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Plastic Bank: Harvesting Waste Plastic to Reduce Poverty Through 3D Re-purpose Center for Social Plastic & Ocean Bound Plastic.

Plastic Bank: Harvesting Waste Plastic to Reduce Poverty Through 3D Re-purpose Center for Social Plastic & Ocean Bound Plastic. | Our World. | Scoop.it

The Plastic Bank is setting up plastic repurposing centers around the world, where there’s an abundance of both waste plastic and poverty. 

We are empowering people to harvest plastics as a currency they can exchange for tools, household items, parts & 3D printing. 

Our mission is to remove plastic waste from the land, oceans and waterways while helping people ascend from poverty and transition into entrepreneurship.

We call harvesting and repurposing plastics like this “Social Plastic”. 

Our goal is to lead the movement towards worldwide demand for the use of Social Plastic in everyday products. The higher the worldwide demand becomes, the higher the reward will be for harvesting Social Plastic. 

Join our social plastic movement to start changing the world through your purchasing power.

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New 'Extreme' Form of Bacteria Found In NASA, ESA Clean Rooms | PlanetSave.

New 'Extreme' Form of Bacteria Found In NASA, ESA Clean Rooms | PlanetSave. | Our World. | Scoop.it

A completely new bacterial life form that appears to inhabit only space agency ‘clean rooms’ has been classified after more than three years of investigation and analysis.

Microbial lifeforms that can survive and even thrive in extreme environments — known as extremophiles — have become the focus of much research in recent years.

Such extreme-adapted lifeforms are found living in some of the planet’s most challenging environments: in the frigid and high saline reservoirs a mile beneath Antarctic glaciers or living in the deep ocean alongside smoking, sulfur-spewing thermal vents. A few, such as the polyextremophile Deinococcus radiodurans, can withstand hundreds or even thousands of times the radiation dose that would kill any larger animal.

But when we think of an extreme environment we tend not to view being completely “clean” or sterile as one such environment. But that’s exactly the kind of environment astronautical engineers must maintain to protect their space crafts from accidentally contaminating other worlds by allowing microbes to hitch-hike into space.

Space programs must maintain extremely clean (i.e., microbe free) environments in the form of clean rooms which are kept “totally” sterile through a strict protocol. Clean room air is constantly filtered. All surfaces in a clean room are repeatedly scrubbed with alcohol and hydrogen peroxide and then heated to high temperatures than microbes can not tolerate. Persons entering a clean room must wear full coverage (except for the eyes) prophylactic clothing and are even subject to a high-pressure ‘air-blasting” before entering to remove any residual bugs or potential bug-harboring substances that might be present on the body.

For this reason as well as the critical importance of preventing accidental contamination of any probed world, the discovery of any microbial life in a clean room is a matter of great concern. And, if such a microorganism were to be both highly adapted to sterile conditions and a previously unknown life form, the concern is magnified.



A Brief History of a New Bug

Our story begins in 2007 in a clean room at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (Florida). There, NASA engineers were busy making final adjustments to the Mars lander Pheonix prior to its launch. And it was there that the first evidence of this unusual microbe surfaced.

Two years later, in May of 2009, European Space Agency (ESA) engineers working at the agency’s South American site were preparing the Herschel Space Telescope prior to launch on-board an Ariane 5 rocket. They began a concerted search for any contamination in or around the site and found traces of what appeared to be a similar microorganism.

The existence of an organism that could survive such sterilization procedures (in an environment devoid of nutrients) naturally becomes a subject of great scientific curiosity. Following the 2009 discovery, Scientists from NASA and ESA teamed up to investigate the highly unusual bacterial life form.

A Brand New ‘Phoenix’ of a Microbe – Found Nowhere Else (So Far)

Designated Tersicoccus phoenicis (‘tersi’ means ‘clean, ‘coccus’ refers to its spherical shape, and ‘phoencis’ refers to both the Mars lander and the indestructible bird of Greek myth), scientists determined that the bacterium was more unusual than they had thought; it was a new genus (a higher category of taxonomic classification) as well as a new species. The new “extreme” microorganism was described in a paper published in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology this past July.

