(Mirror Daily, United States) – A group of astronomers discovered a real version of Luke Skywalker’s home planet. The real life Tatooine is not a desert, as in the famous franchise, but a gas giant, orbiting two suns. Currently, it is the largest planet ever discovered.
The desert planet where R2-D2 and C3PO end up in the opening scenes of A New Hope was a rather small, rocky, and scorching planet that was orbiting two massive suns. The newly discovered Kepler-1647b is a gas giant bigger than Jupiter.
Apart from being the biggest planet to orbit two stars that was ever discovered, the real lie Tatooine also has the widest orbit ever to be measured. It takes approximately 1,107 days (Earth days) for the real life Tatooine to circle its two suns.
However, there is more about the planet than meets the eye. According to the calculations made by the astronomers, Kepler-1647b is located in its solar system’s habitable zone. This is the location that technically allows life to prosper due to the heat being bearable (by human standards) and the light touching the planet, thus making it possible for photosynthesis to happen.
The planet itself could not sustain life seeing as it is a gas giant, but if there is any natural satellite orbiting it, then than smaller celestial object could harbor alien life.
As the name suggests, the planet was discovered by the Kepler telescope that was launched by NASA in March 2009. The mission of the space telescope is to detect and analyze all of the Earth-like planets in the Milky Way.
The Kepler detection system works by noting the dips in brightness caused when a planet crosses the face of its host star (or stars in this case). The telescope needs to observe three such cycles before identifying an exoplanet. This means that worlds with bigger orbits take longer to find since they cross paths with their suns rarer than usual.
“It’s a bit curious that this biggest planet took so long to confirm since it is easier to find big planets than small ones. But it is because its orbital period is so long,” declared Jerome Orosz, one of the authors of the study.
Real life Tatooine is located at 3,700 light-years away, towards the Cygnus constellation.
Image source: Wikipedia
Toxic blue-green algae hits Lake Erie.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Lake Erie seems to suffer lately because of the toxic blue-green algae. Officials are trying to find the best strategies and develop efficient programs that will be successful in dealing with this algal bloom.
According to Sean Ryan, State Assemblyman, this problem must be quickly contained so that the toxic algae will not have the chance to spread and affect Western New York and Buffalo as well. Unfortunately, this issue took its toll on Ohio already.
However, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is going to double its efforts to create new regulations and a good plan to tackle and prevent the spread of the toxic blue-green algae. Furthermore, Ohio farms will have to reduce the use of phosphorus on their land, but this is still not enough.
In addition to this, Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario promised to reduce phosphorus by 20 percent until 2020 and 40 percent until 2025
Phosphorus is a primary constituent for the toxic blue-green algae which has spread over the last few years in Lake Erie during summer. One drinking water plant in Toledo was closed in 2014 because of this problem.
Moreover, Buffalo relies on Lake Erie for the drinking water supplies. If this algal bloom doesn’t stop, many citizens will no longer be provided with drinking water. According to Jill Jedlicka, the executive director of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, it is impossible to depend on drinking water supplies which have an unhealthy source.
Toxic algal bloom is known to be a problem with which is hard to deal. Usually, the spread of the algae is stopped by sudden weather changes. For now, experts cannot predict at what extent this water ‘plague’ will affect the surrounding communities.
Both Lake Erie and the citizens depending on it have to suffer because of this problem. Fortunately, the toxic blue-green algae have not reached the shores of New York yet. The only bloom was spotted a few years ago, 90 miles away in Presque Isle Bay in Erie. Pa.
Experts advise people to stay away from the water. Most importantly children and dogs must be prevented from entering the water. It is known that the blue-green algae have a highly dangerous effect on dogs, most of the times, killing them. Hopefully, things will soon get better.
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Cancer Suvivors Day was a blast.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – The Cancer Survivors Day was a real success this Sunday in Centegra’s Sage Cancer Center where around 400 people gathered to celebrate life.
According to Terrence Bugno, radiation oncologist, it is crucial to learn how to celebrate every day of our lives. Bugno and many other nurses and doctors put aside their scrubs and suits and decided to treat the spirits of patients.
Furthermore, the target of this event was not about the label of cancer survivor but the survivors themselves and about every part of the community that wants to have the correct perspective about the cancer experience.
One of these survivors is Stacey Monsen (thyroid cancer survivor). She confessed after attending the event that having people around you and communicating with them is the most important thing. Stacey is only 23 years old, and she has been in remission for five years, so she decided to come back to Centegra to bond with others in remission and with the nursing staff.
