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Make This Flavor-Packed Old Fashioned for Memorial Day Weekend

Make This Flavor-Packed Old Fashioned for Memorial Day WeekendKick off summer with a deliciously complex rye that bourbon drinkers love.

Fri, 24 May 2019 09:10:00 -0400
Swedish Teen Climate Activist Rips Politicians Ahead of EU Vote

Swedish Teen Climate Activist Rips Politicians Ahead of EU VoteOn a day when teenagers across the world again mobilized against climate inaction, the movements icon, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, said the continents policy makers -- including environmentalists -- are all failing to heed the climate crisis. Theres no political party thats doing anywhere near enough, Thunberg said in an interview in Stockholm on Friday. Thunberg spoke as youths went on strike in a so-called Fridays for Future event spanning cities across the world.

Fri, 24 May 2019 09:08:39 -0400
A big red reason not to dig a mine in Alaska's fat bear country

A big red reason not to dig a mine in Alaska's fat bear countryLike the sun promises to rise each morning, hordes of crimson salmon -- numbering in the tens of millions -- faithfully return to Alaska's Bristol Bay each summer.This land of untrammeled rivers, streams, and lakes is home to the richest run of sockeye salmon on Earth. And largely for that reason, it's also the realm of Alaska's gloriously fat bears, who gobble the hefty 4,500 calorie fish -- sometimes a dozen each hour -- throughout the fleeting summer. Yet, the Trump administration may allow a Canadian mining company to dig a gold and copper mine one mile wide and 1,970 feet deep into the heart of the Bristol Bay watershed, called the Pebble Mine. Previously, the Obama Administration effectively killed the mining plans, citing "significant and unacceptable adverse effects" to the biologically and economically valuable ecosystem, but the Trump administration has reversed course, and is officially reconsidering the quarry. It's a move harshly questioned by Bristol Bay locals, scientists, and law experts alike. "How does helping this underfunded Canadian company make America great again?" wondered Joel Reynolds, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council.Razing 73 miles of streams and 3,458 acres of wilderness (while building two water pollution treatment plants) in a corner of Bristol Bay is of little environmental concern to the mining company, Northern Dynasty, whose PR organization's spokesperson told Mashable in March that overall salmon population numbers would not be impacted. Yet, a new study published in the journal Science shows the stability and productivity of these Alaskan rivers is dictated by the vitality of smaller components of the greater watershed. A small portion of the river system may be incredibly productive one year, supporting or stabilizing a river's salmon populaton while other areas see weaker fish numbers."Different chunks, components, and patches tend to be more or less important in a given year," said Sean Brennan, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and lead author of the study. "Any given year, some really small area could be disproportionately important."Sockeye salmon migrating up a stream.Image: Jason Ching / University of Washington"A landscape or entire river system doesn't operate as a simple sum of its parts," added Brennan, noting that different zones "flicker on or flicker off" over time.This fluctuating activity has salient implications for the federal government's environmental review of the Pebble Mine permit, which is administered by the Army Corps of Engineers (the agency is currently accepting comments from the public about the Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS). Brennan noted that the fish estimation surveys done in and around the proposed mining area (and interpreted by Pebble Mine to conclude that salmon populations won't be impacted) do not capture the full story of how critical a relatively small area of water and streams are to the greater river system's productivity."You're not getting the full picture," Brennan said. What surveyors get when trying to count fish over a two or three year period, is "a snapshot in time," he explained. That "snapshot" doesn't show how productive a particular river tributary is over time, as the zone "flickers" on or off. Rather, it's an assumption that the area only produces a certain quota of fish each and every year."We show that assumption is on pretty shaky ground," said Brennan. "Habitats and productivity of the habitats tend to fluctuate a lot.""When you cut off these little bits it might not sound like a big deal, but it can be a really big deal," said Mike Fitz, an ecologist not involved in the study who has spent years observing the salmon, bears, and wildlife in the Bristol Bay watershed, particularly those in Katmai National Park (home to the famous bear cams)."This study really reinforces that it's hard to select different tributaries that we find unnecessary, given that they may be very important during specific years," agreed Curry Cunningham, a quantitative ecologist who monitors salmon runs in the Bristol Bay each summer.The bigger picture is clear."The study seems to definitely demonstrate that healthy runs of salmon are dependent