Health/Food Posts Tagged as 'Terraforming'
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Planting Trees Won’t Stop Climate Change
Not only are planted trees not the carbon sinks you want, but tree planting frequently ends up doing more harm than good.
Humans have long believed that planting trees, any kind of tree, anywhere, is good, something Mother Nature cries out for, something that might even solve our climate crisis. Tree-planting initiatives proliferate: the Bonn Challenge, Trees for the Future, Trees Forever, the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami, Plant a Billion Trees, 8 Billion Trees, the Trillion Tree Campaign, the One Trillion Trees Initiative, to mention just a few.
But such slapdash planting is an American tradition. In 1876, possibly inspired by Arbor Day, a man named Ellwood Cooper sought to improve his 2,000-acre, mostly treeless ranch near Santa Barbara, California, with 50,000 eucalyptus seedlings. They shot up 40 feet in just three years, an unheard-of growth rate for which they became known as “miracle trees.” Eucalyptus trees are not native to California.
Shortly thereafter, the University of California and the state Department of Forestry distributed free eucs for everyone to plant. Prairies, chaparral, and cutover forestland were jammed full of these aliens. One hundred years after the first Arbor Day, 271,800 acres of eucalyptus had been planted in the U.S., 197,700 of them in California.
When I inserted my arm into euc leaf and bark litter in Bolinas, California, I couldn’t touch the bottom. That’s because the microbes and insects that eat it are in Australia, not California. Native plant communities can’t survive in these plantations because eucs kill competition with their own herbicide, creating what botanists call “eucalyptus desolation.” Eucs evolved with fire and prosper from it. Their tops don’t just burn; they explode. Living near them is like living beside a gasoline refinery staffed by chain smokers.
But eucs remain popular in California. They’re still being planted. And agencies seeking to protect the public and recover native ecosystems by razing eucs inevitably face the fury of eucalyptus lovers who have, for example, accused them of being “plant Nazis.”
Deadly rabbit disease found in Palm Springs; 1st-time disease is found in CA
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that a rabbit found dead in Palm Springs tested positive for Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease. The disease does not affect humans or other animals, but it is highly contagious and often lethal to both wild and domestic rabbits
It's the first time the disease has been ever been found in California, according to CDFW officials.
Officials say they found the black-tailed jackrabbit among 10 other dead rabbits at a property in Palm Springs.
Officials worry that the disease could significantly impact wild rabbit populations in California, particularly endangered species, as all rabbit, jackrabbit, hare and pika species are likely susceptible.
"Unfortunately, we may also see impacts to species that depend on rabbits for food, as rabbits are a common prey species for many predators," said CDFW Senior Wildlife Veterinarian Deana Clifford.
The Pandemic Is Bringing Back Single-Use Plastics In a Huge Way
One winner in the coronavirus pandemic: single-use plastic.
Just a few weeks ago, states were implementing sweeping plastic bag bans and limiting the availability of plastic straws. But as the virus has spread through the U.S., states are rolling back their plastic bag bans, stores are banning the use of reusable shopping bags, and restaurants are turning to single-use utensils to reopen in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
San Francisco, the very first city to introduce a bag ban way back in 2007, told its residents not to bring reusable bags to grocery stores. The entire state of California, one of the first to implement a statewide plastic bag ban, is allowing grocery stores to use them for a period of 60 days. Oregon has also placed its plastic bag ban on pause during the pandemic. And in New York, where a plastic bag ban just went into effect in March, enforcement of it won’t start until at least June.
VIDEO OF GIANT HORNET ATTACKING MOUSE EMERGES FOLLOWING REPORTS OF 'MURDER' SPECIES IN U.S.
A video of a giant hornet attacking a mouse has emerged following news a "murder" species has invaded the U.S.
In the clip, the hornet pursues the mouse for roughly a minute, remaining attached as the mouse attempts to bat it off. The mouse gets weaker and eventually gives up. At which point the hornet flies off and the mouse lies still breathing heavily.
This Parasitic Worm Is Thriving in Nature, but May Affect Your Sushi Dinner
For parasitic worms of the genus Anisakis, life typically goes like this: after floating through the ocean in an egg, they hatch as wriggling larvae with a peculiar desire—to be eaten. Small crustaceans like krill gobble up the larvae, and those infested krill are then eaten by squid or small fish, which are devoured by bigger fish until they finally earn their nickname, whale worms, and end up in the bellies of whales or dolphins where they complete their life cycle by laying eggs that are subsequently ejected in the hosts’ feces.
