Saturday November 18, 2017

Science cannot be at the expense of Culture: Here is Why!

Presently, the direct scientific solutions that are proposed to battle the ever evolving health epidemics and new age food-crisis, pose against the weight of thousand years of our cultural identity

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food and health, human traditions and culture, science
Food and human health. Pixabay
  • New solutions must be developed to face the yet-to-arrive challenges regarding food and health
  • The human traditions and human culture need to reconsider the methods of incorporating the scientific solutions into our daily living

June 16, 2017: Science and the society have to join hands and come forward together in order to resolve the issues that are related to health and food, scientist and health expert have stated. New solutions must be developed to face the yet-to-arrive challenges regarding food and health.

ALSO READ: Biofortification: Combat World Hunger Crisis by breeding nutrient-packed Crops that will fill Stomachs and lessen Effects of Malnutrition

About the culture

The omnivorous requirements and the culinary traditions are two things which form the foundation of the human culture that is developed and designed with the help of food-culture. In light of scientific progress; we, humans, change habits very rarely- history says. Presently, the direct scientific solutions that are proposed to battle the ever-evolving health epidemics and new age food-crisis, pose against the weight of thousand years of our cultural identity.

Scientific queries-  

Three questions regarding the health and food issues include-

  • What policies, new information, and new techniques can be proposed to address our problems that arise from food?
  • What exactly is the scenario of human diets, and human health that is related to the diets?
  • How effective will be the future food solutions to the next progeny or long after today’s generation ceases to exist?

In a nutshell-

The human traditions and human culture need to reconsider the methods of incorporating the scientific solutions into our daily living, in order to feed a hungry future-generation. Failing to do that, greater faith must be placed on science and technology to provide the human world with better solutions and evidence regarding the future of food.

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Oldest recorded solar eclipse occurred 3,200 years ago

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Solar eclipse

Cambridge University researchers have pinpointed the date of what could be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded. The event, which occurred on October 30, 1207 BC, is mentioned in the Bible, and could help historians to date Egyptian pharaohs.

“Solar eclipses are often used as a fixed point to date events in the ancient world,” said Professor Colin Humphreys from University of Cambridge’s Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy.

Using a combination of the biblical text and an ancient Egyptian text, the researchers were able to refine the dates of the Egyptian pharaohs, in particular, the dates of the reign of Ramesses the Great, according to the study published in the journal Astronomy & Geophysics.

The biblical text in question comes from the Old Testament book of Joshua and has puzzled biblical scholars for centuries.

It records that after Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan, a region of the ancient Near East that covered modern-day Israel and Palestine – he prayed: “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon. And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stopped until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.”

“If these words are describing a real observation, then a major astronomical event was taking place – the question for us to figure out is what the text actually means,” Humphreys said.

“Modern English translations, which follow the King James translation of 1611, usually interpret this text to mean that the Sun and Moon stopped moving,” Humphreys said.

“But going back to the original Hebrew text, we determined that an alternative meaning could be that the Sun and Moon just stopped doing what they normally do: they stopped shining. In this context, the Hebrew words could be referring to a solar eclipse, when the Moon passes between the earth and the Sun, and the Sun appears to stop shining,” Humphreys said.

This interpretation is supported by the fact that the Hebrew word translated ‘stand still’ has the same root as a Babylonian word used in ancient astronomical texts to describe eclipses, he added.

Independent evidence that the Israelites were in Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC can be found in the Merneptah Stele, an Egyptian text dating from the reign of the Pharaoh Merneptah, son of the well-known Ramesses the Great, the study said.

The large granite block, held in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, says that it was carved in the fifth year of Merneptah’s reign and mentions a campaign in Canaan in which he defeated the people of Israel.

Earlier historians had used these two texts to try to date the possible eclipse, but were not successful as they were only looking at total eclipses, in which the disc of the Sun appears to be completely covered by the moon as the moon passes directly between the earth and the sun.

What the earlier historians failed to consider was that it was instead an annular eclipse, in which the Moon passes directly in front of the Sun, but is too far away to cover the disc completely, the researchers said.

In the ancient world, the same word was used for both total and annular eclipses.

The researchers developed a new eclipse code, which takes into account variations in the Earth’s rotation over time.

From their calculations, they determined that the only annular eclipse visible from Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC was on 30 October 1207 BC, in the afternoon.

If their arguments are accepted, it would not only be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded, it would also enable researchers to date the reigns of Ramesses the Great and his son Merneptah to within a year.

