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  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 9:27 pm on March 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Health, , Health plan, ,   

    * Health Plan via Worldwatch 

    via Wellness Wednesday – Volume 3 – Week 11 — TRC’s STARS Enhanced Health Plan

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 12:56 am on September 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , antibiotic resistance, bio diversity, , , , , , Health, , , ,   

    Endangered animals in Panama 

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 7:20 am on January 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , happiness, Health, , , , , , , ,   

    10 Reasons You Should Smile More Often… 

    Mother Teresa once said “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” We have been smiling all our lives. And to some degree, we already possess the inherent knowledge that smiling not only feels good but it actually does good too.

    Yet many of us shy from smiling as often as we ought to. I’m not the one to judge; we all have our own problems to deal with in life. But way too often, we actually punish ourselves by choosing not to smile when we really should be smiling our brains off!

    So, the next time you get the opportunity to smile, just smile, and enjoy all that positivity it spawns. If you’re not convinced, well here below are reasons you should be.

    1. Smiling makes you look attractive.

    Your smile says a great deal about you. It really is true. Not convinced? Try this. Try to think of some of the people you’re attracted to. Done? How many of those were actually smiling? Well, you don’t have to tell me because I already know the answer.

    We are naturally hardwired to be attracted to people who smile. Something about seeing someone smile builds up all this positive energy in our minds. And every time we see them, we associate them with all that positive energy.

    So, the next time you’re around a bunch of friends or strangers (it really doesn’t matter) and you want to attract attention, just smile.

    2. Smiling makes you happier.

    Now this is as true as it is strange. Smiling actually makes you, the person smiling, happier regardless of the situation. Normally we are hardwired to smile only during pleasant situations.

    The brain in turn releases endorphins which lowers stress and improves your overall mood, hence making the situation pleasant. But it being a voluntary action, we can actually trick the brain into believing that an otherwise dull situation is actually pleasant by simply smiling.

    So the next time you’re bored, or god forbid sad, try this — kick back, take a few deep breaths and smile. Just smile, and watch your brain work its magic!

    3. Smiling improves your immune system.

    It has been reported that when you’re smiling, the body releases more white blood cells than it usually does. And the prime purpose of white blood cells are to protect the body against both infectious diseases and foreign invaders.

    So, smiling more often actually makes your body more immune to diseases and hence makes you healthier. In fact, that is the prime reason why so many famous celebrities are invited to children’s hospitals. If they can get the children to smile, that will, to some degree, boost their overall health.

    So with this in mind, don’t just go smiling on your own from now on. Make others smile too!

    4. Smiling makes you a better leader.

    Smiling encourages trust. We can all agree to that. A person who is constantly smiling appears more trustful than someone who is not. And what more do we look for in a great leader than trust?

    Take a look at all the popular leaders of the world. I don’t say the great leaders, because not all of them may be popular. But the popular ones, who are also the more successful, smile more often than others.

    This is true for leadership in all levels. Fear and intimidation may work like a charm for a while, but they never last long. The leaders who truly make a mark in history are the ones that smile.

    5. Smiling helps you make a better impression.

    Have you ever been in a room with strangers and struggled to socialize to the extent you wish you could? Wouldn’t you in turn want to be that person who can get along with everyone in the room in a jiffy?

    Well, if you look at the people who can actually do this, you will find that the key to their success is, you guessed it, smiling. Yes, they’re smiling more than you are. But guess what? Their personality is no match for yours. Put on more smiles, and you’ll be sweeping all the charm towards your direction in no time!

    6. Smiling makes you more productive.

    We talked about the value of smiling as a mood booster earlier, but it doesn’t end there. The effect of one good smile follows you to your workplace and in fact, helps improve your overall performance there.

    And this is actually backed by research. A 2010 research led by Andrew Oswald, a Professor of Economics at Warwick Business School, proved that employees who smile more often are significantly more productive and creative in the workplace.

    So whether you’re an employee or an employer, smile more often and make others around you smile more often too. It will be great for everyone involved.

    7. Smiling makes you more approachable.

    Imagine yourself in a room with two people you’ve never met before. You need to ask them a favor. And it’s not just any favor. It would actually be of mutual benefit. Both persons are on their phones. One is smiling, the other is not.

    After a while, they put their phones down, and you’re ready to approach them. Which of the two would you go to, or at least go to first? Once again, I know the answer.

    There is something about smiling that attracts trust. It makes the person wearing the smile appear warm and kind. The very qualities that make one approachable.

    8. Smiling makes you more confident.

    Not only does smiling make you look more confident, it actually makes you confident in the long term. If you’re someone who smiles often, you tend to attract more attention, trust and respect than others around you.

    This in turn makes you look for the attention, trust and respect in every situation which is the hallmark of confidence — believing that you deserve something.

    And how do you do that? The only way you’ve ever known. Smiling more! Which in turn makes you even more confident. It is almost like a chain reaction. A never ending cycle that only makes you more confident and happier with every iteration.

    9. Smiles are contagious.

    Well, they are, aren’t they?  How many times have you seen someone smile and get no reaction from the other party? Very few, right? People smile, even if to be polite. And we’ve talked about the seer effect of just smiling, even in pretense.

