Global Warming Could Spell Doom for Pasta Lovers

Sure, they may be high in carbs, but who doesn’t love their morning bagel, the pasta at dinnertime and the Mac-and-cheese they serve their kids? If you are among those who have to have a serving of rice or bread with every meal, then you might be alarmed to hear that global warming may soon make it harder to obtain the food that has become such a main staple in our diets.

Pasta and bread are derived from wheat
, and scientists are in near unanimous agreement that climate change can have a drastic impact in its production especially as temperatures continue to rise and droughts become increasing severe.

Global warming is responsible for extreme and violent storms as was evident in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Sandy. However, powerful hurricanes and flash floods are not the only worries. Rice, wheat and corn are the foods that most populations around the world rely on. These three are basically crops that grow optimally during the cool season.

Wheat production has declined by over five percent in the last 50 years. This is believed to be attributed to the one degree Fahrenheit increase in global temperatures. Some experts project that wheat production will decline by another 23 to 27 percent by the year 2050 if no actions are taken to curb the rise of climate change. Currently, there is action that is being taken to develop different crop systems that are able to tolerate and thrive in warmer temperatures.

This past July was the hottest recorded summer in U.S. history. This has led to a decline in soybean and corn production, which has caused massive protests all over the world over rising food costs. Unless swift action is taken, out future may be devoid of the food we take for granted today.

New App Acts as a Digital Fitness Coach

Practically everything has gone digital these days. Daily activities like work, corresponding with family and friends, paying bills and making purchases are increasingly being completed in a digital format. It looks like even our health, diet and fitness is taking a digital turn.

A new app is being released in conjunction with a wristband that will help one monitor his health and activity levels. The new app is called Larklife and acts as a digital personal coach that keeps tabs on your fitness level as well as your diet and the amount of sleep you are getting.

Larklife comes with a wristband, which gathers data about activities within your body and transmits the information to your mobile device. The app will let you know if you are not getting enough exercise, are not consuming enough fruits and veggies or if you are not getting in your eight hours of sleep each day.

The app will provide advice throughout the day depending on what you are doing with your body. If you wake up in the morning with minimal sleep, for example, then the app may recommend that you consume an extra helping of protein for breakfast to help improve focus, which is often lacking when someone is fatigued from a poor night’s rest. Likewise, if you complete an intense exercise session, it may advise you to consume extra H2O to stay hydrated. The wristband will even remind you to stand up and stretch if you have been sitting for an extended period of time.

For serious dieters, the app and wristband will record and log your meal times as well as keep track of the foods you consumed and provide advice on the foods you should prepare for your next meal.

Larklife was created with information gathered from a team of experts in the field of fitness, nutrition, sleep and neuroscience.

Greenpeace Hosts “Toxic” Fashion Show to Spread Awareness about Toxic Chemicals in Clothing

A “toxic” fashion show was held in Beijing to spread public awareness about the apparel industry, which is being targeted for its use of hazardous chemicals.

The fashion show was organized by Greenpeace
; the organization recently released a study that shows that as many as two-thirds of apparel that are manufactured contains traces of dye that can be harmful to the environment.

The campaign group is now pushing for action to have all fashion apparel companies to agree to produce eco-friendly apparel by the year 2020. This will require suppliers to look for alternatives that do not release toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.

According to Greenpeace, it tested 141 pieces of apparel from 20 top apparel manufacturers with a global presence. Each garment was tested for chemicals that may pose a threat to human health or the environment. The clothing are manufactured from 18 countries, most of which are from developing nations.

The findings showed that 89 of the garments showed traces of nonylphenol ethoxylates, which can break down and produce chemicals that can disrupt hormones in the body. In addition, two of the garments also contained detectible levels of toxic phthalates, which is commonly found in dyes and can cause cancer.

For the toxic fashion show, one model toted an IV bag with orange slime oozing out; another model wore a neck brace along with an oxygen mask. A third model wore black powder on her eyes to simulate the appearance of bruising and had her arm in a sling. The purpose was to make a grim statement and visualization of the adverse environmental and health impact that the apparel industry is causing.

As the fashion season approaches, more clothes will be purchased and discarded, which means they will likely end up in the landfill where the chemicals from the garments will be released into the air.

Criticisms and Backlash from Early Black Friday Sales

Camping outside a store right after a Thanksgiving meal with the family has practically become a tradition for most people. During Black Friday sales, most retail shops open their doors at 5 a.m., which means shoppers will need to reserve their spot in line the night before if they want to be one of the first to get inside once the door opens.

However, in an effort to become more competitive, some shops are now opening a few hours earlier. It actually started a few years ago when some places began opening at midnight, which didn’t seem like a bad idea because shoppers can make their trip immediately after having dinner with their families. It also meant they didn’t have to wake up super early the next morning. However, in an effort to really drive up sales, some businesses are now opening their doors in the evening on Thanksgiving Day. Black Friday has now essentially become Black Thursday.

