We're in an era of 'megafires'.
A headline that reads 'The Worst Year in History for Wildfires' should be a shocking and dramatic statement. Instead, it's in danger of becoming a cliché, a well-worn phrase, an annual event.
Despite the hype, these technologies aren't relevant right now. But they could be in the future.
- The hype around blockchain technology has been sufficiently steady since its arrival. But UCLA professor Ramesh Srinivasan reveals the real potential in this relatively new technology is far from its connection to cryptocurrency.
- To tap this potential, it's necessary to move away from the individualistic intentions to which blockchain so often applies. For example, taking root in areas that have fallen victim to disaster capitalism like Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
- To overcome these hurdles, we must scrutinize the sources of these types of technology as well as those that benefit from its implementation.
Suicide rates in Puerto Rico have risen by a third since Hurricane Maria.
When Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, it didn't just flatten houses and flood hospitals – it plunged the island into a darkness that many islanders have yet to emerge from, both literally and metaphorically.
Carmen Correa uses a candle for light in her dark apartment as she deals with the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on September 30, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images<p>It's an experience that could leave a lasting imprint. "Exposure to trauma not only affects you in the moment, it affects you for the rest of your life if you don't have access to support services that will help you develop effective coping skills," Barbot says.<br></p><p>But little is known about how survivors of extreme events respond relative to the help they receive, according to Sandro Galea, Dean at the Boston University School of Public Health. He says scientists need to investigate the most effective post-disaster responses to both physical and mental health challenges: "The stigma that you can just 'get over' mental illness remains. In truth, one can get over mental illness roughly the same way one can get over a broken bone by oneself – with difficulty, and likely in a way that will not result in proper healing."</p><p>Public health researchers need to invest in research that prepares health systems for the next extreme event, Galea says. The first step would be to identify at-risk populations from both a physical and mental health perspective. Then health workers could act to create resilience and mitigate the consequences in vulnerable communities.</p><p>Doing such research now, before the next hurricane hits, could reap significant financial savings in disaster response efforts. "The payoff is enormous," Galea says. "And if we ask the right questions, we can mitigate mental health consequences that cost people's lives." </p><p><img src="https://mosaicscience.com/mwt-republish-img/1532/republish.gif">This <a href="https://mosaicscience.com/story/climate-change-mental-health" target="_blank">article</a> first appeared on <a href="https://mosaicscience.com/" target="_blank">Mosaic</a> and is republished here under a Creative Commons licence.</p>
Beefless meat enters the mainstream.
- Burger King is testing its first major foray into the field of beefless patties.
- On top of plant-based meats, cellular agriculture — or "cell-ag" — can also yield animal-free patties.
- A new report lists 90 reasons that cell-ag holds a lot of promise.
The Impossible Taste Test | Impossible Whopper<p>Burger King conducted an experiment to evaluate how well Whopper fans know their beloved Whopper. </p><span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="30455def29f37336c4f7e2feff23a813"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N9FED3jkNTo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Welcome to cellular agriculture<p> While the Impossible Whopper and other alternative "meats" are a beginning, researchers are also looking further down the road to animal-product alternatives constructed at the cellular level that don't even require plant matter as current options do. </p><p>Enter "<a href="https://www.cellag.org/clean-meat/" target="_blank">Cellular Agriculture</a>," or "Cell-ag," a new form of food and clothing production that results in food and clothing products indistinguishable from traditional offerings without the necessity of raising — and killing — a live animal, or even a plant. A report explaining what this could mean has just been released. It's called <a href="https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/38573490/90%20Reasons%20-%20Final%20Version%20for%20DASH.pdf?sequence=2&isAllowed=y" target="_blank"><em>90 Reasons to Consider Cellular Agriculture</em></a>.</p><p>As author Kristopher Gasteratos notes in the report's introduction, modern animal husbandry is no longer the industry we've known for thousands of years: "While animal products have been incredibly positive for society over multiple generations, today they are proving more destructive than beneficial with the rise of factory farming." Gasteratos is a <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kristopher_Gasteratos" target="_blank">researcher</a> at Harvard and founder of the <a href="https://www.cellag.org" target="_blank">Cellular Agriculture Society</a>. </p><p>The report's cumulative effect is overwhelming: 90 good reasons is a <em>lot</em> of good reasons. They're arranged in categories: Health, Environment, Human & Animal Rights, and Business and Economics. Here's a brief summary of each.<span></span></p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTM0MjMyNS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMTQ5ODA5N30.P2rJzPiBUGw7MwMOcnm6CV0Y3xJct-X-1DYF-fKFzHE/img.jpg?width=980" id="821b8" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3f4288871c4adad2ba8c05e60b35ece4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Cellular Agriculture Society