Using these new calculations, the researchers determined that Ramesses the Great reigned from 1276-1210 BC, with a precision of plus or minus one year.(IANS)

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Baby Survives 123 Days in Brain Dead Mother’s Womb in Portugal: Science Attached to Music and our Brains

The baby in the womb of the brain dead mother can be delivered if the body is kept alive or functioning

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pregnant
The findings if a new study by MIT researchers could offer a possible way to reduce the risk of autism.
  • A baby can still make it to the world after the mother has been pronounced brain dead
  • To keep the body functioning requires continuous medical support
  • Essential hormones and nutrients must be supplied to the body of the brain dead mother

New Delhi, July 28, 2017: Twins in the womb of a brain-dead mother making it to the world, sounds no less than a miracle. A case in which the body of the mother was kept alive as a ‘living incubator’ and after 123 days, 2 babies were born in Lisbon, Portugal, confirms its possibility.

Sandra was pronounced brain dead after a heart attack. She was at that time 17 weeks pregnant, and it was presumed that the baby had also died. However, when the doctors in the intensive care unit, detected signs of life, they decided to consult the family on whether to keep Sandra’s body functioning, in an attempt to deliver the baby alive.

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“Following the opinion of the ethics committee and clinical management of that hospital, and a concerted decision by the mother’s family and the paternal family of the child, it was agreed to maintain the pregnancy up to 32 weeks in order to ensure the viability of the foetus,” a statement by the hospital, mentioned The Telegraph report.

ALSO READ: ‘Science Fiction’ Cancer Therapy helps to fight people with deadly Brain Tumors: Study

Sandra’s body was supplied essential hormones through tubes, which were also used to feed her and keep her breathing. The staff members and doctors at Lisbon’s San Jose Hospital used to sing songs to the unborn babies and touch the belly of the dead mother which happened to have worked wonders.

In a more recent case, in Brazil, a brain dead mother successfully gave birth to twins after the doctor managed to keep her alive for 123 days. The case tops any other reported instances of fetuses surviving in the womb of the brain dead mother.

Frankielen da Silva Zampoli Padilha, 21, died during pregnancy in October last year after suffering a stroke. In February, this year, her twins arrived in this world. Frankielen’s body was also kept alive to save her unborn children.

The procedure of bringing the unborn in the womb of a brain dead mother, to the world, is indeed complicated. Maintaining pressure, oxygenation, continuous nutrition, hormonal balance etc, requires the continuous support of medication. The blood pressure, blood flow needs to be constantly scrutinized as well.

But this, after all, can be considered as a mother’s last gift to her child!

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Food adulteration in India, the reason you need to be careful with what you eat

There is a good probability that a lot of what you eat is adulterated. Therefore, it becomes essential to cross check the purity of the things you consume

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Food adulteration in India and its consequences
Food adulteration in India has been highly rampant. Pixabay
  • Food adulteration has been highly rampant in India 
  • “Some of the most common adulterated foods are milk and milk products, atta, edible oils, cereals, condiments”
  • The case of food adulteration that took the country by storm was the case of Maggi Noodles, India’s most popular snack

New Delhi, August 1, 2017: The definition of food adulteration according to the Food and Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is, “The addition or subtraction of any substance to or from food so that the natural composition and quality of food substance is affected.”

Food adulteration has been highly rampant in India. India, on a usual basis, witnesses a number of cases of people getting affected by consuming adulterated food products.

According to FSSAI, “Some of the most common adulterated foods are milk and milk products, atta, edible oils, cereals, condiments, pulses, coffee, tea, confectionery, baking powder, vinegar, besan and curry powder.”

The case of food adulteration that took the country by storm was the case of the very loved, Maggi Noodles. Maggi Noodles was found to contain a higher than the permissible level of lead and MSG. The entire nation was shocked to know that India’s most popular snack is not safe for consumption. Nutritionists suggest that consumption of lead for a long period of time can have hazardous consequences on the body.

Also read: To eat or not to eat? Think before you eat food items from these brands.

“The Annual Public Laboratory Testing Report for 2014-15 brought out by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) says that of the 49,290 samples of food items it tested, 8,469, nearly one-fifth, were found adulterated or misbranded,” suggests a report in The Hindu.

The worst part is, despite the potential of disastrous consequences of adulteration, the government is very lenient in providing punishment for the crime. Even if the culprit is caught, the system isn’t strict enough and one can easily get away.

“The reason behind the increasing trend in food adulteration practices is the poor ethical framework and lack of values. Government laws have their limits, it is the values in people that automatically resist them to do unethical practices,” says Rahul Gupta who works for the Food Corporation of India.

“In regard to milk, the demand and supply gap, and the ease with which it can be handled is what makes it the softest target of adulteration,” he mentioned.

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Sections 272 and 273 of the Indian Penal Code deal with the offense of Adulteration of Food and Drink Intended for Sale entailing a punishment of six months imprisonment or payment of Rs. 1000 fine in case of a person adulterating some food or drink, as an attempt to make the food or drink noxious, intending to sell it, or knowing the likeliness of the same being sold as a food or drink.

There is a good probability that a lot of what you eat is adulterated. Therefore, it becomes essential to cross check the purity of the things you consume. The situation is, indeed grave and one needs to be watchful!

-by Samiksha Goel of Newsgram. Twitter @goel_samiksha