Building a better soy burger

Mother Jones has an interesting story about several start-ups trying to create fake meat, dairy, and eggs that are not only sustainable, but appetizing ... even to people who aren't already committed vegans. It's a story about business and ethics, but it's also a story about chemistry and food engineering. As a meat eater who does enjoy seitan, I'm intrigued.

Roast dinosaur for Christmas

Tired of turkey? Bored with beef? Maybe it's time to consider a more exotic roast this holiday season. At Popular Science, Erin Berger has taken the time to figure out what dinosaur would hypothetically make the best dinner for people (as opposed to the other way around). The analysis turns out to be surprisingly fascinating — Dinosaurs probably tasted more like beef than chicken! Armored tails are the other other white meat! — and it turns out that what you really want is a nice chunk of sauropod neck.

How to: Eat a triceratops

With their big, bitey teeth and teeny, ineffectual arms, it can be difficult to picture how Tyrannosaurus Rex actually managed to eat anything. After all, all of our personal experience with eating involves an awful lot of gripping with the forearms. Some new research, takes a stab at understanding T. Rex table manners. The results are pretty neat — and they highlight the similarities between dinosaurs and birds — but I want to make a bit of a bigger deal out of the methodology.

Several times on this blog, we've talked about the importance of the vast archives of archaeological and paleontological specimens that are sitting around in storage at museums and universities. Some of these things have never even been removed from the matrix of burlap and plaster used to secure them for shipping. Some have sat there for decades, enjoying only a cursory glance from researchers. But when scientists finally start sifting through these unseen specimens, they often find fascinating things.

Read the rest

Strangely adorable video of sea slugs eating a blue button jelly alive

Yesterday, I posted a photo of Glaucus atlanticus — a strange little creature, related to mollusks, which floats through the ocean and eats (among other things) the jellyfish-like Portuguese Man-Of-War.

In response, marine biologist Christopher Mah sent over this video, in which two specimens of Glaucilla marginata — a smaller relative of Glaucus atlanticus — nibble on the still-living flesh of a colonial organism called a blue button. This proves to be cuter than it sounds.

Part of what makes the video so mesmerizing is watching the Glaucilla marginata move around. These creatures travel in a very laid-back way. Inflating a gas bubble in their stomachs, they float around on their backs, wherever the waves will take them. That bubble seems to lead to some endearing, baby-sloth-like flips and turns as they try to position themselves to take bites out of the blue button. OM NOM NOM.

A recipe for sweet potato biscuits

These look amazing. And you can make them with marshmallows, if you are so inclined. Happy Thanksgiving! (Thank you, Rebecca Berkey)