Saturday News

It’s that time again when I offer up the news that no one cares about……

local news first….

Yesterday it was 107….it is now mid-night and it is 95….and it is not even Summer yet.

A local school here on the Gulf Coast is raffling off an AR-15 in a fundraiser….

A booster group for a high school on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast is raising money for a band trip with what a school safety group calls a “highly inappropriate” raffle of guns and ammunition.

The fundraiser — called “30 guns in 30 days” — is holding daily drawings for shotguns, handguns, rifles, ammunition, a bow and even a flamethrower. The $100 tickets have sold out and will help send the West Harrison High School band to Orlando, Florida, according to the fundraiser’s Facebook page. Drawings began June 6.

“It’s a raffle put together by group of likeminded people to raise money for the band kids to compete in Bands of America,” she said.

The raffle is organized by the band’s booster club and is sponsored by High Caliber Guns, a gun shop in Long Beach.

Gun raffles are not new to Mississippi and are frequently used as fundraisers for various initiatives across the state. And they are legal. West Harrison High band booster raffle winners are required to pass a background check conducted by High Caliber Guns.

That is extremely poor taste….in light of the mass shootings that is plaguing this nation.

Now the more important stuff……

Has the water wars begun?

Since 1923, Nebraska and Colorado have shared the water of the South Platte River in harmony. Now both states are worried that the other is trying to get the jump on the river water, the Wall Street Journal reports, in a split that could end up in court. It began when Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts became nervous after learning of a host of projects—mostly for the Denver area—under consideration in Colorado that would siphon off water before it reaches the Colorado-Nebraska line. “Our estimate is that if they were to complete all of these, they would reduce the amount of water coming to Nebraska in the South Platte by 90%,” Ricketts said.

Ricketts responded by announcing a project of his own: 60 miles of canals and several reservoirs that would pull water from the South Platte a few miles upstream from Julesburg, Colorado, at a cost of $500 million. That’s permitted by the states’ 99-year-old compact, but it did not please Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who found out about the project from Ricketts only hours before the announcement and said he was stunned. He said the Colorado projects Ricketts fears have only been proposed by local governments and agencies; they haven’t been approved by the state. Polis called Nebraska’s perception a “misunderstanding of Colorado’s intentions.”

The result is “this really bizarre boondoggle of a project that wouldn’t benefit Nebraska or Colorado,” Polis said, per the Journal. Colorado will defend its water rights, the governor said, predicting that landowners and environmental groups also will take Nebraska to court over the canal project. People living in the potentially affected areas in both states are concerned about the effects of Nebraska’s canal plan, including whether more water would be drawn from Lake McConaughy, a reservoir on the North Platte River important to tourism. Anthony Schutz, who teaches water and environmental law at the University of Nebraska law school, said the states’ agreement permits Colorado to take as much water as it wants from that stretch of the South Platte anyway.

Remember all those cow farts?

First of all it is the ‘burps’ not the farts that supposedly cause the ‘problem’….now someone has addressed the ‘problem’….

New Zealand is looking into slapping a tax on one of the country’s main sources of greenhouse-gas emissions: The livestock that outnumber human New Zealanders by more than seven to one. Agriculture accounts for around half the country’s emissions, mainly methane produced by the burps of sheep and cows, the Washington Post reports. The country, home to around 5 million people, has 26 million sheep and 10 million cows. Agriculture previously wasn’t included in the country’s emissions-trading scheme. The governement says money collected under the plan will be used for research and other services for farmers.

The first-of-its-kind plan would go into effect in 2025, though there are still some details to work out and final approval isn’t expected until later this year at the earliest. Dairy farmer Andrew Hoggard, president of Federated Farmers of New Zealand, tells the BBC that he broadly approves of the plan. “We’ve been working with the government and other organizations on this for years to get an approach that won’t shut down farming in New Zealand, so we’ve signed off on a lot of stuff we’re happy with,” he says. “But you know, like all of these types of agreements with many parties involved, there’s always going to be a couple of dead rats you have to swallow.”

The plan includes incentives for farmers who plant trees on their land or use feed additives to reduce emissions, per Reuters. UC Davis scientist Ermias Kebreab has been studying the issue for decades and is among those developing diets that can reduce emissions from cattle. “If you tell me how much your animal is consuming, I can tell you pretty closely to the actual emissions using mathematical models,” he tells NPR. “Most of the gas is formed in their stomach, so in their guts, particularly in the first chamber. And so they belch it out.”

