The American alligator’s tail can regenerate giving them a functional advantage when living in murky aquatic habitats via Awesome facts

The American alligator’s tail can regenerate like that of other reptiles

Some lizards have developed strategies to regrow their docked tails, but until now little was known about the much larger American alligator’s ability to regenerate it. A team of scientists has discovered that the youngest alligators can recover part of this limb, but this differs from the original structure.

The case of the lizards, with their “removable” tails, is well known. These small vertebrates are capable of re-creating nerve cells, like other lizards, and regenerating this limb. The strategy of shedding the tail is common to escape predators, but what about much larger reptiles, such as the American alligator?

So far, it was not well documented if this crocodilian, one of the largest in the American continent, could have this ability to recover its enormous tail. A team from Arizona State University and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, both in the United States, shows for the first time that the youngest specimens, caught in the wild, had recovered their tail up to 18% of the full length of their body, although they were morphologically different from the original sections.

To analyze the structure of the regenerated limbs, the scientists performed MRIs and X-rays combined with anatomical and tissue organization studies. The results, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that the new tails lacked skeletal muscle – unlike other lizards – and formed complex structures with a central skeleton composed of cartilage and surrounded by fibrous connective tissue intertwined with blood vessels and nerves.

“What makes the alligator interesting, apart from its size, is that the re-growing tail shows signs of regeneration and wound healing within the same structure,” explains Cindy Xu, lead author and researcher at the American university.

This overproduction of connective tissue was similar to wound healing or fibrosis in mammals, the scientists found. “We were surprised to discover scar-like connective tissue rather than skeletal muscle in the regenerated crocodile tail,” Xu adds.

The partial limb growth of these crocodiles does share similarities with the regenerated tails of New Zalanda tuataras and the regenerated limbs of adult Xenopus frogs, which have a cartilaginous endoskeleton surrounded by connective tissue without skeletal muscle.

What does regeneration contribute?

The study confirms that between the different species of reptiles and other animals, the regenerative capacity varies, and can be costly. In the case of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), scientists believe that regenerating their tails can give them a functional advantage when living in murky aquatic habitats.

The regenerated alligator tail is different from the original. Although the scales grow back, a tube of cartilage (in yellow) replaces the bone (in ocher) and skeletal muscle does not reappear (in red). In its place is a large amount of fibrous connective tissue (in pink). / Arizona State University

This finding provides more information on how reptiles are the only amniotes – a group of animals with backbones among which humans are found – to maintain the ability to recover their lost limbs. “The ancestors of alligators, dinosaurs and birds separated about 250 million years ago. The study shows that the alligators have retained the cellular machinery to regenerate complex tails while the birds have lost that capacity ”, emphasizes Kenro Kusumi, co-principal author, and professor and director of the School of Life Sciences of the University of the State of Arizona . So at what point in evolution was this ability lost? So far, scientists have found no evidence of fossils of dinosaurs, whose lineage led to modern birds, with regenerated tails.

Furthermore, understanding how different animals can regenerate tissues could help develop medical therapies, according to the researchers. The team hopes that these findings will uncover new therapeutic approaches to repair injuries and treat diseases such as arthritis

Some lizards have developed strategies to regrow their docked tails, but until now little was known about the much larger American alligator’s ability to regenerate it. A team of scientists has discovered that the youngest alligators can recover part of this limb, but this differs from the original structure. The case of the lizards, with […]

The American alligator’s tail can regenerate like that of other reptiles — Awesome Facts to learn on Virtual Science

Four Engaging Structures That Work in Hybrid A/B Learning Classrooms via CCIRA Professional Development Blog

By A.J. Juliani This summer as many schools went from going back to school in-person, to virtual, to some mix in-between a lot of teachers were faced with a new reality: Teaching kids in your classroom at school and at home…at the same time. This Hybrid A/B Model of schooling (also goes by many other […]

Four Engaging Structures That Work in Hybrid A/B Learning Classrooms:

This Hybrid A/B Model of schooling (also goes by many other names) has a camera on in the classroom for students to watch at home, while students rotate days A/B of being in-person or at-home.

Technology plays a big role in making this happen, and it needs to all work in the classroom and at home for each student in order to pull it off.

Let’s just say that all the technology does work, in that case, the question I’ve been working with teachers on over the summer in PD and training has been: How do I structure the learning experience so kids at home and in-class are both learning?

Below I share four different models that I have seen work and that teachers are using around the country (and world) in Hybrid A/B learning.

This is a long post so feel free to jump around as needed. I share videos, templates, and resources on these structures in my Online Learning Master Course, but this 3000-word article should give you enough information to get started!

1. The STEPS Model (I do, We do, You do with a twist)

This is (by far) the most traditional model of teaching that can work in an A/B Hybrid environment. I usually start my training with this model to show how you can make the jump to teaching hybrid without changing too much as a teacher. Remember, we are all at different stages of the continuum, and in many content-heavy subjects, this model works well to get the students into a consistent flow of what the class will look like (whether they are in-school or watching at-home).

