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Hong Kong is taking a page from colonial America to deal with its litter problem: public shaming. An environmental group in the city is using DNA to publicly shame litterbugs on billboards across the city. Sixteen thousand tons of waste are dumped in Hong Kong every day; so much that it piles up in the streets. This has lead to the creation of a new public service campaign, called “The Face of Litter.” Launched as a part of Global Earth Day, a non-profit called The Hong Kong Cleanup Challenge began collecting street waste like cigarette butts, tissues and coffee cups. Then, they sent the samples to Parabon NanoLabs in the US, where the DNA on the waste was analyzed. Using forensic DNA phenotyping--traits such as gender, eye and skin color, face shape, and prominent features--the lab created digital composite photos of what the litterbug likely looked like. Back in Hong Kong, the non-profit team purchased outdoor digital advertisement space, where they displayed the composite portraits throughout the city with the title "The Face of Litter." See a video from the campaign below. Well played, Hong Kong, well played.
Today's Lesson How to Extract Strawberry DNA with Myles Power Hong Kong is taking a page from colonial America to deal with its litter problem: public shaming. An environmental group in the city is using DNA to p...
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The top of the world is thawing. Reaching the summit of Mount Everest (29,000 feet above sea level) is a feat only a tiny fraction ever accomplish. So it could come as good news to some that Everest's glaciers are shrinking--13% diminished in the last 50 years, with predictions of 70% to 99% shrinkage by the end of the century! This might be good news for amateur mountain climbers, who will have an easier time summiting Everest when it is a just a rocky peak with patches of snow. But it will be a huge loss for the rest of us. One of Earth's most stunning landscapes will be gone. And for the roughly 1.5 billion people in the region who depend on Himalayan glaciers for water, hydroelectric power, and agriculture it will be devastating. Glacier melt will also cause avalanches, flooding, and dangerous earthquakes--like the massive tremors that devastated Nepal and Everest Base Camp earlier this year. There is one more plus if Everest goes bald. The melting glaciers will free decades of human garbage (and bodies) trapped in the ice. Hopefully humans will still be around to cart it off.
Lesson of the Day Rock Climbing Footwork Techniques with Rock Climb Tips The top of the world is thawing. Reaching the summit of Mount Everest (29,000 feet above sea level) is a feat only a tiny fraction ever acc...
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Call us United States of Waste. One-third of food produced in the US gets thrown away! That’s 133 billion pounds of food, worth over $150 billion. 10% of it is thrown out by grocery stores alone. Given almost 50 million Americans live in a state of "food insecurity" there’s a big inefficiency taking place. Which is exactly why last month the Daily Table opened its doors in Boston. It’s a nonprofit grocery store whose shelves are filled with discounted surplus and aging food donated by food wholesalers and markets. Canned vegetables go 2 for $1, a dozen eggs is 99 cents, potatoes are 49 cents a pound, and bananas are 29 cents a pound. The Daily Table was created by former Trader Joe’s president Doug Rauch, who was frustrated by the amount of good, nutritious food that went straight into the dumpster because it reached its sell-by date. So Rauch developed a model for selling food that would otherwise go bad--sort of like how airlines sell their "remnant" seats for less at the last minute. His focus is on the fresh, nutritious food that is most likely to spoil; and also most likely to be priced out of reach of low income families. The main reason grocery stores throw away food is because of expiring "sell-by" dates. Even though most items remain fresh for at least a week after their sell-by date, grocery stores won't sell them because of the perception. Furthermore, the FDA provides no standard for determining at what point food “expires.” And there are no laws against selling food past the sell-by-date. So the Daily Table has taken the task on of determining which items are still safe, and promising not to sell any spoiled or unsafe food. And you won’t just find staple groceries there. They are cooking up prepared meals too, though they are on a rotating menu since the items donated change every day. Why can't more successful entrepreneurs be like Rauch, and use their business acumen to create social solutions as well as profits? Bravo, Mr. Rauch!
