Dakota Access Pipeline Developer Now In Legal Battle With Greenpeace Activists

Dakota Access Pipeline protest

Tensions over the Dakota Access Pipeline are still brewing

The Dakota Access Pipeline development attracted several thousand environmentally-conscious activists to protest against the project. The tensions are still strong as the Energy Transfer Group, that is behind the pipeline project, filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace and affiliated nonprofits on Tuesday.

Energy Transfer Group accuses Greenpeace of “Criminal Activity”

Energy Transfer Group filed a racketeering lawsuit in the federal court over the claims that Greenpeace and other environmental groups involved in the protests have made damages of billions of dollars due to their “criminal activity”. Moreover, the group accuses Greenpeace of having spread false information about the project. EarthFirst! and BankTrack

EarthFirst! and BankTrack are the two other groups that have joined Greenpeace in protest of the pipeline. Energy Transfer Group believes they are “rogue eco-terrorist groups”. Moreover, they have engaged in campaigns of misinformation about the impact of the project on the environment and the sites of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Due to their racketeering and efforts at defamation, the costs of the project have increased by at least $300 million. The developer wants the federal court to establish the full extent of the damage.

Lawsuit “Meritless” according to Greenpeace

The law firm that has Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s attorney, as managing partner represents the Dakota Access Pipeline Developer. Tom Wetterer, General Counsel at Greenpeace USA, said that it is the second consecutive year that the Kasowitz law firm filed a “meritless” law suit against Greenpeace. Wetterer has harsh words about the suit:

It is yet another classic ‘Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation’ (SLAPP), not designed to seek justice but to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation. This has now become a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies, with Trump’s attorneys leading the way.

The controversy regarding this project is that it would disturb the sacred sites of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota and threaten its water sources. The tribe managed to halt the construction of the pipeline during the last months of the Obama administration. However, President Trump quickly reversed the policy.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

NASA Captures Stunning Clouds On Mars With The Navcam

stunning clouds on mars

NASA recently captured some amazing photos of the stunning clouds on Mars.

NASA’s Curiosity rover, still operating long after its planned mission end date, recently took photographs of some stunning clouds on Mars with its Navcam system.

They were cirrus clouds, similar to those found on Earth. While these are amazing pictures, they are also extremely rarely noticed on modern Mars. Likely, they were more common in the past, and this view of them might give science a clearer glimpse as to what this neighboring planet was once like.

animated stunning clouds
A Ghost Like Image of the Stunning Clouds

The photos are rough, grainy, and in black and white. Still, they provide some of the eeriest images of atmospheric condensation NASA has received from the Red Planet until now.

They were taken on July 17, 2017, when the Navcam was pointed at the sky. This took eight snapshots as the clouds passed overhead. It then lowered its camera several degrees and took eight more photos as the ice vapor passed over a pair of rock outcroppings in the distance.

Photos taken later in the day showed no more clouds. Presently, these are the clearest images of such stunning clouds on Mars ever taken by Curiosity.

“It is likely that the clouds are composed of crystals of water ice that condense out onto dust grains where it is cold in the atmosphere,” stated John Moores of York University in Toronto, Canada.

 

Moores then explained that these “wisps” as the crystals fall and start evaporating is patterns that came to be known as “mare’s tails” or “fall streaks”.

 

“While the rover does not have a way to ascertain the altitude of these clouds, on Earth such clouds form at high altitude.”

Scientists believe that some billions of years ago, Mars had more water on its surface. It might have also had a thicker atmosphere. At that time, these clouds would have been far more widespread a sight as they were floating above the plains and mountains of the Red Planet.

Image Source: JPL/NASA

A Massive Toothy Fish Chomped Its Food Just Like A Shark

massive toothy fish fossil

The fossil of a massive toothy fish is offering a new look at marine predators and their evolution.

Scientists recently started analyzing the fossil of a previously unknown fish species, one whose specimens were massive toothy fish with eating habits and an appearance resembling modern-day sharks.

The fossil was detected in northeastern Nevada and is some 5.9 feet long. This bony fish had long jaws filled with sharp teeth. Its dentures suggest that the species could quite easily chomp down on its prey and then swallow it whole, just like sharks are known for doing.

Massive Toothy Fish Offers New Look at the Evolution of Predators

A team of Swiss and US researchers studied this strange fish fossil discovered in Elko County, Nevada. Belonging to a previously unknown species, this was then named the Birgeria americana. This fish is believed to have swum in the waters of the sea that once covered our modern-day Nevada and the surrounding states for about 1 million years following the mass extinction event from 252 million years ago.

“The surprising find from Elko County in northeastern Nevada is one of the most completely preserved vertebrate remains from this time period ever discovered in the United States,” states Carlo Romano of the University of Zurich, the lead author.

