Put your twist on the best time of the year.  ReMake the Holidays starts today.

Put your twist on the best time of the year.  ReMake the Holidays starts today.

The new Fruit and Vegetable Prescription program launched at two NYC hospitals this week. Under this new initiative, overweight or obese patients can be prescribed Health Bucks along with nutritional counseling. These Health Bucks, which accrue at $1 per day per family member over a four month period, are redeemable only at NYC farmers markets.

The use of Health Bucks allows for increased access to locally grown fresh food, leading to improved health outcomes for individuals while bringing lasting changes to the local economy.

Patients from the pilot program have already seen dramatic weight loss and other positive changes for themselves and their children. Could this be the default nutritional therapy of the future?

New Yorkers have been seeing calorie counts on menus since 2009. But has anyone stopped to consider how effective this law has been on influencing consumer choice?
A new study by the American Journal of Public Health shows that providing McDonald’s customers with flyers about how many calories they should eat in a meal or day when calorie counts were available on the menu made no significant difference in what they ordered. Women ordered meals with 27% more calories than recommended, while men ate 11% more - regardless of whether or not they received a flyer.
What does this tell us? Maybe the issue is simply their location - fast food chains have not done much in the last decade to improve their offerings. But perhaps it would be better to look at calories as the problem. Menus offering exercise times instead of calories have been shown to be more effective in reducing calorie intake, although they are far less exact. 
Do you pay attention to calorie counts when you go out to eat? How can this system be improved? Sound off in the comments!

New Yorkers have been seeing calorie counts on menus since 2009. But has anyone stopped to consider how effective this law has been on influencing consumer choice?

A new study by the American Journal of Public Health shows that providing McDonald’s customers with flyers about how many calories they should eat in a meal or day when calorie counts were available on the menu made no significant difference in what they ordered. Women ordered meals with 27% more calories than recommended, while men ate 11% more - regardless of whether or not they received a flyer.

What does this tell us? Maybe the issue is simply their location - fast food chains have not done much in the last decade to improve their offerings. But perhaps it would be better to look at calories as the problem. Menus offering exercise times instead of calories have been shown to be more effective in reducing calorie intake, although they are far less exact. 

Do you pay attention to calorie counts when you go out to eat? How can this system be improved? Sound off in the comments!

Saturday is for Storytelling

This Saturday night at NYSCI, visitors can collaborate on a story with digital artist and performer, Haeyoung Kim. Part performance, part workshop, Kim’s Moori will use audience members to help create a dynamic narrative. Users will download the Moori app, and use the app to pose questions and answers, and to generate algorithmic sounds and visuals. The result will be an interactive performance featuring collaboration among audience members. Part of Harvestworks’ 2013 New York Electronic Arts Festival, the event begins at 4 pm with Night Games, an interactive dance game, followed by cocktails at 6 pm, and EXPOSED – Sound featuring Moori at 6:30 pm.

Haeyoung Kim is based in New York City and explores the texture of sounds in electronic music. Her work has been presented in various museums and galleries including the American Museum of the Moving Image, PS1, Nam June Paik Center in Korea, and Kunsthalle in Austria.

Get Your Dance On

This Saturday, dance the afternoon away on a science-inspired dance floor at Night Games. Using 3D surround sound and Playstation move technology, dancer’s movements are analyzed by software and used to modify the dance experience. The movements and instrument choices of the dancers create the music, and costumed creatures encourage revelry and participation in this collaborative performance. Throughout the dance, Night Games brings a conscious awareness to participants that their individual actions impact the collective ecosystem. So bring your enthusiasm, good vibes and your best moves to NYSCI this Saturday!

It’s a Small World

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Last week, ten thousand miles from New York, students learned about microorganisms from one of our educators. Anthony Negron, manager of our Virtual Visit program, employed videoconferencing technologies to connect with St. Kevin’s Primary School in Sydney, Australia. Using microscopes, NYSCI exhibits, and a live feed of various microorganisms, the students learned where the tiny creatures are found, and how to classify them. The program helped to launch a new technology room at the Australian school and was attended by students, parents and educators.

Brett Salakas of St. Kevin’s Primary School and coordinator of the event called the program a “wonderful experience” that “greatly enhanced our science unit on microorganisms. The well-balanced program gave the students an insight in the topic which we could not provide here in a regular classroom.”

