Categories
Alcohol Science Sustainability

This New Beer From Singapore is Made Using Recycled Sewage

Photo: Facebook

Hailing from the always cutting-edge city of Singapore, NEWBrew is a new blonde ale beer that’s brewed using recycled sewage. 

The unusual concoction came from a collaboration between Brewerkz, a local craft brewery, and Singapore’s national water agency, PUB. While originally announced at a water conference in 2018, it only recently became available to the public in April.

To brew sewage into something sippable, NEWBrew uses NEWater, the country’s brand of drinking water that’s also recycled from sewage. NEWater is made using ultraviolet light to disinfect sewage followed by passing the liquid through advanced membranes and removing contaminant particles. What remains after the process, the brand asserts, is simply clean water. 

Early birds lucky to taste test the beverage say it’s a refreshing, light ale that suits Singapore’s tropical climate perfectly.

With freshwater decreasing around the world, converting recycled sewage into drinking water has attracted support. The country ultimately believes NEWBrew can help to educate Singaporeans on sustainable water use and recycling. 

According to Hindustan Times, the sewage-to-brew libation is slowly becoming a popular trend at breweries in other cities. Stockholm-based Nya Carnegie Brewery teamed with brewing giant Carlsberg and IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute on a purified sewage pilsner while Village Brewery in Canada partnered with researchers from the University of Calgary and US water technology company Xylem for their take.

Time will tell if recycled sewage water beer catches on. In the meantime, Singaporeans can search at their local supermarket for NEWBrew while supplies last.

Categories
Edibles Science

Tastee Tape is the Edible Solution to Poorly Wrapped Burritos

Photo: Tyler Guarino

Created by four US engineering students for a product design course at Baltimore’s John Hopkins University, Tastee Tape is the ingenious answer to poorly wrapped burritos. Anyone who’s had their fair share of burritos, knows to keep a fork handy for the leftover guts. 

Wrapping a burrito is actually a real skill set. The structural integrity can easily be compromised for a number of reasons: too much stuffing, thin tortillas or just plain ol’ bad wrapping. Whatever the case, how well the wrapping job is done lies mostly in the hands of the burrito wrapper.

Tyler Guarino, Erin Walsh, Marie Eric and Rachel Nie are the four masterminds behind Tastee Tape, getting inspiration from a time Walsh was eating a burrito and the tortilla fell open. The burrito-plosion hit at an opportune moment as the four were still unsure what their product design submission would be. Walsh immediately knew it was a problem her team could create a solution for.

Months were spent studying 50 different types of adhesives to figure out the best translation to an edible tape. To accomplish this, they established three main criteria points; it needed to be clear, colorless, taste and texture-less. The result is gluten free and vegan friendly.

For use, Tastee Tape requires that you remove it from a wax paper sheet, wet it, then apply it to the wrap of your choice. They hope to one day use it on a roll like regular tape. 

The four engineering students graduated on Monday and plan to continue developing Tastee Tape.

Categories
Science Technology

NASA-Funded Breakthrough Grows Plants Using Soil from the Moon

Photo: UF/IFAS photo by Tyler Jones

When most people think NASA, space shuttles come to mind. But, besides launching space shuttles and floating around the International Space Station, NASA’s geniuses work on a wide range of interesting things that benefit humankind. 

Back in the day during the Apollo missions, astronauts collected lunar soil and brought it to back to Earth for examination, where the samples were archived for future research. Fast forward 50 years later to now, and scientists from the University of Florida have successfully grown plants using three of those original lunar soil samples.

The achievement happens to align with the NASA-led Artemis program, which is an international collaboration with the primary goal of returning humans to the Moon by 2025. 

Photo: UF/IFAS photo by Tyler Jones

“This research is critical to NASA’s long-term human exploration goals as we’ll need to use resources found on the Moon and Mars to develop food sources for future astronauts living and operating in deep space,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This fundamental plant growth research is also a key example of how NASA is working to unlock agricultural innovations that could help us understand how plants might overcome stressful conditions in food-scarce areas here on Earth.”

The lunar plant babies in question are called Arabidopsis thaliana, a Eurasian and African relative of mustard greens, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. The plant is used often in plant biology studies because it’s relatively small and easy to grow.

The team used samples collected on the Apollo 11, 12 and 17 missions with only a gram of regolith for each plant. A little water, seeds and nutrients produced sprouts from each sample in two days. 