Here’s how it works, adapted from The Reading Teacher’s Top Ten Tools:

S: Set-Up (Practice Review)

You can do this with small groups or large groups, but for the sake of our interpretation, let’s just say you have half the class in front of you in the classroom and the other half at home. You start by setting up the class for the lesson and doing some review of the previous day’s lesson.

An important part of retrieval practice is having the students pull out their responses from yesterday’s lesson instead of providing a review for them. This is also a good time to have students doing some practice or review problems or questions while you take attendance and complete the other beginning of class procedures.

When done well, students will expect to come into class either in-person or virtually with an idea of what the first 5-10 minutes will look like every day. This also helps teachers see whether or not students are grasping the knowledge/skills/topics that were covered in the previous lesson.

T: Teach – Explicit Model and Guide of New Concepts or Skills

The next stage is direct or explicit instruction of a new concept, skill, or continuation from the previous lesson. This is the “I do” part of the lesson where the teacher explains and shares examples of what to look for, how to do something, and why it matters in the overall context of the subject.

There is little interaction in the “T” part of the lesson with students in class and at home focused on understanding what the teacher is explaining and listening/watching. However, using a tool like Peardeck or Nearpod can allow students to respond to prompts and questions easily throughout the lesson.

Note: This does not have to be the teacher talking the entire time. Bring in videos, manipulatives, pictures, models, and anything else to help guide the student’s attention and interaction with the content. It also does not need to be a long, drawn-out, part of the lesson.

E: Engage – Practice with Feedback

Here is where teacher-led practice comes into the lesson. The “We do” part of the lesson engages students in practicing the skill being taught in the lesson. A few ways you can do this in hybrid situations:

  1. Have students in class partner-up with a student at home. Students in class on their device and students at home on their device. This is a perfect use of a breakout room (in Zoom) and as a teacher, you don’t have to worry about monitoring the breakout rooms as they are happening in front of you.
  2. Students could be doing the practice individually or with groups using online collaborative tools such as Google Docs, Slides, Jamboard, Padlet, etc.
  3. Have students go through this process in-class and at-home with various students sharing on the in-class or virtual whiteboard.

P: Practice Activity – Extended Practice of New Skill

The “You do” portion of the lesson has students practicing the new skill or engaging in the content by themselves. Here is a perfect time to have the cameras off at-home and have students engage away from the device.

Or you can have them continue to use technology and share what they are doing/learning in your learning management system (Google Classroom, Seesaw, Canvas, Schoology etc).

My favorite part of this practice piece of the lesson is the ability for the teacher to work with an individual student or small group who may need some additional help or who could use a challenge.

S: Show You Know – Share Your Questions

At the end of the lesson, you can bring all the students back together on the live-stream (or have them do this individually depending on your circumstances) and end the classroom in a similar fashion to how you started it. Have students showing what they know and understand by answering questions, asking questions, and checking their own (and each other’s work).

The goal here is for the teacher and students to have a formative understanding of their needs and where to go next (what to tweak etc) in the following lesson.

Notice that in the STEPS Model the students are NOT staring at a live-stream the entire time. In fact, the only time they are needed to be on the live-stream asynchronously is during the “I do” teaching/modeling mini-lesson part of the class. You have options for each of the other parts of the lesson on how to structure the learning experience.

2. The Station-Rotation Model

The Station-Rotation Model is one of the most commonly used blended/hybrid learning structures, used successfully by teachers all around the world pre-pandemic. You may have done this yourself with various forms of media and centers in your classroom.

Now, with half the students at home and half the students in your classroom, the station rotation model still works but has to be adjusted accordingly.

The basics are simple to understand: Each lesson has various learning stations that the students work through during the class period.

The easiest way to begin is to have two stations.

Station #1: Instruction with the teacher.

Station #2: Online activity or assignment.

The teacher begins the class by explaining each station, then gets half the class (either the in-person group or at-home group) to start Station #2. The teacher then takes the rest of the class to Station #1 for half the class period, before switching and taking the other half of the class through Station #1.

While that is the easiest way to begin, going into three stations may be the best option for station-rotation lessons long-term.

Catlin Tucker shared a perfect image to explain the three station-rotation model in our Hybrid A/B environments:

The class period is broken up into three distinct sections. For Hybrid A/B learning I would have all of the students at home be in one group (Group 1) while breaking up the students in-class into two separate groups (Group 2 and Group 3). However, if your situation is such that you have at home hybrid students and full-time virtual students that group may have to be split in two.

The Teacher-led Station is what you will be leading (three separate times) throughout the class period.

The Online Station is personalized practice, research, and exploration, or multimedia lessons that students can access on their own using digital tools and spaces.

The Offline Station can be used for some off-screen activities, getting students engaged in reading or other activities that they do not have to be ‘Logged on’ to complete.

The key to the station-rotation model is to set clear time expectations at the beginning of the class and to keep them throughout the period. It also takes some serious planning. Don’t be alarmed if the first time (or 2, 3 etc) students and you take some getting used to this model!

3. The Flipped Model (with needs-based grouping)

As I walk through these steps to “flip” your instruction and set up a working model of differentiation in your Hybrid A/B class, keep in mind a few things.

First, realize that this can work in any subject area. In order for it to work successfully, a teacher must come up with clear objectives on what students need to know, and how they will demonstrate that knowledge. You’ll also have to be able to teach the main concept through video, and students will need a way to access that video at home (or at the beginning of the class period).

