China makes it illegal to eat endangered species

July 13, 2016 by  
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A new law in China makes it illegal to eat members of an endangered species , a major step forward in protections for wild animals. However, animal rights activists claim the legislation doesn’t go far enough, because it fails to address other threats. Captive breeding, public performances, and consumption in non-food products (i.e. traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM) are still allowed under the new law, and conservationists argue that these uses are what motivates the largest portion of endangered species poaching. China’s new law specifically bans the sale of food products made from endangered species recognized by the state government. Writing for The Shanghaiist , Robin Winship said that “simply restricting the sale of endangered animals as food, while nice and all, does not nearly suffice” when it comes to protecting those animals. In this way, China’s wildlife policies are not unlike its environmental protection efforts, which are criticized widely for being too soft to resolve very real problems. Related: Increased demand for lion bones threatens the species more than ever Because the law doesn’t address breeding and medicinal uses of endangered animal parts , many animals will continue to be bred and killed for use in TCM . For instance, stomach bile from bears is used in elixirs, despite a total absence of scientific evidence of any human benefit. In order to collect the bile, bears are bred in captivity, forced to live in cramped cages, and the animals often die from botched surgical attempts to extract their bile. Meanwhile, rhinoceros horns are also highly sought after, to be ground to a powder and used to treat a variety of ailments, again without any evidence that the treatment works. Many other animals are carved up for so-called medicinal purposes, with plenty of other endangered species bred as exotic pets or to be killed for some other senseless reason, like fashion. There are a lot of unanswered questions about how the new law will be enforced, considering the difficulties (or perhaps impossibilities) of identifying whether an animal is being sold as a food ingredient or for medical purposes, or whether an animal was wild-caught or captive bred. Without implementing clear procedures for permits or licensing for legal uses, China’s government may have just passed a law it can’t possibly enforce. Via Good Images via Wikipedia ( 1 , 2 )

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China makes it illegal to eat endangered species

ICEBERGS immerse visitors in a beautiful underwater world in Washington, D.C.

July 13, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMJCd04ehKc ? Created as part of the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party series, the 12,540-square-foot ICEBERGS project comprises over 30 geometric, iceberg-shaped elements in a variety of sizes ranging from 16 feet to 56 feet in height. Some of the triangular pentahedron and octahedron “icebergs” are suspended in the air, while others appear to float. The jagged landscape was constructed from prefabricated units made from reusable scaffolding and translucent polycarbonate paneling . White slides punctuate some icebergs as a playful interactive feature. ? “ICEBERGS invokes the surreal underwater-world of glacial ice fields,” said James Corner, founder and director of James Corner Field Operations. “Such a world is both beautiful and ominous given our current epoch of climate change , ice-melt, and rising seas. The installation creates an ambient field of texture, movement, and interaction, as in an unfolding landscape of multiples, distinct from a static, single object.” Related: Gigantic swimmable ball pit takes over D.C.’s National Building Museum ? Visitors can experience ICEBERGS from the Great Hall floor that’s punctuated with triangular beanbags, caverns, and grottoes, or from a higher level where they can look down at the “water line” suspended 20 feet in the air. The tallest “iceberg” rises to the height of 56 feet and includes a viewing area. To complement the installation, the Daikaya restaurant provides Japanese ‘kakigori’ shaved ice treats. The installation opened July 2, 2016 and will run until September 5, 2016. + James Corner Field Operations + National Building Museum Images by Timothy Schenck

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ICEBERGS immerse visitors in a beautiful underwater world in Washington, D.C.

