Milk Tolerance Gene Found

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The BBC reports that prior to a few thousand years ago, no European adults could digest milk. Scientists from the University College London says that a gene spread through the population allowing more than 90% of Europeans to digest milk.

Since milk intolerance is still common, the scientists believe it to be related to this "milk gene." This gene produces the lactase enzyme which breaks down the lactose in milk.

Dr Mark Thomas, from UCL, said: "The ability to drink milk is the most advantageous trait that’s evolved in Europeans in the recent past.

"Although the benefits of milk tolerance are not fully understood, they probably include the advantage of a continuous supply compared with the ‘boom and bust’ of seasonal crops, its nourishing qualities, and the fact that, unlike stream water, it’s uncontaminated with parasites, making it safer.

In Europe, this gene is not present in 5% of the Caucasian population, but in other parts of the world and for other ethnicities, this gene may not be present for the majority of the population.

It’s an interesting study into our history of animal husbandry and evolution. Will be interesting to see how it plays out in our future of gene therapy. 

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Caffeinated Sunflower Seeds: Sumseeds

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I don’t think I ever expected to find caffeine associated with sunflower seeds. Meet Sumseeds:


Just odd, if you ask me…

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Starbucks 20th Anniversary in Vancouver

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Starbucks today celebrated its 20th anniversary in Vancouver. The first Starbucks in Canada was opened right here in Vancouver at the Sea Bus station on Cordova Street on March 1, 1987.


To celebrate the anniversary, Starbucks held "Coffee Fest 2007." Sadly, it was rather underpromoted. It was on the radio and you had to dig for it on the web. It is not on the Starbucks Canada website.

 Coffee Fest 2007
Mar 1, 2007, 11am to 1pm
Location: Shearaton Wall Centre-Street Level, 1088 Burrard St.
Starbucks is celebrating two decades of coffee passion in Vancouver and you’re invited. Join Starbucks for a one-of-a-kind coffee experience. It’s your chance to taste some extraordinary coffees and toast the SeaBus store, Canada’s very first Starbucks. Coffee Masters will be on hand to share tips on brewing at home and discuss how beans from around the world differ. It’s our way of saying thanks for 20 great years.

Whether we like it or hate it, Starbucks is a big part of the coffee culture in Vancouver. I went today and took some pictures, tasted a few coffees and got myself a $5 Starbucks card.

Go here to see the full picture set

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Elysian Room Pictures

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Our friend Scott Beale was in town on the weekend for a mutual conference, Northern Voice. Scott is an avid coffee drinker, always looking for new cafes in the cities he travels to. We recommended he try Elysian Room this time in Vancouver.

Credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Scott took some very nice pictures of the cafe and its owner, Alistair. You can view the photos here or read Scott’s post here.

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