Cool Stories Humans Are Awesome Science

24-Year-Old With PhD is Crowned Miss Virginia in 2019

Camille Schrier, a 24-year-old with a  Ph.D. was crowned Miss Virginia. Against pageant norms, she wore a lab coat and safety glasses to perform the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide during the talent section of the competition.

She has 2 Bachelor of Science degrees from Virginia Tech in Biochemistry and Systems Biology. She is currently working to get a Doctorate Pharmacy Degree at Virginia Commonwealth University. Using the talent section for a science experiment was a perfect way to get others excited about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). You can check out her blog post by Clicking Here

Paraphrasing, she said the evolution of the Miss America Competition that reflects comprehensiveness and the opportunity to make a difference and win scholarships inspired her to come forward in the competition which was her statement she emailed to IFL Science.

She added that she is more than Miss Virginia, she is Miss Biochemist, Miss Systems Biologist, Miss Future PharmD, looking forward to a career in the pharmaceutical industry. She believes it’s time to create her mind-set about bringing her passion for STEM to the stage.  Talent is not a passion alone, it’s a skill which is perfected over time.

Cool Scientific Experiment

Catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide is an experiment that many students probably remember from school.  It’s very similar to applying hydrogen peroxide to a wound that is a bubbling foam.

The process is caused by a catalase (an enzyme found in almost all living organisms exposed to oxygen),  that is found in the blood and attacks the hydrogen peroxide putting off oxygen in the form of white gurgling bubbles.

Camille was the 24th contestant at the 2019 pageant and won more than $21,000 out of $75,000 in scholarship money.  Over the next year, she will travel around the state and share her platform of STEM awareness along with drug safety and the prevention of drug abuse.

Sadly, every day more than 130 Americans die from Opioid abuse and every eight minutes a caregiver makes a medical mistake that impacts a child’s life.  It’s time we do more about safety and abuse prevention.  She will go to represent the Commonwealth at Virginia at eh Miss America Pageant later this year.

I say Bravo Camille for your intelligence and desire to share the world of science to young people in hopes they will find careers they never knew existed.

Camille Schrier, a 24-year-old with a  Ph.D. was crowned Miss Virginia. Against pageant norms, she wore a lab coat and safety glasses to perform the...

Cool Stories Fashion Humans Are Awesome

Tattoos Unveiled on Egyptian Mummies From 3,000 Years Ago!

These tattoos were actually hidden before the rise in high-technology which is drawing the attention of Egyptologists everywhere.  It’s allowing for a glimpse into the lives of people in Egyptian culture 3,000 years ago, along with how they lived and how they worked.

According to the archaeologist, Anne Austin in a study published in 2017, she described identical symbols of religious connections as well as floral motifs, animals, and deities.  At that time, photography showed dozens of tattoos on necks, shoulders, arms, and backs of mummies including one with 2 lotus blossoms connected by a dotted line on a woman’s lips.

In 2014, the Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale (IFAO) identified an extensively tattooed mummy from the necropolis at Deir el-Medina. The community was made up of workmen who cut and designed the New Kingdom’s royal tombs. Since that time, there have been several other individuals with tattoos among mummies that have been unidentified on the site.

Deir el-Medina was an ancient village occupied by craftsmen who built the royal tombs for the nearby Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, according to the Ancient History Encyclopedia.   Deir el-Medina, unlike other places at the time, was a community for the sole purpose of housing the workers who were known as “Servants in the Place of Truth.

Look Again!

Along with her team, Austin examined the mummies in 2016 and then again this year. The findings were presented before the American Schools of Oriental Research.  Identified tattooed individuals along with others that were previously examined have been revealed.

Unfortunately, researchers can not identify the symbols or what they possibly meant or what they were used for.  The identities of these mummies remain unknown.

Researchers wrote in a paper that the distribution, displays, and content of these tattoos show how they were used in religious practices and to create public identities. One female mummy had extensive tattoos that revealed the tattoos were used to identify and enable this woman to act as a key religious practitioner to the Deir el-Medina community.

While the placement and designs of the tattoos varied greatly, the number of tattoos suggests that this was a practice that played a significant role in Deir el-Medina culture.  Without a doubt, these new findings definitely reveal that the practice of tattooing in ancient Egypt was very popular.

Egyptologists have identified only a handful of tattoos going back to Pharaonic Egypt’s 3,000-year history.  That said, there is very little known about the practice of tattoos in Ancient Egypt. Researchers, to date, claim they have discovered what they believe are the oldest tattoos ever on 2 different mummies housed in the British Museum that date back 5,300 years ago.

