Earth Inspiring Stories

‘World’s Smallest McDonald’s’ Restaurant for Bees Is Now Open

It’s always a joy to travel the world, see different sights, and explore foreign cultures. One of the reasons we travel is to see things that are different from what’s familiar to us. However, some things are all over the world, and one of those is the famous fast-food chain McDonald’s.

Now the restaurant has just done something most marvelous – it’s opened up a new restaurant!

“Now, wait a minute,” you may be thinking. “What’s so novel about that?” Well, this isn’t just any McDonald’s. This one is ‘the world’s smallest’ McDonald’s, and was created just for bees.

Though it’s obviously not serving food since it was created to be a beehive, the detail is amazing. McDonald’s cut no corners with their smallest of restaurants, providing it with signage, seating, drive-thru bays, and the famous golden arches.

This tiny restaurant in Sweden is the first of what the company hopes to be many, many – thousands, even – beehive McDonald’s. This first is a tribute to all of the Swedish McDonald’s, many of which have beehives on their roofs as an effort to assuage the effects of global warming.

Earth can’t live without bees

Bees play an absolutely crucial role in our planet’s ecosystem. They pollinate three quarters of our planet, but the bee population has experienced a serious decline as a result of pesticides and climate change. And no bees means no food.

McDonald’s currently has over 37,000 restaurants open all over the world, and if every one of those hosts a beehive, the positive impact could potentially be astronomical. The company hopes, therefore, that the initiative is taken up not just by Sweden but by every McDonald’s restaurant.

Christoffer Rönnblad, marketing director of McDonald’s Sweden, described it as a ‘great idea’.

According to Adweek, he said: “We have a lot of really devoted franchisees who contribute to our sustainability work, and it feels good that we can use our size to amplify such a great idea as beehives on the rooftops.”

The danger of pesticides to bees

Just last year, a ban on pesticides was put into effect by the EU just after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reported that neonicotinoids were a serious threat to bees, no matter where or how they were used.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “The Commission had proposed these measures months ago, on the basis of the scientific advice from the European Food Safety Authority.

“Bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production and the environment.”

It’s always a joy to travel the world, see different sights, and explore foreign cultures. One of the reasons we travel is to see things that are...

Cool Stories Nature & Tech

Massive Avalanche In Aspen Captured On Camera

Originally founded as a mining camp during the Silver Boom in Colorado in the mid-1800s, Aspen is now the most elite winter resort and the most popular tourist attraction in the United States.

The four ski areas around the town of Aspen get an average of 176 inches of snow per year. It used to be visited by musicians and writers but nowadays they are joined by corporate executives.

Named after the abundance of aspen trees in the surrounding woods, it is situated in an area in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains and the Elk Mountains, along the Roaring Fork River at an elevation just below 8,000 feet (2,400 m) above sea level on the Western Slope, 11 miles (18 km) west of the Continental Divide.

In order to control the amount of snowfall on the ski terrains, as well as to reduce the risk of naturally-occurring avalanches, the authorities use strategically placed fuel-air explosives that generate an air blast strong enough to initiate a slide in a controlled environment.

It is usually done in the early hours of the morning if possible, to avoid stray skiers that neglect the warnings. These controlled blasts have been able to save many ski seasons and keep the safety on the slopes to a maximum.

Footage of Human Triggered Avalanche

This footage was shot by a tourist in Aspen during one of those detonations, showing the amazing way the powder falls and settles, minimizing the risk of a naturally occurring avalanche.

In the middle of February 2018 the Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an avalanche warning for the Aspen-area backcountry.”Human-triggered avalanches are very likely at all elevations,” the warning said, with “natural avalanches that could run to the valley floors are likely.

Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.”The reason behind this occurrence is this winter’s snowfall, where one-third of the cumulative snowfall fell in just two weeks.

Avalanche control activities such as this one minimize the risks avalanches pose to the life, activities, and properties of humankind. These activities begin with a risk assessment by surveying for potential avalanche terrain.

The geographic features, such as vegetation patterns, drainages, and seasonal snow distribution that are indicative of avalanches, need to be identified.

From there, the hazard is assessed by identifying human geographic features such as roads, ski hills, and buildings that are potentially under threat. These programs address the avalanche risks by drawing up prevention and alleviation plans, which are executed during the winter season.

The prevention and alleviation plans combine extensive snowpack observation with three major groups of interventions: active, passive, and social. Those are sometimes more narrowly defined as “explosive”, “structural”, and “awareness”, according to the most common technique used in each.

