Science & Environment

spaminator

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Large fancy vivid yellow diamond discovered in N.W.T.
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Publishing date:Sep 23, 2022 • 18 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
Owners of a diamond mine in the Northwest Territories say workers have recovered what is likely Canada's largest fancy vivid yellow diamond. The Arctic Canadian Diamond Company says the 71.26-carat diamond was recovered from its Ekati mine on Aug. 25, 2022.
Owners of a diamond mine in the Northwest Territories say workers have recovered what is likely Canada's largest fancy vivid yellow diamond. The Arctic Canadian Diamond Company says the 71.26-carat diamond was recovered from its Ekati mine on Aug. 25, 2022. PHOTO BY HO /THE CANADIAN PRESS
YELLOWKNIFE — The owners of a diamond mine in the Northwest Territories say workers have recovered what is likely Canada’s largest fancy vivid yellow diamond.

The Arctic Canadian Diamond Company says the 71.26-carat diamond was recovered from its Ekati mine on Aug. 25.


Fancy coloured diamonds are rare gems where the stone has a strong colour.

Yellow diamonds get their colour from the presence of nitrogen.

The grading system for the colour strength of fancy diamonds ranges from faint to fancy vivid.

A 552-carat rough yellow diamond was discovered at the Diavik diamond mine in the territory in 2018.

It holds the record for the biggest gem-quality diamond found in North America and one of the 30 largest in the world.
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spaminator

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Toronto researchers make first-in-world discovery in fight against Parkinson's
Author of the article:Kevin Connor
Publishing date:Sep 25, 2022 • 10 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
Toronto researchers say they've made a first-in-the-world discovery in the fight against Parkinson's.
MRI image brain PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO /Toronto Sun
It is being hailed as a world’s first in the fight against Parkinson’s disease.


Researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and University Health Network discovered focused ultrasound technology is safe to provide treatment to targeted brain regions in patients with Parkinson’s disease.


“Our early findings are an exciting and critical first step in less invasive direct-to-brain delivery of therapeutics to key areas of the brain important in the development and progression of Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. Nir Lipsman, the study’s co-principal investigator and director of Sunnybrook’s Harquail Centre for Neuromodulation.

“Current management strategies for Parkinson’s include medications and more invasive neurosurgery. Focused ultrasound is a less invasive, targeted approach that could change the way brain disorders are treated in the future.”


Low intensity MRI-guided ultrasound technology uses ultrasound waves to breach the blood-brain barrier, a layer that protects the brain from toxins but can also hinder medications from getting to where they are needed.

Often, treatments can’t cross the blood-brain barrier because compounds are too large.

In some cases, open brain surgery is needed to help manage Parkinson’s, a brain disorder that causes uncontrollable movements, impacting a patient’s quality of life.

Researchers examined the delivery of an enzyme, glucocerebrosidase, to the putamen which is a key structure in the brain related to movement.

Glucocerebrosidase may help to prevent buildup of the protein alpha-synuclein, a key factor of Parkinson’s that leads to unhealthy brain cells.


The first phase of the trial included four patients with an average age of 54 who had been diagnosed with early-stage Parkinson’s.

The patients received three doses of the therapeutic and application of focused ultrasound every two weeks to the portion of the brain most affected by Parkinson’s.

They were followed for three- and six-month periods.

“The Phase I trial offered a hint of potential improvement in symptoms following treatment, but this requires further study. Any side effects, such as involuntary movements, were only temporary, and none were severe,” said Dr. Lorraine Kalia, co-principal investigator and a neurologist and senior scientist at the Krembil Brain Institute at UHN.


“It is still very early in the research, but with our first-in-the-world study findings, we are making much needed progress in the development of innovative treatments for people with Parkinson’s disease.”

The Sunnybrook and UHN researchers have launched the second phase of the trial and continue to investigate.

“The upcoming trial will further explore low intensity MRI-guided focused ultrasound and targeting enzyme replacement therapy to both sides of the brain. The ultimate goal is to improve the delivery of therapeutics to the brain with the hope of improved symptoms or slowed progression of Parkinson’s disease,“ says Dr. Suneil Kalia, co-principal investigator and a neurosurgeon and scientist at UHN.
 

spaminator

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Oct 26, 2009
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Night owls could be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease: Study
Author of the article:postmedia News
Publishing date:Sep 25, 2022 • 12 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
A study found that people who stay up late and sleep in might be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease than early birds.
A study found that people who stay up late and sleep in might be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease than early birds. PHOTO BY IVAN OBOLENINOV/PEXELS /Ivan Oboleninov/Pexels
There might be some truth to the old saying that “early to bed, early to rise” is a pillar of good health.


A new study found that people who stay up late and sleep in might be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease than those who prefer to go to bed and wake up early.


The study — published in the journal Experimental Physiology — found that night owls were more sedentary, exercised less and burned less fat at rest and while active than early birds in the study. It also indicated night owls required more insulin to get energy.

The study found early birds “utilized more fat during rest and exercise independent of aerobic fitness when compared with” night owls. They also were more physically active throughout the day compared to those who stayed up late and slept in.

Sleep preferences are believed to be inherited and may alter the natural circadian rhythm of humans.

The study organized 51 adults without heart disease or diabetes into groups of early birds and night owls based on their preferences. Participants ate a controlled diet and fasted overnight, while their activity levels were monitored throughout the week.
 

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
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Nobel win for Swede who unlocked secrets of Neanderthal DNA
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
David Keyton, Frank Jordans And Laura Ungar
Publishing date:Oct 03, 2022 • 22 hours ago • 5 minute read • Join the conversation

STOCKHOLM — Swedish scientist Svante Paabo won the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday for his discoveries on human evolution that provided key insights into our immune system and what makes us unique compared with our extinct cousins, the award’s panel said.




Paabo spearheaded the development of new techniques that allowed researchers to compare the genome of modern humans and that of other hominins — the Neanderthals and Denisovans.


While Neanderthal bones were first discovered in the mid-19th century, only by unlocking their DNA — often referred to as the code of life — have scientists been able to fully understand the links between species.

This included the time when modern humans and Neanderthals diverged as a species, determined to be around 800,000 years ago, said Anna Wedell, chair of the Nobel Committee.

“Paabo and his team also surprisingly found that gene flow had occurred from Neanderthals to Homo sapiens, demonstrating that they had children together during periods of co-existence,” she said.


This transfer of genes between hominin species affects how the immune system of modern humans reacts to infections, such as the coronavirus. People outside Africa have 1-2% of Neanderthal genes.

Paabo and his team also managed to extract DNA from a tiny finger bone found in a cave in Siberia, leading to the recognition of a new species of ancient humans they called Denisovans.

Wedell described this as “a sensational discovery” that subsequently showed Neanderthals and Denisovan to be sister groups which split from each other around 600,000 years ago. Denisovan genes have been found in up to 6% of modern humans in Asia and Southeast Asia, indicating that interbreeding occurred there too.

“By mixing with them after migrating out of Africa, homo sapiens picked up sequences that improved their chances to survive in their new environments,” said Wedell. For example, Tibetans share a gene with Denisovans that helps them adapt to the high altitude.


“Svante Pääbo has discovered the genetic make up of our closest relatives, the Neanderthals and the Denison hominins,” Nils-Göran Larsson, a Nobel Assembly member, told the Associated Press after the announcement.

“And the small differences between these extinct human forms and us as humans today will provide important insight into our body functions and how our brain has developed.”

Paabo said he was surprised to learn of his win on Monday.

“So I was just gulping down the last cup of tea to go and pick up my daughter at her nanny where she has had an overnight stay, and then I got this call from Sweden and I of course thought it had something to do with our little summer house in Sweden. I thought, ‘Oh the lawn mower’s broken down or something,”’ he said in an interview posted on the official home page of the Nobel Prizes.


He mused about what would have happened if Neanderthals had survived another 40,000 years. “Would we see even worse racism against Neanderthals, because they were really in some sense different from us? Or would we actually see our place in the living world quite in a different way when we would have other forms of humans there that are very like us but still different,” he said.

Paabo, 67, performed his prizewinning studies in Germany at the University of Munich and at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. He is the son of Sune Bergstrom, who won the Nobel prize in medicine in 1982. According to the Nobel Foundation, it’s the eighth time that the son or daughter of a Nobel laureate also won a Nobel Prize.


Scientists in the field lauded the Nobel Committee’s choice this year.

David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School, said he was thrilled the group honoured the field of ancient DNA, which he worried might “fall between the cracks.”

By recognizing that DNA can be preserved for tens of thousands of years — and developing ways to extract it — Paabo and his team created a completely new way to answer questions about our past, Reich said. That work was the basis for an “explosive growth” of ancient DNA studies in recent decades.

“It’s totally reconfigured our understanding of human variation and human history,” Reich said.

Dr. Eric Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, called it “a great day for genomics,” a relatively young field first named in 1987.


The Human Genome project, which ran from 1990-2003, “got us the first sequence of the human genome, and we’ve improved that sequence ever since,” Green said. Since then, scientists developed new cheaper, extremely sensitive methods for sequencing DNA.

When you sequence DNA from a fossil millions of years old, you only have “vanishingly small amounts” of DNA, Green said. Among Paabo’s innovations was figuring out the laboratory methods for extracting and preserving these tiny amounts of DNA. He was then able to lay pieces of the Neanderthal genome sequence against the human sequencing coming out of the Human Genome Project.

Paabo’s team published the first draft of a Neanderthal genome in 2009. The team sequenced more than 60% of the full genome from a small sample of bone, after contending with decay and contamination from bacteria.


“We should always be proud of the fact that we sequenced our genome. But the idea that we can go back in time and sequence the genome that doesn’t live anymore and something that’s a direct relative of humans is truly remarkable,” Green said.

Katerina Harvati-Papatheodorou, professor of paleoanthropology at the University of Tubingen in Germany, said the award also underscores the importance of understanding humanity’s evolutionary heritage to gain insights about human health today.

“The most recent example is the finding that genes inherited from our Neanderthal relatives … can have implications for one’s susceptibility to COVID infections,” she said in an email to the AP.

The medicine prize kicked off a week of Nobel Prize announcements. It continues Tuesday with the physics prize, with chemistry on Wednesday and literature on Thursday. The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday and the economics award on Oct. 10.

Last year’s medicine recipients were David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries into how the human body perceives temperature and touch.

The prizes carry a cash award of 10 million Swedish kronor (nearly $900,000) and will be handed out on Dec. 10. The money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.

— Jordans reported from Berlin. Ungar reported from Louisville, Kentucky. Maddie Burakoff contributed from New York.
 

spaminator

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Nobel Prize for 3 chemists who made molecules 'click'
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
David Keyton, Frank Jordans And Christina Larson
Publishing date:Oct 05, 2022 • 10 hours ago • 5 minute read • Join the conversation

STOCKHOLM — Three scientists were jointly awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for developing a way of “snapping molecules together” that can be used to explore cells, map DNA and design drugs that can target diseases such as cancer more precisely.


Americans Carolyn R. Bertozzi and K. Barry Sharpless, and Danish scientist Morten Meldal were cited for their work on click chemistry that works “sort of like molecular Lego.”


“It’s all about snapping molecules together,” said Johan Aqvist, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences that announced the winners at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

Sharpless, 81, who previously won a Nobel in 2001 and is now the fifth person to receive the prize twice, first proposed the idea of connecting molecules using chemical “buckles” around the turn of the millennium, Aqvist said.

“The problem was to find good chemical buckles,” he said. “They have to react with each other easily and specifically.”

Meldal, 68, based at the University of Copenhagen, and Sharpless, who is affiliated with Scripps Research in California, independently found the first such candidates that would easily snap together with each other but not with other molecules, leading to applications in the manufacture of medicines and polymers.


Bertozzi, 55, who is based at Stanford University “took click chemistry to a new level,” the Nobel panel said, by finding a way to make the process work inside living organisms without disrupting them.

The goal is “doing chemistry inside human patients to make sure that drugs go to the right place and stay away from the wrong place,” she said at a news conference following the announcement.

The award was a shock, she said. “I’m still not entirely positive that it’s real, but it’s getting realer by the minute.”

Later, speaking to The Associated Press by Zoom, Bertozzi said one of the first people she called after being awakened by the call around 2 a.m. was her father, William Bertozzi, a retired physicist and night owl, who was still awake watching TV.


“Dad, turn down the TV, I have something to tell you,” she said she told him. After she assured him nothing was wrong, he guessed the news. “You won it, didn’t you?”

One of three daughters, Bertozzi said she was “fortunate because I grew up with parents that were very supportive, evangelical almost, about having their girls participate in the sciences.”

Bertozzi, who is paid by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which also supports The Associated Press’ Health and Science Department, said she was grateful for the energy and enthusiasm that a Nobel Prize win will inject into the field.

Meldal said he received the call from the Nobel panel about half an hour before the public announcement. “They … told me not to tell anyone,” he told the AP, adding that he just sat in his office, shaking a bit.


Meldal started out as an engineer, “but I wanted to understand the world so I thought chemistry would give me the solutions.”

Jon Lorsch, director of the U.S. National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which supports the work of Bertozzi and Sharpless, described click chemistry as “sort of like molecular Lego — you have a group on one molecule that specifically attaches to a group on another molecule,” like Lego clicking together.

“That makes it possible to attach molecules in very specific pre-defined ways,” he said, and gives scientists a very precise tool to build complex new molecules for use in drugs, synthetic materials and other uses.

However, the first iteration of click chemistry could not be used with living cells. “The original click chemistry used copper as a catalyst to join molecules,” Lorsch said. “But the trouble is that copper is toxic to most living systems at higher concentrations.”


Bertozzi then devised a way to jumpstart the reactions without copper or other toxic solvents — broadening the applications to human and animal tissues.

“Being able to work without dangerous solvents, opened many new doors — it enabled scientists to work on new types of reactions that actually take place within the human body,” said Angela Wilson, president of the American Chemical Society.

That has allowed scientists to attach dyes to cancer cells to track their movements and analyze how they differ from healthy tissue.

Wilson believes the advances of this year’s Nobel laureates “will allow more individualized medicine in the future because we can really track things much better within the human body.”

Sharpless credited his passion for looking for the impossible and not accepting limits for helping him stumble upon his discoveries.


“I’m just really lucky to have a photographic memory and love the periodic table,” he told a virtual news conference from his home in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla. “Prizes aren’t what I’m doing science for. … I have to do it. It’s kind of a compulsion,”

M.G. Finn, a chemist now at Georgia Tech who collaborated with Sharpless on his Nobel-winning work, said click chemistry’s use in biology and drug development was still “at its infancy,” with more exciting discoveries to come.