Deir el-Medina has been excavated and studied since the early 20th century and has given the world so much information about the daily lives of the people as well as the construction of the resting places of the royals.

These tattoos were actually hidden before the rise in high-technology which is drawing the attention of Egyptologists everywhere.  It’s allowing...

Earth Inspiring Stories

The World is at Your Command with Google’s Earth Creation Tools

If you have lived in different states or countries or just moved from one home to another in your town, you know homes and even apartments come with their own special sights and sounds along with different smells and changes in taste.

Well now, you can get added help from Google’s Earth Creation Tools to help you collect and share your favorite memories.

People have used Google Earth to view our wonderful planet for almost 15 years.  According to Gopal Shah, product manager, their mission is not about showing people the same old pictures of our planet, they want to bring the entire planet to life!

Google Earth’s placemarks are for storing points to access information for now or later and share with others. Be sure to draw your own placemarks, add shapes or anything else you wish. Attach custom text, images, and videos then organize your own very unique story.  By all means, collaborate with others!

When you are done, you will be ready to share it with the world.  Click on the “Present” button to take your chosen audience on a tour of someone’s excellent journey, a forest coming to life, or a fictional road adventure.

Story-telling Maps

It’s been 2 years since Google introduced Voyager which showed guided tours to the world with added stories. With the launch of the next and best step toward taking the power of map-making and story-telling and handing it over to you.

Their new creation tools are now available on the internet for Google Earth. At this time, there is no word when they will be available for mobile devices which currently only support viewing projects.

You can turn your digital world into your very own story and create a map or story about the places that are so important to you. After all, the world is at your command with Google Earth Creation Tools!

If you have lived in different states or countries or just moved from one home to another in your town, you know homes and even apartments come with...

Category - Humans Are Awesome

Cool Stories Earth

2,000 Feet Wide Asteroid Whizzes Past the Planet

The rather unimaginatively named 481392 (2006) SF9 asteroid measuring around 2,034 feet rushed past the Earth at an incredible 17,800 miles /hour on 20th November 2019.

The giant rock has a diameter of 2,034 feet and came to within 2.7million miles of the planet we call home. According to NASA, this is a distance 11 times greater than the distance between the Earth and the Moon.  This is likely to be the closest the asteroid will get to our planet for at least for the next 200 years.

The giant asteroid was first seen by astronomers near Tucson, Arizona back in 2006.  The Catalina Sky Survey is run by scientists based in the Steward Observatory and aims to look for asteroids, comets, and meteors.

How Far is “Near” in Space Terms?

Despite the huge distances involved this giant asteroid is known as a NEO (Near-Earth Object) because it came within 121 million miles of the sun and 30 million miles of our own planet’s path around the star.

There are numerous other types of NEOs but asteroids are the most common and are only considered “potentially hazardous” in certain circumstances.  NASA would start to become concerned about an asteroid if it came to within 4.6million miles of Earth and had a size over 460 feet.  This is about 19 times the distance between the moon and the earth.

It seems then that 481394 (2006 SF6) is seen as a potential hazard and certainly if it did hit the Earth there would be devastating results.  That said, it is not considered likely to hit the Earth within at least the next 200 years and, despite its size, the asteroid is still too small to cause the sort of extinction-level event that wiped out the dinosaurs even if a collision occurred.

There are around a quarter of a million NEOs larger than 460 feet at present, yet, according to NASA this probably represents only 35% of the total figure of asteroids in circulation.  Once you start looking at the smaller objects, those with a diameter of under 33 feet, you start to see figures shoot up to the 100 million range.

There are likely around 5,000 asteroids that could prove to be a hazard.

An asteroid consists of debris that was leftover for the early formation of the solar system. Most of the material joined together to form planets but some are still floating around out there. These asteroids give us valuable insights into how our solar system originated and shows that even now, around 4.5 billion years later, it is still changing and evolving.

The rather unimaginatively named 481392 (2006) SF9 asteroid measuring around 2,034 feet rushed past the Earth at an incredible 17,800 miles /hour on 20th November...

Read More
City Life Cool Stories Tech News

Lamborghini Now Registers Cars On the Blockchain

Italian luxury brand Lamborghini Adopts Salesforce Blockchain The Italian luxury sports car maker has adopted the Salesforce blockchain platform to certify heritage cars securely.  The platform also speeds up the process of tracing and authenticating these vehicles.

The move was announced in November 2019 following Salesforce’s launch of a hyper ledger-based blockchain platform back in May.  This will now mean that a network can be implemented, joining together many trusted participants who will be able to carry out checks each time a  Lamborghini’s is resold.