Lesson of the Day How to Stock a Healthy Kitchen with Evita Ochel Call us United States of Waste. One-third of food produced in the US gets thrown away! That’s 133 billion pounds of food, worth over $150 billion...
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Where were you on December 30, 2011? Definitely not on the island nation of Samoa. That would be impossible because there was no December 30, 2011 in Samoa. They skipped it. If you look at the map below, you'll see Samoa lies just west of the International Date Line (IDL). It’s less than 100 miles from American Samoa, which sits on the other (eastern) side of the IDL. So when it’s Monday in Samoa, it’s still Sunday (24 hours earlier) in American Samoa. But that wasn’t always the case. From 1892 through December 29, 2011, Samoa was on the other side of the world--making it the planet's last land mass to see the sun each day. The decision to skip a calendar day was meant to align Samoa with its largest trading partners. Before the switch, Samoa was 23 hours behind Auckland and 21 hours behind Sydney meaning the countries shared only 3 non-weekend days. Not good for business. So in 2011 when the clock struck midnight on Thursday, December 29th, the date in Samoa changed to Saturday, December 31st. This un-did their first jump across the IDL. In 1892, American traders persuaded it to shift eastward to facilitate business with the west coast of the US. That shift resulted in two July Fourths, the day they savvily picked to have twice. It turns out these kinds of IDL gymnastics aren't that rare. Thanks to similar tricks by other countries, each day from 10 am to 11:59 am GMT, three different weekdays are observed somewhere on earth. But that's for another Curio.
Today's Lesson Sticky Date Pudding Recipe with BoutiqueTreats Where were you on December 30, 2011? Definitely not on the island nation of Samoa. That would be impossible because there was no December 30, 2011 in ...
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Think your job is hard? Try driving a truck for a living. Drivers average up to 14 hours a day, with only 10 hours off between shifts. Despite laws restricting these types of hours, the rules are commonly broken; drivers fear losing their jobs or missing out on the most lucrative routes if they complain. Not to mention the chances of dying on the job are much higher than most professions. 12% of all work related deaths in the US are in the trucking industry. But some help for drivers may be on the way. A new commercial truck called the Freightliner Inspiration is the first semi-autonomous truck to operate in the US. The vehicle performs many of the driving functions, alerting the driver to take over when vehicles slow ahead, or inclement weather arises. Granted it’s only one of two million tractor-trailers on the road today, but it has the potential to give the trucking industry a much-needed revolution. Not only could it significantly increase safety and reduce the stress on exhausted drivers, they could focus their auto-pilot time on scheduling and routing, making the entire operation more efficient and hopefully more lucrative. Click below to see a video of the Freightliner Inspiration truck in action.
Today's Lesson How to Change a Car Battery with Anthony J Think your job is hard? Try driving a truck for a living. Drivers average up to 14 hours a day, with only 10 hours off between shifts. Despite laws restri...
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There have been over 20 assassination attempts on US presidents. All were by men, except for two women who did so within 17 days of each other. Sara Jane Moore and Lynnette “Squeaky” Fromme, both attempted to kill Gerald Ford in 1975. Ford was lucky to escape both. The first to make her attempt was Fromme, a 26-year-old Manson Family devotee. Fromme aimed a gun at Ford in Sacramento, California as he walked to a meeting with then (and current!) governor Jerry Brown. But Fromme couldn’t load her weapon before Secret Service agents tackled her to the ground. Ford met with Brown as planned. Just 17 days later, Sara Jane Moore, a 45-year-old housewife, did get shots off. On the afternoon of September 22, Ford was emerging from San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel when two shots rang out, the first narrowly missing the president. What's the connection? None was ever found, except that both women were involved in left-wing political circles and the strange radical subcultures of 1970s California bred from the anti-Vietnam War efforts.
Today's Lesson Checks and Balances in US Government with Keith Hughes There have been over 20 assassination attempts on US presidents. All were by men, except for two women who did so within 17 days of each other...
