Earth Inspiring Stories

Amazon Rainforest Fire:

How to spot the FAKE photos as Twitter reacts to the devastation

In the past year, Brazil has been hit over and over again with devastating forest fires, especially in the Amazon region, so Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts have been blowing up with posts and pictures with the hashtag #AmazonRainforest being the most popular among them.

According to satellite data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), in Brazil alone, there are 80 percent more fires in 2019 than there were last year. However, it seems like some of the pictures being shared in relation to the devastation are inaccurate.

More than half of the fires in Brazil are in its Amazon region, and staggering satellite images show just how many fires there are.

Satellite images from NASA and NOAA are giving an accurate portrayal of how far the destructive fire and smoke has spread across the country, but many photos being shared on social media are quite misleading, even if they were meant to be supportive. As a result, users are being asked to stop sharing inaccurate photos, most of which are from fires that happened 30 years ago.

One of these pictures was retweeted over 15,000 times with the caption: “For three weeks, the Amazon RAINFOREST has been burning.

“Fire frequency in Brazil has increased +82% due to droughts, increased heat, and land-use change (logging, industry, & agriculture).”

The following image is actually an Alamy Stock Photo from a climate website called ALERT back in February of this year.

Amazon rainforest fires: All four of these are inaccurate, the top left being California in 2013 (Image: TWITTER)

This second post that included four photos was uploaded to Twitter with a caption bemoaning Brazil’s tragedy, but actually none of the photos have anything to do with the August 2019 Amazonian fires.

The top left photo was liked on Twitter over 4,500 times but was taken during a forest fire in California and uploaded to the US Department of Agriculture’s Flickr account back in 2013. The second is from a 1989 Amazon forest fire, according to The Guardian.

The third picture is from the same 1989 fire, and the fourth image is a heat map from InfoAmazonia showing the extent of forest fires in the Amazon from 2000-2014.

Kendell Jenner retweeted another viral post to her more than 28 million followers, but neither of the two photos are actually related to the recent forest fires.

The image on the right is a picture of fire in Serbia, while the left was taken by photographer Daniel Beltrá in 2014 for articles on fires in Sweden.

Yet another image captured for Getty by Lauro Alves posted on Wednesday shows a fire at Brazil’s Taim Ecological Station in 2013.

Lastly, Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio shared an image of fires burning against a wall of green forest, but this photo is originally from February 2018 in the article, “Carbon emissions from Amazon wildfires could ‘counteract’ deforestation decline”.

So, beware of the misleading pictures and check the sources before you believe what you see!

How to spot the FAKE photos as Twitter reacts to the devastation
In the past year, Brazil has been hit over and over again with devastating forest...

Earth Vacation

Nature Lovers Now Have 270,000 Acres of Land Open in California

Many people looking to get back into nature have a hard time finding places that are pristine, open, and ever so natural to unwind and just have a great time.

Nature lovers now have a new area in California to view breathtaking mountains, an abundance of wildlife, ancient old oak trees, fields and streams, along with so many hiking trails.  You might just discover your next excellent vacation spot without ever having to leave the country!

Tejon Ranch has donated a great deal of land so visitors can enjoy nature in the most wonderful way.  Tejon Ranch has been around since 1843 and the owner, Fitzgerald Beale, has partnered with an online travel company, Explore Ranches, to allow their members access to 270,000 acres of private land.

About Tejon Ranch:

The ranch is located 60 miles north of Los Angeles and 30 south of Bakersfield.  It is the largest, continual expansion in California offering 422 square miles of land. Tejon Ranch has joined other natural environments in the state, Mojave Desert, Sierra Nevada, San Joaquin Valley, and Coastal Range.  The spans of land is larger than New York City.

There are hundreds of miles of trails and roads to hike along, fields of grass, coniferous forests, ancient oak and Joshua trees, a huge diversity of wildlife, and many reservoirs and streams.

Their partnership with Explore Ranches allows visitors to choose their accommodation from 4 separate lodges that will hold 4 to 12 people at three different locations, including the Venado Cabin.

Located at the foot of the mountains, Venado Cabin offers incredible, endless views from the porch of the cabin.  You can see red-tailed hawks, an occasional condor, eagles, and deer roaming freely along the hillsides.

