They might look more like candy, but these micro-capsules are rather more special than that. Their shiny shell allows CO2 to pass straight through—where it can be trapped by a liquid held in their core.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
2 waterways that will host 2016 Olympic events are filled with dead fish and trash 16 months before the games
Two Rio de Janeiro waterways that are scheduled to host 2016 Olympic events are in rough shape with 16 months until the games begin.
The waterways, which were already plagued by sewage and pollution problems, have also been hit by fish die-offs in recent months, according to the Associated Press.
Dead fish called twaite shad have been floating to the surface of the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, which will hold canoeing and rowing events. According to the AP, some officials believe the fluctuations in oxygen levels that caused the die-off are a result of pollution, while others believe it has been caused by changes in temperature from rain and high sea levels.
A local photographer named Alex Moutinho told the AP, "Every year there are these die-offs, sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller. It's one more Brazilian shame."
This is the second die-off of 2015. In February, Guanabara Bay, which will hold the Olympic sailing events, was filled with dead fish, the cause of which is unknown, according to the AP.
Brazilian authorities pledged to have the w! aterways cleaned before the Olympics, but now fear they'll fall short of their goals, sparking concerns over the safety of Olympic athletes performing on the water.
According to CNN, Mayor Eduardo Paes told Brazilian sports network SporTV last month that much of the pollution will remain, though he's not concerned:
"The Olympics are also in a time that has very little rain, then this amount of debris that comes from five municipalities in the metropolitan region, with poor sanitation, is also controllable... I do not see as a problem for the Olympics"
What Guanabara Bay looks like with 16 months to go:
Posted by Augustine at 5:50 PM
Friday, April 10, 2015
Hokota (Japan) (AFP) - More than 130 melon-headed whales, a member of the dolphin family usually found in the deep ocean, beached in Japan on Friday, sparking frantic efforts by locals and coastguards to save them.
Rescuers were battling to stop the creatures' skin from drying out as they lay on a beach about 100 kilometres (60 miles) northeast of Tokyo, while some were being carried in slings back towards the ocean.
Television footage showed several animals from the large pod had been badly cut, with many having deep gashes on their skin.
An AFP journalist at the scene said that despite efforts to get the dolphins into the water, some were being pushed back onto the beach by the tide soon after they had been released.
A number of the creatures had died, he said, and were being buried.
"We see one or two whales washing ashore a year, but this may be the first time to find over 100 of them on a beach," a coastguard official told AFP.
The pod was stretched out along a roughly 10-kilometre-long stretch of beach in Hokota, Ibaraki, where they had been found by locals early Friday morning.
"They are alive. I feel sorry for them," a man told public broadcaster NHK, as others were seen ferrying buckets of seawater to the stranded animals and pouring it over them.
Several animals could be seen writhing in a futile effort to move themselves on the sand, although as the morning progressed they were clearly becoming weaker.
Melon-headed whales, also known as electra dolphins, are relatively common in Japanese waters and can grow to be two- to three- meters (six- to nine-feet) long.
In 2011, about 50 melon-headed whales beached themselves in a similar area.
Despite international opprobrium, Japan hunts minke and pilot whales off its own coast, and has for many years also pursued the mammals in the Antarctic Ocean using a scientific exemption to the international moratorium on whaling.
It has never made any secret of the fact that meat from the animals is also consumed.
However, a UN court ruled last year that its hunt was a commercial activity masquerading as research, and ordered it be halted.
Tokyo, which insists whaling is a tradition and labels environmental campaigners as "cultural imperialists", has vowed to restart a redesigned southern ocean whaling programme, possibly later this year.
Japan also defies international opinion with the slaughter of hundreds of dolphins in a bay near the southern whaling town of Taiji.
The killing was brought to worldwide attention with the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove".
Posted by Augustine at 5:20 AM
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
When the government places a location monitor on you or your stuff, it could be violating the Fourth Amendment. If the government puts a GPS tracker on you, your car, or any of your personal effects, it counts as a search—and is therefore protected by the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court clari...
Posted by Augustine at 8:31 AM
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
It's been 75 days since Costa Rica's power grid last had a sip of petroleum. Thanks to heavy rainfall at the start of the year, the Central American nation has been able to provide 100 percent of its energy needs via renewable resources. This certainly represents a major milestone in green energy production but there's no guarantee that other nations will be able to replicate this feat or that Costa Rica's renewable energy scheme is even sustainable.
It doesn't hurt that Costa Rica has invested heavily national power grid. 80 percent of Costa Rica's entire energy budget comes its four hydroelectric plants with another 13 percent derived from geothermal stations. Solar, wind and fossil fuels round out the remaining 7 percent.
Of course, these fossil fuel alternatives are not without drawbacks. The nation's hydro-electric dams may be working at capacity right now, thanks to those heavy rains at the start of the year, but should the country face drought (or even just seasonal water shortages), Costa Rica may have to revert back to petroleum power in order to keep the lights on.