on healthy, diverse watersheds," said Fitz. And accordingly, healthy salmon runs mean healthy, fat bears. (Though, it's unknown how, exactly, the Pebble Mine -- which would operate for 20 years -- will impact the bears and wildlife in and around the mining area. That depends on what ultimately happens to the salmon).Major shifts in salmon production.Image: Brennan et al. / Science, 2019To gauge Bristol Bay's fluctuating productivity, Brennan and his team caught some 1,400 salmon between 2011 and 2015 as the fish traveled up towards Bristol Bay's Nushagak River watershed -- one of the bay's largest and most productive river systems. Each fish has an oval-shaped ear bone, which form rings as it grows, similar to a tree ring. This preserves the animals' life history. The researchers used this bony data bank to measure chemical traces of an element, strontium, that naturally exists in the rivers. Critically, this element exists in different ratios in different parts of the river system -- giving the researchers insight into where these fish lived and thrived during specific years. Brennan, then, saw how different regions of the river "flickered on" with productivity, while others "flickered off.""The earstones represent a chemical record, like a GPS tracker, of each fish's life," explained Brennan. Ear bone measurements might seem like an unusual scientific tool to assess life history. But not to a fish scientist. "[The earbones] are particularly well-suited for addressing the goals of this research," said Cunningham. The MineWell before this study came out, the Pebble Mine incited a slew of environmental headaches.Of note, the greater Bristol Bay region can boom with fish, but it can also bust; a food shortage in the ocean or disruptive weather patterns can drive fish numbers down. Accordingly, an ecologically harmful, or perhaps devastating, mine, can exacerbate the down years, and also hamper the recovery. "Why on top of [those bad years] would we want to risk really screwing this thing up?" wondered Bristol Bay resident Norm Van Vactor, president of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation."At the end of the day, do we really want to risk what is truly one of mother nature's wonders of the world for copper and gold? I don't think we do," Van Vactor told Mashable in March.A vibrant fishing industry, valued at $1.5 billion each year, is critical to the Bristol Bay region. "It's economically important, it's culturally important, it's nutritionally important," said Brennan.A mature, spawning sockeye salmon.Image: Jason Ching / University of WashingtonAnd beyond the economic bounty of the richest sockeye salmon fishery on the planet, there's an unparalleled wilderness, something that's vastly diminished in our heavily-developed society. The Lower 48's wilderness, particularly the rivers, is a shell of its former self."Basically every major river system in the U.S. is modified by humanity in a significant way," said Fitz. "Very few people alive today know what a free-flowing Colorado River is like."But in Bristol Bay, the rivers are untrammeled, and the natural world is flourishing. "Nothing really compares to the productivity we're currently experiencing in Bristol Bay," said Fitz. Consider, for example, rivers red with salmon and bears so rotund their bellies nearly scrape the ground.This productivity is now on display each summer, as the Explore.org live webcams show Katmai National Park's brown bears gobbling up bounties of fish, and growing profoundly fat.The Army Corps of Engineers will soon weigh a plethora of comments from the U.S. public about the impact of a mine in the heart of the Bristol Bay region. Aside from the public comments, the 1,400-page EIS contains a number of scientific assessments about the region's fisheries, but, according to the study's authors, doesn't responsibly account for the mine's impact to fish.A salmon fish ear bone, or otolith.Image: Sean Brennan / University of Washington"The Pebble Mine environmental impact statement, which is supposed to be a mature, state-of-the-science assessment of risks, really does a poor job of assessing risks of this specific project," Daniel Schindler, a professor at the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and study coauthor, said in a statement. When asked if the Army Corps of Engineers would consider this new Bristol Bay research, an agency spokesperson did not give a definitive answer, but said that "new data that is received through the course of the public comment period and made aware to the Corps is taken into consideration leading up to development the Final Environmental Impact Statement."It's likely, though, that each portion of the greater Bristol Bay watershed, however small, plays a sizable role in sustaining one of the richest, and purest, places left on Earth.Yet one open pit mine, with its 188-mile pipeline, water treatment plants, and roads is how the transformation starts. It's how it's always started."We can't keep killing watersheds with death by 1,000 cuts," said Fitz, pointing at the devastated salmon fisheries in New England and the Pacific Northwest."What we consider normal today is a degraded environment," he said. "We just accept it because that's what we've grown up with." WATCH: Ever wonder how the universe might end?

