Hawaii issues alert for brain-invading parasite transmitted by snails

April 11, 2017 by  
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The Hawaiian island of Maui is experiencing an uptick in infections stemming from a parasitic roundworm that invades the human brain. Or, in less scientific parlance, brain slugs . In the past three months alone, health officials have confirmed six cases of the picturesquely named rat lungworm disease, with three additional cases still pending investigation. The trend is worrisome beyond the obvious: Maui has encountered only two cases of the disease over the past decade. Of the 10 or so cases that are reported each year in Hawaii, nearly all are restricted to the Big Island . The grownup version of the Angiostrongylus cantonensis , the offending nematode, is carried by rats, which drop a load of the larvae in their poop. The junior versions can thereafter hitch a ride on other hosts, including snails, slugs, freshwater shrimp, crabs, and frogs. People can get infected by eating raw or undercooked snails or slugs that have been infected by the parasite, or by handling contaminated fruits and vegetables. The infection can trigger a rare form of meningitis characterized by severe headaches, stiffness of the neck, tingling or painful feelings in the skin, a low-grade fever, nausea, and vomiting, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Hawaii’s Department of Health Disease Investigation Branch cautions that temporary paralysis of the face and light sensitivity may also occur. Related: Rare brain-eating amoeba found in Louisiana tap water “If you could imagine, it’s like having a slow-moving bullet go through your brain and there’s no rhyme or reason why it’s going to hang out in this part of the brain or that part of the brain,”Sarah Park, a state epidemiologist, told the Associated Press . Although there is no treatment for rat lungworm disease, residents can reduce the risk of contracting it by scrupulously washing their produce before consumption, officials say. Tricia Mynar, a Maui woman who said she contracted the parasite on the Big Island, has one piece of advice . “Take your time and wash your veggies,” she said. Via ScienceAlert Photos by Unsplash

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Hawaii issues alert for brain-invading parasite transmitted by snails

Incredible farming skyscraper could fight poverty and feed the world

April 11, 2017 by  
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This incredible skyscraper is more than just eye candy—its modular and farm-integrated design was created to fight world hunger and poverty. Designers Pawel Lipi?ski and Mateusz Frankowski proposed the Mashambas Skyscraper for rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa as a means to bring a “green revolution” to impoverished small farmers. The modular Mashambas is movable and functions as an educational center for growing crops, hosting markets, and training on agricultural techniques. Although absolute poverty around the world has fallen over 20 percent in the last thirty years, poverty levels in many African countries have stayed high and stagnant. Today, over 40 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa lives in absolute poverty. Designers Pawel Lipi?ski and Mateusz Frankowski examined the obstacles holding the populace back, most of whom are subsistence farmers, and found that “poor infrastructure, limited markets, weak governments, and fratricidal civil wars” were among the biggest challenges. In hopes of bringing a “green revolution to the poorest people,” Lipi?ski and Frankowski designed the Mashambas Skyscraper, a modular and multipurpose building that just placed first in the renowned 2017 eVolo Skyscraper Competition . The Mashambas Skyscraper, which derives its name from the Swahili word for cultivated land, features a simple modular design that can be easily assembled, disassembled, and transported. The arched modules are stacked together to form a scalable high-rise and its flexible design allows for multiple uses including a ground floor marketplace, warehouses, drone services, classrooms, and farming areas on the upper levels. Drones would be employed to help bring supplies, whether for building construction or for agriculture , to the Mashambas Skyscraper and would also be used to deliver surplus food to the most needy and hard-to-reach areas. By concentrating a market at its base, the building will help facilitate growth and encourage farming plots to pop up around the site. The building can be enlarged as the participants increase and once the local community becomes self-sufficient , the building can be transported to other places. Related: This massive wind-powered skyscraper would cool the entire planet “Mashambas is a movable educational center, which emerges in the poorest areas of the continent,” write the designers. “It provides education, training on agricultural techniques, cheap fertilizers, and modern tools; it also creates a local trading area, which maximizes profits from harvest sales. Today hunger and poverty may be only African matter, but the world’s population will likely reach nine billion by 2050, scientists warn that this would result in global food shortage. Africa’s fertile farmland could not only feed its own growing population, it could also feed the whole world.” + Mashambas

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Incredible farming skyscraper could fight poverty and feed the world

Giant Rat-Sized Snails Invade Florida

April 22, 2013 by  
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Florida’s not having the best of luck when it comes to invasive—and in cases, unnerving—creatures. After giant Burmese pythons appeared in the state, there came warnings of super-sized mosquitoes set to descend this summer, and now officials are battling rat-sized snails. The African Land Snail has made a home in Miami-Dade County, where up to 1,000 are being captured each week. Aside from looking like something from a b-movie, the slimy creatures pose a threat to human health, property and farming. Read the rest of Giant Rat-Sized Snails Invade Florida Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: african land snail , dangerous animals , florida , giant snail , invasive species , miami dade county , mollusks , rat sized snail , snails        

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Giant Rat-Sized Snails Invade Florida

Hurricane Sandy Was So Strong it Registered 2.0 on Seismometers Across the US

April 22, 2013 by  
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Hurricane Sandy was so strong that the impact of waves it sent crashing into the eastern shore board of the United States reverberated all across the country, where it registered on seismometers positioned as far as the west coast. This is the first time in recorded history that a hurricane actually shook the earth, according to Oner Sufri, a geophysics doctoral student at the University of Utah , who is tracking the role of global warming and subsequent climate change on storm intensity. Read the rest of Hurricane Sandy Was So Strong it Registered 2.0 on Seismometers Across the US Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Climate Change , earth , Environment , global warming , Hurricane , Hurricane Sandy , microseism , News , planet , rising temperatures , seismometers , shock waves , standing waves , storms , university of utah        

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Hurricane Sandy Was So Strong it Registered 2.0 on Seismometers Across the US

World’s Largest Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Plant Planned for China

April 22, 2013 by  
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Lockheed Martin has announced that it is to partner with the Reignwood Group to construct the world’s largest Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) plant off the coast of southern China. The OTEC process—which uses the temperature difference between the cold waters of the deep ocean and warm surface waters to generate electricity—is nothing new, but few facilities have ever been constructed. The floating pilot plant will generate 10MW of electricity, enough to power the Reignwood Group’s planned net-zero energy resort on the nearby mainland. Read the rest of World’s Largest Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Plant Planned for China Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “clean energy” , china energy , green energy , lockeed martin , Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion , OTEC , reignwood group , renewable energy , ridgewood , thermal energy , water energy        

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World’s Largest Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Plant Planned for China

Russia Recruits Giant Snails to Monitor Air Pollution

January 18, 2011 by  
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Photo via Wikipedia We’ve heard of giant snails used as a great food source for undernourished communities , and even used as a way to save gorillas . But now, can the miracle creature also help Russia with air pollution problems?… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Russia Recruits Giant Snails to Monitor Air Pollution

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