Nominative determinism occurs not just to people, but also to companies. This is evident from an Associated Press report about a lawsuit aimed at a firm named Chopt Creative Salad Company:
“The lawsuit filed Monday by Allison Cozzi of Greenwich, Connecticut, alleges that she bought a salad at a Chopt location in Mount Kisco, New York, on April 7, 2023, and realized while eating it that ‘she was chewing on a portion of a human finger that had been mixed in to, and made a part of, the salad.’ According to the suit, a manager at the restaurant accidentally severed a piece of her left pointer finger while chopping arugula.”
This salad recipe reminds Feedback of a study published in 2020 in the Aegaeum Journal about the “dietary implication of miracle cereal finger millet (Eleusine coracana)”.
The study includes a recipe for “cereal fried finger millet cutlets”. Finger millet is a grain common in diets in southern India. To make cutlets, chop finger millet flour together with potatoes and spices. Fry it up, says the recipe, and serve with arugula.
Pertinent to recent discussions of whether computational image-processing systems are good at counting sheep (Feedback, 29 July 2023), a question arises: What about unruly sheep?
A study called “An image detection model for aggressive behavior of group sheep” claims victory, to a degree, in spotting troublemaking sheep.
First, it sketches some history that, in theory, begs for some especially savvy technology:
“In recent years, the demand for meat and milk products has continued to increase, resulting in the expansion of livestock breeding… Sheep aggression is one method to assess the well-being of sheep, as it can cause injury and even death… However, current sheep behavior detection methods rely primarily on manual observation, which can be inefficient and subjective. Consequently, there is a need to develop sheep aggression recognition models to improve sheep welfare”.
The authors, in Shihezi and Guangzhou, China, report that their deep-learning-based method is an improvement on previous deep-learning-based methods.
They say it is good at recognising when there is aggression in a group (except for misrecognition “due to the similarities in chasing motion characteristics between courtship behavior and aggression behavior”).
But they point to the difficulty of technologically fingering the difficult individuals within a group: “The primary issue with the video detection model proposed in this research is its inability to accurately locate aggressive sheep”.
Spill your guts
Stomach flushing is at the heart of one of the few scientific research reports about life in San Marino. The tiny republic is landlocked in the mountains of northern Italy and is home to about 30,000 people.
“Using the harmless technique of stomach flushing,” the researchers explain, “we inspected the stomach contents of 67 individuals, recognizing 1,018 prey items belonging to 28 different prey categories… Our study produced the first information [on] the dietary habits of this specific population.”
Some of you may be relieved, and others disappointed, to learn that those 67 individuals are, without exception, salamanders. The study is called “First data on the consumed prey by Speleomantes italicus from the Republic of San Marino”.
As to what food the humans of San Marino consume these days, the tourist info SanMarinoSite says: “With the abandonment of the countryside and social and economic transformations, the ancient traditions of local cuisine have been adapted to the needs of modern times.”
A flush of turtles
Stomach flushing has its limits.
A 2008 experiment by scientists in Brazil and Italy tried to compare the munchies that came into turtles and what came out of those turtles. Their report about it is called “Stomach flushing vs. fecal analysis: The example of Phrynops rufipes (Testudines: Chelidae)”.
“We successfully stomach flushed all 31 adult turtles captured and collected feces from ten of the flushed turtles,” they say. “Our results show that only an integrated approach using both techniques is able to provide a comprehensive picture of [the] diet”. The researchers complain, warn and brag that in this kind of analysis, things get tricky.
There can be confusion with vegetable cuisine: “The seeds of most kinds of palm trees common around streams in the area were eaten. Due to the limitations of stomach-flushing technique, palm fruits were underestimated, but they still contributed the highest volume of material flushed from the stomachs and found in the feces.”
There can also be confusion with more meaty parts of a diet: “Results of our fecal samples also show a misleading proportion of seed items vs. animal items (99% of palm seed vs. 1% of animal remains of the total fecal volume).”
A lesson to be drawn from this: stomach flushing, by itself, might not bring full understanding.
Marc Abrahams created the Ig Nobel Prize ceremony and co-founded the magazine Annals of Improbable Research. Earlier, he worked on unusual ways to use computers. His website is improbable.com.
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I recently visited Chopt salad chain and was pleasantly surprised to find that they have added finger food options to their menu. As someone who loves the convenience of being able to eat on the go, I was excited to see the new offerings. The variety of options included items like mini falafel bites, cheese and fruit skewers, and crispy kale chips. These finger foods are a great addition to the already tasty and healthy salad options at Chopt. I appreciated the idea of being able to quickly pick up a snack or meal that I could easily hold and eat without the need for utensils. The new finger food options at Chopt salad chain have definitely made me a fan and I will be sure to return for more.
Chopt salad chain’s decision to add finger food options to their menu is a smart move in today’s busy world. As a working professional, I often find myself in situations where I need to eat on the go. The ability to pick up a quick and healthy snack or meal that I can easily consume with my hands is a game changer. The finger food options at Chopt are not only convenient, but also delicious and satisfying. I appreciate the variety of choices available, from the crispy kale chips to the mini falafel bites. These finger foods make it easy for me to get the nutrition I need without having to sacrifice time or convenience. I am looking forward to being able to grab a quick bite at Chopt salad chain whenever I need it.