    When you’re smiling, you’re actually asking the other party to join in on the fun with you. And 99 percent of the time, they do join you. Smiles are one of the most contagious things in the world, behind probably only to laughter, which is in a way just a louder smile. So smile more, and spread the joy!

    10. Smiles are free.

    We have discussed a lot of benefits of smiling. But we are yet to discuss the most important reason you should smile more often –- because they’re free! When was the last time you blew away something so beneficial yet absolutely free? Smile, just smile.

    You’ll be happier and you’ll make everyone around you happier. Dale Carnegie wrote this on his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”: “A smile costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.” Old Carnegie sure was onto something!

    seagirll

    Mother Teresa once said “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” We have been smiling all our lives. And to some degree, we already possess the inherent knowledge that smiling not only feels good but it actually does good too.

    Yet many of us shy from smiling as often as we ought to. I’m not the one to judge; we all have our own problems to deal with in life. But way too often, we actually punish ourselves by choosing not to smile when we really should be smiling our brains off!

    So, the next time you get the opportunity to smile, just smile, and enjoy all that positivity it spawns. If you’re not convinced, well here below are reasons you should be.

    1. Smiling makes you look attractive.

    Your smile says a great deal about you. It really is true. Not convinced? Try…

    View original post 1,104 more words

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 9:45 am on January 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Health, , , , , , whale,   

    Tragic end for Hunstanton whale as it dies after getting trapped in rocks 

    A whale beached in Norfolk is believed to have been part of a pod that stranded and died in the Netherlands.

    The 50ft (14.5m) young adult male was part of a group of six spotted in the Wash at Hunstanton on Friday.

    A team from the RNLI, HM Coastguard, Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary and rescue divers tried to help the whale back into deeper water but it died at around 11pm the same day.

    MORE: Handyman’s note to military mother will restore your faith in humanity

    Handout photo issued by Kathryn Robbins of a dead sperm whale beached in Norfolk. The 50ft (14.5m) young adult male was part of a group of six spotted in the Wash at Hunstanton on Friday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday January 23, 2016. A team from the RNLI, HM Coastguard, Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary and rescue divers tried to help the whale back into deeper water but it died at around 11pm the same day. See PA story ANIMALS Whale. Photo credit should read: Kathryn Robbins/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
    The young adult male was part of a group of six spotted in Hustnanton on Friday (Picture: PA)
    It is believed the animal became distressed and injured its tail thrashing around in the shallow waters.

    There are fears at least two of the other whales could become stranded, he said.

    Dr Peter Evans, director of the Seawatch Foundation, said the whales probably swam south looking for food but got disorientated.

    ‘They feed on squid and what’s probably happened is that squid came in and the whales fed upon them but ran out of food,’ he said.

    Handout photo issued by Jonathon Holt of a dead sperm whale beached in Norfolk. The 50ft (14.5m) young adult male was part of a group of six spotted in the Wash at Hunstanton on Friday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Saturday January 23, 2016. A team from the RNLI, HM Coastguard, Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary and rescue divers tried to help the whale back into deeper water but it died at around 11pm the same day. See PA story ANIMALS Whale. Photo credit should read: Jonathon Holt/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
    They may be linked to a pod that was found washed up in the Netherlands (Picture: PA)

    ‘The further south they got the shallower the water gets and when they got to Norfolk, which is very, very shallow, it’s quite difficult to navigate and they tend to lose their way and actually strand.’

    He believes they could have been part of a large pod, some of which beached in the Netherlands and Germany.

    ‘There have been 12 other sperm whales that stranded and died, six in the Netherlands and six in Germany,’ he added.

    ‘They were probably all in the same group, quite a big group which are usually adolescent males a few years old.’

    The UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme, which investigates all UK strandings, will send a team of scientists to perform a post-mortem examination on the whale in Norfolk.
    The 50ft young adult male was part of a group of six spotted in the Wash at Hunstanton on Friday.

    Source: Tragic end for Hunstanton whale as it dies after getting trapped in rocks

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 8:15 pm on January 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Health, health and wellness, , , , university news, , ,   

    Univ. of Utah study finds increased temperatures reduce toxin tolerance of some animals 

    Add this to the growing list of environmental complications due to global warming.

    PatriceKurnathWoodrat5788_300dpi.jpg

    U Study Finds That Increased Temperatures Reduce Toxin Tolerance of Some Animals

    on January 20, 2016 at 6:00 am

    Research conducted by U Ph.D. student Patrice Kurnath finds that at warmer temperatures the toxin tolerance of certain mammals is reduced — adding yet another problem to the growing list of environmental complications due to global warming.

    Plants often generate toxins as a natural defense. Desert woodrats, the plant-eating species used by Kurnath and chair of the U’s biology department Denise Dearing in the study, generate certain enzymes to counteract the effects of these toxins that are ingested when consuming the plants.

    “We’re answering the big question of how warmer temperatures might be affecting animals that eat plants and how they deal with the toxins produced by those plants,” Kurnath said.

    The diet of desert woodrats, which are common in Utah and western North America, consists mainly of creosote bush, which produces so many toxins in its resin that laboratory rats often die eating the same amount as the desert woodrats.

