The COVID-19 virus and the Environment:

The coronavirus is a global health problem and imposing strict quarantine measures but at the same time has it been good for the environment? What impact is the pandemic having on our atmosphere. Scientists are recording huge reductions in air pollution from greenhouse gases, especially in nations such as China and Italy because of the restrictions placed on industry. Most of their information is from what is being observed from satellites. There has been a substantial drop in nitrogen oxide levels in areas of the world that rely heavily on industry. Concentrations of NO2 are down to 35% from 50-60%, depending on the area, from a year ago at the same time. Working at home has reduced vehicular traffic. It shows how economy and environment are tightly woven. There are reports from Venice that you can actually see through the waters in the canals. Of course, this does not mean that the quality has improved only that debris has been allowed to settle. All this as a result of no boat traffic. How strange that a pandemic is showing us what changes we need to make to live healthier lives.

How do Plants Survive Fire?

Although plants lack a brain and a nervous system, they do possess an “awareness”. Animal and human life have the ability to escape brush fires. Plants had to adapt in order to survive. Fires have actually become important for an ecosystem to function properly. Species such as the Banksia have cones that contain seeds which are then completely sealed in resin. It is only with the heat of a fire that the resin can be melted and the seeds in turn be released. There are certain species of orchids that will only bloom after stimulation by fire. A number of shrubs and annuals require smoke to break seed dormancy. Trees such as the giant sequoias, Australian grass tree and the South African aloes have extremely dense moist tissue layers which provide insulation and are able to withstand heat that would destroy most trees. Eucalyptus have specialized buds that are protected under their barks. Burning exposes these seeds and they quickly emerge as new leaves and branches. Other species have fleshy bulbs, rhizomes and underground stems which lie deep within the soil and are able to wake and sprout after a fire. There is a certain lily the Cyrtanthus known as the fire lily, which will flower immediately after a fire from out of the ash. The ponderosa pine has developed a mechanism of self-pruning that kills off most of the lower branches in turn depriving a fire of fuel. Indigenous populations are aware of how devastating wildfires can be and have for centuries used what they consider controlled fires. They are constantly vigil about overgrowth and keep areas clear of dry shrubs and bushes. What we are seeing in Australia is devasting to both animal and human life. Nature has evolved and has the ability to deal with such disasters. It is amazing to think that nature in spite of such severe devastation, that we have witnessed recently and through the years, has the ability to come alive and regrow afterwards.

Constipation and Acupuncture

In a study conducted by Chinese researchers, acupuncture to the abdomen relieved the acupunctureproblem of constipation. The electric currents produced by acupuncture relieved even the most severe cases of constipation. In a report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 31.3% of those treated improved without the use of laxatives. One theory is that the electrical currents produced by acupuncture treatment stimulate the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract.

 

Print a New Body Part

Researchers at the American Chemical Society
have experimented with using ink containing
human cells. The hope is that in the future they
may be able, through the use of a 3-D printer,
create a new nose, ear or even a knee.
This can make it possible to print cartilage
in different shapes. So far tissue has been
successfully implanted in mice.
The possibility of repairing damage from
accidents and cancer would be amazing.