Science & Environment

spaminator

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Mauna Loa lava no longer imminent threat to Hawaii highway
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Jennifer Sinco Kelleher
Publishing date:Dec 08, 2022 • 1 day ago • 2 minute read
The Mauna Loa volcano erupts, as seen from Mauna Kea near Hilo, Hawaii, Dec. 6, 2022.
The Mauna Loa volcano erupts, as seen from Mauna Kea near Hilo, Hawaii, Dec. 6, 2022. PHOTO BY LINDSEY WASSON /REUTERS
HONOLULU — Lava from the world’s largest volcano is no longer an imminent threat to the main highway across the Big Island of Hawaii, scientists said Thursday, a development that was a welcome reprieve for motorists who depend on the road.


Mauna Loa was still erupting Thursday morning, but the lava that was feeding the flow heading toward the crucial road has been cut off, likely because of a reduced production rate, said David Phillips, deputy scientist-in-charge at U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.


“That’s good news for us,” Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said. Still, county officials said they will stay on the alert — because scientists say things could always change.

Lava from Mauna Loa, which began erupting Nov. 27 after being quiet for 38 years, was 2.83 kilometres from Saddle Road, also known as Route 200 or Daniel K. Inouye Highway, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

“So just to emphasize, there is no current threat to any island communities or infrastructure at this time,” Phillips said.


Last week, officials said the earliest the lava could hit the road was one week, prompting motorists to brace for upheaval from a possible closure that could add hours to commute times on alternate coastal routes. But, as expected, the lava slowed considerably in recent days as it moved across flatter ground, leaving scientists unable to estimate a clearer timeline.

Phillips said the active fissure is still generating lava flows, but they’ll be localized around the fissure.

If there are additional flows in the channel, it’s very unlikely that supply from the top will push the flow front ahead to become a threat, said Frank Trusdell, a geologist with the volcano observatory.

“So right now, we don’t expect that the new lava coming out on the surface to be able to replenish the supply to the flows that are closest to Daniel K. Inouye Highway,” he said.


Meanwhile, scientists were trying to understand why lava fountains were higher than usual overnight — a marvel noticed by people across the island, Phillips said. There wasn’t a good estimate of size, he said, but the fountains were at least several hundred feet.

Some 20,000 vehicles have used a viewing route, which opened last week in an attempt to manage throngs of nighttime lava-gawkers, officials said.

Authorities were giving citations to people who, in an attempt to get a closer look, ventured onto prohibited areas. The state was “investigating people and companies who have entered the closed area and posted shots of themselves and lava flows on social media,” said a statement Thursday from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Native Hawaiian community members planned to be out along the highway Friday to ensure the area is free from garbage.

“And so as we do when we are preparing for the arrival of Pele, it is a practice for many of us to prepare our homes, prepare the areas where we live, and to make sure that that these areas are clean,” said Hawaiian cultural advisor Noe Noe Wong-Wilson, referring to the deity of volcanoes and fire.

For many Native Hawaiians, an eruption of a volcano like Mauna Loa has a deep yet very personal cultural significance.
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spaminator

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Oldest DNA reveals life in Greenland 2 million years ago
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Maddie Burakoff
Publishing date:Dec 08, 2022 • 1 day ago • 3 minute read
This 2006 photo provided by researchers shows a close-up of organic material in coastal deposits at Kap Kobenhavn, Greenland. The organic layers show traces of the rich plant flora and insect fauna that lived two million years ago.
This 2006 photo provided by researchers shows a close-up of organic material in coastal deposits at Kap Kobenhavn, Greenland. The organic layers show traces of the rich plant flora and insect fauna that lived two million years ago. PHOTO BY SVEND FUNDER /via AP
NEW YORK — Scientists discovered the oldest known DNA and used it to reveal what life was like 2 million years ago in the northern tip of Greenland. Today, it’s a barren Arctic desert, but back then it was a lush landscape of trees and vegetation with an array of animals, even the now extinct mastodon.


“The study opens the door into a past that has basically been lost,” said lead author Kurt Kjaer, a geologist and glacier expert at the University of Copenhagen.


With animal fossils hard to come by, the researchers extracted environmental DNA, also known as eDNA, from soil samples. This is the genetic material that organisms shed into their surroundings — for example, through hair, waste, spit or decomposing carcasses.