    The idea behind the experiments hypothesized that as woodrat toxin tolerance levels decreased with temperature increases, that they would reduce food intake and lose weight. Woodrats were removed from the experiment if they lost more than 10 percent of their body weight.

    “[Kurnath] really pushed the envelope with this work and expanded knowledge from a different study,” Dearing said. “Not only did she work with different species and a different toxin, she did processes and experiments we have never done before.”

    Desert woodrats were able to eat more food at cooler temperatures in both experiments at the end of the research, while almost all of the woodrats in higher temperature climates were removed due to weight loss.

    “The most recent study found that warmer temperatures resulted in reduced tolerance in rats,” Kurnath said.

    This research adds another dimension to the problems associated with global warming for these species as they deal with an increasingly more toxic diet.

    “Not only are surface temperatures increasing, severe weather storms, this is another obstacle that these woodrats and other species are going to have to face,” Kurnath said.

    Kurnath plans to extend the study by “digging deeper” into the liver functions and genetic structure of these mammals consuming a highly toxic diet and by “stepping back” and examining their behavior in lab settings. Dearing is working on studying this same trend in marsupials and expects to see results by next year.

    Dearing said, “We hope that it will inspire research in other species of mammals.”

    b.hart@dailyutahchronicle.com

    @BeauHart13

    Source: Univ. of Utah study finds increased temperatures reduce toxin tolerance of some animals

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 7:55 am on January 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Health, , , , , ,   

    America’s Drinking Water Crisis. Profit v. Poison 

    Source: America’s Drinking Water Crisisflint-water_-lead

    After the shocking news of extremely high levels of lead found in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, The Guardian reports: “Water authorities across the US are systematically distorting water tests to downplay the amount of lead in samples, risking a dangerous spread of the toxic water crisis that has gripped Flint.”

    The controversial approach to water testing is so widespread that it occurs in “every major US city east of the Mississippi” according to an anonymous source with extensive knowledge of the lead and copper regulations. “By word of mouth, this has become the thing to do in the water industry. The logical conclusion is that millions of people’s drinking water is potentially unsafe,” he said.

    Documents seen by the Guardian show that water boards in cities including Detroit and Philadelphia, as well as the state of Rhode Island, have distorted tests by using methods deemed misleading by the Environment Protection Agency.

    Dr Yanna Lambrinidou, a Virginia Tech academic, warned that the issue of misleading test results was widespread. “There is no way that Flint is a one-off,” she said.“There are many ways to game the system. In Flint, they went to test neighbourhoods where they knew didn’t have a problem. You can also flush the water to get rid of the lead. If you flush it before sampling, the problem will go away.

    “The EPA has completely turned its gaze away from this. The system is absolutely failing.”

    Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore has called for the arrest of Michigan’s governor over the scandal in Flint. “Thanks to you, sir, and the premeditated actions of your administrators, you have effectively poisoned, not just some, but apparently ALL of the children in my hometown of Flint, Michigan. And for that, you have to go to jail.

    “To poison all the children in an historic American city is no small feat. Even international terrorist organizations haven’t figured out yet how to do something on a magnitude like this.”

     

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 9:46 am on January 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Health, metro, , , , , ,   

    Tiny B&B in Chester celebrating after being voted the world’s best boutique hotel 

    *Books mini-break*. edgar-house-2

    Anyone fancy a trip to Chester?

    We hear the B&Bs are pretty decent. And they’re not a bad price either.

    Edgar House, a tiny seven-bed B&B overlooking the River Dee in Chester is probably treating itself to a little Bucks Fizz over breakfast today after being voted the world’s best small hotel in TripAdvisor‘s Travellers’ Choice awards.

    The modest B&B beat off competition from boutique hotels in New Zealand, Australia, Costa Rica and Capri to take the title.

    The award winners were determined based on the millions of reviews collected in a single year from TripAdvisor travellers worldwide.

    Edgar house
    (Picture: Edgar House)
    Co-owner Mike Stephen said he was ‘thrilled and humbled’ with the win.

    And when you check out what the little hotel has to offer, it’s perhaps not so surprising it’s proved so popular.

    The views are amazing.
    As is the food.
    Each of their seven bedrooms is individually designed and the beds come with snuggly goose feather and down pillows, and egyptian cotton sheets, as standard.

    Edgar house 2
    (Picture: Edgar House)
    The bathrooms have rain showers, freestanding baths, French porcelain tiles and underfloor heating.
    There’s also an honesty bar hidden in a phone box.
    And a mini cinema serving ice cream.

    Oh, and you can get bed and breakfast for £99.50 per person.

    When do we go?

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    Source: Tiny B&B in Chester celebrating after being voted the world’s best boutique hotel

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 4:05 pm on December 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Health, lynx, , , , , , ,   

    DogDaz Zoo: Lynx Family Moment 

    Snuggle up and stay warm kiddies…!

    dogdaz

    Lynx by Isaac Baquero Pérez

    Just like a house cat, they look so soft and cuddly – DogDaz

    View original post

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 1:57 pm on December 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bing wildlife refuge, , , , , , , Health, , , valley weather, , wild wells sanctuary, , ,   

    Be careful driving, Willamette Valley gets 2nd round of ice, blustery showers. 