But sometimes, those big fish full of the worms—like salmon or herring—get intercepted by fishers and end up in markets. Although fish suppliers and sushi chefs diligently remove parasite-infected fish from their wares, occasionally one of those little buggers may wind up in your sushi roll.
Now, new research finds the global population of those parasitic worms, commonly found in sushi and other kinds of uncooked fish, has exploded in recent decades. The worms are 283-times more common than they were roughly 40 years ago, according to a new paper published in Global Change Biology.
Using tote bags instead of plastic could help spread the coronavirus
The COVID-19 outbreak is giving new meaning to those “sustainable” shopping bags that politicians and environmentalists have been so eager to impose on the public. These reusable tote bags can sustain the COVID-19 and flu viruses — and spread the viruses throughout the store.
Researchers have been warning for years about the risks of these bags spreading deadly viral and bacterial diseases, but public officials have ignored their concerns, determined to eliminate single-use bags and other plastic products despite their obvious advantages in reducing the spread of pathogens. In New York state, a new law took effect this month banning single-use plastic bags in most retail businesses, and this week Democratic state legislators advanced a bill that would force coffee shops to accept consumers’ reusable cups — a practice that Starbucks and other chains have wisely suspended to avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus.
John Flanagan, the Republican leader of the New York state Senate, has criticized the new legislation and called for a suspension of the law banning plastic bags. “Senate Democrats’ desperate need to be green is unclean during the coronavirus outbreak,” he said Tuesday, but so far he’s been a lonely voice among public officials.
Walmart, Ralphs, Other Stores Changing Hours Due To Coronavirus
Masculinity Is Dead. Long Live Masculinity.
The reality is that masculinity is changing. As it often has. Men have routinely adapted to the culture and times around them. American manhood has been idealized – or feared – in a variety of ways over the last half century. Here’s a short list:
The Organization Man of the 1950s, who followed the rules and helped build the grand structures we now know as corporations.
His children, the “delinquents,” the scourge of the 50s and early 60s. They chafed under his rules and were epitomized in West Side Story (especially the Jets) and the career of James Dean.
The Sensitive New Age Guy of the 1970s, who explored his feelings, his sexuality, and pretty much anything else he could think of.
The macho guys of the 1980s, epitomized by a new generation of action films starring guys named Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Reagan’s bluster and one-day wars also fit the bill.
The 1990s saw another set of rebels, this time via the Grunge movement. They certainly didn’t look clean and their drugs were a lot harder.
There’s no particular rhyme or reason as to why these particular images of masculinity made it to the top of the heap, nor is there any meaningful way to draw a straight evolutionary line through all of them. The Organization Man doesn’t logically precede or contribute to the macho guys, while the delinquents and the grunge-rs don’t seem terribly different from each other.
Good Men Project
'Ghost' DNA In West Africans Complicates Story Of Human Origins
About 50,000 years ago, ancient humans in what is now West Africa apparently procreated with another group of ancient humans that scientists didn't know existed.
There aren't any bones or ancient DNA to prove that theory, but researchers say the evidence is in the genes of modern West Africans. They analyzed genetic material from hundreds of people from Nigeria and Sierra Leone and found signals of what they call "ghost" DNA from an unknown ancestor.
Our own species — Homo sapiens — lived alongside other groups that split off from the same genetic family tree at different times. And there's plenty of evidence from other parts of the world that early humans had sex with other hominins, like Neanderthals.
That's why Neanderthal genes are present in humans today, in people of European and Asian descent. Homo sapiens also mated with another group, the Denisovans, and those genes are found in people from Oceania.
From snake oil to science: I peddled 'clean' eating, wellness — until I learned the facts
Marketing that organic food is cleaner is all around us. Just take a look at the campaign “Skip the Chemicals.” It encourages consumers to fear the scary-sounding names of chemicals and adopt a better-safe-than-sorry attitude toward their food. Ultimately, though, it steers consumers toward more costly organic foods, although there is no evidence that organic foods are more nutritious.
The “Dirty Dozen” list is another marketing ploy. Not only did I have this list stuck to my fridge at home, I also encouraged my clients to download and share it. Using pesticide residue data from the USDA, it ranks food by the levels of detected pesticides to generate a list of the top 12 fruits and vegetables consumers should avoid in their conventional versions.
Take strawberries, which topped the list in 2018. The USDA published test results on tens of thousands of nonorganic fruit and vegetable samples across the country. Most of the samples of strawberries showed residues of at least one kind of pesticide and, in one sample of strawberries, 22 different pesticide residues were detected — but that doesn’t mean the pack of strawberries you buy at the grocery store will have 22 pesticides.