Studying really old DNA can be a challenge because the genetic material breaks down over time, leaving scientists with only tiny fragments.

But with the latest technology, researchers were able to get genetic information out of the small, damaged bits of DNA, explained senior author Eske Willerslev, a geneticist at the University of Cambridge. In their study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, they compared the DNA to that of different species, looking for matches.


The samples came from a sediment deposit called the Kap Kobenhavn formation in Peary Land. Today, the area is a polar desert, Kjaer said.

This illustration provided by researchers depicts Kap Kobenhavn, Greenland, two million years ago, when the temperature was significantly warmer than northernmost Greenland today.
This illustration provided by researchers depicts Kap Kobenhavn, Greenland, two million years ago, when the temperature was significantly warmer than northernmost Greenland today. PHOTO BY BETH ZAIKEN /via AP
But millions of years ago, this region was undergoing a period of intense climate change that sent temperatures up, Willerslev said. Sediment likely built up for tens of thousands of years at the site before the climate cooled and cemented the finds into permafrost.

The cold environment would help preserve the delicate bits of DNA — until scientists came along and drilled the samples out, beginning in 2006.

During the region’s warm period, when average temperatures were 20 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit (11 to 19 degrees Celsius) higher than today, the area was filled with an unusual array of plant and animal life, the researchers reported. The DNA fragments suggest a mix of Arctic plants, like birch trees and willow shrubs, with ones that usually prefer warmer climates, like firs and cedars.


The DNA also showed traces of animals including geese, hares, reindeer and lemmings. Previously, a dung beetle and some hare remains had been the only signs of animal life at the site, Willerslev said.

One big surprise was finding DNA from the mastodon, an extinct species that looks like a mix between an elephant and a mammoth, Kjaer said.

Many mastodon fossils have previously been found from temperate forests in North America. That’s an ocean away from Greenland, and much farther south, Willerslev said.

“I wouldn’t have, in a million years, expected to find mastodons in northern Greenland,” said Love Dalen, a researcher in evolutionary genomics at Stockholm University who was not involved in the study.

Because the sediment built up in the mouth of a fjord, researchers were also able to get clues about marine life from this time period. The DNA suggests horseshoe crabs and green algae lived in the area — meaning the nearby waters were likely much warmer back then, Kjaer said.


By pulling dozens of species out of just a few sediment samples, the study highlights some of eDNA’s advantages, said Benjamin Vernot, an ancient DNA researcher at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology who was not involved in the study.

“You really get a broader picture of the ecosystem at a particular time,” Vernot said. “You don’t have to go and find this piece of wood to study this plant, and this bone to study this mammoth.”

Based on the data available, it’s hard to say for sure whether these species truly lived side by side, or if the DNA was mixed together from different parts of the landscape, said Laura Epp, an eDNA expert at Germany’s University of Konstanz who was not involved in the study.


But Epp said this kind of DNA research is valuable to show “hidden diversity” in ancient landscapes.

Willerslev believes that because these plants and animals survived during a time of dramatic climate change, their DNA could offer a “genetic roadmap” to help us adapt to current warming.

Stockholm University’s Dalen expects ancient DNA research to keep pushing deeper into the past. He worked on the study that previously held the “oldest DNA” record, from a mammoth tooth around a million years old.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if you can go at least one or perhaps a few million years further back, assuming you can find the right samples,” Dalen said.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
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Ron in Regina

"Voice of the West" Party
Apr 9, 2008
19,107
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Regina, Saskatchewan
Huh…We used wood cutlery this summer.
1670717927847.jpeg
But we’re just commoners.
However, there will be some exceptions to the bag ban, such as prescription bags, take-out food bags, bags for bulk items, tire bags, produce bags and bags for live fish, flower or potted plants.

Paper bags for live fish? Really?

The move comes a year after Yukon’s ban on single-use plastic bags, which has been in effect since Jan. 1, 2022.