It is good news for both sellers and buyers because now every Lamborghini vehicle will have its own record of service.  Under the old system, the vehicle would be taken to  Sant’Agata Bolognese, Lamborghini’s Italian HQ to undergo around 800-1,000 checks for the vehicle to be resold.

It is a long and involved process involving collaboration between a network of photographers, repairs shops and auction houses to verify the vehicle’s parts and service history.

Fighting Counterfeit Vehicles

With the introduction of the blockchain certification, Salesforce and Lamborghini have announced that every car will be resold with a full record of service, including parts, previous owners and any restoration work.

The new system will mean that there is less risk of buyers being sold a counterfeit vehicle as all the entire process of authentication is conducted by Lamborghini and its trusted partners within the network.

In August 2019, Lamborghini’s conducted a pilot trial of Salesforce Blockchain when it certified it’s Lamborghini Aventador S.  This unique car has been protected as a work of art and certified using the  Salesforce Blockchain when it took part in the  Monterrey Car Week.

Italian luxury brand Lamborghini Adopts Salesforce Blockchain The Italian luxury sports car maker has adopted the Salesforce blockchain platform to certify heritage cars...

Read More
Inspiring Stories Tech News

New Facebook & Instagram Donation Tools to Rival PayPal

Donating to charities and causes is going to become a lot easier for Facebook users after new changes were announced by the social networking site this week.

Facebook is moving into an industry that is dominated by GoFundMe and PayPal and now the company has announced initiatives such as fundraising stickers on Facebook Stories, and the option to add donate buttons to video game streaming accounts and Instagram business.

The big guns, PayPal and GoFundMe are currently charging users 30cents for every donation, and a 2.9% processing fee.  Where PayPal will allow a lower charge of 2.2% on payment processing for nonprofits, Facebook has completely waived the fee for any type of donation.

People Do Donate

It is working well for the charitable causes too – they are seeing a rise in donors through the Facebook initiatives.  In 2018 PayPal was used by over 55 million people who made donations to nonprofits a total of $9.6billion.  In 2010, $5billion was raised through GoFundMe. Since 2015 Facebook has been instrumental in raising $2billion for nonprofits.

Facebook’s influence in digital payments is growing and this is likely to increase alongside its initiatives to help people fund non-profits.  The platform is keen to encourage groups and private messaging and incorporating donations and, while it will not provide a financial gain, it will encourage users to continue engaging with each other through Facebook.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in May that he was looking to encourage more group conversations on the platform and groups would be a more central part of the platform’s app.  The ability of a group to promote a cause and collect funds will assist him in this goal.

Donating to charities and causes is going to become a lot easier for Facebook users after new changes were announced by the social networking site this week.
Facebook is...

Read More
Cool Stories

Over 140 New Nazca Lines Discovered in Peru

Researchers at Yamagata University and IBM Japan have identified more than 100 new geoglyphs picturing fish, snakes, humanoids, and many other things in Nazca, Peru using AI technology owned by IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York. In all, they discovered 142 geoglyphs dating back to between 100 BCE and 300 CE.

The images were negative ones created by removing rocks from the white sand. The longest of all the images is over 100 meters from top to bottom, bigger than the Statue of Liberty while the smallest is 5 meters, around the same size as Michelangelo’s David.

To make things easier, the researches divided all the geoglyphs into two categories according to their size, age, and design. Type A are those which tend to be bigger – 50 meters or more – and are just line drawings while Type B consists of smaller geoglyphs on solid-colored surfaces.

These two categories also differ by age. Typically, those in Type B were older, thought to be created anywhere from 100 BCE to 100 CE during the Initial Nazca Period, or earlier even, while Type B is a bit more recent – that is, between 100 and 300 CE.

The researchers’ theory is that each group had a different purpose. Type A, the larger ones, may have been for rituals that involved pottery while Type B was simply for decoration. These second ones were discovered close to paths or on slopes, which suggests their purpose may have been to aid travelers.

What do we know about the Nazca Lines?

In 1994, all the lines and geoglyphs of Nazca and Palpa, located 400 or so kilometers south of Lima, near the town of Nazca, were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spanning 517 square kilometers of desert, it is here that the Nazca civilization created hundreds of geoglyphs between 500 BCE and 500 CE.

According to National Geographic, it wasn’t until flight was invented that they were discovered. That means they were left untouched for thousands of centuries.

Researchers are still mystified as to how or why geoglyphs were constructed, but as the World Heritage Convention states, they have turned “the vast land into a highly symbolic, ritual and social-cultural landscape that remains until today.”

“They represent a remarkable manifestation of a common religion and social homogeneity that lasted a considerable period of time.”

