Oriental fruit flies are one of the biggest scourges to farmers around the globe, often forcing officials to put crops into quarantine just to keep Bactrocera dorsalis shut out. In Taiwan, where the situation is especially dire, scientists are using artificial intelligence tech that can determine, with uncanny accuracy, where and when an outbreak is about to happen.
Now is the time of year when pomegranates are at their sweetest and juiciest. This video celebrates the season in one of our favorite ways: by tossing a pomegranate into our Vitamix blender and filming the vegetarian carnage in ultra-slow motion with the Phantom supercamera.
The giant fungus was found living under a fallen tree. The entire fungus weighs between 800-1,100 pounds.
A half-ton, 33-foot-long fungal fruiting body was discovered growing under a felled tree in China, researchers said. It's the most massive fruiting body — equivalent to a mushroom, in other fungal species — ever discovered.
The giant fungus is estimated to be 20 years old, according to the BBC. It was feeding on rotting wood, which allowed it to reach its prodigious size.
Like this huge fruiting body, mushrooms are actually the spore-bearing fruit of fungus, growing above soil or on top of its food source. The spores produce new generations of fungi.
Astronauts on long space voyages would probably get pretty tired of freeze-dried meals, so scientists have long been trying to figure out how to grow space food to supplement their diets. According to researchers at Purdue University, strawberries may be one space-friendly crop. They say a low-maintenance strawberry cultivar called Seascape would do pretty well in space. It produces fewer berries than other cultivars, but they're bigger and just as tasty.
Researchers at the ever-prolific Fraunhofer Institute have developed a system based around metal oxide sensors to detect whether a fruit is ripe, green, or rotten.
The system is meant to be used primarily by food suppliers, so that they can automatically detect the best moment to deliver pieces of fruit to a store. By using the sensor to detect levels of gasses emitted from fruits (in the test case, a pineapple), they know exactly what condition the fruit is in. And the equipment is as sensitive as the stuff used in food laboratories.
Two "bananeros" -- people claiming to be banana farm workers -- who filed suit against Dole Food Co. claiming pesticides had made them sterile, had their case thrown out of court after a judge cited a "pervasive conspiracy" by the bananeros' attorneys and Nicaraguan judges. (Note: You will have "bananero!" -- sung to the tune of the Canyonero ad on the Simpsons -- stuck in your head all day.)
Also in today's links: how robots see, a look back at the 1976 swine flu outbreak and more.