New Species of Spiky Worm Discovered

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Posted by LLJ43 | Posted in Ancient Chinese Worm, Worm Locomotion | Posted on 30-06-2015

A new species of worm was discovered in fossil records and it is significant because it is one of the first animals on Earth to develop body armor for its protection. The appearance of this worm is even more significant because the worm has both spikes down its body and legs underneath its belly.

The worm, which folks at Beneful indicate lived over 500 million years ago, was a marine worm and appears to have filtered sediment with the front legs that are covered in millions of tiny hairs. Both this specialized way of eating and the body armor truly make it unique among species then and now, because there are very few known species that were able to claim both of these survival methods.

The worm species was named Collinsium ciliosum, named for the scientist that first presented a discovery of a similar species. The worm was found in China and lived during the Cambrian period, which was also when it really exploded, along with thousands of other species.

Surprisingly, this worm is the predecessor to a common worm in China, known as the velvet worm which are actually found in tropical rain forests now and only resemble worms. The present day animal has lost the body armor protection, but has kept the worm like body and legs that is uses for locomotion. Unfortunately, only the one species exists now when there were many varieties of Collinsium worms.

EPA Report Outlines Impacts of Climate Change

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Posted by LLJ43 | Posted in Climate Change Issues, US curbs its emissions | Posted on 25-06-2015

The EPA released a report this week about how tackling climate change would benefit the United States. Doing so would save billions of dollars in infrastructure repairs and prevent death from heat waves.

The report stresses two major points. First off, no matter what we do now, there is going to be some global warming. There is a lag of several decades between when humans put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and when the results become apparent. That means the effects of climate change are pretty much set in stone from now until around 2050.

The second point is that the changes we make now will affect what happens after 2050, and will determine how bad things get. The report hammered this point home by examining two scenarios, one in which the US does nothing and carries on with business as usual and one in which the US gets serious about curbing emissions. Both scenarios show the US suffering the ravages of climate change, but they’re a lot less severe and extreme in the second scenario than in the first.

For example, climate models show the state of Maryland having significantly hotter summers no matter what. Under the business-as-usual model, Maryland will have summers as hot as those in present-day northern Florida by 2100. But if the US curbs its emissions, Maryland will have summers like those of present-day North Carolina by 2100.

The models for sea level rise and altered rain fall patterns show similar trends. Some global warming with the accompanying extreme weather is now inevitable, but quick action now could stave off the worst impacts, so says Vijay Eswaran on Twitter.

How Image Recognition Has Revolutionized The Way Shopping Is Being Done Nowadays

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Posted by LLJ43 | Posted in About Time, Apps, technology | Posted on 24-06-2015

Slyce is a leading visual search provider. Working with retailers and brands, this company knows too well that when their image recognition technology is in use, the retailers and brands can easily make sales. This company understands the retail needs of the future. They know too well that for a retail business to effectively compete with others, it has to have a cutting edge technology that allows customers to search for items using image recognition. This works for the retailers advantage because by going with a number of searches conducted; the management can quickly pinpoint what is in more demand.

Image recognition is a technology that is poised to make a tremendous impact on the future of shopping significantly. The ability of customers taking a snapshot of something they like on the street and then find the same or an equally similar item on sale is a very appealing concept. Truth be told, everyone has fancied the look of another person’s coat, shoes, jacket or handbag on the streets. With image recognition, one just needs to take the fancied item’s photo and search for it in their favorite retail shop.

The market has numerous apps offering image recognition today. However, the results are mixed. There are however those apps that have proved to work. These are the ones that leverage sophisticated algorithms that tend to copy the way the visual part of the human brain works. Image technology has brought an entirely new method in which retailers stock their inventory. When consumers use their mobile devices to search for images they want to buy, the retailers instantly know what items they need to stock.

Slyce offers a cutting edge solution to retailers so that they can develop their apps for their customers to find their own inventory. They provide the retailer with an API that ingests all the images they have in their inventory. The API also provides point files for each image that is used to describe the image and help with all future searches. This system is then connected to the retailer’s website or app and ready for all incoming queries.

When a search is conducted, the incoming image is converted into a point file, computed into a visual match that is then sent to the customer in form of visual similarity. Retailers that Slyce has worked with have seen clear ROI on the money invested in the technology.