    You can expect wetter weather on and off through early next week

    A second round of ice is expected in the Gorge Wednesday night and into Thursday. (KOIN)
    A second round of ice is expected in the Gorge Wednesday night and into Thursday. (KOIN)

    PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A second round of showers moved in along the coast and in the Willamette Valley on Wednesday night, a day after an ice storm caused thousands of power outages across the metro area.

    KOIN 6 Meteorologist Kristen Van Dyke says the system will be a windy one, with gusts on the coast reaching 55 mph.

    Temperatures will be below freezing in the Gorge and east of the mountains starting Tuesday evening. (KOIN)

    Winds will also pick up in the Portland metro area with gusts up to 30 mph overnight and even 40 mph on Thursday. This could bring down large branches and even some trees, so be careful out on the roads.

    There will be a lull in the rain after morning with a round of heavy, blustery showers pushing in Thursday evening.

    Freezing temperatures will mean more ice and freezing rain in the Gorge overnight and into Thursday. A rise in temperatures will scour out the cold air and turn the ice back into rain in the afternoon.

    Thankfully, the ice will be confined to the Gorge as temperatures in the valley warm up to the 40s overnight.

    You can expect wetter weather on and off through early next week. There’s no sunshine in our immediate future, but temperatures are expected to be much milder with highs in the 50s.

    Keep the weather in your hand all the time — download the PDX Weather App today.

    Check the latest Weather Alerts on the KOIN 6 Weather page

     

    A second round of showers moved in along the coast and in the Willamette Valley on Wednesday night, a day after an ice storm caused thousands of power outages across the metro area.

    Source: Gorge gets 2nd round of ice, blustery showers in PDX

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 5:12 pm on December 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Health, , , , , , ,   

    Chemical engineers can help solve the climate challenge #COP21 

    Posted on 02/12/2015 by

    COP21 logoThis week saw the start of the 21st Conference of Parties,COP21. More than 190 countries and 150 global leaders have gathered in Paris, France, to discuss a new global agreement on climate change.

    The United Nations (UN) event will host around 40,000 people and runs right through until the end of next week (11 December).

    The future of the natural world, and the animals and plant life that call it home, depends on the outcome of this conference. If we don’t limit global warming to 2 degrees, the consequences will be catastrophic.

    Polar bearWhilst we cannot accurately predict the scale of any potential impacts now, what we do know for certain is that climate change is happening, and we have a responsibility to reduce any further damage.

    Chemical engineers are part of the solution, and the IChemE Energy Centre has identified five priority areas where technology can be deployed now to help mitigate climate change.

    These topics, as outlined in the IChemE Energy Centre Climate Communiqué, are:

    • energy efficiency
    • energy storage and grid management
    • carbon capture, storage and utilisation
    • nuclear
    • sustainable bioenergy

    Released in a statement today, the Energy Centre says: “The technologies exist now to deliver massive energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions in all five priority areas. Taken together, they represent a pathway to a decarbonized energy system that can be realised now, as long as the agreement made at COP21 recognises that the time has come for deployment of such technologies.”

    Read the Energy Centre supporting statement here.

    Stefaan Simons, Chair of the Energy Centre Board, has also added: “Chemical engineers already understand the technology needed to limit atmospheric CO2 levels. Now is the time to start using it. World leaders can shift the focus from research and development to demonstration and deployment. We can give policy makers the solutions needed to mitigate climate change.”

    You can watch Stef, alongside other members of the Energy Centre Board, Niall Mac Dowell and Ben Salisbury, discuss the five topics in more detail in the following video:

    Over the next few days, whilst COP21 is still underway, the Energy Centre will be publishing evidence-based recommendations that cover each of the five topics on this very blog.

    Stef will also present at the Paris climate talks on 10 December at an official side event: ‘Technology solutions for a 2oC world: Investing in renewables, storage, energy efficiency and CCS‘. So if you are in Paris, please join him.

    There will also be an evening screening of the his side event on 10 December at it IChemE’s offices in Portland Place, London, UK – this event is free-of-charge and open to all.

    Let’s all be part of the climate conversation, and make sure that the chemical engineering perspective is heard whilst the future of our planet is being decided over the next two weeks.

    Institution of Chemical Engineers

    COP21 logoThis week saw the start of the 21st Conference of Parties, COP21. More than 190 countries and 150 global leaders have gathered in Paris, France, to discuss a new global agreement on climate change.

    The United Nations (UN) event will host around 40,000 people and runs right through until the end of next week (11 December).

    The future of the natural world, and the animals and plant life that call it home, depends on the outcome of this conference. If we don’t limit global warming to 2 degrees, the consequences will be catastrophic.

    Polar bearWhilst we cannot accurately predict the scale of any potential impacts now, what we do know for certain is that climate change is happening, and we have a responsibility to reduce any further damage.

    Chemical engineers are part of the solution, and the IChemE Energy Centre has identified five priority areas where technology can be deployed now to help…

    View original post 323 more words

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 3:15 pm on November 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: a portrait of the plains, , , Health, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    A Portrait of the Plains: Documenting A Changing Landscape 

    Beautiful: Absolutely Fabulous: 2015-09-10-1441917814-3519004-dsc_8907.jpg

    Fourchette Creek
    by Robin Walter

    Morning light spills
    through grass thick
    with dew,
    small whorls of dust
    rise
    from hooves
    stamping their lives
    into this ground.
    Listen,

    I rise
    to the clatter
    of birds:
    small,
    fierce,
    and brown.