Both shoppers and retail employees are now beginning to rebel at the idea. By opening so early in advanced, most shoppers need to get in line by afternoon or even in the morning if they want to be ahead of the pack. This means forgoing Thanksgiving with their families. The same holds true for employees who have to be on the clock when they should be at home at the dinner table.

Stores like Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Sears, for example, plan on opening their doors by 8 p.m. Some shoppers and employees have signed petitions urging these companies to “save Thanksgiving” by returning to the traditional Black Friday store hours. For Wal-Mart, at least, they have no plans of changing their opening store hour and say it was the shoppers who requested the earlier time in the first place.

For those that truly value holiday family time and are not willing to give it up, there is always Cyber Monday, which offers similar discounts from participating online stores.

Deforestation Just as Big of a Factor to Global Warming as Vehicles and Factories

Most scientists are in unanimous agreement that emissions from vehicles and factories contribute to carbon emission buildup. However, this is only one side of the equation; there are other attributing causes that hasten the effects of global warming that are often not discussed.

Most experts agree that deforestation actually has a more adverse impact than all the emissions from cars and factories combined. According to a study released by the World Carfree Network, smog emitted from vehicles around the world causes about 14 percent of carbon emissions, while deforestation accounts for over 15 percent.

When a tree is cut down, it releases carbon into the air where it combines with greenhouse gases, which is a prime factor in global warming. The problem is that deforestation is often overlooked with much of the resources being devoted instead to creating fuel efficient vehicles and cutting down on overall automobile usage.

An estimate by the Environmental Defense Fund reveals that over 32 million acres of tropical and forested areas were cut down for industrial use between 2000 and 2009.

Of course, preserving tropical areas is much easier said than done. Most of the locals who live near the tropics and Amazon region rely on cutting down trees for their livelihood. Deforestation allows people to make a living by producing charcoal, pastures and timber. In addition to climate change, deforestation is also detrimental to biodiversity as about half of all wildlife species and plants – most of which are not found anywhere else in the world – thrive in these regions.

The United Nations have addressed the issue by developing the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation service. This program provides incentives for those who take measures to adopt more sustainable lifestyles that doesn’t involve cutting down another tree. The aim of the program is to outreach to developing nations that rely heavily on deforestation and provide them with alternatives.

Discovery Changes Current Views on the Origins of the Solar System

The astronomy community is in shock and delight as a new discovery may completely change the current theory about the evolution of our solar system.

It is common knowledge that the sun is about 4.6 billion years old. At the time it was forming, it was surrounded by a cloud of dust and gas, which would ultimately become the building blocks for the billions of asteroids that circle the solar system today.

Current theories propose that two early types of solids were formed eons apart. However, astronomers from the University of Copenhagen have devised a new dating technique that puts this belief into question.

The two types of solids in question are chondrules and calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs), both of which are commonly found in meteorites. CAIs form when droplets of molten gas reach less than 1,880 degrees Fahrenheit. Chondrules, on the other hand, are formed when large collections of dust drop in temperatures below 1,340 degrees Fahrenheit.

The new model proposes that the spinning disk responsible for the creation of the sun, planets and moons had massive amounts of energy within it. This caused particles to flatten as the center of the disk was formed into the sun. As the material began condensing and collapsing, gigantic surges in energy caused a massive wave of heat that affected the state of the chondrules and CAIs.

The discovery could explain how all solids are formed within a protoplanetary disk. Previous models show that within our solar system, chondrules did not form for another two million years until after the formation of CAIs. This theory, however, puzzled astronomers as observation of other planetary systems suggest they were formed differently.

Old dating methods rely on the amount of aluminum found in meteorites. This method was flawed because not all forms of aluminum are distributed evenly within the solar system. Under the new dating system, meteorites are broken apart where the lead and uranium can be measured using spectrometers.

Super Storm Sandy Made Its Presence Known in the East Coast

The East Coast lies in shambles after Hurricane Sandy demonstrated exactly why Mother Nature should never be underestimated.

Major cities that include Philadelphia, New York and Washington are in disarray with their streets completely overtaken by floods, fires and surges of seawater. So far, more than 16,000 scheduled flights in the region have been called off and nearly all ground public transportation transits have been crippled.

Wind gusts up to 80 mph have been recorded and at least 33 deaths have been reported across seven states. In addition, over seven million residents are currently without electrical power. Aside from human losses and injuries, the area is also expected to suffer from a massive financial toll. The total damage is expected to reach an estimated 20 billion dollars. The figure includes companies that have lost revenue due to employees skipping town and not showing up for work.