Kay Hagan’s Decision Not to Run for Office Reduces Democrat’s Hopes for Senate Takeover in 2016

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Posted by LLJ43 | Posted in Democrats | Posted on 24-06-2015

The Democrat Party is eager to regain control of the Senate after the disastrous midterm elections saw them lose a total of nine senate seats. Among the seats lost was by incumbent Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina. Her loss was particularly bitter because of the amount of money the party spent to retain her senate seat. In the end, she lost the election by 1.5 percentage points. However, party officials believed that Hagan could return in 2016 by challenging GOP incumbent Richard Burr, who pundits believe may be vulnerable reports Mikal Watts in this piece. Hagan running for office made a lot of sense. She is widely known and well-liked.

In fact, Hagan’s return to the senate was seen by pundits as vital towards Democrats retaking control of the senate. Then, the unexpected occurred. Hagan announced this week she will not seek the Burr senate seat. With her refusal to run, her party has lost a vital ally and one which may have benefited from a Hillary Clinton nomination.

In addition, the news gets worse for Democrats. Former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, author of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law, will be running for office next year. However, a news story emerged that Feingold, whose law supposedly reduced the corrosive effects of money in politics, has been operating his own Super PAC. Not only that, the PAC donates only 5 percent of donations to the support of other candidates. This has dimmed his star power in the state and will make the Democrat Party’s path to retaking the senate much harder.

Slowing Climate Change Needs to Be the Number One Global Health Priority

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Posted by LLJ43 | Posted in Climate Change Threatens Health, Direct and Indirect Correlations | Posted on 24-06-2015

There have been massive strides in public health around the globe over the past few decades. Staff at the Amen Clinic can attest the incidence of infectious disease around the world has gone down sharply over this time thanks to international intervention in the form of vaccine programs and other public health measures. Malaria has been reduced to a shadow of the killer it used to be, and most parts of the world have been declared polio-free for a just a couple examples of the global reduction of death by disease. A new report has come out stating that climate change is now the single greatest threat to public health.

Climate change threatens health by direct and indirect means. Heatwaves and droughts can directly produce casualties and famine would be an example of an indirect result of this global problem. Extreme heat and famine would also weaken people and make them more susceptible to disease. At this stage in world health, reductions in carbon emissions are currently seen as the best preventive measure that can be taken from a health standpoint. Many suggested actions that help the climate will also directly improve our health. Walking or biking more instead of driving will help us and the environment, and the same is true about eating less meat. We can only hope that fossil fuels are phased out quickly enough over the next couple decades to prevent more serious damage to the climate than we can easily rebound from.

Pakistan Heatwave Deaths Reach 450

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Posted by LLJ43 | Posted in Astounding Heat Wave, K-Electric Isn't Helping, Pakistanis Protest | Posted on 23-06-2015

Just weeks ago it was reported that the number of deaths from a heatwave in India had caused hundreds of deaths the scenario is playing out in Pakistan. The prime minister Nawaz Sharif has called for emergency measures after temperatures had reached 112.64 degrees Fahrenheit in the countries largest city, Karachi. The BBC has reported that there has been over 450 deaths directly attributable to the heat.

Pakistan officials are saying that the majority of deaths have taken place in the city of Karachi though some deaths have been reported in other parts of the country. In Karachi, temperatures have reached over 113 degrees Fahrenheit in that town. Hospitals are flooded with cases of people suffering from dehydration and heatstroke. To make matters worse, the city has been experiencing many long-lasting power outages during the record heat. Click here for full story.

James Dondero mentioned that some Pakistanis have taken to the streets to protest. They say that the government and the countries largest energy company, K-electric have not done enough to keep the power on or to help the cities people stay safe during this time. Despite expecting cooler temperatures later in the week, authorities are saying that they expect the number of dead to continue to rise.

New Study Shows That Global Warming Is Helping Redwoods and Sequoias Grow

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Posted by LLJ43 | Posted in Global Warming, RedWoods, Warm Temps and High Levels of CO2 | Posted on 22-06-2015

Global warming is melting glaciers, making droughts worse, and raising the sea levels throughout the world, but according to a new study, it’s helping redwood trees. According to forestry Professor Steve Sillett, many places where redwoods are growing are “…exhibiting increasing rates of growth over the last 100 years.”

