Categories
SCI

The Amazon is starting to ‘self-destruct,’ scientists warn

Only a major reforestation will save the Amazon rain forest from a complete ecosystem death, warns the leading scientific journal Science Advances. In an editorial, researchers Thomas Lovejoy and Carlos Nobre wrote that forest fires and deforestation are rapidly depleting the ecosystem’s ability to sustain itself, to the point where massive human intervention will be needed to save it.

“Although 2019 was not the worst year for fire or deforestation in the Amazon, it was the year when the extent of fires and deforestation in the region garnered full global attention,” the authors wrote. “The precious Amazon is teetering on the edge of functional destruction and, with it, so are we.”

The authors noted that the Amazon is a vital link to the global water cycle and provides crucial storage of enormous amounts of carbon dioxide. As the rain forest disappears, much of its stored water and carbon dioxide are released to the atmosphere. The carbon release further exacerbates climate change worldwide, and every country in South America except Chile would lose substantial amounts of freshwater, the authors said.

Deforestation now affects around 17% of the Amazon basin. The basin has historically been able to produce its own rainfall, due to the dense tree and foliage cover. But widespread forest depletion within the eastern and southern Amazon, in particular, hamper rainfall production for the entire basin, according to the authors. The added that human-caused global warming is already reducing rainfall throughout the region.

The basin is responding by changing in fundamental ways, they wrote: lengthier and hotter dry seasons, and the trees increasingly being replaced by tree species that favor drier climates.

Categories
NONE

Rocket attack in Iraq kills U.S. defense contractor

A U.S. defense contractor died Friday in northern Iraq from a rocket attack that also injured several U.S. troops and Iraqi personnel, the Pentagon said. The statement did not specify how many were injured or how serious the injuries were, but it said that the attack occurred on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk.

Up to 30 rockets were fired at the facility, which hosts both U.S. and coalition troops. The U.S. personnel are among the approximately 5,000 U.S. troops that are still stationed in Iraq.

A statement from Operation Inherent Resolve, the name of the U.S.-led mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said that Iraqi security forces are leading the response and investigation. According to Reuters, security forces have found a launchpad for Katyusha rockets inside an abandoned vehicle near the base.

The U.S. military does not reveal the names of contractors killed in Iraq.

Iraq has witnessed increased violence since October, when mass protests broke out against government corruption, unemployment, and inadequate public services. Many civilian protesters died in subsequent clashes with government forces.

A series of attacks against Iraqi military bases occurred earlier this month, as well. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed these attacks on Iranian proxies and warned against any further violence against U.S. or coalition forces.

“We must also use this opportunity to remind Iran’s leaders that any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive U.S. response,” Pompeo said on Dec. 13.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the Kirkuk attack.

 

Categories
IT_MORE KJAUNT TECH Travel_Tips

The Best Travel Apps, Period

Yes, there is an app for too many things to count, indeed, just about anything! And since we’ve been talking about travel, decided to dig around in a few easy applications to help you with sleeping over, flying, dining, navigating and safety. We noted which apps require pay, so if we don’t mention it, it’s free and available to iOS or Android users, unless otherwise noted.

Flying
• Dealray
It’s $9.99 per month that will help you find inexpensive flight deals, alerts you to big price decreases, sales and error fares. Sorry, this one is iOS, but no Android.

• Freebird
Once you record your flight on this site, they will alert you if the flight is delayed by four or more hours or canceled. You can also book a new flight on any airline; one-way fees start at $19.

• Skiplagged
This is a fun app that helps you find one-way tickets with a stopover. The fun starts at the stop over location because you aren’t returning to the plane for your original destination. This is an option usually less expensive than a non-stop flight.

Dining
• Grab
Who has these good ideas? This app looks at restaurant menus inside the airport, map them for you and in some cases, even helps you order in advance so you can grab and go on your race to the gate. Today, it lists over 170 restaurants at 17 US airports.

• HappyCow
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian and you enjoy travel you must download this app! It will find restaurants for you in over 10,000 world cities. London, New York City, and Moldova and they provide very brief menu descriptions as well as customer reviews. There is a cost of $3.99.

• Velocity
Velocity tells you where all the hot restaurants are located, and you can also pay your bill or share it with your dining partner. They are working on adding the most popular spots for an exciting nightlife in Gstaad and Verbier in Switzerland as well as Aspen, Colorado.

Hotels
• AsYouStay
This app helps ease some of the pressures of making sure you check in by 3 pm and out by noon. The app owners have partnered with over 50 properties in New York City and about a dozen more in South Beach, Miami. Coming soon, Chicago and San Francisco.

