The fight for renewable energy has taken center stage in some of the largest nations on the planet. For all of that, solar energy continues to push forward in the agricultural world as it continually renovates and adjusts our optimism for the future. One company in the solar field has decided to put their solar energy to the test. This would lead to Sundrop Farms deciding to install a 127m central solar power tower in Port Augusta, located at the northern tip of Spencer Gulf in South Australia. This solar farm will be used to develop energy through more than 12.5 hectares of reflective mirrors, enabling more than 13.5 tons of tomatoes to grow in the region every single year. This singular solar farm accounts for more than 10% of the nation’s entire tomato production!
Sundrop Farms Brings Energy to Australia
Sundrop Farms has been a major player in the solar world for a while now but this is a stark step-up for their company. Sundrop Farm’s solar tower has been marked with a thermal rating exceeding 39MW, but only 1.5MW is going to be dedicated to electricity. The rest of the energy will be used to produce pure water for the crops through a desalination unit. These technological devices allow Sundrop Farms to provide the ideal heat and carbon dioxide measurements for optimum growth.
Stephen Marafiote is the CEO at Sundrop Farms, and they’ve had much to say on their latest efforts. The energy system being installed in Australia utilizes pre-existing technologies, many of which can be traced back to Denmark, Germany, and even the United States. Whether he is talking about the German turbines, the energy system from Denmark, or the greenhouse systems pulled from America, it appears that innovation is hanging from every corner of the work that is being done here.
Stephen Marafiote said of his decision to bring these technologies together, “Each of these is a proven technology but the way they work (together) is the innovation here.”
Once you step inside of the massive greenhouses that dot the more than fifty hectares of land, visitors will find themselves immersed within greenhouses brimming with growth. Tomatoes hang by the vine on row after row of PVC pipes. Here the tomatoes will ripen as they thrust themselves toward being plucked, attaining essential salts and sugars along the way.
Marafiote would go on to discuss how climate change and pressure on agricultural land have changed the importance level of further agricultural growth. Marafiote pointed out that Sundrop Farms was crafted from the ground up with the intention of addressing food security in the future. For Marafiote, this is a legacy project and one in which he hopes history will look back fondly upon.
With solar energy growing in popularity, what could be next for Sundrop Farms?
Canine Environmentalist Sniffs Out Litter, Cleans Up Leeds Park
If you’ve spent even five minutes on the internet over the last ten years, you’ve likely come face-to-face with some pretty startling realities pertaining to pollution, climate change, and environmental destruction. According to the team of researchers at SAS, more than 5,000 plastic marine pollution is found per mile on beaches in the United Kingdom. More than 90% of these plastic containers are produced through processes requiring fossil oil as well as gasoline.
While we are all increasingly aware of the global pollution issue currently captivating our planet, it feels like there is little that can be done at an individual level. Well, at least that might have been the sentiment before a Labrador Retriever named Harley got in on the action!
Cleaning Up The Parks, Paw by Paw.
Leeds is the largest city located in West Yorkshire, a county of England. Located predominantly on the River Aire, the city is cut by the river flowing through it, Leeds was originally founded in the 13th Century as a borough before turning into a major production center for wool, mills, flax, and iron. Now home to more than 790,000 people, Leeds has turned into a thriving metropolis with its own issues pertaining to pollution and urban density.
Located just five miles away from the center of the city is Pudsey Park, a public park located in Pudsey, second most popular in the region behind only Roundhay Park. On the manicured grounds, visitors will find a bowling green, cafe, skate park, and a playground as well as various wildlife displays.
Covering nearly 8 acres of land and met every day by children and family, Pudsey Park has been particularly prone to litter and pollution. In order to offset some of the lazy waste that has found its way into the park, one local resident named John Evans decided to get him and his dog in on the action.
John Evans is a frequent walker through Pudsey Park with his best friend, the black labrador retriever named Harley. Like any other lab, Harley loves to get outside, explore parks, and play with anything along the way. Leaning on his dog’s natural love of the great outdoors while turning that passion into a game, John would teach his dog to collect empty bottles from all over the property.
Rewarding Harley for all of his work, the dog would go on to pick up trash can after trash can of discarded plastic bottles over the course of his walks through Pudsey. Evans keeps his fans and followers updated regarding their efforts to clean the park through daily social media posts. Evans stated in one of those social media posts, “We’re immensely proud of Harley, and… there’s something really different about him!”
Labrador Retrievers like Harley have a rich history as one of the most popular companion dogs in the entire Western World. A common choice for disability assistance, Labs are smart and compassionate enough to train and aid those with autism or blindness, displaying loyalty and composure throughout their efforts.
