Charges by South Korean health officials that octopus heads contain large and unhealthy amounts of the heavy medal cadmium have sparked a war with the fishermen who profit from the $35 million-a-year trade.
Octopus heads are a popular delicacy in South Korea, revered by locals for their health benefits and their supposed role as an aphrodisiac. About 12 million octopuses are sold for eating every year, says the LA Times:
Nakji, a dish featuring baby octopuses, head and all, is a popular snack at sporting events. Another dish, sannakji (“live octopus”), features squirming tentacles dipped in a sesame oil and salt sauce. Enthusiasts have been hospitalized after a wiggling tentacle lodged in the throat.
The tobacco plant is considered a villain of the plant world because of the harmful effects of smoking it. But now a genetically engineered tobacco plant is enjoying a moment of redemption, as scientists have discovered that tweaking a certain gene in one tobacco plant strain allows the plant to produce antibodies that disarm toxic pond scum.
The pond scum in question is microcystin-LR (MC-LR), which makes water unsafe for drinking, swimming and fishing in many parts of the world. Upon ingestion it can cause serious liver damage, with some studies indicating a connection to causing liver and colorectal cancers.
• Toxic sofas, after being shipped from China with packets of a harmful mold-inhibitor, caused extreme skin rashes and burns on at least 1,600—and possibly tens of thousands not yet identified—people in England.
• Science education is under assault in Texas.
• Daddy long-legs are threatened by climate change, a gorilla suffered a seizure and was given an MRI, and a campaign helps endangered species by enlisting clothing brands to save their namesakes: Lacoste to the crocodiles’ rescue!
• Also, we’re doomed.
It’s water! (Albeit with a little salt and electrolysis.)
Electrolyzed water is the new cleaning agent of choice for the housekeeping staff at the Sheraton Delfina in Santa Monica. Employees have abandoned their bleach and ammonia to clean toilets and sinks with an elixir made—on site—from table salt and tap water. The salt water is then zapped by an electrolysis machine with low-voltage electricity, which converts the sodium ions into sodium hydroxide, an alkaline liquid with the cleaning abilities of detergent. Meanwhile, the chloride ions become hypchlorous acid, also known as acid water, a powerful disinfectant.
The “magic” water is also being used by the kitchen staff at the Sheraton to disinfect produce, which they say now lasts longer. A New York poultry processor uses it to kill salmonella on chicken carcasses, and it is used to clean the floors of a Michigan prison, leaving inmates without access to potentially lethal cleaners.