• Chatnbook
iOS is available today, and Android is still in testing, but this app lets you load your travel details and once you do the app will deliver properties which meet your specifications. If you tap on the right symbol (green thumbs up), your chosen hotel will contact you directly with their best rates.

• Dayuse.com
If you have an extended layover, this app helps you book a room for just a few hours so you can grab a hot shower, nap or just clean up a tad. Their 3,000 hotels usually offer as much as 75 percent off standard nightly rates.

• Hostelworld
The purpose of this a is to bring single travelers together in either boozy events, private rooms or having fun at communal activities.

• Oasis
Oasis offers a variety of luxury short term apartment rentals in about two dozen locations. Rio, Miami, and Milan to name a few and you will have 24/7 concierge service to help with tour bookings, restaurant and theater tickets.

• Roomer
Substantial discounts on hotel rooms from other travelers who have had to unexpectedly had to cancel their trips. You can expect discounts of about 30 to 80 percent. And if this has happened to you, sell your reservation here as well.

• TripHappy
And happy is what you’ll be when this app finishes dissecting 37 million pieces of data and spits out the best places and hoods for you to stay in during your travels. Then you can sort your results by rating or price.

Navigation
• Cool Cousin
We don’t know about you guys, but none of our cousins are very cool. LOL. But this application sure is cool! Collections of “off-the-beaten-path” recommendations from residents in 14 destinations. A mixologist in London and an artist in Paris are two fun examples. You can expect to see some trendy suggestions here!

• Sidekix
While it may not be the shortest route, this app will give you the best walking instructions that will meet your preferences and interests. It is currently prepared for us in over 100 prime cities, and more are being added every week.

Driving

• Rideways
By entering your trip destinations and times, you can schedule a “rideway,” which is owned by Priceline to book a taxi, train or bus in over 500 worldwide cities. It’s a more cost-effective way to travel.

• Turo
This app lets you rent automobiles from owners. You may have known it as RelayRides; it’s prior name. It’s available for both US and Canadian users. You can search for any desired vehicle and likely find it for a much lower rate than a rental agency. Europe has recently been added to their service area.

• Wingz
Book your travel methods here in over a dozen metropolitan US cities. You know in advance the cost, the name of your driver and if you have a favorite, you can request him or her. All drivers have been checked out via their DMV records.

Health and safety
• Binaural
Who knew there was an app to help us fight jet lag? This app uses binaural beats, which are sounds that many cultures have relied upon for hundreds of years to relax. These repeated “beats” can improve learning and focus, reduce anxiety and relax your mind.

• Geosure
For whatever area you are in, the app can report a personal safety score, environmental threats, health risks, political threats and information about thefts and assaults in the area via crowdsourcing. It is a location-sensitive app.

• My Panda
This app tells you the level of security via GPS. It was founded shortly after the Paris terror attacks in 2015. In some locations, it will also direct you to the nearest police station and a one click option to call them.

Categories
KJAUNT

Best Small Towns For Big Vacations *Finish

While we know the some of the bigger cities to visit, sometimes we want a bit of down-home culture. Take a look at some small town spots in the country.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Here’s a spot located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg. It’s a nice family getaway that has shops with taffy, moonshine, and you can even see a 360-degree view from the Gatlinburg Space Needle (40 stories above town) . You can also zip-line from the highest point of a mountain in the new Anakeesta theme park.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is home to Taos Pueblo, an UNESCO site that is among the most seasoned ceaselessly occupied networks in the United States. Visitors can ski at Ski Taos, get some culture by  acquiring some legitimate Native American arts and crafts, and take a look at the museum.

Fredericksburg, Texas

If you’re looking to be here on the fall, take a stop to go to the Oktoberfest. The scenery is beautiful with the bluebonnets blooming in the spring. Imagine this is as you go to the local winery. Also, you can learn about the United States’ 36th president at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.

Chatham, Massachusetts

Chatham is a nice ocean side town to help you relax and get some adventure. Go kayaking or swimming on the lakes. Get a bit of nightlife with the shops, cafes, and Chatham Bandstand on your Friday summer evenings.

Tallahassee, Florida

Get some delicious food, such as Ernestine Fryson’s famous catfish and hushpuppies. Take a listen of some quality music at the Bradfordville Blues Club. If you enjoy crisp water, take a swim at the beautiful Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.

Durango, Colorado

Not only does this place make for a nice family getaway, but it’s definitely a spot to be physically active. Enjoy some street biking, kayaking and even climbing at the San Juan Mountains. Enjoy Purgatory Resort with your special spouse.

