Nature Vibes
Daily nature vibes

Humanity is fascinated by the possibility of alien life in space. Some could argue that it’s the fundamental motivation for pushing the boundaries of our own existence through space exploration. It’s an interesting concept that many people believe, but more importantly, it’s a concept that you can’t explain away. In fact, when you start to do some research and actually get a sense for just how expansive the universe truly is, it’s actually hard not to believe it yourself.

This is why Tabby’s star is so interesting to astronomers and amateur astronomers alike. When the star was first presented over a year ago, interest was piqued because of the rumor of an alien megastructure surrounding it. Even though this rumor has been largely dispelled, the star has some weird, mysterious activity that’s keeping astronomers focused.

The reason the star is so interesting is that it displays unusual dips in starlight. However, after more than a year of study, no one has found anything alien-like around the star at all. What we do know is that because of its unusual light activity, it’s a star like we’ve never found before.

Andrew Siemion, Director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center, and Co-Director of Breakthrough Listen, has been paying close attention the star’s activity.

“The Breakthrough Listen program has the most powerful SETI equipment on the planet, and access to the largest telescopes on the planet,” he explains in a recent statement, “We can look at it with greater sensitivity and for a wider range of signal types than any other experiment in the world.”

Let’s look at some facts. Fact number one: the universe is huge. Not only is it huge, but it’s actually still expanding and getting even more huge. We know this because the continuous expansion of the universe makes itself evident through constant change. Galaxies are getting further away and more spread out, and we can even see changes happening within the Milky Way as well. I remember from my astronomy 101 class in undergrad, complete with textbook verification, that there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on Earth.

Simply, mind boggling.

Fact number two: NASA already has a team in place where their sole purpose is to find other planets with similar conditions to Earth. This means water, distance from a central star, and the existence of an ozone layer, just to list a few qualities. The Kepler mission, as it’s been called, has found thousands of Earth-like planets as of this May, and more are sure to follow.

These findings come from a very limited scope in regards to our technology. As our technology continues to develop, so will our ability to discover even more planets similar enough to Earth.

My point here is that to claim humanity is the only intelligent life in the universe, you’re basically buying a lottery ticket and claiming you’re the winner before they even choose the numbers. It’s just not very likely when you consider the size and scope of the universe we live in, let alone our own galaxy. It’s no wonder that finds like Tabby’s star get people and astronomers interested. We want to know who else is out there, and if there is other life, we want to make contact.

The reliance we place on fossil fuels has taken its toll. Many of the environmental issues we’re faced with today come as a result of our inability to move away from fossil fuels like coal as a means for energy. Although companies and innovators are coming up with ways to combat harmful air pollution, global warming, and other environmental problems, we’ll never really have a solution until we’re able to rely on renewable energy to power our daily lives. Until we’re able to substitute renewable energy for fossil fuels, any solutions we create will only be covering up the real problem.

However, we are making giant steps in the right direction, and renewable energy is becoming more prevalent throughout the global community. Over 500,000 solar panels were installed each day last year, and renewables finally passed coal in order to become the largest source of power capacity on a global scale. The International Energy Agency, or IEA, reported that renewables accounted for more than half of the new power capacity around the planet. Solar and wind power are responsible for leading this drive away from fossil fuels more than any other forms of renewable energy.

Installation of environmentally friendly energy sources was up a total of 15 percent in 2014, which forced the IEA to change its predictions for renewables. They predicted the use of renewables to increase by only 13 percent between 2015 and 2021, underestimating how quickly countries would start following suit. The movement is largely driven by Asia, with China in the captain’s chair, but India and the United States have been contributing significantly. Europe, once thought to be the leader of the renewable energy movement, is falling behind.

“I am pleased to see that last year was one of records for renewables and that our projections for growth over the next five years are more optimistic. However, even these higher expectations remain modest compared with the huge untapped potential of renewables. The IEA will be working with governments around the world to maximize the deployment of renewables in coming years,” explains IEA Executive Director Dr. Faith Birol in a statement.

Although the new capacity added has accounted for a record 153 Gigawatts of renewable power, this type of electricity generation is only expected to make up around 28 percent of all generation globally by 2021. Green, environmentally friendly energy is the fastest growing source of electricity generation in the world, but we’re still falling short in regards to meeting the Paris Climate Agreement, and we won’t be able to keep the planet below a 3.6 degree Fahrenheit warming temperature.