Second, don’t spend too much time thinking about the resources you use to make the video. Often teachers get stuck in the technical side of things instead of just making it and getting better with production over time. This happened to me for a long time before realizing that it didn’t have to be fancy.

Third, make sure you use this strategy to find out what your students know and what they are missing, then get them to a place where they can demonstrate that understanding. When you pre-assess students, the goal is not to see “who did the homework” but instead how your instruction can meet students where they are at in their current level of understanding.

Getting Started Flipping Your Instruction

Here are 10 steps (some longer than others) to get this model working with your class:

  1. Teachers identify a particular concept or skill to focus their instruction (often dictated by your curriculum).
  2. Teachers create a short video screencast (using Screen-cast-o-matic.com) walking students through the concept, explaining the reasoning and steps, providing examples of the skill in action.
  3. Teachers edit and upload the video to Youtube or Vimeo.
  4. Students watch the video the night/day before class and take notes or answer some quick comprehension questions.
  5. When students arrive at class the following day, the teacher hands out (or gives digitally) a short 5 question pre-assessment based on the video and instruction from the night before.
  6. Students answer the questions to the best of their abilities and then score a partner’s (or self-score their own assessment).
    1. Students end up in three groups based on the pre-assessment score.
      1. Score a 0-1 and you are in Tier A.
      2. Score a 2-3 and you are in Tier B.
      3. Score a 4-5 and you are in Tier C.
  7. The goal for all students is to end up in Tier C by the end of class.
  8. The first third of class:
    1. Tier A sits down and re-watches the video from the night before with a teacher-created handout with new questions.
    2. The teacher gets Tier B into groups (or partners) to work on refining some of the skills and concepts together. They can use the video as a guide and call on the teacher to help during their group work.
    3. Tier C is given a higher-level application challenge.
  9. The second third of class:
    1. Teacher heads over to Tier A after the video is complete to answer any questions they might have on the concept and give the entire group some questions to answer. Then they answer questions individually. They move onto Tier B.
    2. Tier B takes another short formative assessment (individually) to show their understanding after the group work on the concept. Those that score a 4-5 move onto Tier C.
    3. Tier C continues to work on the challenge or completes it and begins to help new students coming into their group.
  10. Last third of class:
    1. Tier B students work in partners or groups and take the next formative assessment when they are ready. Teacher floats between Tier B and Tier C helping and challenging as seen fit.
    2. Tier C students finish the challenge and work to create a challenge for the following class (or next year’s class).
    3. Tier B students are helped by classmates and teacher to move to Tier C before the end of the class.

Let’s recap:

First, you start with some type of work at home or at the beginning of class. Then you assess quickly on base knowledge of that concept. The pre-assessment separates your class into three tiers of understanding. The goal is to move students through tiers and provide different levels of support. With all students landing at the final tier for a challenging activity by the end of class.

The trick to making this successful is to embed choices into the activities during class. Allow students to pick partners and groups. Give students multiple types of questions to answer and activities to complete. Give the second-tier options on how they are assessed before moving to the final tier. Provide the final tier with options and choice to challenge their understanding and move past the application to a higher level of thinking.

I would personally start with a concept or skill that some students typically master quicker than others. In this case, you’ll have experienced the frustration of having students at all different levels of understanding, and know that there has to be a better way to go about instructing the entire class.

Start small with a short video, and quick activities at each of the levels. This way, when you move into bigger units of study, students will be familiar with the process and expectations. It’s amazing to watch the negative “snowball” effect of students falling behind stop immediately. In this model, there is no “falling too far behind” because students are all expected to reach a certain level of mastery by the end of the class.

4. The Choice Board Model

This is a self-paced option for the Hybrid A/B learning environment. The Choice Board allows for various levels of learning to take place and gives students choices in how they access information as well as demonstrate their understanding.

Here is a quick example of what a Choice Board might look like via Kasey Bell:

Novel Unit Tic-Tac-Toe

Here are the steps you can go through to create a Choice Board in your content area:

  1. Identify a unit/concept or skill and what you want students to know/do/make in order to demonstrate their understanding/proficiency.
  2. Create or choose an assessment/performance task that allows students to demonstrate mastery.
  3. List various instructional methods, resources, and strategies to prepare students for the assessment/performance task.
  4. Choose four-six instructional methods to turn into choice-board activities. Each activity should be a similar length in time and cover common material. Here is where you can add different types of technology or hands-on experiences to the learning process.
  5. Create a workflow for the students to follow. Have notes and formative checks as part of the choice-board design process. Allow for reflection during each activity when planning how long students will complete the activity.
  6. Introduce the different choices to students and describe what the goals of the activity are (as well as the assessment this is leading up to).
  7. Let students pick activities based on their interests/needs.
  8. As the teacher, a few of the activities/options might need more guidance than others. Make sure you aren’t just “managing” this activity, but instead truly acting as a guide and expert learner when the opportunity is available.
  9. Once the choice-board activities are complete, put students into small groups to “jigsaw” their reflection. Bring students from different activities together to reflect on their learning experience and share (this can be written, audio, or video reflections – think Flipgrid).
  10. Listen to reflections and check the formative pieces for each activity to see if students are prepared for the assessment. If not, feel free to go through one more activity together as a class or talk about any topics/concepts they did not understand during the activity.
  11. Give the assessment/performance task.
  12. BONUS OPTION: Make your assessment into a choice-board with multiple performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate an understanding of the content and skills.

