Giant condor returns to thank man who saved him after he fell from his mother’s nest

June 13, 2017 by  
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The bond between a human and an animal can be a powerful one, and the following video is a testament to this. After an Argentinian man named Edgardo rescued a condor that fell from its nest as a baby, he proceeded to care for it until it was well enough to be returned to the wild . Then, years after the giant condor found freedom, it returned to “thank” Edgardo. In the video, the condor walks up to his former caretaker and gives him a hug, nuzzling his neck. In response to the affection, Edgardo says, “Hi, how are you, you crazy thing, how do you do? What a beauty you are.” According to Edgardo’s cousin, the man took in the condor because he felt bad for it. “And that was the beginning of the friendship,” he said. The heartwarming footage has been viewed more than 1.2 million times on social media. Gloria Valdovinos, who was moved by the reunion, commented: “Beautiful to have a pet like this.” And, Rei Dom wrote, “What a privilege! Being able to have a magnificent animal such as this.” When humans empathize with other creatures and act out of love, it is not unusual for relationships such as this one to form. Via Daily Mail Images via Miratico

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Giant condor returns to thank man who saved him after he fell from his mother’s nest

Scientists discover 52-million-year-old tomatillo fossil

February 3, 2017 by  
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While not quite as charismatic as those of dinosaurs , vegetable fossils can provide game-changing insight into modern plants and their evolutionary process. A team of scientists led by paleobotanist Peter Wilf of Penn State University discovered fossils of tomatillos, that delicious relative of the tomato that is a key ingredient in salsa verde, in the Patagonia region of Argentina . Using atomic age dating techniques, the team determined that the newly discovered primordial tomatillos are about 52-million years old, at least 12 million years older than previously thought. Although the site where the fossils were found is now a cold and arid environment, the ancient tomatillos thrived in a very different climate. “The plants that generated these fossils were alive in a temperate rain forest next to a volcano,” said Richard Olmstead, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington. “When it finally snapped together [that] we were looking at a fossil tomatillo, it was quite shocking. It was disbelief. It was joy coupled with disbelief.” The tomatillo is a member of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplants, and tobacco. The recently discovered fossils are the most intact and earliest examples of nightshade to date. “It’s a tremendous find. It provides insight totally absent from the fossil record and our understanding of the family prior to this,” said Olmstead. Related: Scientist finds dinosaur tail trapped in amber – and it’s covered with feathers Wilf and his team have given the species name  infinemundi,  Latin for “at the end of the world,” to its tomatillo specimen in reference to both where it was discovered and the era in which it lived. “It’s a nod to the modern and ancient location,” said Wilf “It’s at the edge of Argentina, so the end of the world that way. And it’s at the end of this time in Earth history.” This ancient tomatillo would have lived on the edge of major geologic and climatic changes , including the rise of the Ande s Mountains and the retreat of tropical biomes. These disruptions would have set the stage for the great diversity that emerged from the nightshade family, which includes over 2,400 extant species today. Via NPR Images via Flickr  and Killy Ridols

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Renovated Vietnamese home ‘sewn’ together with intricate steel threads

February 3, 2017 by  
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Although most people probably wouldn’t like the idea of sewing their house together, Vietnam’s Block Architects have renovated a beautiful house inspired by the homeowner’s handcrafted leather goods business. The architects improved the narrow space by replacing unnecessary floors and walls with massive frames made out of small steel threads “sewn” into the structure, permitting optimal natural light and air ventilation. The entire renovation process was closely linked to the couple’s meticulous business process. “For a product to be accomplished, say a handbag, it takes many processes involving fastidious needlework,” they said. According to the architects, similar detail was essential to the project, “Like meticulous craftsmen, we carefully joined up every part of the house: old ones and new ones, separate ones and shared ones, together with wood, brick, concrete, metal and trees.” Related: Modular renovation in Vietnam makes 107 square feet feel livable Although the white frames might be seen as nothing more than a sentimental nod to the homeowners’ profession, they were actually chosen to let air and natural light penetrate the interior. The structure is quite narrow, so along with removing walls and floors, this feature was strategic to opening up the space. Additionally, the steel frames serve as a nice support for green climbing vines , adding a touch of nature throughout the home. On the brick-walled interior, an old concrete staircase was also removed to let in light. The new staircase was constructed out of floating wooden pieces held together with white rods. Once a dark, crapped space, the home is now illuminated from the roof to the bottom floor, which houses the kitchen and a vertical garden . + Block Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Quang Dam

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Renovated Vietnamese home ‘sewn’ together with intricate steel threads