The discovered fossil is just 0.85 feet and is a partial skull fragment. This displays three parallel rows of teeth on the exterior and a smaller set on the interior. The outer teeth are up to 2 centimeters long.

According to the study team, this massive toothy fish probably hunted prey just like a shark. It possibly pursued its prey before chomping down on it and swallowing it whole.

The species is also believed to predate the famed Ichthyosaur by more than 30 million years. Discovering this fish fossil was deemed crucial by the researchers as it offers a new look at the evolution of large predators after the mass extinction event mentioned above.

A paper released in the Journal of Paleontology holds further details on the matter. For example, the study showed that a massive fish was capable of surviving in waters previously deemed to have been too warm for it.

The mass extinction event from 252 million years ago is estimated to have wiped out around 90 percent of all marine animals.

Image Source: Wikimedia

18 Years-Old Girl Dies From Snakebite While Under Chhaupadi

women doing the chhaupadi dance

An 18 years old girl died after being bitten by a snake as was under chhaupadi.

An 18 years old girl original from a remote area of Nepal died after being bitten by a snake but not treated on time as she was under chhaupadi.

This is a tradition linked to Hinduism which holds that, while menstruating, women are impure. They are also believed to be a bad omen. As such, menstruating females are forced to leave their homes and go to a “menstruating hut” during this period of the month.

While it lasts, they are not allowed to enter their homes or even their courtyards. They also cannot take part in usual family activities.

Tulasi Shahi, the 18 years old girl in question, followed this tradition every month, as she went to stay in the shed in which her uncle tied up his cows. This time though, the young woman was bitten by a poisonous snake on Thursday night. Early Friday morning, she died as a result of the snakebite.

“She survived for seven hours after the snake bite but died because medical treatment was delayed” stated Surya Bahadur Shahi, the local mayor.

Reports state that, after being discovered, the girl was first taken to a shaman that failed to remove the poison. The delayed and possibly lacking help at a medical clinic came too late for Tulasi Shahi.

Chhaupadi Led to the Death of Other Two Girls and Is Already Officially Prohibited

This latest unfortunate event tied to chhaupadi occurred in Dailekh, a district of Nepal. Another young woman because of the very same reason some six weeks ago. A 15 years old, living in another part of the country, is believed to have died because of smoke inhalation as she was in trying to light a fire in the menstruation hut.

The Supreme Court of Nepal already ordered an end to this tradition since back in 2005. However, this is still respected in some remote villages, reportedly particularly in the west of the country. A bill, still pending in the Parliament, is looking to formally criminalize the custom. International organizations are also trying to abolish the practice.

As they practice chhaupadi, women are exposed to a number of risks. These include the heat or cold, wild animals or intruders in the hut.

Image Source: Flickr

Coconut Oil is not Good for your Cholesterol Level

coconut oil is not good

The AHA has found that coconut oil is not good for your cholesterol level

The American Heart Association has said that coconut oil is not good, because it raises the “bad” cholesterol just like other alimentary items do (butter, beef). The AHA has concluded that coconut oil is 82% richer in saturated fat compared with 63% in the case of butter and 50% for beef fat.

Coconut Oil is not Good for Cholesterol Levels

This is on the account that butter and beef drippings have a smaller level of saturated fat, which, in turn, increases the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). This is the type of cholesterol that builds up in the blood vessels which, then, can lead to clot formation and heart attacks.

As such, coconut oil is not good for cooking, the AHA warns, recommending consumers to switch this type of oil with the polyunsaturated fats, such as corn, soybean, and peanut oils.

In a quote, Dr. Frank Sacks, a researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said that:

“Replacing saturated with polyunsaturated has a two-fold effect because a fat that causes heart disease is lowered and a fat that prevents heart disease is increased”.

Moreover, in 7 out of 7 studies that the AHA has reviewed for its advisory published in the journal Circulation, they have found that coconut oil raises the LDL levels as much as other ingredients (butter, beef, palm oil). They suggest that replacing the saturated fats found coconut oil with vegetable oil reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%.

This is as means to fight against cardiovascular disease, which is one of the leading death causes worldwide. So much so, it leads to 17.3m fatalities per year. Because coconut oil is not good, the AHA recommends either a Mediterranean-style diet or the ‘Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet’.

Dr. Lennert Veerman, of the Cancer Council NSW in Sydney, states that

“(…) a small reduction of risk every day adds up, so replacing coconut oil with olive oil may be an easy way to reduce risk a bit”.

Image Source: Pixabay

New Study Offers New Statistics For Young People With ADHD

young people behind the wheel

Young people with ADHD present a higher risk of car crashes, but this can be managed through some simple steps.

The most recent research on the matter returned some new statistics regarding young people with ADHD and their performances behind the wheel. This study found that such drivers present a 36 percent higher risk of crashing when compared to other newly licensed youth. However, this value is significantly lower when compared to the previous report on the matter.

Young People with ADHD Present Manageable Crash Risks

The new survey was conducted by specialists at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Research results are available in a paper in the JAMA Pediatrics.  

The CHOP research is based on data gathered from 18,500 electronic health records. These target children born in between 1987 to 1997. Almost 2,500 among them have been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

“Our results indicate that newly licensed adolescents with ADHD have a greater risk of crashing than other young drivers, but that this is a manageable risk,” said Allison E. Curry.

She is the principal investigator of the CHOP study. According to Curry, the study results indicate that while the crash risk is higher than in general, it is also a manageable situation. Namely, the team considers that the situation can be turned around. Special program for youth diagnosed with ADHD that want to drive could be created.

Namely, they could receive an evidence-based training. They could also be instructed as to the risks and additional requirements of such an activity.

The study team was also reportedly surprised to note the low number of young drivers with ADHD which were prescribed medication, namely, just 12 percent. Previous studies claimed that such a treatment could help reduce crash risks. Still, this method can only be useful if people also take the prescribed medication.

A treatment plan can also be therapeutic and doesn’t necessarily have to depend on medicine. However, researchers consider that youth with ADHD interested in getting behind the wheel should follow one such therapy. Also, they should be informed about the seriousness of operating a car and of the extra attention it requires.

Image Source: Flickr

Eating An Egg Every Day Can Seemingly Help Babies Grow Big And Taller

egg every day

A new study indicates that giving babies an egg every day may improve their chances of growing healthy and tall.

According to a new research, giving weaned babies an egg every day could help them grow bigger, taller, and healthier, especially if they are undernourished.

The new study was carried out in Ecuador, a country confronting a widespread growth stunting problem. Research was conducted in the Ecuadorian Andes and involved around 160 babies aged 6 to 9 months old.

These had all been recently weaned. As part of the study, 80 of them were given an egg every day over six months. The remaining 80 babies continued being fed according to their usual diet. Study results are available in a paper in the journal Pediatrics.

An Egg Every Day Can Help Increase Growth Chances

The study team noted that the babies fed with an egg on a daily basis were twice more likely to growth bigger, taller, and healthier when compared to the other group. Also, researchers point out that this is the first controlled and randomized study to analyze the effects of eggs on stunting.

“It’s no single nutrient in the eggs but rather the whole package of amino acids and fatty acids, and also vitamins like and choline and B12,” states Lora Iannotti.

She is the study’s author and part of Washington University in St. Louis. Stunting is one of the main issues that the World Health Assembly is planning on overcoming by 2025. Babies with a stunted growth tend to develop into smaller children and then rather reduced height adults.

Stunting was also associated with a reduced lifespan and even cognitive development problems. As such, the study team considers that eggs could be both a promising and somewhat cheap way of dealing with stunting. Especially so in countries in which this is a big problem.

Also, the team detected an unexpected other effect of eating an egg a day. Babies with such a dietary plan also consumed less sugar and sugar-sweetened foods. Iannotti states that the study wasn’t looking or expecting such an effect.

They also have yet to establish a cause and effect relation for this finding. Still, they believe that the sensation of being filled decrease the kids’ appetite for other foods.

Image Source: Pixabay

Opioid Crisis: More Accidental Overdoses and Overdose Deaths

overdose deaths

A new report shows that there were more than 4,000 overdose deaths in Ohio.

The opioid crisis is one of the biggest problems the United States is currently facing. In the last few years, thousands of lives have been taken by opioids. A new report shows that there were more than 4,000 overdose deaths in Ohio. This state is one of the most affected by the opioid crisis.

Overdose Deaths

The number of overdose deaths seems to increase every year, despite considerable efforts made by state officials. Ohio saw a 36% increase in overdose deaths since 2015. Two years ago, more than 3,000 cases were reported. In 2016, more than 4,149 overdose deaths were linked with opioid overdose or consumption. This year, authorities are concerned that the number of deaths caused by opioids will only be higher.

Another report, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, shows that Ohio had the biggest incidence of overdose deaths in the US in the last 2 years. Synthetic opioids like carfentanil and fentanyl were the more likely culprits. These drugs are more powerful than heroin and morphine, and significantly cheaper. Nevertheless, just a small amount can kill a person.

Police officers and investigators observed that many drug dealers are presently selling fentanyl-laced heroin. Unsuspecting buyers get more than they bargain for when preparing and injecting the substance which, in normal conditions, if 50 to 100 times more potent than what they were accustomed to.