As you can see, the process takes more time on the front end from the teacher, but you’ll know that students are prepared for a performance task by going through this activity.

When I began using technology in the classroom, these activities also turned into online experiences that could be done at any time. My ultimate goal as a teacher was to see my students succeeding and demonstrating their understanding of concepts and skills at a high level. The simple act of “giving students choice” changed how my students viewed our assessments, and how they prepared for assessments.

I share all kinds of Choice Board examples in this blog post!

What’s Next?

Planning, managing, and teaching in a Hybrid A/B environment can be difficult, but hopefully, these structures can give some options when thinking about how to get students engaged in the learning process. I would love if you shared in the comments some structures you are using in Hybrid learning!

Thanks for all you are doing for kids!

A.J. Juliani is the author, Empower and Launch (along with five other books). In addition to writing, he is the Head of Learning and Growth at NextLesson, and a Facilitator for the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (PLN). Reach out on Twitter @ajjuliani.

Freshwater Mussels via The Ephemeral Stag

 

Walking along the riverbanks, lake sides, and pond shores across the world are empty open shells that were once the shield of protection to many freshwater bivalves, also known as freshwater mussels. I, personally, have even seen shells mixed into “river rock” on playgrounds. When I was a child, I even cut my foot on one hiding in the tiny pebbles of my parks swing set. I never thought much about them. When we would go to the lake to fish or swim, I would collect them like I was a mermaid princess collecting pearls. I would take them home and keep them in my fish tank, which helped my fish live for years. My beta fish named “fish” lived over 6 years because of his little friends (or a parent who lied… time will never know). How little did I know that twenty years later I would be doing the exact same thing. This time instead of a mermaid princess, I get to act in a scientific and ecological manner.

Mussel beds die off due to pollution, water diversion and invasive species.

Worldwide some conservations and ecological organizations estimate upwards to 1,000 species of freshwater mussels and other organizations claim its more like 900 different species. North America houses a known 300 different freshwater mussel species. The US Fish and Wildlife Services claims the North America has the highest diversity in freshwater mussel species in the world. There are many hot spots for mussels in the US including but not limited to the Mid-West and the Appalachian Mountains. It is estimated that over 70% of the endanger freshwater mussels are found in these two areas. Tennessee by itself historically housed 129 of the nation’s freshwater mussel species. Now with in Tennessee, it is estimated to house only 40 species.

There are many types of species in one general area. Most can live harmoniously.

Pre-European Colonization (don’t get me started on that mess) times are in my opinion the most ecologically balanced times in North America. Natives understood the balance between nature and humans. The first uses of mussels in the now US, was by these Natives and was probably food based. Archaeologist and anthropologist have found multiple sites of discarded shells on the banks of rivers around tribal sites. They probably were not a primary food source for the tribes, but the evidence does point to a culinary use. Later, (when Europe sent a bunch of “Karenz” over) there was significant uptick in trade for the shells.

Mussel buttons

During colonization and Pre-Modern day (prior to 1970s), freshwater mussels were harvested from riverbanks by the masses not for food or trade but for buttons. Yes, buttons. The “clammers” would use boats and drag the river bottoms looking for mussel beds. They would then shell the poor creature, sand down the roughness, and punch holes through out the shell. These punch outs would then be polished and punched for buttonholes. This type of harvested lasted longer than it should have unfortunately. It wasn’t until the 1900, this type of industry slow due to massive die off of the natural mussel beds.

Dead mussels littering the banks of rivers.

So, what is so fascinating about freshwater mussels? Conservationist around the world are trying to save the species we have left. They act as a natural water filtration system as well as food for fish and castration. They are what is called a “niche” species. So basically, without them we won’t have freshwater ecosystems. They have a rough outer shell that is semi curved on both sides. The shell open for them to eat, breath, mate, and move (yes, they move). Inside is the organs and soft tissue. If you ever open one, it kind of looks like an oyster but smaller.

A freshwater mussel using a lure to bring a host fish close enough to release its offspring into the nose of the host fish.

Freshwater mussels can live in almost any collection of freshwaters from pond and stream all the way to lakes and major rivers. Each species has its preferred depth and habitat. Also, the majority of freshwater mussel need fish to act as a host when mating. Some will even use their soft tissue disguised as a fish or prey to lure in the host fish. These may seem like simple creatures on the surface but they in fact are surprisingly in genius.

A mussel bed on the river floor

While we try to restore, what a boat load of people destroyed, there are still massive problems in their ecosystem that threatens the survival of the species. During the decades between 1930s to 1970s and even later there were over 80,000 dams built in the US, in an effort to use hydro power and control water flows and regulate flood waters. As well as dams the US dug canals and channels to divert water flows. There are over 18,000 canals in the US to this date. Both cause problems for the freshwater mussel by many factors. The waters become deeper in areas that were shallow before which can cause less area the mussels can survive in. It stops or impinges on the migration of the host fish species, causing reproduction to dwindle.

