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Worms and Bacteria that eat Plastic

Disposable plastics are a major issue for the health of the planet. The problem is that plastic takes an incredibly long time to degrade and we keep producing more and more plastic. The plastic just keeps piling up. Unfortunately, very little of the plastic gets recycled and the plastic bottles that are recycled are often not made into new bottles but rather into clothes or bags.

The plastic just makes keeps adding to landfills and gets into the ocean. It kills animals that eat the plastic and this can have a really bad effect on the ecosystem in the long run. Unfortunately people also don’t seem to be trying too hard to minimize plastic consumption and so the market for disposable plastics is doing very well. Also, some disposable plastic materials are necessary for our modern society. This is really bad news for the planet and all life on it in the long run unless we can figure out a way to destroy the plastic.

It looks like nature already did the hardest part for us. Scientists have discovered that there are worms and bacteria that can actually eat plastic. Part of the reason why plastic takes so long to degrade is that it is such a new and unique material to the earth that scientists think that no bacteria or organism had evolved to break it down yet. Well it looks like those days are over.

In 2016 Japanese researchers said that a bacteria named Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6 can break down polyethylene terephthalate, also known as polyester. This is one of the most used plastics in the world. They believe that the bacteria adapted to its environment and evolved to be able to eat plastic. Since then scientists isolated the enzyme that allows the bacteria to do this. They then tried experimenting with it to try and understand how the enzyme evolved and in doing so made the enzyme even better at breaking down plastic!

Scientists plan to try and use this enzyme to break down plastic and make it back into plastic again so that they do not have to keep making more new plastic. This enzyme could even be used to clean up the plastic that is lying around all over the world. Even better than this is that now scientists discovered a worm that can also eat plastic!

Wax moth larvae can actually eat plastic. Just like the accidental strengthening of the enzyme the bacteria uses to break down plastic, it was accidentally discovered that these worms can eat plastic. A scientist and beekeeper had removed a worm infestation in a beehive and placed them into a plastic bag. She tied the bag but when she came back into her house the bag had an opening and the worms had escaped!

In the lab, these worms were confirmed to be able to eat plastic. 100 worms can eat 92 milligrams of plastic in 12 hours. These two discoveries are great news in the battle against climate change and pollution. Nature has provided us with the tools to destroy the plastics around the world and to be able to reuse those plastics instead of making new ones. If a bacteria has evolved to eat plastic and a worm has been discovered to be able to eat plastic, there could be many other bacteria that have evolved or will evolve to eat plastic and there may be many other organisms that can eat it also. This definitely gives some hope for the future since our modern society in some cases cannot and in most cases will not do without the modern invention of disposable plastic.

The information in this article and more can be found at these links:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/apr/24/plastic-munching-worms-could-help-wage-war-on-waste-galleria-mellonella

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/16/scientists-accidentally-create-mutant-enzyme-that-eats-plastic-bottles

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/10/could-a-new-plastic-eating-bacteria-help-combat-this-pollution-scourge

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/24/almost-no-plastic-bottles-get-recycled-into-new-bottles.html

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Get A Hobby!

Hobbies are the things that keep us human allow us to keep learning when feeling stagnant. How do we obtain a hobby and what does it do for us?

Finally getting that day off you have been dreaming of. You kick up your feet and binge watch the final season of that show you never got to finish. After taking a long needed nap you wake up and find yourself bored, you don’t know what to do with yourself. You start to eat and watch tv to fulfill your time, but you find it to still be boring and unproductive. You get to the gym to kill more time only to get home and realize its only a little past noon. You can just seem to make the day feel useful or productive. This is a very profound problem that many people specifically young adults and teens have today as they flip through the endless stream of updates on their phone.

Yes, finding a hobby can be difficult, but the journey of finding that thing you love to do can be the most interesting story you have to tell. Hobbies are one of single most important things to find as it keeps your life feeling fulfilled and allow us to keep on learning if our careers seem to be stagnant. A hobby is defined as an activity done on one’s leisure time, so trying to learn something for work or getting ahead on a project won’t count. To find a true hobby its something you do outside of work and is something you find enjoyment out of doing, not like a chore. For me, a hobby is programming, even though its something I will continue to do in my future job, hopefully, I am able to work on independent projects that don’t correlate to any work I am required to do.

