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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Discoveries, beginnings

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"I am sure there are thousands more."



As always, a new year comes with fresh hopes for better days, some dos and don’ts, predictions even, and all kinds of injunctions to get us through the days before another year comes around.

This year, 2019, the year of the earth pig in the Chinese calendar, is no different.

This early a lot of prognostications are being bandied around to the point of overwhelming even the most avid “New Year and all that jazz” addict to submission. So, instead of going with the flow and treading the same routine I decided to rummage through my copies of magazines featuring new discoveries, inventions and even places to visit. I thought it would be better to report these than devote the limited space I have to discuss, among others, the never ending anti-Duterte rants about the war on drugs, the budget impasse and tax reform and even the latest blast in Cotabato City.

Not that these do not deserve any kind of draw. Not at all. These are important topics to dwell on. But I have, as many other opinion writers have, had a take on these concerns for what seemed like ages that my opinion may not matter anymore. What we need now is fast, sustainable action to resolve the issues surrounding these matters rather than words, words and more words to address the issues. And that’s that.

So, here are some fresh notes to keep you on the road to new discoveries and beginnings.

1. Impossible Foods

Impossible Foods is a company founded by Stanford biochemist Pat Brown which, according to the TIME magazine account,  has engineered a plant-based meat substitute that uses heme—a component of an oxygen-carrying molecule also present in blood—to replicate the delicious characteristics of beef.

It appears that Brown got so taken by what he called the most destructive technology on earth—livestock rearing, which uses about 80 percent of the world’s agricultural land (I didn’t realize that) and produces more greenhouse gases than transport—that he used his knowledge to come up with what the magazine headlined as “Making Meat Obsolete.” So far, as the account noted, Brown’s Impossible Foods company has gained traction as it is now available in 3,000 locations worldwide compared with only 40 in the US a year ago. Better still, it has now gained US Food and Drug Authority approval. How’s that for a start up?

2. Indigenous ingredients

On discoveries, TIME featured a restaurant in Lima,  Peru called Central which boasts of a menu that “travels through Peru” with each course featuring ingredients that grow together in an ecosystem at a particular altitude. The better, according to the owners, husband-and-wife duo Virgilio Martinez and chef Pia Leon, to “help diners understand what we see in nature.”

Thus, the restaurant has scallop and seaweed from the ocean, piranha and yuca from the Amazon and a goat and olluco (a tuber like potato) from the Andes. It appears diners have gotten to like the restaurant’s menu they have truly elevated such other ingredients as cushuro (a caviar-like item), chaco clay and yacon root—into the mainstream.

Actually, this  initiative—use of indigenous ingredients in mainstream dining—has taken root, no pun intended, in a lot of countries, specially those like Peru and the Philippines which boast of such diverse ingredients considered native or exotic by Westerners.

This should be taken as a plus and should be enhanced to the fullest in our trade and tourism undertakings.

3. Marijuana for medicine

And now for the latest on marijuana, an item which got back in the national conversation days before Christmas, which may boost its entry into the mainstream. A new, purified form of cannabis—a cannabidiol, a non-high compound became the first US FDA approved pot based drug. Certified in June as Epidiolex and manufactured by GW Pharmaceuticals, it has been test marketed since and will probably hit the stores as early as this month. It is, in the words of FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, as quoted in the TIME article, an important medical advance

I am sure there are thousands maybe even millions more discoveries and inventions out there waiting to be tapped and promoted which can make every new year truly a time for new beginnings. It is, of course, up to each and every one of us to make 2019 an ennobling and empowering one.


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