Dead mussels along a pond bank

Newer problems like pollution is not only affecting the host and phytoplankton that they feed on but the mussels themselves. There are multiple studies showing the biological affects of heavy metals, chemical and other man made pollutants. These contaminations cause lower body mass, lowered behavioral movement, and lowered overall survivability for the individual. It’s like if you have to live in your neighbors trash dump. You can’t find food. You can’t find love. And you won’t survive long periods of time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lastly, invasive species are also causing a threat to the native freshwater mussels. Many species will come in on boats from other areas and take advantage of the new area. Other mussels, like the Zebra Mussel of Russia, leach off others for nutrients and other sustainable substances. There are new policies of how to maintain and care for the boats traveling in different waters, in order to slow the progression of the spread. However, it will take a lot of help from us as humans to undo our mistake.

Invasive Zebra Mussels attached to a native freshwater mussel

Protecting endangered species should be a priority for conservationists. A creature like the freshwater mussel is overlook so many times. It is important to know how vital they are to the ecosystem and how not to cause them more harm. Things you can do to help the protect these creatures is 1. To vote in all elections. Do your research! 2. Cut down on plastic usage. Many plastics and industries run off contaminate the water. 3. Spread your knowledge! A lot of people don’t see freshwater mussels as creatures that need protection or that they even exist and why they are important.

Sources

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/americas-freshwater-mussels-are-going-extinct-heres-why-that-sucks/

https://www.knowablemagazine.org/article/living-world/2019/hidden-strengths-freshwater-mussels

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/freshwater_mussels/index.html

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/12/freshwater-mussels-die-off-united-states/

https://molluskconservation.org/MUSSELS/What_Mussel.html

https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/clams/mussels.html

https://xerces.org/endangered-species/freshwater-mussels/about

Walking along the riverbanks, lake sides, and pond shores across the world are empty open shells that were once the shield of protection to many freshwate

via Forgotten Mussels — The Ephemeral Stag

Cleaning up oil spills with hair via Science Everyday

Adsorption of oil with hair is the adhesion of atoms, ions or molecules from a gas, liquid or dissolved solid to a surface. This process creates a film of the adsorbate on the surface of the adsorbent.

What this means is that hair allows oil to coat, hence effectively absorbing it. And given the surface area, cheap costs, and renewability of hair, this is a great solution.

Hair clippings are a low-tech, yet remarkably effective method to tidy up oil spills In fact, a San Francisco-based environmental non-profit organisation, Matter of Trust, has collected donations of thousands of pounds of human hair to clean up after the thousands of oil spills that happen each year.

Oil spills are an example of the havoc humanity often wreaks on the environment. In the last thirty odd years, the issue of oil spills and their effects has become a much talked about topic (And for all the wrong reasons).

So, how does an oil spill happen?

Oil spills happens when liquid petroleum is released into the environment by vehicle, vessel or pipeline.

It happens on a large scale and is mostly seen in water bodies. We’re not talking about a few litres here and there. We’re talking about millions of litres of oil spilling into the ocean.

Take the case of the M/T Haven Tanker Oil Spill. This devastating event watched approximately 45 million litres of oil fall into the ocean. Not only is this a significant loss, but the damages inflicted upon the environment have long lasting consequences.

And this is just one oil spill out of the many. Hundreds of oil spills take place every year. The news of many which don’t even reach us. Crude oil can be released by tankers on land. In water bodies, the spill occurs due to drilling rigs, offshore oil platforms and wells.

While the sources of oil spills are many, the solutions are limited.

Oil floats on water and prevents sunlight to pass through it. The shiny substance that you see sometimes on top layer of water is nothing but oil which makes it difficult for plants and sea animals to survive.

Underwater plants die. Oil weighs down the wings of birds that can no longer fly easily. It contaminates food, water and destroys the entire ecosystem.

See the source image
Birds struggling in oily water. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-gulf-anniversary-20150418-story.html

Unfortunately, cleaning up of oil spill is no easy task. Various factors need to be considered before carrying out operations. Some of them being amount of oil spilled, temperature of water, type of beaches and many more.

Currently methods used involve skimmers, dispersants an bio degradant technology. But is there a better way?

The answer lies in your hair.

Have you ever noticed how your hair becomes greasy when you don’t wash it for a while? Why does this happen? It happens because hair is adsorbent.

Adsorption is the adhesion of atoms, ions or molecules from a gas, liquid or dissolved solid to a surface. This process creates a film of the adsorbate on the surface of the adsorbent.

What this means is that hair allows oil to coat, hence effectively absorbing it. And given the surface area, cheap costs, and renewability of hair, this is a great solution.

Hair can also be washed repeatedly and this does not damage its ability to absorb oil. The average person takes around 150 haircuts in their lifetime. Hair is low-cost, easily available and a great alternative to chemical treatments.

This idea was the brainchild of Phil McCrory, a former hairdresser from Alabama and it has the potential to change the environment completely.