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How To Find A Hobby

This is the hardest step in to finding a more meaningful and productive life. Finding the hobby that you always wanted is like trying to apply to very different jobs and see which jobs accept you. You have to try new things every day and see how they feel. If something seems boring just stop right there and move on. If you find enjoyment in a general topic try narrowing it down into different fields until you find the right one for you. A hobby can be as something as simple as reading!

I urge you to not follow the pack as I did to just to stand out or fit in. In the beginning, I tried to do all the typical hobbies a person would expect only to find boredom out of it. Now feeling determined I have found a love for programming and circuits. I no longer feel the need to tell my friends or family about the latest book I am reading to show them that I read on a daily basis, or to show them the latest project I have completed to undermine them.

Stick To It!

One of the things I found time and time again when I was first trying to stick to a hobby is that I felt like was never getting anywhere. I would struggle with the simplest of applications. After figuring out that this was because I never really stuck to it I was determined to keep it in my schedule.

Make sure that when you start your hobby, that thing you love to do, you stick to it. Even if it is reading an article about it on the train on the way to work or possibly a video that will keep the hobby appealing and fresh in your mind. Learning about new techniques or cool projects can also keep your excitement to continue when you get home!

Keep Learning

If you exhausted all resources on a hobby, which is highly unlikely, I encourage you to move on and keep learning. There is an unimaginable amount of resources and topics to learn about that are so interesting and learning is what keeps us at our best! Learning is one of the things that allows us to get up in the morning and know we are going to perform to the best of our ability. Learning is without a doubt one of the most fulfilling things in the universe. No I don’t always mean learning to become a scholar it can even be about working out or determining the most efficient way to complete projects! Keep learning and keep growing!

 

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Aliens!!

What would change if aliens came. Would you think they were friendly or hostile. Would we receive any new technologies from them?

Walking around town you notice a shadow darken the street before you. You don’t take notice at first and you come to believe they are just dark rain clouds moving into formation. As you continue to move foward you notice people looking up into the sky and murmuring lines out of curiosity. You stop and take a look up to spot a alien vessel the size of the city! What do you do now? What is going to happen to you?

There are one of two scenarios that can play out here is that we start a fight with the aliens and mostly likely lose due to they highly advanced technology. The other is that we come to peace with the aliens and look to trade with him. Would knowing the truth about our galaxy and the lifeforms in it change the way we live. If there was hundreds and thousands different advanced lifeforms roaming the galaxy what would change?

As humans we would have millions of questions to ask. This would also confirm the belief that there are alien lifeforms other than ourselves in the universe. In my belief I do think that the world in general would come together more as a cause of this. I know this sounds farfetched, but when something threatens a race as a whole, people will tend to form up and fight back. Even though the aliens aren’t a threat as of yet, since they have this advanced technology they would be able to whip us out very quick and easy which is a threat to us.

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Weirdly enough I do believe that this encounter with aliens could change a lot of the technology we use today. If allowed we could trade with the aliens for some of our research for some of theirs. Hopefully we would be able to understand their technology. This could lead to clearer forms of energy production, increased farming production, space ships, space stations, and anything that comes to mind when you think of an alien civilization.

Now i know this is all theoretical, but this would change the way we live on a daily basis. If you think about how a place such as New York is run it feels very centralized. If we went from being centralized to having to trade with different species or catching up on technology much would change in a very short amount of time. Think about how this would change your life on a daily basis knowing that there are other people or things out there.

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Are You Happy?

Time has come! You are ready to retire and relax for the remaining time you of your life. You plan to do all the things that you never got the chance to do! You don’t know how long you have left, but you just want to lay back and enjoy it without any responsibilities or duties, but are you happy with that? Do you feel like you lived a meaningful life and that you had purpose and fulfilled those goals you had as a kid?!

Finding happiness is one of the hardest things that any human can do. Is happiness having enough money to buy your own island? I mean yes that would be pretty fun for a time being, but after a few days or weeks you might get bored of it. Is happiness posting on social media how good your life seems while on the inside you just want people to like or envy you? This feels like it is coming to social norm today as people are more satisfied when people like their picture or that they have more followers than another person, but are they truly happy? People always seems to be happy on the outside just to show people that everything is okay or great, but all of us always have this feeling of not doing enough or feeling like they can do better. Unfortunately this thought causes depression in many people but we can only push forward and find what is actually means to be happy.