A New DNA-Hunting Blood Test Catches Cancer Earlier
A regular blood test provides physicians one of the most useful and versatile ways to see what’s going on inside a person healthwise. No surprise, blood tests are periodically ordered with every physical and potential health problem evaluation as well. Now, a new type of blood tests may also be able to filter and detect up to 50 different cancers before they become physically noticeable through other symptoms.
The accuracy of the new test works so well, the new blood test design has been elevated to a screening test status to catch cancer signs early. To be applied by England and their National Health System in Fall 2021 as a pilot, the test will first be applied to folks with 50 years or more in age.
In terms of efficacy, the new blood test has a wide range of application. It has effectively identified the presence or multiple cancers, including those in the esophageal and neck area, the head, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer and no surprise, some types of blood cancer as well. Peer-reviewed in medical journals extensively, the test method was researched and experimented repeatedly. It produced a confirmed low false positive trend and was highly accurate at identifying the presence of cancer before other traditional signs appeared.
The new blood test is designed to focus on the genetic trail cancer presence creates. It focuses on pieces of DNA that are given off by tumors when they start to grow in the body. The logic behind the test, however, was not human; it was based on a machine-learning logic, an artificial intelligence algorithm. The algorithm developed an ability to hunt for and find methylation patterns in the bloodstream, which provide signals of cancer presence via DNA substance. It’s performance is stellar from a lab perspective. More than half the cases tested with known cancer were identified correctly, and the test produce a mistake only 0.5 percent of the time. More impressive, the test focused where the cancer was in the body almost 90 percent of the time.
From a practical application perspective, the new blood test is a game-changer. Cancer research and response have come a long ways since the 1980s when a cancer diagnosis was pretty much a mortality notice for most patients in a few years. Now, with a test that finds cancer even earlier than traditional methods, the ability to stop it increases tremendously. Ideally, one wants to catch cancer in Stage 1. This test might actually create a Stage 0 phase given how early it finds cancer.
It may still be a while, however, before the test makes it stateside. The U.K. pilot via the NHS will run through 2023 with 140,000 patients. This will help provide practical data as well as refinement in how the test is applied and where it can best be used with public health in general.
May Tornado Streak Snaps as Weather Watchers Wait for the Big One
Rotating funnel-shaped clouds are either the bane of your existence or the thrill that you need to get your adrenaline going. Either way, if you live essentially anywhere in the United States then you are likely to understand the power that tornadoes can impart.
A unique phenomenon largely beholden to the United States, the country saw just 288 preliminary reports of tornadoes in May, a jump from the average of 276 that had preceded the count. While these numbers had risen, none of the tornadoes tracked were rated stronger than an EF2, a first since May of 1950. For the first time in nearly 80 years, the country had gone the entire month of May without a killer tornado.
A Change of Pace
Tornado tracking in the month of May 2021 was markedly different from how the seasons unfolded just two years prior. May 2019 saw a two-week stretch in the country where there were at least eight tornado reports issued every single day. In that same month, more than 556 tornadoes were tracked and tallied. Wild how a simple two-year gap can tell such a different story, isn’t it?
According to Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell, a Senior Weather Editor at AccuWeather, this has been one of the quietest years for severe storms around the nation. Ferrell would go on to say that 2021 had seen just the “second-fewest issuances” of severe tornado warnings and thunderstorms since they began regularly tracking data in 1995. Pushing the statistics further, Ferrell would point out that 2021 ranks in the bottom 25% of years when ranked by tornadic reports since 1950.
While Ferrell was effusive in his analysis of the tornadic reduction, AccuWeather Meteorologist Rich Putman had some more details to share. Putman is a Senior Storm Warning Meteorologist and has spent his time focusing on upper-level dynamics within the atmosphere that are traditionally present during storm seasons. Simply put, Putnam explains that these dynamics have not been present.
Putnam would go on to explain that it was traditional for tornado numbers to begin dipping in July and August due to high temperatures. When tornadoes do form during these months, they tend to present as weaker than their earlier counterparts.
A True Tornadic Drought
While storm chasers and rain enthusiasts look to the skies for clouds, those afraid of tornadoes are enjoying a prolonged period of peace. The United States is currently going through a tornado drought with regard to the most powerful versions of the weather event. There have been zero EF5 tornadoes recorded in the United States for over eight years, a record that was once held between May 3, 1999, and May 4, 2007.
The most recent EF5 tornado to strike the United States happened in 2013 as it spun maliciously through Moore, Oklahoma. Since then, no tornadoes of that power have been tracked. EF5 tornadoes are particularly dangerous as they can generate maximum wind speeds surpassing 200MPH, leaving complete and total destruction in their wake.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Offers Promising Future For Cancer Treatment
If you have spent even a spare moment reading about nutrition, you will likely understand that Omega-3 Fatty Acids are beneficial to your health! Omega-3 fatty acids are often tied to eggs as they are one of their most common sources, but they can be found in many other places. More than just a way to supplement nutrition and support overall bodily health, researchers are quickly coming to realize that Omega-3 fatty acids may present an opportunity to more effectively offer cancer treatment.
