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Trees Come 'From Out Of The Air,' Said Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman. Really? : Krulwich Wonders... Ask one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century a simple question, and his answer makes me go, "What? What did he just say? " The question was: Where do trees come from? Meaning, when you see a tree, a big, tall, heavy one, and you wonder where did it get its mass, its thick trunk, its branches — the instinctive answer would be from the soil below, plus a little water (and, in some mysterious way, sunshine), right? Nope, says the late Nobel laureate Richard Feynman, sitting in an easy chair, thinking out loud in a You Tube video clip from 1983: "People look at a tree and think it comes out of the ground, that plants grow out of the ground, " he says, but "if you ask, where does the substance [of the tree] come from?

You find out ... trees come out of the air! " From the air? But then Feynman says it again, "They surely ... come out of the air. " But First... I think, watching this video, you'll be more surprised than they were. But wait a second!

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Air Pollution. Significant progress has been made in recent years cleaning up outdoor air pollution in the U.S. Between 1970 and 2004, total emissions of the six major air pollutants regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dropped by 54 percent. This is particularly impressive when noted that the gross domestic product increased 187 percent, energy consumption increased 47 percent, and U.S. population grew by 40 percent during the same time, proof that economic growth and environmental protection do go hand in hand.

However, air pollution remains a serious threat to public health and the environment. Outdoor air pollution in the U.S. due to particulate pollution alone was estimated by the EPA in 1997 to cause at least 20,000 premature deaths each year. Figure 1. While levels of many pollutants have been decreasing in recent years, progress cleaning up one serious pollutant, ground-level ozone, has been difficult. The Clean Air Act requires the U.S.

Botany

Paul Stamets patents “universal biopesticide” that Big Ag calls “the most disruptive technology that we have ever witnessed.” When my boys were young, I once asked each of them what would they ask for if they could have anything in the world. Sean, eight years old, a very pragmatic soul with five planets in Taurus, responded, “a million dollars.” Aquarian Colin, on the other hand, age six, and now inventor of the Garden Tower Project, piped up, “A magic wand!” Has Stamets patented the magic wand? February 27, 2015 by Jefferey Jaxen – Feb 27, 2015 zengardner.com Humanity is facing a problem.

SMART Pesticides Paul Stamets, the world’s leading mycologist, filed a patent in 2001 that was purposely given little attention. This literally is a paradigm shift away from the entire idea of pesticides. “The matrix of pre-sporulating fungi can optionally be dried, freeze-dried, cooled and/or pelletized and packaged and reactivated for use as an effective insect attractant and/or biopesticide.” Optimism Empowers Time to Make History The good news is that whatever decision they choose won’t matter. References: Like this: Log In. Log In - The New York Times.

Gyres: The terrifying true story of the garbage that could kill the whole human race — Matter. The ship plows on with groaning sails, with a heave and a shove, like a fat man shouldering through a crowd. The motion is surprisingly stop-and-go, without ever really stopping, or quite going. In the open cockpit we’ve just been holding on and talking about flotsam: things that find their way into the vastness of the seas, and float and float, and finally maybe wash ashore.

Grimmest to be mentioned so far by my knowledgeable companion—trumping the foot in the boot—is the skeleton in the survival suit. Those are pearls that were his eyes! When we pause the conversation to climb up onto the pitching deck to launch the trawl, I’m keeping Mr. It’s the start of the graveyard watch—2 a.m. to 6—and most everyone’s asleep in their bunks, except the captain, who’s below in the green glow of the nav station plotting our course: a knight’s move, 1,200 miles east to the middle of the South Atlantic, then 800 miles north to Ascension Island. He chucks the trawl into the foam-flecked water.

Life on Earth

Smart Meters. 2,000 Watt Society. Scientists in Switzerland, a country that imports 80% of its energy, have come up with a cohesive strategy to tackle today’s persistent energy squandering — the “2,000 Watt Society”. A watt is a unit of power that indicates the rate at which we are using energy. At present, the average European uses around 6,000 watts, compared to 12,000 W in the United States, 1,500 W in China and 300 W in Bangladesh. An average Swiss currently uses 5,000 W. The concept, developed in 1998 by the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), sets a target of 2,000 watts per person.

