Friday, June 02, 2006

Home-made cake not allowed: "He was born before the discovery of antibiotics and survived the Depression and two world wars, yet staff at a day centre run by Age Concern decided that it was too much of a risk to let him eat a slice of home-made birthday cake. The Madeira cake was baked for the 96-year-old man by Elaine Richards, a retired district nursing sister and a member of the Women's Institute. But when Mrs Richards, who is in her 70s, tried to deliver the cake to her elderly friend, who does not wish to be identified, her contribution to the birthday fare was rejected because of food and hygiene rules. She was told by staff at the day centre in Barnstaple, North Devon, that only shop-bought cakes were acceptable. Two hours before she was due to attend the party, Mrs Richards received a phone call from the charity's director in Barnstaple, who was aware of her offering. Mrs Richards said: "At first I thought she was joking. I've been making cakes for 60 years and have fed a family of four on my cooking - and the worst they've had is a bit of indigestion from eating too much." Andrea Scott, from Age Concern, apologised for upsetting Mrs Richards, but said that food regulation guidelines had to be followed to protect people in her care."

Chocolate-powered cars? "Chocoholic germs can provide hydrogen, the clean-burning energy of the future, New Scientist reports. British scientists fed Escherichia coli bacteria a diluted mix of waste caramel and nougat. The germs tucked into the sugar and in the process produced hydrogen, using their own enzyme, called hydrogenase. The hydrogen was used to power a fuel cell, generating enough electricity to drive a small fan. The experiment has applications far beyond the lab. Waste chocolate, instead of being thrown away by confectionary companies, could be turned into hydrogen and used to help power their factories or sold to energy companies. The British team, led by Lynne Mackaskie at the University of Birmingham, central England, got the same bacteria to tuck into catalytic converters from old cars. The bacteria cleverly recovered the precious metal palladium after they were immersed in a vat with hydrogen and liquid waste from spent converters. The work is reported in full in the specialist journal, Biochemical Society Transactions."

Hopeful fatso thrown out of court: "A Manhattan judge has thrown out a proposed class-action lawsuit by an overweight man who blamed his physical condition on more caloric-than-advertised CremaLita ice cream. CremaLita had countered that their lower-calorie ice cream wasn't Stephen Brandt's problem - it was his "heart attack diet." "What Brandt fails to mention," the company's lawyer said in court papers, "is that he regularly eats real ice cream, McDonald's and Wendy's cheeseburgers, french fries, pepperoni pizza, beer, corn chips, donuts, cookies, hard cheese, eggs, bagels, peanut butter, Chinese take-out meals and pasta, [and] that he never exercises." And, the filing says, "although he provided no useful information regarding his weight gain during the period that he ate CremaLita, his medical records . . . show that he managed to pack on an additional 16 pounds in the nine months AFTER he stopped" eating the ice cream." (Via Jerry Lerman)

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