Meldal agreed.

It’s “very much an opportunity … when you get this kind of award to argue for our young people to take chemistry as a discipline,” he said at a news conference in Copenhagen. “Chemistry is the solution to many of our challenges.”


Last year’s prize was awarded to scientists Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan for finding an environmentally cleaner way to build molecules that the Nobel panel said is “already benefiting humankind greatly.”

A week of Nobel Prize announcements kicked off Monday with Swedish scientist Svante Paabo receiving the award in medicine for unlocking secrets of Neanderthal DNA that provided key insights into our immune system.

Three scientists won the prize in physics Tuesday. Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John F. Clauser and Austrian Anton Zeilinger showed that tiny particles can retain a connection with each other even when separated, a phenomenon that can be used for specialized computing and to encrypt information.

The awards continue with literature on Thursday. The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced Friday and the economics award on Monday.

The prizes carry a cash award of 10 million Swedish kronor (nearly $900,000) and will be handed out on Dec. 10. The money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, in 1895.
 

spaminator

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Canadian mining company charged for giant sinkhole in Chile
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Publishing date:Oct 06, 2022 • 14 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
A sinkhole is exposed at a mining zone close to Tierra Amarilla town, in Copiapo, Chile, Aug. 7, 2022.
A sinkhole is exposed at a mining zone close to Tierra Amarilla town, in Copiapo, Chile, Aug. 7, 2022. PHOTO BY JOHAN GODOY /REUTERS
SANTIAGO — Chile’s environmental regulator announced on Thursday four charges against Canadian-owned Lundin copper mine for a sinkhole that appeared at the site of one of its mines the north of the country in late July.


The country’s SMA environmental regulator said the main infractions were overextraction and construction outside of environmentally approved zones.


Emanuel Ibarra, the SMA superintendent, said in a statement that the regional office’s investigation linked the sinkhole on the mine’s property to ore overextraction.

“In addition, when the event occurred, large amounts of water began to leak into the mine from places where the company intervened beyond what was considered in the environmental assessment,” Ibarra said.

The company could be fined the equivalent of more than $13 million, as well as face closure or have its environmental permit revoked.

In a statement, the company said it was analyzing the regulator’s decision and has been collecting data on the sinkhole’s causes.


A sinkhole is exposed at a mining zone close to Tierra Amarilla town, in Copiapo, Chile, Aug. 7, 2022.
A sinkhole is exposed at a mining zone close to Tierra Amarilla town, in Copiapo, Chile, Aug. 7, 2022. PHOTO BY JOHAN GODOY /REUTERS
“The company is convinced, based on the data collected and analyzed to date, that multiple factors influenced the formation of the sinkhole in the terrain of our site,” the statement said. “With mining being a relevant activity.”

In addition the company said it had “acted responsibly and decisively to mitigate the possible effects of the sinkhole” and it was awaiting the final report from authorities.

Canada’s Lundin Mining Corp owns 80% of the property, while the remaining 20% is held by Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining and Sumitomo Corp.

Mining Minister Marcela Hernando told journalists that the ministry is talking with the company about possibly resuming operations in unaffected parts of the mine since the affected area will “be completely closed.”


“We have been looking at which parts of the mine can start operating as soon as possible because we are interested in giving the labor sector and contracting companies peace of mind,” Hernando said.

In mid-August, the SMA ordered “urgent and transitory” measures while investigating the causes of the 36.5-metre-diameter (120-foot-diameter) hole in Tierra Amarilla, some 665 km north of the capital.

The alleged overextraction was labeled as a “serious” infraction while modified mining infrastructure that could cause “irreparable environmental damage” to an aquifer was labeled “Very serious.”

The two minor charges were related to infractions in transporting minerals.
CHILE-SINKHOLE_-1-scaled[1].jpgCHILE-SINKHOLE_-scaled-e1659964460616[1].jpg
 

Serryah

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New Brunswick
Night owls could be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease: Study
Author of the article:postmedia News
Publishing date:Sep 25, 2022 • 12 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
A study found that people who stay up late and sleep in might be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease than early birds.
A study found that people who stay up late and sleep in might be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease than early birds. PHOTO BY IVAN OBOLENINOV/PEXELS /Ivan Oboleninov/Pexels
There might be some truth to the old saying that “early to bed, early to rise” is a pillar of good health.


A new study found that people who stay up late and sleep in might be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease than those who prefer to go to bed and wake up early.


The study — published in the journal Experimental Physiology — found that night owls were more sedentary, exercised less and burned less fat at rest and while active than early birds in the study. It also indicated night owls required more insulin to get energy.

The study found early birds “utilized more fat during rest and exercise independent of aerobic fitness when compared with” night owls. They also were more physically active throughout the day compared to those who stayed up late and slept in.

Sleep preferences are believed to be inherited and may alter the natural circadian rhythm of humans.

The study organized 51 adults without heart disease or diabetes into groups of early birds and night owls based on their preferences. Participants ate a controlled diet and fasted overnight, while their activity levels were monitored throughout the week.