One of the most important takeaways from this, is how simple solutions can be used to bring around large change. I hope this encourages each one of you to try learning new things. Because, the solution of the biggest global problems lie in the simplest, most unassuming of places. And it might even be your barber’s floor.

-Adyesha Singhdeo

References

https://www.sciencealert.com/could-human-hair-be-used-to-clean-up-oil-spills

Donate Your Hair to Clean Up the Oil Spill

 

How Are Oil Spills Cleaned Up?

Cleaning oil spills with hair

Bringing innovative solutions to life.

 Hair clippings are a low-tech, yet remarkably effective method to tidy up oil spills In fact, a San Francisco-based environmental non-profit organisation, Matter of Trust, has collected donations of thousands of pounds of human hair to […]

via Cleaning up oil spills with hair — Science Everyday

Technology can help Us save the Environment and Achieve Global Sustainability by Preventing further Degradation via Scientific Inquirer

The use of big data can help scientists’ chart not only the degradation of the environment but can be part of the solution to achieve sustainability, according to a new commentary paper.

The paper, ‘Opportunities for big data in conservation and sustainability’, published today in Nature Communications, said increased computing speeds and data storage had grown the volume of big data in the last 40 years, but the planet was still facing serious decline.

Lead author Dr Rebecca Runting from the University of Melbourne’s School of Geography says that while we currently have an unprecedented ability to generate, store, access and analyse data about the environment, these technological advances will not help the world unless they lead to action.

“Big data analyses must be closely linked to environmental policy and management,” Dr Runting said. “For example, many large companies already possess the methodological, technical, and computational capacity to develop solutions, so it is paramount that new developments and resources are shared timely with government, and in the spirit of ‘open data’.”

Commentators noted that 2.3 million km2 of forest was lost over the years 2000 to 2012 and that dynamic marine and coastal ecosystems have revealed similar declines. An analysis of over 700,000 satellite images shows that Earth has lost more than 20,000 km2 of tidal flats since 1984.

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently seeing governments making rapid (health) decisions based on fairly sophisticated data analysis,” Dr Runting said. “There may be opportunities to learn from this and achieve a similarly tight coupling of analysis and decision-making in the environmental sector.”

Co-author Professor James Watson from the University of Queensland said with platforms like Google Earth Engine and the capacity of satellites to track and send information quickly to computers, big data was capable of identifying eco-health risks globally.

“What the big data revolution has helped us understand is the environment is often doing worse than what we thought it was. The more we map and analyse, the more we find the state of the environment, albeit Antarctic ice sheets, wetlands, or forests, is dire. Big data tells us we are running out of time,” Professor Watson said.

“The good news is the big data revolution can help us better understand risk. For example, we can use data to better understand where future ecosystem degradation will take place and where these interact with wildlife trade, so as to map pandemic risk.”

Dr Runting said big data has been pivotal in quantifying alarming spatial and temporal trends across Earth. For example, an automated vessel tracking and monitoring system is being used to predict illegal fishing activity in real-time.

“This has allowed governments quickly investigate particular vessels that may be undertaking illegal fishing activity within their jurisdiction, including within Australian waters,” she said. Similarly, Queensland’s Statewide Landcover and Trees Study uses satellite imagery to monitor woody vegetation clearing, including the detection of illegal clearing.

Professor Watson cited a similar example. “Global forest watch has been a game change for monitoring the state of the world forests in near real time. This can help identify illegal activities and informed active enforcement of forest conservation around the world,” Professor Watson said.

The paper also noted positive environmental changes due to human intervention such as greening seen in large expanses in China, which was driven by large scale national policies, including forest conservation and payments for restoration.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

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Earth just had its second-warmest December-February on record

Originally posted on The Extinction Chronicles: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/03/13/climate-change-earth-had-second-warmest-winter-record/5043841002/ Doyle Rice USA TODAY AD 0:13 SKIP Only the El-Niño-fueled winter of 2015-16 was warmer. Some of the most extreme warmth was in Russia, which smashed its record for warmest winter. Thanks to human-caused global warming, “this period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization.…

via What winter? Earth just had its second-warmest December-February on record — Exposing the Big Game

New Coronavirus Cases in California, Oregon, and Washington Suggest the Virus is now Widespread within our Community

The CDC is recommending that people who show symptoms should isolate themselves at home and call health authorities or their healthcare provider. Family and household members should try to stay at least 6 feet away from sick people.

New Coronavirus Cases in California, Oregon, and Washington Suggest Community Spread

BY ZACHARY STIEBER

(Courtesy The Epoch Times)

New coronavirus cases confirmed in the Pacific Northwest late Friday indicate the new virus is spreading in the community in the United States.

Washington state, Oregon, and California officials confirmed in total four new cases. Officials do not know where or how three of the patients became infected.

Community spread means that people acquire COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus, through an unknown exposure in the community.

The first case of unknown origin was confirmed on Feb. 26 in northern California. Still, officials held out the possibility that the female patient had come into contact with someone who traveled out of the country.

The new cases make it far more likely that the United States is experiencing community spread.