Let’s break down the latest information surrounding the good fatty acids that might help in our battle against cancer.
Beginning in 2016
As with most scientific advancements, the revelation that fatty acids may help treat cancer was not earned overnight. The journey to this revelation would begin in 2016 with Olivier Feron and his team at UCLouvain. The genesis of their work began with an essential look at the good fatty acids in our diet. DHA and docosahexaenoic acid are both absolutely vital to the function of our brain as well as our vision. DHA has also been studied and found effective in reducing cancer incidences, a study that has since been published in Cell Metabolism.
The University of Louvain has been conducting research into DHA and how it can allow other fatty acids within the body to slow and stop the development of tumors. This major advancement could fundamentally change the way that we approach cancer treatment diagnosis in the future.
Feron’s team at UCLouvain specializes in oncology and it was through that lense that they would discover cells in acidosis, within tumors, that replaced glucose with lips as their primary energy source. Collaborating with Cyril Corbet of UCLouvain, Professor Feron would again demonstrate this fact in 2020, showing that these cells are incredibly aggressive. A professor at UCLouvain by the name of Yvan Larondelle would further this research by combining her work improving dietary lipid sources with his efforts.
A Collaborative Effort
More than the efforts of an individual, Dr. Feron would work with the Foundation Louvain as well as the Televie Telethon and the Belgian Cancer Foundation. Through their efforts, it would take just weeks to find out something as shocking as it was surprising. Researchers from the institutions explain, “We soon found that fatty acids stimulated tumor cells while others killed them.”
Researchers discovered that DHA literally poisoned cancer cells. The poison from the DHA would engage with the tumor cells via ferroptosis, a state of cell death linked predominantly with the peroxidation of fatty acids. Traditionally, these fatty acids are protected from oxidation but large amounts of DHA can prevent this protection through a lipid metabolism inhibitor.
Along the way, UCLouvain would craft a 3D Tumor Cell Culture System known as a spheroid. With DHA inserted, spheroids would grow before imploding. This test was performed on mice through a special diet with results showing significantly slowed tumor growth. UCLouvain researchers stated, “For an adult, consume at least 250mg of DHA per day, rather than the average of only 50 to 100 mg daily.”
U.S. Capitol Police Add Emotional Support Dog to Team in Wake of Jan 6
Questions will linger for a long time surrounding the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol Building. As politicians at the highest levels of the U.S. government struggle to come to terms with the attack, the U.S. Capitol Police charged with protecting them are also making changes to their daily lives. While much will be made of the attack’s attempt to Stop the Steal, attention should be paid to the many injuries suffered by capitol officers.
More than 100 police officers were injured during the insurrection, with an additional three officer fatalities in the days following. Capitol Police Officer Howie Liebengood and Officer Jeffrey Smith would both die by suicide in the days following the attack. Billy Evans was killed on April 2nd when a car attacked security barricades.
In an attempt to address the widely discussed drop in police morale, an emotional support dog has been added to the team.
Capitol Police Bring Emotional Support Dog Into Fold
Emotional support animals have a long and textured history within the United States. Service animals came into existence officially in 1973 as part of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Dogs and cats are particularly popular support animals due to the emotional connection they can make with their partners. Well-trained emotional support animals can help individuals who are struggling and in need of mental health support.
While it may not be acknowledged in public, the addition of Lila the emotional service dog was done to address the fallout of the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. With more than 100 officers injured, including those speared by metal poles and struck by hammers and flags, it stands to reason that many of these brave officers are still encountering mental struggles, including hopelessness and a lack of support from their department.
To make matters worse, legislators on one side of the political aisle have been ignoring and suppressing the needs of capitol police, going as far as to combat commendations for those officers who protected and preserved the capitol. While nothing can undo what happened that day, Lila aims to support officers as they grow together and move forward. Lila officially joined the team on July 5th at just two years old.
Importance of Emotional Support Animals
Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) endeavor to provide support to specific individuals struggling with psychological issues including PTSD, anxiety, and the impact of heightened phobias. Emotional support dogs can provide a critical and crucial benefit to individuals who are otherwise feeling vulnerable. According to local reports, officers have been struggling with fear and depression en masse since the attacks. An additional 70 officers have already left the department due to the fallout of the attack.
According to the latest service dog information, nearly 61 million adults in the United States can qualify for a service dog. As of 2019, there were more than 200,000 registered service animals. Some studies suggest that only 1% of veterans of the military have been provided with the support animal that they need.
Along with the addition of the emotional support dog, lawmakers in Congress have called for expanded mental health benefits and resources for those members of the Capitol Police.
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