The Yukon government says this latest ban is meant to help protect the environment and reduce waste as production and transportation of single-use products is resource-intensive and creates emissions.
“We have recently switched to drinking water bottles out of … water out of, when we have water bottles, out of a plastic, sorry, away from plastic towards paper, like drink box water bottles, sort of thing.”
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The government says, based on 2019 data, that 15.5 billion plastic grocery bags a year were being sold in Canada, 5.8 billion straws, 4.5 billion pieces of cutlery, three billion stir sticks, 805 million takeout containers and 183 million six-pack rings.
1670716320695.jpeg

The six categories of single use plastics subject to the ban account for an estimated 160,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually, just 5% of the overall amount of 3.3 million tonnes of plastic waste.
1670717721394.jpeg

Of that, 86% ends up in landfills, 4% is burned, a dismal 9% is recycled — so much for all those years of faithful blue box recycling — and about 1%, or 29,000 tonnes, is discharged into the environment as litter, with 2,500 tonnes ending up in oceans, lakes and rivers.


Since only about 1% of Canada’s physical plastic waste escapes into the environment, Canada is not a major contributor to the global problem of plastics pollution in the world’s oceans, rivers and other waterways.
1670716790526.jpeg

“Canada’s contribution to global aquatic plastic pollution, when assessed in 2016, was between 0.02% and 0.03% of the global total. If observed market trends were to continue in the absence of ZPW2030 (zero plastic waste by 2030) the government’s regulatory impact assessment estimates plastic waste and plastic pollution could increase (from 2016 levels) by roughly one third by 2030.
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“Thus, if ZPW2030 eliminated all the predicted increase, it would prevent an increase from 0.02%-0.03% to 0.023%-0.033% of the global total, an undetectable reduction of three-thousandths of one percent.”
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The rest at the above Link.
 
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Gilgamesh

Council Member
Nov 15, 2014
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The machine behind the 'God particle' is on the hunt for dark matter
Pranshu Verma, The Washington Post
Publishing date: Jul 08, 2022
--------
Inside the collider, superconducting magnets are chilled
to roughly minues-456 degrees Fahrenheit – colder than space –
----------
-------
1 - Without a perfect vacuum, the LHC is useless machine.
2 - The vacuum of the LHC is a copy of the cosmic vacuum.
3 - The Cosmic Vacuum is an infinite/eternal energy structure filled
with infinite kinds of quantum particles and CERN will never reach
the Energy of the Infinite Cosmic Vacuum, so the work of CERN
is the work of Sisyphus.
4 - Cosmic vacuum is the source of everything.
--------
 

spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
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Canada's ban on manufacture, import for sale of some plastic items takes effect
In a year, it will also be illegal to sell them

Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Published Dec 20, 2022 • 1 minute read

OTTAWA — Canada’s ban on the manufacture and import for sale of some plastic items, including grocery bags and straws, has taken effect.


As of Tuesday, companies can no longer produce or bring into Canada plastic checkout bags, cutlery, stir sticks, straws and takeout containers — and in a year, it will also be illegal to sell them.


The manufacturing and import ban will extend to the plastic rings used to package six-packs of canned drinks next June and their sale will be prohibited a year after that.

The federal government estimates that getting rid of the single-use plastics will eliminate 1.3 million tonnes of difficult-to-recycle plastic waste and a million garbage bags’ worth of pollution.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised in 2019 that a ban would take effect by 2021, but it took the government a year longer to figure out a regulatory framework to make it happen.

Statistics published last month suggested that Canadians were already cutting back on using items such as straws and plastic bags ahead of the national ban.
 

Taxslave2

Council Member
Aug 13, 2022
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I recently bought a box of sandwich baggies at CO OP. Same baggies as before, but the box clearly said reusable sandwich bags.
 
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Taxslave2

Council Member
Aug 13, 2022
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Much todo about the new single use plastics ban and the stupid criteria. Apparently, to be cost effective those cotton bags we are told are better for the environment need to be used 100-150 times. They cannot be returned to the store for reuse, so all the bags used for home deliveries are garbage. Spoons are now made from trees. So much for saving the planet. The only single use plastic that is still allowed is the most useless one of all. The 6 pak holder.
 