Photo: UF/IFAS photo by Tyler Jones

While they successfully grew plants using lunar regolith, the plants themselves weren’t as robust as Earth soil produce. Nevertheless, this is a significant step towards growing nutrient-rich produce on the Moon for extended lunar visits and addressing the increasing food scarcity on Earth due to climate change. In other words, some day you may be eating veggies grown on the moon. 

“Not only is it pleasing for us to have plants around us, especially as we venture to new destinations in space, but they could provide supplemental nutrition to our diets and enable future human exploration,” said Sharmila Bhattacharya, program scientist with NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS) Division. “Plants are what enable us to be explorers.”

For more information on this significant breakthrough, visit NASA’s website.

Categories
Hacks Humor Products Science Technology

10 Of The Most Hilarious Food Gadgets From ‘Unnecessary Inventions’

Photo: Unnecessary Inventions

Genius quirkster Matty Benedetto, content creator behind Unnecessary Inventions, makes useful products that you don’t really need. Since his start in 2017, Benedetto has invented more than 280 unnecessary products that solve non-existent problems in the most humorous of ways.

To bring his unnecessary ideas to life, Benedetto uses a range of production methods from 3D printing, sewing, laser cutting, woodworking and mold making. The results are equally tongue-in-cheek and “why didn’t I think of that?”

Some of his most hilarious unnecessary inventions come in the form of food products that are meant to support your eating experience. Below, I compiled a list of some of our favorites.

The Burrito Bumper

This nifty creation takes a sustainable approach by turning your burrito debris into tacos. Experienced burrito eaters need not apply.

The Double Dip Snip

Avoid collecting cooties with this unnecessary, though oddly useful, invention The Double Dip Snip. With each dip, you can snip the tip.

Sloppy Slacks

Some foods are best enjoyed sloppily, but constantly having to wipe your hands off can interrupt the grub process. If you’re looking to make a mess in peace, the Sloppy Slacks are just the right answer.

The Noodle Nipper

This unnecessary product may actually nip one of the best parts of eating pasta, the slurp. How often has the slurp, however tasty, caused a splattering of pasta sauce? Get your pasta slurp-free with The Noodle Nipper.

Original Cup Noodles Utility Belt

Let’s face it, Cup Noodles was made to be enjoyed on the go. Taking your noodles to new levels of oodles, the Original Cup Noodles Utility Belt is an 8-in-1 solution for enjoying ramen on the move.

The Munch Muffler

I think we all have that one friend we’d consider the loud eater of the group. The Munch Muffler was invented to quiet down those chomping chewers that eat with their mouths open so you can enjoy your meal in peace.

The Hot Sauce Syringe

While keeping a pack of hot sauce in your bag is common amongst true foodies, The Hot Sauce Syringe takes things to a new level of flavor readiness. It was invented especially to enhance dry burritos that could use a saucy kick.

The Slice Slapper

When you’re ordering pizza for a group of people, it’s difficult to use everyone’s topping of choice. I’m notoriously known for meticulously removing pizza toppings I dislike. The Slice Slapper answers our OCD prayers by instantly removing areas of a pizza slice with unsavory toppings. 

The Cob Quickly

This buttery and suggestive invention will supply your cob with the appropriate amount of slather. With The Cob Quickly, you simply attach a stick of butter to its firm grip center, insert a corn on the cob and get to work. This is sure to be a conversation starter at the next BBQ gathering.

The Sizzling Scooper

The Sizzling Scooper solves the most annoying part of opening up a new pint of tasty ice cream. It melts the solid top layer and makes breaching the initial cold as easy as butter. 

As you can see, while these products were clearly made to be unnecessary, quite a few may actually be the opposite. Benedetto shares new inventions weekly across his social platforms and recently released an Unnecessary Inventions card game which allows you and friends to invent new products that help solve problems. To keep abreast of his crazy creations, you can follow his socials here.

Categories
Science Technology

This Place in Japan Sells Coffee Roasted by Visually Impaired Workers

Photo: The Asahi Shimbun

A Japan-based welfare workshop named Ryoke Green Gables has received a big reaction following a decision to employ visually impaired workers to roast coffee beans.