    2015-09-10-1441917952-4493945-DSC_2318.jpg

    2015-09-10-1441918074-4607900-DSC_2953.jpg

    2015-09-10-1441918194-3820192-DSC_4306.jpg

    2015-09-10-1441919184-3628301-dsc_9614.jpg

    2015-09-10-1441919399-5494386-img_9201.jpg

    2015-09-10-1441921638-6126796-dsc_0124.jpg

    2015-09-10-1441921035-6407617-img_9469.jpg

    Emilio Cogliani

    Fourchette Creek
    by Robin Walter

    Morning light spills
    through grass thick
    with dew,
    small whorls of dust
    rise
    from hooves
    stamping their lives
    into this ground.
    Listen,

    I rise
    to the clatter
    of birds:
    small,
    fierce,
    and brown.

    2015-09-10-1441917814-3519004-dsc_8907.jpg

    2015-09-10-1441917893-7041547-dsc_0652.jpg

    2015-09-10-1441917952-4493945-DSC_2318.jpg

    2015-09-10-1441918074-4607900-DSC_2953.jpg

    2015-09-10-1441918194-3820192-DSC_4306.jpg

    2015-09-10-1441919184-3628301-dsc_9614.jpg

    2015-09-10-1441919399-5494386-img_9201.jpg

    2015-09-10-1441921638-6126796-dsc_0124.jpg

    2015-09-10-1441921035-6407617-img_9469.jpg

    This blog is part of an ongoing series following the Rediscover the Prairie expedition, a horseback journey across the Great Plains. To learn more please visit http://ift.tt/1B02Abg
    All photos © Robin Walter or Sebastian Tsocanos. All rights reserved.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


    from Green – The Huffington Post http://ift.tt/1QDVvXP

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  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 3:20 pm on November 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 13 snow facts, , , , , , Health, , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Snow Facts 

    It’s not really the most wonderful time of the year unless there is snow involved. Fact. 

    DORKING, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 19: A family of snowmen sit on Box Hill on January 19, 2013 in Dorking, United Kingdom. Heavy snow around the UK caused hundreds of flight cancelations at Heathrow, with more travel disruptions expected during a snowy weekend. Approximately 3,000 schools were closed in England, Wales and Scotland. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

    This is your reaction when it snows (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

    Not only can snow be the greatest part of the British weather experience, but it also guarantees more happiness than a decent summer season.

    Ah snow. Word on the street (the street being the Met Office) is that we are due a sprinkling of snow, with many places across the UK being treated to a flurry last night.

    And snow lovers couldn’t be happier about this.

    1. So PRETTY

    Of course autumn is really beautiful, what with the leaves all turning to a cosy shade of orange. However, not even the prettiest autumn scene, trees lining a path through an empty park, could ever trump a field full of freshly fallen, untouched snow.

    2. Makes Christmas better

    There are only two things that could make Christmas Day even better; meeting Santa Clause, or a white Christmas.

    Nothing could match the warm fuzzy feeling of waking up early in the morning on Christmas Day and seeing your street transformed as if it’s been draped in a layer of clean cotton wool.

    Bing Crosby felt exactly the same way.

    3. Snowmen 

    You love nothing more than grabbing a few sticks, buttons, pebbles and the obligatory carrot stick and assembling a small team to make an epic snowman.

    Of course you take this very seriously, and every time you pride yourself on having the best snowman on the street.

    In fact you have a strict method involving rolling a huge ball of snow down a slope in order to get your snowman as big as possible. You have also been known to shed a tear once he melts away. *Sob*

    This is your reaction when it snows (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

    4. Snow days = best days

    There are waves of excitement that still feel the exact same way when you’re an adult as they did when you were a child.

    Stuff like watching Home Alone, birthday cake… and snow days.

    A snow day feels just as amazing now, when you can’t get into the office, as it did when school was closed.

    Especially when you get to the station only to be greeted with signs telling you that all trains are cancelled.

    You take this opportunity to power walk home as quickly as possible, alerting everyone you meet on your way that it’s now an official snow day, whilst being busy with thoughts of how to make the most of it.

    Of course throwing a few snowballs around is mandatory.

    5.  The memories

    It doesn’t matter if your school days weren’t your best days, because the memories of snowy times during school definitely makes up for this.

    The only thing to trump the mayhem of times when a dog managed to get into the playground was sitting in Maths and seeing thick heavy flakes falling and engulfing everything.

    Most of the time your teachers would give up trying to capture your attention and let you out early which was always welcomed.

    6. Perfect for long walks

    There is something special about being able to stomp over fresh untouched snow whilst wrapped up head to toe in at least six layers of clothing.

    Is there anything better than popping on some wellies and going for a long walk in the crisp cold air whilst feeling the soft snow underneath your feet?

    Probably not.

    Children play as snow covers part of Central Park following a snow storm in New York, February 4, 2014. Up to nine (23 centimeters) more inches of snow was expected to fall in the New York area beginning late in the evening, with a third snowstorm in a week predicted to hit the city over the weekend. AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

    Better than sweating in the park during a muggy July (Photo: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

    This is way better than sweating in the park during a muggy July (Photo: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

    7. Everything stops

    Of course some people don’t like the snow because it causes disruption, but this can actually be a good thing.

