Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Russian Science

100,000 Toothpicks Sculpture (25 Pics)

Scott Weaver spent 3,000 hours over the past 35 years to complete these amazing toothpicks project "Rolling through the Bay". He used over 100,000 toothpicks to build this incredible sculpture of San Francisco.

Monday, 30 October 2017

10 Ways The Mediterranean Diet Will Improve Your Health

Most people know that the Mediterranean Diet is a healthy way to eat, but what are the specific benefits? From better skin and mood to lower risk of chronic disease, learn the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.
Do you love red wine? If so, the Mediterranean Diet may work for you. This diet allows regular (but moderate) consumption of red wine. But that’s not the only reason you should follow this diet. Research shows that it can prevent diseases and enhance weight loss.
The Mediterranean diet encourages high intake of fruits, veggies, whole grains, olive oil, and legumes. It discourages eating a lot of red meat. Fish and poultry are the preferred lean protein sources. Here’s how the Mediterranean diet can improve your health.


1. Mediterranean diet may improve heart health.

Adhering to the Mediterranean diet can improve heart health since this diet is abundant in omega 3s and monounsaturated fats.
Olive oil is a staple food in the Mediterranean diet, and this study found that alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a compound found in olive oil, can lower risk of cardiac death by 30 percent. Another study found that extra-virgin olive oil helps reduce high blood pressure. 

2. Mediterranean diet may help you lose weight.

The Mediterranean diet has helped many people lose weight. This diet works because it encourages intake of high-fiber foods, which make it easier to control hunger.
The diet also focuses of nutrient-dense foods. These foods balance hormones, regulate blood sugar and boost energy levels.

3. Mediterranean diet may lower risk of Alzheimer’s.

According to this study, people who adhere to the Mediterranean diet have lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Olive oil, fruits, and veggies help prevent decline of brain function. They contain antioxidants which fight inflammation, and as a result lower risk of brain impairment.

4. Mediterranean diet may help you live longer.

The Mediterranean diet is mainly a combination of plant-based foods and healthy fats. A lot of evidence shows that these two food sources promote longevity. In fact, one studyfound that people who started following the Mediterranean diet after experiencing a heart attack had 45 percent lower risk of death compared to people who ate a low fat diet.

5. Mediterranean diet may lower risk of cancer.

Research shows that this diet can help fight cancer, because it contains high amounts of antioxidants, omega 3s, polyphenols, and fiber.
Antioxidants fight free radicals which damage cells and increase risk of cancer. Several studies show that olive oil can lower risk of bowel and colon cancer.

6. Mediterranean diet may lower risk of diabetes.

Adhering to this diet can help control excess insulin and balance blood sugar levels. The Mediterranean diet is also low in sugar. This means you won’t experience regular blood sugar spikes which may increase risk of diabetes.

7. Mediterranean diet may reduce stress.

Stress has lots of negative effects on our health. It weakens our immune system and causes weight gain and sleeplessness. Luckily, following the Mediterranean diet can reduce stress, because it’s so rich in vegetables. Eating more veggies can actually reduce stress and help you stay happy.

8. Mediterranean diet may improve skin health.

This diet contains vitamins and minerals that will keep your skin healthy. For instance, the antioxidants and vitamin E found in olive oil will keep your skin radiant. Red wine also contains resveratrol, which help keep the skin healthy.

9. Mediterranean diet fights inflammation.

Mediterranean diet staples are rich in antioxidants that fight inflammation. Mediterranean foods which fight inflammation include: dark green veggies, egg yolks, red wine, and beets.

10. Mediterranean diet may boost your mood.

Healthy fats have been proven to reduce depression and boost mood. Olive oil and avocados are great sources of healthy, unsaturated fats that can improve your mood and boost energy levels.