The idea was conceived by Koji Katogi, the president of the nonprofit organization, Minori, which operates the workshop. Katogi was inspired by his time as a teacher at a prefectural special needs school for the visually impaired. He was aware of challenges visually impaired workers face in the job market and wanted to create opportunities. It’s likely thanks to his experience the genius idea of roasting coffee beans came to mind.

Using an open flame, workers can discern the readiness based upon time and sound. Timing determines the flavor and a one-second difference can impact taste positively or negatively. After several trial runs, taste tests resulted in rave reviews with lucky participants remarking, “This is exactly what it tastes like,” and “It tastes just like Guatemala,” while others suggested that the beans “should be roasted a little more.”

Through these exchanges, they continued to make improvements, and the beans were even praised as “tastier than those of imported grocery chains.”

Photo: The Asahi Shimbun

They decided to name their new coffee bean product Bokura wa Mimi de Baisen o suru, which means “We roast coffee by ear.” Last December, during the holiday season, sales of the special roast reached around 400,000 yen (about $3,260), accounting for 60% to 70% of the facility’s total revenue.

Kento Ikuta, the coffee bean roasting leader, was previously unable to pursue his desired career. Ryoke Green Gables gave him the opportunity to put his skills to great use.

“At first I wasn’t sure if I could do it. Now, I am happy because we get a lot of orders. I want to continue roasting so that people will say, ‘This is delicious,'” he beamed.

Categories
Design Science Sweets

NUDAKE Makes the Quirkiest Ads for Their Designer Desserts 

Photo: @nu_dake

NUDAKE is an artistic dessert concept by designer eyewear brand GENTLE MONSTER. Originating in South Korea, GENTLE MONSTER focuses on experiential retail by creating fully immersive shopping experiences. A recent opening in Shanghai, China suitably titled Haus Shanghai, involved a six-legged walking robot, horses with mechanical tails, and even a giant moving robot face. Looking to further explore the world of experiential retail, GENTLE MONSTER has taken their unique approach to the world of desserts. 

Their latest design venture, NUDAKE, is a quirky yet gourmet dessert bakery whose offerings look more like pieces of art. From a creamy cloud looking carrot cake to their latest seasonal fruit extravagance the Picnic Cake, these delicious sweets aren’t for faithful traditionalists.

To help immerse followers fully into their design aesthetic, NUDAKE creates wildly imaginative commercials which are equal parts curious, offbeat, and funny. Below, I’ve put together a list of my favorites that are sure to flip your expectations upside down.

PICNIC CAKE

The seasonal fruit ‘Picnic’ cake is composed of a multi-grain bread basket filled with almond cream, topped with cream cheese and finished with green and red grapes that packs a sweet, nutty and creamy taste. With its unique bread basket structure, one might not know how to take the first bite. Thankfully, the commercial clearly recommends the “fingers-first” approach. 

CAULI CAKE

NUDAKE’s Cauli Cake looks like an artistic vegetable medley. Arranged to resemble a cloud, fresh and crunchy cauliflower is used to top a secret sweetness while spears of asparagus shoot from the center. Hidden beneath the veggie exterior is a sweet explosion of delectable carrot cake with cream cheese and saffron icing. 

PEAK CHRISTMAS EDITION

In honor of the holiday season, NUDAKE created a Christmas Edition based on their signature Peak Cake. The Peak Christmas Edition features a crisp, flakey and buttery pastry with pure white mascarpone-based cream. Sheep candles and herbs decorate this rich and tasty dessert, serving as its cherry on top. The super creative commercial above was inspired by a playlist curated by Closet Yi.

FIG TERRINE

Reminiscent of a sushi bar, this commercial previews NUDAKE’s fig terrine, made to perfectly accompany any meal. The fig terrine offers a sweet and salty bite, enhanced by flavors of rosemary sable, rare cheese cream, soft dried figs and grapefruit lime gel. Surprisingly enough, it also pairs nicely with tea or wine. 

COLOSSEO

NUDAKE creates what looks like a mascarpone jacuzzi in this artsy commercial for their Colosseo. Featuring the crunchy texture of a black cocoa crust combined with the sweet yet gentle flavors of mascarpone filling, the Colosseo is an unassuming yet stylish cheesecake delicacy.

Currently, these unique sweets are only available in select countries in Asia, so the rest of us will have to satisfy our sweet tooth using our imagination.