These avalanche control techniques either intervene directly in the evolution of the snowpack, or minimize the effect of an avalanche once it has occurred. Should the need of human involvement occur, avalanche control organizations develop and train thorough response and recovery plans.

Have you ever seen an avalanche? What was it like?

Originally founded as a mining camp during the Silver Boom in Colorado in the mid-1800s, Aspen is now the most elite winter resort and the most...

Earth Science

Did Water on Earth Come From the Moon?

The origination of water on the earth has long been a quandary for scientists, but a new research published in the journal Natural Astronomy poses a new theory.

Scientists from the University of Münster in Germany are suggesting from their study that the debris of a Mars-sized body called Theia which has been thought to form the moon also brought water to our planet. The Theia theory is called the “giant impact hypothesis.”

Since our planet is thought to have formed in a dry inner solar system which lacked substance, scientists have long been unable to figure out where the source of water originated.

“The formation of the moon and the origin of Earth’s water are two of the fundamental open questions in cosmo-chemistry,” Gerrit Budde, the study’s lead author, told Newsweek. “Unraveling these processes is essential to understand the early evolution of the solar system, the formation of planets and the development of life.”

The solar system split in half

Scientists have previously surmised from the little they know about the world’s origin that the solar system was split in half for the first million years – that is, if their timeline is correct. When Jupiter formed, it was like a barrier against the exchange of materials between the inner and outer regions. Most of what they know about these matters is speculation, however.

The outer solar system was populated by meteorites containing water-rich “carbonaceous” material. Meanwhile, the inner solar system was filled mostly with non-carbonaceous meteorites that lacked water.

One of the more popular explanations for where the Earth first got water is that the “carbonaceous” bodies from the outer solar system brought large amounts of carbonaceous material to the earth. This explanation is still yet to be proven, however, and scientists haven’t been able to figure out when it could have happened or what the quantities involved may have been.

Scientists have attempted to get to the bottom of this issue by analyzing data on variants of a silvery-white metal called molybdenum which they obtained from a meteorite as well as terrestrial rock samples.

Fortunately, isotopes, which are variants of a chemical element that differ in the number of neutrons, allowing the scientists to clearly distinguish between carbonaceous and non-carbonaceous materials, which has given them slight leeway in discovering the truth.

“By comparing the molybdenum isotope composition of Earth and meteorites, for the first time we were able to constrain the timing and amount of the addition [of] outer solar system material to the Earth, as well as the origin of the moon-forming impactor and Earth’s water,” Budde said.

“In short, Earth’s water was delivered by water-rich carbonaceous material that derived from the cold outer solar system, probably beyond the orbit of Jupiter,” he said. “This happened relatively late at the end of Earth’s main growth history, and this material was delivered most likely by the giant impactor—Theia—that also caused the formation of the moon.

In turn, this means that the impactor itself originated from the outer solar system—it is generally assumed that Theia originated in the inner solar system near the Earth.”

All in all, it’s clear that there is much more to this issue than meets the eye. With so many things unclear about how our planet came to be, it makes one speculate about the theory of one Designer who planned it all.

The origination of water on the earth has long been a quandary for scientists, but a new research published in the journal Natural Astronomy poses a...

Category - Nature & Tech

Animals Vacation

How to Do Wildlife Tourism Right

Nearly all travelers love the thrill of getting up close and personal with animals – and the wilder they are, the better. However, what they often don’t consider is how these animals are treated in order to make animal encounters, such as elephant rides and photo ops with tigers, a reality.

The ethics of wildlife experiences is one of the many controversial issues covered in National Geographic magazine’s feature story “Suffering unseen: The dark truth behind wildlife tourism.”

It’s not easy to figure out how to humanely observe animals, but one way you can assess the way a facility treats its animals is by referring to the standards recognized internationally in the “five freedoms” which were inspired by the U.K. in 1965. Here are some tips for how to go about viewing wildlife on your next venture.

Do your research

Research ahead of time to discover what facilities seem to care for their animals ethically. Just because a zoo has a high rating on TripAdvisor doesn’t mean that it’s humane. Read reviews to see if the animals have been well-fed and have access to clean water at all times.

Scan the space

When you’re at the facility, keep your eyes open and look around you to see what the space provides. Do the animals seem comfortable and happy? Are their environments appropriate? Do they have ample space, somewhere to get away from the crowds, and a comfortable resting area?

Watch out for buzzwords like “sanctuary” and “rescue,” especially if a facility is making these sorts of claims while also offering extensive interaction to large volumes of people. Most likely, it’s not true!

