Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jesus Christ is this Dumb!

This is more than supper. It's really an all-you can eat "no shit" buffet.

Study: Last Supper paintings supersize the food

By MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione, Ap Medical Writer – Tue Mar 23, 7:52 am ET

Has even the Last Supper been supersized?

The food in famous paintings of the meal has grown by biblical proportions over the last millennium, researchers report in a medical journal Tuesday.

Using a computer, they compared the size of the food to the size of the heads in 52 paintings of Jesus Christ and his disciples at their final meal before his death.

If art imitates life, we're in trouble, the researchers conclude. The size of the main dish grew 69 percent; the size of the plate, 66 percent, and the bread, 23 percent, between the years 1000 and 2000.
Maybe head size has shrunk in a millennium. Certainly that would be more worthy of space in a medical journal.

Supersizing is considered a modern phenomenon, but "what we see recently may be just a more noticeable part of a very long trend," said Brian Wansink, a food behavior scientist at Cornell University.
I've always considered it a McDonald's marketing gimmick, but I'm cynical.

The study was his idea. For biblical context, he sought help from his brother, Craig Wansink, professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Va., and an ordained Presbyterian minister.

The Bible says the Last Supper took place on a Passover evening but gives little detail on specific foods besides bread and wine.

"There's nothing else mentioned. They don't say there's a fruit cup or carrot cake," though other foods such as fish, eel, lamb and even pork have appeared in paintings through the years, Brian Wansink said.
Maybe his professor brother could have told him that there wouldn't have been bread at a Passover seder.  Matzoh, yes.  Bread, no.  In fact, the youngest child of any Jewish family could have told him that.  Well, at least told him in the form of a question.  It's how we Jews communicate.

For the study, he used paintings featured in the book "Last Supper," published in 2000 by Phaidon Press. They include perhaps the most famous portrayal of the meal, by Leonardo da Vinci. Computer technology allowed them to scan, rotate and calculate images regardless of their orientation in the paintings.

Details are in the April issue of the International Journal of Obesity.

The study is "not very meaningful science," said Martin Binks, a behavioral health psychologist and a consultant at Duke University Medical Center. "We have real life examples of the increase in portion size — all you have to do is look at what's being sold at fast-food restaurants."
"[N]ot very meaningful science"?  I hate to bang on the one voice of reason here, but "NO SHIT, MAN!"

A more contemporary test would be to analyze portion sizes in Super Bowl commercials, he suggested.

"That would be a much more meaningful snapshot of how this society's relationship to food has changed," Binks said.
Yep.  And from now on, this is what I'm serving at my Super Bowl parties:

... and in truth, it's only a matter of time before someone comes up with a version that's K for P.

More What?

I noticed something at dinner tonight, and thankfully the Center for No Shit Science's Condiment Expert, Amish Robot, was on the case.

Glance at that bottle and you notice that French's uses the familiar, "Now with x% more!" or "x% more free!" pattern on their bottle design.

Now read the actual label, "40% More than our 14 oz." Oh, I see. The bigger bottle is bigger than the smaller bottle. Gee, thanks for that info French's!

Thanks, indeed. And a hearty, "no shit!"

Monday, March 1, 2010

Truth in Advertising

The fatal attack of a killer whale on its trainer at SeaWorld in Orlando stunned the crowd gathered to watch what they thought would be an entertaining show. But, the tragedy does not come as a surprise to biologists at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society in Plymouth.
No shit. As a friend commented, "They're killer whales.  It's on the label!"

Listen, I know they can't all be in good taste but this stuff has to be documented.  It's for science.