Lab-grown alternatives to meat

Lab-grown meat is meat that is not from a living organism. It is made by taking a muscle sample from an animal. Then they take stem cells from the tissue, and replicate those and grow them. These cells are able to renew and grow themselves, that’s why it is important to the process of making the meat. The cells then generate into different tissues and are able to grow, forming muscle tissues. The meat grows onto itself in a cultivator. It’s ready to harvest in 4-6 weeks. That is fast!

There is a reason why this is being practiced. This type of meat can put an end to cruel and unethical treatment of many animals that are raised for food. Many of these animals have bad living conditions that consist of little space, and their diet is foods meant to bulk them up, sometimes with abusive caretakers.

Many animals used for food now are genetically mutated for the purpose of getting more meat off of them. Most baby bulls are killed for meat. The female cows are needed for breeding and milking, so why waste funds on a male that produces less product? The same is thought for chickens; hens lay the eggs.

Along with better relationships with cattle, there are also good impacts this meat brings to the environment. The production of livestock products is one of the huge industries contributing to extreme amounts of deforestation, water pollution, and greenhouse-gas emissions. Less land usage, less ingredients, and an overall smaller impact is a result of synthetic meats. Synthetically growing the meat does not need as many resources as sustaining and growing animals from birth. One simple tissue sample is used and is able to make thousands of quarter pounders. We are able to reduce the pollution agriculture causes as well as the amount of land we have dedicated towards it.

The meat is not yet on the market, it is still being tested, but it is hoped to be coming very soon. The purpose of this advancement isn’t to get rid of traditional agriculture, it’s about finding a safer, less cruel alternative to factory farming. The cost of production is high right now, that is because it’s not yet perfected. There is a focus on bringing the cost down, but it still utilizes fewer resources. There are a lot of different names for the food produced, but we know one thing for sure, it’s a nearly perfect alternative for real meat.

Plastic in the ocean

Ever wonder how plastic gets in our ocean? Plastic makes its way into the ocean due to human activity. Instead of recycling plastic as we are supposed to, it ends up in the trash can. From the trash can, that plastic goes to a landfill. Because the plastic is so light, it will often fly off and that’s when it starts going into bodies of water and streets. 

Plastic affects the ocean because it can kill wildlife, fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. Because of the plastic floating in the ocean, often times animals tend to get tangled in it and die. They also mistake it for food. Sea turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and often end up choking on them and dying. 

Plastic in the ocean has a negative impact on the environment. According to the United Nations Environment, plastic can release toxic effects. Chlorinated plastic can release harmful chemicals into the surrounding soil, which can seep into groundwater or any other surrounding water sources, and also the ecosystem. This is dangerous because it can cause harmful effects to the species who drink water.

There are long term effects of having plastic in the ocean. Some of them can be toxic wastes. This can then affect marine wildlife along with the food chain and any reproductive system failures. It can interrupt the cycle of the coral reefs. And it can also affect human health. 

Some of the more short term effects of having plastic in the ocean. Plastic in the ocean can pollute the ocean and any waterways, which then has harmful impacts on the environment and the economy. Many sea life creatures eat plastic and die from choking, blockage in the intestines and starvation. 

There are many things the human species can do to help stop plastic from getting into the ocean, or any other body of water. We can reduce our use of Single-Use plastics (think like plastic straws, Saran Wrap, or plastic cups, etc.). We can start to recycle properly or participate in a beach or river cleanup. You can also support any organizations that address plastic pollution problems. 

Animals going extinct

There are a couple of explanations behind why an animal or creature can become endangered. One explanation is loss of environment. To become familiar with why creatures have become terminated previously, we utilized data from National Geographic.

Creatures might be compelled to move because of an adjustment in their condition, this can be common, natural change, or by human causes. The dinosaurs, for instance, passed on because of natural disasters.

Animal populaces have diminished by 60% since 1970; it’s thought to be because of rigorous cultivating of land. The rainforests that are being chopped down have many species in them. From the plants, to creepy crawlies, to the feathered creatures, and common mammals. These creatures utilize this condition as their home; it gives shelter and nourishment to them. 