Fri, 24 May 2019 09:00:00 -0400
Antidepressants: Another Weapon Against Chronic Pain

Antidepressants: Another Weapon Against Chronic PainAntidepressants are a staple in the treatment of many chronic pain conditions, including arthritis, nerve damage, headache, and low back pain.

Fri, 24 May 2019 08:00:00 -0400
In Cannes, glittery film festival literally costs the earth

In Cannes, glittery film festival literally costs the earthA fleet of energy-guzzling luxury yachts and private planes, kilos of gourmet food dumped, limousines driving stars just a few hundred metres: for environmentalists, the Cannes film festival is just "one big mess". "There is, without a doubt, a huge amount that needs to be done by the festival organisers to make it more environmentally friendly," said Cyril Dion, a filmmaker and climate activist. "During the festival, the population triples, and all of these people have to travel," said ADEN head Genevieve Huchet.

Fri, 24 May 2019 07:00:19 -0400
Were In Trouble! The Incredible True Story Of The 1969 Snoopy Moon Mission

Were In Trouble! The Incredible True Story Of The 1969 Snoopy Moon MissionFifty years ago this week, 'Snoopy' and 'Charlie Brown' paved the way for the first lunar landing.

Fri, 24 May 2019 05:40:32 -0400
SpaceX launches first 60 satellites of its internet network

SpaceX launches first 60 satellites of its internet networkSpaceX has launched a rocket carrying the first 60 satellites of its "Starlink" constellation, which is intended to provide internet from space in an array that could one day contain over 12,000 orbiting transponders. An hour later, the rocket began to release the satellites at an altitude of 280 miles (450 kilometers). The satellites then had to separate and use their thrusters to take up their positions in a relatively low orbit of 340 miles (550 kilometers).

Fri, 24 May 2019 05:28:15 -0400
When You Eat This Mini Robot, It Crawls Around Your Organs