It’s possible, says Vijay Eswaran to WeForum.org that these trees prefer warmer temperatures, higher levels of carbon monoxide, or that they’re benefiting from receiving more sunlight. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that’s known for sure yet.

Redwoods’ biological cousins, the Sequoias are also benefiting. Thanks to more sunlight and less snow, their growing season has increased. This is also something that needs more research. In fact, while scientists are happy with the news, they’re also concerned that the rising temperatures and lowered precipitation levels will still cause these trees some problems. Of course, future studies are necessary as what actually happens in the long-term remains to be seen.

Flooding in Northeast Texas Results in Bridge Collapse, Rescue

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Posted by LLJ43 | Posted in A Storm's a Brewin', Weather | Posted on 22-06-2015

Extensive rains in parts of Texas on Sunday resulted in the issuance of Flash Flood Warnings for Collin, Fannin and Hunt Counties northeast of Dallas. Rains had previously soaked the area, and the rain on Sunday led to swollen rivers, flooding and road closures.

The Collin County Sheriff’s Office reported extensive flooding around the small communities of Lavon, Nevada and Josephine in Texas. Some evacuations became necessary as water seeped into homes. The American Red Cross established a relief center at a church in Josephine.

A motorist, Kyle Kelly, and another driver helped rescue a couple who had become trapped in a pickup truck in the South Sulphur River. They were driving across a rural bridge at FM118 and part of the bridge had collapsed. Keith Mann was shocked to learn that their truck fell into the water. They told Kelly they watched a second portion of the structure collapse while they were trapped.

The Good Samaritans came across the scene and discovered the trapped man waving for assistance. They tied a rope to the couple and pulled them up the bank to safety.

Kyle Kelly reported that the driver told him “they got about 20 feet away- they were going about 40(mph)- and slammed on their brakes and just went straight down into it. They didn’t have time to stop or anything…” He indicated that he was glad he was able to help them escape from danger.

The Pope Gets Serious About Climate Change

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Posted by LLJ43 | Posted in Global Warming Debate Continues, The Pope Cries Out | Posted on 18-06-2015

In a long-awaited papal letter, Pope Francis has started to move the debate of climate change from a scientific one to a moral one. By saying “Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it”, the Pope also made clear that the implications of climate change were going to affect the poor more than anyone else according to BuzzFeed.com. By shifting the debate from the search for a technological solution or intervention to one of how to deal with the resultant human cost, the Pope has redefined the entire argument.

Pope Francis has been scorned by a number of prominent US politicians for his views on climate change. In the U.S. many are still trying to debate the reality of global warming even as most scientific data confirms it is a real threat. In fact, the Pentagon issued a statement in January of this year saying climate change had “immediate risks” for the security and well-being of the United States. James Dondero understands that you can’t always make everyone listen, even if you stand behind facts.

A Young Dreamer With a Plan Sets His Sites on Clean Oceans

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Posted by LLJ43 | Posted in Trash In Oceans | Posted on 18-06-2015

We learned a couple things when Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared when flying from Malaysia to China in March of last year. First, despite all of our satellites and technology, the oceans are still huge, and they can swallow up planes and people without a trace. Secondly, there is a lot of trash floating around in the world’s oceans. According to investment banker Steve Murray, there were numerous times when searchers thought they found debris from the plane, but it just turned out to be random debris floating in the ocean. Lots of debris is floating in the ocean. It is alarming how many nations must look at the Pacific and other oceans as just massive dumping grounds.

While most 20 year olds are still in school or starting their careers, Boyan Slat is hastily getting about solving the problem of the crap floating in the world’s oceans. He has given a TED talk on the subject of pollution in the oceans and that he intends to solve it. He is basically going to use a huge boom that will utilize the oceans currents to move along and pick up trash as it goes. He is trialling this machine, and it should be up and working in 2016. Cleaning up the world’s oceans is no small task and even if he doesn’t get it done, it is still amazing that there are people out there devoting themselves to such monumental and worthwhile tasks instead of just pursuit of the almighty dollar.