In my own opinion, I find a lot of happiness in trying to find my purpose in life. Finding that one thing you are really good at and contributing it to the world. The sad reality of it is that most of us pick jobs for the money and not really the enjoyment. Society is becoming more and more materialistic as well feel that the more items we have the more happiness we should obtain and this is not truth as we come to realize.

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A quote by Jim Carrey saying, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer”. Its so simple, but it is extremely true. Most of us think that the answer is to get rich and famous as the meaning of happiness, but more of those who are rich and famous seem to not be happy enough with their lives if not at all!

Happiness is hard to find and some of us will never find it. One of the main things people should do is always chase their dreams. Find something you find happiness in doing everyday, either it being a hobby or a lifetime career, do it everyday and enjoy it as much as possible. Do things that you won’t regret. I feel a lot of people skip over opportunities and then sometime later think about how they should of took advantages of things including myself. One last thing which has helped me immensely in my life is never settle and never think that you aren’t good enough. As long as you put yourself to it and apply yourself you can go extremely far!

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The Dyson Sphere

In the near future earth’s power consumption is gonna grow un unimaginable amounts. As we are looking for cleaner ways of energy its hard to find the right way to supply us with our power needs. One of the new ideas that is being brought up is the “Dyson Sphere”, but it is way our of our reach some might think.

Almost out of a science fiction movie the “Dyson Sphere” will do the unimaginable. It is planned to enclose or surround the sun in a set or rings of solar panels that will harvest the maximum amount of power from the sun. This is said to be the best way as of right now to supply the earth with power needs once space travel starts to becoming more consistant.

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Thousands of concepts are being developed such as the picture above. As someone who enjoys space and the idea of alien life I find the concept pretty astonishing. Not only would this solve the power needs of our civilization, but it would be the cleanest way to retrieve energy.

The final idea would to fully encapsulate the sun to the point where no sunlight would be able to leave. This would encapsulate planets up to earth in a sphere almost like the inside of the death star. Right now plans by fans and some scientists of this idea are being developed.

Since a full encapsulation is way in the near future most people are trying to develop different setups such as a “Dyson Swarm” which are independent solar satellites that are built in a very dense formation. From here different formations are being setup such as a ring or a bubble. With the bubble though (as shown below) the satellites are being spread out more allowing for easier orbit around the sun.

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The idea of the “Dyson Sphere” is far from reality but how far? I do believe technology has advanced so fast in the last 20 years that we are a civilization are still trying to adapt and catch up to technology itself. The Dyson Sphere is the next idea for clean energy and its soon going to be here along with space travel! Additionally, some quirks have to be buffed out with this idea such as does it have an affect on the surrounding area or  the idea of beaming power down to earth as it would be very dumb to have a cable to run down to earth though I would like to be connected to that power line if that did happen!

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Silence!

What if you couldn’t speak anymore? Not only you, everyone! Would change everything or would we just adapt?

Picture this. You wake up and you are not longer able to talk. You try to make a moan, a grunt, or even whisper and you are unable to. You wake up the person closest to you and they too soon realize they are unable to speak. Trying not to freak out you try to call your parents and you hear the phone being picked up but no sound on the other end. What if this become a reality. No speaking, no verbal communication, no more talking. How much would this change our way of life?

First of all we must come to realize that most of our communication isn’t done verbally anymore. Most of what we communicate is over text message, email, or by physical actions.

If this say ‘disease’ continued for a few years what would this change? We would have to find a faster way to communicate immediately such as a new form of instant messaging. Would this hinder groups in general? I do feel like this would have some effect on the groups that we form everyday such as teams, religions, or even political groups. Why? Well if we are unable to compellingly convince others of what we are thinking who would want to be apart of that group.

Face-to-face communication would slowly dwindle as time went on. Hanging out with friends and just talking wouldn’t be as fun anymore as there wouldn’t be anymore emotion in the way someone is speaking. As it is even happening now, people tend to enjoy group chats, 1 on 1 messaging over actually getting a cup of coffee with the person or going out with friends.

Emotion would be lost in all conversations. Happiness would dwindle as you wouldn’t be able to laugh anymore. The feeling of ‘lol’ or ‘lmao’ already means nothing to most of us as we aren’t really ‘laughing out loud’ most of the time in my experience.

Weirdly enough I am finding silence to become the social norm. More people are unable to speak in public places or talk to a stranger. Most of it is done by body language or done in apps are more fast food places now allow you to order on your phone skipping the verbal ordering way. What would total silence mean to you? Peace or madness?