Parag Vaishampayan, a microbiologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (who led the team behind the Kennedy Space Center detection) commented:

“This is the first report of bugs isolated in two different clean rooms, and nowhere else.” [quote source]

Microbiologist analyzing the bug found that it shares less than 95% of it genome with its next closest related bacterium. They also characterized the bacterium’s cell wall as having a “unique molecular composition”. This and other unique properties helped classify the bug as a genuinely new type of bacterium.

Big Questions for a Small Life Form

Other questions remain: scientists do not yet know if T. phoenicis lives only in clean rooms or if it is found elsewhere on Earth but has avoided detection up to this point. Its “extreme” adaptation may be the result of a lack of competition. The new bug may not be able to thrive under normal (high microbe diversity) conditions or environments; it dominates only when all other competing microbial life forms are eliminated. So, it may indeed be present in other nutrient and microbe-rich locales but in such small numbers that it goes undetected.

But there is another question of deep concern here that revolves around the issue of “planetary protection”: Has such a life form survived previous clean missions, such as Mars rover missions, or the Pheonix lander mission, and made its way secretively to another world already?

Read more at http://planetsave.com/2013/11/24/new-extreme-form-of-bacteria-found-in-nasa-esa-clean-rooms/#DmfIvoWeBeMCQMM6.99

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Polluters list points the way to combating climate change - The Guardian (blog)

Polluters list points the way to combating climate change - The Guardian (blog) | Our World. | Scoop.it

And so the smoke clears: just 90 companies produced two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions that have been smothering the planet since the dawn of the industrial revolution. The new research is a landmark because knowing exactly who caused global warming is a big step towards knowing how to stop it.

It is tempting to see the list as a rogues gallery, full of familiar names such as ExxonMobil who have lavishly funded campaigns to deny the role of fossil fuels in climate change. The prospect of legal challenges to extract damages from the titans of the extractive industry looks attractive, particularly as scientists get ever better at attributing extreme weather events to the heat trapped by carbon dioxide.

But the pollution belongs to all of those whose lives have been transformed over the last 250 years by cheap energy. Instead, the value of the work is that it has produced a power list, in every sense.

It is now clearer than ever before that a just few dozen companies and cartels have presided over the mass pollution of our planet, unknowingly for many years but no longer. Energy fuels the world economy and the list shows just how that power has been concentrated in astonishingly few hands. There are few more terrifying threats a government faces than the lights going out or the petrol pumps running dry.

Energy companies are the biggest corporations the world has ever seen and this concentration of immense power makes them the biggest vested interests ever to do battle with the public good.

So, while the past is a foreign country where they did things differently, to paraphrase L P Hartley's opening to his novel of lost innocence, the power list points to a more hopeful future. That is because the list shows that the levers of power that must be shifted to avoid climate meltdown are held by relatively few hands.

You can fit 90 people on one London bus: the current bosses of those energy companies exploiting fossil fuels can be targeted. Appeals to their better natures are unlikely to be successful as their jobs are to maximise the profits of their companies.

But those very profits may turn out to be the most powerful lever of all. The world's governments have pledged to limit climate change to 2C, which means two-thirds of all known fossil fuel reserves must be kept in the ground unburned.

This carbon bubble is starting to be taken seriously by the biggest financial institutions in the world, from Citibank to HSBC to Goldman Sachs. If you think the idea of a carbon bubble is far-fetched consider the fact that in 2012, far from reducing their efforts to develop fossil fuels, the top 200 companies spent $674bn (£441bn) to find and exploit even more.

If those are burned, the planet fries. If they are not, investors are going to lose their shirts.

Combating climate change is the biggest challenge ever faced by humanity. It is nothing less than re-engineering the world economy by taking on its greatest corporations. The new list shows that those vested interests may be great in power but they are small in number.

The smoke-filled rooms where the planet's future will be decided just cleared.

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Tiger shark

Sharks are a surprisingly diverse group of creatures and define them is not as easy as it sounds. Although all are fish, they differ greatly in their body shape, size, habitat, behavior and diet. Many of them look nothing like the animals.

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Dangers of Worldwide Radiation: Handing Over Fukushima Clean-up to ... - Center for Research on Globalization

Dangers of Worldwide Radiation: Handing Over Fukushima Clean-up to ... - Center for Research on Globalization | Our World. | Scoop.it
Dangers of Worldwide Radiation: Handing Over Fukushima Clean-up to ...
Center for Research on Globalization
Global Research, October 11, 2013 ...
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Climate deniers meet Joe Camel: Column - USA TODAY.