While speaking, she was coloring a paper butterfly which is one of the therapeutic activities during the event. The bushes of the hospital’s garden will be decorated with these butterflies that will serve as a way to encourage those seeking inspiration and understanding.
According to Mary Schneider, one of the event organizers and a nurse, the primary goal of the Cancer Survivors Day is to make people understand that they are not alone. There is always hope, even if not in the physical treatment itself. People feel happier when they have someone to support and talk to them.
When Marianna Wolfmeyer, oncology counselor, and Schneider started organizing Centegra’s celebration, it was quite modest, with around 70 guests, staff included. This year’s event proves how people started to become more interested in bringing their contribution to the Cancer Survivors Day.
Nowadays, the entire oncology department is part of the event. Treatment cancer center is complex including dietitian care, financial counseling, spiritual support, counseling, infusion medications, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Schneider underlined that their target was to touch the participants’ minds and spirits as well. The Cancer Survivors Day included many activities, such as taking silly photos in a photo booth, making plant stakes, planting flowers, massage therapy, and free food.
This event will continue inspiring everyone in the fight to tackle cancer worldwide.
Plastic waste kills young fish.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Recent research has shown that baby fish are most likely to feed on plastic particles in the oceans, process which is comparable to teenagers eating junk food.
Young fish feeding on plastic has severe consequences, such as stunted growth and changing behaviors. A team of researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden found that because of high exposure to polystyrene concentrations larval perch prefer plastic over their natural source of food consisting of zooplankton.
This abnormality causes young perch to be more vulnerable to predation, smaller and slower. According to Oona Lönnstedt, marine biologist, and lead author, hatching rates were reduced, and fish started to have unusual behaviors.
A high level of microplastic particles was found in Sweden’s many coastal habitats as well as in most parts of the world. Plus, the statistics showed that larvae that consumed plastic waste remained less active that those swimming in waters that do not have microplastic particles.
Worse, they ignored the smell of predators, becoming more likely to be eaten by other fish. During the study, the baby fish exposed to plastic were eaten four times more quickly than control fish. Scientists called for banning plastic cosmetics microbeads, which might represent a primary source for plastic particles.
These microplastic waste materials accumulate in high rates in shallow coasts after traveling through waterways and lakes and eventually reaching the oceans. Lönnstedt underline that the effects of this plastic waste are deadly as the mortality rate in fish has already increased.
According to a study from 2015, about 8 million tons of plastic waste is dumped or reaches the oceans each year. Thus, microscopic fragments pile up in the guts of fish and other marine animals causing a real toxic and chemical plague in the water ecosystem.
Plastic microbeads in cosmetics have already been banned by the United States. Furthermore, U.S. prompted the United Kingdom and other European countries to do the same thing. Plus, these microbeads are regarded among the most significant forms of plastic pollutions which causes a $13 billion loss every year consisting in environmental damages.
All in all, our best bet would be to become more aware of the fact that is our duty to protect our environment and the marine ecosystem. Therefore, scientists hope that something will be done soon to stop plastic waste.
Pesticides are killing bees for over a decade.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Recent research has shown that there has been a massive bee decline over the last years in the US. However, entomologists seem to have finally found a cause.
The latest study has shown that not only the pesticides used by farmers are responsible, but also the sprays used by households to deal with insects. It means that people are not aware of the fact that they keep killing bees.
According to Professor Christian Krupke from Purdue University and Professor Elizabeth Long from the Ohio State University and co-author of the research, the data gathered after a 16 week period showed the exact sources of pollutants in the collected pollen.
After studying three hives from distinct areas, they established that the ones situated in areas with non-pesticide use were exposed to the exact level of pesticides discovered in areas where the pesticide was highly used.
Plus, they learned that the pollen collected from crop plants represented only a small part of all pollen resources. Therefore, the most of bees’ pollen originated from non-crop sources.
According to Dr. Krupke, there was a high amount of pesticide discovered in pollen samples. Nevertheless, urban landscape and homeowners have also a destructive influence related to the bee decline. In addition to this, the highest level of toxicity was found in pyrethroids, which are usually common pesticides used to deal with household pests.
Moreover, Purdue scientists found pollen from 30 plant families which contained nine chemical classes of pesticides, the neonics included, which are commonly used on soybeans and corn. Lowe’s, Home Depot and other garden centers have previously pledged against this pesticide as well. Furthermore, it was established that the plants were infused with neonics by farmers, turning them toxic and deadly to insects.