Top 11 Heart-Healthy Foods

Many foods can help keep your heart at its best. Some help lower your blood pressure. Others keep your cholesterol in line. So add these items to your shopping cart:
  1. Salmon
This ocean-going fish is a top choice because it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. “Omega-3s have an anti-clotting effect, so they keep your blood flowing,” says Rachel Johnson, PhD, RD,  Bickford Professor of Nutrition at the University of Vermont. They also help lower your triglycerides (a type of fat that can lead to heart disease).
Aim for at least two servings of oily fish each week, says the American Heart Association. A serving is 3.5 ounces.  That’s a little bit bigger than a computer mouse.
Other options: Tuna, trout, sardines, and mackerel.
  1. Walnuts.
Nibbling on 5 ounces of nuts each week may cut your risk of heart disease in half. Walnuts have lots of “good” fats. When you use these monounsaturated fats in place of saturated fats (such as butter), you cut your “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise your “good” HDL cholesterol.
Walnuts are also a good source of omega-3 fats. (They don’t have the same kind of omega-3s as fish, though.) 
Other options: Almonds, cashews, pistachios, flaxseed, and chia seeds.
  1. Raspberries
These berries are loaded with polyphenols -- antioxidants that mop up damage-causing free radicals in your body. They also deliver fiber and vitamin C, which are both linked to a lower risk of stroke.
Other options: Any berries -- strawberries, blueberries, blackberries -- are great choices. Fruits and vegetables in general are excellent choices because of their nutrients and fiber.
  1. Fat-Free or Low-fat Milk or Yogurt
“Dairy products are high in potassium, and that has a blood-pressure-lowering effect,” Johnson says. When you choose low-fat or fat-free dairy, you get little to no saturated fat, the kind of fat that can raise your cholesterol.
Other options: Most fruits and vegetables also have some potassium, Johnson says. Bananas, oranges, and potatoes are especially good sources.
  1. Chickpeas
Chickpeas and other legumes (lentils, other kinds of beans) are a top-notch source of soluble fiber -- the kind of fiber that can lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol. If you buy canned beans, look for low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties (sodium can raise your blood pressure). Rinse them in water to wash off any added salt.
Other options: Eggplant, okra, apples, and pears are also good choices for soluble fiber.
  1. Oatmeal
Oats have a type of fiber (called beta-glucan) that lowers your LDL cholesterol. One and a half cups of cooked oatmeal or a little over a cup of cooked barley gives you the amount of beta-glucan you need daily to help lower your cholesterol.
Other options: You can also find beta-glucan in barley, shiitake mushrooms, and seaweed.
  1. Olive oil
A cornerstone of the traditional Mediterranean diet, olive oil is a great pick when you need to limit saturated fat (found in meat, whole milk, and butter). Fats from animal products, and trans fats (“partially hydrogenated oils”) raise your “bad” cholesterol and can make fat build up inside your arteries.
Other options:  Canola oil and safflower oil.
  1. Dark Chocolate
Cacao, the plant from which chocolate is made, is rich in flavanols, which can help lower your blood pressure and prevent blood clots. It also acts as an antioxidant, which can keep “bad” cholesterol from sticking to your artery walls.
Choose dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) to get more flavanols and less sugar, Johnson says. (Sugar raises your risk of heart disease.)
Other options: Think beyond the bar. Choose natural cocoa powder over Dutch-processed to get more flavanols. (Check the label to make sure you don’t get too much sugar.) For a totally unsweetened take, try cacao nibs. Add them to your granola.
  1. Avocados
These fruitsget their creamy texture from “good” (monounsaturated) fats, which lower your “bad” cholesterol.
“They also seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect, so you don’t get chronic inflammation that makes atherosclerosis -- the hardening of artery walls -- worse,” Johnson says.
Use mashed avocado as a spread in place of butter, or add cubes of it to salad, or over black bean chili. As delicious as they are, avocados are high in calories, so keep your portions modest.
Other options: Nuts and sunflower oil.
10. Unsalted almond butter
Nut butters are great on whole-grain toast instead of butter. They’re a wonderful source of monounsaturated fatty acids. Use unsalted, natural options to avoid added salt, sugar, and hydrogenated fats found in other forms of peanut butter, Johnson says.
Other options: Unsalted peanut butter or any other unsalted nut butter.
  1. Red Grapes
These juicy fruits have resveratrol, which helps keep platelets in your blood from sticking together.
That may partly be why red wine -- in moderation (1 glass for women, 2 for men) -- may have some heart-healthy advantages over other types of alcohol. But health experts don’t recommend that anyone start drinking, because alcohol does have some health risks.
Love your nightly glass of wine? You can ask your doctor to make sure your serving size is OK for you. And feel free to go for grapes straight from the vine anytime.