Look for red flags

Some things will be hard not to notice, like visibly injured animals or ones that have been cajoled into participating in entertaining activities that could be potentially harmful. Any time an animal that is meant to be wild is giving rides to the tourist is chained, or anything else unnatural to it, it’s just not right. Also, simply observe whether or not their enclosures are kept up and cleaned.

Tread lightly

Do your part in treating the animals with dignity. Large crowds and unnatural noises cause them distress, so be cautious and considerate while you are around them, especially those ones that have experienced some sort of trauma.

Keep it wild

Do your best to encourage and participate in experiences that take place in an animal’s natural environment.

It takes each of us to change the industry of global wildlife tourism. Every one of us that makes a conscious decision to only support facilities that treat their animals ethically helps to transform the industry for the better.

Nearly all travelers love the thrill of getting up close and personal with animals – and the wilder they are, the better. However, what they often don’t consider is how these animals are treated in order to make animal encounters, such as elephant rides...

City Life Science

Women Think Better in Warmer Rooms, Study Suggests

While the study hasn’t been completely conclusive, recent findings have suggested that women think better in warmer rooms while men work better in lower temperatures ones.

Such findings may cause workplaces to think more deeply about their room temperatures and the effect it has on employees’ productivity.

The study occurred in Berlin where 542 students were recruited by researchers to take math, cognition, and verbal tests. Forty percent of the participants were female. First, the tests were taken in a room kept at 61.14 F, but then they were taken in another room at 90.63 F.

Overall, the women performed better on math and verbal tests in the warmer room while the men did better on those tests in the colder room. However, the cognitive tests were unaffected by temperature.

Warmer is better for everyone

“Our findings suggest that gender-mixed workplaces may be able to increase productivity by setting the thermostat higher than current standards,” the authors wrote.

Study co-author Agne Kajackaite, head of the Ethics and Behavioral Economics research group at WZB Berlin Social Science Center, told Newsweek: “There have been many studies showing that women prefer higher indoor temperatures than men. However, nobody looked at the effect of these differences in comfort on performance.

“We show that the battle for the thermostat is not just about comfort. It is much more—in our experiment, women’s cognitive functioning is the best at high temperatures, whereas men’s [is] at low temperatures. Importantly, the positive effect of increased temperatures on women’s performance is much stronger than the negative effect on men.”

Kajackaite continued: “This is just the first study looking at the effects of temperature on cognitive performance by gender. We ran the experiment with a homogeneous sample at a German university. More research looking at different groups—age, educational background, country—and different cognitive tasks is needed.”

Wouter Van Marken Lichtenbelt, a professor of ecological energetics and health at Maastricht University who has also published research on body temperature, told Newsweek that the study was written as if men had an opposite response to that of women, but “there is not one statistically significant effect observed in the data of the men.”

Wei Luo, a Ph.D. student at Maastricht University working with van Marken Lichtenbelt, confessed that the methods used were not wholly sufficient as the order of the different tests was fixed and the participants could have simply been tired. “This makes comparison between tests difficult,” said LuoHe.

The paper also lacked any information concerning participants’ clothes or the length of the tests, said van Marken Lichtenbelt, and this information could have had a significant impact on the results.

However, the results still strongly suggest that offices would be more productive if they slightly increased their room temperatures, agreed Van Marken Lichtenbelt, who also did a study in 2015 that found that exposures to temperatures outside our comfort zone could affect things like diabetes and obesity.

While the study hasn’t been completely conclusive, recent findings have suggested that women think better in warmer rooms while men work better in lower temperatures ones.

Such findings may cause workplaces to think more deeply about their room...

Health Inspiring Stories Lifestyle

3 Ways to Avoid Burnout When You’re Trying To ‘Do It All’

There are certain times in life that call for us to be constantly busy, struggling to balance all the things on our plate all at once. While it cannot be avoided, burnout can! It’s the times that you feel you haven’t a minute to spare to take care of yourself that it’s more important than ever that you do.

Maybe you’re running your kids around while simultaneously juggling everything at home in addition to working a part-time job. The only rest is when your head hits the pillow for those few sweet hours late at night before you’re back at it early the next morning. Your kids and loved ones need you, so what can you do?

Phases like these are what I like to call “soldiering.” Let me be clear, however, that soldiering is not a negative thing. It shows strength and momentum, self-discipline to get done what needs to be done and love for those you do it for. Sometimes, it’s sacrificing what you want for the sake of others, putting yourself second. All this is okay.

