Endangered bluefin tuna sold for $3.1 billion to sushi tycoon

January 10, 2019 by  
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A recent predawn auction at Tokyo’s new fish market brought a record-breaking bid for the endangered bluefin tuna. Sushi tycoon Kiyoshi Kimura, who owns the Sushi Zanmai chain, paid $3.1 million for the enormous fish, more than double the price from five years ago. Kimura’s Kiyomura Corp has won the annual action in the past, but the high price of the tuna this year definitely surprised the sushi king. Nonetheless, Kiyomura says: “the quality of the tuna I bought is the best.” The 612-pound (278 kg) tuna was caught off Japan’s northern coast, and the auction prices this year are way above normal. Normally, bluefin tuna sells for about $40 a pound, but the price has recently skyrocketed to over $200 a pound, especially for the prized catches that come from Oma in northern Japan. The biggest consumers of the bluefin tuna are the Japanese, and the surging consumption of the fish has led to overfishing which could result in the species facing possible extinction . Stocks of Pacific bluefin have plummeted 96 percent from pre-industrial levels. “The celebration surrounding the annual Pacific bluefin auction hides how deeply in trouble this species really is,” said Jamie Gibbon, associate manager for global tuna conservation at The Pew Charitable Trusts. However, there have been some signs of progress when it comes to protecting the bluefin . Japan and other governments have endorsed plans to rebuild the stocks of Pacific bluefin, and the goal is to reach 20 percent of historic levels by 2034. Last year’s auction was the last at the world famous Tsukiji fish market. This year, it shifted to a new facility which is located on a former gas plant site in Tokyo Bay. The move would have happened sooner, but was delayed repeatedly over concerns of soil contamination. Via The Guardian  Image via Shutterstock

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Endangered bluefin tuna sold for $3.1 billion to sushi tycoon

10 sustainable Halloween decorations for your green home

October 17, 2018 by  
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Halloween is just around the corner, but when it comes to decorating your home for the spooky holiday, it can be a challenge to keep things eco-friendly. Most store-bought decorations are made with non-recyclable plastic and covered in toxic paint or synthetic fabrics. But there is no need for frivolous spending and waste when it comes to decorating for Halloween. There are some great DIY ideas that you can use to upcycle things that are already lying around your house, allowing you to keep your environmental impact to a minimum. Egg carton bats Upcycle your egg cartons by using them as bat decorations. With some non-toxic black paint, ribbons, glue and googly eyes, you can make these cute egg carton bats from Crafts By Courtney. Bed sheet ghosts This idea is extremely easy, and all it takes is some old white bed sheets, leaves or newspaper and some string. Simply stuff your old sheets with leaves or newspaper and tie some string around the sheet to make the head. Then, hang them from  trees  to add a spooky effect to your front yard. Related: 6 DIY Halloween decorations made with upcycled materials Milk jug skeleton Dairy containers can come in handy when it comes to making sustainable Halloween decor. Save your old milk jugs and turn them into skeletons with string, scissors, a craft knife, glue and a hole punch. This idea from the Recycle Guys is a fun project to do with your kids, and it won’t cost you any more than the price of the milk you already drink. Yarn spider webs This simple Halloween decorating idea comes from Instructables , and all you need is yarn and scissors. Start by laying out a basic horizontal and vertical frame from the yarn, and then start weaving more yarn to make a web. You can find the step-by-step instructions here . Giant trash bag spiders If you put spider webs on your front porch, then it makes sense to add some giant spiders . According to Money Crashers, you will need some large black trash bags, leaves or newspaper, zip ties and a glue gun to make this creepy crawly. Mad scientist lab With some mason jars — or old baby food, pickle, olive or sauce jars — you can turn your home into a mad scientist’s laboratory. Put animal toys, eyeballs or other strange objects into each jar with some water and non-toxic or natural food coloring, and fill a shelf (or a window) with some crazy Halloween experiments . Mummy cereal boxes Who doesn’t have some old bed sheets lying around that don’t fit any bed in the house? I know I do, and white ones make the perfect Halloween craft item. Cut the fabric of an old sheet into thin strips, and cover a cereal or cracker box with the sheet pieces to make it look like a mummy . Then, add some googly eyes to make the perfect mummified decoration. Front yard cemetery With some used cardboard boxes, non-toxic paint, scissors and wood stakes, you can turn your front yard into a cemetery for Halloween. Make tombstones to place all over your yard, and if you add some artificial moss from a craft store, it will make it look even more authentic. For something you can use year after year, create your own tombstones from concrete . Ghostly lights Yet another idea for used milk jugs , you can make ghost lights with black construction paper, string LED lights , some googly eyes and a little glue. You can light up your walkway or front porch with these little ghosts. Gourds This is an obvious eco-friendly choice, but you don’t have to limit yourself to carving pumpkins for Halloween. Instead, you can wrap gourds in bows or paint them with non-toxic paint to create environmentally friendly decorations. If you want to keep things really simple, use plain gourds and pumpkins to decorate your dinner table, add some color to your front porch or line your steps or walkway. Then, compost your pumpkins and gourds after Halloween to help fertilize your garden. It is possible to go green at Halloween, you just have to look around the house for items that you can reuse to help reduce the problem of holiday waste. The options are endless when it comes to DIY  eco-friendly Halloween decorations. When you opt to make a few instead of buying plastic items at the store, the environment will thank you. Via  Care2 and Apartment Guide Images via Gurney Halleck , Quazie , Lenore Edman and Shutterstock