Uh, duh.

Cause when you work nights, you tend to eat more, and not necessarily healthily. The craving for more carbs/salt/sugar is there than during the day. Plus your sleep is all screwed up even if you're used to it.

Unfortunately, the world needs people who will be willing to work night shifts, so this situation won't be something that's fixable anytime soon.
 
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spaminator

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Pink diamond breaks auction record in Hong Kong
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Zen Soo
Publishing date:Oct 07, 2022 • 1 day ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
In this undated photo released by Sotheby's, The Williamson Pink Star is seen.
In this undated photo released by Sotheby's, The Williamson Pink Star is seen. PHOTO BY SOTHEBY'S /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
HONG KONG — A pink diamond was sold for $49.9 million in Hong Kong on Friday, setting a world record for the highest price per carat for a diamond sold at auction.


The 11.15-carat Williamson Pink Star diamond, auctioned by Sotheby’s Hong Kong, sold for $392 million Hong Kong dollars ($49.9 million). It was originally estimated at $21 million.


The Williamson Pink Star draws its name from two legendary pink diamonds. The first is the 23.60-carat Williamson diamond which was presented to the late Queen Elizabeth II as a wedding gift in 1947, while the second is the 59.60-carat Pink Star diamond that sold for a record $71.2 million at auction in 2017.

The Williamson Pink Star is the second-largest pink diamond to appear at auction. Pink diamonds are among the rarest and most valuable of the colored diamonds.

“This is an astounding result, proving the resilience of top diamonds in a shaky economy,” said Tobias Kormind, managing director of 77 Diamonds.

“Hard assets such as world-class diamonds have a history of performing well even in times of instability,” he said. “Some of the world’s highest quality diamonds have seen prices double over the last 10 years.”
1665324552453.png
 

spaminator

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Fire damages some of Easter Island's famous 'moai' statues
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Publishing date:Oct 08, 2022 • 19 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
This handout picture released by the Rapanui Municipality shows Moais affected by a fire at the Rapa Nui National Park in Easter Island, Chile, on October 6, 2022.
This handout picture released by the Rapanui Municipality shows Moais affected by a fire at the Rapa Nui National Park in Easter Island, Chile, on October 6, 2022. PHOTO BY RAPANUI MUNICIPALITY /AFP via Getty Images
SANTIAGO, Chile — A fire that ripped through part of Chile’s Easter Island this week has caused permanent damage to some of its iconic carved stone figures known as moai, authorities said.


The high temperature of the forest fire accelerated the process through which the stone carvings will eventually turn into sand, the mayor of the island locally known as Rapa Nui said.


The damage is “irreparable and immeasurable as well,” Mayor Pedro Edmunds Paoa said.

The Chilean island that lies in the middle of the Pacific Ocean has some 800 moais, half of which are inside the Rano Raraku volcano.

The fire this week blazed through 104 acres and particularly affected an area inside the volcano where there are around 100 moais, around 20% of which have been damaged, Edmunds Paoa said. There are also some damaged structures outside the volcano.

The high temperatures calcinate the stone of the moais, which leads it to “crack” and with time “it starts to collapse,” Edmunds Paoa told a local radio station.


The mayor blamed locals who raise cows and horses in the island and regularly burn grassland.

Edmunds Paoa accused the state of abandoning the island.

“The work of avoiding accidents and fires involves a prevention plan that requires resources and that’s what we don’t have,” he said.

Ninoska Huki, the local head of the National Forest Corporation, had said earlier that the island lacked firefighters.

Officials are currently working to determine how much the fire has affected the island, which is around 3,700 kilometers from mainland Chile and is inhabited by some 7,700 people.

The island is known around the world for its moais, stone structures that are thought to weigh around 14 tons, and the Rapa Nui National Park covers around 40% of the island.

Since 2019, Easter Island is locally known as Rapa Nui-Easter Island.

The island only reopened to tourists in August after it was closed off for more than two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
1665324903460.png
 

spaminator

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Oct 26, 2009
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Pink diamond breaks auction record in Hong Kong
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Zen Soo
Publishing date:Oct 07, 2022 • 1 day ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
In this undated photo released by Sotheby's, The Williamson Pink Star is seen.
In this undated photo released by Sotheby's, The Williamson Pink Star is seen. PHOTO BY SOTHEBY'S /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
HONG KONG — A pink diamond was sold for $49.9 million in Hong Kong on Friday, setting a world record for the highest price per carat for a diamond sold at auction.


The 11.15-carat Williamson Pink Star diamond, auctioned by Sotheby’s Hong Kong, sold for $392 million Hong Kong dollars ($49.9 million). It was originally estimated at $21 million.


The Williamson Pink Star draws its name from two legendary pink diamonds. The first is the 23.60-carat Williamson diamond which was presented to the late Queen Elizabeth II as a wedding gift in 1947, while the second is the 59.60-carat Pink Star diamond that sold for a record $71.2 million at auction in 2017.

