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Scientific Benefits of Meditation: improves focus, immunity, reduces stress and depression (Infographic)

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Scientific Benefits of Meditation
Over 100 studies were analyzed (some of which are in themselves analysis of other hundreds of studies), and categorised the findings into 76 benefits (divided into 46 subheadings).

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Image courtesy liveanddare.com

15Mar1905. Unknown patent clerk, who stays with questions much longer, writes papers on nature of light, relativity and E=mc²


"It is not that I'm so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer."
- Albert Einstein

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Albert Einstein's Year of Miracles: Light Theory
Over a century ago today, 15 March 1905, Albert Einstein finished a scientific paper that would change the world. His radical insight into the nature of light would help transform Einstein from an unknown patent clerk to the genius at the center of 20th-century physics.

Scientists call 1905 Albert Einstein's annus mirabilis - his year of miracles. Within a few months, Einstein wrote a series of papers that would transform the way we see the universe. They included his theory of special relativity and the famous equation E=mc².

The first paper described his particle theory of light, which became one of the foundations of modern physics. Just as popular legend has it, Einstein really was a patent office clerk when he conceived his radical theories - but he was also a doctoral candidate who spent his free time debating cutting-edge physics with his friends.

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Photo courtesy Wikimedia

Massive reforestation. To cover 23% of landmass, in 5 years 83.5 million acres of forest planted across China

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The pollution-beleaguered country plans to increase forest coverage to 23 percent of its total landmass by the end of the decade.
Outdoor air pollution contributes to the deaths of an estimated 1.6 million people in China annually (that's 4,400 people a day). Meanwhile, less than 20 percent of the water from underground wells used by farms, factories and homes is fit for drinking or bathing thanks to industrial and agricultural contamination. But with the recent news that the country will no longer be the world's dumping ground for plastic waste, and other ambitious green initiatives - nixing new coal-fired power plants, investing in renewable energy, et cetera - China is showing the world that it is changing its ways.

The latest chapter is a massive reforestation plan, as reported by David Stanway at Reuters, in which the country plans to plant 6.6 million hectares of forest by the end of the year. One hectare is equal to 2.47 acres, meaning that the country will be getting 16.3 million acres of trees. Stanway writes:
“Planting trees has become a key part of China's efforts to improve its environment and tackle climate change, and the government has pledged to raise total coverage from 21.7 percent to 23 percent over the 2016-2020 period, said the China Daily, citing the country's top forestry official.”

China to create new forests covering area size of Ireland: China Daily  read more »

1 in 9 Bridges (70k or 11% of total) in need of repair - US infrastructure once best in world now decaying

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1 Out of Every 9 Bridges in the US Is Structurally Deficient
There are about 630,000 bridges in the United States, ranging from impressive new structural creations like Margaret Hunt Hill bridge in Dallas to deteriorating slabs of concrete in desperate need repair. It's that last growing group of bridges, ports, and highways that represent the slowing decaying infrastructure that was once the best in the world.

In a new 60 Minutes report, host Steve Kroft lays down some knowledge that, for all of us bridge-traveling, highway-driving citizens, would be pretty alarming: 1 out of every 9 bridges are in various degrees of disrepair. That's around 70,000 bridges total if you're keeping track. This isn't exactly startlingly new information, an AP report last year reported similar numbers. That doesn't mean all of these structures are on the verge of collapse with every passing car, train, or pedestrian, but it does mean they are in desperate need of TLC in the form of billions and billions of dollars—money that just doesn't exist.  read more »

Scotland: world 1st floating wind farm, built by offshore oil company, begun in 2016 now delivers electricity powering 20k homes

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18 Oct 2017 - First floating wind farm, built by offshore oil company, delivers electricity - Anchored, floating turbines allow offshore wind installations in deep waters.
The world’s first floating offshore wind farm began delivering electricity to the Scottish grid today.

The 30MW installation, situated 25km (15.5mi) from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, will demonstrate that offshore wind energy can be harvested in deep waters, miles away from land, where installing giant turbines was once impractical or impossible. At peak capacity, the wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 20,000 Scottish homes.

The installation, called Hywind Scotland, is also interesting because it was built by Statoil, a Norwegian mega-corporation known for offshore oil drilling. Statoil has pursued offshore wind projects in recent years, using the company's experience building and managing infrastructure in difficult open sea conditions to its advantage.

Hywind Scotland began producing power in September, and today it starts delivering electricity to the Scottish grid.

The five 6MW turbines are the first commercial turbines to lack a firm attachment to the seafloor. The towers extend 176m (577ft) above the water and 78m (256ft) below it. Each tower is capable of pitching its blades to reduce unwanted motion and optimize power output depending on the wind direction and strength.  read more »

Solar vs Coal: same power output from simplest equation: 1 square mile = 4 million barrels of oil

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Last Pacific Coast Coal Terminal Nixed - Industry’s dream to export U.S. coal to Asia is dead
The state of Washington's Department of Ecology has rejected a necessary water-quality permit sought by Millennium Bulk Logistics for its proposed coal-export terminal at Longview, Washington. Barring a successful appeal of the decision, this means the end of the line not only for Millennium's dream of building the largest coal-export facility in North America, but also for the coal industry's larger scheme to ship vast amounts of U.S. coal to Asian markets.

"This is the end," says Bruce Nilles, senior campaign director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. "Almost exactly seven years ago, Peabody Coal proposed its first project to move huge amounts of coal around the globe. This is a testament to the tens of thousands of people who raised their voices and said, 'Hell no.'"

Shipping coal abroad was supposed to be a lifeline for the U.S. coal industry, given plummeting domestic demand as renewables became cost-competitive with fossil fuels. With vast coal reserves readily available in the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming, coal companies pinned their hopes on exporting it to Asia via seven proposed terminals on the West Coast. With Longview blocked, coal opponents are now seven for seven in stopping those terminals. (The others were to be at Cherry Point and Grays Harbor in Washington; Port Westward, Coos Bay, and Port of Morrow in Oregon; and Oakland, California.)

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Sad: lifeless trophy and lion-less world. Cecil the Lion killed in 2015 and his 6-year-old son in 2017

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The son of Cecil the Lion, the beloved animal killed two years ago by a Minnesota dentist, was shot dead near a Zimbabwe park, officials said.

Lion guardians at the Hwange National Park posted on Facebook Thursday that Xanda, a 6-year-old lion with a family of young cubs, was shot dead a few days ago. He was killed not far from where Cecil died.

"Today we heard that a few days ago, Xanda, the son of #CecilTheLion has been shot on a trophy hunt," the post read.

"We can't believe that now, 2 years since Cecil was killed, that his oldest Cub #Xanda has met the same fate," the park's lion guardians wrote on Facebook. "When will the Lions of Hwange National Park be left to live out their years as wild born free lions should."  read more »

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