Species that endure their natural surroundings being cleared need to relocate. With an absence of land, there is an expanded possibility of human-animal interactions. Introduction to wild creatures can be possibly hazardous to both parties. Potentially dangerous plants, growths, or insects, might be nearer to society because of their territory being crushed. They begin to grow and thrive in communities which is unwanted.

The loss of species we are seeing today is evaluated to be somewhere in the range of 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the common eradication rate. People have pursued a significant number of the bigger animals from pretty much every occupied landmass in the course of 125,000 years. 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature evaluated how likely it is for specific bird species to go extinct. This depends on characteristics they saw from them. What they found was that the little and versatile creatures have a superior possibility of endurance. Huge creatures are progressively powerless against people since they are targeted and need more space. The loss of these creatures has tumbling impacts. They support their biological system, for instance, elephants disperse huge seeds around the land.

Creatures coincide with their condition; removing their environment carries dangers to them. The West African Black rhinoceros was a subspecies of the black rhino that was proclaimed to be wiped out in 2011. This creature’s end was due to excessive poaching and demands for rhino horn. 

There is an informational article to help you learn more about larger animals becoming extinct from the New York Times

This article was intended to shine light to everyone on how their environment has been changing. Earth is the home for millions of species of animals. People have been cutting down and taking down the habitats of these animals for years. After such a long time of destruction and hunting, animals are becoming endangered.

We want to preserve these animals of the past and keep them alive, but because of sport hunting and exotic demands it’s only becoming harder. We lose animal and plant species because of agriculture pushes, whether it’s building homes, or farming.

I’d recommend visiting the Wildlife Conservation Society’s site if you would like to donate to that cause or learn more about it.

What is the Coronavirus? How can I protect myself?

As we all know, sickness and disease are very common parts of our lives. Everybody knows that eventually they will get sick, most of the time it’s no big deal and all you need to do is ride it out. We know how diseases like the common cold are spread and what we can do to prevent ourselves from getting sick. But even with these precautions, people still get very sick each year.

 One virus that has been in the news recently is known as The 2019 Novel Coronavirus or simply just the coronavirus, it is part of the corona family which houses other viruses such as the common cold, or influenza.

The outbreak started in a town that has been identified as Wuhan, China. Wuhan has since been quarantined, but not before hundreds of people fled the village and surrounding towns.

This virus is spread through airborne particles and is very contagious, it is passed from person-to-person. But unlike influenza, the coronavirus currently has no vaccine.

In the US, there are 5 states with confirmed cases of the coronavirus. According to the CDC, there have also been 29 countries with confirmed cases of the virus. China has reported 28,000 confirmed cases with more than 560 coronavirus deaths, according to The Washington Post

There are more viruses that belong in the coronavirus family, such as the common cold, which was mentioned earlier, and the viruses that caused the global outbreaks of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2015, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003.

It is believed that this virus spread to humans from animals, like the MERS and SARS viruses did but they are still unsure about what the specific cause of this outbreak was and when they will be able to find a cure.

People are being warned not to travel to China and returning travelers are being tested and detained for 14 days to check for the virus.

The best way to avoid getting sick is to avoid anybody who has been diagnosed with the virus, and your wash hands frequently while avoiding any unnecessary trips into crowded areas.

Bee puns really sting

Bees are very interesting insects. In one way they are defying the natural law of weight compared to flight and in other ways they are very efficient and precise little creatures. 

They are built very large and have very small wings. Strangely, they can fly which is interesting because they don’t have the large wings that would be needed for its size.

They are very strong and have an interesting life system. There are many different types of bees like the: bumblebee, hornet, honey bee, western honey bee, etc. Each type has its own features. A bee has a standard defense system but has a complicated outcome. 

Queen and worker bumblebees can sting. Unlike in honeybees, the bee can sting repeatedly without injuring itself; by the same token, the stinger is not left in the wound. Bumblebee species are not normally aggressive, but may sting in defence of their nest, or if it feels endangered itself. 

