For most of humanity's existence, our kind have worried about getting enough to eat. So we may see it as a good sign that now some of our species are worried about not getting organic milk in their lattes and frappes. "Where oh where shall I ever find a frappe made with organic milk?" one supposes they say. "If only Starbucks made their lattes and frappes with organic milk; it would be so healthy!"
A recent genome-wide meta-analysis has identified a biological commonality among 120,000 regular coffee drinkers - 6 new genetic variants related to caffeine metabolism, lipid and glucose metabolism, and its psychoactive effects, found among about 2.5 million variants in the genome.
In my latest attempt to debunk some of the nonsense that passes for analysis among Internet marketers I decided it might be worthwhile to talk about large systems theory.  The problem, of course, is that there really is no "large systems theory" (or a universal theory of large systems).  At least, we are still searching for the theory that will universally explain all large systems regardless of what field of thought in which we are discussing them.  We know that large systems exist and we intuitively feel that there is something characteristic about large systems which makes them large.
Some people are so obsessed with their food it smacks of zealotry. They might eat only a certain kind of fish cooked on a certain piece of wood. 

They might even believe that they can taste the difference between a strawberry processed at an organic farm and one processed at a conventional one. 

When it becomes truly bizarre, it affects family and friends. Writing at Genetic Literacy Project I discuss people who are on an obsessive quest for health perfection, to an extent that they fetishize their food process.

Credit: Shutterstock

One thing certain about nature - it sure isn't efficient. Just take a look at the human male reproductive system and you get the idea that if it was designed, it was designed by fish, and on a dare. It is a problem waiting to happen, but evolution is about the survival of the fitter, not the fittest - and then we add in some random walks and mutations. 

Alerted by an announcement in several British newspapers, for example Honeysuckle tea could fight flu, Boiling honeysuckle releases molecule which can help fight influenza virus, study suggests, I started digging deeper.  Although it has not yet appeared in the literature, I did find the following EurekaAlert:

When I look at my children at play, I am fascinated by the ways in which they learn. Learning is a brain event and there are times I imagine I can almost see my kids’ brains working and developing as they play and learn. Everything that we do, whether motor, sensory or cognitive, requires networks of neurons to generate new activity patterns in our brains. These newpatterns are how we experience learning.



I have just downloaded a paper featuring some research from the University of Durham and our own School of Biological Sciences here at Reading: