Michael Bloomberg pledges $4.5 million to fund the Paris climate agreement

April 23, 2018 by  
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Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg just pledged to personally cover the $4.5 million bill that the United States is obligated to contribute as part of the Paris climate agreement . In doing so, Bloomberg is picking up the slack for Donald Trump , who dramatically withdrew the United States from the Paris agreement in 2017. “America made a commitment and as an American, if the government’s not going to do it, we all have responsibility,” said the former Republican NYC mayor on CBS’s Face the Nation . Bloomberg, who has amassed a $50 billion fortune through his financial services, mass media, and software company Bloomberg L.P., has occasionally appeared on speculative lists of candidates for President of the United States. Still, the former mayor of the most populous city in the United States said that the likelihood of a Bloomberg 2020 campaign was “not very high.” When asked whether his actions served to fill a leadership gap in Washington , Bloomberg replied that he was simply serving the public interest “Well, I think that this is what the American public when you poll them say they want to do,” he explained. Related: Trump fails to evade climate change lawsuit filed by 21 youths Despite his apparent disinterest in presidential politics, Bloomberg did have a few words of wisdom for President Trump . “He should change his mind [on the Paris climate agreement] and say look there really is a problem here,” said Bloomberg. “America is part of the problem. America is a big part of the solution and we should go in and help the world stop a potential disaster.” Bloomberg has not committed to providing the funds necessary under Paris beyond 2018. He hopes that Trump will have changed his mind by then. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia and Face the Nation

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Michael Bloomberg pledges $4.5 million to fund the Paris climate agreement

How forest bathing can profoundly improve your health and well-being

April 4, 2018 by  
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Dive into the practice of forest bathing. Doing so does not clean your body, per se, but rather refreshes the spirit and benefits your mood and health. Even scientific studies back forest bathing. So what are you waiting for? Discover the new trend that can make you feel more connected to the world. What is forest bathing? Since 1982, forest bathing — called shinrin-yoku — has been practiced in Japan as a means of reconnecting with nature. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries created forest bathing as a way to promote national health and being outdoors. While this is not an ancient practice, many see it as a cure for modern ailments. Thanks to the internet, forest bathing has dramatically increased in popularity all over the globe. For the full experience, participants walk with trained guides–experts who help people see nature in a new light. Forest bathing has many similarities to meditation — it quiets the mind and spirit, and it aims to use the five senses to experience nature as never before. The activity unfolds at a much slower pace than hiking, and the destination itself is less important than the journey. What are the benefits forest bathing? As the popularity of forest bathing increases, science has begun to provide evidence for the practice’s benefits. In a 2011 study, scientists found that people walking in nature had lower blood pressure than those in the city. Another study in Japan showed that inhaling the aroma from cedar trees boosts stress-fighting compounds in the body. Most of all, forest bathing benefits your mood. Participants have seen improvement in both focus and attention, and researchers have even linked this practice to better focus in those with ADHD . Mental conditions such as depression, stress, anxiety and anger all show improvements in people who forest bathe. Related: Tiny meditation shelters are the perfect place for hikers to connect with the forest Forest bathing also has physical benefits — during the activity, measurable differences in several bodily processes occur. The immune system increases production of white blood cells that kill disease, and blood pressure and surgical recovery time decrease as well. If these weren’t reasons enough to try forest bathing, you may be surprised by how accessible the practice is. How to forest bathe While you may forest bathe on your own, it’s better to have a certified guide take you through the process. Like therapists who take their clients through guided meditation, these professionals are trained to help people put their minds in the moment. By 2019, the world will have 450 certified forest bathing guides across 23 countries around the world, so finding one will be easier than ever. If you don’t have a forest guide near you, you can still experience forest bathing on your own. The secret is integrating all your senses. Look, listen, feel, taste and smell your surroundings as though experiencing them for the first time. Don’t carefully focus on everything. Instead, examine your surroundings and look at things that capture your attention . A soft gaze relaxes you more than the constant, close focus of modern life. Take a deep breath through your nose and notice the peculiar scent of the forest. Plants have different scents, which act as natural aromatherapy. Don’t forget the soil. Microbes in it produce a smell that may act as an antidepressant . Feel tree bark and leaves. Run dirt between your fingers. If you feel adventurous, embrace a tree trunk. The variety of textures will give your sense of touch a treat. Close your eyes, stop walking, quiet your mind and just listen. The longer you open your ears to the sounds of the forest, the more you’ll hear, boosting your experience. Sounds include more than just the chirping of birds. Listen for the wind in the trees, the scuttling of insects in the soil and the noise of larger animals deep in the woods. Though you don’t want to taste anything in a forest without a guide, you can bring natural foods and drinks with you, such as tea or fresh fruits. This will be especially effective if the fruits are native to your area. Bringing your own food allows you to taste the forest without putting yourself at risk of ingesting a toxic substance. Where to forest bathe Forest bathing locations in Japan must meet rigorous standards set by the practice’s founding organization, but elsewhere in the world, forest bathing typically can be done anywhere. Several American resorts offer forest bathing , including The Lodge at Woodloch, Blackberry Farm and Big Cedar Lodge. While many people opt for their nearest natural space, those stuck indoors can still benefit from connecting with nature. Forest bathing guides take groups outside, but for those without access to the outdoors, just connecting with nature in any way seems beneficial. A study from Texas A&M University researcher Robert Ulrich showed lowered pain, anxiety and blood pressure in those who looked at photos or paintings of nature. Though still a new practice, forest bathing has already shown great promise in treating real conditions without the side effects of medication. Next time you go outside, why not find your nearest nature trail and begin your own forest bathing experience?