The health case<p>This section contains, among other things, a list of the things we <em>won't</em> get from lab-grown cell-ag foods, including:</p> <ul> <li>pathogens such as <em>Salmonella</em> and <em>E. Coli</em></li> <li>fecal contamination</li> <li>meat and seafood growth hormones</li> <li>mad-cow disease prions</li> <li>botulism</li> <li>swine and avian flu, and other illnesses</li> <li>plastic particles in "seafood"</li> <li>mercury in "seafood"</li> <li>animal-production antibiotics that accelerate the development of resistant superbugs</li> </ul> <p>Cell-ag also looks to promote greater food production stability and predictability, and can scale to help feed the planet's growing population. Their contaminant-free growing environment gives cell-ag foods a longer shelf life. Critical shortages can be more efficiently addresses after disasters, and famines can be avoided, and geographically independent production solves current supply issues in areas that struggle to import food.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTM0MzcwOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNDMwMDU4M30.hkZNFDkvIR_khJQQqygsKrbwo1bhBtelWUL3BiMTozo/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=33%2C56%2C33%2C56&height=700" id="3ed58" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c1a5f9e36198d22df857d9cab0e44e1d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Brooke Becker / Shutterstock
The environment case<p><strong>Land use</strong></p><p>We know that the extensive land-use requirements of animal-based products are among the main drivers of climate change. For some animals, it's an issue of grazing land. For others, such as seafood, it's processing. </p><p>Here's how much less land Gasteratos estimates we'll use after switching to cell-ag:</p> <ul> <li>cattle — 99%</li> <li>dairy — 97%</li> <li>poultry — 66%</li> <li>pigs — 82%</li> <li>seafood — 55%</li> <li>land overall — 80%</li> </ul> <p><strong>Water</strong> </p><p>It's much the same story with water use:</p> <ul> <li>cattle — 98%</li> <li>dairy — 99.6%</li> <li>poultry — 92%</li> <li>pigs — -95%</li> <li>seafood — 86%</li> <li>water overall — 94%</li> </ul> <p><strong>Greenhouse gasses</strong></p><p>Here's the reduction in greenhouse gases (GHG) an industrial switch to cell-ag may produce:</p> <ul> <li>cattle — 96%</li> <li>dairy — 65%</li> <li>poultry — 74%</li> <li>pigs — 85%</li> <li>seafood — 59%</li> <li>GHG overall — 76%</li> </ul> <p><strong>General environmental benefits</strong></p><p>Production and food and clothing animals is dirty work, and there's a long list of pollutants it generates, all of which may be avoided by cell-ag: land and ocean animal waste, production chemicals that create dead zones, and plastic pollution from the fishing industry among them.</p><p>In addition to resulting in less deforestation, cell-ag promises less ocean habitat destruction from bottom-trawling, and an overall reduced need for energy in food production.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTM0MzY5NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NDc1Mzg3OX0.WR417PLQWhn43-cI2KNcg1xloa5dzbQ9VbT_zSnasfA/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C251%2C0%2C251&height=700" id="e03ba" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="32ddd1604588b1d1e2d06a63909bc8e0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Cattle farming is a key driver of deforestation in Brazil. Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil. Image source: CIFOR
The animal and human rights case<p>Well, obviously, cell-ag could bring about the end of killing countless cows, pigs, chickens, and seafood and so on. Not to mention the elimination of the often inhumane conditions, particularly in factory farming, in which production animals spend their short lives.</p><p>You might not think at first there's much of a human-rights issue in food production, but there are several, and they're serious. Factory farming and food processing operations can be brutal places to work. Factory farm workers, says the report, are at higher risk for amputations, tannery workers are regularly exposed to carcinogenic chemicals, and the seafood industry exploits cheap and slave labor for catching fish.</p><p>In the U.S., there's also environmental racism that cell-ag could end, with food-production facilities exposing poorer — often black — neighborhoods to <a href="https://www.upworthy.com/a-drone-flew-over-a-pig-farm-to-discover-its-not-really-a-farm-its-something-much-more-disturbing" target="_blank">dangerous runoff and sprayed chemicals</a>.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTMzNTgwMS9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxOTA0ODYwMn0.2VFbq1B4juOmzOgll-OnMmfAVkXGTe4Oimja4NUW0hM/img.gif?width=980" id="eb2c7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bbee237afaca8b9ce4b01adcb1850d97" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Pig farm fecal waste being sent airborne on the edge of a residential community
Pig farm fecal waste being sent airborne on the edge of a residential community
The business and economics case<p>In addition to the dawning of a new industry with lots of new jobs, the rise of cell-ag has other positive economic benefits as well.</p><p>A food supply that's independent of weather conditions cannot only be a boon in the climate-change era, but the same foods — being grown indoors — can become available in any area, regardless of local climate.</p><p>Because cell-ag is more predictable and controllable than traditional agriculture, it affords not only greater quality consistency, but also greater financial predictability. Cell-ag can reduce the uncertainties faced today by today's growers, and help avoid the need for the many subsidies and bailouts currently required for both over- and under-production, saving taxpayers money. Even growers' neighbors benefit once farming stops lowering the value of their own homes.</p><p>Cruelty-free products may also become valued premium products for which premium prices may be asked.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTM0MzY5OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxODA1ODgwOX0.8xM8eTkdmEUQuzTOs6ajCkyUpcZWLBcTVCLpW5VHkBg/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=27%2C119%2C27%2C119&height=700" id="e8d0d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7c15672fca1b92cfe50cf4b65bd00f6d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Aaron Weiss / Shutterstock
Would you like a better life with that Whopper?<p>Gasteratos is undoubtedly personally invested in cell-ag, and so the report paints a decidedly rosy picture of its benefits. Even so, you wouldn't think a new burger lunch option could make such a drastic difference in the world. <em>90 Reasons to Consider Cellular Agriculture</em> may convince you it can.</p>
You won't notice much of a difference unless you're north of the 55th parallel, though.