Climate deniers meet Joe Camel: Column - USA TODAY. | Our World. | Scoop.it

Half a century ago, the tobacco industry tried to preserve its market by misleading Americans about the scientific validity of research demonstrating that smoking causes cancer. To weaken efforts to fight global warming, the "climate change denial machine," in the words of the Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society, has been using that same strategy. For more than 20 years it has sought to cast doubt on the science that demonstrates that the climate is changing and pollution is to blame.

Why is anyone still paying attention?

The denial lobby is using pseudo-science andcherry-picked data to present the fringe view that global warming is nothing more than what Sen. James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, famously called "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."

Once again it has reprised its tired — and false — arguments to debunk the premier scientific assessment of global warming, produced by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. On Sept. 27, theNobel Peace Prize-winning organization declared with near certainty that human activity is causing the climate to change. The panel's previous assessment, issued in 2007, was only slightly less certain — 90% versus the 95% in the new report. An overwhelming majority of climate scientists endorsed it.

In short, the global warming deniers are as wrong as the smoke-blowers who said in the 1960s that a pack a day was fine. No one seriously argues today that tobacco isn't bad for you — and if they did, no one would listen. But the Marlboro Men of global warming still draw attention as they deny the consensus conclusion that burning fossil fuels in power plants, cars and factories is trapping heat in the atmosphere. They deny that this will raise sea levels, bring more violent storms, and worsen droughts and heat waves. What are they smoking?

Do we have a dog in this fight? Absolutely. We just think the debate should be about fact, not fiction. We are not trying to muzzle those who disagree with us. There will be plenty to disagree about in deciding what actions to take. But it is time to ignore false and misleading statements that mask the source's bias and scam the public.

With the new attention that the I.P.C.C. report brings to the science of global warming, in coming weeks more than a few serious news reporters may be tempted in the name of "balance" to quote the deniers, who have presented increasingly discredited messages: Global warming is not happening. Or if it is, it is not caused by carbon dioxide emissions or other human activity. Or, well, it won't have an impact — we'll be fine.

Who is saying what?


Bob Carter, Heartland Institute: "Currently the planet is cooling." Wrong. The last decade (2000-2009) was the hottest on record; 2010 was the hottest year recorded.Fred Singer, Science and Environmental Policy Project: "Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant." Nope. Acting under U.S. Supreme Court direction, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that CO2 is a pollutant because of the harm it causes.Joseph Bast, Heartland Institute: "Most scientists do not believe human activities threaten to disrupt the Earth's climate." Misleading, to say the least: 97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming.


For those who write about global warming, spreading the pronouncements of fringe "skeptics" doesn't show balance. For those who read about global warming, it equates serious climate science and evaluation of peer-reviewed reports with the declarations of individuals, most lacking academic degrees in climate research, who are often funded by those standing to profit if the United States fails to curb carbon dioxide emissions.

The attention paid to the deniers has real consequences.

For one, it puts pressure on the I.P.C.C. to censor its conclusions.

Climate "skeptics" have vilified the U.N. panel, made up of several hundred of the world's leading climate scientists, subjecting them to "abusive language on blogs, comparisons to the Unabomber, e-mail hacking, and even occasional death threats," Justin Gillis wrote in The New York Times.

"Who could blame the panel if it wound up erring on the side of scientific conservatism," he wrote shortly before the experts issued their report. The clear implication: The criticism could lead the panel to pull its punches when, he wrote, most would want "an unvarnished analysis" of global warming's risks.

More broadly, relying on the deniers to provide "balance" also helps create political pressure that makes it all the more difficult to act against global warming.

It fuels efforts in the House of Representatives to thwart sensible measures to fight climate change. A solid majority of House Republicans denies that global warming is even occurring, pointing to the alleged disagreements among scientists to justify siding with the fossil-fuel industry.

At a minimum, good journalism -- and the readers' right to be fully informed -- requires identifying a source's stake. Is the source an environmentalist or coal or oil spokesperson? Their interests are clear.