    It’s nice to have a bit of disruption which causes things to come to a bit of a stop, proving that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t manage to answer all your emails before 6pm.

    8. Snow watching is intense 

    The only thing that could ever trump a snow filled walk, is sitting inside near the radiator with a hot drink and watching the snow fall and seeing the world turn into a winter wonderland.

    Preferably whilst wearing thick woolly socks.

    During this ritual you embark upon an emotional roller-coaster as you are glued to the window desperately wishing for the snow to become thicker, and heavier. Any sign of easing off leads to severe disappointment, which can only be ended by another flurry.

    9. It’s very exciting 

    Waiting for the snow to arrive is a bit like waiting for a baby.

    You know that it will come at some point, and despite having a rough time frame you still exhaust yourself with excitement waiting for it to arrive.

    Once it finally arrives there is something magical about waking up and being able to tell from the silence outside, and the light reflecting off the snow into your bedroom that your wait is now over.

    10. How to deal with haters

    Being a lover of snow means you’ve developed a very thick skin to not only deal with the temperature drop, but also all of the people who don’t like the snow.

    You’ve figured that if you can convert one snow hater to a snow fan then you’ve pretty much served your purpose on Earth.

    11. SLEDGE TIME

    You’ve probably got a customised beauty hidden in your garage, or garden shed that you always bring out as soon as the snow lands.

    You also know the best parks within a 10 mile radius to go get revel in all the fun that sledging offers. And you head out with a sense of urgency, in order  to get the best of the snow before pesky teenagers ruin it all.

    12. It’s never enough

    Chances are that most years you will end up slightly disappointed, as the UK tends to only get a small sprinkling.

    But this just means that when we receive a heavy snow storm, you take full advantage of this rare event by spending as much time as possible outside.

    You will even risk mild frostbite and soggy gloves in order to squeeze in as much time as possible in the snow. And it’s well worth it.

    13 things all snow lovers know to be true

    13. And it always goes too soon

    The fact that snow melts away is one of the biggest tragedies in your life, and each time the sun comes out you are filled with dread.

    Especially when it goes from being fresh white pure snow and disintegrates into a brown muddy slushy mess.

    The only way to get through this is by remembering all of the good times you’ve had with it, and pinning your hopes on it returning next year. Courtesy of: The Metro UK.

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 3:55 pm on November 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , consumer awarness, , , , , , , environmental awareness, , , , Health, , , , , , , southwest laws, , , , , , worldwide pollution   

    High Rates of Lead Poisoning / Asthma can be Life-Threatening in many Communities Worldwide 

    High Rates of Lead Poisoning / Asthma a deadly consequence of residing near industrialized neighborhoods.  Pollution resulting from our Built Environment have resulted in  extensive health disparities worldwide:
    About 25% of the USA’a housing —some 24 million homes— contains significant lead-based paint hazards, i.e. deteriorating lead paint or lead contaminated dust. (HUD, 2009).

    Benxi steel mills blowing smoke over residential buildings. Benxi was for long considered one of the most polluted city in China. Over the past decade thousands of workers have been made redundant as the city steel mills and power plants were closing down or reducing their output.

    Benxi steel mills blowing smoke over residential buildings. Benxi was for long considered one of the most polluted city in China. Over the past decade thousands of workers have been made redundant as the city steel mills and power plants were closing down or reducing their output. Via Bing

    The majority of resources and statistics concerning community correlations with respect to health disparities in the U.S. point to a direct correlation between industrialized, lower income communities and rates of Lead Poisoning / Asthma associated with living in a those particular communities. Over 4 million children in the U.S. had an asthma attack last year. (National Safety Council, 2015).
    Better neighborhoods, generally associated with a higher income, had newer and higher housing standards, and were more financially able to comply with government regulations of lead content and smoke inhalation guidelines. Residents of privileged neighborhoods felt safer than families living in lower income neighborhoods. Poorer, disadvantaged neighborhoods where tenants are dependent on a landlord’s approval to address safety issues, may face a lengthy process if they wish to upgrade and make their living situation safer, or may not be able to afford a particular safety upgrade. This adds to feelings of perceived loss of personal control over ones own living situation resulting in an increased fear factor as well as elevated stress levels, which can have detrimental health effects.
    When you’re a little more worried every day, you’re always a little more vigilant, looking around at things, checking people, places and things out a little more carefully. If you think about doing that day after day, year after year, it can be exhausting after a while. Constant worrying about stress and about how and when one is going to pay all the bills that are piling up adds an incredible amount of stress to life. Chronic stress wears on the body system resulting in lowered immunity and increased risk of disease and illness. (Lee, 2015).