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There is one definite down side to the personal technology revolution: constantly needing to charge them! A new technology called PoWiFi might just fix that. PoWiFi, short for "power over Wi-Fi," uses radio waves to charge devices remotely. It essentially tricks standard Wi-Fi routers into sending out a constant signal, that is then converted into DC power. Researchers from the University of Washington have so far been able to recharge electronics from up to 28 feet away. Household Wi-Fi routers normally generate radio waves in micro-bursts, so the team had to insert “noise” into the signals to keep the power levels steady enough to charge nearby electronics without disrupting the router's basic functions. Since Wi-Fi transmits only about 1 watt, the technology won't charge most phone batteries, which typically require 5 watts. But researchers were able to charge a small camera fully, and get a fitness band's battery to 41% in 2.5 hours. The best part is that the new technology is compatible with existing wireless routers, requiring only a simple firmware update. And new routers could be built with increased wattage, making them powerful enough for modern phones. Can this really be safe?
Lesson of the Day 3 Yoga Poses for Brain Power with Sean Vigue Fitness There is one definite down side to the personal technology revolution: constantly needing to charge them! A new technology called PoWiFi migh...
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He's called the “man with the golden arm.” Thanks to his blood donations, Australian James Harrison has single-armedly saved the lives of more than two million babies. In his veins is an extremely rare kind of blood that cures a deadly affliction. Up until 1967, thousands of babies died each year from rhesus disease, a condition where a pregnant mother's blood attacks the cells of the fetus. It happens when the mother has rhesus-negative blood and the baby has rhesus-positive blood, inherited from the father. James Harrison began donating blood after a blood transfusion saved his life when he was a teen. Doctors soon realized his blood was extremely rare, and contained an antibody that could save fetuses dying of Rhesus disease. So scientists used Harrison's blood to develop a vaccine called Anti-D which protects babies from rhesus. Harrison, now 78, has racked up 984 blood donations since then, giving every few weeks of his adult life. Each donation is put towards increasing the store of Anti-D vaccine. Every dose of Anti-D vaccine created in Australia is from a donation by Harrison. It's incredible, but also concerning that the entire supply of this lifesaving drug is dependent on a man who can only legally donate blood in Australia for three more years. There are estimated to be 50 people in Australia alone with Harrison's same lifesaving antibody. The hope is that other people will be as generous as Harrison has been. Yet another reason to become a blood donor--you could be the next one with a golden arm!
Lesson of the Day How to Determine Blood Type at Home with Myles Power He's called the “man with the golden arm.” Thanks to his blood donations, Australian James Harrison has single-armedly saved the lives of mor...
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Move over Donald Trump, there's a new king of ostentatiousness. Mukesh Ambani, India's wealthiest man, has taken ultra-luxury homes to a new height. Literally, as in 550 feet of height. Ambani recently completed construction on the world’s first billion dollar home. That's with a 'b'! After struggling to make their old 22-story home in Mumbai fit their needs--they had to share it with his mother and brother--Ambani and his wife decided to build from scratch. The house is named Antilia, after a mythical island, and extravagant doesn’t begin to describe it. It occupies 50,000 square feet of prime real estate on Altamount Road in Mumbai, one of the most elite addresses in the world. More like a skyscraper than a house, Antilia has 27 floors but is the height of a 40-story building. The living space is 400,000 square feet, or about seven football fields. It has parking for 168 cars, and an auto repair shop. If you prefer to arrive by air, there are three helipads and an air traffic control tower. There’s also a ballroom floor, three floors of gardens, a yoga studio, a health spa, a 50-person theater, and three swimming pools. Plus Antilia has its very own “ice room” with man-made snow flurries to escape the brutal Mumbai heat. Don't worry, while the house has six hundred permanent staff members for its six residents, the Ambani’s three children are still required to clean their own rooms.
