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Himalayan Mountains Visible From Parts Of India For First Time In 30 Years

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With less pollution as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, the Himalayan mountains are finally visible from some parts of India. This is the first time in about 30 years that people in certain parts of India have been able to see these mountains.

The Himalayan range that is visible is called Dhauladhar Range, which translates to “White Range,” and many people have not witnessed this site in their skies during their whole lives.

 

Former Indian cricket player Harbhajan Singh posted the following tweet, saying that he never imagined that such sights would be possible from his house.

https://twitter.com/harbhajan_singh/status/1245992859263594497

 

Anti-pollution activist Sant Balbir Singh Seeechewal told SBS, “We can see the snow-covered mountains clearly from our roofs. And not just that, stars are visible at night. I have never seen anything like this in recent times.”

India is one of the most populated countries in the world, with over a billion people, and  21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities.

CNN reported on government data which showed that there has been a massive reduction of pollution in India’s capital of New Delhi. The capital city has seen a 71 percent drop in the harmful microscopic particulate matter known as PM 2.5. Meanwhile, nitrogen dioxide, which typically comes from air and street traffic, has also fallen by 71 percent from 52 per cubic meter to 15.

Similar reductions in air pollutants have been observed in major cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai. This type of rapid change has also been seen in China, Europe, and the United States.

https://twitter.com/shailen_pratap/status/1246318286909788160

 

The global economy may be crashing as a result of the coronavirus, but it appears that the slowdown of work and movement may actually be good for the environment. Sattelite images taken in the different parts of the world where there are intense quarantines have shown that there has been a drastic reduction of pollution in these areas. Of course, this has come at a massive cost to the human species, both due to the loss of lives experienced by so many and the extreme economic hardships to come.

The European Space Agency (ESA) released a timelapse video taken from space, which shows how drastically the air pollution has decreased in Italy during the recent lockdown. Claus Zehner, who manages the Copernicus Sentinel-5P, the satellite which took the photos over the Po Valley region, told the Independent that researchers are confident these changes are due to the reduction of activity at factories and on highways.

Satellite images from NASA show falling levels of nitrogen dioxide in the past two months, correlating with the massive factor and travel shut down that has been taking place throughout the country. Scientists with NASA say that the reduction in nitrogen dioxide was first noticed around Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak where the quarantine was first imposed.

Still, there is a very good chance that this change in the atmosphere will be short-lived because these quarantines will not last forever, and all environmental concerns will be thrown out the window when it’s time to get back to work.

Mark Horowitz is a graduate of Brandeis University with a degree in political science. Horowitz could have had a job at one of the top media organizations in the United States, but when working as an intern, he found that the journalists in the newsroom were confined by the anxieties and sensibilities of their bosses. Horowitz loved journalism, but wanted more freedom to pursue more complex topics than you would find on the evening news. Around the same time, he began to notice that there was a growing number of independent journalists developing followings online by sharing their in-depth analysis of advanced or off-beat topics. It wasn't long before Horowitz quit his internship with a large New York network to begin publishing his own material online.

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No More Coffins, Organic Burial Pods Will Turn Bodies Into Trees

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Funeral customs are quickly changing in the developed world, as expensive traditional services are becoming less common, and cheaper options like cremations are becoming more popular. Younger generations are also less likely to have long and drawn out church services, and are often uncomfortable with open casket viewings. These are among the many reasons that short memorial services followed by cremations are starting to become a normal thing, and the industry is being faced to change with the times.

In addition to cremations, there are some innovative new ideas that are proposing different options for us to lay our loved ones to rest. One company called Capsula Mundi has devised an interesting new burial method that would allow a person’s deceased body to be used as a seed for a tree. The idea was devised and implemented by Italian designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel, who sought out to develop sustainable burial methods that are a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the traditional headstones or mausoleum chapels.

 

Capsula Mundi – Burial Pods

Posted by Fontaine Design on Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Capsula Mundi has designed specially made egg-shaped pods that will act as a seed, and the person’s body will actually fit inside of the pod. Once the body is in the burial pod, in the fetal position, the pod will then be placed in the ground and a tree will be planted over top of it. The burial pod is entirely biodegradable and is made from a starch plastic, according to the designers.

The company says that the biodegradable shell and the person inside, will eventually decompose and transform into nutrients, which will then be absorbed by the tree.



This idea is currently just in the prototype phase and is not a service that is officially for sale on the market just yet. There are still some final design and regulation obstacles that the company must overcome. Italy, where the company is based, has some very strict burial laws which have presented somewhat of a challenge for the designers.

However, Capsula Mundi is already in the funeral business, and currently offering a biodegradable urn which works in a very similar way to the proposed tree pod, only in that case, the ashes are contained in the pod. Regulatory approval for the ash pod was much easier to acquire for the company, considering that the matter of the human body is handled by the crematory, while accepting approval to place human beings in the ground in this manner has proven to be more difficult.

The company has suggested that if this idea were to become widely accepted in the future, graveyards could become vibrant forest areas filled with animal life, instead of gloomy fields filled with tombstones as we have today.

What do you think of the burial pod idea? Is this a positive evolution of tradition and a welcome change to the funeral industry? Would you be willing to have your burial in one of these things?

Great Idea by Italian Company Cápsula Mundi

Posted by Preet Mohinder Saini on Saturday, May 4, 2019

Photos courtesy of Capsula Mundi

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Nature

NASA Found 9 House Plants That Eliminate Toxins From The Air

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The NASA Clean Air Study was a project tasked with researching different ways that the air in space stations can be cleaned. The project resulted in some incredible discoveries, including the fact that certain common indoor plants can also remove toxins from the air. Below are some of the plants that were found to clean the air. The study indicated that it is best to have at least one plant every 100 square feet for the best results.

The study also indicated that efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet..