Sandy is not just another run-of-the-mill hurricane. When it approached the East Coast, it merged with the winter weather from the west and absorbed cold air from up north in Canada. The end result is what some meteorologists call a super storm; the impact left behind by Sandy shows exactly why the term “super storm” is a fitting name.

New York was one of the hardest hit cities. Wall Street was forced to shut its doors for two days straight. All K-12 schools remain closed and President Obama has declared the city along with neighboring New Jersey a disaster area.

For those who chose to remain in the area, they awoke to a scene reminiscent of a battlefield. Homes and buildings lay flattened with vehicles tossed about like they were rag dolls. Firefighters and emergency response teams reported chest-high water levels and had to resort to boats for rescue missions and scouting for survivors.

Save the Environment by Wearing a Pair of Jeans

Just about everyone would like to make a contribution to help out the environment in every small way they can. For most people, this simply means throwing that empty cereal box in the recycling bin instead of the trashcan. Those who really take the issue to heart and have the financial resources can take it a few steps further and have their home fitted with solar panels or drive an electric car.

There is now a whole new way the average person can make more of a difference and it is even easier than recycling. To make a positive environmental impact, all people have to do is wear a pair of jeans. Yes, that is right; wearing a pair of jeans in public can actually help the environment.

Scientist Tony Ryan and fashion mogul Helen Storey have worked together to come up with a brand new pair of jeans that are described as “super cleaner denims.” The two discovered that a dangerous pollutant known as titanium dioxide can stick and cling on to denim like a magnet. Once the compound is on the jeans, it can be completely neutralized when the jeans go in the washer.

Ryan and Storey are currently working on a project called Catalytic Clothing, which is a line of fashion apparel with a theme on environmental awareness.

Roughly 1.3 million people die prematurely as a result of exposure to toxic emissions, which are produced mainly from vehicles and factories. Poor air quality can cause asthma and respiratory illnesses.

There is still much to be studied though theoretically speaking, people in the future can actually protect the environment simply by walking around in their favorite pairs of denims. This seems like a completely plausible scenario given that there are more pair of jeans than there are people in the world. This finding combines fashion with environmental awareness; it is the best of both worlds.

New Age Bracelets for Long Lasting Health

Maintaining your health is one of the keys to long life. It’s a life-long process that requires constant exercise and eating the right foods. Even with your best efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you may still struggle with illness and injuries; it’s a fact of life that no one is immune to. However, you have nothing to lose by turning to a higher power.

You may believe in supernatural forces or you may not. Even if you dismiss it as nothing but silly superstitions, it’s still good to have an open mind. If you are struggling with a malady, then there are bracelets endowed with charms that are said to bless the wearer with improved health and well-being.

MIZZE, an Israeli designer jewelry company, has released a new line of handmade charm jewelry that is fashionable, affordable and just might bring good fortune to the wearer.

The latest jewelry line comprises of bracelets with a red string, which symbolizes the Tomb of Rachel, a revered matriarch in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The string is embedded inside woven cotton, which comes in multiple colors. Every bracelet comes with a charm or two; each trinket has a special spiritual function that blesses the person wearing it in some way.

The Hamsa hand, for instance, wards off the evil eye. For those who are looking to improve their health, they can get a bracelet with a King Solomon amulet, which is said to preserve and improve health. Bracelets with the Solomon seal are also recommended for expectant mothers as it is said to protect both the mother and her unborn child.

If you wish to improve your health or know someone who is not in the best physical condition, then try wearing a Kabbalah bracelet with a charm for long lasting health. Even if you don’t believe in good luck charms, the trinket will at least serve as a reminder to take care of your health for the sake of yourself and loved ones.

Yoga for Stress and Back Pain

Most people who work don’t need anyone to tell them that the environment can be stressful. Having to deal with rude customers and a boss that is breathing behind your neck and constantly critiquing you can certainly raise your anxiety levels. Depending on the environment, work can also be bad for your posture. If you work at an office cubicle and sit behind a desk and pound away at a keyboard all day, then your back is going to ache.

While there are all sorts of recommendations for relieving stress in the workplace, one study found that yoga is a good remedy for reducing anxiety and can also combat back pain. The study consisted of 74 workers between the ages of 25 to 64 who reported on a questionnaire that they experience moderate levels of stress and backaches. The participants were divided into two groups, one of which practiced yoga for eight weeks.

The yoga group took a yoga class during their lunch break or right after work once a week. Every participant was asked about their overall well-being after the study. When the research began, 10 in the yoga group reported back pain, compared to eight for the no yoga group. When the study concluded, only four in the yoga group reported back aches, while the number of those with back pain in the control group increased to 13. The yoga group also reported less stress and anxiety than the control group by the end of the study.

While the study definitely provides strong evidence that yoga is a strong stress and back pain reliever, researchers admit that the yoga group may simply feel less stress due to the placebo effect. The majority of the participants were also women, which means that it may not be applicable to men.