You can also enjoy a game of horseshoes with their private horseshoe pit.  For those who want to explore the ranch, there are miles of trails for hiking, going on driving tours, or biking.  Just below the cabin, there is an incredible fishing pond loaded with bass and bluegill and a massive meadow with huge oak trees.

If you want a really wonderful vacation away from your hectic lifestyle, visiting this property will give you access to so many activities including mountain biking, hiking, fishing, picnicking, and the incredible opportunity to take photos of wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. What an idyllic way to totally unwind!

Many people looking to get back into nature have a hard time finding places that are pristine, open, and ever so natural to unwind and just have a...

Earth Nature & Tech Science

Giant Telescope the Focus of Hawaii Protest

Hawaiian activists led by native elders are protesting against the construction of a giant telescope atop the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s tallest mountain, which they say is sacred ground.

Colette has more:

Hawaiian activists led by native elders are protesting against the construction of a giant telescope atop the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s...

Category - Earth

Earth

Yellowstone Super Volcano Explored Further With Amazing Results

As one of the most prominent pieces of nature, the Yellowstone Super Volcano is, for many, a catastrophe waiting to happen. Should it ever blow its top, we could be in for a transformative change to the entire world.

The sheer change that it would produce would be incredible, and it would be a world-altering issue. However, the volcano itself is always being explored and investigated further. A new thermal area has just been found through these discoveries – and the thermal area appears to be relatively new, at around 20-years old.

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory keep a close eye on the volcano. They found a new pocket of warmth that has been found near the West Tern Lake and the Tern Lake thermal area. This was found using infrared imagery and was picked up on images taken from April 2017.

Comparing the Vegetation Over Time

By checking other imagery, they found a series of dead trees and brightly lit soil on high-resolution programs. They compared that with an image from 1994, which showed a rich, vibrant and happy location: compared with a 2006 image, the damage was already starting. 11-years on, the whole area that was once so lush and vibrant is burnt out.

Therefore, the belief is that the new thermal area formed sometime in the late 1990s or the early 2000s. Most of the location where it has popped up is not heavily explored. Therefore, it’s probably likely to be one of the new thermal areas appearing in more rural locations.

With around 10000 thermal features found across around 120 thermal areas, then, this is not the only thermal area which is found in a hard to reach location.

If you wish to check out this thermal area, then you can head on over to 44.6635 N latitude and 110.278 W longitude. This would help you to see the new thermal area found on major mapping tools such as Google Maps.

Indeed, this is a period of regular discovery about the Yellowstone Super Volcano. In 2018, it was found that it was a record-breaking year for the tallest active geyser in the world. Eruptions took place a whopping 32 times, breaking the 29-time record set in 1964.

This is quite an interesting time for those who feel passionate about this particular piece of land. In time, who knows what else we might find out about this incredible piece of nature?

Let’s hope we find out everything we can about it before the day arrives where it finally goes pop!

As one of the most prominent pieces of nature, the Yellowstone Super Volcano is, for many, a catastrophe waiting to happen. Should it ever blow its top, we could be in for a transformative change to the entire world.

The sheer change that it would produce...

Earth Science

White Dwarf System Gives Glimpse into Our Solar System’s Demise

Ever wonder what our sun will look like in a few billion years? Or what our planet and the entire solar system has in store? Sure, it won’t happen in our lifetime, but because of the planet-like object scientists have discovered orbiting a white dwarf star, we can take a look at what our solar system will look like in about 5 billion years.

It’s been common in the last few decades to find planets beyond our own solar system orbiting stars. Just like our sun, these solar systems have main-sequence stars that get their energy from core nuclear reactions. When these stars run out of fuel, they become red giants.

When our sun begins this process, it will consume Mercury, Venus, and most likely Earth, as well, and expand into the solar system. Once the core collapses, it becomes a white dwarf, too. For those of you who may not know, a white dwarf is an extremely dense, faint star that’s about the size of a planet.

Planets that orbit white dwarfs gradually move closer to the star until they collide, smash, and become floating debris.

Christopher Manser, of the U.K.’s University of Warwick, published a study done with his colleagues in Science. They presented evidence of a small, intact planetary body orbiting the white dwarf SDSS J122859.93+104032.9.

