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

21. The real Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, ca. 1927

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

22. Abraham Lincoln’s hearse, 1865

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

23. A most beautiful suicide – 23 year old Evelyn McHale leapt to her death from an observation deck (83rd floor) of the Empire State Building, May 1, 1947. She landed on a United Nations limousine…

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

24. A mom and her son watch the mushroom cloud after an atomic test 75 miles away, Las Vegas, 1953

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

25. A penniless mother hides her face in shame after putting her children up for sale, Chicago, 1948

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

26. Annette Kellerman promoted women’s right to wear a fitted one-piece bathing suit, 1907… She was arrested for indecency.

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

27. Martin Luther King Jr. with his son by his side removing a burnt cross from his front yard, 1960

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

28. Walter Yeo, one of the first people to undergo advanced plastic surgery & a skin transplant.

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

29. Princeton students after a freshman vs. sophomores snowball fight in 1893

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

30. Melted and damaged mannequins after a fire at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London, 1930

30 Unique And Compelling Photos From Our Past

Via CavemanCircus