This increase in the use of renewable energy, especially solar and wind power, isn’t only driven by the looming Paris Climate Agreement, it’s also driven by human safety. In Asia, the main concern is air pollution and population health, not meeting the terms of the agreement. Diversifying the energy supply while improving energy security also plays a role in the renewable rise.

As we move forward, we will continue to see a shift in power markets being led by renewables. The market for these types of renewable energies is getting more competitive, which means costs will continue to drop. It’s never been a better time to invest in something real, renewable, and vital.

Of course, we all have a chronological age.  It’s the number of years that have passed since we were born.  But, we also have an emotional age.  Your emotional age is determined by how emotionally mature you are.  And, it turns out, our emotions have an influence not only on how we see the world and life in general, but how we see colors.

You’ve all heard the saying, “I feel blue.” meaning the person is feeling down or depressed.  “Everything is rosy.” meaning things are great.  You “see red” when you’re angry.  People equate happiness with the color yellow, serenity with lavender and nature with the color green.

Our emotional maturity can also have an influence on how vividly we can see colors.  In other words, you might see the color yellow as bright while I might see the exact same shade of yellow as more muted.  I’m not talking about someone being color blind, either.  That’s a whole different thing.  What I mean is that the hues and saturation of a color is perceived differently by different people depending on their emotional age.

Interesting, isn’t it?  The quiz below will analyze how you perceive colors, with your answers determining your emotional age.  So, take the quiz and let us know what you think in the comments!

Our personality is made up of our qualities and characteristics.  Our personality develops over time and is heavily influenced by the environment we grew up in.  Even though you may act differently in different situations and around different people, your true personality is a constant.  It’s who you inherently are as a human being.

Even though we are all different, unique people, our personality falls into one of four categories:  Introvert, Socializer, Intellectual and Thinker.  Introverts enjoy solitude more than social activities.

Socializers are active, outgoing people who love attention and praise.  Intellectuals are inventive and perceptive.  They’re curious and question everything.  And Thinkers quiet, reserved, well-organized people who like to figure out what makes things tick.

According to research, the words you choose to use are also determined by your personality type.  Some psychologists believe that they can tell what your personality type is solely by analyzing your speech and words.  So, it makes sense that someone could determine the words you use the most by determining your personality type.

So, take the quiz below and let us know in the comments how accurate your results are!

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The push to go solar is very real. It seems like every other week there’s a new development in renewable, sustainable energy, especially when it comes to solar power. It’s becoming easier and easier for people to make the switch to solar energy; companies, homeowners, and now entire regions are converting to a form of energy that will help bring the world into a brighter future, no pun intended.

Earlier in the year, the Pakistani Parliament became the first in the world to rely entirely on solar energy for power.

The panels installed in the house produce 80 MW of electricity, 62 MW of which are consumed by the National Assembly, and 18 MW that are contributed to the national grid.

Parliamentary speaker, Ayaz Sadiq announced the change while thanking the Chinese government for the part it played in the solar-power upgrade. The project was initially launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while the Chinese President was in Pakistan in 2015.

The project itself cost around 55 million dollars to complete, but it was largely funded by the Chinese government. Although it was pricey, the upgrade is projected to save an estimated 267,265 dollars per year.

Check out the video below to get some more details on the project.

Sharif has claimed that the country would solve its energy crisis by 2018 as they begin to modernize in terms of energy use; they are completely engaging in a solar culture and sustainable future.

This is a way of thought that countries all over the world need to adopt. Solar energy isn’t just good for a specific region or nation itself, but for people all around the globe. Sustainable energy needs to be the focus for leaders as we continue to find out more regarding the negative impact modern energy sources create.

Pollution is at an all-time high, we’re quickly running out of fossil fuels, and we’re in need of a sustainable energy source that will continue to power our daily lives. Solar energy is just one solution to the problem; there are a number of other forms of renewable energy that we can take advantage of.

Start thinking about how you can have an impact on the world through your energy use. Whether it means upgrading your home, your car, or your business, it’s time to start doing your part.