There are many bees that have a complication. If a bee feels like it is in danger it will sting, but the stinger will be left behind. The bee needs its stinger or it will die. 

Certain bees are in danger of going extinct and many have been put on the endangered list. 

The main causes for the extinction of bees is pesticides and parasites. Ever since WWII the use of pesticides has increased by extreme amounts.

One third of the world’s food supply is made by bees. If all bees go extinct we would be left with no crops, flowers, or plants. If bees disappeared off the earth mankind would estimatedly only have four years or so to live. We wouldn’t be able to regrow any plants to make more food. If bees don’t have food then we don’t have food. 

Easy ways to help protect them is to plant more flowers and plants in your yard, try to eat bee friendly foods that don’t contain too much honey and things, and most importantly, don’t kill them. You can easily find a safe way to move their home somewhere new or just let them stay where they set up camp. Always remember that if you don’t bother them, then they won’t bother you. 

Global warmings effect on the ocean

We love our oceans, or so I hope. The ocean is the heart of our great Earth. Water on this planet covers over ⅔ of the Earth’s surface. This huge body of water is our support system. It generates half the oxygen we breathe. It is also the largest ecosystem on Earth. The oceans must be protected at all costs. Without it, the world would be in a completely different place in life and evolution.

The ocean can’t die, but it can change. The marine environment has changed significantly because of climate change. Yes, climate change is real and it is happening. This biome is registering the impacts of climate change. Ocean warming is one of the biggest impacts it has. The ocean absorbs heat as a result of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The ocean has absorbed more than 93% of excess heat since the 1970’s. Ocean warming causes deoxygenation (a reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the ocean). It also causes an increased rise in sea level. This expands the sea and continental ice melting. 

Ocean warming is extremely harsh on the oceans many ecosystems. The global temperatures current increase is 0.7 degrees Celsius. The Intergovernmental Panel has a prediction that it will rise between 1.4 degrees Celsius and 5.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average global sea temperature in the upper ocean has increased by 0.13 degrees Celsius per decade over the past 100 years. Along with this, the deep ocean is absorbing  ⅓ of the excess heat 700 m below the ocean’s surface. Because of this, climate change will have a huge affect on the entirety of the ocean.

A key impact of climate change and ocean warming is coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is the most visual effect of climate change. It is caused by high water temperatures that kill the ocean’s coral. In the most recent years, coral mortality had reached up to 70% in multiple regions. 

When people ask questions about this, one they all have in common is – why is coral bleaching such a big deal? Some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on this planet is supported by coral reefs. Over thousands of marine animals depend on this oceanic plant. Animals such as fish, crabs, ea turtles, sea birds, starfish, etc. Coral reefs don’t just feed marine wildlife, they also provide much more. They provide spawning grounds, shelter, and protection from predators. These reefs support organisms all the way at the base of the food chain. With reef ecosystems collapsing, all of these species face extinction. 

That is just one of the many impacts global warming has on the ocean. Imagine what else it is doing. Actions can be/are being taken to protect these coral reefs and the ocean all together. There are small daily actions to take that will definitely help. Smart things you can do are invest in renewable energy and energy efficient appliances, reduce water waste, reduce food waste, invest in better light bulbs, and pull the plugs in help reduce unnecessary energy use. The biggest action you can take to help stop global warming is to speak up. Take part in protests, sign a petition, donate to causes that are trying to replant coral reefs and plans for clean power. Everyone should help make this change. 

Coral reefs

Coral reefs stretch over 280,000 km in tropical areas. The reefs act as a “home,” and also is known as a shelter for many different species. Many people call the coral reef the “rainforests of the sea.”

Coral reefs help out the environment as well as us humans. The reef protects our shores from the impact of waves and from storms. They also help humans in the form of food and/or medicine. They also provide economic wealth to communities from tourism.

The World Meteorological Organization says that the reefs have more than $30 billion (U.S. dollars) in global goods and services.