Some say they were used as a big astronomical calendar while others say they were places to perform rituals for farming success. Still others think that they were alien landing sites – one of the most unique and improbable theories.

Researchers at Yamagata University and IBM Japan have identified more than 100 new geoglyphs picturing fish, snakes, humanoids, and many other things in Nazca, Peru...

Read More
Cool Stories

10 Secret Code Words You’re Not Meant to Know

What at first seems like ordinary combinations of numbers or words can actually be signs of serious emergencies in the right situations. Read on to learn a few!

10-33

You’ve probably heard a policeman say “10-4,” at least in movies – a type of acknowledgment of what has been said. But 10-33 is something more. If you hear an officer say 10-33, it means there’s an emergency.

Code 10

The phrase “Code 10” actually has several meanings. If you’re in a hospital, it signals a serious threat or mass casualties. However, if you’re in a store and the cashier issues an authorization request for a Code 10, it means he or she finds you or your card to be suspicious. However, if you’re in Walmart, don’t be alarmed; Code 10 only means that there has been a dry spill!

7500

This number is something you should hope to never hear your pilot say because it’s a code that signals the plane has been hijacked.

However, more and more people have become familiar with what “7500” means in this situation, so many airlines have gone a step further to install a button or some sort of contraption in the cockpit which quietly turns the plane’s transponder to 7500. Then, the air traffic control will simply confirm with the pilot that he sent the signal intentionally.

7700, however, signals general emergencies on a plane.

Code Adam

Back in 1994, Walmart coined the phrase “Code Adam” following the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh, a 6-year-old who had been innocently strolling around Sears. Now, it is used to signal a missing child in many public locations, such as malls, hospitals, supermarkets, and museums. Congress has even mandated that all federal buildings use Code Adam procedures as of 2003.

Code Blue

Some hospitals may differ from others, so there’s a chance it may mean something different for some hospitals, but in general, a Code Blue means that a patient has gone into cardiac arrest.

Code Bravo

Hearing “Code Bravo” in an airport is quite serious, as it means there has been a bomb threat or some other sort of security breach.

In fact, you may even encounter officials yelling the phrase because they want people to freeze, helping them to find where the legitimate threat is more quickly.

Code Oscar

We often associate the word “Oscar” with the Academy Awards, but unfortunately, on ships, “Code Oscar” has nothing to do with movies and actors. It means that there is a man overboard.

Code Silver

If you’re in a hospital and year “Code Silver,” keep your eye out for suspicious individuals. It means that there is someone in the building with a weapon, a hostage situation has occurred, or some other violent situation has ensued which requires a lockdown.

Doctor Firestone

Dr. Firestone isn’t a real doctor, but you could hear the name in a real medical emergency. It lets hospital staff know there’s a fire in the building. If you hear an announcement saying, Paging Dr. Firestone to the fifth floor,” you should know that there is no Dr. Firestone.

What it actually means is that there is a fire in the building, and they want to let the staff know without causing mayhem. Some hospitals may use the phrase “Code Red” instead.

Echo, Echo, Echo

You would only hear this in context if you are out on a ship on a foggy night. It means that two ships are about to run into one another. Some cruise ships utilize this phrase to let everyone on board know that there are high winds.

What at first seems like ordinary combinations of numbers or words can actually be signs of serious emergencies in the right situations. Read on to learn a...

Read More
Humans Are Awesome Inspiring Stories

Stranded Bride & Bridesmaid Rescued by Firefighters

This is what happened.  In March, there was an accident that involved two vehicles which ended up blocking two lanes of traffic.  Firefighters from Station 69 noticed a woman in a long wedding dress and her bridesmaid trying to walk through traffic.

They were holding up their gowns to prevent them from becoming soiled.  Even though there were no reports of rain, the area was very muddy.

The bride told firefighters she was getting married but she was late because her limo was stuck in traffic and she needed to get to her wedding.  A representative for the LA County Firefighters told Yahoo Lifestyle, as soon as they had cleared the way, they put the two women in the fire truck and drove them to the wedding.

With the bride and bridesmaid safely inside the fire truck, they headed northbound on Topanga Blvd and turned into the wedding event with lights flashing which made her arrival not only unique but really special.

They looked like they were being escorted to the wedding and as soon as they stepped out of the truck, a photo was taken.

Happy Epilogue

A few weeks later, back at the station, the representative noticed a photo of the bride with her four wonderful rescuers hanging on the wall.  He posted it on his Instagram page  The photo had been signed by the bride and sent to the fire station just a few weeks after the wedding.

The photo read: “Thanks for saving our wedding, The Gormans”.  The firefighter who snapped the photo said they still have no idea what the bride’s first name is!