When I became a dog owner, I didn’t think I was going to be one of those people who saw their relationship with their dog as a legitimate connection. From the outside, those people seem weird; we all think it. But now that I’ve been responsible for my dog for the last three years, I’ve come to realize how inescapable that feeling is. Even though I have a girlfriend, I have a loving family, and I’m surrounded by good friends, I can’t help but think my dog knows me the best. Needless to say, it’ll be devastating when my dog is gone, like it is for most dedicated pet owners.

The problem is that most dogs just don’t live that long. If your dog lives around 15 years, that’s considered a pretty long lifespan for your furry friend. Some of the large breeds, Great Danes in particular, are only expected to live around seven years, and that’s the average. When you know you’re going to be connected to this dog emotionally from the moment they’re yours, this can definitely put a strain on the decision to even get one at all.

However, a seven-year-long study led by the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London found that a drug called pimobendan delays the onset of heart failure linked to mitral valve disease, or MVD, in dogs for an average of 15 months. When multiple heart valves become damaged or infected, blood flow to and from the heart isn’t as easy; this is what causes MVD. This is the most common heart disease for dogs, especially small dogs.

Most dogs who suffer from heart disease die within two years of its start, but this drug could counteract the condition long enough for at least another year. Though it has to be proven through various scans and ultrasounds that a dog has MVD before a veterinarian can prescribe the owner the drug. This can be a problem because heart disease will rarely make itself apparent through physical symptoms, other than a heart murmur. Another reason why owners should make going to the vet a regular occurrence.

Around one in every 25 dogs will show signs of heart disease. In the United Kingdom alone, over 250,000 dogs likely suffer from the disease, MVD. If this statistic gets bumped up to a more global scale, the number of dogs and owners who could benefit from this drug increases drastically.

Unfortunately, many dog owners don’t even realize that this problem exists. The fact that this particular disease effects smaller breeds rather than large breeds, breeds that typically have heart problems, makes the issue even worse.

This study was actually terminated early because it was deemed unethical to withhold the drug from dogs in the placebo group. The evidence was so conclusive that no further research was even necessary to draw an in-depth conclusion. For pets, this type of study was unprecedented in the field because it was already up to the standards of human medical trials.

Due to the study’s findings, we can all expect to have a few more great moments with our furry companions. No drug will be able to give us the time that we’d like, but that’s just a part of life. All we can do is give our dogs the best possible lives, and all the bones, they could ever want.

 

There are some radical changes going on in the farming industry all over the world. The push to go completely organic has never been stronger, which is healthy for plants, soil, and especially us as consumers. Even the entire Indian State of Goa is going completely organic, and they’ve recently created a plan that will actually pay for farmers to make the healthy switch. But for a desert farm in Australia, simply growing crops organically wasn’t enough.

Using coconut husks, 23,000 reflective solar powered mirrors, and desalinated water, Sundrop Farms in Port Augusta, Australia – a desert and mostly barren area – has worked some agricultural magic. Without using pesticides, needing to rely on rainfall, or having to use fossil fuels to power their 20-hectare farm, they’ve been able to grow food in an entirely new way. Their methods could revolutionize the agricultural industry as we know it.

As populations around the world rise, the demand for food will as well. This is a problem that we’ve been trying to solve and deal with for years, and it looks like we’re on the right path. Although waste needs to be reduced in order to have a truly positive impact on the future, there are ways we can create more food sustainably without overtaxing our precious resources.

The biggest issues farmers have with growing pesticide free, organic crops are water, land, and energy. Eliminating our dependence on these resources while using traditional farming practices will help us grow more food for more people.

Climate change, biotech company land grabs, floods, and droughts aren’t really concerns for innovative famers willing to adapt. Sundrop Farm’s ability to grow and cultivate crops during extreme weather patterns has already been demonstrated. Only a few short weeks ago, that area of Australia was caught in a once-in-50-year storm that posed a serious problem for the region. However, the farm was able to take the force of the wind, and continue operating despite a huge blackout as a result of the storm.

The farm treats brackish water from Spencer Gulf in order to avoid the need for groundwater for their crops. This is a technique that California famers need to adopt as they continue to suffer from the effects caused by drought. Water use in modern farming is excessive, and it takes California farmers 15 gallons in order to grow just a handful of almonds.

