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How Meat Can Be Green

Question: Is eating "real \r\nfood"\r\nenvironmentally responsible?

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nNina Planck: \r\nEating\r\nreal food is absolutely environmentally responsible, if by real food we \r\nlook to\r\nfoods of animal origin – that is meat, dairy and eggs – to traditional \r\nmethods of\r\nproduction. So the argument which was most forcefully made by Francis \r\nMoore\r\nLappe in "Diet for a Small Planet" that meat production is\r\nenvironmentally destructive and even socially unjust was sound insofar \r\nas it\r\nwent because it was a critique of industrial meat production.  If we look to traditional methods of\r\nproduction, which we call grass farming in a very simple definition that\r\n is\r\nraising animals for meat on grass and raising…  Those\r\n are beef, dairy, cattle and lamb and raising chicken and\r\npigs on pasture, but with supplemental feed because they’re omnivores \r\ntoo.  If we look to those methods we find\r\nthat those are not only environmentally sound, but enhance the\r\nenvironment.  They make use of\r\nun-farmable land.  They can even\r\nenhance riparian areas.  Those are\r\nwetlands.  And certainly there are\r\nno unpleasant and costly byproducts from raising animals that way and \r\nI’ll just\r\ncite one example, cattle manure is a major environmental waste product.  It is housed in what are called manure\r\nlagoons.  They’re basically huge\r\ncesspools near industrial cattle and hog operations.  There\r\n are so-called environmental grants in order to create\r\nimpermeable pools.  That is cement\r\nfloors for these pools to keep this waste product from leaching into\r\ngroundwater.  This is what passes\r\nfor environmental legislation, right? \r\nWe give you a grant to keep a waste product out of the \r\ngroundwater.  Much simpler to let the cattle walk\r\naround on grass and feed themselves rather than put them in a feedlot \r\nand stuff\r\nthem on grain where you have to remove the manure because in this way \r\nthe\r\nspread the manure around themselves on grass and pasture that needs it.  Wendell Barry described – you know our\r\ngreat agronomy philosopher – described industrial cattle and hog \r\noperations as\r\nneatly dividing one solution into two problems, so the solution would be\r\n let\r\nthe animals feed themselves on grass and spread their manure themselves \r\nwith\r\ntheir own four hooves, rather than pooling their manure so that we then \r\nhave two\r\nproblems.  One, ground that needs\r\nnitrogen fertilizer and two, a manure cesspool that needs… that becomes a\r\n toxic\r\nwaste dump.

While industrial meat production is environmentally destructive and socially unjust, raising animals for meat on in grass pastures actually enhances the environment.

Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

Personal Growth
  • We spend 40 percent of our childhoods asleep, a time for cognitive growth and development.
  • A recent study found an association between irregular sleep patterns in childhood and either psychotic experiences or borderline personality disorder during teenage years.
  • The researchers hope their findings can help identify at-risk youth to improve early intervention.
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    Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

    Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

    Videos
    • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
    • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
    • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

    Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

    Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

    Credit: Neom
    Technology & Innovation
    • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
    • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
    • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
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    COVID-19 brain study to explore long-term effects of the virus

    A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.

    Coronavirus
    • The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
    • The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
    • Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
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