February 3, 2012 |
Do happier pigs make for better Spam?Hormel Foods Corp., which makes the gelatinous canned meat, is betting yes. The Minnesota company said this week that it will stop using gestation crates by 2017. The crates, which are often so small that the pregnant hogs they house can't move, will also be disavowed within five years by McRib pork provider Smithfield Foods Inc. Seems like nowadays, with more consumers interested in the origin of what they eat, food purveyors and restaurant chains are taking care to highlight fresh, healthy - and presumably well-treated - fare.
December 19, 2011 |
Turns out writing a Muppet script is no easy task. Star Jason Segel and his "The Muppets" screenwriting partner Nicholas Stoller, who previously collaborated on "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" and "Get Him to the Greek," spent four years writing a script that both honored the Jim Henson Muppet movies of the past and remained relevant today, they told an audience at the Envelope Screening Series. That required learning the specific rules of each Muppet and simplifying a very complicated initial premise. Learn more about a rather complex writing process -- one that may have involved adult-size Muppet costumes -- ¿in the video clip below.
November 14, 2011 |
The premise The year is 2012, the place Toledo, Spain. Famed plastic surgeon Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas), one of the few in the world to have successfully performed face transplants, presents his discovery called "Gal" to a group scientists. It is a burn-proof, super-strong artificial skin, created with genes from pigs, and it has tested well in mice. An older scientist at the talk protests that the skin is unethical because of the introduction of animal genes into humans and that the research should be stopped, not knowing that Ledgard has already secretly used it on a human subject.
October 29, 2011 |
The Supreme Court has decided plenty of cases concerning cruelty, inhumane treatment and executions, but until now, none was about pigs. The case of the "nonambulatory pigs" involves a dispute between California and the pork industry over how to handle pigs unwilling or unable to walk when they arrive at a slaughterhouse. The issue, which the justices will take up next week, has already gotten the Obama administration in trouble with the Humane Society of the United States, which faulted government lawyers for joining the case on the side of the pork producers.
September 28, 2011 |
Time to Play is out with its list of the top toys for the holiday season. The trade journal said its staff culled the list from thousands of toys it reviewed and evaluated during the last year. 1: Angry Birds Knock on Wood Game by Mattel Time to Play says: Mattel has taken the popular online game Angry Birds and turned it into an offline skill-and-action game. The Angry Birds Knock on Wood Game is a tabletop game that plays pretty much like the popular smartphone app. The pigs have stolen the birds' eggs, and the object is to destroy the structures where the pigs are hiding.
September 25, 2011 |
A bat settles in a palm tree, somewhere in southern China. It nibbles on a piece of fruit, and later it drops part of it in a pigpen, where it is eaten by a piglet. The piglet is slaughtered. A chef who handles the meat shakes hands with Gwyneth Paltrow, who then goes back to the U.S., visits her lover, stumbles home, shakes, foams at the mouth and dies. And with that, a vicious viral killer begins its rampage. This scenario from the movie "Contagion" was dreamed up by a Columbia University professor of epidemiology, W. Ian Lipkin, which gives it a veneer of scientific respectability.
September 19, 2011 |
The hit movie "Contagion" depicts a nightmare scenario: a bat virus jumps to pigs and then to humans, infecting them with abandon since they have no immunity to the novel bug. The virus circles the globe in a matter of days, causing coughs, fevers and seizures as scientists from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scramble to identify the pathogen and develop a vaccine. Before they do, millions are infected and about a quarter of them die. Those who are not sickened hunker down at home or panic in the streets, scrounging for food and supplies until the outbreak can be contained.
July 17, 2011 |
You may have heard of the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, or the gathering of sun worshipers to celebrate the summer solstice at Britain's Stonehenge, but Europe has plenty of other less famous but equally unusual festivals. Some date back many centuries, but others have more recent origins. Although certain festivals reflect serious local traditions and seem odd to Americans, others are just plain nuts to everyone. We've found a few to tickle your fancy and introduce you to some lesser-known cultural eccentricities of our European friends.
July 15, 2011 |
With the publication of "Charlotte's Web" in the fall of 1952, a guileless pig named Wilbur and the savvy spider who befriended him were introduced to readers. In a review, Eudora Welty praised E.B. White's novel for its "felicity, tenderness and unexpectedness, grace and humor and praise of life, and the good backbone of succinctness that only the most highly imaginative stories seem to grow. " Five decades later, in "The Story of 'Charlotte's Web,'" Michael Sims offers a full, engaging account of this classic.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 28, 2011 |
In the high-cholesterol world of Midwestern state fairs, where dairy cows crowd 4-H barns and no food can escape the deep fryer, Norma "Duffy" Lyon was a giant. For more than four decades, she was the queen of the butter sculpture. Cows. Elvis. John Wayne. President Eisenhower. A Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Jesus and the disciples at the Last Supper. With her steady hands, Lyon molded and shaped massive blocks of frozen fat into life-size forms that were part humble craft, part high art. Lyon's family announced the sad news: The artist died Sunday morning, at the Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center in Iowa, of a stroke.