Highlights of the many diverse duties the firefighters do are the main reason for their Instagram account.  It shows the crew doing everything from battling fires to visiting with local school children.  The representative added that’s sort of the point of this Instagram page.

The representative who runs the page requested his name not be used.  He said there are so many cool things we do that never seem to make it out there.  Bravo to Fire Station 69!

This is what happened.  In March, there was an accident that involved two vehicles which ended up blocking two lanes of traffic.  Firefighters from Station 69 noticed...

Read More
Cool Stories Science

Cool! Never Before Seen ‘Dance of Avoidance’ of Neptune’s Moons

Over the years, astronomers have discovered 14 moons that orbit Neptune – and that’s just 14 that we know of. Seven of them are inner moons that are relatively close to one another. In 1989, the Voyager 2 spacecraft flyby happened upon two of these inner moons, Naiad and Thalassa.

Scientists have more recently observed Naiad’s unique orbit consisting of oscillating patterns in order to avoid collision with Thalassa. They’ve labelled it a “dance of avoidance.”

These moons are quite small when compared to the Earth’s moon – a pithy 60 miles or so in length to 2,159 miles in diameter. In addition, at least relatively speaking, the two moons are quite close together, orbiting only 1,150 miles apart.

But because of the shape of their orbits, they are prevented from colliding with one another. The data that confirmed this was collected by the Voyager 2 spacecraft and Hubble Space Telescope between 1981 and 2016.

“We are always excited to find these co-dependencies between moons,” said co-author of the article in the journal Icarus, Mark Showalter, a planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California.

“Naiad and Thalassa have probably been locked together in this configuration for a very long time, because it makes their orbits more stable. They maintain the peace by never getting too close.”

Super Fast Zigzag

Naiad takes 7 hours to orbit Neptune while Thalassa takes 7.5 hours, so to avoid Thalassa, Naiad moves in a zigzag pattern, crossing the other’s orbit twice from above and twice from below, repeating the pattern again and again.

Naiad’s tilt and timing are impeccable each time, keeping the two from coming too close. They remain 2,200 miles or so apart even when the two orbits cross paths.

“We refer to this repeating pattern as a resonance,” lead author Marina Brozović, an expert in solar system dynamics at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said.

“There are many different types of ‘dances’ that planets, moons, and asteroids can follow, but this one has never been seen before.”

Brozović and her colleagues think that this unique moon movement has been occurring since Neptune captured Triton, it’s the largest satellite at 1,680 miles.

“We suspect that Naiad was kicked into its tilted orbit by an earlier interaction with one of Neptune’s other inner moons,” said Brozović. “Only later, after its orbital tilt was established, could Naiad settle into this unusual resonance with Thalassa.”

Over the years, astronomers have discovered 14 moons that orbit Neptune – and that’s just 14 that we know of. Seven of them are inner moons that are relatively close...

Read More
Cool Stories Earth

If You Missed Mercury’s Journey Across the Sun, You’ll Have to Wait Another 13 Years!

Mercury’s journey across the sun happened on November 11th and if you missed it, you will have to wait another 13 years before this event occurs again.  Mercury’s next journey across the sun will not take place until November 13, 2031.  If you think this is a long wait, consider Venus who will travel 93 years from now!

Phenomenal events like this only happen when there is a set alignment on planet orbits. Just like all the planets in our solar system, Mercury and Venus circle the sun in a plane, similar to a pancake but it’s not perfectly flat because each planet has a tilt in its orbit.

Take Mercury’s path, there is an incline of 7° to the plane in which the planet, on average, orbits in the sky. From the perspective of our planet Earth, Mercury passes above or below the sun almost all the time, only crossing the sun 13 or 14 times in one century.

With Venus, this phenomenon is much rarer. It happens in transit pairs separated by 8 years and each pairing only happens about a century apart from each other.

Also, only Mercury and Venus can cross the sun since they are on the inner side of the solar system, unlike Earth.  Transits of Mercury seem to happen around the same time of year, either in November or May while Venus’ is more scattered.

When Will the Next Transit Be?

According to NASA, if you missed this last transit of Mercury, you will have to wait a really long time.  The next 2 transits will happen in 2032 and 2039 but will not be visible from North America. Skywatchers in the U.S will have to wait until 2049 and from the West Coast in 2052.

Regarding Venus, you should mark it on your calendar and even consider if you will still be around.  According to NASA, from December 10 to 11, 2117 it will be visible in southern and western North America and other locations.

As of December 8, 2125,  it will be visible for half its journey in the U.S.  The next pairing will not occur until 2247 and 2255.