Categories
Packaged Food Plant-Based Products Science What's New

Current Foods Just Set A Guinness World Record with Plant-Based Ceviche

Photo: Current Foods

Current Foods has been making major waves with their wildly innovative take on plant-based seafood. Using science, along with boundless imagination, the new company has created products with the taste, texture, and appearance of actual seafood. Besides great flavors, their products are packed with nutrition that includes omega-3, iron, and vitamin B-12.

Choosing to not go with the flow, Current Foods is charting territory previously avoided by other brands that offer plant-based seafood. The best part is the ingredients, which are simple and easy to pronounce. For texture, they use bamboo and potato. Radish and tomato provide the color, while protein comes from algae and peas. 

Photo: Current Foods

For people with plant-based lifestyles or those interested in including more greens into their diets, this is the sunken treasure we’ve been waiting for. Their initial offerings include Current Tuna, which is available in four flavors: Original, Roasted Sesame, Yuzu Chipotle, and Ginger Tamarind. The second offering is their Current Salmon and comes in Smoked Black Pepper and Original Smoked. 

After a soft-launch last year, Current Foods is preparing to flood the US market. They were just awarded the Guinness World Records title for alternative seafood, a notable achievement.

To secure the title, they crafted a massive, record-setting 589 pounds of plant-based ceviche using their signature Current Tuna. Following the achievement, the ceviche was distributed to food programs around the Bay Area. Jacek Prus, CEO and co-founder of Current Foods expresses the significance of the recognition:

“Having Current Foods be forever part of GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS is representative of our company goal to blend the inventive with the familiar and reimagine the way we eat. GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS is a storied institution. Seafood is a diet staple. Seafood made from plants however, is what we hope to make a new classic. And, we want to do this in a big way. Literally and figuratively.”

Prus founded the company in 2019 along with food technologist and Chief Science Officer, Sònia Hurtado.

Photo: Current Foods

Current Foods’ products are not only made for vegans, but for all diet lifestyles. They provide the benefits of actual seafood without the mercury or micro-plastics. Pre-order for their Original Tuna Cubes and Original Tuna Filet is now available. You can use the promo code: nextfrontier to get 4 packs for the price of 3.

Expect a wider release this year as they roll out nationwide to restaurants, retail, and e-commerce. Fans can follow their journey here, I’ve no doubt they’ll be making even bigger splashes in the future.

Plant-based seafood is here to stay and growing, making for an exciting time in food innovation.

Categories
Science Sustainability

NASA Explains How Climate Change Will Impact Our Food Supply

Despite being kind of distracted the past two years with other major issues, climate change has still been having an impact on our environment. Unpredictable weather patterns are increasing and one area sure to experience changes in the coming years is our food supply.

I had the pleasure of talking to Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Dr. Rosenzweig, along with many NASA scientists compile independent analysis with the help of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Their work discovered that 2021 tied with 2018 as the sixth warmest year of all time. Additionally, the past eight years have been the warmest consecutively since modern record keeping began in 1880. Increased heat isn’t good news for our food supply.

Photo: unknown camera

California has become well known for its drought conditions due to heatwaves. An important piece to our food industry, the state produces two-thirds of all fruits and nuts grown in the U.S. Each year the summer heat quickly turns the greenery of spring to brown. Between the period of 1980 to 2000, Los Angeles only experienced six extreme heat days annually, now the city is expecting an increase to 22 days.

When unpredictable weather causes changes to soil, it can affect critical growing periods and water use, resulting in lesser yield and higher costs. Droughts, downpours and flooding are the most common causes of crop loss. 

Crops are already being impacted — NASA’s Global Temperature Update projects a -24% decrease in corn by the end of the century if greenhouse emissions continue rising (Jonas Jaegermeyr 2021).

Potatoes are harder to project due to the number of varieties, which means some types will be negatively impacted while others are affected positively. Ultimately, considerable increases in heat or rainfall will negatively impact crops, and livestock as well (SRCCL 2019).

Photo: NX2000

Climate change is a slow process, which makes it tricky to talk about. But each of us hold the power to combat climate change by making small lifestyle changes here and there. At the very least, it’s important to be informed on these matters.

To inspire small lifestyle changes, NASA has many resources and initiatives available to the public. Alternatively, here are more specific ways each of us can work on reducing our carbon footprint. Hopefully with more awareness we’ll be able to ensure a future where our bellies stay full.