    Practitioner reports of disabled and impaired motor skills in children are more prevalent in older neighborhoods where lower income, minorities reside. Children in disadvantaged neighborhoods to be less likely to venture outside to exercise and inhale fresh breath fearing the consequences of doing so in a high crime neighborhood.

    mex3

    Mexico Beach House via JZ Photography

    Other physical features that can have a negative effect on health outcomes:
    1. Ground Soil Pollution: Lead manufacturing that has resulted in damages to the ground and environment having had profound affects on safe housing for families worldwide. Children from poorer families are the hardest hit by this type of pollution because parents don’t always have the additional resources to relocate their families to safer communities. Children have growing organs that are easily affected by toxic chemicals, and most kids participate in playtime that may include touching the ground on a regular basis exposing them to dangerous toxins.

    2. Air Pollution: Asthma and other bronchial related problems resulting from Lead Poisons being emitted into the air as industrial factories release their by products in the form of poisonous gasses as a part of their manufacturing process. Children can be affected for decades after a plants closure. Lead findings as high as 70 times the USDA recommended Lead levels have had devastating effects on public health reports and statistics in towns where communities have been built close to lead and mercury producing facilities. (National Safety Council, 2009). Another similar source of pollution that would have residual effects for years to come was Regular gasoline that included a lead additive which was not known to be harmful till it was finally discontinued in the early 1980’s due to a government regulated Lead ban.

    How affordable quality, and safe housing conditions promote health:

    By educating practitioners, schools and parents, regarding the government resources available for improving all buildings and homes in an effort to get them up to code with acceptable levels of toxic lead and fume inhalation guidelines. All communities should be declared safe according to government standards, regardless of wealth or relative neighborhood status. We can minimize current health care problems and prevent future health issues by educating all individuals of their rights to safe housing, thus allowing all children to reach their full potential. Equal rights translate to equality of life expectancies throughout the U.S. for all residents. Our founding fathers created the U.S. Constitutional principles upon this premise. (Lee, 2012). Written by: JZ
    References:

    National Safety Council. (2009) Lead Poisoning. Retrieved from
    http://www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Advocacy/Fact%20Sheets/Lead-Poisoning- Fact- Sheet.pdf.

    City of Roseburg. (2015). Public works projects. Retrieved from
    http://www.cityofroseburg.org/departments/public-works/projects/.

    Lee, E. (Producer & Director). (2008). Living in disadvantaged neighborhoods is bad for
    your health [Video excerpt]. In L. Adelman (Executive producer), Unnatural causes:
    Episode 5—Place matters. Arlington, VA: Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved from
    http://www.unnaturalcauses.org/video_clips_detail.php?res_id=217.

     

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 4:22 pm on November 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: coral reef, , , , gulf of mexico, Health, , , , , , , southwest legal network, , , , toxic clean up, , , , ,   

    Coral damage from BP’s Gulf of Mexico spill ‘extensive’ 

    A plane drops chemicals to help disperse oil from a leaking pipeline that resulted from last week's explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana Tuesday, April 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

    Courtesy of: chibuisiikwuagwu.com

    A New study reveals that damage to coral resulting from the massive 2010 BP oil spill in the US Gulf of Mexico is worse than previously thought, according to reports.
    The study, which will be published in the oceanography journal Deep-Sea Research, found sick and dying corals in the Pinnacles, an outcropping on the Continental Shelf that is home to a rich, deep-water environment about 70 miles (113 kilometres) off the coasts of Alabama and Mississippi.

    Researchers from Florida State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explored the Pinnacles using remotely operated submarines to locate more than 400 colonies of injured coral in 2011,according to wire service Associated Press

    The coral was covered in a “scum” of dead tissue and oily residue, while some showed signs of more severe damage, such as bare skeletons and missing branches.

    The damage from the spill could be even greater, AP reported.

    “The area we have looked at so far is only the tip of the iceberg,” the wire service quoted one of the researchers as saying.

    The colonies in the study are about 35 miles to 68 miles (56 kilometres to 109 kilometres) north of BP’s blown-out Macondo well, which spewed more than 3 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

    Previous discoveries of coral damage were found south of the well and in much deeper water. The coral in the Pinnacles live about 200 feet under the water surface, AP reported.

    The researchers believe the damage began when oil floating over the Pinnacles was sprayed with chemical dispersants, causing the oil to sink and contaminate the reef. The study also hypothesises that a tropical storm that passed over the Pinnacles in the summer of 2010 could have caused the oil to contaminate the coral.

    Source: Upstream  Related: Clean up Products could cause greater damage

    A plane drops chemicals to help disperse oil from a leaking pipeline that resulted from last week’s explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico near the coast of Louisiana Tuesday, April 27, 2010. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

    In the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill, cleanup crews dumped some 1.8 million gallons of chemical dispersants into the Gulf of Mexico.

    The substances were supposed to assist natural oil-eating bacteria in cleaning up the largest marine oil spill in history by breaking the oil into droplets the microbes could more easily consume.

    But the approach backfired, suggests a study published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    “The dispersants did a great job in that they got the oil off the surface,” University of Georgia marine scientist Samantha Joye, a co-author of the study, told the Associated Press. “What you see is the dispersants didn’t ramp up biodegradation.”

    What’s bothersome, Joye told The Atlantic, is that 24 to 55 percent of the oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon rig off the Louisiana coast is unaccounted for. She suspects much of it is on the seafloor.
    For the study, Joye and her team simulated the Gulf’s conditions in a laboratory. They found that “dispersants can exert a negative effect on microbial hydrocarbon degradation rates.”