Even if honeybees do not rely on crop plants such as soybean and corn, they still collect most of their pollen from gardens, flowering weeds, and trees, which explains the harmful exposure of bees to so many types of pesticides.
A new kind of pesticide used on the crops of soybean and corn, known as neonicotinoids, is the primary cause of the huge drop off in honeybees’ number. Some of these pesticides have already been banned by the European Union and other countries. The situation has become critical because these pesticides are used from 2006 leading to such a massive bee decline.
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Bear retreats in wooded area after being chase by officials.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a bear managed to flee from the officials after being spotted in the area of South Fairfield Drive and Gulf Beach Highway on Thursday.
FWC and local officials did their best to corner and capture the animal, but somehow it managed to retreat into a wooded area. Therefore, biologists decided that it would be safer to avoid pursuing the bear into the woods.
This way, both the bear and the personnel won’t be harmed. However, the officials will keep the area under surveillance. In case citizens see the bear, they are advised not to approach it and to call the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.
Plus, the FWC’s website explained that if bears do not find food, they will leave the neighborhoods. In other words, people should secure their garbage and everything that may attract a bear to prevent conflicts around businesses, neighborhoods, and homes.
According to the agency, there are a few rules for coexisting with bears that citizens are advised to follow. First, they should store unwashed recyclables and garbage in containers that are resistant to bears or in a secure area, such as a garage or a sturdy shed until morning when they will be picked up.
Secondly, pets should be fed indoors or at least food dishes should be brought inside before dark, even the empty ones. The third rule is never to play dead, run or turn your back from a black bear. The safest method is to back away slowly into a secure are, such as a building, car or house.
Furthermore, when you are in a safe area, and you are sure that the bear has a clear escape route, you need to blow a whistle, bang pans and pots and yell loudly to scare the bear away.
The agency asks citizens traveling and living in the area of South Fairfield Drive and Gulf Beach Highways to stay indoors until the officials locate and remove any bear that was reported and spotted in the area.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Animal Control personnel together with Escambia County Sheriff’s deputies are currently trying to tranquilize and remove the bear from the area that is populated.
Citizens must not approach the animal. Anyone who sees the bear is asked to call 436-9620. Hopefully, there will be no further incidents like this in the future.
A healthy lifestyle prevents breast cancer.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – A recent study has established that women who are more likely to develop breast cancer can drop off the risk to that of an average woman by having a healthy lifestyle.
According to Dr. Robert Shenk, Medical Director at the Breast Center, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland, Ohio, this study has brought a new perspective regarding the prevention of breast cancer among women.
However, further research is needed to learn and understand more about all the factors regarding this situation. Until now, 23,000 high-risk white women with ages between 30 and 80 years old participated in the study so that the scientists could determine how much a healthy lifestyle would decline the chances of developing breast cancer.
Therefore, many researchers from major institutions such the Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health analyzed the health records data regarding the use of hormones, weight indexes, drinking habits and smoking among the women involved in the study.
There is an 11 percent standard chance of a 30-year-old woman of developing breast cancer by the time she is 80. Nevertheless, some women have 23.5 percent risk due to reproductive factors, genetic markers, and family history. However, researchers have discovered that these women can also lower their risk to 11 percent if they adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Plus, scientists underlined that women who did not use menopause hormone therapy (MHT), did not smoke or drink and had low BMI also had 11 percent risk. In other words, the purpose of the study is to determine which are the healthiest choices a woman can make in order to lower the risk of breast cancer as much as possible.
According to Shenk, this data may contribute to establishing more accurate information about cancer screening via yearly mammograms. However, experts are still not sure if women with family history of breast cancer have such a high-risk percentage.
In addition to this, the study included only a particular type of women, more specifically women from the U.S., Europe and Australia with ages between 30 and 80. Therefore, these findings can’t be considered valid for the entire women population. For instance, ethnic differences may also influence the risk of breast cancer.
Public Pools will need to obey the law.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Starting from now, new regulations will be used in Harris County to observe and make sure that public pools are safe. These rules would require each public pool, including most of those run by apartment complexes, gymnasiums and homeowner associations and also water features like fountains to have a permit released by the county.
According to the county’s director of environmental public health, Michael Schaffer, every public pool that wants a permit needs first to be inspected by the county officials to determine whether it is by the law.
But if any rule violation is detected, the pool would have to stop its activity until the problems are fixed. After that, the pool will be reinspected, not free this time, to establish if the problems are fixed. The reinspection price starts from $200.