The Williamson Pink Star is the second-largest pink diamond to appear at auction. Pink diamonds are among the rarest and most valuable of the colored diamonds.

“This is an astounding result, proving the resilience of top diamonds in a shaky economy,” said Tobias Kormind, managing director of 77 Diamonds.

“Hard assets such as world-class diamonds have a history of performing well even in times of instability,” he said. “Some of the world’s highest quality diamonds have seen prices double over the last 10 years.”
View attachment 15990
when i win a powerball lottery i will get 2 for my sisters. 💍 ;)
 

Ron in Regina

"Voice of the West" Party
Apr 9, 2008
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Regina, Saskatchewan
They need a lawn maoi. It was grass not a forest.
“The high temperature of the forest fire accelerated the process through which the stone carvings will eventually turn into sand, the mayor of the island locally known as Rapa Nui said.”

Yeah, I thought part of the mystery was the fact that there was no forests, so no lumber to be used as rollers to transport these things….
 
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petros

The Central Scrutinizer
Nov 21, 2008
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Moccasin Flats
“The high temperature of the forest fire accelerated the process through which the stone carvings will eventually turn into sand, the mayor of the island locally known as Rapa Nui said.”

Yeah, I thought part of the mystery was the fact that there was no forests, so no lumber to be used as rollers to transport these things….
Thats my understanding too and probably why all we see is grass.
 

Ron in Regina

"Voice of the West" Party
Apr 9, 2008
18,521
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Regina, Saskatchewan
Scientists have proven that the island was covered by forests until the 17th century. It's believed the trees were cut down by the ancestors of today's Easter Islanders in order to transport the giant stone statues - the Moai - as well as to build canoes, houses and fires to burn the dead.

When it rains on the island, also known as Rapa Nui, the water rapidly drains through the porous volcanic soil, leaving the grass dry again. That's one reason why the island at the end of the world has stayed almost entirely bare, with no trees or shrubs.

In recent decades, a number of ventures have aimed to change this. Just less than 10 years ago, Chile's forest authority CONAF began planting the salt-resistant aito tree, which is native to Polynesian islands, on Easter Island. The species, also known as toa or ironwood, was considered sacred to the local culture and traditionally planted in places of worship.
So….maybe is was a “forest” fire?
 

spaminator

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Canadian mining company charged for giant sinkhole in Chile
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Publishing date:Oct 06, 2022 • 14 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
A sinkhole is exposed at a mining zone close to Tierra Amarilla town, in Copiapo, Chile, Aug. 7, 2022.
A sinkhole is exposed at a mining zone close to Tierra Amarilla town, in Copiapo, Chile, Aug. 7, 2022. PHOTO BY JOHAN GODOY /REUTERS
SANTIAGO — Chile’s environmental regulator announced on Thursday four charges against Canadian-owned Lundin copper mine for a sinkhole that appeared at the site of one of its mines the north of the country in late July.


The country’s SMA environmental regulator said the main infractions were overextraction and construction outside of environmentally approved zones.


Emanuel Ibarra, the SMA superintendent, said in a statement that the regional office’s investigation linked the sinkhole on the mine’s property to ore overextraction.

“In addition, when the event occurred, large amounts of water began to leak into the mine from places where the company intervened beyond what was considered in the environmental assessment,” Ibarra said.

The company could be fined the equivalent of more than $13 million, as well as face closure or have its environmental permit revoked.

In a statement, the company said it was analyzing the regulator’s decision and has been collecting data on the sinkhole’s causes.


A sinkhole is exposed at a mining zone close to Tierra Amarilla town, in Copiapo, Chile, Aug. 7, 2022.
A sinkhole is exposed at a mining zone close to Tierra Amarilla town, in Copiapo, Chile, Aug. 7, 2022. PHOTO BY JOHAN GODOY /REUTERS
“The company is convinced, based on the data collected and analyzed to date, that multiple factors influenced the formation of the sinkhole in the terrain of our site,” the statement said. “With mining being a relevant activity.”

In addition the company said it had “acted responsibly and decisively to mitigate the possible effects of the sinkhole” and it was awaiting the final report from authorities.

Canada’s Lundin Mining Corp owns 80% of the property, while the remaining 20% is held by Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining and Sumitomo Corp.

Mining Minister Marcela Hernando told journalists that the ministry is talking with the company about possibly resuming operations in unaffected parts of the mine since the affected area will “be completely closed.”


“We have been looking at which parts of the mine can start operating as soon as possible because we are interested in giving the labor sector and contracting companies peace of mind,” Hernando said.

In mid-August, the SMA ordered “urgent and transitory” measures while investigating the causes of the 36.5-metre-diameter (120-foot-diameter) hole in Tierra Amarilla, some 665 km north of the capital.

The alleged overextraction was labeled as a “serious” infraction while modified mining infrastructure that could cause “irreparable environmental damage” to an aquifer was labeled “Very serious.”