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Scientists discover a huge new human organ hiding in plain sight

March 28, 2018 by  
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Just when you thought we knew all there was to know about the human body, researchers revealed that they discovered an entirely new human organ.  Called the interstitium, it consists of a series of fluid-filled, shock-absorbing compartments that shield body tissues. The interstitium was previously thought to be dense layers of connective tissue, but it turns out that it is actually one of the largest organs in the human body  –  and understanding it better may offer clues to understanding how cancer spreads. Dr. David Carr-Locke and Dr. Petros Benias identified it as an organ while scanning a patient’s bile duct for signs of cancer. The doctors collaborated with New York University pathologist Dr. Neil Theise to further explore the structure and function of the newly identified organ. In a study published in the  journal  Scientific Reports , researchers note that previous research had failed to note the presence of the interstitium because traditional methods for the observation of body tissues involved the draining of fluid. “This fixation artifact of collapse has made a fluid-filled tissue type throughout the body appear solid in biopsy slides for decades, and our results correct for this to expand the anatomy of most tissues,” Dr. Theise told the Independent . Related: Changing the price of certain foods could save thousands of lives each year Researchers noted that the interstitium drains its fluids into the lymphatic system, which affects and regulates the body’s immune response. This means that cancer cells could potentially be released by the interstitium as it transports fluid throughout the body. If properly understood, this new organ could prove to be key in preventing the spread of cancer . “This finding has potential to drive dramatic advances in medicine , including the possibility that the direct sampling of interstitial fluid may become a powerful diagnostic tool,” said Dr. Theise. Via the Independent Images via  and  Jill Gregory/Mount Sinai Health System  and Deposit Photos

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Scientists discover a huge new human organ hiding in plain sight

The cost of high-efficiency solar panels fell 37% in 2017

February 22, 2018 by  
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In 2017, the price for high-efficiency solar panels dropped from 72¢/W to 45¢/W, representing a 37 percent decline in cost. The falling price point is driven by several factors, including American consumer demand for higher solar efficiency to compensate for the higher-than-average energy consumption of the average American, as well as Chinese state investment in high-efficiency solar panel production. The shift is also a result of technological change as poly crystalline solar panels switch to mono crystalline, which are at least 10 percent more efficient while only 6 percent more expensive. Meanwhile, the price continues to drop. The primary difference between mono and poly solar panels is the structure by which silicon is shaped and molded into the panel. In mono crystalline solar panels, silicon is formed into bars, then cut into wafers, whereas poly crystalline solar panels are melted together to form wafers. The process to create mono solar panels was invented in 1918. As a result, the earliest solar panels were of the mono crystalline design. However, during an oil crisis-induced burst of solar energy research in the 1970s, an Exxon researcher discovered that poly panels could be manufactured more cheaply. Related: All-female high school team invents solar-powered tent for homeless As we are seeing in the greater efficiency and steady decline in cost for mono panels as of late, the cheap manufacturing of poly had its own hidden costs. As 2018 rolls along, some analysts are predicting that this may be the year in which mono crystalline solar panels make up the majority of solar panels manufactured worldwide. The rapidly declining cost of solar energy , even in the face of resistance by the United States government , demonstrates the possibility that a rapid transition to renewable energy may not be as far-fetched as current reality may make it seem. Via Electrek Images via Depositphotos and EIA

