Archive for the ‘Fink on Friday’ Category

Make you Fink on Friday

Wow! New Year went with a bang… all over the world.

It started in New Zealand with the magnificent display from the Sky Tower.

Sky Tower, Auckland, NZ

New Year celebrations crept around the world for a whole 24 hours.

It finally got to Rio de janeiro, then continued on to the US and Pacific.

Copacabana Beach in Rio has the biggest New Year party in the world, more than 2 million people on 6½kms of beach between Leme and the Copacabana Fort.

They were treated to a magnificent aerial display of fireworks. Twenty-four tons of fireworks produced a display over 16 minutes.

How much carbon dioxide was added to the atmosphere with this frivolity?

I have no idea, but considering that fireworks use gunpowder, I’d hazard a guess at lots.

Copacaban Beach - Pretty, but deadly

Copacabana Beach – Pretty, but deadly

But Rio had about nine (I haven’t checked the actual figure) similar or lesser displays around the city from Niteroi to Sepetiba; along with thousands of neighbourhood displays. My own neighbourhood was blowing tons of gunpowder into the air for longer than the Copacabana display.

And the rest of Brazil, all the capital cities had their displays, and undoubtedly minor cities in each of the 26 states and Federal District also had their displays.

Now the amount of carbon dioxide is mounting up.

How much more CO2 did the rest of the world add?

NZ, Sydney, Hong Kong, Japan, all over Europe, Britain, USA and the Americas, totalled, that’s a hell of a lot of gunpowder.

Isn’t it high time that events like this that produce CO2 and other pollutants were banned?

Are we taking this issue too lightly?

Cities that used LED and projected light displays are to be congratulated, even if they used this form for the wrong reasons.

Maybe the rest of the world should follow suit; and go electronic with music instead of the traditional need for BIG BANGS.

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Make you Fink on Friday

Volume of world’s oldest water estimated

The researchers dated some of the deep water to between one and 2.5bn years old

The world’s oldest water, which is locked deep within the Earth’s crust, is present at a far greater volume than was thought, scientists report.

The liquid, some of which is billions of years old, is found many kilometres beneath the ground.

Researchers estimate there is about 11m cubic kilometres (2.5m cu miles) of it – more water than all the world’s rivers, swamps and lakes put together.

The study was presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

It has also been published in the journal Nature.

The team found that the water was reacting with the rock to release hydrogen: a potential food source.

It means that great swathes of the deep crust could be harbouring life.

‘Sleeping giant’

Prof Barbara Sherwood Lollar, from the University of Toronto, in Canada, said: “This is a vast quantity of rock that we’ve sometimes overlooked both in terms of its ability to tell us about past processes – the rocks are so ancient they contain records of fluid and the atmosphere from the earliest parts of Earth’s history.

“But simultaneously, they also provide us with information about the chemistry that can support life.

“And that’s why we refer to it as ‘the sleeping giant’ that has been rumbling away but hasn’t really been characterised until this point.”

The crust that forms the continents contains some of the oldest rocks on our planet.

But as scientists probe ever deeper – through boreholes and mines – they’re discovering water that is almost as ancient.

The oldest water, discovered 2.4km down in a deep mine in Canada, has been dated to between one billion and 2.5bn years old.

Source: BBCNews Read more

Comment:

Now all we have to do is find a way to pollute it…

Make you Fink on Friday

In the past few posts I have alluded to too much talk and not enough action.

Today, I offer proof.

Lima climate talks agree on just one paragraph of deal with 24 hours left

As crucial UN climate summit in Peru enters final hours, negotiators have made little progress on draft text

‘We have seen the laggards throwing in language of all kinds into the negotiating document,’ said Tony de Brum, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands. Photograph: IISD

Negotiators working on a deal to fight climate change have agreed on just a single paragraph of text, casting a shadow over the prospects for a strong outcome in Lima.

The talks – scheduled to end at noon local time on Friday after 10 full days – are intended to provide a clear blueprint for a global agreement to fight climate change by the end of next year.

But while negotiators descended on Lima in a positive mood, buoyed by recent commitments from the US and China, the talks have fallen into a rut.

“We are going backwards,” said Alden Meyer, who monitors the climate negotiations for the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Those at the talks still have every expectation that Lima will produce some kind of agreement by Friday evening, or more likely early Saturday morning – but the paralysis is in stark contrast to the upbeat backdrop to the summit’s opening.

“I am not really sure that we will see a clear outcome coming here in Lima,” said the former Mexican president, Felipe Calderón, who addressed the meeting.

By Thursday morning the text, which had started at a reasonable six pages, had ballooned to about 50, with negotiators throwing in their objections to almost every single clause. Just one section, paragraph 34, on countries intensifying engagement in the years up to 2020, has been agreed by negotiators.

Source: TheGuardian Read more

Opinion:

One paragraph approved from 50 pages…

That’s pretty dismal.

And, just goes to show that there’s not really a lot of interest in doing anything.

Ten days of negotiations and that’s the best they can do; one lousy paragraph that doesn’t mean anything until 2020.

For pity’s sake, wake up!

Before it’s too late… if it isn’t already.

Make you Fink on Friday

This one flies in the face of everything we are taught…

Reblooged from: The Zeit

4 Healthy Reasons You Should Start Smoking or Start Smoking More

Health Benefits of Smoking

Smoking has been getting a bad rap for decades now and for good reason. Smoking is the “Lucifer” of health-hazardous habits. Or is it? I mean have you tried researching the issue yourself? What about the health benefits of smoking that no one is mentioning?

Let’s check out some of the many healthy returns of smoking:

1 Smoking Lowers Risk of Knee and Hip-replacement Surgery

Health benefits of smoking

A study conducted by the University of Adelaide in Australia has revealed that “Long-term male smokers are less likely to require hip and knee replacements in their old age”.

Wow! You know how people say that smoking is expensive? Well if you ever had your knee or hip replaced you know how expensive THAT is. So if you haven’t been smoking enough because you are worried about the money you are throwing away, just tell yourself “I am investing in my future for a healthier hip and knees and saving money on surgery.”

2 Smoking Protects You from Parkinson’s disease

Health benefits of smoking

Jack: Hmm, do you know how smoking protects you from Parkinson’s disease?

Mike: Duh! It kills you before you get the chance to develop Parkinson’s.

OK that was not the greatest joke. If you laughed let me know in the comments below please. Meanwhile I’m not quitting my day job.

According to a journal published on neurology.com with the title “Smoking duration, intensity, and risk of Parkinson disease”, the longer you smoked in years, the more you are protected from Parkinson’s disease. So the number of years spent smoking rather than the number of cigarettes you smoke daily is what makes the difference.

3 Smoking Fights Obesity

Health benefits of smoking

Smoking is an appetite suppressant thanks mostly to the nicotine in tobacco smoke. This may sound like some kind of myth fat smokers may be using to enjoy their cigarrete with less guilt.

You would be dead wrong if you thought so because according to a study published in the July 2011 issue of the journal Physiology & Behavior it is inevitable that smokers who quit will gain weight. This is the second biggest barrier in getting people to quit after addiction.

4 Smoking Lowers the Risk of Death

Health benefits of smokin

Smoking can help you live longer; that is if you don’t mind a heart attack or two.

Smokers who have had heart attacks have a lower mortality rate than people like me who don’t smoke.

They also react better to some of the therapies designed to remove plaque from their arteries. Let’s just ignore the fact that it is actually smoking that scars the arteries, allowing fat and plaque to build up in the first place.

Conclusion

I just want to tell my readers that this article demonstrates that there could be benefits to everything we consume out there. However for some things the harm may immensely supersede the benefits. The researches and studies we come across are correct most of the time but the way they are presented or referred to by some sites could be misleading.

I touched on the researches being thrown around on some vegan and vegetarian websites in Vegetarians and Vegans Don’t Live Longer. Although the studies themselves were solid, they were taken out of context to promote certain agendas (although for a noble cause).

As we always say here, be aware in order to make your own choice and don’t follow blindly.

Sources:

https://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/news46881.html

http://www.neurology.org/content/74/11/878

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00319384/104/1

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00028703/150/2

Make you Fink on Friday

China’s New Great Wall Threatens One Quarter of World’s Shorebirds

Human disregard for other species is disgusting.

The following by Richard Conniff.

Every spring, tens of thousands of plump, russet-breasted shorebirds drop down onto the wetlands of China’s Bohai Bay, ravenous after traveling 3,000 miles from Australia.

This Yellow Sea stopover point is crucial for the birds, called red knots, to rest and refuel for the second leg of their journey, which will take them another 2,000 miles up to the Arctic tundra.

Unfortunately for the red knots, the intertidal flats of Bohai Bay are rapidly disappearing, cut off from the ocean by new sea walls and filled in with silt and rock, to create buildable land for development.  In a society now relentlessly focused on short-term profit that seems like a wonderful bargain, and the collateral loss of vast areas of shorebird habitat merely an incidental detail. As a result, China’s seawall mileage has more than tripled over the past two decades, and now covers 60 percent of the mainland coastline. This “new Great Wall” is already longer than the celebrated Great Wall of China, according to an article published Thursday in Science, and it’s just getting bigger every year—with catastrophic consequences for wildlife and people.