The two minor charges were related to infractions in transporting minerals.
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holey fuck! 🕳️ :eek: ;)
 

spaminator

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Keep watch for invasive hammerhead worms, gardeners!
Author of the article:Jane Stevenson
Publishing date:Oct 18, 2022 • 10 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
Worming their way to Ontario, the invasive hammerhead worm should be killed on sight.
An image of a hammerhead worm that was posted on Twitter. In a Sept. 25, 2019 post, user @RudkinDave said he found one in his Ontario garden. PHOTO BY TWITTER.COM/RUDKINDAVE/STATUS/1176954072068501506 /Toronto Sun
Worming their way to Ontario, the invasive hammerhead worm should be killed on sight.

They eat defenceless earthworms, which help keep soil healthy.


Rebecca Morton, of Toronto’s Armour Pest Control, told BlogTO that while still uncommon, “they have been spotted in gardens through the GTA over the past few years.

“Whenever we have an invasion of insects that are non-native to our environment, we worry mostly about how it will affect the natural habitat,” added Morton. “The biggest threat these snake-like insects pose is to earthworms, which are their preferred food source. Earthworms are integral in maintaining our soil health and biodiversity.”



The hammerhead worms can be identified by their hammer-shaped heads and reddish stripes. Those which have turned up in Ontario also contain tetrodotoxin, a neurotoxin found in the pufferfish.

Morton says the neurotoxin “can irritate human skin if touched and make pets sick if ingested.”

“If seen, it’s critical to catch them without contacting bare skin and killing them with salt, vinegar, or neem oil,” Morton said. “Then disposing of them in a sealed container.”

 

spaminator

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The next invasive garden threat? A slithering, jumping worm
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Jessica Damiano
Publishing date:Oct 18, 2022 • 16 hours ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation
An Asian jumping worm is pictured in this photo provided by the Invasive Species Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
An Asian jumping worm is pictured in this photo provided by the Invasive Species Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. PHOTO BY MICHAEL MCTAVISH /Invasive Species Centre
Just when you think you’ve become accustomed to the spotted lanternfly invasion, along comes another menace to the ecosystem: the Asian jumping worm.


Allow me to introduce you to Amynthas agrestis, also known as “Alabama jumper,” “Jersey wriggler” and the rude-but-accurate “crazy worm.” Unlike garden-variety earthworms, these flipping, thrashing, invasive miscreants are ravenous consumers of humus, the rich, organic, essential top layer of soil formed by dead and decaying small animals, insects and leaf litter in places like forests, plant nurseries and your garden.


Plants, fungi and other soil life cannot survive without humus, and “Asian jumping worms can eat all of it,” Sarah Farmer of the U.S. Forest Service wrote in a USDA Southern Research Center blog post published in May.

A decline in humus would also threaten birds and other wildlife that depend on soil-dwelling insects for food.


The insatiable invertebrates, native to east-central Asia, are believed to have been introduced to the United States in the late 1800s, likely as hitchhikers in potted plants. But their existence went largely unnoticed — or perhaps underreported — until the past decade, when ecologists flagged them as problematic, according to Dr. Timothy McCay, a biology and environmental studies professor at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.

Since then, the worms’ presence has been confirmed in 35 states across the country.

Although their annual life cycle ends in winter, Asian jumping worm cocoons survive to spawn a new generation in spring. Their tiny eggs are nearly impossible to notice in soil or mulch, but adult worms, which range from 3 to 8 inches long, are easy to spot close to the soil surface and can often be seen moving under mulch or leaf litter, McCay said.


As they devour their way through the soil, the worms leave two things behind: cocoons and castings. The cocoons are tiny and soil-colored, so they are easy to miss. However, the castings, or excrement, have a granular, coffee-ground texture that will alert you to their presence.

The glossy worms can be either gray or brown, with a smooth cream or white collar that wraps entirely around part of their bodies. When touched, they thrash from side to side, jump, and may even slither back and forth like a snake. That behavior, coupled with their ability to reproduce rapidly without a mate, gives them an advantage over predators, McCay said.

“Robins and other birds, shrews, garter snakes, and amphibians like toads may not be able to effectively suppress their populations,” he said.


McCay, whose research focuses on understanding how the worms invade intact forests, and their effect on forest biodiversity, cautions that “gardeners should do what they can to avoid spreading jumping worms to new areas.” Because the worms typically move into forests from nearby gardens, he said, control in home and community gardens is necessary to slow their invasion into natural habitats.

So during this season of plant dividing and swapping, gardeners must be vigilant. Keep an eye out for the worms’ castings, a tell-tale sign of their presence. Inspect the soil clinging to plant roots and in the ground surrounding them. In addition, McCay advises, do not dispose of waste from infected gardens into nearby forests, and share only plants that have been repotted after their roots have been cleaned of clinging soil.