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The Seychelles creates debt-for-conservation deal with Leonardo DiCaprio

February 22, 2018 by  
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The Seychelles, an island nation in East Africa, recently announced the creation of two new Marine Protected Areas roughly as big as Great Britain. It’s part of what The Telegraph called a debt-for- nature swap: the island nation gets a $20 million debt relief plan backed by investors (including the foundation of our favorite eco hero Leonardo DiCaprio ), and in return it will place controls on fishing and tourism industries. In a debt-for- conservation deal designed by The Nature Conservancy , the Seychelles will protect areas covering 81,000 square miles. The move is not without controversy: fishing is limited in areas commercial fishermen and tour operators for years; in some places, like the Aldabra region, people won’t be allowed to fish at all. Tourism has been successful in the Seychelles in recent years, but The Telegraph said record numbers of visitors have taken their toll on the islands; commercial fishing has increased to meet demand. Biodiversity has eroded in the wake of two recent coral bleaching events. The Telegraph said debt restructuring will essentially send Seychelles repayments into a trust set to invest in plans to foster a sustainable blue economy. Related: Leonardo DiCaprio launches a new fund to save the lions Nature Conservancy said the Seychelles are among the nations most vulnerable to climate change because of their dependence on marine resources. They said the Marine Protected Areas will help the nation better prepare for the impacts of sea level rise , warming waters, and ocean acidification . “Without these Marine Protected Areas, activities like oil and gas exploration, deep-sea mining, dredging, and controversial fishing techniques could take place in one of the planet’s most biodiverse oceans with little or no restriction or direction,” the organization said. Today, Seychelles announced two new marine protected areas that equal the size of Great Britain. Join me and @nature_org in congratulating all those who made it happen. https://t.co/OygRCaKY37 — Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) February 21, 2018 DiCaprio tweeted the news, along with a link to a Nature Conservancy page where those in support can sign a letter congratulating the citizens of Seychelles. DiCaprio said, “This effort will help the people of Seychelles protect their ocean for future generations, and will serve as a model for future marine conservation projects worldwide. These protections mean that all species living in these waters or migrating through them are now far better shielded from overfishing , pollution, and climate change.” + Nature Conservancy + Congratulate the citizens of Seychelles Via The Telegraph Images via IIP Photo Archive on Flickr , Depositphotos , and Pixabay

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The ‘big push’ transforming the world’s energy systems

January 23, 2018 by  
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Why the price of renewable energy dropped far faster than even the optimists predicted.

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The ‘big push’ transforming the world’s energy systems

The electric Vespa scooter of your dreams is coming in 2018

November 8, 2017 by  
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Environmentally-conscious commuters, rejoice ! Vespa’s first electric scooter will hit the market next year, and it will have a range of about 62 miles. The good news was announced at the Milan Motorcycle Show by parent company Piaggio. Though the price of the Vespa Elettrica has not yet been revealed, an eager fan base can’t wait to get their hands on the chic electric two-wheeler. Vespa’s first electric scooter is as high-tech as it gets. A 4.3-inch TFT color display sits between the handlebars, displaying information on speed, range, and charge level. When the scooter is connected to the Vespa Elettrica app, messages and phone calls can also be received. Vespa is currently developing a special helmet that is equipped with a built-in Bluetooth speaker and microphone for just this purpose. The app can also be used on a smart phone to keep track of diagnostic information and locate the vehicle on a map. According to Piaggio, the Elletrica will have “superior performance” to a 50cc scooter – although its range is about three times less than the 174-mile range of the 50cc Vespa Primavera . Piaggio says that the new Vespa Elettrica is “perfect for city environments.” The electric scooter charges in four hours from a normal wall outlet, and Vespa Elettrica owners can expect 10 years (or approximately 50,000 to 70,000 km) of use from the scooter . Piaggio is also developing a hybrid version of the Elettrica that has a gas-powered generator . The Elettrica X will have a range of approximately 124 miles. + Vespa Via The Verge Images via Vespa

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Japanese mutant chickens are laying eggs with cancer-fighting drugs

October 9, 2017 by  
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Most people eat chicken eggs for their high protein content and healthy fats – but in the future eggs could ward off diseases, such as cancer and hepatitis. That’s because researchers at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have genetically engineered chickens to lay eggs that contain drugs capable of boosting the immune system. The controversial technique was developed to make pharmaceutical drugs more affordable and, as a result, more accessible. The researchers used gene editing technology to make chickens produce “interferon beta.” This protein is a “powerful tool” for treating skin cancer and hepatitis, reports Phys.org . The team produced cells that were used to fertilize eggs and breed hens that inherited the genes. A few rounds of cross-breeding yielded chickens capable of laying eggs containing the disease-fighting drugs. As soon as next year, a joint research company will sell the drug to pharmaceutical companies so they can perform research on it at a reduced cost. “This is a result that we hope leads to the development of cheap drugs,” said Professor Hironobu Hojo, from Osaka . “In the future, it will be necessary to closely examine the characteristics of the agents contained in the eggs and determine their safety as pharmaceutical products.” If the scientists are able to safely produce interferon beta, the price of the price of the drug (currently up to $888 for a few micrograms) is expected to fall significantly. According to The Japan News , the eventual goal is to lower the cost of the drug to 10 percent of its current price. Related: Scientists develop tiny robots that drill into cancer cells to kill them At present, three females are presently laying eggs every one or two days. It will be a while before the eggs are on the market, as Japan has strict regulation concerning the “introduction of new and foreign pharmaceutical products,” reports Phys.org . Sometimes, screening processes take years to complete. Considering the long-term effects of consuming genetically-modified foods are relatively unknown, extensive testing will be needed. Via Phys , The Japan News Images via Pixabay , Cosmo Bio Co.

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Airbus’ flying electric taxi is on track to soar next year

October 9, 2017 by  
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Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicles are really taking off, and Airbus is set to launch a VTOL taxi by next year. The multi-passenger CityAirbus is powered by electric motors – and it’s designed to one day operate autonomously . The CityAirbus could allow commuters to escape traffic by turning to an affordable, environmentally friendly new mode of travel . Airbus announced they just finished their first full-scale testing for the CityAirbus’ propulsion system, describing the testing phase as successful. This means they’re on track for their first flight, scheduled for the end of next year. Related: Airbus and Italdesign unveil modular urban land and air transport system CityAirbus chief engineer Marius Bebesel said in a statement, “We now have a better understanding of the performance of CityAirbus’ innovative electric propulsion system, which we will continue to mature through rigorous testing while beginning the assembly of the full-scale CityAirbus flight demonstrator.” The CityAirbus boasts what Airbus describes as a four-ducted propeller configuration, which boosts safety and helps yield a low acoustic footprint. 100 kilowatt electric Siemens motors and four batteries help the CityAirbus get from point A to point B. As many as four people will be able to ride in a CityAirbus, which will cruise at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour, or around 75 miles per hour, along fixed routes. In the beginning a pilot will fly the VTOL, but Airbus plans for the vehicle to one day pilot itself. Airbus said there are benefits to adding a third dimension of travel to urban transportation , such as opening up accessibility for underserved or remote areas of a city . Self-piloted vehicles in particular can operate around three times faster than a typical road vehicle, and are energy efficient , running off electricity. Airbus said their VTOL method of travel will be quick and affordable. Via Airbus Images via Airbus ( 1 , 2 )

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Airbus’ flying electric taxi is on track to soar next year

Ole Scheeren’s modular office building looks like a giant Jenga tower

October 6, 2017 by  
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Architect Ole Scheeren unveiled images of his first project in Europe- a residential tower that will offer panoramic views of Frankfurt’s skyline. The designer will overhaul an entire 1970s office block to create 200 living units on the banks of the River Main. The modular apartments will be inserted into the framework of the building, with some recessed and others cantilevering out into space. The Riverpark Tower will be developed in cooperation with GEG, one of Germany ’s most prestigious real estate investment platforms. It will house 220 units on 23 floors, ranging in size from small apartment to four-room suites. Related: Thailand’s tallest building opens with new green spaces for Bangkok “This project is about the positive reinterpretation of an existing structure,” said the architect. “It’s quite a serious intervention, prompted by necessity not ambition,” he added. Modular , glass-fronted units will be inserted into the existing, free-spanning structural framework. They will cantilever out at some points, introducing an element of irregularity to the silhouette. New loft apartments will occupy the space at the four corners of the building which will be cut away at the top. + Buro Ole Scheeren Via Dezeen

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