Free Daily Lesson How to Make Chapati (Indian Flatbread) with Indianvegetarianrecipes Move over Donald Trump, there's a new king of ostentatiousness. Mukesh Ambani, India's wealthiest man, has taken ultra-luxury ...
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Exactly 46 years ago, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. And--unless you are a conspiracy theorist--that's when we contacted the moon’s surface for the first time. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin both spent about two and a half hours walking around outside of the Lunar Module. Their images were broadcast live from a slowscan TV (SSTV) camera mounted on the side of the lander. Because SSTV was only 10 framers per second, it couldn't be broadcast on regular TV until it was converted to the standard 30 fps NTSC TV signal. So NASA simply set up an RCA TV camera on Earth and filmed a 10-inch monitor showing the live SSTV footage. Which seriously degraded the quality, giving us the grainy images of Neil Armstrong's "one giant leap for mankind." The original SSTV was much higher quality, but when NASA scientists tried to recover the SSTV tapes they found a big boo boo. It had been recorded over! But while the original video footage is gone, Aldrin and Armstrong's footprints are not. Since there is no atmosphere to create wind, no volcanic activity, and no water on its surface, the moon’s surface dust will never move unless it is hit by an asteroid. Which means all human footprints and vehicle tracks should be there for thousands or even millions of years. Check out a NASA photo of Armstrong's first boot print and an amazing photo of the Apollo 12 mission taken forty years later by the Lunar Reconnoissance Orbiter in 2011. Every footprint is still visible!
Today's Lesson How to Break in Your Running Shoes with Dr. Hasenbank Exactly 46 years ago, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. And--unless you are a conspiracy theorist--that's when we contacted the moon’s surface for ...
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When Mad Men had its finale last May, what did smart investors do? Sell! A recent study found the stock market drops directly after popular TV shows come to an end. Gabriele Lepori, a UK economist studied 150 popular TV series finales. Her hypothesis was that people's emotional attachment to favorite shows is strong enough to dampen their investment attitude. Lepori looked at popular TV finales including “The Fugitive” (1967), “The Cosby Show” (1992), “Seinfeld” (1998), and “Friends” (2004). She discovered that when a TV show ends, stock markets fall the following trading day. And the higher the viewership for that episode, the larger the decrease. It’s common that people in mourning are more risk averse; these findings imply our emotional ties to TV characters are strong enough to create a similar effect. Subconsciously, millions of fans can fall into a depressive psychological state, creating a macroeconomic ripple. I can't say I've ever been very attached to a particular TV show, but I wonder if the same holds for sports fans after their team's season ends in heartbreak (hello Cleveland)?
Today's Lesson How the Stock Market Works with Wall Street Survivor When Mad Men had its finale last May, what did smart investors do? Sell! A recent study found the stock market drops directly after popular TV s...
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Wanna save the world? Add cricket tacos, grasshopper burgers, and mealworm chips to your diet. Insects are incredibly high in protein, inexpensive to raise, and much more environmentally sustainable than farming vertebrates for meat. At current rates or consumption, beef is expected to be an extreme luxury item by 2050. While some 2 billion people around the world eat bugs in their regular diet, most Westerners associate insects with dirt and disease. But some food scientists believe bugs can be made to look and taste so good that it will become socially acceptable in the West. So proponents are starting to appeal to our tastes buds more and the environmental case less. Once company, called Little Herds, believes that chefs will lead the way in making insects attractive and desirable--much like California chefs turned the "tables" on raw fish from something dangerous into gourmet sushi. There are also efforts to give insects more appetizing names; much like the Patagonian toothfish was renamed the Chilean sea bass. In other words, appealing to our selfish tastebuds should work better than appealing to the greater good.
Today's Lesson Organic Fly and Mosquito Control with GrowOrganic.com Wanna save the world? Add cricket tacos, grasshopper burgers, and mealworm chips to your diet. Insects are incredibly high in protein, inexpens...
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