But what about those claiming expertise or academic credentials in climate science who are supported by think tanks and front groups funded by oil, coal and others with a financial stake in the debate? The reader deserves to know their potential for bias. Better yet, it's time to toss the denial machine into the bin of discredited ideas. It can keep Joe Camel company.

Dan Becker directed Sierra Club's Global Warming and Energy Program for 18 years before founding the Safe Climate Campaign. James Gerstenzang, who covered the environment for the Los Angeles Times is the campaign's editorial director.

In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors.To read more columns like this, go to theopinion front page or follow us on twitter @USATopinion or Facebook.

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Scalia says atheism 'favors the devil's desires' - CNN (blog)

Scalia says atheism 'favors the devil's desires' - CNN (blog) | Our World. | Scoop.it
Scalia says atheism 'favors the devil's desires'

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

CNN) - As the Supreme Court begins its new term Monday, the devil is not on the docket – but the Evil One apparently is on the mind of Justice Antonin Scalia.

New York magazine has published a fascinating new interview with Scalia in which the outspoken jurist tackled a number of topics. But none seemed to surprise Scalia's interviewer, Jennifer Senior, more than his views on Satan.

The interview was conducted on September 26, the 27th anniversary of Scalia's swearing-in as a justice on the high court. He is one of a record six Catholic justices on the Supreme Court.

After Scalia and Senior discussed heaven and hell (he believes in them; she doesn't), the justice said in a stage whisper, "I even believe in the devil."

"You do?" Senior replied.

"Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, come on, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that," Scalia said.

Senior asked Scalia if he's seen evidence of Satan's work recently.

"You know, it is curious," Scalia answered. "In the Gospels, the devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore. ... It’s because he’s smart."

MORE FROM CNN: How to argue about religion online

Scalia said the Devil has gotten "wilier" and convinced people that he and God don't exist. The justice added that he doesn't think that atheists are Satan's minions, but that disbelief in God "certainly favors the devil's desires."

Senior asked if it's "frightening" to believe in the devil, which seemed to annoy Scalia.

"You’re looking at me as though I’m weird," he answered. "My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, soremoved from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the devil! Most of mankind has believed in the devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the devil."

Scalia, whose son, Paul, is a Catholic priest in Arlington, Virginia, also said Pope Francis is "absolutely" right about the church needing to concentrate more on mercy and outreach than on fighting the culture wars.

MORE FROM CNN: American Catholics agree with Pope Francis on ending culture wars

"But he hasn’t backed off the view of the church on those issues," Scalia said. "He’s just saying, 'Don’t spend all our time talking about that stuff. Talk about Jesus Christ and evangelize.' I think there’s no indication whatever that he’s changing doctrinally."

Finally, Scalia said he has not "softened" his views on homosexuality.

"I still think it’s Catholic teaching that it’s wrong. OK? But I don’t hate the people that engage in it. In my legal opinions, all I’ve said is that I don’t think the Constitution requires the people to adopt one view or the other," Scalia said.

MORE FROM CNN: Church and state, executive power on Supreme Court docket

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Two Scientists Have a Scheme to Run the Planet on Solar Power - Motherboard (blog)

Two Scientists Have a Scheme to Run the Planet on Solar Power - Motherboard (blog) | Our World. | Scoop.it
Two Scientists Have a Scheme to Run the Planet on Solar Power
Motherboard (blog)
"The goal would be by 2025 to deliver solar electricity at scale to the grid at a cost below the cost of fossil fuel.
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Archaeologists in Bolivia find 1,500-year-old treasures | The Raw Story.

Archaeologists in Bolivia find 1,500-year-old treasures | The Raw Story. | Our World. | Scoop.it

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 21:29 EDT


Gold and silver pieces as well as bones and pottery from 1,500 years ago were discovered in Lake Titicaca by underwater archaeologists, a researcher said Tuesday.

“We found 2,000 objects and fragments,” Christophe Delaere, the Belgian co-director of the Huinaimarca Project that unearthed the items, said at a ceremony in La Paz.

President Evo Morales, Bolivia’s minister of culture and diplomats from Belgium were also in attendance.


The expedition began two months ago on the Bolivian side of the lake, which is shared with Peru. Underwater explorations turned up objects from different eras, both Inca era and pre-Inca (1438-1533).

The project unearthed 31 gold fragments, mainly around the Isla del Sol, where legend holds that mythical founders of the Incan empire emerged from the lake’s waters.

Underwater excavations were carried out in other parts of the lake where objects from different dates were found.

“There are ceramics and urns from more than 500 to 800 years ago,” Delaere said.

Elsewhere, 1,500-year-old objects such as stone vessels, incense containers and figures of animals like pumas were found.

Tales about the lake containing underwater citadels and wealth supposedly stashed by indigenous Quechua and Aymara people from Spanish conquistadores have existed for centuries in Bolivia.


In the late 1960s French explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau conducted several expeditions in Lake Titicaca, finding signs of a civilization.

Morales stressed that Bolivia, South America’s poorest nation, is keen to recover its national patrimony on display in countries in Europe and the United States.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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Element Crucial For Life On Earth Probably Came From Mars, New Study Finds | PlanetSave

Element Crucial For Life On Earth Probably Came From Mars, New Study Finds | PlanetSave | Our World. | Scoop.it

Owing to the fact that it is far easier for a chunk of Mars to travel to Earth than the other way around,  it is likely that certain elements necessary to catalyze the formation of biological molecules (like RNA and DNA) came  from our neighboring Red Planet. The vehicle for this interplanetary catalytic “seeding” was most likely a Martian meteor.

That’s according to a team of biochemists led by Steven Benner of The Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology in Florida.

Somewhere around 3.5 half billion years ago, the first biomolecules and then single-celled lifeforms emerged on our watery planet. There was “organic soup” aplenty…but one problem: just adding an energetic spark to this soup of molecules merely turns it into a tarry, sticky slime; supra-molecular forms like enzymes and RNA do not spontaneously self-organize in this mixture. No, what is needed is some type of substance — key metallic elements are ideal — that can serve as the catalysts, to get the whole thing rolling. As it turns out, there is a key element — one crucial for biomolecular formation here on Earth — that was lacking from the primordial Earth-scape but was plentiful on Mars.

In a report presented today at the annual Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Florence, Italy, a team of geochemists (Benner et al) presented compelling evidence that an oxidized form of the metallic element Molybdenum was most likely this crucial, missing catalyst.



In a press statement, Benner elaborated:

“It’s only when molybdenum becomes highly oxidized that it is able to influence how early life formed. This form of molybdenum couldn’t have been available on Earth at the time life first began, because 3 billion years ago, the surface of the Earth had very little oxygen, but Mars did. It’s yet another piece of evidence which makes it more likely life came to Earth on a Martian meteorite, rather than starting on this planet.”

The geochemist team also stated that another metallic element, boron, could also serve this “jump-start” function here on Earth. However, water tends to impede the accumulation of boron (which is found here only in dry land masses) and there’s water aplenty here on Earth. But Mars – a dry planet — is ideal for boron accumulation.

According to Benner et al, all this water would make it extremely difficult for boron to aggregate in sufficient quantities to support the earliest stages of bio-evolution [note: land run-off of the element from flash-flooding river flows to the sea could have provided this resource].

A watery environment (whether a “warm little pond”, a clay-lined tidepool, deep under a glacier, or near a thermal vent on the sea floor) is believed to have been absolutely necessary to support the matrix of Life. As to the possible role for boron and its origin, Benner also stated:

“Analysis of a Martian meteorite recently showed that there was boron on Mars; we now believe that the oxidized form of molybdenum was there, too,” he said

Further, Benner added, water is “corrosive to RNA”, the self-replicating supramolecule that many who theorize about the Origin of Life believe must have preceded the formation of DNA (a more complex molecule). This is known as the RNA World hypothesis (see: Author Comment, below).

Read more at http://planetsave.com/2013/08/28/element-crucial-for-life-on-earth-probably-came-from-mars-new-study-finds/#IKkldqk4vuw3STUt.99

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Science needs to be more dangerous - ScienceAlert.

Science needs to be more dangerous - ScienceAlert. | Our World. | Scoop.it
Science needs to be more dangerous
Some think that such risk management creates conservatism in funding bodies that are more likely to fund safe research with assured outcomes rather than high-risk projects.
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Ebook created by MJGDS 1st grade students about sharks. Student read a book, extracted information to put into her own words, and added several nonfiction text features. Drawings via ExplainEverything app; book using BookCreator app.