“The gaseous planetary disc around this white dwarf was the first discovered, and is currently still the brightest disc known, making it great for observations,” Manser told Newsweek. “The observations were taken as a pilot test to see if we could detect anything happening on the time it takes material to orbit the white dwarf (roughly hours).”

A Planetesimal

The team was astonished to discover a planetesimal, which is a solid object formed through colliding rocks that have clumped together. The only way it wasn’t torn apart by the white dwarf’s gravitational pulls was because it was 370 miles in diameter and very dense. They’ve surmised that this planetesimal could be the core of one of the solar system’s planets.

“To survive so close to the white dwarf, the body either has to have a large density, or a high internal strength to avoid being ripped apart,” Manser said. “Currently, we cannot distinguish between the two, only that it requires some minimal amount of internal strength and a density around that of iron—if the internal strength is greater, our density estimate can be reduced.”

 Scientists are fascinated to see a glimpse into the destiny of our own solar system. It seems as though the three inner planets will be destroyed while the rest stay intact.

“By studying systems like SDSSJ122859.93+104032.9, we can learn more about the future of the solar system, and the majority of all known exoplanetary systems, which orbit stars that will themselves eventually become white dwarfs,” Manser said. He also mentioned they plan to find more planetesimals like this one.

A professor in University College London’s physics and astronomy department who was not involved in the study, Jay Farihi, said the planetesimal was similar to a “ring moon”—an object orbiting in the disc of rock and dust surrounding the star.

“This likely means the disks or rings around white dwarfs are highly dynamical and changing environments that will continue to do interesting things and elucidate more exoplanetary science,” he said.

“Continued monitoring of these real-time events should give insight into the total masses of the rings, the planetary parent bodies that were disrupted or otherwise destroyed to create the dust and gas, and most of all how they compare to Earth and the terrestrial planets.”

Ever wonder what our sun will look like in a few billion years? Or what our planet and the entire solar system has in store? Sure, it won’t happen in our lifetime, but because of the planet-like object scientists have discovered orbiting a white dwarf star...

Earth

Changing Climate Could Melt Tons of Human Poop

Climate change with global warming is doing more and affecting us differently than we may have ever expected. Decades of hikers have been leaving their poop on Denali, North America’s tallest mountain located in Alaska, and with the warmer climate, these feces might become exposed on the glacier.

It’s been surmised that this Alaskan summit has 66 tons of frozen feces as it’s, by far, one of the most popular climbs in America. Over the future years, this excrement will become more and more visible, USA Today reported.

As a result of this recent discovery, some guide companies are doing what they can to alleviate the situation. These businesses that take climbers up year after year have changed their policy to require climbers to pack their waste down the mountain.

Updated Policy

Just a year ago, the National Park Service had made a new policy stating that all human waste below 14,000 feet must be taken off the mountain.

“Climbers and particularly guide services are really embracing the new policy and are even exceeding it. It has become kind of an informal badge of merit to carry off all your waste,” Michael Loso, a National Park Service glaciologist, told USA Today.

However, there’s more at stake than we realize. From his research, Loso has discovered that bacteria and bugs that thrive in human feces can survive snow, cold, and time. Tests of water melt from Denali revealed small amounts of fecal coliform bacteria.

The poop will be brought to sight, regardless. “The waste will emerge at the surface not very different from when it was buried. It will be smushed and have been frozen and be really wet,” Loso told USA Today. “It will be biologically active, so the E. coli that was in the waste when it was buried will be alive and well. We expect it to still smell bad and look bad.”

Climate change with global warming is doing more and affecting us differently than we may have ever expected. Decades of hikers have been leaving their poop on Denali, North America’s tallest mountain located in Alaska, and with the warmer climate, these...

Earth

The Earth Just ‘Rang Like A Bell’ And Nobody Knows Why

It seems like the earth is up to something, and no one can tell what exactly it was. Some sort of “event” originating near an island between Madagascar and Africa, as far as Chile, New Zealand, and Canada was picked up by sensors.

What’s phenomenal is that 11,000 miles away in Hawaii, the “event” was also picked up by sensors.

So, what exactly was it? An earthquake? Some sort of volcanic activity?  A nuclear test?  A meteorite? Scientists are having a hard time identifying its cause.

Göran Ekström, a seismologist from Columbia University, gave his two cents to National Geographic:

“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it. [However] it doesn’t mean that, in the end, the cause of them is that exotic.”