- Magnetic north has recently been moving north from Canada to Russia in a cold hurry.
- It's moving about 33 miles a year instead of the usual 7 miles.
- World navigation models had to updated ahead of schedule to catch up with it.
North, north, and north<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTE2MjQ5MC9vcmlnaW4uZ2lmIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzODEwOTk0N30.SD7sUcv5s1GoxAng0TTdtfhT-5xV2K_2pXHsS9BxtYU/img.gif?width=980" id="12c8a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bd173f5f3a2619d67820e11a25dcc248" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Pyty / Shutterstock<p>There are actually three flavors of north, and they're all in different places.</p> <ul> <li><em>Magnetic north</em> — is defined as the location on the Earth's surface where all of its magnetic lines point straight downward. If you look at a compass while you're there, the needle attempts to dip down; that's why it's also called the "dip pole." Magnetic north is always on the move in response to the constant motion of electrical charges in the Earth's liquid outer mantle, which produces Earth's magnetic field.<span></span></li></ul><ul><li><em>Geomagnetic north</em> — is the northern focus of the Earth's magnetosphere, up in the stratosphere. It moves, too, but not nearly as much, since shifts in the Earth's magnetic field are more smoothed-out up there than on the ground. Its location is pretty stable, <a href="http://wdc.kugi.kyoto-u.ac.jp/poles/polesexp.html" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1">located</a> above and off the northwest coast of Greenland.<span></span></li></ul><ul> <li><em>True north</em>, or <em>geographic north</em> — is the northern terminus of our lines of longitude. It's located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.</li> </ul>
What’s the hurry?<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTE2MjUzMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxOTEyMjgwNn0.kzhzoWnDITtIG0u_h-gx_8x6dVNMPpjPMmIvx3-YQQ0/img.jpg?width=980" id="dea99" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a1eee701aef6ee6142209f89593e0273" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Johan Swanepoel / Shutterstock<p>The suddenly accelerating movement of magnetic north has scientists wondering what's up — not because there's any danger we're aware of — because its behavior is one of the few opportunities they have to catch a glimpse of the dynamics inside the earth's molten outer core.</p><p>The most prominent theory is that the speed-up is being driven by, as <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-00007-1" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1"><em>Nature</em></a> puts it, "liquid iron sloshing within the planet's core." Giant streams of molten iron and nickel continually twist and swirl in the outer core, a pressure cooker that can reach 9,000° F in temperature. The iron is the source of the magnetic fields that comprise the Earth's magnetosphere. The magnetosphere is the barrier that keeps us protected from destructive ultraviolet solar radiation — its existence keeps Earth habitable. Planets with no magnetic barrier are unable to hold onto their atmosphere. Mars lost its magnetosphere 4.2 billion years ago. </p><p>Geophysicist <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/see/staff/1381/dr-phil-livermore" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1">Phil Livermore</a> made the case at an <a href="https://fallmeeting.agu.org/2018/" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1">American Geophysical Union meeting</a> in Fall 2018 that what we're seeing is the latest action in an ongoing tug of war between two magnetic fields down in the swirling outer core. One is under Siberia, and one is under Canada. Historically, the Canadian field has been winning, keeping magnetic north in Canada. However, there's been a shift, he tells <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/02/magnetic-north-update-navigation-maps/" target="_blank" data-vivaldi-spatnav-clickable="1"><em>National Geographic</em></a>, "The Siberian patch looks like it's winning the battle. It's sort of pulling the magnetic field all the way across to its side of the geographic pole."</p><p>Some scientists think that the acceleration may be an early sign that Earth's magnetic poles are about to flip, something that happens every every 200,000 to 300,000 years. Others see no evidence of that. Plus, flips occur over thousands of years, so there'd be no cause for alarm anyway.</p>