The Cooked Caloric Value of a Human Body

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Curious about the nutritional value of the human body? In 2006, a researcher in the UK wrote a dissertation on cannibalism and calculated the caloric content of edible body parts.

The skin has 8,294 calories, and the heart, 722.

The total? About 81,500 calories, assuming you aren’t too picky about what you are willing to eat. I mean, beyond that it is a human body.

Note, the study only considered the average male body; presumably a female body’s differing composition of muscle and fat would adjust these values.

Still, a great way to start a cocktail party conversation, no? Or better yet, a barbeque!

Photo actually a funerary rite and not cannibalism, but I couldn’t resist the juxtaposition with the rest of this article. It was that or ridiculous colonial-era illustrations, and I couldn’t stomach that. (See what I did there?)
Researcher James Cole via Academia via Science Alert.

Cicadas to Pizza as Lemons to Lemonade

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Billions of Brood II cicadas are set to hatch this spring, bringing a once every 17 years plague to most of the East Coast. The deafening insects will mate and then die over the course of about six weeks, making an unmistakable racket the entire time.

But some foodies embrace the insect onslaught, using the high-protein, nutty flavored bugs in all sorts of dishes, from tacos and pizza to cookies and even a martini.

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The key to harvesting the bugs for eating, [Gene Kritsky] said, is when they are newly hatched, called tenerals, sometime in the early morning. They should be white and still soft, with the females and their distinctive pointy abdomens the most appetizing and nutritious because of their protein-filled eggs.

Eating the insects dates back to at least the Iroquois Indians in upstate New York, Kritsky said. The tribe would dig up the young insects and dry roast them. [A] 1906 article described a Baltimore tradition of “seasonal cicada pie”.

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Oh yes. And there are recipes:

“El Chirper” Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter or peanut oil
  • 1/2 pound newly-emerged cicadas
  • 3 serrano chilies, raw, finely chopped
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3 tsp taco seasoning mix
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • Taco shells, to serve
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Shredded lettuce

Directions:

  1. Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan and fry the cicadas for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
  2. Remove from pan and roughly chop into 1/4 inch cubes. Place back in pan.
  3. Add the chopped onions, chilies, and tomato, and season with salt, and fry for another 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
  4. Sprinkle with ground pepper, cumin, and oregano, to taste.
  5. Serve in taco shells and garnish with cilantro, sour cream, lettuce, and Cheddar cheese.

Via Daily News for the full story…and more recipes.

Death By Molten Gold and Lead

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[I]n season one [of HBO’s Game of Thrones], a character was killed by having molten gold poured over his head. Centuries ago, having molten gold poured down your throat was actually the preferred means of death by molten metal.

Marcus Lincinius Crassus, an astoundingly wealthy Roman general, is rumored to have died this way. Spanish inquisitors used this technique and so did tribes in South America—as one corrupt, gold-loving Spanish governor found out in 1599.

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[J]ust what killed the victim? Was it the hot gold itself, the steam, perhaps suffocation? [A] 2003 study in the Journal of Clinical Pathology decided to find out.

“We obtained a bovine larynx from a local slaughter house (no animal was harmed or killed specifically for this purpose). After fixing the larynx in a horizontal position to a piece of wood and closing the distal end using tissue paper, 750 g of pure lead (around 450°C) was heated until melting and then poured into the larynx.”

After the lead and larynx cooled down, the experimenters examined the larynx by taking cross-sections and looking at them under a light microscope.

Having molten lead or gold poured down your throat might rupture your organs, burn your lungs and choke you. Ultimately, though, it’s probably the steam that pulls the plug.

Bottom image and video clip from HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Via Smithsonian.com for the full fascinating (albeit grisly) article.

The Spider That Mimics…Bird Crap

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[M]any insects and spiders, as well as vertebrates like frogs, have evolved to resemble bird droppings, hiding themselves from predators. [T]his has happened in the spider Cyclosa ginnaga from East Asia.

[T]his spider weaves decorations into its web that look like droppings, but some spiders of this genus have also evolved to look like droppings. When a spider sits in its decoration, the combination looks remarkably like a bird dropping, thereby avoiding attention from predators.

Via Why Evolution is True.

Norwegian Artist Eats Own Hip. Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken.

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A Norwegian conceptual artist boiled his own hip bone on “a whim” and then ate the flesh with some potato gratin and a glass of wine. According to the artist, the meat tasted like “wild sheep”.

Wengshoel was born with a deformed hip and endured years in a wheelchair or on crutches. He went through a series of failed operations until he was finally given his metal hip replacement when he was 21.

[He] told The Local that he spent a year convincing his doctors to let him film his hip replacement operation and then keep the bone. “I just wanted to use it in my art. I didn’t know at that time that I would boil it and eat it,” he said.

“I had to boil off the meat to get to the bone, and when I started scraping off the meat, I took off a little piece and I thought, ‘why not do it. It’s not every day I will have a piece of human flesh which is mine and which it is possible to eat’, so I had a little taste, and then I thought, ‘that’s really nice’.

“I made myself dinner while my girlfriend was at work, and I just resolved to have this really nice moment, with me and my hipbone,” he explained.

Via The Local.