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spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
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Tim Hortons set to introduce wooden and fibre cutlery
Author of the article:postmedia News
Published Dec 21, 2022 • 1 minute read
Tim Hortons is set to introduce wooden and fibre cutlery
Tim Hortons is set to introduce wooden and fibre cutlery PHOTO BY HANDOUT /Tim Hortons
Tim Hortons is set to introduce wooden and fibre cutlery in the new year — a move they say will eliminate an estimated 90 million single-use plastics a year.

The wooden cutlery and fibre spoon are both compostable.

In another move to reduce the use of single-use plastics, plastic lids on Loaded Bowls are also being replaced with fibre lids, Tim Hortons said in a release.

And beginning in early 2023, Tim Hortons restaurants will shift to a new breakfast and lunch wrapper with an efficient design that uses 75% less material than the prior wrap box, which is estimated to save more than 1,400 tonnes of material a year, Tim Hortons added.

Tim Hortons is also now trialing a fibre hot beverage lid that is plastic-free and recyclable. The goal of the trial, which will run for approximately twelve weeks in Vancouver, is to develop products that are alternatives to plastic and easier to recycle and repurpose while still offering a great guest experience.

“Through our sustainability platform Tims for Good, we’re always looking for ways, big and small, to make thoughtful choices on material and design in order to reduce and eliminate packaging and contribute to more sustainable innovation,” Paul Yang, senior director of procurement, sustainability and packaging at Tim Hortons, said in the release.

Tim Hortons restaurants will also eliminate the use of all single-use plastic bags and will begin offering guests reusable bags for purchase starting in January.


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spaminator

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Oct 26, 2009
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Dining dinosaur fossil has mammal in belly, sheds light on ancient ecosystems
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Published Dec 21, 2022 • 1 minute read
A mammal's foot is seen inside the belly of a fossil of a crow-sized, birdlike dinosaur in an undated handout photo. University of Alberta paleontologist Corwin Sullivan says the fossil is an exceedingly rare glimpse into not only how these ancient animals looked, but into how they behaved and what their environment was like.
A mammal's foot is seen inside the belly of a fossil of a crow-sized, birdlike dinosaur in an undated handout photo. University of Alberta paleontologist Corwin Sullivan says the fossil is an exceedingly rare glimpse into not only how these ancient animals looked, but into how they behaved and what their environment was like. PHOTO BY UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, ALEX DECECCI /THE CANADIAN PRESS
EDMONTON — A rare fossil revealing a dinosaur’s last meal is shedding new light on ancient ecosystems and behaviours.

University of Alberta paleontologist Corwin Sullivan says the fossil of a crow-sized, birdlike dinosaur he describes in a new paper has a mammal’s foot in its belly.


Microraptor Zhaoianus lived about 120 million years ago and is known to have eaten fish and other lizards.

But this is one of only a few fossils that show the dinosaur preyed on the small mammals of the time as well.

Sullivan says the fossil is an exceedingly rare glimpse into how these ancient animals looked.

But it’s also helping researchers understand how they behaved and what their environment was like.


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spaminator

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What is a 'bomb cyclone,' anyway?
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Scott Dance and Matthew Cappucci, The Washington Post
Published Dec 21, 2022 • 3 minute read

The frigid and stormy weather system delivering subzero wind chills and blizzard conditions to parts of the United States this week is forecast to strengthen so quickly, it earns an ominous meteorological distinction: “Bomb cyclone.”


If that sounds menacing, it’s because it is supposed to be: The term was designed to convey a degree of intensity and danger that is typically associated with hurricanes, but that even winter storms can carry.


Here is what it means, and what it could mean for the millions of people in the storm’s path.

What is a bomb cyclone?
The definition is clear-cut and technical: A bomb cyclone is a mid-latitude storm whose central air pressure falls at a rate of one millibar per hour for at least 24 hours.

Normal air pressure is about 1010 millibars, a measurement of the force exerted by the weight of the atmosphere. But in stormy weather, air pressure drops well below that – the lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.

The pressure of the storm system sweeping across the country this week is forecast to fall from 1003 millibars Thursday night to 968 millibars Friday night, a drop of 35 millibars. That is more than enough to qualify as what meteorologists call “explosive bombogenesis,” a rapid intensification that warrants the bomb cyclone label.