Costa Rica pulled this off thanks in part to its small population (just 4.8 million people) and lack of energy-intensive manufacturing industries, which keep the nation's energy needs relatively low. What's more, Costa Rica sits atop a highly active volcanic region of the Earth, enabling the nation to harness geothermal power in addition to hydro, solar, and wind energy.
Posted by Augustine at 8:29 AM
Thursday, March 12, 2015
37 Million Bees Found Dead In Ontario, Canada After Planting Large GMO Corn Field | Earth. We are one.
Millions of bees dropped dead after GMO corn was planted few weeks ago in Ontario, Canada. The local bee keeper, Dave Schuit who produces honey in Elmwood lost about 37 million bees which are about 600 hives.
"Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions," Schuit said. While many bee keepers blame neonicotinoids, or "neonics." for colony collapse of bees and many countries in EU have banned neonicotinoid class of pesticides, the US Department of Agriculture fails to ban insecticides known as neonicotinoids, manufactured by Bayer CropScience Inc.
Two of Bayer's best-selling pesticides, Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, are known to get into pollen and nectar, and can damage beneficial insects such as bees. The marketing of these drugs also coincided with the occurrence of large-scale bee deaths in many European countries and the United States.
Nathan Carey another local farmer says that this spring he noticed that there were not enough bees on his farm and he believes that there is a strong correlation between the disappearance of bees and insecticide use.
Posted by Augustine at 1:30 AM
Monday, February 16, 2015
The world's largest fly farm is about to open in South Africa as part of an initiative to produce sustainable feed for chicken and fish.
Industrial farmed chicken and fish eat fish meal, which is bad for the environment because it depletes already fragile fish resources. To create 1 kilogram of high-protein fish meal, for example, it takes 4.5 kilogrammes of smaller pelagic fish such as anchovies and sardines, according to Time Magazine.
The cost of fish meal is also rising with increased demand for fish. Fish meal sold for less than $500 (£325 ) a tonne in the early 2000s, but last year it peaked at $2,400 (£1,562) a tonne, according to Bloomberg.
But AgriProtein, a South African farming company, has a solution. AgriProtein produces MagMeal — animal feed that is made from fly larvae that feeds on waste. The benefit of MagMeal is two-fold: It offers a sustainable, natural source of protein for farmed animals (there's no shortage of flies), and at the same time, helps to eliminate garbage.
In 2012, AgriProtein received funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support its insect-based protein product and the company's commitment to waste solutions.
“It is not different from what already happens in nature,” Jason Drew, the founder and director of AgriProtein told Business Insider UK. “The anomaly is what we do now — 30% of the fish we take is not consumed by humans, but rather fed to fishes or chickens. I mean, if ! a chicke n was meant to eat fish it would be called a seagull."
AgriProtein, founded in 2009, started building its first industrial-scale factory in May 2014. The plant, which can house more than 8 billion flies and produce 22 tons of larvae every day, is set to open next month, according to Drew.
How it works
Common flies are harvested with organic waste, such as food leftovers from supermarkets and restaurants and remains from slaughterhouses. The flies lay their eggs in the waste, and these eggs rapidly turn into larvae, eating the waste as they grow. The BBC calculated that one kilogram of eggs becomes 380 kilogrammes of larvae in just three days.
After a few days, before they become flies, the larvae are collected, washed, and pressurised into MagMeal, which can be delivered to chicken barns and fish farms.
Opening a new fly farm costs about £5.2 million ($8 million), but the investment would be amortised very quickly since the operational costs are low. AgriProtein already has an agreement with Cape Town’s waste disposal agency, helping them to sort out what to do with the garbage of a city of four million.
The future of the food industry
A native Yorkshireman, Drew moved to South Africa in 2003. Five years later, he quit his job as manager to dedicate his career to the environment.
Now, Drew calls himself an &ld! quo;envi ronmental capitalist.”
“The industrial revolution is over, and the sustainability revolution has begun," Drew says. "During the industrial revolution you either were environmentalist or a capitalist, and you couldn’t be both. But I am a capitalist and an environmentalist the same time."
He adds: "I am in the business to make millions, but I want to defend the environment. The sustainability revolution can be both: the environmentalists needs to understand that they must follow the market, or otherwise they will fail, and the markets need to understand that if you are a businessman who doesn’t understand the environment you will fail.”
Drew's aim is to feed a growing world population without further depleting the planet’s natural resources. Every day, the world populations grows by 200,000. To meet this growth, combined with an increase demand for protein from the developing world, the world’s annual production of meat will have to increase to 376 million tonnes by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. Fifteen years ago, it was little more than 200 million tonnes.
Although AgriProtein has approval in South Africa, it is still banned in Europe due to a regulation introduced during the mad cow disease epidemic that prohibits the feeding of livestock with processed meat. MagMeal falls into this category! .
The new farm, located about 120 kilometres north of Cape Town, will be joined by another South African facility later this year.
“We are in talks to license our technology abroad," Drew says. "We want to bring fly farming to the US, Latin America, Asia, and Australia. In 15 years, we could have 40 to 45 of these farms worldwide.”
Posted by Augustine at 9:12 PM