 

A separate 2004 study suggested the microorganisms in the soil of a potted plant also have detoxifying properties.

Below are some of the best plants for detoxifying the air.

Azaleas

Azalea Festival at Nezu Jinja. Photo Credit: PeachBird, Wikimedia Commons

Azaleas are flowering shrubs that bloom in the spring and thrive in the shade. Oddly enough, the azalea plant is also highly toxic, even though it cleans the air. The plant’s leaves and nectar both contain andromedotoxins.

English Ivy

Hedera helix, Choceň, Czech Republic. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Hedera helix, or more commonly known as English ivy, or European ivy, is the famous vine that clings to surfaces and is difficult for gardeners to get rid of. According to the NASA study, this plant species removes benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene from the air. However, it is important to note that this can be toxic to cats and dogs.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

Peace Lily: JJ Harrison

Peace Lily’s can achieve the incredible feat of removing mold spores from the air. However, it is good to know that you should still eliminate the source of the mold first, if you do have a mold problem in your home. Peace Lilys are also harmful to cats and dogs if ingested. The plants can also eliminate benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, ammonia xylene, and toluene from the air.

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)

Chinese Evergreen Photo Credit: Kurt Stüber Wikipedia

Chinese Evergreen has been proven to remove benzene and formaldehyde from the air, but can be harmful to animals. This species has been grown as luck-bringing ornamental plants in Asia for centuries.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera. Photo Credit: Wikimedia

In addition to filtering toxins from the air, Aloe Vera is also one of the most useful and medicinal plants in the world. It is found in many consumer products including beverages, skin lotion, cosmetics, or ointments for minor burns and sunburns.

Pelargonium

Photo Credit: Andrew Massyn Wikipedia

This flower cleans the air, but it also removes unwanted odors, kills bacteria and it works to keep certain insects away.

Spider Plant

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Spider plants are especially good at filtering out carbon monoxide, and go great in a kitchen. The spider plant is also known as airplane plant, St. Bernard’s lily, spider ivy, ribbon plant

Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica)

leaves of Ficus elastica. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

This plant can eliminate a variety of toxins from the air, and is especially effective with formaldehyde, which is unfortunately common in many products.

Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata)

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Snake Plant is native to West Africa from Nigeria east to the Congo. This species absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. It also filters out any formaldehyde that might be in the air.

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Animals

Small Deadly Blue Dragons Wash Up On Texas Beaches

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A rare, beautiful but deadly creature has emerged from the sea along beaches in Texas.

Glaucaus Atlanticus, as it is known to marine biologists, also called the Blue Dragon Sea Slug, has been washing up on shores in much greater numbers than recorded in the previous half a century; and scientists have no valid theory as to why just yet.

These little blue wonders of the sea, usually measuring around three centimeters, are considered nudibranch, a group of marine mollusks known to have colorfully vivid patterns on their soft-shelled bodies.

 

The pretty little blue dragons feed on other sea creatures. Its diet includes the dreaded Portuguese Man o’ War as well as other poisonous siphonophorae, or jellyfish-like creatures.

Its defense mechanism is similar to that of a jellyfish as it secrets a stinging venom via explosive cells embedded within its tissue. Handling by a human can result in tremendous pain as well as very serious toxicity up to and including death.

The Facebook page for Padre Island National Seashore, a public family beach and campground in Corpus Christi, Texas, posted last week warning that one was spotted in the park, and while people should appreciate the chance to see one up close, take caution as their sting can be far worse than that of the Man o’ Wars.

Photo credit: Padre Island National Seashore

This brilliantly colored and stunningly shaped but dangerous creature was discovered in 1777 by German naturalist and revolutionary, George Forster, the founder of modern-day travel brochures.

It is interesting to note that the slug-like creature is neither male nor female. When mating, both members of a pair can produce fertile eggs that fruit offspring.

Another interesting feature that makes the little blue creatures particularly unique is their ability to absorb and assimilate their prey’s poisonous cells when devouring other siphonophorae, such as the feared Man o’ War, and combine it with their own venom creating one of the most poisonous oceanic stings know to man. Their sting can produce extreme fever, nausea, and respiratory problems which can be fatal.

While sightings of the Blue Dragons have been rare, when seen, they appear in large clusters, most often spotted in the waters near India and Peru. Some archaeologists believe the dragon may have been highly cherished, perhaps even considered sacred, due to ancient indigenous culture’s reverence for such colors as jade, turquoise, and topaz in those regions.

Close biological examination of these creatures has produced little scientific insight into their social behaviors or methods of communication, which makes some scientists believe that they may be able to communicate by methods other than the five senses known to us. The purpose of the creature’s wavy front tentacles also remain largely a mystery to researchers today. Specimens kept in captivity tend not to survive very long. Some researchers have observed individuals attack and consume other individuals while in captivity.

Experts are advising beachgoers to refrain from handling and close examination of the Blue Dragons as their sting can prove quite hazardous. A YouTube video shows one amateur explorer handling the creature safely without protective equipment, which beckons the question why authorities are issuing dire warnings about these visitors from the deep sea.

The Blue Dragon is not alone among strange deep-sea creatures washing up on shores around the world in recent years. Beachgoers in Corpus Christi, Texas also discovered a very rare fish that normally resides around 1200 feet under the surface of the sea. A family in New Zealand came across a pink jellyfish which has been recorded as one of the largest in the world. according to a Fox News article from 2018.

The Gaucus Atlanticus, comes to us from a part of the ocean which remains mysterious and greatly unexplored and unknown to man. The strange biological functions of such creatures tickle the curiosity of those who ponder what other wonders lie beneath the deepest darkest regions of our planet and what of those wonders are not only alien to us, but perhaps alien to this planet.

Video credit: Brittney Waters

 

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