The fearless dog who refused to leave his goats during the Santa Rosa wildfire

October 17, 2017 by  
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It would seem that dogs, in addition to being man’s, are also best friends with goats and deer. Odin, a loyal, headstrong Great Pyrenees who guards his owner’s goat herd, refused to leave their side even when fierce wildfires bore down around his home in Sonoma County, California . “Even under the best of circumstances it is nearly impossible to separate Odin from the goats after nightfall when he takes over the close watch from his sister Tessa,” wrote Roland Tembo Hendel, Odin’s owner. “I made a decision to leave him, and I doubt I could have made him come with us if I tried.” Thankfully, even though buildings around their location burned to the ground, Odin and his goats survived and were even joined by a few adopted baby deer. Around 10:30, Hendel began to smell smoke at his property. About a half hour later, Hendel and his family caught their first glimpse of flames coming into their valley. After Hendel and his family gathered their other dogs and cat into the vehicle, they had to depart without Odin, who refused to leave his goats . “Cars behind us on Mark West Springs Road were pouring flames out of the windows as they roared down the road,” said Hendel of the scene. “Later that morning when we had outrun the fires I cried, sure that I had sentenced Odie to death, along with our precious family of bottle-raised goats.” Related: Frida the rescue dog helps search for survivors after Mexico’s deadly earthquake Hendel and his family were thrilled to return and find their animal companions alive and well. Although every nearby structure had been destroyed, Odin kept his flock safe from harm. “Eight goats came running to see us and get cuddles and kisses. Dixon has a burn on his back the size of a nickel. Other than that they are perfectly fine,” said Hendel. Odin received minor injuries from the fire. The baby deer that joined the herd found both shelter and clean water with the help of their new canine papa. “Odin has lived up to his namesake,” wrote Hendel. “Pray for him and his charges. He is our inspiration. If he can be so fearless in this maelstrom, surely so can we.” Hendel and his family are raising funds, half of every dollar for a replacement trailer for Odin and his goats and half for the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue Center . After the trailer has been paid for, all of the proceeds will go to SCWRC. Donations can be made here. Via Treehugger Images via  Roland Tembo Hendel/Facebook

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The fearless dog who refused to leave his goats during the Santa Rosa wildfire

Ai Weiwei installs huge fences in New York City to challenge Trumps border control measures

October 17, 2017 by  
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Ai Weiwei continues to address the refugee crisis through his latest multi-site, multi-media exhibition in New York City . In a campaign against Donald Trump’s border-control measures, the famous Chinese artist and human-rights activist has enclosed spaces throughout New York with gigantic security fences . The project, titled Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, includes a huge golden cage placed in Central Park, and a fence-like enclosure embedded within the Washington Square Arch. In 2016, Weiwei traveled to 23 countries and visited over 40 refugee camps while filming his documentary Human Flow . He chose a proverb from Robert Frost’s poem Mending Wall as the title for this new piece, which continues to explore the theme of borders. Related: Ai Weiwei Uses 1.2 Million LEGO Bricks to Portray 176 Political Prisoners and Exiles The artist worked with New York charity the Public Art Fund to create temporary structures in three locations in New York City. Funded through Kickstarter, the project aims to provoke and further the discussion about Trump’s plans to tighten immigration controls. The large circular gold structure, titled Gilded Cage, was installed on the Doris C Freedman Plaza, just a few minutes away from Trump Tower . The second installation is embedded in the Washington Square Arch as a mirrored passageway in the shape of two joined human figures. In Queens, Weiwei wrapped the Unisphere in Corona Park in mesh netting to create a low-lying fence. The exhibition will run until 11 February 2018, and it also includes several smaller interventions scattered throughout the city. + Ai Weiwei Photos by Jason Wyche via Public Art Fund, NY

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Ai Weiwei installs huge fences in New York City to challenge Trumps border control measures

Villagers in Peru stumble across what may be an ancient Inca city

October 17, 2017 by  
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Locals in the southern rainforest of Peru may have stumbled across an Inca city while grazing cattle. The Provincial Municipality of La Convención shared images of the site, close to the National Sanctuary of Megantoni. In a space around two hectares big, residents found houses, walls, passageways, platforms, and streets that could date all the way back to the Inca civilization . Villagers told local authorities of their find – which occurred on September 9 – and returned with officials to take another look at what could be an old Inca citadel that had been covered by vegetation. La Convención mayor Wilfredo Alagon said he would report the find to the Decentralized Culture Directorate of Cusco (DDCC), and monument management body head Jorge Yabar Zamalloa told the Andina news agency they have sent an archaeologist to the site to put together a technical report. Related: 2,000-year-old pre-Aztec ancient palace complex found in Mexico Structures made with stone can be glimpsed in the photographs, which have been presented as evidence for the city, according to Andina. There’s no firm date attached to the archaeological remains as of yet – although the Inca civilization flourished between 1,425 C.E. and 1,532 C.E. in South America, according to the non-profit organization Ancient History Encyclopedia . The Inca civilization often utilized stone in buildings. In a 2014 article , Ancient History Encyclopedia writer Mark Cartwright said, “Inca architecture includes some of the most finely worked stone structures from any ancient civilization…it typically incorporated the natural landscape yet at the same time managed to dominate it to create an often spectacular blend of geometrical and natural forms.” Alagon said they’ll take measures to protect these remains, according to Archaeology. Via Archaeology , Provincial Municipality of La Convención , and Andina Images via Provincial Municipality of La Convención