There has been some news for amputees….a robotic finger…..

ur goal is to develop robots that are truly human-like,” said Shoji Takeuchi to IFLScience, who recently created a robot finger with living skin made from human cells. A Project Professor who specializes in biohybrid systems at The University of Tokyo, Takeuchi and colleagues’ finger can bend and curl without breaking, and if it gets a boo-boo it can simply heal and reseal itself. 

“The silicone rubber covers that are commonly used [in robotics] today may look real from a distance or in photos or videos, but when you actually get up close, you realize that it is artificial,” said Takeuchi. “We think that the only way to achieve an appearance that can be mistaken for a human being is to cover it with the same material as a human being, i.e., living cells.”

The living skin, published in the journal Matter, was created by dipping the robotic finger into a solution containing collagen and human dermal fibroblasts, which are the two key connective ingredients in our flesh-colored organ covers. As they combined around the robotic appendage, the collagen and fibroblasts began to tighten, creating a fit that Takeuchi believes to be the success of the hyper-realistic finger.

This is for all us meat eaters that are worried about the growing ‘plant based’ substitutes….

Marketing departments still haven’t decided what to call it yet, but there is increasing demand for cultivated (aka cultured, cell-grown, or no-kill) meat, at least in Singapore. That’s where US-based Good Meat has teamed up with food-processing behemoth ADM to build “the world’s largest bioreactors to produce cultivated meat,” according to the Guardian.Eventually, the facility is expected to produce 13,000 tons of cell-grown chicken and beef per year—a teeny sliver of global meat consumption but enough for a proper test run in the marketplace. Singapore is the only country where cultivated meat has regulatory approval, but the USDA and FDA are working on it.

Josh Tetrick, CEO of Eat Just, Good Meat’s parent company, says the bioreactors present “significant” engineering challenges and require major investment, but there’s also big potential to move society away from slaughtered meat. “I think our grandchildren are going to ask us about why we ate meat from slaughtered animals back in 2022,” Tetrick said, saying the product “will enable us to eat meat without all the harm, without bulldozing forests,” and without the enormous carbon and methane footprints produced by the traditional meat industry. Caroline Bushnell of the nonprofit Good Food Institute said it could be a “gamechanger in the race to bring meat grown from cells to restaurants, supermarkets, and dining tables.”

Another company, Upside Foods, recently raised $400 million to boost production with help from major companies like Tyson and Cargill. Per CNN, company founder Uma Valeti says these products are “real meat” and the process is “similar to brewing beer, but instead of growing yeast or microbes, we grow animal cells.” Scientists start by harvesting real animal cells through biopsy and then give them the nutrients they need to replicate naturally. As for the taste, Upside Foods COO Amy Chen says it was “simultaneously one of the most unremarkable things and one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever eaten. It’s just meat.”

To close a little history…..

I am sure than most people know of the Black Death which some say killed about half of Europe…..but for hundreds of years people have asked where did this killer originate….and now a possible answer….

Researchers say they’ve discovered “when and where the single most notorious and infamous killer of humans began.” They’re referring to the Black Death, or bubonic plague, which is thought to have wiped out tens of millions of people in Europe, Asia, and North Africa during what the Guardian calls “the deadliest pandemic in recorded history.” Now, 700 years later, researchers say they’ve discovered the likely source of the plague: a region of what’s now Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia, which sat on the ancient Silk Road trade route.

Historian Phil Slavin’s suspicions were raised once he realized that 118 of 467 graves within two burial sites near Kyrgyzstan’s Lake Issyk-Kul, dating from 1248 to 1345, were from two years: 1338 and 1339, per the Guardian. Ten of these were marked with a word meaning “pestilence,” per Nature. Experts therefore set to work extracting DNA from skeletons that had previously been taken from the site to a museum in Russia, per CNN. They sequenced DNA for seven individuals, finding the genetic imprint of Yersinia pestis plague bacterium in three, all of whom died in 1338.

Researchers believe this reveals the source of the pandemic, as the single plague strain found in the skeletons’ teeth preceded what CNN describes as “an explosion in diversity of plague strains” sometime before the Black Death devastated Europe. “It is like finding the place where all the strains come together, like with coronavirus … [and] Wuhan,” researcher Johannes Krause, co-author of a study published Wednesday in Nature, tells the outlet. “We found not only the ancestor of the Black Death, but the ancestor of the majority of the plague strains that are circulating in the world today,” he adds, per the Guardian.

There you go….please let us know your thoughts……

Have a great weekend and enjoy the Summer.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”