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knitnut.net: The edible helium balloon!

I don’t have an actual bucket list, but if I did, inhaling helium would have been on it. I finally got my chance to do it a couple of weeks ago, in the most unlikely of places. An edible helium balloon was served as a dessert course in a fancy restaurant!

I took GC to Atelier for a very special birthday dinner. It’s tucked away in a nondescript house on Rochester near Carling, and from the street it looks like nothing special. There’s no sign, and no hint that it’s even a restaurant. Inside it’s pretty understated too – it’s (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: GMO labeling shows that "states’ rights" is just a convenient lie for the GOP

Imagine that the Democrats wanted to pass a federal law requiring food companies to label their products if they contained genetically modified organisms. What would be the Republican response? Undoubtedly a big piece of their argument would be the appeal to states’ rights. That is, the federal government shouldn’t be going around impose their will and view on the states, and that it would be horribly wrong for the federla Democrats to impose their view on GMO labelling on the states.

Except, the US House did this exactly backwards. The Republicans (with some Democratic support) have passed a GMO labelling (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Eating Less Meat is Getting More Popular

Having a vegetarian or vegan diet can be difficult for some people even though such a diet can make you happier than meat eaters. The message that eating less meat is being heard though – the benefits of a reduced meat diet are huge.

By eating less meat you can: save wildlife, save the environment, live longer, and even help save our forests.

To help people eat less meat (even though it’s already easy) there’s a new movement that people can identify with: reducetarian.

According to Mintel’s report, though, the rise of vacillating, part-time vegetarians who (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Finally Americans Are Eating Less

The obesity problem in the USA may start to shrink. After years of constantly increasing they caloric intake Americans seem to be getting the message that eating too much can be bad for you. This is the first year that caloric intake has decreased and hopefully it’s a trend of things to come.

As calorie consumption has declined, obesity rates appear to have stopped rising for adults and school-aged children and have come down for the youngest children, suggesting the calorie reductions are making a difference. … The reversal appears to stem from people’s growing realization that they were harming (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Scared to Dumpster Dive For Food?

Don’t be. Be proud about recovering good food that has been wasted.

If you’re staying away because of a fear you might have to pay a ticket, in the unlikely case you’re ticketed for some messed-up bylaw in your city? Rob will pay your fine.

If you get arrested or ticketed for dumpster diving for food I promise to pay the ticket(s), get media coverage to the issue, and make sure that you are in safe hands. I will even travel to your town to be there in person if it will add to the positive impact of the event.

(Read more…)

Scripturient: The Geometry and Toplogy of Pasta

I’ve always had a geeky appreciation – and awe – of mathematics. I have spent countless hours tinkering with programs that create math-based designs like fractals and Spirograph-style curves. As a young teenager I spent hours playing with an oscilloscope making sound waves dance on the tiny screen. But I never really thought much about […]

Scripturient: More Pasta Making

My first attempt at ravioli was, I admit, a disaster. But you learn from trying what you need to do the next time. And you also learn from reading what tools you might need to do better. Sure, you can make ravioli and other stuffed pasta by hand, but what I wanted was a plaque. […]

Things Are Good: A New Documentary Looking Into Food Production

Voices of Transition is a new documentary film with limited release but you can buy it online now! The film examines how we grow our food and ideas around how to make the whole agriculture system make more sense.

The film deals with community building, resilience and sustainability through urban farming. It draws on the experience of community and organic farming initiatives in France, the UK and Cuba and highlights how environmental and economic challenges to our current food system can be turned into positive stories, help create resilient communities, and to build a future in which soils and people (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Soylent is here, and its not green

Soylent Purple is purple people? They’d be purple people eaters.

It’s an actual meal replacement product that you make the day before, put into your fridge, and eat as liquid meals the next day.

“I wouldn’t eat you, cause you’re so tough!”

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Shared Knowledge Conference – Regina

These videos are from the second day of the Shared Knowledge Conference at the Core Ritchie Centre, the second weekend of June.

Jim Elliott with many interesting (and terrifying) facts about Regina’s watershed system.