Epoch Times Photo
A support operations tent is seen at a earmarked quarantine site for healthy people potentially exposed to novel coronavirus, behind Washington State Public Health Laboratories in Shoreline, north of Seattle, Washington, on Feb. 28, 2020. (David Ryder/Reuters)

Health officials in Santa Clara County, California, reported that an older woman with chronic health conditions was tested after going to the hospital with a respiratory illness. The patient “does not have a travel history nor any known contact with a traveler or infected person,” according to county officials.

“This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission but the extent is still not clear,” Dr. Sara Cody, health officer for the county, said in a statement. “I understand this may be concerning to hear, but this is what we have been preparing for. Now we need to start taking additional actions to slow down the spread of the disease.”

Later on Friday, authorities in Oregon reported the state’s first case of COVID-19. The adult patient has no travel history to a country where the virus was circulating nor did they come into close contact with another confirmed case.

The patient spent time in the Lake Oswego school district and patients and staff members there may have been exposed to the virus, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Officials will try to locate the people the patient came into contact with.

After that, Washington state health authorities said two people—a woman in her 50s and a teenage boy—tested positive for the new disease. The woman traveled recently to Daegu, South Korea, which saw an explosion of cases in recent days, but the teen has no travel history and officials don’t know the source of his infection.

Epoch Times Photo
A woman wears a mask on Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange in New York on Feb. 28, 2020. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

The teen visited Seattle Children’s North Clinic on Feb. 24 and attends Jackson High School in Mill Creek. The Everett Public Schools superintendent decided to close the school on Monday for three days of “deep cleaning,” the Washington State Department of Health said.

All four cases were confirmed by the states using tests developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). States received the testing kits early this month but most couldn’t use them until Friday.

The positive cases are considered presumptive pending confirmatory testing by the CDC, which is required through an Emergency Use Authorization. But the CDC and state and local public health officials are treating the cases as if they were confirmed.

Local officials attributed the detection of the cases to the new tests, which cut days off the testing process. States and local labs that couldn’t test locally previously had to spend hours packaging samples before shipping them to the CDC’s Atlanta headquarters. The Oregon State Public Health Laboratory used the new testing kit just hours after validating it, Oregon officials said.

Authorities also said they expect additional cases, a message that has been repeated by both state and federal officials.

CDC kits
The CDC’s laboratory test kit for the new coronavirus. (CDC via AP)

“Given the extent of global spread, we expect to identify more individuals with COVID-19 in Washington,” Washington Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy said at a press conference.

Federal officials warned earlier in the week that community spread of the new virus was likely, citing the spike in cases in South Korea, Italy, and Iran.

“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters in a phone call on Wednesday.

Federal officials are using an in-depth report produced by its researchers in 2017 as a roadmap for how to deal with the virus. Without a vaccine or proven treatment, officials are focusing on nonpharmaceutical interventions, which fall into three categories: personal, community, and environmental.

Personal interventions include routine recommendations such as washing hands and staying home when sick, and measures specific to pandemics such as people voluntarily isolating themselves at home even if they’re not sick if a member of their household has become ill.

Community interventions can include closing schools and transitioning to internet-based teleschooling and changing business meetings from in-person to online as well. Some locales could postpone or cancel large gatherings.

Environmental interventions primarily revolve around cleaning surfaces. The school closing for cleaning is an example of an environmental intervention.

california department of health
Narimon Mirza stands next a to a whiteboard showing the number of COVID-19 cases around the world at the Medical Health and Coordination Center at the California Department of Public Health in Sacramento on Feb. 27, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Americans, Messonnier said, should start preparing for “significant disruption” to their lives.

The new virus emerged in China late last year and has spread to dozens of countries, infecting patients in over a dozen countries for the first time this week alone. The virus spreads primarily through close contact. Patients who test positive are typically isolated in hospitals or at home. The origin of the virus isn’t known. Coronaviruses often circulate in animals and only in rare cases jump to humans before being transmitted between people.

Symptoms of the virus are similar to the flu and include fever, headache, and a dry cough. The incubation period is believed to be one day to 14 days.

Experts recommend people frequently wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing. Other prevention techniques include avoiding close contact with sick people, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, and not touching one’s eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands

via New Coronavirus Cases in California, Oregon, and Washington Suggest Community Spread

10 Reasons To Get Out And Be In Nature — A Pursuit of Life –

Nature is alive and full of high vibration healing energy. With technology having taken over the world, we are full of radiation and health depleting substances. We have built walls between us and the outdoor world. The majority of people spend up to 90% of their time indoors. We get so wrapped up with work, […]

via 10 Reasons To Get Out And Be In Nature — A Pursuit of Life – Barefoot&HighHeeled

Tips For Making Your Transition To Healthy Dining Easier via lifesfinewhine

Here are some tips to make your transition to veganism easier whether you’re doing Veganuary or thinking of a permanent lifestyle/diet change. Hope they help! Wait a while before trying substitutes- Your taste buds get really used to the taste of non-vegan food if you have, like most people, been eating them your whole life. However, […]

via Tips For Making Your Transition To Veganism Easier — lifesfinewhine

WATCH: Oak Park Home Engulfed In Flames Collapses As CBS2’s Tom Wait Reports Live — CBS Los Angeles

List of Closures and Evacuations | Real-Time Updates OAK PARK, Calif. (CBSLA) — The devastating Woolsey Fire continues to spread across the Southland, causing the evacuation of over 75,000 homes already in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. CBS 2’s Tom Wait witnessed the fire’s destructive power firsthand while reporting from Oak Park. (CBS2) In the video…

via WATCH: Oak Park Home Engulfed In Flames Collapses As CBS2’s Tom Wait Reports Live — CBS Los Angeles

The Future of Water

Where will water come from?