Soldiering isn’t a phase that’s meant to last forever. You can only press on with such energy for so long, so know that an end is in sight and that you can carry on until then. And at the end, you can pause to look back at all your hard work has accomplished.

If this is a stage you’ve found yourself in before or are in right now, here are three things to keep in mind to keep from burning out.

  1. Acknowledge that you are soldiering.

Soldiering becomes much more manageable when you acknowledge that’s the state you are in. When you have life on autopilot, you miss out on what goes on day-to-day; you’re not fully present to those around you. But when you’re able to acknowledge to yourself and those around you that you are doing what needs to be done, clarity comes, and you’re able to think through the outcome – the reason you’re in this phase of soldiering to begin with.

  1. Practice self-awareness.

We often avoid self-awareness more than we practice it; sometimes, taking a close look at yourself is just plain scary – we’d rather go on, blissful and ignorant to what is really going on within us. So, self-awareness rarely comes naturally.

But when you habitually make yourself do it, you notice more your behaviours, your reactions, why you feel the way you do. You have insight to see why your environment or your hectic schedule affects you the way it does, both physically and emotionally.

As you look within and understand yourself better, you can make more informed and conscious decisions and impact the quality of your life and relationships positively – both during your soldiering phase as well as when your pace slows.

  1. Take time for self-care.

Yes, it’s appropriate to put others first, to be selfless, but if we don’t take time to care for ourselves, we end up having little to give others. We often feel guilty doing things for ourselves or feel that it shouldn’t be a priority during busy times, but self-care is crucial.

During times like these, you become so energy-depleted and so emotionally drained. There’s no way to continue on if you don’t intentionally replenish and restore these! Take time to grab your favorite meal, read a novel, take a nature walk, or whatever it is that allows your mind and body to rest and recuperate. Just a few moments doing something restorative gives you the energy to tackle each new day afresh!

This season of soldiering won’t last forever, but while it does, utilize these tips to give you strength and help you cope!

There are certain times in life that call for us to be constantly busy, struggling to balance all the things on our plate all at once. While it cannot be avoided, burnout can! It’s the times that you feel you haven’t a minute to spare to take care of...

Nature & Tech Tech News

‘Squishy’ Robots Can Jump From Huge Heights – and Survive

Every year, we seem to find more and more stories that show us both the horrifying power of AI, and the incredible potential that it holds. However, for years, these stories are becoming more and more impressive; further examples of just how much society as a whole is changing.

One of the most recent findings was that a host of new robots that are capable of jumping from a helicopter – and landing safely – are here.

These ‘squishy robots’ have quickly become a very impressive example of where robotic science could go. Indeed, these ball-shaped robots were made by staff at UC Berkeley and Squishy Robotics. They managed to create robots that can fall as high as 600ft and not take any kind of fall damage whatsoever.

Seemingly, they are also able to move and shift into different shapes so that they can get out of unique and tough spots. It’s quite the story and could make them perfect for use in high-risk areas, such as disaster zones.

Their ability to analyze ground conditions, and to be dropped into tough areas from high heights without damage, is incredible. As is their ability to help shift and move into different forms to help fit into even the tightest of spots.

Help in Disaster Zones

UC Berkeley mechanical engineering professor, Alice Agogino, was very impressed. She stated: “Our rapidly deployable mobile sensor robots are designed to save lives, reduce costs and risks and increase the effectiveness of the emergency response,

“They can survive a high drop into a disaster zone and provide life-saving information to first responders. They can also work as co-robots with their human partners on the ground when they arrive on the scene.”

These robots could be used for all manner of solutions, and could eventually be used to help make disaster zones a little safer. However, they also have some very interesting uses that could be put to practice in day-to-day life, as Agogino noted:

“We are still working with NASA on a space probe, but as excited as I am about space robots, I was motivated to apply this technology to Earthly applications when I saw a report by the Red Cross and Red Crescent that 400 first responders lost their lives to save others in the last 20 years. Many of these lives could have been saved with better situational awareness before entering disaster zones,

“Our robots get information that first responders need in order to stay safe and respond faster and more effectively.”

This is all very impressive and shows the rapid and impressive growth of robotics equipment. With uses in both emergencies and disasters, these tools could be used to help make sure that more lives are saved, and fewer lives are lost. It’s set to be a major hit when it eventually becomes something that could be genuinely used on the field.

Every year, we seem to find more and more stories that show us both the horrifying power of AI, and the incredible potential that it holds. However, for years, these stories are becoming more and more impressive; further examples of just how much society as a...