Zika may have claimed its first victim in the continental US

July 13, 2016 by  
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Last Friday, health officials announced that the first death related to Zika has occurred in the continental US. An elderly patient in Utah had tested positive for Zika virus after traveling to an affected region, but because of the person’s underlying health conditions, it’s not known if the virus was the sole cause of death, or if it merely contributed. Doctors were unable to confirm the presence of the virus until after the patient had already died. At this time, the Salt Lake County Department of Health is not revealing any further information about the patient, so their identity, and even the location where they contracted Zika, are both currently unknown. While this case is alarming, it shouldn’t be a reason to panic. There are been 1,132 cases of Zika in the US diagnosed so far , but all of the affected patients are believed to have contracted the virus while traveling. So far, there have been no cases of the disease transmitted within US borders . Related: Experimental Zika vaccine to be tested on humans for the first time This death follows that of a Puerto Rican man back in February. Unlike the continental US, there is evidence that the infection has been transmitted by local mosquitos within the territory. The CDC is advising that pregnant women avoid traveling to Puerto Rico, and that all travelers take measures to avoid exposure to mosquitos while there. Via CNN Images via  Shutterstock  and Pixabay

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Zika may have claimed its first victim in the continental US

6 cycling accessories every bike commuter needs

July 13, 2016 by  
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Bike commuters enjoy plenty of advantages with their chosen mode of transportation: less impact on the environment, great cardiovascular health, and being able to zip through traffic. But cyclists also run into a variety of dilemmas on the road. Luckily, a variety of companies are creating products and technologies that make bike commutes more comfortable and hassle-free. We’ve lined up six cool cycling accessories that are especially useful for commuters – check them out. 1. Fontus self-filling water bottle Running out of water on a hot and humid ride can be a nightmare for cyclists, but Fontus has taken care of that problem. The solution is a self-filling water bottle . Water droplets are harvested straight out of the air with the system’s two-chambered cooler, which turns condensation into drinkable hydration. The Ryde model can be affixed to bicycles, collecting as much as a half liter of H2O during an hour-long commute. 2. EVELO electric-converting Omni Wheel Unlike cars, you don’t have to trade in your traditional bike for an electric one. EVELO ’s Omni Wheel transforms your ride into an e-bike in just 30 minutes. The wheel contains the battery, electronics, and motor needed to power your cycle electrically and fits to replace most standard cycles’ front wheels. An adjustable pedal assist feature helps to customize your commute and links your travel data to a wireless display. The system is priced at about half the going rate for an entirely new electric bike, and you get to convert your cycle back to its human-powered glory whenever you want. 3. Buca Boot weatherproof bicycle trunk Any rider who has ever wished for spacious and secure storage during their commute would love a Buca Boot . Modeled after car trunks, the versatile storage system attaches to your bicycle and can only be locked or detached with a key. It features expandable side pannier bags and a wooden lid that can open on its hinges to accommodate larger items, like bags of groceries. The weatherproof design is perfect for all climates and riders can choose between three different colors to fit their style. 4. Self-inflating PumpTire tube Say goodbye to the days of over-inflating your bike tires before you hit the road. PumpTire ’s puncture-resistant bike tube uses the rhythmic compression of riding to fill your cycle’s tire during your commute. Once the preset tire pressure level is reached, the mechanism shuts off, completely behind the scenes, so you can enjoy your journey without the worry of going flat. Kits fit any standard, third-party 700c and 26-inch bicycle tires . 5. Bike Lift&Carry shoulder strap Carrying a bike up and down stairs is the bane of cyclists  everywhere, but this shoulder strap helps you transport your ride with ease, all while leaving one hand free to navigate doors or elevators. The Bike Lift&Carry system affixes below the seat, out of sight, until you need it. The strap extends to the handlebars, where a carabine keeps it securely in place for transport. A press of a button rolls the strap back into place until you need it again. The revolutionary product also comes in a variety of colors to match your ride. 6. DIY bamboo Mandy Fenders In less than 30 minutes, Bamboobee ’s innovative Mandy Fender can be installed without mechanical expertise. A special memory film in the design allows users to contour the fender to their desired shape and attach it to the frame. Riders can also switch out the interchangeable fender for each bike they own. The veneers’ bamboo material is not only environmentally sustainable, lightweight, and weather-resistant, but also an attractive addition to any bike. Images via Fontus , EVELO , Buca Boot , PumpTire , Bike Lift&Carry , Bamboobee

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6 cycling accessories every bike commuter needs

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