Trash isn’t only a problem on planet earth, we have a serious debris problem in space as well. This may seem distant and a bit “out of sight out of mind”, however this could pose a big problem for space travel.
In less than 25 years, the size of space garbage has become sufficiently huge enough to decimate a shuttle has dramatically increased. The enormous concern is that gathering space garbage may prompt something many refer to as the Kessler syndrome, a chain response of crashes that exponentially expands the measure of garbage. An impact between two satellites may make a large number of smaller items. Those a huge number of trash items could crash into millions more objects, et cetera. The final product is an invulnerable billow of flotsam and jetsam that would make space travel so much harder.
Scientists have a problem on their hands to solve to make sure that we can safely continue to navigate space.
It is Spring and during this time of year we may run into small adolescent animals without visible parents around. Our instinct is to help them, pick up that baby bird, capture that small deer and take them to get help. However, this is completely unneeded. Chances are these animals are fine, being taken care of by their parents and in no need of help. In fact dealing with, moving, or catching apparently deserted untamed life can hurt or eventually execute the creature and can put your safety at risk.
More often than not a baby animal that seems, by all accounts, to be abandoned are essentially sitting tight for their mom to return. For example baby deer are normally covered and have little fragrance, which helps them stay undetected by predators. Many other species, including rabbits, have a comparative procedure with their young, concealing them amid the day while the grown-ups are searching for nourishment and different assets.
Remember in most places removing animals from the wild is illegal, as is feeding them. Touching wild animals can also expose you to thinks like rabies, roundworm, ticks, and other diseases and parasites that can be transmitted across species.
So leave that baby bird, its mom is likely nearby, parenting in nature is hands off sometimes and you should be too.
Naturally a healthy diet includes a lot of plant based foods: fruits, vegetables, greens, and herbs. Eating meat after all can increase your risk of certain cancers. The World Health Organization in 2015, for instance, found that eating processed meats like hot dogs, ham and bacon can increase cancer risk, especially colon risk. Diets that are high in fatty, red meats also can raise cholesterol, increasing heart disease risks. Meanwhile, plant-based foods have potential to do the opposite, with antioxidants lowering everything from cancer risk to blood pressure. Not only is it good for our bodies, but a more plant based diet is often good for the planet, reducing carbon emissions from animals and the trucks that drive them and their meat around our world.
Did you know plants are also good for each other? A healthy garden is a mixed garden because a lot of plants like and thrive when grown next to each other. Lavender repels slugs for example and Marigolds keep those pesky aphids away. No chemicals needed, just a handy guide to what helps what and what keeps away those little critters that want to eat away at your garden.
Caretaking of the elderly has always fallen on two different group: the family or an outside source like a nurse or living facility. As scores of people reach their golden years the question about who will care for them as life start to get a bit more difficult for them to live independently comes to the minds of those around them and of course themselves. Living without the aid of others is often seen as a key level of independence and many senior citizens fear losing that independence. So, what if robots hold the key to not only keeping a level of care, but also this much desired sense of autonomy? This may very well be the case in the future.
We already have robots doing lots of tasks: building machines, vacuuming our floors, and creating all sorts of forms of entertainment for us. So in the future we can expect them to surely be good caretakers. Able to open fridges, give medicine, and open doors they will be nurses and friends who do not need to go home or sleep. They will always be there for those who need them.
But will we accept them? A EU survey published last year said 51 percent would feel “uncomfortable” about “a robot provide services and companionship to elderly or infirm people.” The public overall still seems cold to the idea of robots taking care of us or being in our lives to a bigger degree. Only time will tell if we will warm up and take advantage of the benefits robot caretakers could give.
Stocks, houses, cars: these are the normal things that come to mind when we talk about “investing”. Money and the future are always intertwined. However, no amount of money in the world will do anything is we do not invest in the future of the health of our planet.
Ice levels in the artic continue to decline. In a paper from Nature Climate Change it has been reported that CO2 and human activities are responsible for near 2/3rds of this Artic sea ice loss.
If we don’t curb emissions we’ll lose this sea ice as well as many species that rely on it like Polar Bears. The rising tide that will happen when we lose this ice will impact all coastal cities that are at or below sea level.
Investing in our planet’s future is important if we not only care about nature but the safety of our own coastal cities.
The Hawaiian Islands are a unique place. Strange birds, tropical fish, migrating whales. However in recent centuries many non-indigenous animals have started to take over the islands. These animals have a big impact on the biodiversity in the area, but recent analysis says that Hawaii’s unique animals and plant life have been declining for long before the introduction of non-native species—in fact the University of California, Berkley says that the native life has been declining for millions of years.
