Bulgarian yogurt in space, Science names hodgepodge, Sickens and the nose, Pomelo Penetration

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has four segments. Here are bits of each of them:

  • Bulgarian yogurt in space — “Can Bulgarian yogurt enhance astronauts’ performance during the Mars missions?” ask Izabela Shopova, Diana Bogueva, Maria Yotova and Svetla Danova in their study of that name published in the Journal of Ethnic Foods.The researchers had seven people prepare and eat Bulgarian-style yogurt – made with Lactobacillus delbrueckiisubsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. The seven were, at that time, members of “a team of analog astronauts participating in a two-week analog mission in a closed, Mars-like environment at the Mars Desert Research Station in the Utah desert, the USA”. These stay-down-to-Earth astronauts were not, most of them, naive yogurt eaters….
  • In the names of science — Considered all together, the scientific names of living critters are a miscellany of hodgepodges. Richard Wakeford alerts Feedback to an attempt, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, to savour the variety.In their paper “Naming the menagerie: Creativity, culture and consequences in the formation of scientific names“, Stephen B. Heard at the University of New Brunswick, and Julia J. Mlynarek at the Montreal Insectarium, both in Canada, sketch the manyness – and rue its difficulties….
  • Sikkens, from the nose — Healthcare workers (HCW), consider yourself warned. “Nose picking among HCW is associated with an increased risk of contracting a SARS-CoV-2 infection,” says a study called “Why not to pick your nose: Association between nose picking and SARS-CoV-2 incidence, a cohort study in hospital health care workers” in the journal PLoS One. It was written by Jonne J. Sikkens and five colleagues at Vrije University Amsterdam in the Netherlands. (Sikkens, Feedback notes, is obviously another name in the long annals of nominative determinism.) Healthcare workers, please also consider, if only a little, the emotional side of nose picking….
  • Penetrating question — Can light penetrate through pomelos and carry information?The question is addressed in a study called “Can light penetrate through pomelos and carry information for the non-destructive prediction of soluble solid content using Vis-NIRS?” Hao Tian and colleagues at Zhejiang University, China, published it in the journal Biosystems Engineering. Pomelos are ancestors of grapefruits….

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