U.S. veterans vow to block construction of Dakota Access Pipeline

February 3, 2017 by  
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Energy Transfer Partners may complete the Dakota Access Pipeline yet: they just have to get past thousands of U.S. military veterans first. Returning to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota days after President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order reinstating the contentious $3.8 billion project, Veterans Stand has vowed to stonewall the pipeline’s completion. “We are committed to the people of Standing Rock, we are committed to nonviolence, and we will do everything within our power to ensure that the environment and human life are respected,” Anthony Diggs, a spokesman for the group, told CNBC . “That pipeline will not get completed. Not on our watch.” The group, which served as “human shields” for protestors at Oceti Sakowin camp, just south of Bismarck, in December, have raised over $75,000 since launching a GoFundMe campaign last week. Veterans Stand is looking to raise $500,000 to purchase supplies such as food, firewood, propane, and first-aid kits, as well as arrange car rides for volunteers to and from the camp. Meanwhile, Standing Rock Sioux tribe has promised to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for moving forward with the construction of the pipeline under Lake Oahe without conducting the environmental-impact review it said it would conduct last month. Related: American veterans arrive at Standing Rock to defend Dakota Access Pipeline protesters “The Army Corps lacks statutory authority to simply stop the [environmental-impact statement] and issue the easement,” the tribe said in a statement . “To abandon the [review] would amount to a wholly unexplained and arbitrary change based on the President’s personal views and, potentially, personal investments.” Through at least mid-2016, Trump owned as much as $50,000 ETP stock through, according to financial disclosure forms. Although Trump said he has sold all of his stock, he has offered no verification that he has divested himself of it. Nearly 4,000 veterans descended on Standing Rock in December as protestors clashed with the Morton County Sheriff’s Department and the National Guard. Veterans Stand says it plans to mobilize thousands to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, environmentalists, and other demonstrators. “We stand in unity with our brothers and sisters in Standing Rock (and beyond) and our community is ready to mobilize,” the organization said on its GoFundMe page. + Veterans Stand for Standing Rock Via CNBC Photo by Paul and Cathy/Flickr

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Public rejects bill that would have sold 3 million acres of public land

February 3, 2017 by  
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This year Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah introduced a bill to sell off of 3.3 million acres of public land from 10 different states. The measure could have proceeded, but Americans resoundingly spoke out to fight the bill – and Chaffetz listened. This week he wrote: “I hear you and HR 621 dies tomorrow.” https://www.instagram.com/p/BP_zOxEF0-Q/ Chaffetz’s bill, HR 621, would have sold off land in Utah, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, and Nebraska. He first introduced the bill in 2013, and a poll conducted around then revealed 72 percent of voters residing in western states wouldn’t be as likely to vote for a candidate who backed the idea of selling public lands to make a dent in the deficit, which was one of Chaffetz’s proposals in HR 621. Related: Congress maneuvers to give away 640 million acres of American land When he reintroduced the bill in 2017, people made their voices heard. Many called representatives and posted on social media using the hashtag #keepitpublic to say they were against the bill. Chaffetz, who described himself as a gun owner and hunter who loves public lands in an Instagram post , responded to the public pressure. While he said the bill would only have sold small land parcels President Clinton “identified as serving no public purpose,” he said groups he supports feared the bill didn’t send the right message. Many people expressed their gratitude but also called for Chaffetz to withdraw HR 622 as well, which according to the representative “removes the law enforcement function from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service. Instead, the bill calls for deputizing local law enforcement, combined with block grant funding, to empower existing duly elected law enforcement offices to carry out these responsibilities.” Via The Wilderness Society Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Public rejects bill that would have sold 3 million acres of public land

Massive 6.9 magnitude earthquake shakes Japans Fukushima region

November 22, 2016 by  
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Early Tuesday morning, a 6.9 earthquake rocked coastal Japan , sending residents of Fukushima into a panic and raising fears of a rising tsunami . The quake led to a preemptive evacuation of the area, under the threat of 10-foot waves that could crash in at any moment. 110318-N-SB672-1598 The tremendous 9.0 magnitude earthquake that hit the area in 2011 was overshadowed only by the destructive waves that followed. Areas like the Tohoku region, pictured above, suffered a 50-foot wave that killed 18,000 people and left thousands of others without permanent housing to this day. This catastrophe fueled fears in this week’s major earthquake. Related: Japan restarts second nuclear reactor since the Fukushima disaster amid public disapproval Luckily, no damage or radiation leaks have been reported at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which went into a triple meltdown in 2011. The tremors hit at 6 a.m. local time and were 160 miles away in Tokyo . Waves three feet high were seen on the coast, yet authorities warned that higher waters could be coming. The extent of damage to the region remains to be seen. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, abroad in Argentina, said, “I have ordered my government to immediately collect and provide information regarding tsunami evacuations and do everything to tackle the disaster.” Via The Washington Post Images via Flickr , Wikimedia

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Massive 6.9 magnitude earthquake shakes Japans Fukushima region

Argentina’s renewables reboot: The good, the bad and the unknown

July 8, 2016 by  
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With renewed optimism around Argentina’s economy, where does the country’s renewable energy sector go from here?