Accidental Overdoses

Cops have a hard time protecting themselves from the opioid crisis. Since fentanyl and carfentanil hit the market, officers are also at risk. Carfentanil, for instance, is actually an elephant tranquilizer. When it comes into contact with the skin, a very small amount can prove fatal, especially since the epiderm absorbs the substance. Several police officers overdosed at the scenes after touching objects laced with carfentanil.

An Ohio officer accidentally overdosed after he brushed off some white powder from his shirt. The white powder was fentanyl-laced heroin belonging to a man that was arrested earlier that night. Several doses of Narcan were used to revive the officer.

Another policeman overdosed on 19 May, after he was at the scene of a suspected opioid overdose. The man started feeling sick seconds after he started searching for drugs at the scene. To revive him, the paramedics used several doses of Narcan. Even the paramedic that helped the police officer needed treatment for exposure to drugs.

Image source: Wikipedia

 

Tree Nuts Prove To Be An Effective Choice For Post-Colon Cancer

tree nuts

Research showed the beneficial effects of eating tree nuts after following a colon cancer treatment.

A new study showed that eating certain types of tree nuts could significantly help people that have followed a colon cancer treatment. They may do so as they were noted to lower the recurrence risk of the diseases and to reduce death risks.

This new report was released earlier this week, ahead of the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology or ASCO. This will be taking place in Chicago next month. Its results are based on an observational, long-term study. It followed over 826 patients that had been treated for stage III colon cancer. Usually, this therapy includes both chemotherapy and surgery.

Patients to follow this treatment and whose cancer has not spread in the body have a 70 percent median survival chance of 3 years following therapy.

Tree Nuts, an Efficient and Natural Post-Treatment Treat

According to the research team, around 19 percent of the involved patients consumed around 2 or more ounces of nuts of all type on a weekly basis. These presented an average 42 percent lower risk of cancer recurrence. Also, they had a 57 percent decreased risk of death when compared with patients that consumed no nuts at all.

Based on this, the study team also took a closer look at the types of nuts consumed. Which helped them determined that tree nuts had even better results, even if only by a few. Patients that ate these types showed a 53 percent lower risk of death. They also had a 46 percent decreased cancer recurrence rate. This was also for a consumption rate of 2 or more ounces per week.

“[…] we felt that it was important to determine if these benefits [of nut consumption] could also apply to colorectal cancer patients,” said Temidayo Fadelu.

He is the study’s lead and a clinical fellow in medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Still, scientists point out that tree nuts should be used aside and not replace colon cancer treatments.

Also, the team noted that this was an observational study. As such, they were unable to establish a cause and effect relation.

Tree nuts include walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashew, and hazelnuts. The more commonly eaten peanut and peanut butter reported no significant effect.

Image Source: Wikimedia

Scientist Brings New Evidence In Favor Of The Human Sense Of Smell

human sense of smell

There have been many debates whether the human sense of smell is, in fact, inferior to that of animals.

Many have started debates on the subject of the human sense of smell and its alleged inferiority to that of its animal kingdom equivalent. In response, a researcher named John McGann recently released a paper which contradicts this claim. According to McGann, there’s nothing wrong with humanity’s olfactory capabilities. In fact, they may be even better than believed.

John McGann is a neuroscientist part of the Rutgers Department of Psychology Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Department. He published his new study result in a paper in the journal Science. The researcher based his studies on the comparisons between the human and rodent sense of smell.

“Actually, we have a really excellent sense of smell,” says McGann. “There are quite a lot of experiments showing that the human sense of smell is pretty similar to what you can find with a rat or a mouse or a dog”.

Myth of the Human Sense of Smell and its Origins

So the researcher nosed his way until he found the reported root of this misconception. McGann states that this idea can be traced back to Paul Broca. He is a French neuroanatomist which lived in the 19th century. Broca divided mammals into two olfactory groups according to a set of factors. His division was based on the smell’s importance to the day-to-day life, was it critical for them (dogs, for example) or not (humans)?

His conclusion was that humans did not have to rely on their olfactory sense and that we sacrificed smell for evolution. His idea was then embraced by other scientists, including Sigmund Freud, among others, and its influence has created an actual myth around the human sense of smell.

Some of these claims are based on the fact that people have some 400 distinct smell receptors in their nose. This is less than a half of the 1000 detected in rats. However, McGann argues that “400 is an awful lot”. They can also allegedly help distinguish some “tens of millions of unique smells”.

The battle of the nose receptors has yet to offer a conclusive winner or lead to a consistent response. But as McGann points out, and other researchers as well agree, humans “are best” at detecting some smells, while dogs are better are smelling other odors.

Image Source: Pexels