Animals

Thorny Devil Lizard Walks Using Hypnotic Movements

We feel like we don’t show you enough videos of lizards and sometimes they can be fascinating animals, and they also have a lot of skills. Just check out this thorny devil lizard and his smart way crossing the road.

A thorny devil crosses a quiet road in the Tanami Desert, NT. Like chameleons, these unique lizards walk with a rocking motion to simulate spiky debris blowing in the wind. Amazing, isn’t it?

Lizards are little reptiles that have a long tail, eyelids, and for the most part, have four legs with five toes on each foot. They can vary in color and also in size. Most lizards love to eat creepy little crawlies like this guy, and that is the reason they are called insectivores.

Lizards are also very significant because they help to control the bug populace. The lizards that eat little creatures and also birds are called carnivores. A couple of lizards eat plants, and they are called herbivores.

Lizards are a group of animals which we haven’t share a common ancestor of millions of years which is really fascinating for some people.

They are brilliant creatures, and the level of interaction with them is different from the interaction with dogs and cats, and that is why a lot of people consider having a lizard as a pet.

Why did the lizard cross the road?

The thorny devil, or also knows as the mountain devil, they are covered in spikes and can puff themselves to appear more prominent, and yes they are known for their funny walk.

The thorny lizard’s unique gait involves strolling, stopping often, and rocking back and forth. This characteristic delayed, unsteady movement appears very slow.

Probably, their jerky movements and constant freezing in place help conceal them if a predator spots them out in the open.

Crossing the road can be really dangerous for them, because of their camouflage they get run over really often. The thorny devil is a lizard that has to stay still for a long period in order to camouflage itself, which results in some of these creatures getting run over.

They are also very vulnerable due to natural loss and disturbance. That’s why there is an organization who help these animals because even though they are called devils, they are actually harmless and they say that they are lovely animals.

People did no justice for this animal by giving such a harsh name to such a non-dangerous animal!

We feel like we don’t show you enough videos of lizards and sometimes they can be fascinating animals, and they also have a lot of skills. Just check out this thorny devil lizard and his smart way crossing the road.

A thorny devil crosses a quiet road in...

Inspiring Stories Science

NASA Finds Beresheet Impact Location on Moon

When NASA carried out a large chunk of its unmanned missions away from our planet, we are often waiting a long time to find out the results of the study.

One particular conclusion that we often hear is that there has been some form of crash, or that the particular probe or unit has been left to its own devices. A fine example of this was on the 11th April mission when SpaceIL sent up the Israeli Beresheet spacecraft.

This first-ever private spacecraft made it to the moon but had problems in the final phase of landing and crashed. Therefore, it was left on the moon with no real way of being able to save it.

NASA used its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to look out for the Beresheet and has now found it on the Moon. They took a snap of the point of impact, with the LROC taking a shot around 56 miles from the surface. They found a 10-meter wide smudge on the ground which, according to the experts, is the point of crash for the Beresheet.

It’s uncertain if it left a crater, or if it just dented the surface. More investigation and close-up imagery would be needed to help confirm that particular information. According to NASA, though, it’s possible that the crater the little spacecraft left behind could be ‘too small’ to have left a full crater, saying: “It’s possible the crater is just too small to show up in photos,

“Another possibility is that Beresheet formed a small indent instead of a crater, given its low angle of approach, light mass (compared to a dense meteoroid of the same size), and low velocity (again, relative to a meteoroid of the same size; Beresheet’s speed was still faster than most speeding bullets).”

Good Shot

The LRO camera which managed to get the shot has been circling the moon for around a decade. It passes a part of the Earth satellite on a twice-per-month basis, once during the lunar day and once during the lunar evening. By using a series of wide-angle and narrow-angle cameras, this manages to capture some pretty spectacular shots.

This latest find, though, could be a quite important one for making sure that in the future we know exactly where important tools sent up to the Moon have vanished.

According to NASA, though, it’s important to note that the landing site is not yet conclusive. As they mentioned, the fine soil particles which came up during descent could have created a highly reflective surface.

Others suggest that it would be gas that has come from the crash. Either way, NASA noted: “There are many clues that we’re actually looking at a man-made crater instead of a meteoroid-caused one,

“This is an important consideration, since the Moon, having no atmosphere, is constantly bombarded by space rocks that leave craters.”

So, while we might not get a definitive answer until it passes again in late May, at the moment it looks like we know where the Beresheet has landed.

When NASA carried out a large chunk of its unmanned missions away from our planet, we are often waiting a long time to find out the results of the study.

One particular conclusion that we often hear is that there has been some form of crash, or that the...

