Food

Annual Ice Harvest Evokes Pre-Fridge Era in New York

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 2, 2005   View Article

On a hot summer day, few things beat a bowl of old-fashioned, homemade strawberry ice cream. This June, residents of Tully, New York, will get just such an authentic treat, right down to the ice used to freeze the cream.

The ice was hauled out of the town’s Green Lake this February during the annual Tully Ice Harvest. The 18-inch-by-18-inch (46-centimeter-by-46-centimeter) chunks of frozen water are currently packed with insulating sawdust in the town’s ice shed.

No Nuts, No Problem: Squirrels Harvest Maple Syrup

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 18, 2005   View Article

Though daylight lingers longer this time of year, winter’s grip remains strong, and many critters’ food stores are running low. How do they survive?

“There’s always some mechanism that allows animals to make it through the winter as a species,” said John Serrao, a naturalist in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.

Potato Vaccine for Hepatitis B: Syringes off the Menu?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 15, 2005   View Article

Scientists have shown that, for hepetitis B vaccine, genetically modified potatoes may be an alternative to the syringe and needle.

The hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes liver failure and liver cancer. Despite the availability of a safe, injectable vaccine, the virus currently infects an estimated 350 million people worldwide and kills about a million people every year.

True Axis of Evil Is Poverty, Pollution, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 13, 2005   View Article

Acts of terrorism like the September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. are a worst-case symptom of global insecurity brought about by the festering interplay among poverty, infectious disease, and environmental degradation—the true “axis of evil,” according to the Worldwatch Institute in its State of the World 2005 report.

The Washington, D.C.-based research group released its annual report Wednesday. It concludes that until these conditions—and compounding factors such as the spread of small arms—are fiercely fought, political instability, warfare, and extremism will continue to thrive.

Vintage Wine Records Trace Climate Change to 1300s

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 17, 2004   View Article

Connoisseurs may pore over grape-harvest records in search of the perfect vintage of wine. But a team of French scientists and historians is toasting the same records for the insights they yield on past climate.

In Burgundy, France, as in other parts of Europe, the first officially decreed day of grape harvesting has been carefully noted in parish and municipal archives for at least 600 years.

Can Wild Bees Take Sting From Honeybee Decline

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 20, 2004   View Article

Decades of disease and overuse of pesticides have put the squeeze on populations of the domesticated honeybee. As a result, farmers are increasingly left with fields of flowering crops that fail to bear fruit.

Since some 15 to 30 percent of the food we humans eat directly or indirectly depend on the pollination services of bees, scientists say the problem threatens to take some excitement—and potentially abundance—from our diets.

Bee Decline May Spell End of Some Fruits, Vegetables

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 5, 2004   View Article

Bees, via pollination, are responsible for 15 to 30 percent of the food U.S. consumers eat. But in the last 50 years the domesticated honeybee population—which most farmers depend on for pollination—has declined by about 50 percent, scientists say.

Unless actions are taken to slow the decline of domesticated honeybees and augment their populations with wild bees, many fruits and vegetables may disappear from the food supply, said Claire Kremen, a conservation biologist at Princeton University in New Jersey.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach