Category Archives: Food

Separate Experts Conclude Ocean Temperatures Continue Rising 

By: John Abraham of The Guardian

As humans put ever more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, the Earth heats up. These are the basics of global warming. But where does the heat go? How much extra heat is there? And how accurate are our measurements? These are questions that climate scientists ask. If we can answer these questions, it will better help us prepare for a future with a very different climate. It will also better help us predict what that future climate will be.
The most important measurement of global warming is in the oceans. In fact, “global warming” is really “ocean warming.” If you are going to measure the changing climate of the oceans, you need to have many sensors spread out across the globe that take measurements from the ocean surface to the very depths of the waters. Importantly, you need to have measurements that span decades so a long-term trend can be established. 
These difficulties are tackled by oceanographers, and a significant advancement was presented in a paper just published in the journal Climate Dynamics. That paper, which I was fortunate to be involved with, looked at three different ocean temperature measurements made by three different groups. We found that regardless of whose data was used or where the data was gathered, the oceans are warming.

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Stephen Hawkings: Space Colonization Will Unite and Elevate Humanity 

By: Pallab Gosh 

They should also aim to build a lunar base in 30 years’ time and send people to Mars by 2025.

Prof Hawking said that the goal would re-ignite the space programme, forge new alliances and give humanity a sense of purpose.

He was speaking at the Starmus Festival celebrating science and the arts, which is being held in Trondheim, Norway.

“Spreading out into space will completely change the future of humanity,” he said.

“I hope it would unite competitive nations in a single goal, to face the common challenge for us all.

“A new and ambitious space programme would excite (young people), and stimulate interest in other areas, such as astrophysics and cosmology”.

He addressed the concerns of those arguing that it would be better to spend our money on solving the problems of this planet along with a pointed criticism of US President Donald Trump.

“I am not denying the importance of fighting climate change and global warming, unlike Donald Trump, who may just have taken the most serious, and wrong, decision on climate change this world has seen,” he said.

Prof Hawking explained that human space travel is essential for the future of humanity precisely because the Earth was under threat from climate change as well as diminishing natural resources.

“We are running out of space and the only places to go to are other worlds. It is time to explore other solar systems. Spreading out may be the only thing that saves us from ourselves. I am convinced that humans need to leave Earth,” the Cambridge University theoretical physicist explained.

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New Broccoli Pill Reduces Blood Sugar In Diabetics 

By: Andy Coghlan of New Scientist

Doctors frequently tell us to eat our greens, but soon they could be prescribing broccoli. A powder that contains concentrated extract from the vegetable could prove indispensable to people with type 2 diabetes. The extract reduced blood sugar levels by up to 10 per cent in people with the disease.

Type 2 diabetes usually develops around middle age, often in people who are overweight. Their body stops responding to insulin, which controls the level of glucose in the blood. Abnormal insulin regulation causes a rise in blood sugar levels, which can raise people’s chances of heart attacks, blindness and kidney problems.

People with the condition are often prescribed metformin, which helps to lower blood glucose. However, as many as 15 per cent cannot take this therapy because of kidney damage risks.

“More research is needed to see if this repurposed drug can be used to treat Type 2 diabetes, as it was only tested in a small number of people and only helped a subset of those who are taking it,” says Elizabeth Robertson, of the charity Diabetes UK. “For now, we recommend that people continue with the treatment prescribed by their healthcare team.”

Clever greens

A chemical called sulforaphane, found in broccoli sprouts, has previously demonstrated an ability to reduce glucose levels in diabetic rats. Anders Rosengren of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and his colleagues wondered whether the same might be true for humans. To test the theory, his team gave 97 people with type 2 diabetes a concentrated dose of sulforaphane every day for three months, or a placebo. All but three people in the trial continued taking metformin. Those who didn’t take metformin were able to control their condition relatively well without it.

The concentration of sulforaphane given was around 100 times that found naturally in broccoli. “It was the same as eating around five kilograms of broccoli daily,” says Rosengren.