Science

Hiroshima Beaches Full of Glass Beads from A-Bomb

When the United States of America made the decision to drop an atomic bomb on the Japanese in the Second World War, the world change. We watched first-hand the world adjust to a whole new kind of weaponry and firepower: a world that now knew planet-devastating horror.

Today, we have weapons of mass destruction that make the weapons dropped on Hiroshima seem like a cuddly toy. Depressingly, we as a species show no signs of slowing down in our desire to create warped weapons of infernal warfare that would, if used, bring about the end times.

Even the weapon dropped on Hiroshima, so weak compared to modern equivalents, is having an impact on the environment so many years later. Indeed, beaches which are situated close to the city of Hiroshima are loaded with tiny glass beads. These beads have formed over time after the nuclear bomb was dropped and are tiny pieces of debris which were melted by the ferocity of the fire blast.

This odd revelation was found by study scientists at UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab. They have done some research on the facility and found a host of beads that were never noticed until now. They seemingly formed in the atomic cloud from concrete, marble, stainless steel, and rubber. All of this was caught up in the explosion and could have created thousands of tons of these particles.

As Mario Wannier, a retired geologist at Berkeley Lab and study lead said: “This was the worst man-made event ever, by far,

“In the surprise of finding these particles, the big question for me was, you have a city, and a minute later you have no city … Where is the city? Where is the material? It is a trove to have discovered these particles. It is an incredible story.”

A world-changing discovery

The story if a horrifying example of the unique and demonic power of the nuclear bomb. The bomb itself was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, and wiped out over 70,000 people in an instant.

Many more died – an equal number, many suggest – from the sickening after-effects of such an attack. Indeed, it destroyed the part of 90% of the structures in the city. The Japanese city of Nagasaki suffered the same fate only three days later.

These small beads have been around for some time, then, but only now are being noticed as part of the fabric of the beach. Collected by a colleague, Marc de Urreiztieta, on the Motoujina Peninsula, around four miles from the city.

Wannier, an expert in studying local marine environments and the study of sand, was notified immediately. Alongside UC Berkeley mineralogist, Rudy Wenk, the analyzed these beads further. What they found was that it was made up of a wide range of chemicals, made from numerous structures which were eviscerated in the strike.

If you wish to find out more about this engaging study, you can read more about it in the Anthropocene journal. We now have more proof, though, about the long-term and lasting damage that could be caused by the use of atomic firepower. Hopefully, we never have to witness its consequences again.

When the United States of America made the decision to drop an atomic bomb on the Japanese in the Second World War, the world change. We watched first-hand the world adjust to a whole new kind of weaponry and firepower: a world that now knew...

City Life Earth

Could We Put AC Units To Better Environmental Use?

When you feel the heat of the sun beating down on you and your home, the last thing you want to do is just sit and sweat. Rather than perspire until we expire, most of us do what you would be expected: you put on the AC unit.

But, rising energy costs and rising worries about the impact of such hardware on the environment leaves us with both financial and moral considerations. However, despite being vilified by some, air conditions could play a more active, meaningful role in turning around atmospheric carbon dioxide: some believe we could use it as a source of fuel.

This problem has been one that is spoken about on a regular basis. Excess carbon dioxide in the air is not a good thing. It can be used for numerous things, such as for pumping into a greenhouse to feed plants or feed the growth of trees. However, we could also find other uses for it – including the potential for turning atmospheric carbon dioxide into a fuel.

The ideas been going around for some time and could be delivered in the near future. Analytical scientists have started to argue that using AC units that can pull in the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into fuel could be a goer. These would be hugely useful for solving excess carbon dioxide in the air, and for dealing with rising energy bills.

This would be a much more effective alternative to using things like fossil fuels to help power our lifestyles. For many, it would be the perfect antidote to both stabilizing the cost of living and in making a more conscious effort to help the environment.

Is this going to be possible?

Sadly, for now, it’s more theory than a possibility. It’s still something that is being worked on. Thankfully, major names such a Climeworks, Siemens AG and various other firms, such as Green Energy, are getting involved in correcting this issue.

More resources are going into the creation of this kind of green tech, which could go a long way to making sure we have more of an opportunity to stop such needles wastage moving forward.

According to researchers on the project, the aim would be to create a system that is going to separately capture the CO2 from the air and then isolate the hydrogen from the water. This would then be used to produce the fuels needed.

The challenge, then, is creating a system that can do all of this at once. While it’s apparently not difficult to do in theory, the practice is seemingly a fair bit tougher.