We are on the Plaza @MarketRegina today. Find us beside @TrogiFoods #honey #salsa pic.twitter.com/wGd2bYiBVB

— Zee-Bee Honey® (@_zeebeehoney_) June 24, 2015

James and Brooke of Sound Solar Systems:

Next, I presented on Bitcoin and alternate currencies being used to build alternate economies apart from the monetary systems provided by governments.

Dan B. of Tradebank Regina

Lindsay H. wraps up with what’s in store for (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Saskboy’s Abandoned Stuff: Shared Knowledge Conference – Regina

Scripturient: Resting, Relaxing and Rising

I’ve been reading of late about gluten. How it works, how it develops, why it matters. Gluten is the key to good bread and pasta (the gluten-free fadists notwithstanding, gluten-free anything is an aberration that should be shunned by anyone not diagnosed with celiac disease*). I’m learning more about how gluten links with itself to […]

Scripturient: Update: expanding my pasta making

I’ve just ordered a pasta extruder – the Marcato “Regina” pasta machine, which I expect to arrive in another week. This will allow me to make hollow pasta types like penne and rigatoni, not just the flat varieties I’ve been making to date. The machine got fairly good reviews online at various cooking sites. These […]

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: The Boom With the Bomb Train Boom

CBC is a funny beast now. Along with their story parroting what the latest Canadian Energy Research Initiative report says, is RBC/tarsands shill Amanda Lang staring at you from the sidebar. Also we learn about “Dollarama’s winning formula” of selling Chinese mass produced garbage to Canadians, a “retail success story”, and again with “Amanda Lang takes you inside the world of business.”

Back to the oil train story. Outpacing oil trains apparently are wheat and coal. Coal shouldn’t even be burned anymore, now that we know how deadly and damaging it is. The report makes no mention of the (Read more…)

Scripturient: The Paleo-Fantasy

Perhaps the best – and certainly the funniest – description of what happens to your life when you pursue pseudoscience fads like the “paleo” diet is here on Popsugar. It’s laugh-aloud funny and too good not to be shared. I loved so many lines it’s hard to pick one or two, but from the description […]

Scripturient: Late Spring Pastas

I’m still working on a formula for the perfect pasta dough, trying different mixes of flour and other ingredients to get both the best consistency and taste. And to experiment with texture so the pasta has the best mouth feel. I make fresh pasta once or twice a week now. My efforts so far have […]

The Common Sense Canadian: Agricultural Land Commission CEO fired by BC Liberal govt

Peace River Valley farmland (Damien Gillis)

Read this May 14 story by the Richmond Review on the BC Liberal government’s decision to fire Agricultural Land Commission CEO Richard Bullock after he pushed back on the province’s erosion farmland protections.

The B.C. government has fired Agricultural Land Commission board chair and CEO Richard Bullock, and will pay out his five-year contract until it ends in November, Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick said Thursday.

Bullock will be replaced effective immediately by long-time Saanich mayor Frank Leonard, who was voted out after nearly 20 years in last fall’s civic elections.

Letnick said with (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: American and Canadian Food Waste Both Staggering

Here’s a very interesting and instructive blog post about American food waste.

See Stunning Photos of What Rob Greenfield Finds After Dumpster Diving Across America http://t.co/vXbwgqi5Is pic.twitter.com/OALsW3lT0n

— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch) April 30, 2015

As my last blog entry on food waste, Rob Greenfield brought the previous link to my attention. Canada’s $31,000,000,000.00/year of wasted food has to change, as does America’s “food waste fiasco“.

Everything you need to know about #FoodWaste in 11 short films. #DonateNotDump http://t.co/cKhZ10jxSx pic.twitter.com/M7qhamxvhq

— Rob Greenfield (@RobJGreenfield) April 22, 2015

Regina lost one of (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: New interactive map reveals largest farmland exclusion in ALR history for Site C Dam

Screen capture from www.arcgis.com

“On April 8, 2015, with the stroke of a pen, the BC Government made the largest exclusion of land from the Agricultural Land Reserve in BC history,” said Hudson’s Hope Mayor Gwen Johansson, upon the release of a new interactive map which visualizes the enormous loss.