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140-year-old Buenos Aires Zoo is shutting down and sending its animals to sanctuaries

June 27, 2016 by  
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After years of debate, the 140-year-old Buenos Aires Zoo just announced plans to shut down, free all of its animals, and work toward becoming an ecological reserve. Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta said that 2,500 animals will be relocated to nature reserves elsewhere in the country, while the zoo grounds are set to become an eco-park. In his announcement about the zoo’s closing, the mayor admitted that the animals were living in inhumane conditions. “This situation of captivity is degrading for the animals,” he said at a ceremony last Thursday. “It’s not the way to take care of them.” Some 2,500 animals will be moved from the zoo to various nature reserves throughout Argentina, where they will live the rest of their natural lives without being caged. Related: A baby dolphin died in Argentina after being manhandled by tourists The exact closure date for the zoo hasn’t been announced, but the zoo’s website has already been taken offline. For years, the zoo had been operating at a loss, and the aging facilities were not being maintained well. The 44-acre property will be reopened later this year as an ecopark, according to city officials, where around 50 animals will remain. Older animals and those with health conditions that require additional care will continue to live on the site, but they will not be on display. In the future, the park will also run a rehabilitation program for animals rescued from illegal trafficking. The new park, according to Rodriquez, will be “a place where children can learn how to take care of and relate with the different species. What we have to value is the animals. The way they live here is definitely not the way to do that.” Embed from Getty Images Perhaps the most famous resident of the Buenos Aires Zoo is Sandra , the orangutan who won rights in a local court as a “non-human person” in late 2015. The ruling set a major precedent for legal rights of animals, although the court has yet to determine what specific actions the city of Buenos Aires must take in order to fulfill its legal responsibilities. Sandra, a hybrid of Borneo and Sumatra orangutans , doesn’t socialize with other orangutans, so she needs extra attention. She will be one of the 50 animals who continues to live and receive care at the zoo site once it becomes a park. She will not, however, be put on display for public entertainment anymore. Via Treehugger Images via Wikipedia

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Russia wants to build a hyperloop trackif China helps pay for it

June 27, 2016 by  
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Strange things are afoot in Russia. The government wants to build a 70-kilometer (44-mile) hyperloop line along the country’s Pacific Coast, which would link Russia’s port of Zarubino with China’s Jilin province . There’s just one small catch, of course. Russia wants the Chinese government to help pay for the $500-million project since the high-speed transportation line would theoretically benefit both countries. Can Russia convince the Chinese government to help build a 600 mile per hour rail line? The Russian hyperloop project, reported by Global Construction Review , is part of the country’s largest scheme to improve transportation infrastructure and create corridors between its Primorye region and northeast China. China announced earlier this year it would spend upwards of $1 billion on its Silk Road plan, which involves re-establishing trade routes over both land and sea, so Russian officials are hoping leaders in China will see a great opportunity in the joint hyperloop project. Related: China unveils a wacky idea to build an 8,000-mile high speed underwater railway line to America Maksim Sokolov, Russia’s transport minister, commented on the plan on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) earlier this month. “I have already held talks with hyperloop company,” he said without specifying which company. “We have suggested the investors consider the construction project of the zone within the international transport corridor Primorye-2.” The ultra high speed rail concept, initially dreamed up by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk , is a hot topic in the United States, where two separate companies are racing to build hyperloop test tracks in Nevada and California. Each project has its own strengths and weaknesses, and only time will tell which team becomes the first to successfully open a working hyperloop. As for the Russian-Chinese venture, things look a little shaky. Although trade between the two countries is strong and Beijing recently indicated an interest in lending money toward another high-speed rail project (between Moscow and Kazan), Chinese support for a hyperloop is low. GCR reports that Yury Trutnev, a deputy prime minister and presidential envoy for the Far East, said Chinese investors were not ready to invest in projects to develop the Primorye-1 and Primorye-2 corridors “due to the lack of economic appeal.” Via Archinect Images via Hyperloop Transportation Technologies , VOA , and Wikimapia

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A baby dolphin died in Argentina after being manhandled by tourists

February 18, 2016 by  
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The beaches of Argentina are a tourist hotspot, known as a great place for relaxing and soaking up the rays. However, a crowd of tourists got overzealous last week at the opportunity to take selfies with a baby dolphin , and the result was disastrous. After being plucked from the ocean and manhandled by tourists, along with another dolphin, the dolphin suffered from dehydration and died. Read the rest of A baby dolphin died in Argentina after being manhandled by tourists

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