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Villagers in Peru stumble across what may be an ancient Inca city

70-mile wide group of butterflies shows up on radar, confuses weather scientists

October 6, 2017 by  
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“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… a flock of migrating butterflies!” After spotting a colored mass flitting over Denver and nearby counties, weather scientists at the National Weather Service supposed the phenomenon was just a group of birds. With the help of social media users, however, they later realized that the group of loosely spaced insects with big wings comprised thousands of butterflies. It turns out, there are so many butterflies migrating across central U.S., they showed up on the radar . Look at what's flying into Denver! Radar from last hour showing what we believe to be birds. Any bird experts know what kind? #ornithology pic.twitter.com/EAqzdMwpFU — NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) October 3, 2017 Weather scientists at the Boulder meteorology office posted the images to social media with the caption, “Look at what’s flying into Denver! Radar from last hour showing what we believe to be birds. Any bird experts know what kind?” After confirming that avians “rarely produce such a coherent radar signature” and taking into account social media users’ answers, the Boulder meteorology office realized they were actually butterflies. Related: 8 Ways that you can help save monarch butterflies “Migrating butterflies in high quantities explains it,” the group posted afterward. The Denverite reports that it is presently migration season for the painted lady butterfly. Orange-and-black in color, the butterflies are making their way from north to south, in time with the changing seasons. According to The Prairie Ecologies , thousands of the painted ladies butterflies travel between the southwest part of the United States/northern Mexico and the central U.S. every year. Because butterflies migrate with the wind, they were able to cover an area about 70-miles-wide. Birds, on the other hand, fly straight toward their destination. This was a big clue in differentiating the mass of flying objects. Said Sarah Garrett, a lepidopterist at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, Colorado , people as far away as North and South Dakota have spotted the butterflies , whose populations typically surge when flowers are abundant. Scientists believe the painted lady butterflies migrate to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico in the fall. Using radio tracking , studies have shown they also travel south from Europe to Africa in the fall, and return in the spring. Via Denverite Images via National Weather Service ,  Pixabay

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70-mile wide group of butterflies shows up on radar, confuses weather scientists

Frida the rescue dog helps search for survivors after Mexico’s deadly earthquake

September 25, 2017 by  
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A 7.1 magnitude earthquake recently rocked Mexico , and in Mexico City , 15 dogs came to the rescue. But few are quite as beloved as Frida, a 7-year-old Labrador who achieved Twitter fame. The Internet at first thought she’d found 52 people after the earthquake, and while that figure isn’t correct – she’s found 52 over the course of her whole career – it’s hard not to fall in love with a rescue dog in blue boots and goggles. Hit the jump to hear more about her tale. Frida is part of the Mexican navy’s Canine Unit. According to the Los Angeles Times, she has helped to find 52 people after disasters over the course of her career – 12 of whom have been alive. Around two weeks ago, she detected the body of a police officer following an earthquake in Oaxaca. Now she’s on the hunt for people in Mexico City, after a 7.1 earthquake killed at least 300 people across five states in Mexico. According to Al Jazeera , rescue operations halted on Saturday following a new aftershock. Related: 12 comfort dogs dispatched to grief-stricken Orlando Su valiosa ayuda y amor por el ser humano, hacen que de su máximo esfuerzo para salvar vidas #perrosrescatistas pic.twitter.com/jpidngFREV — SEMAR México (@SEMAR_mx) September 21, 2017 Frida, who’s named after famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, has been searching for people after suiting up in a harness, protective goggles, and boots on her four paws. She was sent to the Enrique Rebsamen school last Tuesday, where other emergency workers found 25 people dead and 11 alive. Her handler, Israel Arauz Salinas, said usually two other Belgian Malinois dogs, Evil and Echo, enter collapsed structures first, since they’re younger than Frida, each at a year-and-a-half old. If they detect someone, Frida goes in to confirm the find, typically taking no more than 20 minutes. According to Salinas, the dogs clue in rescue workers they might have found signs of life by barking. The dogs have had to hunt in spaces under 20 inches high. They’ve been able to crawl into places deeper than human rescue workers. Ella es #Frida , #OrgulloNaval que ha logrado salvar 52 vidas en distinto desastres naturales a nivel Nacional e Internacional pic.twitter.com/icYKDofDd7 — SEMAR México (@SEMAR_mx) September 13, 2017 Frida doesn’t just come to the rescue in Mexico. Salinas said Frida also helped after an April earthquake in Ecuador last year. Via the Los Angeles Times and Gizmodo Images via screenshot ( 1 , 2 )