When You Eat This Mini Robot, It Crawls Around Your OrgansPhoto Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/GettyDoctors have lots of ways of seeing whats going on inside your body, but none of them is really ideal. Pictures from the outside obviously dont show everything. Colonoscopes are... uncomfortable and can only reach your lower intestine. And even modern, advanced PillCams, while revolutionary, only give doctors access to a limited amount of information and have to be (ahem) retrieved and returned by the patient for reading. So researchers at the Bio-Inspired and Medical Robots Lab at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, in Israel, are building a miniature robot inspired by an inchworm that can be controlled by remote and give doctors unprecedented access to your insides.In developing their inchworm robot, engineer David Zarrouk, who runs the lab, was hoping to find a method that could improve on the access that PillCams brought to difficult-to-reach parts of the intestine. Specifically, the small intestine. According to Zarrouk: Ten or twelve years ago a company started developing cam pills. A person can swallow it, it goes through the digestive system and takes photos from all over. This is a great idea because it allows doctors for the first time to take photos from the small intestine, which is connected to the stomach from one side and large intestine on the other side and its very, very hard to reach.But the camera pill has drawbacks, he says. First, it takes many hours for the pill to make its way naturally through the digestive systemit has no means of propelling itself. Next, the pill can often become lodged in parts of the intestine and then slip out and slide very fast through the rest of the body, meaning it will capture fewer photos and they will be lower quality.If we can make the camera self-propelled, the doctor can be sitting near the patient moving the camera. It can happen faster and when he reaches the zone he cares about he can stop it, take more photos, and then continue. And when he doesnt care about stopping he can run quickly through, says Zarrouk. Whats special and unique about the ability to control the robot this way is that a doctor will be able to use ultrasound to locate the robot inside a persons body and know exactly where it is when it spots a problematic area. With current camera pills, the location of points of interest are impossible to distinguish because everywhere inside the intestine looks the same: gray.The (A.I.) Doctor Will See You NowTo build the robot Zarrouk and his team turned to forms of motion that would work well inside flexible areas. Their main inspiration is the worm. It moves in a wavelike pattern, has the shape of a helix (like DNA), and it can be propelled from one endmeaning their robot would only need a single motor and a series of joints. They started out building it quite large to prove the concept and have been reducing it in size with every generation. The latest version of the robot is 4 cm long and 1.5 cm wide and was recently successfully tested inside a pigs intestine. Our specific robot works better inside tube-like environments. When theres pressure on it from top and bottom it can run faster, he says. Theyd like the final product to reduce in size down to about 2 cm long and 1.2 cm wide, but theyre currently limited by the size of motors available on the market. To achieve this, the team is searching for a partner that has manufacturing capability and can help build a smaller motor.There are a few other aspects that also need to be worked outthe robot is currently powered by external wiring so it needs a battery and it also needs to be equipped with wireless communication (both tasks, he says, should be easily achieved with currently available technology). Eventually, Zarrouk says hed like the robot to be able to perform more complicated tasks than simply taking pictures. For example, if a doctor reaches a point of interest, perhaps one day the robot will be able to drop a bit of medicine in a targeted location or take a small biopsy without having to perform surgery from the outside. Zarrouk says it shouldnt feel too strange to have a self-propelled, wireless, inchworm robot making its way through your intestines. We spoke to doctors about this. The intestines are sensitive to pressure but something crawling inside it shouldnt be painful. Maybe some tickling.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Fri, 24 May 2019 05:10:13 -0400
Robot vacuums on sale this weekend: Save on Shark, iRobot, and Eufy

Robot vacuums on sale this weekend: Save on Shark, iRobot, and EufyYou have better things to spend your time doing this summer than cleaning and a robot vacuum can handle your floors with ease while you're out enjoying the weather.SEE ALSO: 7 of the best robot vacuums to tackle pet hairOr maybe you want your robot vacuum to join in your festivities -- it apparently makes beer pong more interesting:OK, likely you'll just be using the appliance for its intended purposes, so pay attention because we found deals on five robot vacuums that you'll want to take advantage of this weekend. Shark Ion RV750 -- Save $126This vacuum's self-cleaning brushroll captures short and long hair, dust, dander, and allergens throughout your home to prevent everyday buildup while dual side brushes pull in debris from corners and edges. Reviews mention that this vacuum is even tough on pet hair, which is not always the case at this price point. You are able to control and schedule the vacuum through its easy-to-use app or by Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands. The Shark Ion RV750 is a good choice that won't break the bank. Read more...More about Home, Cleaning, Vacuums, Robot Vacuums, and Mashable Shopping

Fri, 24 May 2019 04:30:00 -0400
China says making progress on African swine fever vaccine

China says making progress on African swine fever vaccineChina will start work on clinical trials of an African swine fever vaccine, state media said on Friday, as the disease continues to spread through the world's biggest hog herd. State-owned Harbin Veterinary Research Institute has found two vaccine candidates, proven in laboratory tests to offer immunity to the disease, China National Radio said in a post on China's microblogging site Weibo. "In the next step, the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences will accelerate the progress of pilot and clinical trials, as well as vaccine production," said the report.

Fri, 24 May 2019 03:07:20 -0400
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