Unfortunately, there are no good control measures available for established populations of jumping worms. But McCay said picking them out by hand and dropping them into containers of vinegar will reduce their numbers. He knows of one gardener in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, who removed 51,000 worms that way in 2021.
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spaminator

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Toronto ranks No. 1 in Orkin Canada's top 10 list of 'rattiest' cities
Author of the article:Jane Stevenson
Publishing date:Oct 19, 2022 • 10 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
Toronto is the No. 1 rattiest city in Canada, according to Orkin Canada’s national annual list, with T.O. coming in ahead of Vancouver at No. 2.
Toronto is the No. 1 rattiest city in Canada, according to Orkin Canada’s national annual list, with T.O. coming in ahead of Vancouver at No. 2. PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES /iStock
Oh, rats!

Toronto is the No. 1 rattiest city in Canada, according to Orkin Canada’s national annual list, with T.O. coming in ahead of Vancouver at No. 2.


The only other Ontario city that made the top 10 list is Mississauga at No. 5.

Interestingly, B.C. had five of the 10-top cities, rounded out by Burnaby (3), Kelowna (4), Victoria (7) and Richmond (8).

The pest control company says the pandemic lockdowns saw rodents moving to residential neighbourhoods in 2021 looking for food.

It also says with Canadian cities in 2022 on the business rebound, food is now readily available for rats and mice again in urban settings.

“With more available food, there will be exponential population growth,” said Alice Sinia, Ph.D. entomologist with Orkin Canada, in a statement.

“Food availability favours population growth since there will be less competition for food, which also will result in high reproductive potential, high survival and healthy thriving populations.”


Orkin Canada experts also say with food more present in commercial areas, some of the aggressive behaviour exhibited by rat and mice during the lockdowns, such as cannibalism, “street fights” and territorialism, will likely decrease.

However, with rat population growth, there will also be an increase in sightings.

Just this week, New York City moved to limit the number of hours residential and commercial trash can sit on the curb before it’s picked up due to the city becoming an “all-night, all-you-can-eat rat buffet,” reported CNN.

It the first time since the late ‘60s, the trash take-out rules have been changed in NYC.

Orkin’s annual ranking of U.S. cities, based on the number of new rodent treatments from Sept. 1, 2021 to Aug. 31, 2022, saw Chicago take first place, followed by New York and then Los Angeles.

Here are the top 10 Canadian city rankings based on the number of commercial and residential rodent (rats and mice) treatments Orkin Canada did between Aug. 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022.
1. Toronto
2. Vancouver
3. Burnaby
4. Kelowna
5. Mississauga
6. Calgary (mice only)
7. Victoria
8. Richmond
9. Edmonton (mice only)
10. St. John’s
 

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
32,361
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113
Toronto ranks No. 1 in Orkin Canada's top 10 list of 'rattiest' cities
Author of the article:Jane Stevenson
Publishing date:Oct 19, 2022 • 10 hours ago • 2 minute read • Join the conversation
Toronto is the No. 1 rattiest city in Canada, according to Orkin Canada’s national annual list, with T.O. coming in ahead of Vancouver at No. 2.
Toronto is the No. 1 rattiest city in Canada, according to Orkin Canada’s national annual list, with T.O. coming in ahead of Vancouver at No. 2. PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES /iStock
Oh, rats!

Toronto is the No. 1 rattiest city in Canada, according to Orkin Canada’s national annual list, with T.O. coming in ahead of Vancouver at No. 2.


The only other Ontario city that made the top 10 list is Mississauga at No. 5.

Interestingly, B.C. had five of the 10-top cities, rounded out by Burnaby (3), Kelowna (4), Victoria (7) and Richmond (8).

The pest control company says the pandemic lockdowns saw rodents moving to residential neighbourhoods in 2021 looking for food.

It also says with Canadian cities in 2022 on the business rebound, food is now readily available for rats and mice again in urban settings.

“With more available food, there will be exponential population growth,” said Alice Sinia, Ph.D. entomologist with Orkin Canada, in a statement.

“Food availability favours population growth since there will be less competition for food, which also will result in high reproductive potential, high survival and healthy thriving populations.”


Orkin Canada experts also say with food more present in commercial areas, some of the aggressive behaviour exhibited by rat and mice during the lockdowns, such as cannibalism, “street fights” and territorialism, will likely decrease.

However, with rat population growth, there will also be an increase in sightings.

Just this week, New York City moved to limit the number of hours residential and commercial trash can sit on the curb before it’s picked up due to the city becoming an “all-night, all-you-can-eat rat buffet,” reported CNN.

It the first time since the late ‘60s, the trash take-out rules have been changed in NYC.

Orkin’s annual ranking of U.S. cities, based on the number of new rodent treatments from Sept. 1, 2021 to Aug. 31, 2022, saw Chicago take first place, followed by New York and then Los Angeles.

Here are the top 10 Canadian city rankings based on the number of commercial and residential rodent (rats and mice) treatments Orkin Canada did between Aug. 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022.
1. Toronto
2. Vancouver
3. Burnaby
4. Kelowna
5. Mississauga
6. Calgary (mice only)
7. Victoria
8. Richmond
9. Edmonton (mice only)
10. St. John’s
im surprised mississauga wasnt 2nd and brampton 3rd. 🐀 ;)