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Frida the rescue dog helps search for survivors after Mexico’s deadly earthquake

Flesh-eating bacteria in Australia might be spread by mosquitoes

September 25, 2017 by  
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Cases of infections from a flesh-eating bacteria seem to be increasing in Australia . The bacteria Mycobacterium ulcerans can bring about Buruli ulcers, non-healing sores that slowly grow bigger. The ulcers are already a huge health issue in West Africa , and now Australia seems to be experiencing more cases. Scientists aren’t quite sure how humans get infected – though they suspect either possums or mosquitoes . Victoria, Australia saw 89 reported cases of Buruli ulcers in 2014. In 2015, that number increased to 107, and in 2016 it was 182. Already, as of this month in 2017, there have been 159 reported cases, according to Allen Cheng, professor in infectious diseases epidemiology at Monash University , who wrote an article on the flesh-eating bacteria for The Conversation. Related: This billboard imitates human sweat to snare mosquitoes 32 countries in West Africa have seen cases of Buruli ulcers, which grow larger usually on arms or legs for weeks or months. Advanced infections sometimes result in amputation, and in the past people thought surgery was necessary to treat the ulcers. Now, most cases in Australia can be cured with antibiotics , and there’s a trial in Africa testing treatment with antibiotics. It’s not clear how people get infected, although Cheng said circumstantial evidence seems to point towards mosquitoes. The bacteria can be found in the insects, and infections often occur on exposed areas of the body where mosquitoes bite. But researchers also discovered possums, and their feces, seemed to be infected where there have been human cases. Cheng also pointed out that infections happen in areas of the world with different animal and mosquito species. He said early diagnosis is key; the infection is easier to treat before it spreads, but does grow slowly. He recommended asking a doctor about unexplained sores or lumps, especially if they persist for a long time. And even though we can’t say for sure if mosquito bites do spread the bacteria, Cheng recommended mosquito repellents and covering up skin as a way to try and prevent infection. Via The Conversation Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Flesh-eating bacteria in Australia might be spread by mosquitoes

New Japanese turbines harvest wave energy and protect coastlines from erosion

September 25, 2017 by  
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Surf’s up! Researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) in Japan are working to create special turbines that harvest the renewable energy of waves while simultaneously protecting coastlines from erosion. To accomplish this, turbines would be anchored to the sea floor with mooring cables and placed nearby tetrapods, star-shaped concrete structures designed to reduce erosion, or natural barriers such as coral reefs. These structures have enormous potential to work together to both dampen the impact of powerful waves on shorelines and capture the seemingly endless oceanic energy. The wave turbine’s pairing with a solid, anchored structure could take advantage of preexisting infrastructure in Japan. “Surprisingly, 30% of the seashore in mainland Japan is covered with tetrapods and wave breakers,” said Professor Tsumoru Shintake, the lead researcher on the project. “Using just 1% of the seashore of mainland Japan can [generate] about 10 gigawats [of energy], which is equivalent to 10 nuclear power plants. That’s huge.” Each turbine would feature spinning blades attached to a permanent magnet electric generator, protected by a ceramic layer to keep seawater out. The energy captured from the waves would then be sent through a cable down the structure and back to shore for grid usage. Related: This carbon nanotube yarn generates power when pulled The turbines are designed with safety in mind. In order to avoid harming wildlife , the speed of the blades is calibrated so that any animal caught into them are able to harm. Similarly, the blades are flexible, like dolphin fins, to avoid cracking under powerful storms and swells. The support structure is also bendable. Each turbine is estimated to last for ten years before needing to be replaced, but its creators are thinking even further into the future. “I’m imagining the planet two hundred years later,” said Shintake. “I hope these [turbines] will be working hard quietly, and nicely, on each beach on which they have been installed.” Via New Atlas Images via  OIST

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New Japanese turbines harvest wave energy and protect coastlines from erosion