The “event,” beginning around 15 miles off the shores of Mayotte, on November 11 wasn’t just a short occurrence that popped up and then disappeared instantly; it had sensors ringing for twenty minutes, but without the sensors, we may have never known it happened. Not one single human felt it!

Wave Train

Researchers are identifying it as a “monotone, low-frequency ringing,” but they still haven’t put their fingers on what caused it.

The possibility of an earthquake has altogether been ruled out. What normally happens in an earthquake is a sudden jerk lasting just a few seconds as a result of tension built up between earth’s plates. This occurrence was nothing like that.

The waves following an earthquake’s initial jolt are a sort of “wave train” according to Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton. The “primary waves” move forward quickly in bunches, and the “secondary waves” that follow have more of a side-to-side motion. Both these waves possess a high-pitched frequency which Hicks refers to as “a sort of ping rather than a rumbling.” Finally, surface waves similar to the “event” that recently occurred happen, and these can travel the planet more than once. They “ring Earth like a bell,” as Hicks so eloquently put it.

The problem with the waves coming from Mayotte is that no earthquake happened to trigger them, so scientists are saying it was a monochromatic event, meaning it possessed only one type of wave which repeated itself every seventeen seconds.

However, Mayotte has been plagued with frequent seismic activity over the last year. Since May of 2018, the island has experience hundreds of quakes originating approximately 31 miles offshore, a location just east of the recent “event.”

The French Geological Survey suggests that a “new center of volcanic activity may be developing” off the island’s coast as they’ve been monitoring Mayotte’s seismic activity.

Though it’s been over 4,000 years since the island experience any major volcanic eruptions, the French Geological Survey thinks it’s possible that there could be a new movement of magma offshore.

However, results are still unclear and inconclusive. Researchers continue to look into the “event” and figure out the origin and potential effect of this seismic activity.

It seems like the earth is up to something, and no one can tell what exactly it was. Some sort of “event” originating near an island between Madagascar and Africa, as far as Chile, New Zealand, and Canada was picked up by sensors.
What’s phenomenal is...

Earth

Cut & Save: What To Do If You’re Caught In Rising Waters

According to the National Weather Service, flood-related deaths account for the majority of storm hazards.  Out of these flood-related deaths, over half will occur from driving a car into floodwaters.

As the National Weather Service explains on its website, many people do not have any concept of how strong the currents are in a flooding situation.  The deaths occur as drivers’ cars are swept away.

The saddest part is that these deaths are almost always preventable.  Drivers place their lives at risk when they choose to ignore warning signs and drive around barriers blocking flooded roadways.  According to the National Weather Service, it is never safe to walk through flooded areas, or to drive through flooded roadways.

Flooding can occur through a gradual buildup of water, as seen in many hurricanes.  If flooding happens quickly, within three to six hours of rainfall, it is called a flash flood.  Flash floods can occur from thunderstorms with heavy rainfall, broken levees or dams, or mudslides.

The rapid onset of a flash flood is what makes it dangerous.  People can be caught off guard and be unprepared for how quickly their situation becomes dangerous.

Get Ready For Hurricane Season

Flash flooding can occur across the United States, but the time of year can pose bigger risks for some areas. Coastal areas are high risk for flooding, especially during hurricane seasons, but heavy spring and summer rains place the Midwest at risk.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, states that if you live in low-lying areas near water you should always be prepared for a flood situation.

Here are a few tips to prepare in case of flooding, as recommended by the Ready Campaign:

  • Don’t drive across any bridge that spans fast-moving floodwaters. The force of the flood can make the bridge footings under the structure very unstable.
  • It doesn’t take much to sweep away an adult; your car can be swept along by only one foot of moving water while it only takes six inches to knock you off your feet.
  • Get yourself out of danger and move to higher ground if flooding is predicted.
  • Stay in your car if the car is being swept along by moving waters. If the water isn’t moving, abandon the car and seek safety.
  • Don’t park or camp along the banks of streams, creeks or rivers if heavy rainfall is expected. These areas will flood quickly and take a victim by surprise.
  • Never drive or walk through floodwaters, even if they don’t seem to be moving.
  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown! ®

According to the National Weather Service, flood-related deaths account for the majority of storm hazards.  Out of these flood-related deaths, over half will occur from driving a car into floodwaters.
As the National Weather Service explains on its website...