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No one knows why these bees build incredible spiraling hives

February 15, 2018 by  
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Caution: after what you are about to see, you may never be satisfied with run-of-the-mill beehives again. These design-savvy bees weren’t content to live in generic boxes like most bees, so they create spectacular spiraling hives that look like they could have come out of the mind of Zaha Hadid herself. Image courtesy of Tim Heard Known as sugarbag bees, Tetragonula carbonaria live in Australia and create unusual single-layer spiraling hives that are completely unlike flat beehives. There is only one entrance to each hive, and it is coated in a sticky layer that helps trap pathogens to prevent them from entering the hive. That bit of extra defense is nice, since sugarbag bees don’t sting – they bite. Image courtesy of Tim Heard Related: These tenacious bees create sturdy nests by carving out sandstone Ok, technically, sugarbag bees may not be design-obsessed builders. In fact, scientists aren’t really sure why they build spiral hives (which means they might just be crazy about innovative architecture , right?). It could be that the design improves navigation or air circulation, which is crap in traditional honeycombs. Whatever the reason, we dig it. Entomologist and ex-CSIRO research scientist Tim Heard has kept sugarbag bees for over 3 decades, and he’s keen to educate people about these amazing insects. According to his website , “stingless bees are highly social insects, with one queen and thousands of workers who live together in a protected place, which, in nature, is usually in a hollow tree.” If you want to learn more about these remarkable bees, head to Tim Heard’s website , Facebook page , or check out his Australian Native Bee Book . + Sugarbag Bees Via core77 Images via Tim Heard , Stephan Ridgeway and Wikimedia Image courtesy of Tim Heard Image courtesy of Tim Heard Image courtesy of Tim Heard "Bu nas?l bir #zeka! ?" deyip ?a??raca??n?z bir tür: #Ar?lar ? Resimlerde, #Avustralya kökenli "#sugarbag #bees" (#bilimsel ad?, #Trigona #carbonaria) olan ar?lar?n yapt???, tamamen #do?al #petek ?ekilleri. (#honey #hives) A post shared by Zeka ?stasyonu by @gokler (@zekaistasyonu) on Feb 3, 2018 at 12:37am PST

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No one knows why these bees build incredible spiraling hives

NASA identifies 219 new planet candidates – and 10 potential ‘Earths’

June 20, 2017 by  
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Our knowledge of the galaxy just expanded significantly, thanks to NASA’s Kepler space telescope. The exoplanet -finding machine allowed the agency to add 219 new planet candidates to their growing list. 10 of those planets are around the size of Earth and are around the range away from a star where water might pool on their surface. This new list of 219 candidate exoplanets is the most comprehensive and detailed from the first four years of Kepler data, according to NASA . It will also be the last catalog from Kepler’s view of a piece of sky in the Cygnus constellation. And it includes a planet National Geographic said could be the most like Earth we’ve found yet: KOI 7711.01. Related: 7 NASA discoveries that will blow your mind KOI 7711.01 is only about 30 percent bigger than Earth. It orbits a star 1,700 light-years away that’s quite like our sun, and receives the correct amount of solar warmth necessary for liquid water. Kepler research scientist Susan Thompson of the SETI Institute told National Geographic, “It gets approximately the same amount of heat that we get from our own star.” But there are still a lot of questions surrounding KOI 7711.01. Thompson said, “It’s hard to say whether it’s really an Earth twin – we need to know more about its atmosphere , whether there’s water on the planet.” After the release this week of the catalog, Kepler has identified 4,034 planet candidates total, according to NASA. 2,335 of those have been verified as exoplanets. The space telescope has also identified around 50 potentially habitable candidates around the size of Earth, with over 30 having been verified. Thompson said they’re now able to shift the focus away from simply finding new individual systems, and onto learning more about the worlds we think may be like Earth. This research has also allowed scientists to better classify planets. According to NASA, Kepler data has allowed scientists to discover a division between the sizes of rocky planets around the size of Earth and gaseous planets that are smaller than Neptune. They didn’t find many planets between those two groups. Scientist Benjamin Fulton of the University of Hawaii in Manoa said in a statement, “We like to think of this study as classifying planets in the same way that biologists identify new species of animals. Finding two distinct groups of exoplanets is like discovering mammals and lizards make up distinct branches of a family tree.” Via National Geographic and NASA Images via NASA/JPL-Caltech and NASA/Ames Research Center/Wendy Stenzel

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NASA identifies 219 new planet candidates – and 10 potential ‘Earths’

A giant zeppelin-shaped gathering space lands on the roof of the Dox Center for Contemporary Art in Prague