10 Ways To Save Money On Food

Food prices are skyrocketing due to the introduction of biofuels, high regular fuel prices, inflation, and other events outside of our control. For many people, the food budget is becoming the most expensive part of the household living costs. This list is to help people who don’t want to suffer these prices so they can put their hard earnt cash in to more productive areas. This list is in no particular order – using all or just one or two of the tips here should help you save money – substantially in many cases.
Make a list

When you are shopping for food, it is important that you make a list – this will help you to avoid buying things that you do not need. The highest cost of shopping is almost always the unexpected extras that you don’t really need. Making a list also helps you to realize just how much food you are buying – you would be surprised how much “deadwood” you can cut out. This is particularly effective when used in conjunction with item 6 and 8.
Stop using recipes

Cooking from recipes is great if you are not the most confident cook, but if you force yourself to experiment with food, you can use up all the bits and pieces left over in the refrigerator and cupboards that might otherwise just sit there and spoil. If you try to empty your cupboards between shopping you will save a fortune – in some cases you will find that you can skip a whole week of shopping. When you are trying to save money you have to give up the idea of luxury meals every day.

Shop online
When I shop online with a list (see item 10), my grocery bill is more than halved. Supermarkets are designed by specialists who know how to convince you to buy things you don’t want. Every item is placed in such a way that it will entice you. The supermarkets have become incredibly good at this (as is evidenced by my half price shopping bill when I don’t go to the store). You usually save so much money that the small delivery fee charged by some online shopping stores is worth paying. Make sure to follow tip 10 and buy only what it is on your list – nothing more.
Keep leftovers

Supermarkets have a tendency to package items in odd numbers – such as packs of 3 steaks when you only want 2. This can work to your advantage – buy the 3 pack, cook it all, and save one piece for lunch the next day. This is true of all leftovers – they can either be reheated and eaten the next day, frozen for later use, or recycled in another meal (when you cook leftovers it is called rechaufe). Left over chicken from a roast can be turned in to a hearty chicken soup, left over cooked meat can be ground (minced) and made in to a pie filling, the list is endless. Just remember (item 9) that recipes are not going to help you to cook with leftovers – you need to just dive in and give it a try.
Make a core menu

It is a good idea to make a core menu for the week – a menu that doesn’t change from week to week. This may include things like sausages and mashed potato, fried chicken, caesar salad, etc. By adding 5 regular meals you can control the cost of your shopping, and as time goes on you can learn ways to make shortcuts and save more money. Furthermore, one large bag of potatoes can be used up in 2 weeks instead of half a bag sitting around spoiling. Use your extra two days to add a special meal – something that changes every week so you don’t get bored with your meals.

Buy in bulk

Buying in bulk is almost always cheaper than buying small portions. It is important to remember, however, that this is not an effective shopping tool if you are buying bulk items that you don’t normally use. Bulk shopping should be reserved to the items that you use regularly and in large quantities. For example, if you bake your own bread you should buy the largest sack of flower you can – but if you never bake your own bread you should not buy bulk flour. This seems like an obvious point, but a lot of people get so enthusiastic about the savings that they buy unnecessary goods.
Buy store brands