Earth

The Real Cause For The Ice Ages

The past three leading ice ages which happened over 540 million years ago, were followed by massive tectonic build-up all across the equator.  A team of U.S. researchers’ findings were published in the Journal of Science offering new insight into the causes of ice ages that were believed to be related to volcanic eruptions, until now.

A team from the University of California, led by Francis Macdonald, had been looking at the collision of tectonic plates that created the Himalayas.  The team discovered that when an oceanic plate pushes against a continental plate, a mountain range of rock is created.

They also discovered the two collisions that created the Himalayas happened in tropical zones near the equator.  They found both collisions were immediately followed by global atmospheric cooling.

This led to questioning if the exposure of new rock caused a chemical reaction that led to global cooling?  After examining the rate at which the rock from the oceanic plate reacted with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it could have removed enough of the greenhouse gas to trigger an ice age.

The team further researched if there were similar patterns in other ice ages. They traced back the cooling events from the last 540 million years and were able to match them to locations of continental collisions.  Their findings revealed that before each ice age, there were collisions in the tropics.

More Than One Reason

They believe that the combination of heat and humidity in the tropics aided in spurring a chemical reaction between calcium and magnesium found in rocks and atmospheric carbon dioxide causing gas to be sucked out of the atmosphere.  Atmospheric carbon dioxide has a warming effect on the planet, creating a barrier around the Earth.

This prevents heat from escaping back into space which means its removal led to Earth’s temperature dropping. What this means, we are presently living in an ice age that started over 2.5million years ago.  We are in an interglacial period in which the earth goes through a warming period with this ice age.

Right now, there is a zone in Indonesia in which two tectonic plates are colliding.  It’s believed this could potentially be responsible for our current ice age along with why we have a cool climate along with ice caps.

It’s believed this will end in approximately 10 million years and it is believed the Earth will return to a non-glacial climate.  Macdonald said that due to the current movements of the plates, they can project arc-continent collisions and their latitude will become more uncertain the further the projection.

With further studies, the team hopes to clarify records regarding continental collisions and be able to calculate the changes more clearly regarding carbon dioxide concentrations. Their study shows a coincidence but in order to test causality, they need a better understanding of the chemical mass balance.

Macdonald believes what they have gotten from their work is the geography in the tropics which is particularly important for the chemistry of the oceans and setting the global climate condition.

From the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences in France, William Gray said even though he was not involved in the study, the findings contributed to their understanding of what causes ice ages over a period of time – volcanic eruptions and/or the chemical breakdown of rocks.

He said it has been long debated which side of this balance is more important for driving the variations in CO2 and climate.  The results from the study by Macdonald and his colleagues suggest the changes in the level of CO2 removed from the atmosphere by the weathering of rocks could have driven variations in atmospheric CO2 and the climate over the past 500 million years.

This suggests changes in CO2 emissions from volcanoes may only play a minor role.

The past three leading ice ages which happened over 540 million years ago, were followed by massive tectonic build-up all across the equator.  A team of U.S. researchers’ findings were published in the Journal of Science offering new insight into the...

Earth

Turning CO2 Back Into Coal. Is That Even Possible?

As we know, the world has a bit of a problem with CO2 particles. While useful for things like plants, too much CO2 going into the air is simply going to get trapped. However, this then leads to problems like dirty air and a drop-off in living standards.

Science, though, might be in a position where they could finally overcome this problem. How so? A team of scientists at RMIT University, Australia, have managed to take a CO2 gas and turn it into solid carbon particles.

This would be a solution for helping to combat problems with greenhouse gases. It would be a safe solution, too, and could be the groundbreaking solution that we need to try and overcome the CO2 problem in the air.

Presently, we use a solution that captures carbon and tries to compress the CO2 into a form of a liquid, then injecting it back underground. Engineering issues and the economic cost of production, though, has seen progress halt on this move.

Now, though, it’s likely that, thanks to the work of Dr. Torben Daeneke and co. that this problem could be solved. The much more cost-effective and easily managed system developed down under could be the ideal solution to this problem.

This could become a more sustainable approach, according to Dr. Daeneke, who said: “While we can’t literally turn back time, turning carbon dioxide back into coal and burying it back in the ground is a bit like rewinding the emissions clock.