A public hearing was held on Tuesday by commissioners regarding the regulations, but they were not approved yet. The conference took place a few days after the Centers for Disease Control released a report concerning the U.S. public aquatic facilities that need to improve maintenance and operation. Plus, 12 percent of pools across the U.S. were closed after routine inspections found a high series of violations.
The CDC also established that drowning has often occurred at children from ages of 1 to 4, half of these deaths occurring in swimming pools. According to Schaffer, the most common form of violation was the lack of proper safety devices, incorrect pH levels, and poor sanitization.
Initially, there were conducted pool closures and inspections only based on complaints from customers. One and a half year ago, the county began conducting inspections on a regular basis to gather information and to establish a proper set of regulations.
During this time, inspectors made a total of 800 inspections and closed 21 percent of pools, way more than the national 12 percent average. Hopefully, the new set of regulations will be approved, and public pools will become safer places not only for adults but also for children who need the most protection.
It will also be good for the owners because many people will come to public pools that obey the rules and provide every service that the customer needs.
New Law supports Turtles.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in the World Turtle Day a new rule to monitor and regulate international trade of softshell turtles and common snapping turtles.
The rule came after a 2011 request from the Center for Biological Diversity which analyzed the consequences of the turtle trade. This rule targets to tackle the overexploitation of these freshwater turtles for Asian medicinal markets and food. Thanks to this rule, turtles are added to Appendix III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
According to Jenny Loda, a biologist, and attorney with the Center dedicated to protecting rare reptiles and amphibians, this rule is a vast improvement to restore the population of freshwater turtles, because their numbers have dropped off due to turtle traders’ abuse.
Each year there are 2 million wild-caught live turtles. Most of them are exported from the United States each year for medicinal markets and food in Asia, where native turtle populations have already been wiped out by excessive consumption.
Moreover, adult turtles are caught and used to breed hatchlings which become part of the international pet trade. Because of this overexploitation, all turtle species population has dropped off, meaning that many of them are on the verge of extinction and thus protected by the Endangered Species Act. The data from a 2013 study, reported that half of all turtle species from the world are endangered.
According to Loda, because of commercial trade, all turtle species declined, lost their habitat, were hit or killed by cars and died due to water pollution. After this decision, illegal trade will be prevented.
Four turtle species were added to the CITES Appendix III such as spiny softshell turtles, smooth softshell turtles, Florida softshell turtles, and snapping turtles. From now on, the trade in Appendix III will require documentation and an export permit to establish that the animal was acquired or caught by respecting the law, granting the U.S. permission to monitor the trade thoroughly. Plus, every animal must be shipped without cruel treatment.
The U.S. is home to an enormous turtle biodiversity and more species than any other country in the world. Therefore, it would be best to try and keep it that way.
Senior Health and Fitness Day will be a success.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Another exciting event will be organized by Cedar Hill Continuing Community called National Senior Health and Fitness Day on the 25th of May. It is the 23rd event which takes place every year, gathering 1,000 local groups.
There will be a week of activities promoting health and fitness and also a special Speaker Series seminar with the title “Nutrition, Wellness, and Aging”, held by Dr. Deborah Kennedy, administrative director. The workshop begins at 11 a.m. this Tuesday at Weight and Wellness Center, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. There will be another surprise for all attendees after the seminar, which will consist of a healthy lunch prepared by Cedar Hill Chef John Vigneau.
Plus, there will be a Fitness Festival on the 25th of May featuring spa activities, healthy snacks and lawn games for Cedar Hill residents. Around 100,000 seniors across the country are expected to attend this event and to help promote preventive care, proper nutrition, active and healthy lifestyles through physical fitness.
According to Patricia Horn, Community Administrator, the Fitness Festival, healthy lunch, and Nutrition Festival will represent a great chance for seniors to revitalize, renew or make their promise to improve their lives with the help of fitness.
However, if you want to attend the Nutrition Seminar on Tuesday, you need to make a reservation. The Fitness Festival on Wednesday will be from 2 to 4 p.m., and is oriented towards the residents, but anyone can attend it. There will be activities such as hand massages, healthy snacks and drinks, lawn games and many others.
The last Wednesday of May is always reserved for National Senior Health and Fitness Day to support Older Americans Month and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. It is the largest and most complex program targeting to help and improve life, organized by the Mature Market Resource Center, a national clearinghouse for professionals prepared to work with older adults.
It is very encouraging that every year people are trying to bring their contribution in helping older people to live healthier lives and show the world that you can promote good things by striving to become a better, healthier person. All these are possible for people who attend to Senior Health and Fitness Day.