“Without Agricultural Land Commission review or public hearings, 3715 hectares (9180 acres) of ALR land was removed from production for Site C dam.”

Yet the overall impact of the dam on BC’s increasingly scarce agricultural land base is even worse than that, according to two expert agrologists who presented their findings (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Seoul Starts Vertical Farming

Vertical farming is a possible food production solution as suburban sprawl consumes arable land. The new style of farming essentially is a farm in a skyscraper; they have yet to demonstrate commercial value but it’s inevitable that these farms will be normal fixtures in urban centres; Korea wants to be on the leading edge of this.

The farms would be three stories high, with vegetables and crops grown on the second and third floors, while the first floor would serve as a classroom for teaching agriculture, city officials said Tuesday.

The farms will be computer controlled to provide the right (Read more…)

reeves report: Toronto Fish Health Improving – But You Can’t Eat Them Yet

Local man fishing in Toronto Harbour.

THE LATEST STUDY from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the University of Toronto analyzed government data on mercury, dioxin/furans and polychlorinated biphenyl(PCB) in local and migratory fish populations from 1975 to 2011.

What they found was not surprising, per se, but it did confirm that efforts to curb pollution in the Toronto waterfront over the past four decades have shown positive results in the health of sport fishes, said Satyendra Bhavsar, a research scientist with the ministry and the universities of Toronto and Windsor.

Their study, published in (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Grocery Wars: Lessons from Canada’s Changing Retail Landscape

As Target Canada tumbled into bankruptcy, Loblaw announced that its fourth-quarter profits more than doubled. What can be learned from this tale of two retailers?

The main reason for Loblaw’s surge was its acquisition of Shoppers Drug Mart last March, which turned it into Canada’s largest grocer and pharmacy chain. Shoppers contributed $3 billion to Loblaw’s $11.4 billion take in sales, a 50% jump. Profits more than doubled from the previous year as Loblaw also saw cost savings from the merger. The irony behind this success story is that it was likely Target’s arrival on the retail (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Drinking Coffee Regularly Decreases DNA Damage

I start my day with coffee and writing a post about good news. Today those two things merged rather well: it turns out drinking coffee regularly can lower the chances that one’s DNA will get messed up.

DNA is always doing bizarre things and if those things get too bizarre then it can cause some very bad mutations. For some reason coffee keeps your DNA doing the right thing.

As one commentator on Reddit said:

Their findings indicate that those who drank 750 ml (~3 cups) of coffee per day experienced 27% fewer strand breaks in white blood cells than (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: The Hobbit Ends

I saw the last Hobbit [8/10] movie on Friday, with Jeri. We had food at Montana’s just before. I had the veggie feta burger and it was very good, it tasted just like a meat burger. My distant cousin ended up being seated at the table next to us.

The most exciting part of the movie was in the first ten minutes, but it was overall enjoyable. It was plain that if you hadn’t seen earlier installations of this series, you’d feel a bit left-out. The part of the plot depending upon the Dwarf king’s promise was a bit weakened (Read more…)

Things Are Good: A Veggie Diet Could Prolong Your Life

There are tons of benefits from having a vegetarian diet from improved individual health to having less of an impact on the environment. Now there’s one more reason to have a vegetarian diet, or at least something close to one, it’ll help you live longer.

Scientists have long believed that an ultra low calorie diet – aproximately 60 per cent of normal levels – can lead to greater longevity.

But now a team of British researchers have discovered that the key to the effect is a reduction in a specific protein and not the total number of calories.

That means (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: ‘Tis the Season to Rethink Our Charitable Giving

This op-ed by yours truly was published in The Province. The examples are BC-specific, but the message is much broader: donating to charity is not enough, we also have to change the status quo that forces so many people to turn to charity in a rich country like Canada.

It’s December, the season for charitable giving. Wherever you turn you see boxes and bins collecting non-perishable food items for the local food bank or toys for the less fortunate children in our communities.

The cashier asks if you want to add a $2 donation to your purchase. You donate (Read more…)