‘To date, CO2 has only been converted into a solid at extremely high temperatures, making it industrially unviable. By using liquid metals as a catalyst, we’ve shown it’s possible to turn the gas back into carbon at room temperature, in a process that’s efficient and scalable. While more research needs to be done, it’s a crucial first step to delivering solid storage of carbon.’

An important step forward in environmental sustainability

This is a huge step forward and has been a major boon for the science community. Using an electro-chemical technique developed by Dr. Dorna Esrafilzadeh, they are able to take atmospheric CO2 and turn it into a solid form of carbon.

The process itself sounds very interesting and could be an essential step forward in our ability to combat the man-made problems hurting our environment. This could be used in various ways; it could even be turned into electrodes and used in other formats. This is very interesting and could become a breakthrough moment in modern science.

Produced in the Nature Communications journal, this groundbreaking study was put together by people from the University of Munster, Nanjing University and the North Carolina State University alongside RMIT and other Australian groups.

While it might be some time until it can be used in a viable circumstance, this could be a genuinely life-changing solution to the problems we face on this planet.

As we know, the world has a bit of a problem with CO2 particles. While useful for things like plants, too much CO2 going into the air is simply going to get trapped. However, this then leads to problems like dirty air and a drop-off in living...

Earth

Second Impact Crater Found Buried Under Ice In Greenland

In November of 2018, scientists revealed that they had discovered a 19-mile wide impact crater below the ice in Northwest Greenland, called the Hiawatha impact crater.  The crater was the first of its kind, found under one of the earth’s continental ice sheets.

Scientists have now uncovered another impact crater underneath a mile of ice about one hundred miles from the Hiawatha crater, according to a study led by NASA glaciologist Joseph MacGregor that was recently released in Geophysical Research Letters.

 Joseph revealed in the study that it has become very rare to find any previously undiscovered impact craters on Earth, much less to find one buried so deeply under the ice.

This particular crater has a diameter of twenty two miles, making it even larger than its neighbor, the Hiawatha.  It’s not certain that this is, in fact, an impact crater but researchers feel confident enough in the site’s shape and geophysical makeup to categorize it as one.

If this crater was made by a falling meteorite, it will be the second of its kind to be found under ice sheets in Greenland or Antarctica.   It will be the 22nd largest impact crater currently known on Earth.

Astro-Geology

Both craters were discovered with the help of MacGregor, who stated that he was excited that new discoveries were still possible after having surveyed the earth at length from space, air and land. Prior to discovering Hiawatha, it had historically been believed that any impact craters in Greenland would have been destroyed by the moving and eroding forces of ice.

When the team discovered Hiawatha, they decided it was possible that more craters may exist under the ice. The scientific team studied the topography of the terrain under the sheets of ice in Greenland and compared them with the ice surfaces in data gathered by satellite.

One hundred and fourteen miles to the southeast of Hiawatha, they discovered a circular pattern and suspected it may have been an impact crater.  MacGregor asked himself if his research and findings could support the idea; having already discovered one crater below the ice was amazing enough, but to find two was unheard of.

Initially, MacGregor considered the idea that the circular area was a collapsed volcano, but he realized that all volcanic activity in Greenland was hundreds of miles from the site.  He was also unable to see any evidence of positive magnetic anomaly that typically accompanies volcanic sites.

In November of 2018, scientists revealed that they had discovered a 19-mile wide impact crater below the ice in Northwest Greenland, called the Hiawatha impact crater.  The crater was the first of its kind, found under one of the earth’s continental ice...

Earth

Beekeepers Are Buzzing About AI

Artificial Intelligence is a technology that promises to solve many problems, but it doesn’t seem likely that it would help preserve our honeybee population.  As unexpected as it seems, though, AI can be used to protect bees from the Varroa mite and will help beekeepers keep their hives healthy and safe for the declining honey bee population.

The Varroa mite is a tiny bloodsucking parasite that feeds on bees, both adult and young.  It will weaken the colony, resulting in deformed and weakened generations of bees.  While the parasite is not a direct cause of death for the bees, their presence will eventually lead to a complete collapse of the colony.

The mites are so tiny that they will escape detection by the naked eye.  Only a millimeter in length, the colony can be affected for a very long time before the devastating results of the infestation are noticed.