The past few years, the reefs have seen many global threats increase.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature produced the “Red List of Threatened Species,” which highlights the species that are extinct, critically endangered, or vulnerable.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is one of the most managed reefs in the world. In 2009, a report made by the Australian agency fears the future and that “catastrophic damage to the ecosystem may not be saved.”

The State of Coral Reefs Around the World says that 205 of the world’s coral reefs are destroyed and show no immediate prospect of recovery. Approximately 405 or 16% of the world’s reefs, were seriously damaged in 1998, and are either recovering well or have recovered. 60% of the earth’s coral reefs are threatened by just human activity. For more information about reef recovery statistics, please visit: globalissues.org

Some threats coral faces would be: bleaching (which is when the water temperatures increase), over fishing and over harvesting which disrupt the ecosystem of the reefs, boat anchors and divers can also scar the reef. Another thing is that invasive species, like the lionfish, can also caused a threat. Threats like lawn runoffs, sewage, cities, and farms all feed algae into the ocean, which can cause the reef to be overwhelmed according to  ocean.si.edu.

According to oceanservice.noaa.gov, there are 10 ways you can help protect the coral reefs:

1: Choose sustainable seafood.

2: Conserve water; the less water you use the less runoff and wastewater will find its way back to the ocean

3: Volunteer to help with local beach or a reef cleanup.

4: Corals are already a gift. Don’t give them as presents.

5: If you dive, don’t touch. Coral reefs are alive. Any stirred-up sediment can smother the corals.

6: Practice safe boating. Anchor in a sandy area away from coral and sea grasses so that the anchor chain doesn’t drag and damage nearby corals.

7: Don’t send chemicals into our waterways. Nutrients from excess fertilizer increases algae growth that blocks sunlight to corals.

8: Be a marine debris crusader. Besides picking up your own trash, carry away the trash that others have left behind.

9: Educate yourself about coral reefs and the creatures they support.

10: Long-lasting light bulbs are a bright idea. Light bulbs reduce greenhouse gases.

Coral reefs play a vital role in sustaining the health of our oceans and economy so it is in our best interest to protect them.

Bullet trains

As Japan has just tested the one of the  world’s fastest bullet trains, the ALFA-X, which clocks in at 400 kilometers per hour/249 miles per hour, I thought it would be a good time to revisit bullet trains. How were they invented? How fast are they? Why are they some places but not others?

Bullet trains were originally designed in Japan. The first bullet train that opened for commuter service was the Hikari bullet train which opened October 1, 1964, and ran until 1999. Hideo Shima was the first designer of the bullet train and finished his plans for Japan’s high speed railway in 1959. Japan then built the the train and tracks in just five years, in time for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

After Japan’s success, countries such as Austria, France, Belgium, Germany, China, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom built similar high speed bullet trains.

The fastest train in the world is the Shanghai Maglev, in China, which can reach speeds of 267 miles per hour. The second fastest train in operation is the Fuxing Hao, also in China, which has gone as fast as 236 miles per hour. The originator of the bullet train, Japan, has the world’s third fastest train, the Shinkansen, which can go 224 miles per hour.

The fastest trains outside of Asia are housed in Italy and both can reach speeds of 220 miles per hour. They’re called the Italo and the Frecciarossa and are made by competing companies.

In America, there are no high speed trains, at least according to world standards. There are trains in America that can reach speeds of 125 miles per hour, which is considered by the U.S. to be a high speed railway, but according to world standards the minimum for a high speed train is 160 miles per hour. California has planned the first high speed railway in the U.S., but it is not planned to be completed until the year 2040.

The world’s first picture of a black hole, and why it matters

Photo via theguardian.com

So, unless you’ve been living a prehistoric, or nomadic life, traversing from cave to cave on a journey for wild boar meat, you probably already know about how a group of astronomers, from something called The Event Horizon Telescope Project, have taken the first ever real, and (somewhat) clear picture of a black hole, from millions light years away, in the galaxy you’ve only heard the name of once known as Messier 87. You see the blurry orange circle, you compare it to its infinitely more interesting looking, not real cgi renditions, and think to yourself, why?

