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  1. #136
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    This will warm the cockles of the heart.


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  3. #137
    Senior Member BeastOfBologna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dreamtimer View Post
    This will warm the cockles of the heart.

    Wow, a very special baby ... and so lucky to have someone to sing to him like that.
    “But those who have been under the shadow, who have gone down at last to elemental things, will have a wider charity” - Herbert George Wells -

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  5. #138
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    Made me cry.

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  7. #139
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    While paddling the iconic Danube River, what this Hungarian couple wasn’t expecting to find was two rare white-tailed eagles, stuck together and at risk of drowning.

    Likely the eagles were clasped in this way after fighting. Klaudia Kis and Richard Varga knew they had to take action.

    They helped the pair out humanely, using a rope, before continuing their journey from the Black Sea near Romania to Germany’s Black Forest.


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  9. #140
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    From the BBC

    Dengue fever cases have been cut by 77% in a "groundbreaking" trial that manipulates the mosquitoes that spread it, say scientists.

    They used mosquitoes infected with "miraculous" bacteria that reduce the insect's ability to spread dengue.

    The trial took place in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia, and is being expanded in the hope of eradicating the virus.


    In 1970, only nine countries had faced severe dengue outbreaks, now there are up to 400 million infections a year. ✂️

    The trial used mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria. ...Wolbachia doesn't harm the mosquito, but it camps out in the same parts of its body that the dengue virus needs to get into. The bacteria compete for resources and make it much harder for dengue virus to replicate, so the mosquito is less likely to cause an infection when it bites again.
    From Future Crunch,

    Not only was the science behind this world class, it's also one of the best examples we've ever seen of community engagement. They had to convince 90% of the community before releasing the mosquitoes, requiring years of meetings, letting people in to see the labs, using Whatsapp for engagement, and employing over 10,000 local volunteers to place the mosquito eggs in people’s backyards. Development specialists take note: this is how to help, not through patronage, but through partnership.

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  11. #141
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    Self-repairing, carbon sequestering concrete. Solid news.

    Worcester Polytechnic Institute led a project into looking at concrete that repairs itself, which has been hypothesized as possible since the mid-’90s, and which was recently confirmed as possible with bacteria in 2015.
    Like earlier researchers, the team at Worcester, led by Nima Rahbar, used an enzyme found in red blood cells called “carbonic anhydrase,” at the suggestion of a biochemist collaborator of theirs.
    The anhydrase is responsible for moving CO2 from our cells to our blood vessels as quick as our breathing, and when added to concrete powder, it actually uses CO2 from the air to create calcium carbonate crystals. A millimeter crack can be filled in after just several hours, preventing larger cracks from forming. Anhydrase was among the reasons the bacteria was able to repair concrete.

    Another method is adding carbonic anhydrase to water and calcium together in a spray and applying it to a concrete crack. If CO2 is then blown over the crack, like Wolverine from X-Men it will seal itself in just minutes, while if it simply uses the CO2 in the air it will take longer.

    Astute readers will recognize that this technology also sucks some CO2 out of the environment, which along with extending the lifespan of the concrete four-fold, allows it to become a carbon jailer as well.

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  13. #142
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    These are beautiful. I don't know how folks feel about bonsai. The results are stunning.


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  15. #143
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    I once had a bonsai, I love them. I want to get another again, I just loaned some books about them and Japanese gardening.

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  17. #144
    Senior Member BeastOfBologna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dreamtimer View Post
    These are beautiful. I don't know how folks feel about bonsai. The results are stunning.
    I'm more into banzai, but bonsae or is it bonsais or (you get the picture) are cool, too.
    “But those who have been under the shadow, who have gone down at last to elemental things, will have a wider charity” - Herbert George Wells -

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  19. #145
    Super Moderator Wind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BeastOfBologna View Post
    I'm more into banzai, but bonsae or is it bonsais or (you get the picture) are cool, too.

    Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pwJ8JCUdqM

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  21. #146
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    Scientists Can Now Turn Used Soda Bottles Into Vanilla Flavoring

    Plastic bottles have been converted into vanilla flavoring using genetically engineered bacteria, the first time a valuable chemical has been brewed from waste plastic.

    Researchers have already developed mutant enzymes to break down the polyethylene terephthalate polymer used for drinks bottles into its basic units, terephthalic acid (TA). Scientists have now used bugs to convert TA into vanillin.

    The research, published in the journal Green Chemistry, used engineered E coli bacteria to transform TA into vanillin. The scientists warmed a microbial broth to 37 Celsius for a day, the same conditions as for brewing beer, Wallace said. This converted 79 percent of the TA into vanillin.

    Next the scientists will further tweak the bacteria to increase the conversion rate further, he said: “We think we can do that pretty quickly. We have an amazing roboticised DNA assembly facility here.” They will also work on scaling up the process to convert larger amounts of plastic. Other valuable molecules could also be brewed from TA, such as some used in perfumes.
    This is the scientific paper.

    Vanillin is used widely in the food and cosmetics industries and is an important bulk chemical used to make pharmaceuticals, cleaning products and herbicides. Global demand is growing and in 2018 was 37,000 tonnes, far exceeding the supply from natural vanilla beans. About 85% of vanillin is currently synthesised from chemicals derived from fossil fuels.
    I didn't know vanillin was used so widely.

    The most interesting part to me is how synthetic vanillin is derived from petroleum products. Plastic bottles also come from petroleum. So this process brings it full circle. Instead of using yet more petroleum, the bacteria are recycling something that was already made from petroleum.

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  23. #147
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    Superbugs have two new nemeses: the chestnut tree and LEGO

    Drug-resistant infections already kill 35,000 people in the U.S. and 700,000 people worldwide per year, and that’s expected to increase exponentially if we don’t figure out new ways to combat them.
    MRSA is one particularly nasty one.