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Gun Debate Podcast

Today,

Richard and I talk about the gun debate that is occurring after the horrific events that happened in Flordia this past week. We look forward to hearing your feedback and will be continuing these podcasts every Wednesday.

Intro & Outro Music thanks to: https://www.bensound.com/

Advertisements Are Evil

Every website you visit. Every channel you flip through. They all have one thing in common. They all have ads. Yes they might not seem annoying depending on the website, but the ads are there to make you buy stuff! Even if we don’t know it, the ads are subconsciously making us want to buy things that we don’t really need.

As days go forward AI is learning what you look for, then displaying the most relevant ads. This hurts our wallets cause its tracks your every move and puts more pressure on you to buy these items! Since companies are always putting this idea that we need more stuff to be happy we find it even more compelling to buy these items!

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Photo by Evonics on Pexels.com

The most terrible part of companies advertising is that they try to advertise to kids in a major way. With tablets they force ads on top of the kids and with kids this makes them want the item. From there the kid will bring it to their parents and hopefully from there the kid will pressure their parents into buying the product. This also affects kids minds as they feel like they need more and more items.

For adults this really affects the way we think. We are going to a very item heavy society. We always feel like we need more, or a new item will make us happy. Ads are only reinforcing this by putting sales on the items or making a “limited” item. We are people don’t want to miss out on a “deal” or a “limited time offer”. As well we don’t want to be the only person that doesn’t have the item. I know this is not for all of us, but ads affect the way we think heavily.

 

Note: i will be doing a following article on advertisements going over some studies that have been conducted on advertisements and their effectiveness.

The Future of Meat

Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1940-1945, once said :

“With a greater knowledge of what are called hormones, i.e. the chemical messengers in our blood, it will be possible to control growth. We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.”

That day is here. Companies in the United States and around the world are now in the process of creating real meat without the need to raise and slaughter an animal. Memphis Meats from San Francisco, JUST in Northern California, Mosa Meat in the Netherlands, Modern Meadows from Brooklyn, New York, Finless Foods also in Brooklyn, New York and Supermeat from Israel are all startup companies who have created what is called cultured meat in laboratories and are continuing to improve their products. Bill Gates, Richard Branson and agriculture companies like Tyson and Cargill have invested in this new technology. This new technology certainly will revolutionize animal agriculture. Before we get into the science of how cultured meat is produced let’s talk about the negatives of out current animal agricultural system.

The first issue with modern animal agriculture is that it is highly unethical in terms of the treatment of animals, one of which are pigs which are thought to be even more intelligent than dogs. We won’t get into the graphics but we are sure you’ve all seen some videos. It’s an animal holocaust.

The second issue is the amount of resources it consumes in order to produce the animal products purchased and eaten by consumers. Resources such as water, land, food, fuel, medicine and time are all used at absurd levels in order to produce animal products. This is a leading cause of climate change. De-forestation is often done in order to clear land to grow food for animals on farms to eat or to raise the animals. In addition lots of green house gases are released by the animals being raised for consumption. 1 pound of beef requires 38 pounds of food and 1,799 gallons of water. The land used to grow that food and the food and water used to feed the animals could be used to end world hunger.

The third major issue is health risks for people. The animals are crowded so close together that this creates a breeding ground for viruses. This is how the avian flu and swine flu broke out multiple times. The animals are also often very ill because of the conditions and so they are loaded up on antibiotics. Not only does this consume a huge amount of antibiotics that could be used for people and domestic animals, but this also causes the rapid evolution of deadly bacteria. Scientist are afraid that this could lead to incredibly strong bacterial illnesses in the near future that will be unable to be defeated by antibiotics.

These are major issues for our modern world. These will potentially be extinction level issues for the future if we continue animal agriculture in this way. This is because the human population is projected to rise to 9.6 billion people by 2050 and economies around the world are growing which leads to more middle class populations and higher levels of meat consumption. Our modern agricultural practices are not sustainable at our current population level so 9.6 billion people will be an even bigger horror show. There is no way our planet will be able to handle this. Highly unethical slaughter methods will continue, land will be destroyed, ecosystems will be destroyed, and viruses and bacteria will become too strong to be defeated with medicine. Massive extinction of many species will occur, green house gases will rise along with water levels and the human population will suffer greatly from natural disasters, droughts, famines and illnesses.

