Saturday, November 4, 2017

Science confirms you should stop and smell the roses

Is it any wonder that most happiness idioms are associated with nature? Happy as a pig in muck, happy as a clam, happy camper.
A UBC researcher says there's truth to the idea that spending time outdoors is a direct line to happiness. In fact, Holli-Anne Passmore says if people simply take time to notice the nature around them, it will increase their general happiness and well-being.
Passmore, a PhD psychology student at UBC's Okanagan campus, recently published research examining the connection between taking a moment to look at something from the natural environment and personal well-being. A recent study involved a two-week 'intervention' where participants were asked to document how nature they encountered in their daily routine made them feel. They took a photo of the item that caught their attention and jotted down a short note about their feelings in response to it.

Can science solve Ireland’s water problem?

Ireland is back in the dock. The Environmental Protection Agency recently found waste-water facilities do not comply with EU standards in 50 of Ireland’s 185 towns and cities, and that raw and untreated sewage is discharged into the environment in 44 urban locations every day. Irish Water estimates it will cost €18 billion to rectify the issues. Meanwhile, the European Commission is taking Ireland to court over our water quality.
What if the solutions lie on our own doorstep? “Science has the potential to solve our water problems,” says Prof Fiona Regan, director of the DCU Water Institute

ENVIRONMENT The ozone hole is at its smallest size since 1988, thanks to hot air and a massive international effort

One of the layers of atmosphere that protects all life on our planet is the width of two pennies, and hangs out six to ten miles above the Earth’s in an environment that human activity made extremely hostile. Every year when winter ends and warmer weather returns to Antarctica, chemicals that we put into the air rip a hole in the layer. But this year, that hole is smaller than usual.

This week, NASA and NOAA announced that 2017’s ozone hole, at 7.6 million square miles, was the smallest since 1988.
Ozone is a molecule made of three oxygen atoms bonded together. On the ground, it can form harmful smog. But above the Earth, it acts like sunscreen, protecting life from harmful solar radiation. When elements like chlorine and bromine undergo a particular chemical reaction in clouds, ozone takes a beating.
This year it was warmer than usual in Antarctica’s lower stratosphere, with temperatures the likes of which you'd normally see over the Arctic. The odd weather pattern was not conducive to the formation of ozone-killing clouds, giving that precious layer of the atmosphere a break.
The ozone hole was first discovered in Antarctica in 1985, and quickly linked to the increased use of ozone-depleting chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s). CFC's were everywhere at the time, and were seen as a better replacement for earlier industrial chemicals. They were non-toxic to humans, non-flammable, and used in refrigeration, air conditioning, and aerosols.
Alarmed by the effect that human actions were having on the planet, nations around the world signed the Montreal Protocol just a few years later, agreeing to ban CFC’s and other ozone-depleting chemicals. The agreement went into effect in 1989; but with CFC’s long lifetime, it wasn’t until very recently that researchers—who were constantly monitoring the health of the ozone layer—were able to truly notice signs of healing.

The 10 dogmas of scientific materialism, refuted


The ten dogmas of the prevailing scientific worldview are proving to be unreliable; at least, according to the provocative insights of biologist Dr. Rubert Sheldrake in his book Science Set Free.
Dr. Sheldrake gave a brief lecture on his book at a TED talk in 2013. Unfortunately, TEDx decided to ban Dr. Sheldrake’s lecture because he dared to challenge scientific orthodoxy.
Dr. Sheldrake has no qualms about the fruits science has provided. Nevertheless, he draws a line between scientific inquiry, which consists of hypotheses, evidence and cross verification, and the prevailing scientific worldview, which states that the universe is a closed system.
The belief that all reality is material is an outdated mode of thinking embedded in Newtonian physics, which describes the world as a mechanical clock. While Newtonian physics is a great way to understand the world at a preliminary level, it’s been gutted and left for dead by advances made in quantum theory and general relativity.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Rupert Sheldrake - The Science Delusion BANNED TED TALK

This is a link to an interesting TED talk which questions some of the unexamined assumptions of Science - watch and make up your own mind?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Newfound Alien Planet Is Best Place Yet to Search for Life

A newly discovered planet around a distant star may jump to the top of the list of places where scientists should go looking for alien life. 
The alien world known as LHS 1140b is rocky, like Earth. It is only 40 light-years away from our solar system (essentially, down-the-street in cosmic terms), and sits in the so-called habitable zone of its parent star, which means liquid water could potentially exist on the planet's surface. Several other planets also meet those criteria, but few of them are as prime for study as LHC 1140b according to the scientists who discovered it, because the type of star the planet orbits and the planet's orientation to Earth make it ripe for investigations into whether it’s the kind of place where life could thrive. 
"This is the most exciting exoplanet I've seen in the past decade," Jason Dittmann, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and lead author on the paper describing the discovery, said in a statement from CfA. "We could hardly hope for a better target to perform one of the biggest quests in science 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

This Dingo Has the World's Most Interesting Genome

Meet Sandy the dingo, owner of the world's most interesting genome.
The wild-born, pure Australian desert dingo recently took first place in the World's Most Interesting Genome competition, and will have her DNA decoded thanks to the Pacific Biosciences SMRT Grant Program. The grant provides genome sequencing for "a particularly fascinating plant or animal."
In a public poll, Sandy secured 41 percent of the votes to beat out a pit viper, a solar-powered sea slug, an explosive beetle and a pink pigeon for the top prize.

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