One of my good friends from grad school now studied passalid beetles at the University of Kentucky. While she’s interested in cooperation and sociality, it just so happens that passalids are of interest to another group of researchers.
Dr. Eoin Brodie works at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and is also an assistant adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (whew, that’s a mouthful).
One of their research projects is to understand how these beetles might optimize biofuel production by studying the beetle’s symbiotic gut relationships. Let’s hear it for my alma mater!
Passalid beetles: Nature’s efficient lignocellulosic biorefineries | Brodie Environmental Microbiology Group @ LBNL.
So this is pretty neat: an article in The Atlantic about the Finger Lakes wine growing region.
I’m not particularly partial to Finger Lakes wine, being a California native and working in Napa and Sonoma for a couple field seasons. But the Reislings are notable, and I do try to support local wineries and businesses. So maybe I need to take another look, or drink, around the region.
This is an article from Good about the possibility of including insects in our diet as a form of protein to increase food supplies. It’s an interesting proposition, as there are already several countries where insects are regularly consumed, either as a delicacy or as a staple for particular dishes. Here’s a list of the many edible insects from Girl Meets Bug, though I can’t say I’ve tried many. While this may be a way of addressing hunger issues, it doesn’t directly address many of the political challenges associated with food distribution nor the nutritional requirements for a balanced diet.
The Good article also highlights some other common uses of insects, including cochineal. It should be corrected that cochineal are not beetles, they’re scale insects in the order Hemiptera.
Photo Courtesy of the NY Times
An interesting project in Montana and a great display as a demonstration garden. Agricultural sustainability seems to be more than just a buzz word lately. Find more on Gloria Flora’s work here.
Robert Krulwich of Radiolab was recently awarded the Macarthur Genius grant. Bravo!
His most recent post on Krulich Wonders, an NPR blog, presents a beautiful and delicious meal. Complementary dishes for vegetarians and meat eaters, what Studiofeast calls their Doppleganger Dinner. Looks like something I could really get behind… Duck breast with celery and sweet potato vs. grilled watermelon with fennel and carrots.
Image courtesy of NPR
Not only does this seem like a fun culinary exercise, it makes a statement about vegetarian diets. That doesn’t seem so bad in light of our expanding agricultural environmental footprint (more on that later).
Bee-keeping and sustainability projects? Sounds like a good idea.