So yeah, we’re talking an apocalyptic scenario all because of food production. Well cultured meat can stop this. Before we explain how it will stop this, let’s talk about how cultured meat is produced.

The basic science of cultured meat is that there are cells in animal muscle tissue that can self renew. These cells are extracted from the animal and placed in controlled laboratory conditions. They are given the nutrients needed to replicate and grow into the particular muscle tissue that is needed. Eventually the cells grow to become whatever meat it was intended to be. It is called cultured meat because a culture is an artificial medium that provides nutrients for microbial organisms to reproduce. The cells are placed in a controlled environment and given nutrients to reproduce until they become meat. The companies working on cultured meat are also working on creating cultured dairy, sea food and eggs as well. Memphis Meats plans to have their products on the market in 3 years. Of course right now it is pretty expensive but as mass production gets underway the price will go down significantly.

Here is how this new science could help ward off that potential apocalypse we spoke about earlier. First off at a mass production level this new science would eliminate the need to raise and slaughter an animal for meat. Second, an incredible amount of land, food and water would be saved because you wouldn’t need to grow food to feed animals or raise animals. The meat production would be done in buildings. This also means no green house gases being released by farm animals. This would also save fuel because the buildings can be near by the locations in which the meat will be sold. Third, this also conserves anti-biotic usage and staves off the growth of viruses and bacteria into super bugs. The meat will also be much healthier because bacterial contamination would not occur in a clean controlled lab. Most bacterial contamination of foods comes from fecal contamination due to slaughter methods. This is also why cultured meat is sometimes called clean meat. The nutrient content could also be controlled. This would be able to be used to limit fats in the meat and fortify the meat with other essential nutrients people and domesticated animals may need. The prices may even get lower for animal products in the future if cultured meat, sea food, dairy and eggs becomes mass produced because it would take much less resources to create the animal products. Cultured animal products in combination with vertical farming of crops, spoken about in a previous article, could produce healthier food at a rate high enough to end world hunger without harming animals, the environment or people. Everybody wins.

Many people who have tried cultured meat products have said that it tastes just like meat. So yeah, clean cultured meat is coming to the market and it could save the world without making people give up consuming animal products. Let’s hope it does because 2050 doesn’t sound too pretty with 9.6 billion people if we still produce food the same way we do today.

The information here can be found at these links:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/winston-churchill-imagined-lab-grown-hamburger-180967349/

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/23/bill-gates-and-richard-branson-bet-on-lab-grown-meat-startup.html

Check out this video:

Extinction, Destruction, and the Mind

Walking into the lunch room at work you notice your coworkers crowding around the screen. You glance up at the TV to see the headline “Meteor Headed Toward Earth”. Listening in to the news anchors worried voice you notice her say that this meteor will wipe out most if not all of humanity. You think about it now, what are you going to do with the time you have left? Have you felt you accomplished your goals/

If human civilization know the time it would it was going to end would it come together to try to solve the problem or cause massive destruction as people fight over items. I know this is sounding to start like something out of a movie, but the fact is when humans are faced with danger that they feel is unsolvable they start doing really unnecessary things such as breaking into stores or stealing items.

The question I like to think about is “Why?”. My reason to believe this is that humans are so use to being given what they want. We have this idea of new items being delivered to us by not doing any of the hard such as research, design, or inventing new things. Think about how new phones come out every year and we expect them to better. Just like medicine we expect things to get better and better and that there is always a solution to things and that everything is going to be okay, but in reality most things have not been solved and we have to live with that.

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Going back into the question at hand which is why do humans lash out at an almost “unsolvable” idea is due to the fact that that problem is unsolvable so we try to make up for what is going to happen. We try to fill this void of happiness before we die with items and destruction. This makes no sense to me as destruction only tears down what we worked so hard to put up and stealing items will not fill the void of happiness.

Coming also back to the idea of time. In another scenario where only you were going to die in some scenario most of us usually answer with “I would do all the things I always wanted to do”. I find it interesting that we will follow up with these actions, but in a group setting I do feel like our actions were change drastically. pexels-photo-631477.jpeg

i know this article has been all over the place with ideas, but the main point is to ask yourself is why humans act the way they do when faced with intense problems. Of course there will be some that will always try to solve the problem and they will be the main characters in this end of world type scenario.