Winning Mexloop Hyperloop design could connect 42M people in new megalopolis

September 15, 2017 by  
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Traveling between Mexico City and Guadalajara takes over six hours by car today – but imagine making that trip in under 45 minutes. It could be possible in the future with a new Hyperloop system proposed by Mexloop , a Mexican consortium which includes names like Arup and Fernando Romero Enterprise , co-designers of Mexico City’s New International Airport. Their suggested Hyperloop network is a winner of the Hyperloop One Global Challenge. Mexloop’s Hyperloop network could connect four major metropolises in Central Mexico , including the country’s capital and two of its cities with the greatest populations, according to Mexloop. The resulting megalopolis would connect 42 million people – which could be 60 million people by 2050. Mexloop says the proposed Hyperloop corridor would boost the economy and ease traffic in what they described as the most congested city in the world. Related: Hyperloop One conducts first full-scale test of superfast transportation system In addition to Mexico City and Guadalajara, Santiago de Querétaro and León would also be on the Hyperloop route, which would span 330 miles. It would take around 38 minutes to travel the full route. And the project could be cost-effective; according to Mexloop, early estimates hint a Hyperloop system could be two thirds of the cost of a high speed rail project. And Hyperloop tickets would cost around the same amount as a car or bus trip, or the price of a low-cost flight. Mexloop is already looking to the future, saying Phase 2 of the project could involve extending the route to Manzanillo in the west and Veracruz in the east, and north to Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo on the Mexico-United States border. The Hyperloop One Global Challenge drew more than 2,600 entrants, and Mexloop was one of 10 winners . Other winning teams submitted proposals for the United States, India, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Hyperloop One now plans to work with the winning teams to further hone the proposals. + Mexloop + Hyperloop One Images courtesy of Mexloop

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Winning Mexloop Hyperloop design could connect 42M people in new megalopolis

Plastic-degrading fungus found in Pakistan trash dump

September 15, 2017 by  
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We’re filling up the world with plastic , and the material takes up to a millennium to break down in landfills . A group of scientists sought a solution to our plastic problem in nature – and they actually found one: a plastic-devouring soil fungus . Our current solutions for dealing with plastic aren’t working well. Not all of the material is recycled , and it’s polluting landfills and oceans . Sehroon Khan of the World Agroforestry Center said in a statement, “We wanted to identify solutions with already existed in nature, but finding microorganisms which can do the job isn’t easy.” Related: Plastic-eating caterpillar could revolutionize waste treatment Khan, lead author on a study published this year in Environmental Pollution , said they took samples from a dump in Islamabad, Pakistan “to see if anything was feeding on the plastic in the same way that other organisms feed on dead plant or animal matter.” Turns out, there was such an organism: the fungus Aspergillus tubingensis . Laboratory trials revealed the fungus can grow on the surface of plastic, where it secretes enzymes that break chemical bonds between polymers. The researchers even found A. tubingensis utilizes the strength of its mycelia to help break plastic apart. And the fungus does the job rapidly: the scientists said in weeks A. tubingensis can break down plastics that would otherwise linger in an environment for years. Factors like temperature and pH level may impact how well the fungus can degrade plastic, but the researchers say if we could pin down optimal conditions, perhaps we could deploy the fungus in waste treatment plants, for example. Khan said his team plans to determine those factors as their next goal. Khan is also affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Science, and eight other researchers from institutions in China and Pakistan contributed to the study. Via Agroforestry World Images via Alan Levine on Flickr and courtesy of Sehroon Khan

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Plastic-degrading fungus found in Pakistan trash dump

Three hurricanes form in the Atlantic for the first time since 2010

September 7, 2017 by  
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While Hurricane Irma barrels through the Caribbean towards the United States mainland, another two potentially powerful storms are waiting in the wings. Following closely behind Irma, one of the strongest hurricanes recorded in the Atlantic, are Tropical Storms Jose and Katia. The presence of these storms marks the first time since 2010 that three active hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic. In what may prove to be one of the most active on record , the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has already demonstrated the unpredictable and explosive power of storms in the age of climate change . Jose, like Irma, is known as a Cape Verde hurricane for its origins in the far eastern Atlantic , near the island nation of Cape Verde off the coast of Africa . However, it is unlikely that Jose will follow Irma’s path nor will it likely be as powerful. Jose is expected to spin towards the open ocean and become a Category 3 hurricane, though it is not expected to travel over any land area. Related: Harvey forces National Weather Service to add new color to its rainfall map Katia is more closely related to Harvey, in that it too became a hurricane in the warm waters of the southern Gulf of Mexico. Despite its shared birthplace with the devastating hurricane that made landfall near Houston , Katia is expected to travel close to Mexico . It is currently nearly 200 miles northeast of Veracruz, Mexico, near which a small portion of the coast is currently under hurricane watch. Although three hurricanes active in the Atlantic at the same time is unusual, it is neither unprecedented nor unrivaled. During the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season, four hurricanes, including Hurricane Georges which caused major damage in Haiti and the Dominican Republic , were active during the same period. Via CNN Images via NOAA (1)

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Three hurricanes form in the Atlantic for the first time since 2010

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