Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving special: inbred turkeys and feasts in space

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

While you are feasting, you might consider the humble origins of the turkey:

Tracing the taming of the turkey

At Double X Science Emily Willingham looks at the origins of today's turkeys, whose wild ancestors were carried from Mexico, to Europe and back again to North America.

Image: Turkey by wattpublishing on Flickr (, shared under a CC-By-2.0 license

Turkey trouble: Genetics gone too far?

At KQED Quest Barry Starr takes a hard look at the turkeys on factory farms and it's not pretty. Turkeys bread for to have lots white breast meat are likely in constant pain and are prone to heart attacks. He notes:
All of this raises the obvious ethical question. Just because we can breed this turkey, should we? The turkey lives a short, miserable life but we get an affordable, healthy source of protein. It is obvious which choice we’ve made as a society, but is it the right one?
A bit sobering to think about.

Meanwhile, NASA engineers suggest some interesting cooking techniques, astronauts celebrate Thanksgiving in space:

Four Crazy Ways to Cook Your Turkey Using NASA Equipment
Gizmodo asked NASA engineers and science writers how they would use NASA's high tech equipment to cook a turkey. If you have a spare satellite dish or an Antares-class sounding rocket you could try out their recipes yourself!

Astronauts get Thanksgiving feast in space
The astronauts on the International Space Station will be celebrating Thanksgiving with a holiday meal that includes irradiated smoked turkey and themo-stabilized yams - yum!. Even though it comes freeze dried and in foil packets it's still a special treat.

You can even follow NASA's recipe for cornbread stuffing if you want to eat like the astronauts do.

Finally, a Thanksgiving message from Commander Kevin Ford on the International Space Station, who talks about the holiday meal he and crewmates Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin will be eating:

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