If all of this seems too far in advance for you to even consider, have peace of mind, you will have plenty of chances to watch the moon travel across the sun during a solar eclipse or to watch the moon pass into Earth’s shadow during the lunar eclipse.

Eclipses take place every few months but visibility varies considerably, especially for solar eclipses.

If you were fortunate enough to capture the Mercury event, share it on your social media so the rest of us can enjoy the moment!

Mercury’s journey across the sun happened on November 11th and if you missed it, you will have to wait another 13 years before this event occurs again. ...

Read More
Earth Inspiring Stories

The Half-Earth Project and Its Plausibility

In case you don’t know, biodiversity is the key to life on our planet, providing ecosystem services which all life depends upon. For years biodiversity has been on the decline around the world caused by climate change and the loss of habitats.

Human activities could lead to our extinction along with the extinction of the planet. Losing so much of Earth’s biodiversity is destroying our heritage and the stability of the planet as a whole. Is there anything we can do about it at this stage?

What Is The Half-Earth Project?

The evolutionary biologist, E.O. Wilson, came up with his plan for Half-Earth. He proposes that half the planet should be completely set aside as a natural reserve in order to protect and preserve biodiversity. In his book “Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight For Life”, he explains that loss of biodiversity is already beyond the stage of recovery and the only solution to prevent mass extinction and destruction is to protect half of the earth from human interference. This will allow the natural reserve to protect and preserve the biodiversity while the other half of the planet is shared by humans.

Why The Concept Of Exactly Half?

The amount of space for suitable habitats for species is a critical factor in survival or not. Wilson developed “The Theory of Island” in the 1960s suggesting that any change in an area of habitat would result in a change in the number of sustainable species by the fourth root. Therefore, if the reserve grows in size so will the surviving species and the same can be said in reverse. In theory, if half of the global surface is protected, the number of species will be around 85% or more which could prevent extinction.

So, Where Is The Half Going To Be?

For the Half-Earth Project to work, there must be specifications in place by using advanced technologies that will comprehensively map the geospatial locations and distribution of species on the planet. The decision would be based on the data output to show where would be the best place to protect most species.

As geospatial is relating to data that is associated with a specific area, there are several locations best for preservation and most of those areas are in South America.

In order for the project to work, it will take scientific research and experienced leadership to form strategies to map the Earth’s species and will require engagement with people from everywhere to participate in the movement.

Once enlisted, people are asked to sign the Half-Earth Pledge in which people promise to support the Half-Earth Project by sharing information, participating locally in conservation efforts, and supporting the protection policies.

While reading through Wilson’s proposal, it might sound great but is it at all practical? What would be the negative fall-out on the human population from implementing this project?

An article called “Half-Earth Or Whole Earth?” was published which analyzed the other side of this Half-Earth Project and the negative impact it might have on humanity. The argument can be examined from the following points:

The problem with the Half-Earth proposal, it ignores the elements that cause the loss of biodiversity across the planet. The plan for future biodiversity does not address the overconsumption of resources and industrial activities that are unrealistic. Even if we divided the earth in half in terms of consumption of resources and our activities, there would still be major consequences for the entire planet.

How about the social impact caused by the half earth project? Restricting areas would cause many challenges from physical and economic displacement and will eventually lead to social conflict. Even to date, many strictly protected areas are in the middle of social conflicts.

Adding to that, who will create and control these protected areas? How can we possibly share these areas globally and equally? Lower-income countries suffer from enormous poverty and lack of infrastructure. Therefore, removing land from non-conservation use will impact those countries and communities the most who, ironically, are the least responsible for our current environmental issues.

Many studies have shown that protected areas work best if they are supported by local communities. One recent study showed that protected areas that have integrated local people as shareholders are more effective in reaching biological conservation, economic, and social development. The Half-Earth Project completely ignores the relationship between biodiversity and local communities.

Lastly, the Half-Earth Project does not offer any guidelines or an agenda on how to manage biodiversity in the human half. What will biodiversity look like and what’s the role of people in the plan? Will there be any restrictions in this plan?

All the above arguments and issues are predictable and expected but the Half-Earth Project does not mention the negative impacts or how these impacts will be addressed.

In a nutshell, the Half-Earth Project is not plausible and cannot be put in place as a sustainable strategy because of the issues it has failed to address. Also, if implemented, it would result in dangerous and counter-effective consequences such as greater injustice and the rise of conflicts.

There would have to be a logical solution in place that would focus on the roots of the biodiversity loss. So much more must be done if we ever expected to address how the global economy works and address how we extract natural resources.

It’s a fact that economic growth is an issue all unto itself. Working toward achieving prosperity without growth could possibly be a part of the solution.

