The Anthropocene Effect: Are our waistlines paying the price?

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Kentaro IEMOTO/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

I wrote an article today that really got me to thinking.

The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch that began when human activities started to have a significant global impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems.

Many studies and theories have already been put forth claiming that this epoch is already in full swing. Climate change, global warming, species driven to extinction by nothing more than man’s influence. These are all markers of the Anthropocene.

Now, a new study from Duke University has put forth an interesting query: Does air pollution — a product of the Anthropocene — increase our risk of obesity?

Researchers actually placed pregnant rats and their offspring into two chambers, one exposed to outdoor Beijing air and the other containing an air filter that removed most of the air pollution particles. For the duration, all mice were fed the exact same diet.

NOTE: Beijing has had a HUGE air pollution problem lately, and their children are getting wider. I discuss this a bit in my article here.

Over the course of the study, the rats who breathed the polluted air gained weight and experienced cardio-respiratory and metabolic dysfunctions after three to eight weeks of exposure. According to the researchers, these rats had 50 percent higher LDL cholesterol; 46 percent higher triglycerides; and 97 percent higher total cholesterol. Their insulin resistance level, a precursor of Type 2 diabetes, was higher than their clean air-breathing counterparts. Similar results were shown in the rat offspring, which were kept in the same chambers as their mothers.

“If translated and verified in humans, these findings will support the urgent need to reduce air pollution, given the growing burden of obesity in today’s highly polluted world,” said Junfeng “Jim” Zhang, a professor of global and environmental health at Duke University.

Full details are available here.

Mr. Cool

Do you ever have days where you just want to give up?

I had one of those days yesterday, so I decided to do something to get my mind off of things. Introducing Mr. Cool, who likes to hide behind fluffy, dark curtains.

MR COOL copy

I’m having a similar day today. At this rate I’m going to run out of canvas again. Teehee.

Love, Lola

Photobomb

I was lucky enough to have a few extra canvases in the closet, so I thought I would have some fun. This one took me about 20-30 minutes. I’ve named it “Judy and Punch.” I have no idea why.

JUDY AND PUNCH

Finally some good news out of Flint!

The Flint farmers market in Downtown Flint on Tuesday February 16, 2016.
A recent MSU study has shown that the Flint Farmers’ Market has not only been good for the city’s economy, but for reaching people with challenges in accessing healthier food in the area. G.L. Kohuth

Flint has had more than just dirty, toxic water to contend with. The city’s residents have also lost a lot purchasing power since its population has dwindled after a mass exodus to the suburbs began in the 1960s.

This had led to numerous “food deserts” within the city, most in the poorest neighborhoods.

However, in 2013, a farmers’ market was moved to downtown Flint, and thankfully very near to mass transit. This means that many of the city’s underprivileged (even those on assistance) finally have access to healthier food options. It’s also boosted the economy somewhat.

Talk about a wonderful story!

You can read my entire report here.

The Fifth Dimension and the History of Mankind (NEWS)

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This tiny glass disk holds 360 TB of data that will last for billions of years. University of Southampton

What if someone told you they recorded the entire Magna Carta, King James Bible, or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on this one tiny piece of glass? And what if they told you that it would outlive you, your children, your children’s children, and so on and so on and so on — for all eternity?

Seems a bit hard to believe at first, but with today’s technological advances it’s becoming more and more likely.

Case in point:

Scientists from the University of Southampton have recorded all these things and more onto small nanostructured glass disks using femtosecond lasers, resulting in what they have nicknamed the ‘Superman memory crystal.’

This five dimensional (5D) digital data storage method allows for unprecedented properties including 360 TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1,000°C, and virtually unlimited lifetime at room temperature (13.8 billion years at 190°C).

Simply put, these digital copies could easily outlive the human race.

Read more about this research in my article for STEAM Register.