    Cassandra Quave and her team at Emory University and the University of Colorado have found a way to halt the spread of MRSA infections without the need to kill the bacteria.
    Instead, they disarm the bacteria by interfering with the trigger that causes them to make toxins. This way, the immune system can deal with these bacteria like it does most others. Their latest study was published June 28 in Frontiers in Pharmacology.
    [P]eople in southern Italy have used chestnut tree leaves for treating skin problems for many years. [Quave's] lab sifts through lots of anecdotal examples like this, and they try to find the promising ones.
    Five years ago Quave and company found that an extract made of chestnut tree leaves could quell the toxicity of MRSA by blocking a process used by these bacteria to decide when it’s time to crank out toxins.
    Usually when you separate an extract into its components, you use some kind of chromatography. That is, you pass your extract through beads or powder that different chemicals stick to with different levels of enthusiasm. The chemicals that don’t stick come out the other end first, and the ones that stick really well get held up and come out last.
    Once Quave’s team separated the chestnut tree leaf extract in a chromatograph, they had to collect a lot of tiny samples at the other end in a precise and reproducible way.
    They built their own custom programmable fraction collector out of *LEGO* for $500! You just can’t make this stuff up. LEGO has a subset of products called MINDSTORMS that let kids … err, also researchers at universities? … build robotic devices. Marco Caputo from Quave’s group did just that, and he thus solved the problem of an affordable device that could work with the needed precision. Published it on the side, too, in order to help other labs “git ‘er done” as well.
    This is my favorite part! (aside from the neutralization of the bacterial toxin)



    [T]hey arrived at the responsible compound — castaneroxy A — and its structure, which is not unlike that of cholesterol:


    They isolated castaneroxy A so precisely — thanks to that LEGO device, of course — that they were even able to make pure crystals of it.

    They then applied small amounts of it to MRSA infections on mouse skin. With this treatment, the infections were totally unable to spread, while without treatment they did spread out and lasted much longer.


    One promising aspect of all this is that after 15 days stewing in a solution of castaneroxy A, the MRSA bacteria don’t develop any resistance to it. They can still grow just fine in that solution, so there’s no particular reason for them to mutate and get around it. Very unlike traditional antibiotics.
    This scientist is from my alma mater, which makes it just a little bit better.

    The story is here with many links.

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  25. #148
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    This Wonder Tree is a Game-Changer for Rainforest Agriculture in Honduras And Deforested Sites Worldwide

    Because of this tree, Inga, the oft-used method of tropical land clearance—which tragically tends to yield one good crop, without another one ever following—is being replaced with another form of agroforestry that ticks every box, and which has rural farmers running towards regenerative farming methods.

    This form is called Inga alley cropping. It has been pioneered by a British surveyor in Honduras named Dr. Mike Hands, and the method is built around one special tree class called Inga. This member of the legume family contains over 300 varieties, and its endemic characteristics gave Hands the basis of his revolutionary form of agroforestry.

    “He was trying to figure out why these systems failed, and why families had to keep burning three acres one year and another acre the next year… and he made a breakthrough and found out it was the phosphorus that was depleted,” says Potter.

    One of the 17 essential nutrients for plants, and one whose functions cannot be performed by any other, plants can’t last long without adequate phosphorus, and it would turn out the phosphorus in the soil was being depleted or washed away without properly being replenished.

    An Inga alley is like a bowling alley—where the gutters are is where the trees grow, and in the lane is where the crops grow. Hands’ configuration of placing the trees just 20 centimeters apart, less than what most seed packets will advise for cabbage plants, created the perfect conditions for both food crops and cash crops.

    But why and how does it work? It starts with the sheer uniqueness of the Inga tree.

    Inga can grow up to 25 feet in the first year of its life, and is tolerant of poor soil conditions, heat and drought, and flooding. Its broad leaves partly shadow the ground below—enough to prevent crops from overheating and weeds from taking over, but not enough to block out the sunlight from reaching the crops.

    “The first year they recruited 40 families. The families were concerned: How does planting trees give them food?” says Potter, explaining the infancy of the Inga Foundation, which recently won the Ray C. Anderson NextGen Award along with a $100,000 grant to practice Inga alley cropping.

    “So they planted half their crop with the Inga alleys and the other half they did their normal slash-and-burn planting. There was a horrific storm of about six inches of rain. It washed away all their slash-and-burn crops, [but they got] a crop with their Inga alleys,” said Potter. “So everyone immediately wanted to plant the rest of their land with Inga alleys.”

    After that, she would say, no more families would have to be recruited, and now there are 300 families in the surrounding valleys practicing Inga alley cropping.



    More at the Good News Network

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  27. #149
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    There are many bees visiting our yard. Right now it's clover attracting them. Before it was the blooming holly tree, cherry trees, etc. Here's to the bees.


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  29. #150
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    Church says it paid off all available medical debt for entire state of New Mexico

    An Episcopal church in New Mexico says it paid off all of the available medical debt for all of New Mexico, as well as several counties in Arizona.

    St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Santa Fe, N.M. says that through donations, and partnering up with nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, it was able to pay off $1,380,119.87 in medical debt belonging to 782 households. According to its website, RIP Medical Debt is a group dedicated to finding families with medical debt whose incomes are less than twice the poverty level, as well as families whose liabilities exceed their total assets, known as insolvency.

    Each family impacted will receive a letter in the mail telling them they no longer owe the debt. The letter, in part, says:

    St. Bede’s Episcopal Church has paid off the medical debt you have been struggling with for the past number of years. No strings attached.
    RIP Medical Debt then contacts credit agencies to verify the medical payments while clearing the person's credit history.



    Go Episcopals! (I was raised episcopal)

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