On average, those who received the broccoli extract saw their blood glucose reduce by 10 per cent more than those on the placebo. The extract was most effective in obese participants with “dysregulated” diabetes, whose baseline glucose levels were higher to start with.

“We’re very excited about the effects we’ve seen and are eager to bring the extract to patients,” says Rosengren. “We saw a reduction of glucose of about 10 per cent, which is sufficient to reduce complications in the eyes, kidneys and blood,” he says.

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5 Officials To Be Charged With Manslaughter For Flint Water Crisis 

By: Oona Goodin-Smith of Mlive 

 Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has charged five water officials — including a member of Gov. Rick Snyder’s cabinet and a former emergency manager — with manslaughter related to their alleged failure to act in during the Flint Water Crisis.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon, former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell Earley, former City of Flint Water Department Manager Howard Croft, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Drinking Water Chief Liane Shekter-Smith and former district supervisor Stephen Busch will all face involuntary manslaughter charges related to their alleged failure to act in the Flint Water Crisis, Schuette announced in a release on Wednesday, June 14.

Involuntary manslaughter is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a $7,500 fine.

The manslaughter charges are connected to the death of Robert Skidmore, who died Dec. 13, 2015, due to the area’s Legionnaires’ disease outbreak.

Charges against Lyon were authorized early on Wednesday, June 14, by Genesee District Judge David Guinn.Earley, Croft, Busch and Shekter-Smith have all previously been charged in connection to the water crisis.

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Canada Helps Their Transient Communites By Teaching Them BeeKeeping 

By: Marilla Steuter of CBC

Helping homeless people in Montreal reintegrate into society by teaching them to care for bees may seem like an unusual approach, but organizers of the Accueil Bonneau honey program say it’s been a real success story.

“When they get to be hands on, they see that it’s all about being confident and being at peace with the bees,” said Geneviève Kieffer Després, director of communications and special projects.

Accueil Bonneau, a local group that offers a drop-in day centre and variety of services for homeless men, partnered with Montreal urban beekeeping company Alvéole four years ago.

Now the program, whose aim is to teach job skills and encourage social interaction, has 60 hives in seven locations across the city. 

“The most important thing is that it’s not just a job. It’s learning to do something you love and getting rewarded for it. That is something we want to teach,” she said.

‘Like therapy

John Levasseur, an apprentice in the program, sees beekeeping as “meaningful” work.

He says bees are “so important, not only economically, but as a barometer” for the environmental state of the world. 

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New CO2 Plant Can Recylce Green House Gases In The Atmosphere 

By: Karla Lant of Futurism 

Yesterday, the world’s first commercial carbon capture plant began sucking carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the air around it. Perched atop a Zurich waste incineration facility, the Climeworks carbon capture plant comprises three stacked shipping containers that hold six CO2 collectors each. Spongey filters absorb CO2 as fans pull air through the collectors until they are fully saturated, a process that takes about two or three hours.

The container then closes, and the process reverses. The collector is heated to 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit), and the pure CO2 is released in a form that can be buried underground, made into other products, or sold.

According to Climeworks, the startup that created this carbon capture facility, hundreds of thousands more like it will be needed by midcentury if we want to remain below the limits set by the Paris Agreement. However, to keep the planet’s temperature from increasing by more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), we’ll need to do something more than simply lowering global emissions.

“We really only have less than 20 years left at current emission rates to have a good chance of limiting emissions to less than 2°C,” Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment director Chris Field told Fast Company. “So it’s a big challenge to do it simply by decreasing emissions from energy, transportation, and agriculture.”

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Are Robots Here To Steal Our Jobs ? California’s Would Be Governer Thinks So

By: Paul Lewis 

The graduating computer science students at the University of California at Berkeley had just finished chuckling at a joke about fleets of “Google buses, Facebook shuttles and Uber-copters” lining up to whisk them them to elite jobs in Silicon Valley. The commencement ceremony for a cohort of students who, one professor confided, were worth around $25bn was a feel-good affair.