Earlier this month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their landmark report on Global Warming of 1.5°C which warned the world has just 12 years to limit global warming in order to avoid extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty. So now feels like as good a time as ever to talk about the future.

What’s IS the world going to look like in 2050? or in 2100? And what role will water resources play in it all?

static1.squarespace.com

Here in Australia it’s already clear that growing city populations and the drying climate have impacted the water storage levels. And in Perth, meeting our water supply demand by storing rainwater in dams is a distant memory. Clean drinking water in Perth is now sourced almost entirely from groundwater (~ 46%) and desalination (~45%) with less than 7% attributed to rainfall. Worryingly, almost half of people in WA don’t know where their drinking water comes from! If recent events in Cape Town teach us anything it’s that public awareness of clean water supplies is a crucial element of resource sustainability.

As water-related problems get more complicated we need to get smarter – the water industry needs digital disruption; machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) are combining to disrupt the way water businesses operate

As time goes by water is likely to play a larger role in political tension as well; both on a national and international scale. Researchers from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) analysed past “hydro-political interactions” (instances of conflict and cooperation over water resources) in international river basins to identify where conflict is likely to emerge around the world.

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So in the spirit of National Water Week, we here at Urbaqua encourage you to take a moment to think about the role that water currently plays in your life, how important clean water resources are to the way we live, and what you can do at an individual level to help relieve the enormous pressures that we’re collectively facing on sustainable clean water.

 

It’s National Water Week and the theme is ‘Water for Me, Water for All‘. Earlier this month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their landmark report on Global Warming of 1.5°C which warned the world has just 12 years to limit global warming in order to avoid extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty. […]

via The Future of Water — The Essential Current

Urban Farming

What is urban farming?

Urban farming is when traditional farming such as growing food, bee keeping and raising animals or fish is practiced in urban areas. This can be within or around cities and in villages. In recent years urban farming as become more popular due to environmental awareness and a demand for organic food.

Benefits of Urban Farming

Urban Farming in sustainable – Whether on a small scale like a personal garden or a larger scale with green spaces if managed and looked after it can provide food for many years. Jobs can be created too if it is a larger space.

Urban farming helps the environment – The fruits and vegetables planted benefits the local air by using carbon up in our air due to pollution. Because the food is grown and distributed locally it also reduces the carbon footprint left by the usual transportation of food from farms to supermarket.

Better quality nutrition – Growing and nurturing locally gives you control of how you feed and grow your plants. Pesticides can be avoided, it is well known organic food is better for us. It can also be a family or communal project, in particular it teaches children about food and encourages them to eat their veggies.

Food brings people together – For centuries food has brought communities together whether due to a religious holiday or traditional festival. Urban Farming in communal areas can bring the sense of pride in community back.

Makes the concrete jungle green again – Having a urban farming space brings green back to a typically grey space. Here is a great example of how Chicago brought some green back to its city:

Urban Farming Chicago

Urban Farming is a worldwide movement and cities all over the world are taking a step to improve their cities:

Prinzessinnengarten, Berlin, Germany:

Urban Farming Berlin

Lufa Farms, Montreal, Canada:

Urban Farming Canada

Sky Greens, Lim Chu Kang area, Singapore:

Urban Farming Singapore

How can I start Urban Farming?

We can all contribute to making our planet a green place. You don’t need access to a huge garden, it can be a small herb pot, chilli or tomato plant. Here are some easy options to get you started for any budget in a variety of styles. Links added for you already:

Grow Me – Hot stuff chillies – £6.99

grow me chilli

Grow It Chilli Plant – £12.99

Grow it Chilli Plant

Indoor Allotment (Grow your own herbs) – £24.99

Indoor Allotment Herbs

Personalised Wooden Planter – £29.99

Personalised wooden planter

*Prices correct at time of posting.*

Whether it is for yourself or a gift, Urban Farming is accessible to anyone and we can all reduce our carbon footprint. These small and affordable ideas are how to can begin to dip your toes into growing your own food. What One Change Now will you make to start your own green space?

Urban farming is when traditional farming such as growing food, bee keeping and raising animals or fish is practiced in urban areas. This can be within or around cities and in villages. In recent years urban farming as become more popular due to environmental awareness and a demand for organic food. Benefits of Urban Farming […]

via What is urban farming? — One Change Now

Contaminated Property Investors

http://www.winefieldinc.com/brownfield.html

Transaction costs matter — Ecology

Will Harris, a free-range chicken farmer in Georgia, recently learned first hand the importance of transaction costs. In the last few years, bald eagles have been treating his farm as an all-you-can-eat buffet. He was “excited” to see the first pair show up, because he viewed them as an environmental amenity. But now 77 eagles […]

via Transaction costs matter — FREEcology