Implemented strategies must support measures to address inequality along with improved health and well being. This is a much more realistic approach and a better way for sustaining biodiversity vs what the Half-Earth Project is suggesting.

Are there steps that can be taken to improve our environment and protect nature? Yes, but it takes more than a pipe dream that would literally throw millions of people out of their homelands and overcrowd other countries leading to further conflicts.

In case you don’t know, biodiversity is the key to life on our planet, providing ecosystem services which all life depends upon. For years biodiversity has been on...

Read More
Cool Stories

Food Trucks Should be Unique! Take a Look at These Trucks!

We all know if you have an online store, in order to compete you need to have a site that stands out from the crowd and people take notice.  Well, the same is true for food trucks.  Trucks that stand out and catch the public’s eye are going to get customers while serving up some yummy stuff.

Atilla The HUNgry serves fusion foods like their signature Thai PM & J made with Thai peanut butter and strawberry Sriracha jam! Sounds pretty yummy! A Flickr member photographed and probably enjoyed a lot of food from this red food truck in Edmonton, Canada during the summer of 2014.

This canned pork loaf from a mobile platform and priced really well was grabbed up quickly.  Even if it’s Spam Musubi, it’s still sushi so pull up a spot, pull out your wallet and chow down! A Flickr member saw this Aloha Plate food truck at Coachella 2014 which is the perfect place to serve sushi made with spam!

How about a syndicate known as the Oryza Kings where they can get sticky rice served directly to the public.  With its quilted foil and that enormous extract thing on the roof, the truck speaks volumes that something very special is being prepared inside.

Food Truckin’

Well, this truck speaks volumes even if it’s not owned by the Grateful Dead! This fun group knows how to push all the right buttons from the LSD Lights and paint job to the decorated grinning skull right out of Halloween, you just gotta love it!

You also gotta love the menu board offering breakfast tacos and iced coffee are classic if you want munchies food! A Flickr member took the shot in May of 2010.

Praise Be Cheeses

This huge Big Cheese food truck just about says it all.  This is a convention-style event for the Funko community and even Funko fans need to feed their faces once in a while.  Nothing can possibly satisfy more than cheese in all its delicious, mouthwatering modifications and arrangements.

Those who are not quite into cheese for their next snack, you can enjoy the truck’s Nutella with Roasted Banana sandwiches!  A Flickr member ran down this wonderful food truck in April of 2011.

Do you have an idea for a food truck? Are you getting ready to hit all the local events in your area? If yes, make sure your truck stands out from the crowd, have foods that will draw people from miles around and above and beyond all else, have fun!

We all know if you have an online store, in order to compete you need to have a site that stands out from the crowd and people take notice.  Well, the same is true for...

Read More
Humans Are Awesome Inspiring Stories Vacation

View Some of the Largest Sculpture Parks Around the World

Sculpture parks offer incredible sculptures that are too large to be placed inside buildings so they need to have their own space. They are beautifully located in dazzling gardens and play off the background of Mother Nature. When you travel to an area that has a sculpture park, you must experience the grandeur and beauty of these perfectly mastered pieces of art.

Storm King Art Center in Cornwall, NY

This art center is less than 2-hours by train just north of NYC. On a sunny day, what a great way to spend an afternoon strolling through the natural art center viewing modern works that date back to the 1940s. While strolling through this 500-acre park, you might just run into gorgeous Alexander Calder sculptures or come across an enormous canoe painted by Roy Lichtenstein.

Parque de las Esculturas in Santiago, Chile

After the original garden was destroyed by a flood in 1982, local artists totally rebuilt the area forming an incredible sculpture park and botanical garden. The park is well-lit if you want to stop by in the evening and on a clear day, you can see the Andes Mountains.

Ekebergparken Sculpture in Park Oslo, Norway

This park is located in an area that during WWII, was loaded with German anti-aircraft mines. Today, it’s loaded with modern features and lifelike metal sculptures of people. James Turrell’s “Skyspace” is one of many around the world that create a color show with the changing light in the ceiling aperture that will take your breath away.

Parco Dei Mostri in Bomarzo, Italy

This park was commissioned by Prince Pier Francesco Orsini in 1552. The park is a ghoulish interpretation of the suffering he experienced after returning from the horrors of war and then directly followed by the death of his wife.

Parco dei Mostri in translation is Park of the Monsters and is a far cry from symmetrical and sculpture gardens that existed during the time. This park is a strange, haunting environment for this open-air gallery.

Memento Park in Budapest, Hungary

This larger-than-life sculpture park is tongue in cheek focusing on the fall of communism. You will see life-sized sculptures of the former communist leaders throughout history. Also, there is a phone that you can pick up and travel back in time listening to the voices of Stalin and Mao, along with many others.