It’ll be interesting, then, to see what comes next. If these were able to be created, then we could be producing enough fuel to help run many cities, according to research in the Nature Communications journal.

With the need for more renewable forms of fuel that can also cut down on our production of carbon, this could be a fantastic solution to turn the tide in the battle for a healthier planet.

When you feel the heat of the sun beating down on you and your home, the last thing you want to do is just sit and sweat. Rather than perspire until we expire, most of us do what you would be expected: you put on the AC unit.

But, rising energy costs and...

Earth

Atlantic Set to Shrink Due to ‘Peeling’ Tectonic Plate?

As we move into an era of the climate change emergency where terrifying news comes out daily, another fine (read: horrifying) example of this has been laid bare. New stories come out all the time that show us just where the problems of the planet are starting from, and it’s often in the most important, foundational areas.

Scientists have recently revealed that a tectonic planet that is ‘peeling apart’ could lead to a significant shrinking of the Atlantic. As you might imagine, this is not a good thing.

With new stories breaking all the time, it’s hard to keep up with what new ways this environmental apocalypse is going to play out. Indeed, according to the Instituto Dom Luiz at the University of Lisbon, and their scientist Joao Duarte, we could be about to see something horrifying take place.

Indeed, he has found a location around 155-miles from Cape St. Vincent, Portugal, that is “peeling” apart.

Previously Unknown Process

This process was previously unknown and was previously only something that was found to have taken place underneath continents. This is quite a big thing, despite the peeling area being somewhat flat. This location, the Horseshoe Abyssal Plain, is peeling, and it’s not a good thing.

Duarte, a lead researcher on a study that was given to the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, Australia, has been involved in this research for some time. They found that an earthquake that had taken place off Portugal sometime in 1755, which played a role in the destruction of the city of Lisbon at the time, could be involved in this happening. It’s also linked to a 1969 earthquake that took place near Lisbon, too.

According to Duarte, speaking to Fox News: “The 20 upper kilometers [12.4 miles] of the plate is made of soft rocks that are light and the bottom is dense and heavy (because the plate is very old, more than 100 million years),

“This causes this lower part to detach from the upper part and sink in the mantle by the pull of gravity,” he added, noting that the process is aided by the infiltration of water that softens the upper part of the plate.

This could be caused by a subduction zone – when a tectonic plate falls beneath another. Duarte explained, saying: “We know that there are some margins of continents that do not have subduction zones, such as the margins of the Atlantic, and some margins of continents that have subduction zones, such as the margins of the Pacific (the ring of fire),

“But we do not understand yet very well how they form.

“This situation here may correspond to a rare example in which one subduction zone is just starting. And for that one of the plates has to slowly start peeling down, which is what we see (both in our observations/imaging and with some computational models with which we managed to reproduce the process).”

In terms of a potential shrinking of the ocean, Duarte said that: “It makes sense that a new supercontinent will form in the future as the result of the closing of the Atlantic,”

So, I think it would be safe to say that, for the near future, we should probably watch this new environmental change take place with crossed fingers. In generations to come, this could have a pretty significant role to play in how the world is shaped.

As we move into an era of the climate change emergency where terrifying news comes out daily, another fine (read: horrifying) example of this has been laid bare. New stories come out all the time that show us just where the problems of the planet are starting...

Cool Stories Humans Are Awesome Tech News

249 MPH? Japanese Unveil World’s Fastest Bullet Train

Train speeds are improving all the time. Did you know, for example, that Japan has just unveiled a bullet train that can move as fast as 249mph?

The Japanese have a unique habit when it comes to innovation, and tend to be pretty good at taking inventions higher than ever before. Well, with the new ALFA-X, you will be able to see a train that can hit speeds you would barely be able to believe.

When you get on a train, the aim is to get you somewhere without wasting any time. It’s the obvious and main reason to get a train; to help you get to somewhere faster than you would if you had just gone on-foot or alone.

For many people, trains are getting faster and faster than we can imagine. Often, if you were to find out the pace that a train was moving at, you would likely be surprised at just how fast it is.

The power of this train is already making experts blush; though it won’t be actually in service until, it’s estimated, 2030. So, someone has 11 or so years to board a train that can go close to 250mph!

This new treat will be used at around 224mph on average, which would mean that it would travel on average 10kph faster than the Chinese equivalent, the Fuxing Hao. This has the same top speed capacity, but it’s likely that the ALFA-X will win on consistency.

Historical Speed

At around 72ft in the nose area alone, the ALFA-X is an imposing piece of modern locomotive history. It’s going to help change the entire industry, it is hoped, bringing to light an even higher than expected standard for the future.

