Dozens of wildfires ravaging forests in Appalachia are prompting mass evacuations — including an entire town in western North Carolina, a state official said. The Party Rock Fire, which has consumed about 2,000 acres, was headed toward Lake Lure, a community of about 1,200 people, beside a lake by the same name in Chimney Rock…
It’s 7:00 AM and the sun has barely broken over the horizon and clouds from the evening are gently pushed away. We are in Oahu, Hawaii’s North Shore famous for giant surfing waves but we didn’t come to watch the professionals. We arrive at Hale’iwa Harbor and see another boat load passengers with a shark cage at the end. About 10 tourist get on this boat. Within minutes a small, non-pretentious boat labeled “One Ocean Diving” appears and we know this is one to get onto. The tour size is small and intimate, accepting no more than 6 people at a time. The morning air is chilly and we’re thankful for brining wetsuits along with us given our aptitude to snorkeling in much warmer waters. The tour is managed by a captain, dive master, and intern.
We are one of the first to board the boat, nervously checking our surroundings Doug asks the captain, “Is that other boat with a cage going to see a different type of shark than we are or are they going somewhere else?” The young captain replies back “No, they are going to see the same sharks, but we are ones crazy enough to do it without a cage.”
Hayley, our dive master gives us a shark briefing as we pull out of the harbor. Things that could make an already nervous me want to go back to the safety of shore: “The most dangerous part of today’s tour is walking around on this boat” (yeah right). “Sharks have 6 senses so try not to splash or make a lot of noise as this can excite the sharks” (like prey struggling to get out of the water). “No shark selfies, sharks are intelligent and can sneak up behind you” (stalking human pray). The pep talk wasn’t really working or maybe I was too focused on staying alive.
Our little boat rolls over huge swells coming out of the harbor and I wonder how we’re expected to snorkel in these conditions. About 15 minutes the boat slows and engine is turned off. A buoy is thrown over and as we halt, I peer over the railing and see the light grey body of a Galapagos shark magnified through the water. I’m thinking, “what did I sign myself up for?” Despite my body and mind telling me to turn back to safety, I didn’t come all this way to back out now.
The 2nd batch of swimmers to go into the water I follow Hayley’s instructions to a t. The first look into the water and I’m amazed at the amount of detail. The sharks swim effortlessly through endless blue ocean and we are so close, I can make eye contact. It’s truly an unforgettable experience that was worth every doubt you may have.
1. Sharks swim in order of dominance
The most dominant sharks swim at the top of the surface with the least dominant at the bottom. If you remain at the top of surface, you’re indicating that you’re at the top of food chain.
2. Sharks have 6 senses
Sharks additional sense is electricity and vibrations in the water. The sharks we saw knew the boat was in their territory 1 mi before we reached. Sharks can get excited if there are a lot of vibrations so it’s recommended not to splash and attract too much attention.
3. Sharks are respectful of your space
So long as you make eye contact with them (especially the dominant ones), they are respectful of your space. They don’t see you as a food source or easy target, but rather they are curious about you.
4. A simple buoy in the water attracts an ecosystem
A buoy placed in the middle of the ocean is like a palm tree in a desert. The shrimp are attracted to the surface, the fish are attracted to the shrimp and the sharks are attracted to the fish.
5. Sharks need to keep swimming or else they would suffocate
Sharks need to have water constantly running through their gills so to sleep, sharks will find a current so that water keeps passing through their gills with minimal effort.
So, if you’ve reached the end of this article and you can’t wait to check it out yourself, here’s what you need to know:
Where: North Shore, Oahu through One Ocean Diving
Cost: ~170 USD per person
When to go: ideally book the morning slot because this is when the sharks are most active
Pro tip: if your itinerary is flexible, call One Ocean Diving ahead of time to find out when the conditions will be best for snorkeling
Why we love this company: One Ocean Diving is a research facility and in addition to swimming with the sharks, you get a crash course of shark 101. The sharks are 100% wild and they do not feed or lure the sharks to tourist.
The solace of empty places and open spaces…
GREENWICH, Conn. (WTNH) – Governor Dannel Malloy asked residents statewide to reduce their water consumption and Greenwich is carefully monitoring the water supply. Reservoir levels for the Greenwich system remain low at 26.1% and groundwater levels also remain low. Last week the reservoir levels were at 26.2%. “Residents are reminded that we are still in…
It’s not really the most wonderful time of the year unless there is snow involved. Fact.
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.
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*
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?
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. 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.
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).
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.
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
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
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