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Hip hop best bet for a cheese that will please: Swiss study

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BURGDORF, Switzerland (Reuters) – Exposing cheese to round-the-clock music could give it more flavor and hip hop might be better than Mozart, Swiss researchers said on Thursday.

Cheese makers carry the nine wheels of cheese for a tasting in the K3 cellar after the experiment to “insonify” cheese with different types of music by the University of the Arts in Burgdorf, Switzerland, March 14, 2019. Stefan Wermuth/University of the Arts Bern/Handout via REUTERS

Nine wheels of Emmental cheese weighing 10 kilos (22 pounds) each were placed in separate wooden crates last September to test the impact of music on flavor and aroma.

The cheese was exposed 24 hours a day to A Tribe Called Quest’s hip hop track “We Got it From Here”, Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute’ opera or Led Zeppelin’s rock classic “Stairway to Heaven”.

One wheel was played the throbbing techno of Vril’s “UV” and another Yello’s dark ambient piece “Monolith”.

Soundwaves at low, medium and high frequencies were played for three others while one wheel was left in peace.

“The most obvious differences were observed in strength of flavor, smell and taste,” Bern University of Arts researchers said in reporting the findings of a culinary jury which did blind tasting.

“The hip hop sample topped the list of all cheese exposed to music in terms of fruitiness…(it) was the strongest of these in terms of smell and taste.”

Benjamin Luzuy, a Swiss TV chief and jury member, told Reuters TV: “The differences were very clear, in term of texture, taste, the appearance, there was really something very different.”

The experiment, instead of using loudspeakers, used mini transmitters to conduct the energy of the music into the cheese.

“All the energy is directly resonating inside of the cheese,” Michael Harenberg of Bern University of Arts told Reuters.

Beat Wampfler, the cheesemaker behind the project, said the cheeses were tested twice by the jury and both times the results were more or less the same.

He said the experiment would now focus on hip hop.

“The idea is now to take 5 or 10 cheeses and put hip hop on them and then compare.”

Writing by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Jason Neely

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Duvets discarded, cushions thrown at Japan’s Pillow Fighting Championship

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ITO, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan (Reuters) – The Japanese may be known for their neatness, particularly when it comes to making their bed in the morning, but all social norms went out the window on Saturday during qualifying for the All-Japan Pillow Fighting Championships in Shizuoka Prefecture.

In the small fishing town of Ito, 150 kilometers south of Tokyo, teams gathered from across the region to compete in the event that has been one of Japan’s quirkiest since 2013.

Started by a group of high school children in Shizuoka, the game is based on the age-old ritual of pillow fighting when away from the supervision of teachers and parents at a sleep-over or on a school trip.

The game starts with all five players ‘sleeping’ under duvets on futons before the whistle goes and they leap to their feet and reach for a pillow.

A mix between dodgeball and chess, the aim is to protect each team’s ‘King’ from being hit by pillows whilst trying to hit the opposition’s ‘King’ during two-minute sets. One player on each team can also use a duvet as a shield.

Saturday’s regional tournament contained 16 teams vying for the qualification for the national competition, which has 64 entrants and is held in February.

The teams, made up of local businesses, high school basketball teams and local athletic clubs, attracts a wide range of participants.

“Through track and field activities, the team have been in touch a long time,” said Kazuteru Takigawa, who at 75 was the oldest participant on Saturday.

“(My team) are all married and brought their children and families today to enjoy a day out.”

Team ‘BlancWhite’ who contained nine-year-old Soda Wamanobe — the second youngest competitor — won the tournament.

As their prize, the team received an array of local produce as well as the all important qualification for next year’s nationwide tournament.

Editing by Greg Stutchbury

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Cambodia’s royal oxen predict plentiful rice harvest amid EU tariffs

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Cambodia’s royal oxen eat during a royal ploughing ceremony in Takeo province, Cambodia, May 22, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – Cambodia’s royal oxen predicted a plentiful harvest of rice, the country’s biggest crop, at an ancient plowing ceremony on Wednesday.

King Norodom Sihamoni presided over the televised annual ritual in which two oxen are given offerings after plowing a field, marking the start of the rice-growing season in the Southeast Asian country.

Dressed in ornate robes and colorful headdresses, the oxen ate 85% of the rice and beans on offer and 90% of the corn in decorated bowls – indicating a bountiful harvest.

Palace astrologers make their predictions each year depending on the oxen’s choice of crops and the amount they eat.

“I pray … for seasonal rain and regular weather,” Korng Ken, a Brahmin priest dressed in traditional white robes, said at the ceremony in Takeo province.

He prayed that “Cambodia avoid any natural disasters that would destroy the agriculture harvests which are the lives of the people and country.”

The good omen will be welcomed in Cambodia after the European Union imposed tariffs in January on rice from Cambodia and Myanmar in a bid to protect EU producers. Cambodia has since seen a surge in rice exports to China.

Cambodia’s ceremony mirrors similar traditions in nearby Thailand and Myanmar in which oxen ceremonially plow the ground and then choose between eating bowls of rice, beans, corn water, grass, sesame seeds or alcohol.

Thailand’s royal oxen predicted a good harvest at a plowing ceremony this month presided over by newly crowned King Maha Vajiralongkorn and his queen.

Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by James Pearson and Darren Schuettler

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Polish sextuplets surprise parents and doctors expecting five

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A nurse checks an incubator at the University Hospital in Krakow, Poland, 21 May 2019. Polish woman gave birth to four baby girls and two boys on Monday, the first sextuplets to be born in Poland. Agencja Gazeta/Adrianna Bochenek/via REUTERS

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s first sextuplets on record, two boys and four girls, were born in the southern city of Krakow on Monday to the surprise of parents and doctors who had expected five babies.

“Imagine this: we were prepared from early in the morning to help deliver five tiny citizens. So we are in the operating room, there are five teams of doctors ready to take care of five children”, Ryszard Lauterbach, head of Clinical Neonatology at the University Hospital in Krakow said.

“They are being delivered one after another until all five places were occupied. And then all of a sudden it turns out there’s another one waiting in there.”

He said the children, born at 29 weeks, were in “surprisingly good condition” for sextuplets, but they showed symptoms of immaturity of the respiratory system and the central nervous system that were typical for premature babies.

Doctors said they hoped the babies would be able to go home when they were between 2-1/2 to three months old.

“We have already made some preparation at home with five children in mind so now we’ll have to rearrange things a bit,” said the children’s mother Klaudia Marzec.

She said the babies would be named Filip, Tymon, Zofia, Kaja, Nela and Malwina.

Their father, Szymon Marzec, told a news conference at the hospital on Tuesday that he would soon introduce their first son Oliwier, a toddler, to his new siblings.

Reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Editing by Edmund Blair

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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