The futuristic, modern design will obviously make it stand out, while the imperious design style – with 10 cars in total – ensures it will be efficient as well as stylish.

The train will be part of the new Shinkansen high-speed railway lines which are appearing all across Japan. Testing will begin between Aomori and Sendai, during the evening, and will be a 3-year testing plan. This will provide ample time to perfect the overall style of the train, and make sure that it is capable of meeting expectations performance-wise.

Interestingly, the Shinkansen N700S only was agreed to be put into operation in 2020, which can hit speeds of around 186mph. This, though, will simply blow it away, adding a new level of power and pace onto the railway tracks of Japan. While it may not be as fast as trains using magnetic levitation, this will ensure that this particular kind of bullet train can still keep up with the very best.

The bullet train has become a major part of Japanese travel culture, and for that reason many would be sad to see it go. Make no mistake, though, this new kind of train shows that – even with the growth of the maglev trains – there is still much love for bullet trains in Japan and beyond.

Train speeds are improving all the time. Did you know, for example, that Japan has just unveiled a bullet train that can move as fast as 249mph?
The Japanese have a unique habit when it comes to innovation, and tend to be pretty good at taking inventions...

Animals Funny Stories

Great Dane Extremely Jealous of New Puppy

Talk about a drama queen! Bagira the Great Dane is super jealous of the new puppy in the family, that he just can’t stand to see his owner holding and petting the puppy, instead of him!

Sure, we all get jealous sometimes, it is only a natural instinct. We were jealous of our siblings, of the toys our friends had – basically, of anything that we thought we were lacking and thought we had to have!

Adjustment can be difficult for people, can you imagine how difficult it must be for a dog, one that can’t really understand what you are saying to it?

Drama Queen

When the owner, Lindsey Heinz, picks up the new puppy and turns the camera on, we can immediately hear Bagira growling below. “I can pet him too…It’s not all about you” says Lindsey, but Bagira is not having it.


As huge as he is, Bagira gets up on his hind legs and puts his front paws on Lindsey, begging to be petted too! “You are so dramatic!” continues Lindsey.

She keeps on criticizing him, but the bog old pup is determined to stand his ground. We can only imagine what he must feel like, already having one brother and now another? It seems like only just yesterday that he was Mommy’s favorite lap puppy!

Talk about a drama queen! Bagira the Great Dane is super jealous of the new puppy in the family, that he just can’t stand to see his owner holding and petting the puppy, instead of him!

Sure, we all get jealous sometimes, it is only a natural instinct...

Science

New Crystalline Material Sparks Interest in Scientific Community

Whenever we find something new in this world, we have a tendency to want to know everything about it. In a world so full opportunity and discovery, it makes sense. With our immense ability to research and evaluate just about anything we find, why not find out everything that we can about, well, everything?

Sometimes though, we can find objects that totally shatter the conventional rules of what we thought we knew.

For example, a new crystalline material has been found that appears to have electronic properties never seen in the past. This unique new material was found recently and is made up of a mixture of aluminum and platinum.

It’s got a set of electronic properties that are unique, in that we have never seen their likes in the past. This was picked up in the Nature Physics science journal. Apparently, the structure is capable of producing Rarita-Schwinger fermions through its interior and also its Fermi arcs. That’s very interesting and shows a material state that behaves like an actual particle.

The finding is noted to be of significant importance moving forward. The research team working on it at the Paul Scherrer Institute, using the Swiss Synchrotron Light Source SLS, used this to observe the particles for the first time. It’s a very interesting finding and one that breaks away from a lot of conventional findings.

Unusual formation

Indeed, there is a repeated pattern of atoms taking place in a cube-shaped style, forming a cell unit of up to two elements. Inside this particular crystalline formation, there is a different layout. Normally, there would be a symmetry of sorts taking place within. This is different, with a slightly offset design in the middle. This forms what is known as a helical line.

This is known as a chiral crystal – a pair of mirror images, in essence. It’s very exciting and is the kind of finding which is often exceptionally rare in these particular fields. By using the SLS X-ray in conjunction with photoelectron spectroscopy tools at PSI, they were able to look at these unique electrical properties.

They found that it was not only chiral; it was also topological, meaning that it shows resistance to defects.

The hope is that, in time, this kind of finding could be used to assist in the creation of high-end computing equipment, such as quantum computing, in the near future.

Whenever we find something new in this world, we have a tendency to want to know everything about it. In a world so full opportunity and discovery, it makes sense. With our immense ability to research and evaluate just about anything we find, why not find out...