Less sugar…More muscle!

Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have shown that skeletal muscle satellite cells, key players in muscle repair, proliferate better in low glucose environments. This is contrary to conventional wisdom that says mammalian cells fare better when there is more sugar to fuel their activities. Because ultra-low glucose environments do not allow other cell types to proliferate, the team could produce pure cultures of satellite cells, potentially a significant boost for biomedical research.

Healthy muscles are an important part of a healthy life. With the wear and tear of everyday use, our muscles continuously repair themselves to keep them in top condition. In recent years, scientists have begun to understand how muscle repair works at the cellular level. Skeletal muscle satellite cells have been found to be particularly important, a special type of stem cell that resides between the two layers of sheathing, the sarcolemma and basal lamina, that envelopes myofiber cells in individual muscle fibers. When myofiber cells get damaged, the satellite cells go into overdrive, multiplying and finally fusing with myofiber cells. This not only helps repair damage, but also maintains muscle mass. To understand how we lose muscles due to illness, inactivity, or age, getting to grips with the specific mechanisms involved is a key challenge for medical science.

Click through to the original article. Even the unanswered questions are interesting. A topic worth tracking.

Preparing cicadas every 17 years

While snacking on a cicada may not be your idea of a delicious treat, they’re high in protein, low-fat, low-carb, gluten-free and, over the course of the next several weeks, will be plentiful and fairly easy to forage. The clock is ticking, though.

Jenna Jadin, an entomologist who wrote “Cicada-Licious,” the definitive cicada cookbook in 2004, says the bugs are best to eat shortly after they’ve hatched, before their exoskeletons have hardened. Early morning is the ideal time to catch them. Cicadas with hardened shells should be boiled before eating. Never forage cicadas that are already dead.

So, how do they taste? Bon Appetit says cicadas are similar to soft-shell crab, “but with subtle overtones of boiled peanuts, the kind only a backroads gas station can really do right.”

RTFA. Try it! I did…34 years ago back East. My friends who did the catching and cooking did pretty much Wild Food Italian 101 using good extra virgin olive oil and garlic chunks to wok fry ’em…like one of the recipes in this article.

Eat processed meat daily – increase your risk of dementia!

Man, I love bacon – I eat it about 8 times a year!

Scientists from the University of Leeds’s Nutritional Epidemiology Group used data from 500,000 people, discovering that consuming a 25g serving of processed meat a day, the equivalent to one rasher of bacon, is associated with a 44% increased risk of developing dementia.

But their findings also show eating some unprocessed red meat, such as beef, pork, or veal, could be protective, as people who consumed 50g a day were 19% less likely to develop dementia.

The researchers were exploring a potential link between consumption of meat and the development of dementia, a health condition that affects 5%-8% of over 60s worldwide.

Their results, titled “Meat consumption and risk of incident dementia: cohort study of 493888 UK Biobank participants,” are published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

RTFA. Learn something new. Switch on your little gray cells…and respond consciously, thoughtfully, to live your life a bit healthier.

NatGeo Instagram Pic of the Day

Corey Arnold/Nat Geo

A black bear cub strolls gingerly along a backyard porch railing in Asheville, North Carolina. Urban black bears are a fixture of life in the city, scouring neighborhoods for acorns, unattended bird feeders, and unsecured garbage, says Corey Arnold, a photographer and Nat Geo Explorer. His image (above), which got nearly a half-million likes in a week on our Instagram page, is part of an upcoming Nat Geo story about urban wildlife in America.

Fertile Soil Gone From Midwestern Farms

Evan Thaler/NPR

Farming has destroyed a lot of the rich soil of America’s Midwestern prairie. A team of scientists just came up with a staggering new estimate for just how much has disappeared…

The new study emerged from a simple observation, one that people flying over Midwestern farms can confirm for themselves. The color of bare soil varies, and that variation is related to soil quality.

The soil that’s darkest in color is widely known as topsoil. Soil scientists call this layer the “A-horizon.” It’s the “black, organic, rich soil that’s really good for growing crops,” says Evan Thaler, a Ph.D. student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

It’s full of living microorganisms and decaying plant roots, also called organic carbon. When settlers first arrived in the Midwest, it was everywhere, created from centuries of accumulated prairie grass. Plowing, though, released much of the trapped carbon, and topsoil was also lost to wind and water erosion. The soil that remains is often much lighter in color.

RTFA. The history isn’t unknown. The effects are still (sometimes) debated. It takes many tons of additives annually to keep productivity and profitability close to each other. Healthy? That’s another question.

Farmer Bill

According to the Tri-City Herald, a 14,500-acre swath of choice eastern Washington farmland in the Horse Heaven Hills of Benton County had just traded hands for almost $171 million. That’s a ginormous deal, one that pencils out to almost $12,000 per acre for a whole lot of acres. Pretty pricey dirt, right? That’s exactly what I thought. Especially when it comes to row crops like sweet corn and wheat, which were grown in rotation with potatoes on 100 Circles, which is the name of the property that changed hands.

Then again, farmers and investors in the Mid-Columbia River market expect to pay $10,000 to $15,000 for good ground. Anyone who has ever studied the Columbia River Basin knows that the tillable acreage there is coveted ground, a geologic wonder. The soil profile and underlying silty loess are in a league of their own.

Tens of thousands of acres? [In 2018] Only sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors can stroke a check for tracts in that league, which is exactly what occurred on the sell side of the 100 Circles transaction: The seller was John Hancock Life Insurance, a multibillion-dollar asset manager with key holdings in all the major U.S. markets as well as Canada and Australia.

The story went dark on the buy side, however.

Eric O’Keefe, the author of this piece, then launches into research and analysis in his attempt to scope out the purchaser. All interesting. All part of his experience in agriculture. And he found out nothing.

The smart thing to do is find another expert better than you are. He turned the question over to SUCCESSFUL FARMING’S Land Report 100 Research Team. Minutes later, a terse response arrived:

“Ever hear of Bill Gates?”

Luxury Style “Doomsday Preppers”

Everyone needs macaroni and cheese with a 25-year shelf life

This was the year that coronavirus fears turned American shoppers into hoarders. There have been widespread shortages on products like toilet paper, hand sanitizer and flour as people prepared for the long stretches of isolation that have become commonplace during the pandemic.

But for one segment of the population, preparing for the worst was a way of life even before the pandemic. “Preppers” or “survivalists,” as they’re known, have been around for years, buying elaborate survival kits, yearlong supplies of nonperishable foods and even elaborate underground bunkers.

Clyde Scott’s Rising S company, for instance, makes an $8.4 million bunker from its Luxury Series, called “The Aristocrat.” The bunker can sleep more than m 50 people and it features a fitness center, gaming rooms, swimming pool, gun range and a greenhouse. The company also makes a mini-bunker that’s eight-by-five-feet for $39,500…

There are Doomsday Preppers and Luxury Doomsday Preppers. Just like our class society. Working class and hardly-ever-working class inhabit opposite ends of the income scale. The daffiest by far I find at the luxury end of the scale. Folks who are consumed by fear of imminent disaster may inhabit both populations; but, having a luxury budget makes for differentiation in survivalist lifestyle, as well as in posh gated communities and at your friendly neighborhood Ferrari dealership.