Cultural After School Adventures

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Last weekend, elementary students from P.S. 139 in Rego Park, Queens brought their families to visit us as part of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs CASA – Cultural After School Adventures program. Prior to the visit, NYSCI staff traveled to P.S. 139 to provide a series of three after-school science workshops, where they taught the students about convex and concave lenses, the properties of light, and how electricity is produced. Last weekend’s visit reinforced some of what the kids learned during the after-school workshops, while also exposing them to other science topics as they explored our exhibits. Thanks to the grant from the Department of Cultural Affairs, now in its third year, we’ve been able to offer the CASA program to three Queens schools this year. Tomorrow, I.S. 72 will visit us to cap off their cultural after-school adventure!

Future Museum Educators

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Last Saturday, 30 high school students turned into museum educators, helping our visitors understand microbiology, camouflage, skull anatomy, genetic diversity, matter, cellular structure and UV radiation. They provided info, instructions and encouragement to approximately 200 visitors who were trying out various hands-on activities.

The program is part of a partnership between NYSCI and ExpandEd, which is designed to provide high school students with experiences beyond traditional school classrooms. Throughout the Spring, the students participated in a 10-week program at NYSCI where they learned about the scientific method, astronomy, genetics, ecology, evolution, microbiology and other science topics. Saturday’s hands-on activities represented the conclusion of the 10-week program. But you may interact with some of them at our exhibits this summer: Twelve of the students will continue on with summer internships at NYSCI as Junior Explainers.

Most New Yorkers are familiar with Whole Foods Market, supplier of natural and organic foods across NYC and the country. What you may not know, however, is that they are opening a new location in Gowanus, Brooklyn later in the year -  complete with rooftop greenhouse.
Whole Foods has teamed up with the local greenhouse produce organization Gotham Greens in order to build the first Whole Foods with food that will be grown and sold on site. Gotham Greens will “produce premium quality, pesticide-free produce year round” for the Gowanus location as well as other stores within the city.
Besides ensuring freshness of product, rooftop farming also uses less energy and resources for growth and transport. Instead of talking about how many miles food travels, Whole Foods is reducing their carbon footprint to footsteps! Urban farming makes productive use of highly underutilized space in crowded cities with little room for gardening or farming and is a highly sustainable and climate-friendly choice.
Would you be more inclined to purchase fruits and veggies that come right from one of your neighborhood rooftops? Is urban farming the farming of the future?

Most New Yorkers are familiar with Whole Foods Market, supplier of natural and organic foods across NYC and the country. What you may not know, however, is that they are opening a new location in Gowanus, Brooklyn later in the year -  complete with rooftop greenhouse.

Whole Foods has teamed up with the local greenhouse produce organization Gotham Greens in order to build the first Whole Foods with food that will be grown and sold on site. Gotham Greens will “produce premium quality, pesticide-free produce year round” for the Gowanus location as well as other stores within the city.

Besides ensuring freshness of product, rooftop farming also uses less energy and resources for growth and transport. Instead of talking about how many miles food travels, Whole Foods is reducing their carbon footprint to footsteps! Urban farming makes productive use of highly underutilized space in crowded cities with little room for gardening or farming and is a highly sustainable and climate-friendly choice.

Would you be more inclined to purchase fruits and veggies that come right from one of your neighborhood rooftops? Is urban farming the farming of the future?

(Source: media.wholefoodsmarket.com)

Voices from the Past

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As New York City gets ready to implement its ban on big sodas, the issue of obesity once again takes center stage.

We’ve heard from nutrition experts, soda corporations, consumer agencies, politicians and Joe Schmo about whether we should have a tax and if it will do any good. But why do we crave all these bad-for-you foods in the first place?

Turns out it’s partly evolution’s fault. Our prehistoric, hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t have regular access to high-energy foods, so when it was available, they gorged on it. Think ice-cream-binge-after-being-dumped kind of gorging. Only instead of ice cream, they feasted on animals they were able to hunt, and fruit and nuts that were in season. Those high calorie binges helped fuel their big brains. But today, we have access to far more sugar and fat than our bodies need, which can lead to overindulgence and obesity.

This link between how our species evolved and the foods we crave today is explored in our new exhibition, The Evolution – Health Connection, which is open through June. Along with obesity, The Evolution – Health Connection also looks at the evolutionary reasons behind some other very human problems: painful childbirths, sunburns, lactose intolerance and back problems.

So the next time that little voice in your head says that you need a soda and fries, resist! Stand firm! Distract yourself! Because after all, it’s just your ancestors talking.