Eat Shrimp Made of Red Algae

Industrial fishing is killing life in the oceans at an alarming rate, so much so that the loss of life undersea is contributing to climate change. In fact, one tiny thing many people can do to fight climate change is to simply cut fish out of their diet. One company, New Wave Foods, in California is hoping to help people cut out shrimp from their diet by having them eat “shrimp”.

The “shrimp” they are making is actually plant-based so it can be grown even on land. Using red algae to make simulated shrimp is good for the environment and good for the shrimp under the sea.

M: How do you make shrimp from plants?

D: We use all plant-based ingredients to mimic the taste, texture, color, and nutritional profile of shrimp. We use soy for protein and red algae for flavor. Red algae are what shrimp eat in the wild, so they contribute to the flavor profile. We’re creating food out of food and using science to bring ingredients together.

M: How close are you to a finished product and wide distribution?

D: We are really close to a final product, and we’re collaborating with a number of food experts. We’ve created the perfect shrimp in the lab, but now we have to scale it for greater production. We are going to market first with popcorn shrimp. It’s pretty perfect, and popcorn shrimp is about one-third of the shrimp market. It looks really familiar to people. Our goal is to launch this product in six to 12 months. We’ll do a soft launch in California first. We’re also working on a cocktail shrimp.

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Cities Designed for Walking Attract Smart People

The human population of the world is urbanizing, but some places are performing better than others. The key to making a good modern and productive city is to make it walkable. Design for people, not cars.

Over at BBC autos they took a look at what attracts smart people to the smartest cities and it looks like walkability is a driving factor.

For example, the top three cities in the study with the highest percentages of office, retail, and residential spots in walkable areas — New York, Washington, and Boston — had a lot of citizens age 25 and up who hold a least a bachelor’s degree. Washington had the most of those citizens in the entire study (51%), and Boston had third most (42%).

Big cities that topped the study’s list in GDP and education level have long been absent of the hallmarks of car-centric suburbia, like freeways and strip malls.

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Global Economy Becoming Efficient

Usually when economists talk about efficiencies they means firing people so executives can get better returns, this time efficiency is found by using electricity in smarter ways. The myth that increased energy consumption means a better economy has been “decoupled”. The global economy is using less energy for every dollar produced – a sign that economic progress doesn’t have to mean the destruction of the environment.

The EIA also measured energy productivity, which is the inverse of energy intensity, measuring units of economic productivity for every unit of energy consumed. The world also saw significant increases here over the past two and a half decades. China came out far ahead, with a 133 percent increase in energy productivity between 1990 and 2015, largely due to the fact that increases in economic output were twice that of increases in energy consumption. The US saw a 58 percent gain in energy productivity over the same 25 years as well.

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The Aral Sea Rises Again

The Aral Sea was once one of the largest lakes in the world, but today all that remains is just two small lakes. Insanely bad environmental practices killed the lake which has had negative impacts on nature (obviously) and on humans who used to live on the shore. Since the sea was declared dead years ago there have been attempts to revive the once-great lake, and it turns out these efforts are working.

The Aral Sea was once the world’s fourth-largest inland body of water, but has been for ever altered by the Soviet era irrigation policies to reclaim the desert for cotton farming by rerouting the rivers the Amu Darya and Syr Darya.

Two separate lakes – the North and South Arals – are all that’s left, while most of its former seabed has been reclaimed by the sand.

But efforts to restore the lake have yielded some results recently. Since the completion of the Kokaral dam in 2005, financed by the World Bank, and the completion of hydropower stations, the winds of change have reached Tastubek.

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Craft Beer is Advancing Science

We all know that craft beers are delicious thanks to all their fun flavours and now we also know that by drinking craft beer we are helping the world of science. The search for hop plants, which are integral to craft beer, has pushed science to go further into examining the plant and it’s neighbours – that means the world of botany is expanding. The drive for more varieties of hops has even led to using old ideas in new ways around what medicinal practices hops can be used for!

Flavor is driving the hunt. But, as it turns out, Matthews himself is not only, or even mostly, interested in flavor. The scientific byways, and possible medical uses, are more intriguing to him: the hipster I.P.A. quaffers are, in effect, advancing the frontiers of pure science, enabling the sequencing of the hop genome, and funding ethnobotanical excursions. “I was just in Tbilisi, at the Georgian botanical garden,” Matthews said. “People in Georgia are still into agroforestry—they pick wild strawberries and things in the forest. It turns out rural Georgians have for a long time used wild hops to cure their breads. Hops makes a powerful broad-spectrum antibiotic. It stops bacteria from souring the bread.”

The Georgians have also used hops as a folk medicine for reproductive health, to treat uterine pain, for example. This makes sense to Matthews since hops contain the strongest known plant-derived estrogen. “We are seeking to engineer it,” he said. “We think it can be used for hormone-replacement therapy—for example, in postmenopausal women.”

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