Until, that is, Gavin Newsom took to the lectern and burst the bubble.

The smooth-talking Democrat, and frontrunner to win California’s gubernatorial race next year, warned the students that the “plumbing of the world is radically changing”. The tech industry that would make them rich, Newsom declared, was also rendering millions of other people’s jobs obsolete and fueling enormous disparities in wealth. “Your job is to exercise your moral authority,” he said. “It is to do the kinds of things in life that can’t be downloaded.”

That is not the kind of message computer engineers tend to hear. But Newsom, who has been waiting in the wings as California’s lieutenant governor for the past seven years, has put the consequences of automation and the center of his campaign.

“This is code red, a firehose, a tsunami that’s coming our way,” he told the Guardian a few days after his commencement address at Berkeley. “We’re going to get rolled over unless we get ahead of this.” California, a crucible of technological transformation that is reshaping the world, could be on the cusp of the first major election to be dominated by a debate over what to do about robots.

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Trump Pulls Out Of Paris Climate Deal 

By: Brian Resnick 

The United States will be withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, President Donald Trump announced Thursday from the White House Rose Garden. 

“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord,” Trump said.

He added that he hoped to “begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris accord or really entirely new transition on terms that are fair to the United States.”

The withdrawal process takes four years (so we’d withdraw around the time of the 2020 election). But when it’s complete, the United States will join a lonely club. Just two other countries — Syria and Nicaragua — have rejected the non-binding agreement.

The US is the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, right behind China. The decision to leave the agreement is a message to the world: We’ll take the lead on contributing to the problem, but not fixing it.

Trump actually could have gone further: He did not say he was taking the US out of the underlying United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a global agreement that predates the Paris treaty. Leaving that would mean abandoning all international cooperative efforts on climate change.

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1/3 of North America’s Honey Bee Colonies Were Lost Last Year

By: Sean Rossman of USA Today 
America’s beekeepers watched as a third of the country’s honeybee colonies were lost over the last year, part of a decade-long die-off experts said may threaten our food supply.

The annual survey of roughly 5,000 beekeepers showed the 33% dip from April 2016 to April 2017. The decrease is small compared to the survey’s previous 10 years, when the decrease hovered at roughly 40%. From 2012 to 2013, nearly half of the nation’s colonies died.

“I would stop short of calling this ‘good’ news,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland. “Colony loss of more than 30% over the entire year is high. It’s hard to imagine any other agricultural sector being able to stay in business with such consistently high losses.”

The research, published Thursday, is the work of the nonprofit Bee Informed Partnership and the Apiary Inspectors of America.
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Theresa May’s New Educational Decision To Negatively Effect Over 1M families 

By: Greg Wilford of The Independent 

Almost one million children from poor backgrounds will lose the right to free school meals if Theresa May pushes through cuts in the Conservative manifesto, an educational think tank has warned.

The Prime Minister announced last week that universal free lunches for infants will be stopped if the Tories win the June 8 general election, with free breakfasts on offer instead.

The move will cost families around £440 a year for each child affected and is thought likely to save around £650 million a year, according to the research by the Education Policy Institute (EPI).

The EPI found that those losing hot lunches would include 100,000 from families living in relative poverty, and 667,000 from those it defined as coming from “ordinary working families” of the kind that Theresa May has said she wants to help.

Those from the poorest backgrounds will still be entitled to a free midday meal.

EPI executive director Natalie Perera told The Observer: “Around 900,000 children from low-income families will lose their eligibility for free school meals under these proposals. Around two-thirds of those children are from what the Government considers to be ‘ordinary working families’.

“The typical annual cost for an ordinary working family would increase under these proposals to around £440 for each child aged between four and seven.”

Universal free lunches for infants were introduced under the coalition government by Liberal Democrat education minister David Laws, now the EPI’s executive chairman.

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