Source: GarryRoberts.com Read more

Make you Fink on Friday

Prozac may be harming bird populations, study suggests

Starlings who were fed same levels of antidepressant drug found in sewage earthworms suffered loss of libido and appetite

Starlings tend to flock to feed at sewage works, where they feed on worms with low levels of Prozac from human waste. Photograph: SIGI TISCHLER/EPA

Increasing consumption of antidepressant drugs may be helping humans but damaging the health of the bird population, according to a new study.

An expert who has looked at the effects of passive Prozac-taking on starlings says it has changed not only their feeding habits but also their interest in mating.

Dr Kathryn Arnold, an ecologist from the University of York, said: “Females who’d been on it were not interested in the male birds we introduced them to. They sat in the middle of the cage, not interested at all.”

Arnold’s research, which is investigated on BBC2’s Autumnwatch, took her to sewage works where birds flock to feed.

“They’re a really great place to watch birds because they’re attracted by all the worms and invertebrates that live there,” she told Radio Times.

“I started thinking, ‘What about what’s in the sewage?’ If you or I take a headache pill for instance, a high proportion of it ends up being excreted completely unchanged.”

She measured the level of Prozac present in earthworms living in sewage. It was tiny, around 3-5% of the average human dosage.

She then fed worms containing the same concentration of the drug to 24 captive starlings and monitored their behaviour over six months.

The birds began to display side effects similar to those reported by humans prescribed Prozac.

“The major finding was a loss of appetite. Compared with the control birds who hadn’t had any Prozac, they ate much less and snacked throughout the day. The problem then is that they’re less likely to survive long, dark winter’s nights.”

It was not just food that lost its appeal – the birds’ libido also fell.

However, in one significant area, the starlings’ reaction to the drug did not mimic its effect on the human brain – their mood remained unchanged.

Arnold said: “Antidepressants reduce anxiety in humans but we can’t ask a bird if it’s anxious; we have to measure it in a behavioural way. We present them with an unfamiliar object and see how they react. If a bird is bold, it’ll carry on feeding, even though there’s something strange in its food bowl. But we found no effect on boldness, which is what we’d expected.

“Maybe we were measuring it the wrong way and that wasn’t a particularly stressful task. If we repeated it, we’d use a different method or different novel object. Or it could be that there are enough variations between bird and human brains that Prozac works in a slightly different way.”

Autumnwatch presenter Chris Packham said there may be no simple answer. He said: “This change in behaviour could impact negatively on their ecology. We know for instance we’ve lost 50 million starlings in the UK since the 1960s.

“Pharmaceuticals could play a part. The next stage of the work is to look at wild starlings to check if they also have chemical residue in their bodies.”

Arnold said she was not attacking antidepressants or the waste-disposal industry. “I’m not saying that if you’re depressed, don’t take Prozac. Sewage treatment works are really good sources of food for birds. We’re certainly not saying they should be covered over.

“Science needs to deliver better estimates of the environmental risks posed by pharmaceuticals. The effects we’ve measured so far are quite subtle.

“These aren’t big die-offs but they could have a negative impact on wildlife. We need to find out whether they are. It’s going to get worse so we need to get a handle on it.”

Source: TheGuardian

Opinion:

Once again, an example of whatever man does, has an effect on the natural balance.

Make you Fink on Friday

Mother Nature’s ingenuity knows no bounds.

And man is constantly uspetting the balance.

Carnivores help trees thrive without thorns, study says

Thorns are among the defences available to plants to stop them being eaten by herbivores

The presence of carnivores helps plants without thorny defences thrive, a study of life on the savannah reveals.

Researchers found that species without thorns thrived in areas favoured by carnivores because plant-eating animals deemed it too risky to graze at these sites.

The team added that declining carnivore numbers was likely to have an impact on the links that connect carnivores, herbivores, plants and people.

“Our observations indicate that carnivores, like leopards and wild dogs, shape where herbivores eat,” explained co-author Adam Ford from the University of British Columbia, Canada.

“Plant defences, such as thorns, shape what herbivores eat.”

“Plants have two pathways to success. You either protect yourself from herbivores by growing large thorns, or thrive in areas that are risky to your predators; plant eaters.”

He added that the delicate ecological equilibrium between the animal and plant kingdoms was likely to be disrupted in some regions.

Dr Ford observed: “As human activities continue to reduce populations of predators, herbivores like impala become willing to feed in areas that used to be risky, consuming more preferred vegetation and – ironically – allowing less-preferred thorny plant species to take over.”

A study published earlier this year suggested that three-quarters of the planet’s large carnivores were experiencing declines in their populations.

It added that the majority now only occupied less than half of their historic range, and this contraction could have a wide-reaching and long-lasting impact on ecosystems.

Source: BBCNews Read and see more.

Opinion:

So, with the vast reduction in the number of carnivores does that mean that defenceless plants will take a hammering and the world lose other carbon dioxide consumming areas other than rainforests?

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