Sundrop also grows crops hydroponically, which reduces the need for water and eliminates the need for soil at all. Using mirrors in order to redirect the powerful sun, all they need is some light and seawater in order to make their operation a success. And by success, I mean 17,000 metric tons of food every year.

Not only do they take advantage of the resources they have, but they also don’t use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and they use bugs to destroy the pests that normally harm crops. They also only grow non-GMO produce to supply grocery stores in Australia.

Although this is enough to get anyone excited, they also have a year-round growing season, which they create by heating the greenhouse in the winter through 39 megawatts of energy harnessed from solar power.

Admittedly, the farm was expensive to build, about 200 million dollars to be exact. But the entrepreneurs who started the operation believe the initial costs to be worth it, and they see it as a long-term investment since it’s completely sustainable.

Elon Musk and Tesla are doing some great things in terms of renewable energy. If you aren’t familiar with Musk’s master plan part two, you should go to Tesla’s website and check it out for yourself. Not only does he plan on making homes 100 percent sustainable through the use of solar energy, but he plans to do the same thing with his automobiles. Soon, you’ll be able to meet all of your renewable energy needs through one company.

However, making sustainable homes and cars isn’t enough for the super entrepreneur, and he’s recently powered an entire island in the South Pacific Ocean using solar energy. The island of Ta’u and its 600 residents now have their electricity nearly 100 percent supplied by a micro grid of battery storage systems and a single solar power plant.

The entire project took under a year to implement and it now consists of a 1.4 megawatt micro grid of 5,328 solar panels. Although the island is close to being a sun-soaked paradise, that’s technically enough energy to keep them powered for three days total, even without the sun.

The project is a result of the continued collaboration between SolarCity and Tesla, which is behind his new solar panels and sustainable energy plans for the United States. As the two companies merge, they are continuing to push the boundaries of solar power and it’s use in everyday life.

The project was funded by the American Samoa Economic Development Authority, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the United States Department of Interior. The locals are hoping it will sort out their decades of struggle with unreliable electricity due to their isolation, and end blackouts entirely.

In a SolarCity blog post, local grocery store owner Keith Ahsoon describes the impact of the project on the island.

“I remember growing up using candlelight. And now, in 2016, we were still experiencing the same problems. I recall a time they weren’t able to get the boat out here for two months. We rely on that boat for everything, including importing diesel for the generators for all our electricity. Water systems here also use pumps, everyone in the villages uses and depends on that.”

Best of all for the residents of the island is that their bills will drastically decrease in cost. SolarCity claims that the project isn’t a glimpse into the future, but an example of what is possible right now, in the present.

Both SolarCity and Tesla hope that other islands will begin following suit, and although this is a small project relative to the global energy crisis, it’s a major step in the right direction.

It’s important to understand that solutions to the energy crisis and our addiction to fossil fuels exist. Solar power and renewable, sustainable energy sources aren’t reserved for the future; we are capable of making the necessary changes right now. What starts with an island in the South Pacific will grow to involve entire regions, countries, and then the rest of the world. We need more ideas and more entrepreneurs willing to put forth the time and money for the sake of the globe.

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Renewable energy sources and modern alternatives to fossil fuels are more important now than they’ve ever been. If we want to create a better future, or at least impede the overwhelmingly negative impact humanity has had on the Earth, we need to start coming up with realistic solutions right now.

Many scientists and entrepreneurs are doing just that, and they’ve already come up with some amazing alternatives. Elon Musk, entrepreneur and Tesla founder, already has plans to make homes and automobiles operational through solar energy exclusively, there’s a farm in the Australian desert that uses solar power and ocean water to produce thousands of tons of food 365 days out of the year, and researchers have already developed the first translucent solar panel that could theoretically be used on windows or phone screens.

Inventions and developments like these aren’t just revolutionary, they’re essential. If we hope to make any discernable difference in the near future, we need more like them in order to move forward. This is especially true in regards to modern modes of transportation, which is something Alaska Airlines understands perfectly.