How do bomb cyclones form?
As with any storm, they develop when drastically different air masses clash – typically, cold and dry air moving down from the north and warm, moist air rising up from the tropics. The warmer air rapidly rises, creating cloud systems, lowering air pressure and developing into a storm system that circulates counterclockwise around that center of low pressure.

Rapid storm strengthening is a signal that increasing amounts of warm air are being drawn into a storm’s circulation, spiraling toward its center, and rising out its top. When more air escapes out the top of the storm than is being sucked inward, air pressure drops even further.

The differences in air temperatures that feed this process can be especially pronounced when a polar air mass is as cold as the one surging into North America. Air temperatures were dropping to more than 30 degrees below zero in Montana on Wednesday.


How strong is a bomb cyclone?
Bomb cyclones, often occurring in the fall or winter, typically produce heavy rain or snow, coastal flooding and hurricane-force wind gusts.

For example, one that hit New England earlier this year dumped as much as 2 feet of snow; another that hit the Pacific Northwest in 2019 produced a 106 mph wind gust.

Is bomb cyclone a new term?
The term bomb cyclone was coined in a 1980 research paper by MIT meteorologists Frederick Sanders and John R. Gyakum, though the storms existed long before that. Gyakum told The Post in 2018 that it was born out of a need to better communicate the intensity of storms even outside of summertime and hurricane season.

“Given their explosive development, it was an easy path to take to just call these systems ‘bombs,'” Gyakum said.

He said that while some winter storms had similar intensity to hurricanes, many people would assume severe storm risks passed with the end of hurricane season in the fall. “Our goal was to help raise awareness that damaging ocean storms don’t just happen during the summer,” said Gyakum, now a professor of atmospheric science at McGill University in Montreal.
 

spaminator

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Oct 26, 2009
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New study finds red food dye can cause IBS
Author of the article:Kevin Connor
Published Dec 22, 2022 • 1 minute read

Red 40 food dye in food can cause bowel disease, a new study reports.


The study published in the journal Nature Communications says red dye in food can increase the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, the New York Post reports.


The additive, denoted as Red 40 or Allura red on ingredients label, is in popular snacks and drinks, including Skittles, Doritos and Pepsi, as well as some cosmetics.

“What we have found is striking and alarming, as this common synthetic food dye is a possible dietary trigger for IBDs,” McMaster University researcher Waliul Khan, the study’s senior author, said in a statement.

“This research is a significant advance in alerting the public on the potential harms of food dyes that we consume daily.”

An Ontario team studied a group of mice fed high doses of Red 40 for 12 weeks.


They analyzed markers of common synthetic colorants in neuroendocrine intestinal cells, which play a roll in symptoms of gut inflammation, including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, dehydration and bloody stool.

Researchers found mice that consumed the largest amounts of Red 40 showed increased levels of serotonin, which regulates gut muscle movements.

A human would need to consume a higher-than-recommended amount of the dye in order to produce the same results reported in the mice.

Researchers say the biological imbalance caused by Red 40 could make the body more susceptible to illness.

“These findings have important implications in the prevention and management of gut inflammation, The literature suggests that the consumption of Allura Red also affects certain allergies, immune disorders and behavioral problems in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,” Khan said.
 

The_Foxer

House Member
Aug 9, 2022
2,868
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New study finds red food dye can cause IBS
Author of the article:Kevin Connor
Published Dec 22, 2022 • 1 minute read

Red 40 food dye in food can cause bowel disease, a new study reports.


The study published in the journal Nature Communications says red dye in food can increase the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, the New York Post reports.


The additive, denoted as Red 40 or Allura red on ingredients label, is in popular snacks and drinks, including Skittles, Doritos and Pepsi, as well as some cosmetics.

“What we have found is striking and alarming, as this common synthetic food dye is a possible dietary trigger for IBDs,” McMaster University researcher Waliul Khan, the study’s senior author, said in a statement.

“This research is a significant advance in alerting the public on the potential harms of food dyes that we consume daily.”

An Ontario team studied a group of mice fed high doses of Red 40 for 12 weeks.


They analyzed markers of common synthetic colorants in neuroendocrine intestinal cells, which play a roll in symptoms of gut inflammation, including abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, dehydration and bloody stool.

Researchers found mice that consumed the largest amounts of Red 40 showed increased levels of serotonin, which regulates gut muscle movements.