Historically, beekeepers have had to carefully pick through the leavings of the hive, collected in a flat pan under the hive itself, to find the bodies of the tiny terrors if they wanted to stop the infestation.  Beekeepers try to meticulously comb through hive dirt and waste to find Varroa mites, and it is easy to miss the tiny creatures and not realize there is a problem.

This Is Where AI Comes In

AI is far superior to the naked eye in picking up undetectable data in a noisy background, like finding dead Varroa mites in piles of hive dirt, and in fact, students in Switzerland have invented ApiZoom to do just that.

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne students have been working on ApiZoom, programming it to detect and identify the tiny mites in pictures.  Beekeepers feed the data to the application by uploading photos to the EPFL site via smart device.

The students started testing the application in 2017 and have a 90% success rate.  The ApiZoom model has been trained to thousands of images, and the success rate is similar to humans performing the same task.

On the heels of this success, according to project member Alain Bugnon, the students are planning on widely distributing the app as soon as possible.  The application will be unrolled in two phases, first a web application to be followed by a smartphone application.

By combining the findings of these two approaches, it will be possible to evaluate the degree of infestation in individual hives as well as hives across a region.  In addition, the app will be able to identify any possible mutations of the mites and any beekeeper practices that might unintentionally encourage an infestation.

An appropriate infestation response can be coordinated using the data collected from ApiZoom. Alain Bugnon is planning on releasing ApiZoom as its own company, which will speed the production and release of the software to beekeepers.

Artificial Intelligence is a technology that promises to solve many problems, but it doesn’t seem likely that it would help preserve our honeybee population.  As unexpected as it seems, though, AI can be used to protect bees from the Varroa mite and will...

Earth

Scientists’ Response To Presidential Climate Change Tweets

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine wants to clear misconceptions put out by individuals with high influence.

Quick Response

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine are looking into a “quick response capability” to confront the misinformation told to the public about climate change.

One recommendation in a report from last month which was aimed at making it easier for experts to communicate climate issues, such as the undoubtedly real problems caused by global warming, effectively, is now the strategy for independent national academies. These academies advise the government on issues of science.

They did not mention President Donald Trump in the report. But the quick-response tactics being considered are aimed at the mischaracterizations of the science of climate done by highly influential people or groups, stated the “Climate Communications Initiative Strategic Plan.”

They can make policies that would make it possible for academics to give a response to issues that pertain to climate within 48 hours.

According to the report, the National Academies might choose to respond quickly in different scenarios, like when a statement that is made to the public contains information about the climate which is scientifically incorrect and may misinform or confuse them.

Also, the National Academies may decide to control the situation by communicating quickly when there appears to be significant potential for misinformation.

This report was formed by an independent advisory committee which the academies formed a year ago to look into communication on climate science.

In a tweet he posted this week, Trump indicated to millions of his that the severe cold spells being experienced in some parts of the country disprove the presence of global warming. “What the hell is going on with Global Warming? Please come back fast, we need you,” he tweeted.

 

 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine wants to clear misconceptions put out by individuals with high influence.

Quick Response
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine are looking into a “quick response...

Earth

Watch: Burning Tracks To Help Train Pass

The sparks are flying—literally!—in this eerily beautiful video footage of fires lit on the tracks of Chicago’s famed El train this week, meant to keep the trains running during the worst cold snap to hit the area in almost a generation.

The Arctic blast that struck Chicago on January 28th and 29th was described by the National Weather Service as “brutal, historic, and potentially life-threatening.” No kidding! We’ve heard reports that the temperatures dropped into double digits below zero—that it’s so cold, mere minutes of exposure to the air can cause frostbite to set in. That’s cold!

The footage in this video shows sections of burning railway on Chicago’s Union Pacific West Line on Monday, January 28th.

Why Are They Doing It?

Chicago’s Metra railway authority, charged with the task of keeping the trains running, and safe from pull-aparts (which can cause derailment and serious injury to passengers), no matter how unforgiving the weather might get, explained the track fires and the science behind them in an Instagram post on January 21st: .

“Pull-aparts are rail defects in which two rails separate at their connection. They occur in extreme cold when the metal shrinks and the rails literally pull apart from each other. How Metra forces make repairs is by warming the metal with fire until it expands and the two rails can be reconnected.”

