Some Rivers Are So Drug-Polluted, Their Eels Get High on Cocaine


Anna Capaldo, a research biologist at the University of Naples Federico II, and her colleagues put eels into water with very small levels of cocaine—about the same as that found in some rivers. They found the eels appeared hyperactive but showed the same general health as drug-free eels. But their bodies told a different story.

They found the drug accumulates in the brain, muscles, gills, skin, and other tissues of the eels. The muscle of the fish also showed swelling and even breakdowns, and the hormones that regulate their physiology changed.

Source: Some Rivers Are So Drug-Polluted, Their Eels Get High on Cocaine

This Mediterranean diet study was hugely impactful. The science just fell apart. | Vox


What should we eat to live a long and healthy life?

Researchers’ answers to this question have often been contradictory and confusing. But in recent decades, one diet has attracted the lion’s share of research dollars and public attention: the Mediterranean way of eating. And in 2013, its scientific cred was secured with PREDIMED, one of the most important recent diet studies published.

The study’s delicious conclusion was that eating as the Spanish, Italian, and Greeks do — dousing food in olive oil and loading up on fish, nuts, and fresh produce — cuts cardiovascular disease risk by a third. As Stanford University health researcher (and nutrition science critic) John Ioannidis put it: “It was the best. The best of the best.”

Not anymore.

Last week, the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine pulled the original paper from the record, issuing a rare retraction. It also republished a new version of PREDIMED, based on a reanalysis of the data that accounted for the missteps.

Source: This Mediterranean diet study was hugely impactful. The science just fell apart. – Vox

Trump’s new oceans policy washes away Obama’s emphasis on conservation and climate | AAAS


Marine conservation and addressing climate change are out. Jobs and national security are in.

That’s just one message sent by a new executive order detailing a revised U.S. oceans policy released today by President Donald Trump.

The order formally revokes the 2010 oceans policy issued by President Barack Obama, and replaces it with a markedly different template for what the U.S. government should focus on in managing the nation’s oceans, coastal waters and Great Lakes.

Source: Trump’s new oceans policy washes away Obama’s emphasis on conservation and climate | Science | AAAS

Palm oil to be phased out in EU by 2030 | EURACTIV.com


Under the new regime, which will begin in 2020, EU member states will no longer have to meet a certain percentage of their renewable energy obligations through the use of food-based biofuel. Campaigners have been urging a change to the law for many years, saying it is displacing food crops and causing environmental damage by creating an artificial market for biofuel in Europe.

They have also said the land use change from growing the biofuel crops is causing more emissions than the biofuels abate in their use for transport.

Source: Palm oil to be phased out in EU by 2030 – EURACTIV.com

People kicking these food delivery robots is an early insight into how cruel humans could be to robots | SFGate


“Some people pass our robot and kick the robot a little bit,” Heinla said. “That’s not really a problem I think, if people have such anger management techniques that’s fine by us, our robot just drives on.”

Source: People kicking these food delivery robots is an early insight into how cruel humans could be to robots – SFGate

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain dead of suicide at 61 | Reuters


Bourdain, whose career catapulted him from cooking at New York’s top restaurants to dining in Vietnam with President Barack Obama, was found dead in a hotel room in Strasbourg, France, where he had been working on an upcoming episode of his program, CNN said in a statement.

His death comes three days after American designer Kate Spade, who built a fashion empire on her signature handbags, was found dead in her New York apartment of suicide on Tuesday.

Source: Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain dead of suicide at 61 | Reuters

In Europe, Mattis finds himself in familiar spot: calming U.S. allies | Reuters


Trump infuriated European Union members, Canada and Mexico by imposing tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, which experts say could bleed into U.S. security relationships, even among America’s closest allies.

While the meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels is a routine affair, it will be watched closely in European capitals.

Source: In Europe, Mattis finds himself in familiar spot: calming U.S. allies | Reuters

From distillers to farmers, trade war would cause casualties


“They’re going to hit the farmers,” said Bryan Klabunde, a farmer in northwestern Minnesota. “We want things fair for all industries, but we’re going to take the brunt of the punishment if other countries retaliate.’”

President Donald Trump, who entered office promising to rip up trade deals and crack down on unfair trading practices, is clashing with trading partners on all sides. To the north, he’s battling Canada; to the south, Mexico; to the east, Europe; across the Pacific Ocean to the west, China and Japan.

Source: From distillers to farmers, trade war would cause casualties

Bananas have died out once before – don’t let it happen again | Aeon Ideas


The banana that people ate in the early 20th century was not the one we know today.

There are hundreds of edible banana varieties, but to standardize production, banana companies selected a single type to grow: the Gros Michel, a large, flavourful banana. Gros Michel did well up until the 1950s. But then a fungus known as Fusarium wilt, or Panama disease, rapidly infected entire plantations, and caused a global collapse in the banana trade.

The industry quickly found a replacement, a banana resistant to Panama disease, called the Cavendish. But while these new bananas were filling a growing Western appetite, Cavendish suffered from the same flaw that brought down Gros Michel: monoculture.

Source: Bananas have died out once before – don’t let it happen again | Aeon Ideas

Canada to U.S.: Explain that $30 billion farm spending war chest | Reuters


Canada wants the United States to explain why its lawmakers have made an additional $30 billion available to support U.S. farmers hit by trade woes, and how Washington might distribute the money, according to a document published by the World Trade Organization on Thursday.

The questions come amid growing trade tensions between the United States and its top export markets. Earlier on Thursday, the Trump administration outraged allies by moving ahead with tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

Source: Canada to U.S.: Explain that $30 billion farm spending war chest | Reuters