A human would need to consume a higher-than-recommended amount of the dye in order to produce the same results reported in the mice.

Researchers say the biological imbalance caused by Red 40 could make the body more susceptible to illness.

“These findings have important implications in the prevention and management of gut inflammation, The literature suggests that the consumption of Allura Red also affects certain allergies, immune disorders and behavioral problems in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,” Khan said.
I remember when they banned red food dye (i think it was 72???) many years ago because it was found to cause cancer in rats. Which was hilarious because they had to remove it from rat poison as well.

Basically don't eat red food.
 
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petros

The Central Scrutinizer
Nov 21, 2008
103,656
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Low Earth Orbit
I remember when they banned red food dye (i think it was 72???) many years ago because it was found to cause cancer in rats. Which was hilarious because they had to remove it from rat poison as well.

Basically don't eat red food.
It was devastating to lose Cap'n Crunchberry for all those years.
 
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spaminator

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 26, 2009
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World population projected at 7.9 billion by New Year's Day
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Dec 29, 2022 • 1 minute read

The world population is projected to be 7.9 billion people on New Year’s Day 2023, with 73.7 million people added since New Year’s Day 2022, the U.S. Census Bureau said Thursday.


That marks a 0.9% increase in the world population over the past year. During January 2023, 4.3 births and two deaths are expected worldwide every second, the Census Bureau said.


The U.S. population on New Year’s Day 2023 is projected to be 334.2 million people, with 1.5 million people added since New Year’s Day 2022, or an increase of just under a half percent.

The U.S. is projected to have a birth every nine seconds and a death every 10 seconds in January 2023. Net international migration is expected to add a person to the U.S. population every 32 seconds. The combination of births, deaths and net international migration increases the U.S. population by a person every 27 seconds, according to the Census Bureau.
 

spaminator

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Restaurants debut new takeout ware amid phase-in of single-use plastics ban
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Rosa Saba
Published Jan 02, 2023 • 4 minute read

Customers may notice takeout containers, straws and other items being swapped for greener alternatives in the new year as Canada’s food service industry adjusts to the phase-in of a federal law that aims to eventually remove many single-use plastics from the market altogether.


Some restaurants have already gone through months of trial and error in an effort to find the best alternatives to single-use plastic items.


“We try to stay ahead of the game,” said Paul Bognar, president and chief operating officer of Service Inspired Restaurants, which operates numerous restaurants including Jack Astor’s and Scaddabush.

Though single-use plastics aren’t fully banned yet, he said the company’s restaurants are ready to transition away from plastics early in the new year after months of testing.

After a year-long delay, the first phase of the federal law began on Dec. 20.

The initial phase prohibits the manufacturing and import-for-sale of a range of single-use plastics, including: checkout bags like the ones used in grocery stores; cutlery such as forks, knives and chopsticks; takeout containers made partially or fully from plastic, including styrofoam, carbon black and oxo-degradable plastic; stir sticks; and drinking straws, except to accommodate people who need them. Plastic ring carriers will be banned for manufacture and import-for-sale in June 2023.


December 2023 will see a ban on the sale of all these products, except for ring carriers, which will be banned for sale in June 2024, and in December 2025 a ban on the manufacture, import and export for sale of all these products will come into effect.

That means single-use plastics won’t be completely gone from restaurants, cafes and bars just yet, as many will still be using up their stock. But many companies have already started the transition so they’re prepared once they can no longer buy these products.

For example, Tim Hortons recently announced it’s rolling out new recyclable fibre hot drink lids, compostable cutlery, and breakfast and lunch wrappers in 2023. McDonald’s started removing some single-use plastics from its restaurants in late 2021, including straws, cutlery and stir sticks.


Bognar said Service Inspired Restaurants recently transitioned to bamboo takeout cutlery, and has started asking people whether they want cutlery at all.

But one of the biggest challenges has been finding new takeout containers.

Bognar said they were using recyclable plastic ones, but found that they couldn’t be recycled in all jurisdictions, so the company tried out other options, eventually settling on a waxed cardboard takeout box that is both recyclable and biodegradable.

He had employees and some customers test out different containers, covering the delivery charge in exchange for feedback.