Not only are store brand goods almost always cheaper, but often they contain the very same food as a label brand. This is true not just of food but also clothing. It is definitely not worth paying twice the price just for a fancy label when the quality of the goods are identical. We certainly wouldn’t buy a Lada with a mercedes logo on it for twice the price as a Lada with the Lada logo. Why do it with food?
Cook from scratch

Cooking from scratch is one of the best ways to save money in shopping. Pre-packaged and pre-cooked meals are expensive – every step in the process of turning raw food in to prepared food adds more to the price. This is true of cuts of meat as well – chicken with the skin and bones intact costs a lot less than skinned boned chicken breasts. For the 2 minutes work you save when buying pre-cut meat it is hardly worth paying a premium price. Cooking from scratch will not only save you money, it will make you healthier as your food will not contain preservatives and chemicals. Also, you can quite often cook a meal from scratch in the same time as it takes to open and heat a pre-made meal.
Use Coupons

Coupons are an excellent way to save money. Some shops use loss leaders- this is when they sell goods at cost or less than cost. The aim of loss leaders is to draw customers in to the store. Take advantage of this and shop at a few different places – buying only coupon items. You will be amazed how much money you can save. But be warned – just like bulk buying – do not buy items you do not need just because they are so inexpensive. You are not saving any money when you buy something you don’t need.
Buy local produce

Buying local produce will always be cheaper than transported goods because you are not paying transportation costs, and it is these costs which are growing the most rapidly at present. Furthermore, you get to build up a good relationship with members of your local community and get the freshest fruit and vegetables. This also means that you are eating seasonal produce and not something that has been frozen for a year before it hits the shops. Why pay twice the price for last year’s apples when you can get apples that have just come off the tree?

Top 10 Poisonous Foods We Love To Eat

Everyday we chow down on food produced from plants that carry deadly poisons. Most of the time we don’t need to be concerned with this as the mass production of fruit and vegetables ensures that we are usually safe, but from time to time people accidentally kill themselves by unwittingly eating the wrong part of a plant. In order to ensure that this never happens to you, I have put together a list of the most commonly seen poisons that we come in to contact with in our kitchens.

We have all heard of toadstools – and know that they are poisonous, but what many people don’t know is that a toadstool is actually a mushroom, not a separate type of plant. Toadstool is slang for “poisonous mushroom”. While there are some useful signs that a mushroom is poisonous, they are not consistent and all mushrooms of unknown origin should be considered dangerous to eat. Some of the things you can look for to try to determine whether a mushroom is poisonous are: it should have a flat cap with no bumps, it should have pink or black gills (poisonous mushrooms often have white gills), and the gills should stay attached to the cap (not the stalk) if you pull it off. But remember, while this is generally true of many types of mushroom, it is not always true. 9
A few days ago we had a list of embarrassing deaths, one of which included death by eating the liver of a fugu (pufferfish). The fugu is so poisonous that in Japan, fugu chefs are trained specially for the job and are tested before being a given certificates of practice. The training takes two or three years. In order to pass, the chef must answer a written test then give a demonstration of his cutting abilities. The final part of the test involves the chef eating the pieces of fugu that he has cut. Only 30% of apprentices pass the test – which is not to say that the rest die by eating their fugu – they can fail in earlier parts of the test. Only the flesh of the fugu is consumed as it is less likely to have high amounts of poison (which causes a slight tingling sensation in the mouth). Fugu is the only food officially illegal for the Emperor of Japan to eat – for his safety. Rather than including a photograph of a pufferfish, I have used a youtube clip showing a chef preparing the fugu – it is quite extraordinary.


