When Popular Science was acquired by Sweden's Bonnier Corporation in 2007, some people thought we'd be eating surströmming, the legendary Scandinavian delicacy of fish left to ferment in cans till the cans almost burst, every day. But in fact, the famously putrid herring has been utterly absent from these shores -- until today, when Dave Arnold invited me to come crack open a (ominously bulging) can of it that he'd smuggled back from Sweden. Scientific curiosity demanded that I investigate.
Al Jazeera just published a thoroughly disturbing report on the deformed fish and shellfish that are being pulled from the Gulf in the wake of the BP oil spill. Shrimp without eyes or even eye sockets, snapper with large pink growths, undersized and misshapen crabs--the fishermen in the Gulf that Al Jazeera talked to have never seen anything like it.
In the latest issue of Soft Matter, a team of biochemists from Kyoto University show off their latest creation: a crab shell that came from a normal crab, but which has been made as clear as glass. The hapless crustacean's chitinous exoskeleton was treated with hydrochloric acid, lye, and ethyl alcohol, which removed all the pigments, proteins, and whatnot while leaving the chitin substrate intact.
When time travel finally becomes possible, we might want to think twice about getting it on. According to a new study on tiny shrimp (Artemia franciscana), sex with partners from a different time could kill you.
De-bearded mussels are not only delicious — soon, they might improve medical implants. Scientists can now reproduce the sticky gloop that mussels use to anchor themselves to rocks, leading to a new breed of self-healing, waterproof elastic adhesives that can be used for underwater materials or even for biomedical applications.
Never a part of the world to let common sense stand in the way of a good vending machine, China has now invented a machine that, for the equivalent of a couple of dollars, pops out a live crab. The Shanghai hairy crabs, prized for their roe and sweet meat, are stored in the crab-o-mat at a near-freezing temperature, which keeps them alive but in a motionless state of hibernation. If your crab is dead when it comes out of the machine, you get three more crabs for free, guaranteed!
Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi has successfully lifted off from Baikonur Space Center on the steppes of Kazakhstan, bringing with him the first sushi in space.
"We had a training in Japan and I was stupid enough to train [my fellow astronauts] to be sushi lovers," he told Reuters.
Whether they're tossed with Old Bay and served in a sandwich, fried at Great NY Noodle Town, or sauteed as a base for pasta, soft shell crabs always come out delicious. Unfortunately, this delicacy is only available a few times a year. But hopefully not for long.