But not all restaurateurs are ready to make the transition ahead of schedule.

Many businesses still have large stockpiles of plastic containers to use up, and may even have extra after the COVID-19 lockdowns.


Buying new containers was the last thing Oyster Boy owner Adam Colquhoun had on his mind heading into the new year as he was dealing with the holiday rush at his Toronto restaurant.

Like many restaurants, he said he has a “basement full” of containers he needs to use up before thinking about what he might permanently replace them with, though he said his co-owner did source some compostable containers during the pandemic.

“I’m just ignoring it for now and I’ll look at it sometime in late January when I have time,” Colquhoun said.

Colquhoun is among those who feel as though the single-use plastics ban is a small thing, a band-aid solution of sorts, amid the larger forces causing climate change, and said he feels like small businesses are often the ones paying the price.


There was a lot of enthusiasm for greener options in the food service industry pre-pandemic, said Kelly Higginson, chief operating officer of industry group Restaurants Canada, but more recently it’s become another pressure on businesses.

Restaurateurs can choose from a wide variety of new options made from materials including bamboo, oats, corn, rice and paper, said Higginson.

The switch could increase the cost of some items by up to 125 per cent, she said, adding there are also concerns about supply chains and the quality of the products.

“We want something that is high quality, that is sustainable, that isn’t costing too much. And right now, there are some of those items on the market,” she said. “It’s just a matter of how much and getting your hands on it.”


While the new items are generally more expensive, Bognar is optimistic that as they become more common the prices will drop. Even the supply chain problems are starting to ease, he added.

However, he acknowledged it’s easier for large restaurant groups like Service Inspired Restaurants to source and test new products, while independent restaurants are at a disadvantage.

International companies have a head start on the transition, said Higginson, as some countries and jurisdictions have already made a similar switch.

In the coming months and years, Higginson is hoping for more consistency between levels of government; while the law is federal, there are often different rules on a local level about what is accepted as recyclable, for example.

She also wants to see more education from the government on how consumers should dispose of these items properly.

“That’s been a frustration of our members,” she said.

“They’re being forced to buy these higher-cost items and struggle with some supply chain issues, but then, you know, the consumer isn’t recycling them properly, or isn’t composting them properly.”
 
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spaminator

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Can bionic penis cure erectile dysfunction?
Author of the article:Brad Hunter
Published Jan 05, 2023 • 2 minute read

Chinese scientists have developed a bionic penis that might be the Rx for erectile dysfunction.


About 50% of men between the ages of 40 and 70 deal with some form of erectile dysfunction and researchers now believe they may have an answer.


The artificial tunica albuginea (ATA) could help men remain steadfast during hormone-charged hijinks. Research on pigs revealed that a plastic patch can be used to reinforce tissue that contracts and thus help to keep the penis hard. It also could repair injuries to the area caused by sex, accidents or even gunshot wounds.

“We were still surprised by the results in the animal experiments, where the penis regained normal erection immediately after the use of ATA,” study co-author Dr Xuetao Shi, of the South China University of Technology, told the U.K. Sun.

“The greatest advantage is that it achieves tissue-like functions by mimicking the microstructure of natural tissues.”


He pointed out that around one in 20 men are plagued by Peyronie’s disease, a connective tissue disorder often caused by sexual activity that’s too rigorous.

Shi said that scar tissue forms in the tunica albuginea, triggering pain and other discomforts.

“We noticed that this is an area that has received little attention, yet the related need is huge,” he said. Previously, penis pros focused on fixing the urethra.

Researchers used miniature pigs that had injured penises. They used patches that retrieved the pig’s members from penis purgatory, suggesting it replaced the function of the natural tissue.

When the pig penises were injected with saline, they achieved a normal erection. The animals share similar physical traits with humans.


“The results one month after the procedure showed the ATA group achieved good, though not perfect, repair results,” the doctor said.

“Our work at this stage focuses on the repair of a single tissue in the penis. The next stage will be to consider the repair of the overall penile defect or the construction of an artificial penis from a holistic perspective.”

He added: “This design approach is not limited to the biomimetic design of tunica albuginea tissues but can be extended to many other load-bearing tissues.”

bhunter@postmedia.com

@HunterTOSun


 
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