    Oil with no dispersant actually “degraded a heckuva lot faster than the oil with dispersants,” she told the AP.

    Dispersants work a lot like dish detergent, breaking up oil slicks into lots of small droplets. Gulf responders turned to these chemicals, namely Corexit — which studies have since shown can be harmful to various types of marine life — to address the roughly 200 million gallons of oil that spilled from the Deepwater Horizon rig.

    The microbes the dispersants were meant to help were the “last (and only) defense” against the ongoing spill, Scientific American noted about a month after the spill.
    The major question moving forward: Should dispersants be used to fight future spills?

    Doug Helton, coordinator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Response and Restoration Incident Operations, addressed the BP cleanup process on the agency’s website this year.

    “Once oil is spilled there are no good outcomes and every response technology involves trade-offs,” he wrote. For example, he noted, using dispersants to decrease the amount of floating oil puts some organisms and environments at risk, but reduces risk potential for others.

    “Until we stop using, storing and transporting oil, we have the risk of spills,” he wrote. “The decision to use dispersants or not use dispersants will never be clear cut. Nor will it be done without a lot of discussion of the trade-offs. The many real and heart-felt concerns about potential consequences aren’t dismissed lightly by the responders who have to make tough choices during a spill.”

    In 2013, despite scientists’ claims that dispersants are toxic to marine life, BP CEO Bob Dudley defended their use in the cleanup efforts the company funded.

    “In hindsight no one believes that that was the wrong thing and it would have been much worse without the use of it,” he said. “I do not believe anybody — anybody with almost common sense — would say waves of black oil washing into the marshes and beaches would have been a better thing, under any circumstances.”

    Joye, however, said a person could argue that in the case of Deepwater Horizon, it would have been better to have left the organisms alone.

    “Nobody wants to see oiled birds, turtles and dolphins, but the bottom line is that if you disperse that oil, it’s still in the water,” she told The Atlantic. “You feel better, but is it improving the situation? My gut instinct is that I would put my faith in the microbial communities to do their job.”

    Last week, the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative announced that it will award nearly $38 million to individuals and teams studying the effects of oil, as well as dispursants, on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and public health.
    Source: The Huffington Post

    Chibuisi Ikwuagwu's Blog

    A new study reveals that damage to coral resulting from the massive 2010 BP oil spill in the US Gulf of Mexico is worse than previously thought, according to reports.
    The study, which will be published in the oceanography journal Deep-Sea Research, found sick and dying corals in the Pinnacles, an outcropping on the Continental Shelf that is home to a rich, deep-water environment about 70 miles (113 kilometres) off the coasts of Alabama and Mississippi.

    Researchers from Florida State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explored the Pinnacles using remotely operated submarines to locate more than 400 colonies of injured coral in 2011,according to wire service Associated Press

    The coral was covered in a “scum” of dead tissue and oily residue, while some showed signs of more severe damage, such as bare skeletons and missing branches.

    The damage from the spill could be even greater, AP reported.

    View original post 150 more words

     
  • SW Cali Commentary / Net Production 2:22 pm on November 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: arica chile, , , driest place on earth, , , Health, , malva flowers, , , , , , , washington post, , ,   

    The “Driest place on Earth” is covered in pink flowers after rain 

    The Atacama Desert in Chile, known as the driest place on Earth, is awash with color after a year’s worth of extreme rainfall.

    In an average year, this desert is a very dry place. Arica, Chile, in the northern Atacama holds the world record for the longest dry streak, having gone 173 months without a drop of rain in the early 20th century. In another Atacama neighbor to the south of Arica, the average annual rainfall in the city of Antofagasta is just 0.07 inches.

    But strong El Niño years can be a rainy boom for the region, located just to the east of the warmest ocean water on the globe. In March, heavy thunderstorms brought 0.96 inches of rain in one day to parts of the Atacama Desert. This doesn’t seem like that much, but it was a huge rainfall event for the desert — over 14 years of rain in one day. The torrent caused the typically dry Copiapo River to swell far beyond its banks. Flooding killed at least nine people that day.

    As El Niño strengthens, so does the rainfall increases across South America. As areas of low pressure swing east into the Andes Mountains, the usually warm waters off the coast provide more than enough water vapor to fuel extreme rainfall events.

    The malva (or mallow) flowers on the floor of the Atacama desert bloom every five to seven years, usually coinciding with El Nino. But they have been taking advantage of this year’s particularly rainy conditions, leading to the “most spectacular blossoming of the past 18 years.”

    Interestingly, Death Valley has also been overflowing this month. The official weather station at Death Valley National Park recorded 0.55 inches of rain on Oct. 5. That might not seem like a lot, but it’s a bucket-load for the world’s hottest location — enough to tie the wettest 24-hour period on record in the month of October.

    “A series of unusual storms in October caused large amounts of damage throughout Death Valley National Park,” park officials wrote on Facebook. “Flash floods destroyed significant portions of multiple roads and heavily damaged several historic structures at Scotty’s Castle and deposited debris in Devils Hole.”

    The Death Valley National Historic Association has set up a fund to help restore some of these damaged historic locations.
    via: The Washington Post.

    Source: The ‘driest place on Earth’ is covered in pink flowers after rain

     
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