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In China, victory for wildlife conservation as citizens persuaded to give up shark fin soup.

In China, victory for wildlife conservation as citizens persuaded to give up shark fin soup. | Our World. | Scoop.it
Campaign leads to plunge in demand for shark fin soup; conservationists hope to also wean Chinese off ivory. (Good news for sharks! Shark fin soup consumption in China is down by 50-70% in the last two years.
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What Oprah gets wrong about atheism - CNN (blog)

What Oprah gets wrong about atheism - CNN (blog) | Our World. | Scoop.it

(CNN) - To some, Oprah Winfrey appears to have an almost godlike status. Her talents are well recognized, and her endorsement can turn almost any product into an overnight bestseller.

This godlike perception is fitting, since in recent years Winfrey’s work has increasingly emphasized spirituality, including programs like her own "Super Soul Sunday."

But what happens when an atheist enters the mix?

A few days ago Winfrey interviewed long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad on Super Soul Sunday. Nyad identified herself as an atheist who experiences awe and wonder at the natural world and humanity.

Nyad, 64, who swam from Cuba to Key West last month, said “I can stand at the beach’s edge with the most devout Christian, Jew, Buddhist, go on down the line, and weep with the beauty of this universe and be moved by all of humanity — all the billions of people who have lived before us, who have loved and hurt.”

Winfrey responded, “Well I don’t call you an atheist then.”

Winfrey went on, “I think if you believe in the awe and the wonder and the mystery then that is what God is… It’s not a bearded guy in the sky.”

Nyad clarified that she doesn’t use the word God because it implies a “presence… a creator or an overseer.”

Winfrey’s response may have been well intended, but it erased Nyad’s atheist identity and suggested something entirely untrue and, to many atheists like me, offensive: that atheists don’t experience awe and wonder.

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'Humans have pushed the Earth into a new era' - The Local.se.

'Humans have pushed the Earth into a new era' - The Local.se. | Our World. | Scoop.it
Owen Gaffney is an Irishman based in Stockholm who works with a group of scientists on the Anthropocene - a concept developed by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen in 2000.

"The Anthropocene concept is that humans have pushed the earth into a new epoch," Owen Gaffney, director of communications at Stockholm's International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) tells The Local.

The programme is tasked with co-coordinating research into the multitude of processes (biological, chemical and physical) that occur in the world we live in, and how these interact with us humans.

Gaffney explains that since the end of the last ice age, the world was in a time period known as the Holocene, a period which oversaw the growth of the human species. The industrial revolution and massive growth of the fifties marked a turning point in modern civilization and today humans find themselves in a position where their actions impact their environment more than any other time.

"Now, we are changing the nitrogen cycle, the acidity of the oceans, earth's land masses. We use an area the size of South America to grow our crops and an area the size of Africa for our livestock," Gaffney observes.

"It's a new concept, the idea that we have pushed the earth so far that we are in a new geological epoch."

Together with Canadian anthropologist Felix Pharand Deschenes, Gaffney has created a video using data visualisation that illustrates the spread of globalisation and the extent of human impact on our Earth (below).
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NASA's Mission Juno Spacecraft, Fastest Man-made Object in History to Pass ... - Sacramento Bee.

NASA's Mission Juno Spacecraft, Fastest Man-made Object in History to Pass ... - Sacramento Bee. | Our World. | Scoop.it

NEW YORK, Oct. 8, 2013 -- /PRNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, October 9th, at 3:21pm EDT, NASA's Mission Juno spacecraft will slingshot around Earth on its journey to Jupiter, helping it gain speed and eventually become the fastest man-made object in history.

World-renowned science educator Bill Nye will commemorate the event by hosting an eight-part YouTube series, "Why with Nye," which launches Tuesday, October 8th on THNKR. The series will explain important aspects of the mission, including how the mission's unique Earth-Sun-Earth-Jupiter flight path is helping the spacecraft ultimately gain speeds exceeding 165,000 mph (250,000 kph). Velocity gained from Juno's recently completed first leg around the sun and back to Earth helped its speed surge from 78,000 mph (126,000 kph) to 93,000 mph (138,000 kph). RadicalMedia produced the series and designed its award-winning website (missionjuno.com)

"Juno is a remarkable mission that everyone on Earth can learn about. I'm proud to be part of these videos that describe Juno's fantastic journey.  It's part of humankind's quest to learn how ourSolar System came to be and how you and I got here," said Bill Nye.

