My Usual Saturday News

That time again when I offer up some tantalizing news that was missed in our everyday news consumption.

One of this planet’s biggest problems is the amount of plastic that makes its way into the environment… can this problem be accurately addressed?

Five years after wax worms were found to consume the world’s most commonly produced plastic, scientists have lost none of their optimism in touting the caterpillar larvae of wax moths as a potential solution to our growing problem of plastic waste. Indeed, new research finds the larvae’s saliva to be perfectly suited to breaking down polyethylene, which makes up 30% of plastic production, per the Guardian. Federica Bertocchini, a molecular biologist and amateur beekeeper who first noticed the hive-plaguing wax worms could eat through plastic bags, says two enzymes in the saliva quickly degrade polyethylene without the need for heat. As the BBC reports, “such an effective agent” hasn’t been found in nature before.

Oxidation needs to occur for plastic to break down. As polyethylene is “highly resistant to oxygen,” per the BBC, it usually needs to be pretreated with heat or UV light. But there’s no need for that with wax worm saliva, which at room temperature allowed oxygen to penetrate the polymer within an hour, according to the outlet. It notes that step alone can take years of weathering in the environment. “What we think is that the enzymes are capable of an accelerated version of the weathering of polyethylene,” says Clemente Fernandez Arias of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), co-author of the study published Tuesday in Nature Communications. It’s “changing the paradigm of plastic biodegradation,” adds lead author Bertocchini, also of CSIC, per Reuters.

Importantly, researchers were able to produce the worms’ saliva enzymes synthetically. (Reuters notes carbon dioxide would be generated if billions of wax worms were left to do the work on their own.) If produced on a larger scale, they could be used to break down plastic waste around the world, researchers say. The idea is that “plastics can be degraded in controlled conditions, limiting or eventually eliminating altogether the release of microplastics,” Arias tells Reuters. “We imagine you could apply this new understanding to large plastic waste management facilities,” Bertocchini adds, per the BBC. “But you could also have a home-based kit [that] could help you degrade your own plastic.”

I say anything that can help solve the problem is worth testing.

Speaking of the environment….all the rage these days is the push for more electric vehicles….but my question is are they truly all the good or just a trendy thing to do?

You’ve heard about the perks and maybe balked at the costs, but with demand higher than ever, it seems like everyone is racing to get their hands on an electric vehicle

“It’s very inexpensive to operate, there’s no maintenance costs except for tires,” said Ron Zarbock, a Tesla owner. 

Craig Bickmore is the director of New Car Dealers of Utah. 

“That competition from the EV market is going to be hugely intense. You watch what happens in the next year in a half,” said Bickmore.  

One 2020 study projected in 2050 that half of all cars on the road could be electric. That would mean the world could slash CO2 emissions by up to 1.5 gigatons, which is equivalent to the current output of Russia. 

That same study concluded electric vehicles are better for the climate in 95% of the world.  

But researchers say the fact that driving an EV creates no emissions doesn’t necessarily mean they’re carbon-neutral.

Are women’s standards for men too high?

A study by dating app OkCupid found that women find 80% of men unattractive or “below average.”

I mean…sounds a little steep.

As a woman myself, I can understand why women don’t want to just date anyone.

But I can’t help but question women’s priorities if the standard for men is so high that only 20% of men can hope to meet them.

Are women’s standards for men just too high?

Women Say 80% of Men Are “Below Average”

I have blue eyes and I am the descendant of a single person….

Blue eyed people listen up.

Ever wondered why your eyes are the colour they are? Well wonder no more.

Every blue eyed person is descended from a single European who lived around 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, according to scientists.

How did they work it out? Originally, all humans had brown eyes in various shades until there was a specific mutation that made the change.

The mutation is a gene called HERC2 and it switches off OCA2, the gene that determines how much brown pigment we make.

So that’s why eyes become blue.

As for being descended from the same person, the evidence for this is because every blue eyed person alive today has this same mutation.

If you have blue eyes then we are related to the same ancestor….

Finally many of us are worried about our weight or our health….and you are what you eat…..

Since my health problems I have changed my eating habits…..this is an interesting twist on the eating of meals…..I worked for me….

If you’re an intermittent faster who endeavors not to eat in any time ending in “AM,” you may want to rethink that. NBC News reports on a pair of studies that point to there being value in constraining your meals to a 10-hour window—but making that window an early one. The studies were small ones published Tuesday in Cell Metabolism, with the first looking at the effects of late versus early eating. It involved 16 overweight or obese participants who completed both early-eating (with meals at 8am, noon, and 4pm) and late-eating (with meals at noon, 4pm, and 8pm) protocols.

It found that late eating increased waketime hunger—shifting meals four hours later doubled the chances of being hungry, per CNN—and decreased waketime energy, meaning participants burned calories at a reduced rate; their fat tissue seemed to hang on to more calories, too. “Combined, these changes upon late eating may increase obesity risk in humans,” the study concluded. The second study looked at shift workers, specifically firefighters, who worked a 24-hour schedule. It found that when meals were eaten within a 10-hour window, as opposed to more like 13 hours, health markers improved: “bad cholesterol” particles decreased in size and blood pressure and blood sugar level improvements were noted.

NOTE:  Please do not attempt any diet changes before you speak with your medical professional.

That is my meager offerings for this weekend…

Enjoy your day and be well and be safe…..

“lego ergo scribo”