In the long run, this means to reduce energy consumption by two thirds in Switzerland. The need for such urgent action on energy efficiency is verified by the latest World Energy Outlook that estimates a 45% increase in CO2 emissions from the energy sector by 2030. This would cause global temperatures to rise another 6 degrees by the end of the century. Is a 2,000 watt society feasible? Changes for sustainability. Genetically modified escalation | Eric Garza. This past Sunday, author and activist Vandana Shiva paid my hometown of Burlington, Vermont a visit. She praised Vermont’s GMO labeling law (Act 120), which the state legislature passed earlier this year and the governor promptly signed. I couldn’t attend Shiva’s talk in person but watched a recording, and quickly appreciated why she’s so revered by her supporters: she’s a superb speaker; emphatic, animated, sharp as a razor and fierce in her delivery.

Her poise and confidence while standing behind the podium were something to behold. Vandana Shiva, despite her exceptional public speaking skills, is not without her critics. Several articles over the past year, among them one in the New Yorker and another in Grist, attack various facts upon which she bases her anti-GMO platform. As best I can tell these pieces had no discernible impact on her popular support, nor did they shift the greater debate over the regulation and labeling of GM foods. This frightens me. Your contribution to climate change: see your impact on the Earth's vital signs | Vital Signs. As Casualties Mount, Scientists Say Global Warming Has Been "Hugely Underestimated" (Image: High altitude, air pollution via Shutterstock) As we look across the globe this month, the signs of a continued escalation of the impacts of runaway anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) continue to increase, alongside a drumbeat of fresh scientific studies confirming their connection to the ongoing human geo-engineering project of emitting carbon dioxide at ever-increasing rates into the atmosphere.

A major study recently published in New Scientist found that "scientists may have hugely underestimated the extent of global warming because temperature readings from southern hemisphere seas were inaccurate," and said that ACD is "worse than we thought" because it is happening "faster than we realized. " As has become predictable now, as evidence of increasing ACD continues to mount, denial and corporate exploitation are accelerating right along with it.

The famed Northwest Passage is now being exploited by luxury cruise companies. Let that sink in for a moment before reading further. GMOs Are Old Hat. Synthetically Modified Food Is The New Frontier. The vanillin made through synthetic biology will be used in flavorings sold in the U.S. by International Flavorings & Fragrances. iStockphoto hide caption itoggle caption iStockphoto The vanillin made through synthetic biology will be used in flavorings sold in the U.S. by International Flavorings & Fragrances. iStockphoto Genetically modified organisms are ancient, technologically speaking.

But there's a new technology on the scene, adding a twist to the already complicated conversation about GMOs in our food: synthetic biology. In essence, synthetic biology is about designing and building workhorse organisms that can make things more efficiently than nature (or make things we might need that nature doesn't make at all). While there's been far more hype around synthetic biology's potential to create drugs, biofuels and even designer creatures, some of the most recent "synbio" products to hit the market are actually (somewhere) in our food.

Stunning before and after images of California's drought. California is currently suffering through its worst drought in at least a century, with 82 percent of the state facing "extreme" or "exceptional" drought. The before-and-after photos below offer a visual look at just how staggering the change has been. Justin Sullivan, a photographer at Getty Images, recently took a number of aerial shots of California's Lake Oroville, the state's second-largest reservoir and a popular fishing and recreational site.

He then compared them with similar images from 2011 taken by Paul Hames of the California Department of Water Resources. Three years ago, in 2011, the lake was relatively flush with water. Today, the lake is at just 32 percent capacity (when full, it can hold 3.5 million acre feet of water). Run the slider over each picture to see the dramatic change: Before and after of the Bidwell Marina in Lake Oroville Before and after of the Enterprise Bridge Before and after of boats in the Bidwell Marina. Another Field Contaminated with Unapproved GE Wheat. (Beyond Pesticides, October 1, 2014) Just after announcing a close to its investigation into the illegal presence of genetically engineered (GE) wheat in Oregon, finding it to be an “isolated incident,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) opened a new investigation into another incident of unauthorized release of GE wheat, this time detected in Montana.

This new report highlights the contamination threat that these materials pose to farmers and the environment, as well as the government’s failure to recognize the pervasive and persistent nature of GE contamination. According to USDA, on July 14, 2014 it was notified that suspected GE wheat had been discovered growing at the Montana State University’s Southern Agricultural Research Center (SARC) in Huntley, Montana, where Monsanto and researchers grew GE wheat as part of field trials between 2000 and 2003.

Testing of the samples by a USDA laboratory confirmed that the wheat is genetically engineered to resist Roundup.