Star gazers in South Africa will have the exclusive opportunity from Earth at 9:21pm local time to see Juno cross the sky with the naked eye.  Astronauts on the International Space Station will make a first-ever attempt to film a deep space spacecraft approaching Earth and amateur ham radio operators on every continent have signed up to send a coordinated Morse code message that the spacecraft may detect.

"We are thrilled to have Bill Nye help connect the science community and the rest of the world to share in the promise of this historic mission to Jupiter," said Southwest Research Institute's Scott Bolton, Principal Investigator for Mission Juno. "Juno will help humans explore how Jupiter dictated the distribution of the elements and molecules to eventually create Earth and possibly life itself."

Juno will arrive at Jupiter on July 4th, 2016, at 7:29 p.m. PDT (10:29 p.m. EDT). Once in orbit around Jupiter, the spacecraft will circle the planet 33 times, from pole to pole, and use its collection of nine science instruments to probe beneath the gas giant's obscuring cloud cover. Juno's science team will learn about Jupiter's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere, and look for a potential planetary core.

"Since our launch, THNKR has strived to bring smart entertainment to our audience from all over the globe," said Justin Wilkes, President of Media & Entertainment for RadicalMedia's THNKR channel. "Getting to boldly go where no one has gone before with Bill Nye is our next great programming adventure and we're honored to go along for the ride".

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. The Juno mission is part of the New Frontiers Program managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

More information about Juno is online at:

http://www.nasa.gov/juno and www.missionjuno.com

Watch the "Why with Nye" at www.missionjuno.com or :  http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTP7oKl8qFmlbOL-RqEbQAzin2t4sSBkx


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About SwRI

SwRI is an independent, nonprofit, applied research and development organization based in San Antonio, Texas, with nearly 3,000 employees and an annual research volume of more than $584 million. Southwest Research Institute and SwRI are registered marks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For more information about Southwest Research Institute, please visit newsroom.swri.org or www.swri.org.

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Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/08/5804660/nasas-mission-juno-spacecraft.html#storylink=cpy


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Primate Brain Evolution Explained as Consequence of Same Genetic Program.

Primate Brain Evolution Explained as Consequence of Same Genetic Program. | Our World. | Scoop.it
Scientists have made a breakthrough when it comes to studying brain evolution. They've found that differences between primate brains--from marmosets to humans--can largely be explained as consequences of the same genetic program. The findings could allow researchers to better understand how our own brains evolved over time..


In order to better understand primate brains, the researchers employed computer models. Using publicly available brain maps, MRI imaging data and modeling software, the researchers compared the sizes of different brain areas in humans and three monkey species which included marmosets, capuchins and macaques. They found that two regions, the lateral prefrontal cortex and the temporal parietal junction, expand disproportionally to the rest of the brain. While the prefrontal cortex is related to long-term planning, personality expression and decision making, the temporal parietal junction is related to self-awareness and other self-other distinction.

In fact, the scientists discovered that this substantial enlargement of some areas of the human brain, vital to advanced cognition, reflects a consistent pattern that is seen across primate species of all sizes. It's possible that these neural circuits responsible for traits that we consider uniquely human could have emerged simply as a natural consequence of the evolution of large brains.

"We found that the larger the brain is, the larger these areas get," said Tristan Chaplin, the lead author of the new study, in a news release."When you go from a small to big monkey--the marmoset to macaque--the prefrontal cortex and temporal parietal junction get larger relative to the rest of the cortex, and we see the same thing again when you compare macaques to humans. This trend argues against the view that specific human mutations gave us these larger areas and advanced cognition and behavior, but are a consequence of what happens in development when you grow a larger brain."

The findings reveal a little bit more about primate brain evolution. The first computational comparative study conducted across several primate species, this research shows that humans may not be all that special. Instead, their size could be what really determines how humans think and reason.

The findings are published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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