Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sushi DNA tests reveal widespread fish fraud.

From Wired:
A biologist walks into a sushi bar and orders some tuna. What does he get? Escolar, a nasty fish with buttery flesh that can cause bizarre episodes of diarrhea, accompanied by a waxy intestinal discharge.

It’s not a joke. It happened five times to the same scientists during a brief research project. The results of that study were published Wednesday in PLOS One.

“A piece of tuna sushi has the potential to be an endangered species, a fraud or a health hazard,” wrote the authors. “All three of these cases were uncovered in this study.”

The team of researchers from Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History ordered tuna from 31 sushi restaurants and then used genetic tests to determine the species of fishes in those dishes. More than half of those eateries misrepresented, or couldn’t clarify the type of fish they were mongering. Several were selling endangered southern bluefin tuna.

Although their results were shocking, exposing sloppy sushi joints wasn’t their main goal. The scientists were trying to improve on a new species-identification technique, called DNA barcoding. A coalition of labs has been collecting fish, reading their genes and uploading the information to a database called FISH-BOL.

Their goal is to build a catalog of every fish species on earth so that anyone with a handheld DNA reader could definitively identify fish within minutes. Wildlife officials could use that technology to spot-check fish markets, and fine people who are selling protected species.

Obama speechless by reaction to bow.

I don't buy it. Clearly, our president was bowing to our new Gundam Mobile Suit Command overlords. From CBS News:
President Obama's bow to Japan's Emperor Akihito in Tokyo earlier this month ignited anger from some conservatives who complained, in the words of blogger Donald Douglass, that the United States "now willingly prostrates itself before the rest of the world."

Now the president is responding – kind of. The Atlantic quotes "a US government official who was on the trip" who says the president was left "speechless" by the controversy.

"Obama's attitude was, this is an elderly gentleman in a country where this kind of greeting is customary," said the official. "It does not seem extraordinary to show this kind of gesture to him."

"The Fox News poll said that 67 percent of Americans thought [the bow] was a good thing for him to have done," the official continued. "When the president heard that some people had complained, I'd characterize his reaction as: The notion that the United States is somehow humbling or humiliating itself by showing respect for a local custom, when it is transparently the most powerful country in the world, leaves me speechless."


Yipes: China executes two over tainted milk scandal.

Science: Large Hadron Collider makes first crossings of proton beams. (I think to stop Zuul.)

Duh: Judge blocks law allowing guns into bars, thinking it might be a bad idea.

Science: Why kids ask why.

Rush: Greatest band in the world bizarrely attacked in KISS review.

World's biggest animal sacrifice begins.

Awful. From News.com.au:
Up to a million Hindu devotees have gathered in a village in Nepal to witness the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of animals in a mass sacrifice that has drawn widespread criticism.

Worshippers travelled long distances, many coming from India, to attend the two-day Gadhimai festival, which honours the Hindu goddess of power and takes place once every five years in southern Nepal.

A huge cry of "Long Live Gadhimai!" went up after the village temple's head priest launched the event with the ritual sacrifice of two wild rats, two pigeons, a rooster, a lamb and a pig.

The crowd then rushed to a nearby field where 250 sword-wielding butchers were waiting to begin the mass slaughter of about 20,000 buffalo, brought by devotees to be sacrificed near the holy temple.

"This is a very special day for Hindu devotees," head priest Mangal Chaudhary Tharu told AFP as the Gadhimai festival began.

"All the people who came here to worship Gadhimai have been waiting a long time for this day. I am very proud to be part of this event," added Tharu, the fourth generation of his family to serve as a priest at the temple.

An AFP reporter at the scene said up to a million devotees were crammed into the area for the festival. Many were from India, where some states have banned animal slaughter for religious purposes.

[...] The buffalo slaughter took place in a huge field surrounded by three-metre wall, and will be followed on Tuesday by the ritual sacrifice of around 300,000 goats, sheep and birds.

Many festival-goers scaled the wall to get a better view of the killings, carried out by volunteers using specially-built bamboo cages to prevent the animals from escaping.

Man looks for his biological father - and finds out it's Charles Manson!