By around 6:50pm local time on Tuesday the 29th, the National Weather Service in Chicago said that temperatures in Rockford, Illinois, fell below zero between 3pm and 4pm, and would most likely not rise above zero until Friday morning, at the earliest.

The temperature recorded at Chicago O’Hare Airport also reached sub-zero temperatures before 6pm, and the National Weather Service noted that the temps would stay that cold until Thursday, if not longer. The result?

This unexpectedly lovely video—all shades of blue, gray, and white, the calming tranquility of which is periodically broken by bright orange flames licking up from the train tracks.

It’s definitely hypnotizing, as fire usually is for us humans, and we’re sure that Chicago area commuters, making the long trek to work in the unforgiving cold, appreciated this little spark of visual and literal warmth to accompany them on their voyage.

It’s the little things in life, after all. Still, we’re pretty sure they’ll be even happier once the temperatures finally warm up enough that lighting the tracks on fire is no longer necessary.

The sparks are flying—literally!—in this eerily beautiful video footage of fires lit on the tracks of Chicago’s famed El train this week, meant to keep the trains running during the worst cold snap to hit the area in almost a generation.

The Arctic...

Earth

Mushrooms Could Save The Bees

Scientist suspect that mushrooms could possibly restore the population of bees.

The average human being usually has issues when it comes to bees. Bees help pollination and this helps everyone, but alternatively, they sting people. Most of the time, a bee sting is not fatal, but it isn’t exactly a pleasant experience either.

Although most people see bees as a nuisance because of their poor temper and their ability to sting, everyone knows that bees are needed for survival. This is why it’s been unsettling to hear the reports of populations of bees dying in masses. How would we survive without bees?

There are a lot of solid theories and reasons for the death of these bees, but a single man has decided to take the responsibility of finding a way to save the bees. It may be hard to believe, but the answer to the survival of bees is found easily and freely in nature. The answer lies in mushrooms.

What Causes Bees To Die?

Companies are usually blamed for the death of bees because of the pesticides they use, but there are many other reasons for the death of these bees. TIME reported in an article in 2017 that the number of bees in over 700 species of American bees was falling.

What’s more is that this isn’t just restricted to bees alone. It affects butterflies too. Bees are at about a 37 percent species loss. 9 percent of bee and butterfly populations could actually become extinct.

Dennis vanEngeldorp, an entomology professor at the University of Maryland, says that bee colonies are dying off because of Varroa mites. Varroa mites spread certain viruses that are deadly to bees, to their colonies. This wipes them out quite fast. This is a shockingly natural reason for the death of the bees, but it is still very worrying. Luckily the cure is also created by nature.

The Cure Is In Mushrooms

Paul Stamets was the first man to discover the antiviral properties of a mushroom – specifically for insects. Paul Stamets retails mushrooms and has thus has spent a lot of time with them. He spoke to Tuscaloosa News about the morning he made the discovery. He saw some bees interacting with his mushrooms.

He could see the bees sipping the droplets coming out of the mycelium. He had previously thought that the bees were in search of sugar, but he’d had a hypothesis that it may be something else.

The first person to really appreciate Stamets’s work was Steve Sheppard, an entomology professor at Washington State University. He pursued Stamets’ mushroom theory. He ran tests on bees who had been exposed to the mites, giving half of them a mushroom additive.

The test subjects who were given the mushroom additives were cured of the mite-borne viruses, proving Stamets correct.

The Plan To Save The Bees

Stamets sees bees as civilization’s canary in the coal mine. If the bees are dying, we will soon follow suit. He asks what important thing that we will lose that will lead to a catastrophic failure. He believes the rivet to be losing the bees. Over a third of the food we eat is dependent on bees.

Bees have been dying since the first breakout of these mites in 1980. Several other scientists fear that the extinction of bees could also be the extinction of the human race. The goal is to have 3D-printed mushroom mycelia extract feeder on our shelves in 2019. This extract will likely be sold by subscription.

Of course, this is dependent on people stepping forward and taking action to save the bees, so only time can tell how this will go. Would you help save the bees by buying this product? That might be dependent on of a bee has ever stung you before.

Scientist suspect that mushrooms could possibly restore the population of bees.

The average human being usually has issues when it comes to bees. Bees help pollination and this helps everyone, but alternatively, they sting people. Most of the time, a bee...