Recently, a flight from Tacoma, Washington to Washington, D.C. relied solely on the use of biofuel to carry its passengers. They claim to be the first airline to ever do such a thing, and they used a wood-based alternative to fuel the commercial flight. Alaska Airlines claims to have used 1,080 gallons of the biofuel during the flight, and although it’s more expensive at the moment, it burns more cleanly, doesn’t require fracking, cause potential oil spills, or create any other harmful impact on the environment.

If things go according to plan, the airline hopes to have removed much of its traditional fuel from its fleet by 2020.

Traditional jet fuel is a hydrocarbon, which is obtained only through the kerosene fraction of crude oil. Right now, there are two approved types of jet fuel that can be used in commercial aviation: Jet-A and Jet A-1. The regulations are strict, but as greener fuels continue to be tested and developed, the aviation industry will have no choice but to adapt.

It isn’t just biofuel that’s starting to change the industry though, and solar airplanes are also expected to make their debut. Although no airlines are using solar energy exclusively, it’s expected to become more prevalent in the near future.

However, one of the biggest problems airlines face when it comes to using biofuels is the source. A wood-based alternative isn’t necessarily ideal, but hemp could be extremely successful. Hemp is a plant that’s incredibly easy to grow, and it doesn’t require any pesticides to cultivate in mass quantities.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut have found that the fiber crop Cannabis Sativa, otherwise known as industrial hemp, has properties that make it very useful as a raw material, feedstock, or for producing biodiesel, which is a sustainable diesel fuel made from renewable plant sources.

Richard Parnas, a professor who led the study explains why hemp could be the key.

“For sustainable fuels, often it comes down to a question of food versus fuel,” he explains, “It’s equally important to make fuel from plants that are not food, but also won’t need high-quality land.”

What we need is a plant that isn’t used for food, like many modern biodiesel alternatives, and something that doesn’t deplete an already depleted natural resource like forests. What we’re left with is yet another positive use for cannabis.

One of the biggest issues that we face as a globe is waste. In an age where waste and energy alternatives are the driving force behind a great deal of recent innovation, solutions to our garbage problems have never been more essential. Most techniques we have for getting rid of waste are inefficient, and they cause more harm than good. The world needs a solution that not only diminishes the amount of waste we produce, but one that also turns what waste we have into something useful.

When it comes to recycling and getting rid of waste efficiently, Sweden is the leader of the pack. Currently, the Swedish population recycles around 1.5 billion bottles and cans annually, which is an incredible amount relative to their population size, which is about 9.6 million as of 2013. However, it’s not just their ability to recycle bottles and cans that’s worth attention; it’s what they do with their trash.

Sweden has transformed its waste-infrastructure program in order to replace the harmful standard of letting trash sit around in landfills. Now, instead of utilizing a system that is high in pollutant production, they’ve modernized to create incredible amounts of energy that have a low waste output. They can even turn a lot of that polluting gas into biofuel for modern modes of transportation.

Using 32 waste-to-energy plants, Sweden has been able to limit the amount of trash that reaches landfills to less than one percent, which is simply astounding. They’ve been able to convert so much trash into much-needed energy that they actually have to import trash from neighboring countries like the UK, Italy, Norway, and Ireland.

Waste Management Communications Director Anna-Carin Gripwell explains why burning trash is better than letting it sit around.

“When waste sits in landfills, leaking methane gas and other greenhouse gasses, it is obviously not good for the environment.”

“We fell that we have a responsibility to act responsibly in this area and try to reduce our ecological footprint,” explains Swedish Finance and Consumption Minister, Per Blound, “The consumers are really showing that they want to make a difference and what we’re trying to do from the government’s side is to help them act, making it easier to behave in a sustainable way.”

This is a technique that can be utilized all over the world, and it’s something the Earth desperately needs us to do. The United States alone produces a great deal of waste, and most of it just sits in landfills across the country. We know that sitting waste can be extremely harmful for the environment, yet we have failed to come up with a better solution to our waste problems.

By adopting Sweden’s waste management program, not only will reduce the amount of waste that we produce, but we can use what waste we do produce as a means to power our everyday lives.

As of today, there doesn’t seem to be a system that comes anywhere near the benefits that Sweden’s system provides. If we want to continue to make strides toward a brighter, cleaner future, we need to come up with creative solutions to problems like waste production.

With that in mind, let’s all follow Sweden’s lead.