MONSTER HYBRID TUMBLEWEED SPECIES IS TAKING OVER CALIFORNIA, SCIENTISTS WARN
A new invasive species of tumbleweed that can grow up to six feet in height is taking over parts of California—and scientists are warning it could spread even further as climate change makes its growing conditions more favorable.
Salsola ryanii was first identified in California in 2002. It is a hybrid made up of two other invasive species—Salsola tragus, which is native to Russia and China, and Salsola australis, from Australia and South Africa. The latter, scientists say, is "one of the world's worst weeds" and is currently found in 48 U.S. states. The new species, is however, far bigger and faster growing than its parents, reaching about six feet in height.
A tumbleweed is a plant that breaks away from its roots towards the end of summer. It is blown around by the wind—its means of seed dispersal. In doing this, tumbleweeds cause huge problems. They can lead to traffic accidents and damage property. Invasive species also cause problems for the agriculture industry and native ecosystems.
Tree-planting projects may not be so green
Brides and grooms do it. Transatlantic travellers do it. And you might even be getting it for Christmas. Neutralising your carbon emissions is becoming the must-do activity for the eco-conscious citizen. But now an international team of scientists has raised an unexpected objection: some tree-planting projects may, they suggest, be doing more harm than good.
Carbon offsetting allows people to pay someone else to atone for their climate sins by soaking up the CO2 that they produce. And with the consequences of global warming becoming more apparent, more Britons are opting to undo their personal share of the damage.
Last year companies and individuals in the UK spent around £4m offsetting carbon emissions. The Kyoto protocol allows member countries to do the same through carbon trading.
But it seems the guilt-free option is not as simple as writing a cheque and leaving it to someone else to sort out. Researchers have found that planting trees to soak up carbon can have detrimental knock on effects. "I believe we haven't thought through the consequences of this," says team-member Robert Jackson at Duke University in North Carolina, "I think the policy could backfire on us, but it will take decades to play out."
Jair Bolsonaro: 'Poop every other day' to protect the environment
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has suggested people should "poop every other day" as a way to save the planet.
His comment came in answer to a journalist who asked him how to combine agricultural development and protecting the environment.
Mr Bolsonaro recently came under fire after official data showed an increase in deforestation in the Amazon.
He then sacked the head of the agency that reported the increase, accusing it of lying about the problem's scale.
In the future, only the rich will be able to escape the unbearable heat from climate change. In Iraq, it’s already happening
At a time when European countries are enduring some of the highest temperatures ever recorded, and as extreme weather becomes more common, Baghdad offers a troubling glimpse into a future where only the wealthy are equipped to escape the effects of climate change.
First human-monkey chimera raises concern among scientists
Efforts to create human-animal chimeras have rebooted an ethical debate after reports emerged that scientists have produced monkey embryos containing human cells.
A chimera is an organism whose cells come from two or more “individuals”, with recent work looking at combinations from different species. The word comes from a beast from Greek mythology which was said to be part lion, part goat and part snake.
The latest report, published in the Spanish newspaper El País, claims a team of researchers led by Prof Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte from the Salk Institute in the US have produced monkey-human chimeras. The research was conducted in China “to avoid legal issues”, according to the report.
Chimeras are seen as a potential way to address the lack of organs for transplantation, as well as problems of organ rejection. Scientists believe organs genetically matched to a particular human recipient could one day be grown inside animals. The approach is based on taking cells from an adult human and reprogramming them to become stem cells, which can give rise to any type of cell in the body. They are then introduced into the embryo of another species.
ARE YOUR PALM TREES HARBORING ROOF RATS?
There’s something inherently relaxing and beautiful about watching palms sway in the warm breeze. Palm trees grow well in Louisiana’s warm, humid climate as well, making them a seemingly perfect addition to your landscape.
Of course, humans aren’t the only ones with an eye for palm trees – other creatures love them too, but not necessarily for their aesthetics.
Roof rats, also known as fruit rats, love palms as a place to live. It’s possible that your lovely palm trees are actually harboring roof rats, and might really be encouraging vermin to invade your home.
What Are Roof Rats?
Call them what you want, roof rats, fruit rats, black rats, it all boils down to the same thing. These are the same rats that spread bubonic plague and fleas. They’ve been with humans for eons, and throughout that time, they’ve been less than ideal houseguests. Rats spread far more diseases than the frightening Black Death, though. Others include murine typhus, salmonella, rat-bite fever and leptospirosis to name only a few.
Where Do They Live?
Roof rats actually prefer to live in trees, particularly in palm trees...