Chapungu Sculpture Park in Harare, Zimbabwe

This sculpture garden sits in the capital city of Zimbabwe and was originally created before the country gained its independence. The garden is made up of wonderful work created by traditional Zimbabwean stone sculptors. Today, many of these pieces of artwork are exported to botanical gardens around the world to share the traditional art form of Zimbabweans.

Buddha Park in Vientiane, Laos

Even though the park was designed to look like it was built hundreds of years ago, the Buddha statues were not built until 1958. The sculptures were created by a priest-shaman and his students and none of them were trained in art. There are 200 huge statues that sit on the banks of the Mekong River which express Thai and Laotian culture with both Buddhist and Hindu statues of icons.

Hakone Open-Air Museum in Hakone, Japan

This is Japan’s first open-air museum which is made up of sculptures, gardens, and exhibits set against the backdrop of lush garden growth. Your children can climb inside clear cubes and everyone is welcome to rest their feet in the trickling foot baths with water that comes from the local hot spring.

In Broken Hill, Australia – Visit the Living Desert & Sculptures

In 1993, this park opened in central Australia. It’s home to 12 sandstone carvings by artists from Australia, Mexico, Georgia, and Syria. Visit at sunset and watch the rocks light up, creating an incredible magical effect that can only be found in the Outback!

Sculpture parks offer incredible sculptures that are too large to be placed inside buildings so they need to have their own space. They are beautifully located in...

Read More
Funny Stories

The Famous Boulder ‘Wizard Rock’ has Vanished!

The Arizona Republic reported that a one-ton boulder, known as Wizard Rock, mysteriously disappeared from its location approximately 2 weeks ago.

Officials from Prescott National Forest said it would take very heavy machinery to remove this boulder from its location due to its size and weight.  Jason Williams, Trails and Wilderness Manager at the park told the Republic that you could move it if you had a backhoe.

He added that a Bobcat could be used if the trailer was positioned just right and you didn’t mind if things were harmed along the way.

Williams suggested that the boulder could have been removed in broad daylight because anyone passing by would not think they were trying to steal the boulder instead they would be seen as workers of the park just moving it.

The general public would think somebody working with large equipment in the forest would assume it’s authorized.  It would appear they were professionals doing something that was authorized by the forest service and probably even paid for doing so.

A Famous Landmark

Wizard Rock was a well-known landmark to many people as they drove by along State Route 89 and a very popular place for people to visit and take photos with the rock.  Wizard Rock has streaks of white quartz running through it which makes it very distinctive.

Debbie Maneely, spokesperson for Prescott National Forest, told Newsweek the boulder had been reported to the trails and wilderness program by a member of the public that appreciated this unique boulder for many years.

Since that time, various media stories have popped up and the park has gotten unconfirmed reports on social media claiming the boulder may have been taken 1 to 2 months before ever being reported as missing.

Maneely said that the disappearance of this unique boulder only shows that there are so many interesting and unique things all around us in the national forests and, as humans, we often do not take the time to appreciate the value of these wonderful items until it’s too late and they are gone.

Park officials are urging anyone who has information regarding the disappearance of Wizard Rock to call 928-443-8110.  Removing items and minerals from National Forest lands without a permit is illegal.  Anyone caught doing so, can be fined up to $5,000 or sentenced to six months in jail or both.

It’s disappointing and unfortunate when national forests lose such precious items like this boulder.  Their hope is that it will be returned to them and these recent occurrences will become an educational opportunity to learn from, not just walk off with.

These boulders belong to the public and should be enjoyed by locals as well as visitors for many years to come.  If anyone has any questions regarding what they can take or purchase from the Prescott Nation Forest or how to get legal authorization to do so, they should contact any of the park’s offices for more information.

This is not the first time in recent months that boulders have been removed from Prescott National Forest.  Over the past 4 months, there have been 2 different incidents where boulders weighing between 750 to 2,000 pounds have been taken using heavy equipment.

Maneely said when boulders have unique features such as their coloring or if their shape looks like an animal or, in this case, something dark and magical, people will take them for yard decoration.

Why people go through this is not really known.  These heavy rocks are used by the U.S. Forest Service to create barriers, define parking areas, and build large retaining walls.

Prescott National Forest runs along 1.25 million acres across north-central Arizona, encompassing a variety of environments from deserts to mountains.  We just hope the boulder will be found and brought back to its rightful place!

Good News Update: The Rock is Back!

The Arizona Republic reported that a one-ton boulder, known as Wizard Rock, mysteriously disappeared from its location approximately 2 weeks ago.

Officials from...

Read More