November 24, 2016 by  
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The design team found inspiration for the project in early twentieth-century airships and their symbolic qualities as structures that represent unprecedented technological advancements. It complements the existing complex that transformed an old factory into an important cultural hub in Prague. The airship will be christened after one of the most famous characters in utopian literature, Gulliver. Related: Gigantic Airship Hangar Transformed Into Tropical Island Resort “The idea to invade the DOX Centre’s starkly modern austere concrete -and-glass architecture with a “parasitic“ structure has been on my mind for several years”, said Leoš Válka. ” I first dreamed of an absurdly fascinating organic shape that would contrast with the DOX Centre’s existing architecture,” he added. + Hu? architektury Martin Rajniš + DOX Photos by Jan Slavík

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A giant zeppelin-shaped gathering space lands on the roof of the Dox Center for Contemporary Art in Prague

Chinese firm aiming for world record with 373 mph maglev train

November 2, 2016 by  
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China is on a mission to build the world’s fastest train. One of the world’s largest train makers, China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), is developing a new type of magnetic levitation (maglev) train they say will zoom the tracks at a top speed of 373 miles per hour (600 km per hour). The state-owned company has already started construction on a three-mile test track, but it will be at least a decade before the ultra high-speed maglev train opens to the public. Once it does, it might be faster than any other train in operation. In addition to the mind-blowingly fast train under development, CRRC is also working on two other maglev trains that can travels at 124mph (200kph) and 248mph (400 kph). The latter will run using 10 percent less energy than existing 217mph (350kph) trains already in operation in China. Both slower versions will work on “establishing domestic technology and standard systems for new-generation medium- and high-speed maglev transportation that can be applied globally,” Sun Bangcheng, a CRRC official, told China’s state-run news agency Xinhua. Related: First China-US highspeed rail will connect Las Vegas and Los Angeles in 80 minutes The current speed record of trains worldwide is held by a Japanese maglev train that reached a staggering 375 mph last year, upsetting the world record for the first time in 12 years. That train, which hit its top speed in testing, is still years away from being fully operational. Infrastructure concerns and the enormous cost of constructing the tracks will delay its grand opening until at least 2027. The 375 mph record will be a tough one for CRRC to beat, as their current promise falls just a few miles short of that speed. Nonetheless, CRRC is working on the 373 mph maglev train in an attempt to nab the world record. Via The Verge Images via CRRC

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Chinese firm aiming for world record with 373 mph maglev train

A sustainability leader’s lessons of a lifetime

September 6, 2016 by  
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Be fearless, speak your mind, mimic Steve Jobs — and don’t stop until you really, really have to.

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How corn sweat is making this weeks heat wave even worse

July 22, 2016 by  
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Right now, there is one burning question on your mind, and I know it’s “What the heck is corn sweat?” The week’s extreme heat wave is blistering the middle section of the United States, where excess moisture from corn fields will evaporate and add an unwanted boost of humidity (called ‘corn sweat’) to the already uncomfortable levels. With temperatures expected to rise up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit above average in some places, meteorology experts say the phenomenon will happen more often as global warming worsens. The U.S. is in the midst of a severe heat wave , and it’s hitting the central and eastern parts of the country especially hard. The proverbial ‘they’ are famous for saying “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity,” and in this case, it’s the darned truth. Scorching temps are plaguing most of the country this week, with the heat index rocketing into triple digits. Warm, moist air blowing in from the Gulf of Mexico combines with the corn sweat phenomenon to create a particularly miserable cocktail of heat and humidity in the Midwest, which is reflected in the heat index of what forecasters say will be the hottest summer on record. Related: Flame-colored NOAA map paints a picture of this week’s toasty heat wave As the effects of climate change wreak havoc on the planet, one of the outcomes is increasing levels of humidity, particularly during intense summer heat waves. Meteorologists have predicted that the next few decades will see this weather trend increase in severity and expand to impact even more areas, elevating the public health concerns associated with heat waves. Extreme heat is already one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths, particularly among the elderly and homeless populations, and the death tolls are likely to rise as the temperatures continue to soar. Via Mashable Images via Shutterstock and USDA

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How corn sweat is making this weeks heat wave even worse

Inception-inspired coffee table bends the mind with an inverted cityscape

January 8, 2016 by  
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Some people may choose an intriguing art book or knickknack to place on their coffee tables as conversation-starters, but with this mind-bending sculpture the coffee table itself is the centerpiece. Inspired by the now-classic movie “Inception,” Stelios Mousarris created a masterpiece featuring a curved wooden city which is quite literally turned on its head. Read the rest of Inception-inspired coffee table bends the mind with an inverted cityscape

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Inception-inspired coffee table bends the mind with an inverted cityscape

The Eco-Friendly Mat Every Yogi Can’t Live Without

November 10, 2015 by  
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Yoga has become one of America’s favorite go-to activities, and for good reason. Not only are there numerous physical benefits, but getting your downward dog on is also good for your mind and overall well-being. Yoga has become so popular that…

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The Eco-Friendly Mat Every Yogi Can’t Live Without

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