Wow, this has got to suck. From News.com.au:
A man who went in search of his biological father was shocked to learn it was famed serial killer Charles Manson.

Matthew Roberts, a 41-year-old DJ who lives in Los Angeles, said the shock of discovering his father sent him into depression.

"I didn't want to believe it. I was frightened and angry. It's like finding out that Adolf Hitler is your father,” Mr Roberts told The Sun.

"I'm a peaceful person - trapped in the face of a monster."

Despite his revulsion Mr Roberts has been exchanging mail with Manson, who is serving life in Corcoran State Prison in California over nine murders committed by his “Family” of followers in 1969.

“He sends me weird stuff and always signs it with his swastika,” Mr Roberts said.

Zombie Watch: Drowned man shows up looking for his clothes.

From Ananova:
A two-day police hunt for a drowned man was called off when the 24-year old turned up at the crime scene looking for his clothes.

Maciej Nowak had disappeared after being dumped by his girlfriend and was last seen drinking heavily into the early hours in Urzedow, Poland.

And when his clothes were found the next morning by a lake, friends feared he had killed himself.

But just as police divers were about to call in a submarine, Nowak appeared and asked what all the fuss was about.

"He told us that he can't remember why he had taken his clothes off because he had been drunk.

"But he woke up at a nearby house. Apparently they had found him naked and taken him in and let him sober up," said a police spokesman.

Nowak's girlfriend Kasia Lubelska, 23, said she wouldn't be getting back with him.

"It's stupid things like this that caused me to dump him. How can I allow someone like him to be the father of my children?" she said.

Insurance company cuts woman's benefits for smiling in picture.

From ABC News:
After a vacation with her mother and a few nights out with friends, Nathalie Blanchard thought nothing of posting a few pictures to her Facebook page.

In the photos, the 29-year-old Canadian woman appears to be having a good time, enjoying the company of family and friends on the beach and at a bar.

Now, Blanchard says her employer's insurance company is using those pictures against her, cutting her benefits because she appeared to be having fun.

For the past year, Blanchard has been on leave from her job at IBM's Bromont, Quebec office. After a doctor diagnosed her with major depression, she started receiving monthly sick-leave benefits from Canada's Manulife Financial Insurance.

But this fall, the checks stopped coming. When Blanchard called Manulife to find out why, she said she was told it was because the Facebook pictures indicated she was no longer depressed and ready to return to work.

Zombie Watch: Man brought back to life after dead for 47 minutes.

CBS 2 HD recently met a Brooklyn man who lived after his heart quit for 47 minutes. We have his amazing story of survival. And it's all thanks to a team of doctors who refused to give up until they brought him back from the dead.

"These doctors did not stop …. Without them and I'm serious when I tell you I wouldn't be here," Joe Tiralosi said through tears.

Tiralosi is a medical miracle. He's been to the edge and back, to a place most people don't return from. Now he's at home in Brooklyn, but three months ago he literally died.

"I think miracle best describes it," Tiralosi said.

Tiralosi suffered sudden cardiac arrest. His heart stopped beating for 47 minutes.

"Not a moment goes by that I don't take for granted every second because I know it only takes the blink of an eye to lose your life," he said.

Last week, the 56-year-old father of two returned to New York Presbyterian Hospital to thank the medical team who saved his life and share his story with CBS 2 HD.

On Aug. 17, Tiralosi walked into the emergency room feeling sick and disoriented. He collapsed a minute later.

"The doctors themselves were responsible for giving my chance to live again," Tiralosi said.

Doctors Rahul Sharma and Flavio Gaudio led the team who worked on him.

"It's a miracle for which it is difficult to find words," Dr. Gaudio said.

"When Joe came in he was talking. It was his presence when he came in that made us all say we're not going to give up," Dr. Sharma added.

"I felt he had a good pulse with the compressions so part of me thought that we had bought some time," Gaudio said.

It took 4,500 chest compressions and eight shocks from a defibrillator to get Tiralosi stabilized at 11:55 a.m. While his doctors worked frantically to save him he barely remembers anything about that day.