Shrinking land areas of the older islands puts stress on the life there. The only island growing is the big island after all, so the rest are giving less and less space to the various birds, insects, spiders, and plants there (there are no native mammals on the islands). At a certain point this means extinction.
We are well experienced in knowing that many other forms of life have conscious intelligence. ravens use tools, elephants form complex emotional relationships with their counterparts, chimps and other apes have been seen using plant matter as umbrellas in the rain. There is no doubt that animals hold levels of complex intelligence, but have you ever wondered if plants do? If not you should.
Children have long asked their parents if plants can feel being eaten. We often rebuke them and deny that—but the truth is plants are more aware than we realize. IFLScience says “A small, flowering plant called Arabidopsis thaliana can hear the vibrations that caterpillars trigger when they chew on its leaves. According to a new study, the plants can hear danger loud and clear, and they respond by launching a chemical defense.” And this is just one example among many others.
To apply the idea of “intelligence” it is often said that you need a brain to truly qualify, but is that true if plants can sound the alarm of danger? That is an awareness. So where is the line drawn then? Because plants cannot really move in the way animals or humans can it is fair to say that to survive they must be very aware. They understand what is going on around them from the soil conditions to moisture, threats to pollution. That’s sensory processing. Roots grow towards nutrition and know to avoid other roots, but are fine with hitting up against intimate objects. There is evidence that fungi communicate to their tree hosts to help the chances of that trees survival. Could we see this as a form of corporation? A clear form of some level of intelligence?
Plants are more complicated than what we give them credit for, and it is time to consider them a bit more.
Thinking of a home garden evokes a lot of imagery; big white houses, lots of green, older women bent lovingly over their growing plants. However, gardening is not limited to this ideal image—starting your own produce centered garden is easy, accessible, and a great way to start taking small steps to saving the planet.
Reducing your carbon footprint by starting production of food at home is more important than you might think. On average 1,500 miles is traveled before food ever winds up on a plate. Imagine all the gasoline needed to make it to your grocer, imagine all the energy wasted on keeping the produce fresh. Burning fossil fuels is not only bad for us, but it is also bad for the very food that is grown and transported all the way to our homes. Climate change could easily render certain foods extinct.
Growing your own food allows you to control the pesticides that go into crafting your garden. The EPA considers 60% of herbicides, 90% of fungicides, and 30% of insecticides carcinogenic. Obviously that is no good, and certainly something we need to watch out for. What easier way to control how much pesticides go into your food than growing it yourself.
A home garden can be done wherever you live, whether it is a large house or a small apartment. While making a garden in a large space is much more simple, being crafty about your small space doesn’t have to complicated. Window boxes, small balcony potted plants, and community gardens are easy fixes to making a place to produce food even in the smallest of apartments.
There is no reason not to give it a shot!
You’ve heard it before maybe from a parent or a grandparent, your next door neighbor, or even your favorite cashier at the local store: tech isn’t for them.
In a world growing more and more attached to their tech this attitude is common, but still confounding. Every fascist of life is touched by new products and new techniques of using the technology around us to make life “easier”. We get doctors notes through online portals, set up meetings for the DMV on the computer, and can even order from Starbucks on our phone for instant pickup. We can argue about the benefits and the fall outs of everyday things like this, but resistance is futile. Tech is here to stay, denying it is only going to keep you lagging behind.
So why are people resistant to tech? Fear of the unknown? Fear of lack of personal interactions? Fear of robots taking over our planet? The last question is mostly a joke, but there are people who stand by the idea that using tech opens up our species to their demise.
However, tech could be a window into the world, instead of shutting down the life around you. You can reach out to people you may have forgotten about in the past, social media can keep you up to date on news faster than your cable or newspaper might, smartphones are useful emergency tools, and paying your bills online is officially the cheaper option. In every nook and corner tech is making life a little easier, you just have to keep your mind open.
A few months back I wrote about the future of relations between Indonesia and the US under the new presidency. Well, since then Trump has moved into the White House and begun a swift set of executive orders. One of the most talked about has been the executive order that targets seven Muslim majority countries, and though Indonesia is not on this list it is home to 220 million followers of Islam. Those from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen are now not allowed to enter the US for the next 90 days. Syrian refugees are indefinitely banned.
Indonesian Foreign minister Retno Marsudi said that her government held “deep regrets about the policy.” Indonesian President Joko Widodo have not yet addressed the ban.
While there is no ban on those from Indonesia entering the US, what could this mean for relations between these two countries? The only thing that is certain at this time is uncertainty.