Why does it matter that we just took a picture of an orange circle from far away? Well, my ignorant, yet now thoroughly offended hypothetical reader, there’re lot’s of earth shattering scientific breakthroughs which are the result of this discovery.

Katie Bouman, the main woman behind the image, watching in disbelief at the reveal of the image, via CNN

Well, not only was this photo taken from 50 million light years away
which means, the light we’re seeing in this photo, is from millions, and millions of years ago. And to photograph something so impossibly far away, the team would need a telescope almost the size of planet earth itself, but the Even Horizon team, all came together and connected 8 different telescopes from around the planet, to combine their data to get an accurate image using a technique called interferometry. Which is such obviously a massive breakthrough as it shows that not only is our technology at THIS level, but it will just keep better as the years progress. And who knows what this could possibly lead to, for future generations.

But not only that, but the researchers say that, this whole thing, helps further prove the theory of Relativity, which was first talked about in 1915, by this quite obscure scientist, I dunno if you heard of him, his name was ALBERT FREAKING EINSTEIN, so basically, this means, he predicted that black holes well, exist, and that they have things called event horizons. And there were also tons of equations he came up with, which predict the exact size, and shape, of the black hole, based on its mass, and that’s pretty much what the image revealed. You can read more on this at space.com ( Yeah “space.com” I mean what else would you name it?)

So, if all this isn’t already enough evidence of the extraordinary feat of this black hole, from an entirely different galaxy, millions of light years away, being well, see-able. Then I dunno what to tell you. It might not be super interesting to see a blurry orange circle. But this “blurry orange circle” has extremely extraordinary implications, which will effect the way we view the outward universe for pretty much the rest of time.

And for this, we can thank Katie Bouman, along with many others in the Event Horizon team, but Katie Bouman was a very integral part, as sometime back in 2017, she led the work to create a specific algerithum which was used to generate the picture of the black hole. Before then, Bowman was then a graduate student, earning a PhD in computer science, and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (a.k.a. MIT). And now, according to the guardian, while Katie is as-of-now, a post-doctoral at MIT, and is due to obtain a position as an assistant professor at the California Institute of Technology, she instead prefers to continue her work with the Event Horizon team, as it is her passion, and there is still much to discover, and much to learn, about this wide world we live in.

Oil spills – Part 3 in a multi-part series about the environment

According to Marineinsight.com, an oil spill is when there is a contamination in the ocean due to oil being spilled, because of a accident and/or an error made by a human. Oil spills come in many different sizes. Climateiknterpreter.org reports that there are about 20,000 oil spills each year. These range from being small and quickly contained, to very large and taking a while to contain.

During the Gulf War, in 1991, there were about 240 to 336 million gallons of oil spilt. This happened because Iraq opened the oil wells and pipelines. This is was the largest oil spill, caused on purpose, history has ever seen. This spill affected the coral ecosystem and local fisheries.

Another large oil spill was the Deepwater Horizon plant spill in 2010. As reported by Telegraph.co.uk, this spill happened in the Gulf of Mexico. There were about 210 million gallons of oil that ended up in the ocean. This spill flowed for over three months: April 20, 2010 to July 15, 2010. This became the largest accidental spill in the history of the petroleum industry. This spill killed 11 men that were working on the plant platform, and injured 17 others. The leak was stopped by capping the wellhead after it spilled around 4.9 million barrels of oil – crude to be exact. This meant that about 53,000 barrels escaped each day. This affected the the marine and wildlife habitats, as well as Gulf’s fishing and tourism industry.

If you have a small vessel, there is a checklist to go through to prevent small spills. The first thing would be, tighten bolts on the engine. The bolts can loosen due to shaking while the engine is being used. The next thing would be, replace cracked or worn lines and fittings before they get lose and fall out. There is also a checklist for filling up your vessel. The first thing is to avoid overflows when refueling; you should know what the capacity of your tank and nosing you should leave room for the fuel to expand. The next thing is to use an absorbent pad to catch any drips. For more information about this, please visit: Responde.restoration.noaa.gov