The encounter took place on a cool winter morning in 2012, in the coastal Indian city of Visakhapatnam. A gentle breeze nipped at the air as Murthy Kantimahanti stood transfixed, staring at a metal trap set up on a dirt trail leading to dense bushes and towering neem trees. Inside the trap was a cat – but no ordinary cat. It was bigger than a house cat, but not as big as a leopard or a tiger. It had a squarish face, relatively small ears for the size of its head, a short tail and curiously webbed feet, like an aquatic animal.
Nature & Environment
The puzzle over climate change is not scientific but political — or religious or ideological. Science shows clearly that mankind is not changing the climate in a dangerous way. The puzzle is why so many people are determined to believe that we are. Why do they love the idea of impending climate catastrophe? Why are they so horrified by the vast improvements in human welfare over the last decade? Why are they so determined to believe the blatant nonsense of “97% of scientists” or the Hockey Stick graph (showing temperatures steady from 1000 AD to 1900 AD and then shooting up to unprecedented highs in the 20th Century)? Why do they hurl such curses against “denialists”? There are two reasons: money and ideology.
Scientists from India and Russia have created edible food wrap for packaging produce, bakery, poultry, meat, and seafood. Designed to replace one of the most un-recycled materials on the planet, the wrap consists of natural ingredients that are safe for the environment and humans. The research, which was published in the Journal of Food Engineering, describes three types of food films based on the well-known naturally occurring seaweed biopolymer sodium alginate—a compound found within the cell walls of brown algae. “Its molecules have film-forming properties,” said Rammohan Aluru, senior researcher at the organic synthesis laboratory at Ural Federal University, and co-author of the paper. “The greatest advantage of sodium alginate is that it performs as liquid-gel in an aqueous medium.” Alginate molecules were cross-linked with a natural antioxidant ferulic acid (a derivative of cinnamic acid), and the delicious combination makes the film not only strong, but also homogeneous, more rigid, prolonging the life of the products, say the scientists.
Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole became the subject of controversy on Thursday after announcing his climate change plan which, among other things, involves a “consumer price on carbon.” The plan was immediately criticized by conservatives, who argue that the plan is essentially a carbon tax with some modifications. Rather than the government offering a rebate for taxes paid on carbon, Canadians would be contributing to a “carbon savings account” which allows them to save credits to purchase green items with a low carbon footprint. The move was especially controversial given O’Toole’s prior stance against the carbon tax, promising to abolish it after becoming Prime Minister if elected. In June of 2020, less than one year ago, O’Toole signed a pledge with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation promising to repeal and not replace the Trudeau carbon tax. “I, Erin O’Toole, promise that, if elected Prime Minister, I will: Immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax; and, Reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.” The CTF slammed O’Toole for breaking his pledge after the Tories revealed their climate plan.
Anyone born before the turn of the century has witnessed the world’s most recent revolution — a technological one, embedded in a virtual reality, but no less real. Many of us watched the rise and fall of dial-up internet, the replacement of the floppy disk and CD-ROM with digital downloads, and we saw our archaic Nokia and flip phones replaced by smart devices. With all of these developments in a brief 25 years, we can only wonder what happens next, right? Elon Musk‘s Neuralink Corp. released a three-minute video on April 8, revealing a 9-year-old macaque monkey playing video games via two of the company’s implantable brain chips, possibly answering that question with: brain-computer interfaces. A Neuralink voice-over explained that the company “records from more than 2000 electrodes implanted in the regions of the monkey’s motor cortex that coordinate hand and arm movements,” Reuters reported. “Using these data, we calibrate the decoder by mathematically modelling the relationship between patterns of neural activity and the different joystick movements they produce.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is pushing back against criticism by some that a key pillar of the party’s new climate plan is akin to a carbon tax, a Liberal-instituted policy he has long criticized. In an interview on CTV’s Question Period airing Sunday, O’Toole says the party’s proposed carbon pricing mechanism is “not a tax at all” because money is not collected by the government. “Well I’ve always been consistent on wanting to eliminate Mr. Trudeau’s carbon tax, and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said. “The low carbon savings account we’ve proposed will be kept by consumers, not one cent goes to government.” As opposed to the current rebate system, the Conservatives have pitched to create an industry-led program that accumulates funds based on individual fuel consumption, which Canadians can then use on environmentally-friendly purchases like a bicycle or transit pass. “This will not be a government-run program, it will be something that we view the industry doing in a similar way that the financial services industry developed and innovated with the Interac system, which people use far more now than then traditional old currency,” said O’Toole.