Elderberry trees are very attractive and quite large. They are covered with thousands of tiny flowers which have a delicate scent. The flowers are used mainly for making elderflower liqueur and soda. Sometimes the flowers are eaten after being battered and deep fried. But beneath the pretty surface lurks danger! The roots and some other parts of the elderberry tree are highly poisonous and will cause severe stomach problems. So next time you decide to pick some elderberry flowers for eating, be sure to eat just the flowers.
Castor Oil

Castor oil, the bane of many of our childhoods, is regularly added to candies, chocolate, and other foods. Furthermore, many people still consume a small amount daily or force it on their unwilling children. Fortunately the castor oil we buy is carefully prepared, because the castor bean is so deadly, that it takes just one bean to kill a human, and four to kill a horse. The poison is ricin, which is so toxic that workers who collect the seeds have strict safety guidelines to prevent accidental death. Despite this, many people working in the fields gathering the seeds suffer terrible side-effects.
Grow your own castor plant! Buy Giant Zanzibar Castor Seeds at!

Almonds are one of the most useful and wonderful of seeds (it is not a nut as many people would have you believe). It has a unique taste and its excellent suitability for use in cooking have made it one of the most popular ingredients in pastry kitchens for centuries. The most flavorsome almonds are bitter almonds (as opposed to “sweet” almonds). They have the strongest scent and are the most popular in many countries. But there is one problem: they are full of cyanide. Before consumption, bitter almonds must be processed to remove the poison. Despite this requirement, some countries make the sale of bitter almonds illegal (New Zealand regretfully is one of them). As an alternative, you can use the pip from an apricot stone which has a similar flavor and poison content. Heating destroys the poison. In fact, you may not know that it is now illegal in the USA to sell raw almonds – all almonds sold are now heat-treated to remove traces of poison and bacteria.


Cherries are a very popular fruit – used in cooking, liqueur production, or eaten raw. They are from the same family as plums, apricots, and peaches. All of the previously mentioned fruits contain highly poisonous compounds in their leaves and seeds. Almonds are also a member of this family but they are the only fruit which is harvested especially for its seeds. When the seeds of cherries are crushed, chewed, or even slightly injured, they produce prussic acid (hydrogen cyanide). Next time you are eating cherries, remember not to suck on or chew the pip.

Like the previous two items, apple seeds also contain cyanide – but obviously in much smaller doses. Apple seeds are very often eaten accidentally but you would need to chew and consume a fairly high number to get sick. There are not enough seeds in one apple to kill, but it is absolutely possible to eat enough to die. I recommend avoiding apple eating competitions! Incidentally, if you want to eat an apple and find a worm in it (and hopefully not half a worm), you can drop it in a bowl of salt water which will kill the worm.

Rhubarb is a very underrated plant – it produces some of the nicest tasting puddings and is incredibly easy to grow at home. Rhubarb is something of a wonder plant – in addition to an unknown poison in its leaves, they also contain a corrosive acid. If you mix the leaves with water and soda, it becomes even more potent. The stems are edible (and incredibly tasty) and the roots have been used for over 5,000 years as a laxitive and poop-softener.

First off, a little interesting trivia: in the US, thanks to a US Supreme Court decision in 1893, tomatoes are vegetables. In the rest of the world they are considered to be fruit (or more accurately, a berry). The reason for this decision was a tax on vegetables but not fruit. You may also be interested to know that technically, a tomato is an ovary. The leaves and stems of the tomato plant contain a chemical called “Glycoalkaloid” which causes extreme nervousness and stomach upsets. Despite this, they can be used in cooking to enhance flavor, but they must be removed before eating. Cooking in this way does not allow enough poison to seep out but can make a huge difference in taste. Finally, to enhance the flavor of tomatoes, sprinkle a little sugar on them. Now we just need to work out whether they are “toe-mah-toes” or “toe-may-toes”.

Potatoes have appeared in our history books since their introduction to Europe in the 16th century. Unfortunately they appear largely due to crop failure and severe famine, but they will be forever the central vegetable of most western families daily diet. Potatoes (like tomatoes) contain poison in the stems and leaves – and even in the potato itself if left to turn green (the green is due to a high concentration of the glycoalkaloid poison). Potato poisoning is rare, but it does happen from time to time. Death normally comes after a period of weakness and confusion, followed by a coma. The majority of cases of death by potato in the last fifty years in the USA have been the result of eating green potatoes or drinking potato leaf tea.