Dec 092011

By Joseph Castro (LiveScience) The act of helping others out of empathy has long been associated strictly with humans and other primates, but new research shows that rats exhibit this prosocial behavior as well.

In the new study, laboratory rats repeatedly freed their cage-mates from containers, even though there was no clear reward for doing so. The rodents didn’t bother opening empty containers or those holding stuffed rats.

To the researchers’ surprise, when presented with both a rat-holding container and a one containing chocolate — the rats’ favorite snack — the rodents not only chose to open both containers, but also to share the treats they liberated.

via Empathetic Rats Help Each Other Out | Rats Freed Distressed Cage-Mates from Containers | Origin of Empathy & Human Emotions | LiveScience.

 December 9, 2011  Posted by at 6:11 am Comments Off
Jul 062011

(Innovation News) Using new digital technology, a printer designed by researchers in England allows you to create your own designs on a computer and reproduce them physically in three dimensional form in chocolate. Building the chocolates up layer by layer, the 3-D printer uses special software that navigates the precise heating and cooling cycles needed to produce intricate cocoa sculptures.

“What makes this technology special is that users will be able to design and make their own products. In the long term it could be developed to help consumers custom-design many products from different materials but we’ve started with chocolate as it is readily available, low cost and non-hazardous. There is also no wastage as any unused or spoiled material can be eaten of course! From reproducing the shape of a child’s favourite toy to a friend’s face, the possibilities are endless and only limited by our creativity,” said Liang Hao, a researcher at the University of Exeter, England, who lead the team that designed the chocolate printer.

via Chocolate printer crafts sculptures from cocoa – Technology & science – Innovation –

 July 6, 2011  Posted by at 6:21 am Comments Off
Feb 262011

By John Robbins (Huffington Post) The food police may find this hard to take, but chocolate has gotten a bad rap. People say it causes acne, that you should eat carob instead, that it’s junk food. But these accusations are not only undeserved and inaccurate, they falsely incriminate a delicious food that turns out to have profoundly important healing powers.

There is in fact a growing body of credible scientific evidence that chocolate contains a host of heart-healthy and mood-enhancing phytochemicals, with benefits to both body and mind.

For one, chocolate is a plentiful source of antioxidants. These are substances that reduce the ongoing cellular and arterial damage caused by oxidative reactions.

You may have heard of a type of antioxidants called polyphenols. These are protective chemicals found in plant foods such as red wine and green tea. Chocolate, it turns out, is particularly rich in polyphenols. According to researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, the same antioxidant properties found in red wine that protect against heart disease are also found in comparable quantities in chocolate.

via John Robbins: Chocolate’s Startling Health Benefits.

 February 26, 2011  Posted by at 7:23 am Comments Off