In Spain, Nourishing the Body and the Soul巧思助貧 神父創「羅賓漢」餐館
Angel Castillo once worked as a restaurant cook. But after losing his job and struggling with alcoholism, he has been sleeping on the streets for most of the last 16 years. It has been a while since he has worked in a restaurant, let alone eaten at one.
Yet there he was one recent evening, among the diners who crowded into a new restaurant in Madrid. It was a simple space, with red-tiled walls and paper napkins, but there were tablecloths, chandeliers and water glasses, and even someone to serve you.
“It’s special to get your food in a restaurant,” Castillo said, satisfied.
The restaurant is one of four named Robin Hood that opened in the last November in Spain to serve those who cannot afford to dine out.
The minichain’s novel business model is not to steal from the rich, but rather to use revenues made by serving breakfast and lunch to paying customers to cover the costs of preparing free evening dinners for homeless people.
It is the brainchild of the Rev. Angel Garcia Rodriguez, 79, one part clergyman, one part innovator and nonprofit entrepreneur, who has spent a lifetime working with the needy.
Unconventional down to his attire, Father Angel, as he is universally called, prefers a suit and loose tie to a collar, unless he is saying Mass, and is just as likely to hand out his business card as communion. “The priest habit is like my gala outfit,” he said with a chuckle.
Rodriguez has had long experience finding new ways that sometimes push the boundaries of how to serve the poor.
He is president of Messengers of Peace, a nongovernment organization that employs 3,900 people and 5,000 volunteers. It runs homes for older people, orphanages, centers for drug addicts and other social services.
But what all of his projects have in common is that they have helped sustain the most vulnerable Spaniards at a time of near-record unemployment and deep public spending cuts amid the lingering economic crisis. His organization also runs projects in about 50 developing countries.
These days, it is his budding string of Robin Hood restaurants that animates Rodriguez. On top of receiving basic help, he said, poor people need to regain a sense of dignity and purpose that is hard to achieve when eating in a soup kitchen.
“To get served by a waiter wearing a nice uniform and to eat with proper cutlery, rather than a plastic fork, is what gives you back some dignity,” he said.
最早的湯廚可追溯自1790年代，當時英國工業革命雖造就整體經濟繁榮，卻使一些處於社會最貧窮階層的人生活更加困頓，英國物理學家湯普森爵士（Sir Benjamin Thompson）因而發明這種食物賑濟的方法，當時僅倫敦一地每天就能餵飽6萬人。19世紀末，湯廚普遍在美國及歐洲城市出現。美國湯廚在20世紀經濟大蕭條後變多；21世紀歐元區危機迫使許多國家實施撙節政策，不少湯廚也隨之出現。
Cold Tolerance Among Inuit May Come From Extinct Human Relatives格陵蘭島因紐特人 神祕基因不怕冷
Inuit who live in Greenland experience average temperatures below freezing for at least half of the year. For those who live in the north, subzero temperatures are normal during the coldest months.
Given these frigid conditions, anthropologists have wondered for decades whether the Inuit in Greenland and other parts of the Arctic have unique biological adaptations that help them tolerate the extreme cold.
A new study, published in Molecular Biology and Evolution, identifies gene variants in Inuit who live in Greenland that may help them adapt to the cold by promoting heat-generating body fat. These variants possibly originated in the Denisovans, a group of archaic humans who, along with Neanderthals, diverged from modern humans about half a million years ago.
“As modern humans spread around the world, they interbred with Denisovans and Neanderthals, who had already been living in these different environments for hundreds of thousands of years,” said Rasmus Nielsen, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and an author of the paper. “This gene exchange may have helped some modern humans adapt to and conquer new environments.”
The new study follows earlier research by Nielsen and colleagues, which found genetic mutations that might help the Inuit metabolize unsaturated fatty acids common in their diet of whales, seals and fish.
In this study, Nielsen’s team focused on another distinct region in the Inuit genome, which seems to affect body fat distribution and other aspects of development. The researchers compared the genomes of nearly 200 Inuit with genomes of Neanderthals, Denisovans and modern populations around the world.
Strikingly, all of the Inuit studied contained the same genetic variants in this particular region of their genomes. Compared to the same region in Neanderthals and other modern populations, the Inuit region showed at most a partial match. But compared to the Denisovan genome, it “was almost a complete match,” Nielsen said.
The region in question contains genes that may play a role in dictating levels of brown fat, a type that is abundant in newborns and generates heat by burning calories. In Inuit, the gene variants might promote more brown fat as a special adaptation to the cold, Nielsen said, although more study of this mechanism is needed.