Cody, Wyoming

Here’s a famous town named after Buffalo Bill Cody for his Wild West history. Also, take in some of the history, Western guns and workmanship.

 

Categories
SCI

Scientists try to revive coral reefs with fish-enticing audio

Loudspeakers that play sounds intended to attract fish are helping to bring dead coral reefs back to life, according to a paper published recently in Nature Communications. The paper’s authors said that they hope that their findings could lead to efforts undo much of the mass destruction of coral that has been taking place throughout the world’s oceans in recent decades.

In the paper, the researchers described placing underwater loudspeakers at locations in a zone of ocean water north of Australia. Each site was within a formerly vibrant coral reef that had largely died out.

The speakers played sounds associated with healthy, vibrant reefs; the researchers intended for fish to hear these recordings and flock to the sites to breed. Their plan worked: The sites that had the speakers saw 50% increases in both the numbers of fish and numbers of fish species.

New fish populations won’t directly create more coral, but they can encourage new coral growth as the fish clean reef surfaces and create more spaces for corals to grow, the researchers said. Andy Radford, a paper coauthor from the University of Bristol, said that efforts such as this one to boost fish populations can be important parts of larger initiatives to bring lost coral ecoysystems back to life.

“If combined with habitat restoration and other conservation measures, rebuilding fish communities in this manner might accelerate ecosystem recovery,” said Radford.

Ocean researchers have been concerned about coral health throughout the world’s oceans in the last few decades, due to widespread deaths of coral in many locales. The main driving force behind coral death is climate change: Ocean water becoming incresaingly acidic as it absorbs larger amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to researchers.

Categories
KJAUNT US_Travel

Top 10 Most Beautiful Colleges in the United States

When picking a university one should go for a good mixture of setting and study. Consider the layout of the buildings and the aesthetic of the quad. Can yourself studying here for the next four years? Do you want to go somewhere with ornamented footpaths? Or architecture that will make your heart melt? It’s important to consider these things and to know where to find them so we’ve completed a list just of the 10 most beautiful colleges in the country.

10. Pepperdine University in California
You wouldn’t be alone if you confused this Malibu campus for indulgent resort on the coast. This specific campus was built in 1972 so students could catch a glimpse of the layered landscape that meets the Pacific Ocean on their way to class. Definitely a place to consider applying.

9. University of Hawaii at M?noa
What’s not to love about a college in Hawaii? Hawaii is easily one of the most beautiful states in the country so it should be no surprise that it is home to one of the most beautiful colleges as well. The statue university in M?noa stands out for it’s beachside campus and its views of nearby volcanoes (something you won’t see at any other college in the states).

8. University of Chicago in Illinois
There are many lovable colleges in the prairie state, but none stood out as much as the University of Chicago. In Hyde Park rests this architectural salute to the Gothic era. This stand out university even played home to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

7. Tulane University in Louisiana
This college offers a beautiful mix of palm trees and evergreens. At Tulane you will get an unwavering New Orleans vibe which makes it a college worth considering.

6. College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts
This university is in one of the smallest states in the United States but it is one of the most vied for. Massachusetts is home to some of the most beautiful colleges around like Harvard and Williams. But it’s the College of Holy Cross that stands out above the rest. This breathtaking campus is suspended on a hill overlooking Worcester and is known as one of the best landscaped schools in the country.

5. St. John’s Santa Fe in New Mexico
This Southwestern campus is a satellite campus of Maryland’s St John’s College. It resides near the base of Monte Luna and serves up students a mountain view that is unmatched.

4. Kenyon College in Ohio
Ohio is known for it’s small liberal arts schools. But Kenyon is known for being beautiful. Regal masonry populates the dorms and administration buildings next to a sprawling rural setting at this university.

3. Lewis & Clark in Oregon
This university is named for the famous explores that cross the country on foot, Lewis and Clark. It resides in a quaint Portland neighborhood that encases it with plunging hills and Douglas Firs.

2. Southern Methodist University in Texas
The splendid entrance of Southern Methodist University is lined with greenery and trees. It offers visitors a hint of what’s inside without giving away what lies ahead–fresh cut lawns, stone buildings, and Wes Anderson-like symmetry.

1. Colgate University in New York
There are so many universities in New York that it’s hard to decide which exemplifies the state the most. From the buzzing and urban Columbia University to the sprawling landscapes of Cornell, it offers a bit of everything. But Colgate offers a bit more than all the rest with it’s rustic look. The campus rests in the middle of untouched forests, hill, and lakes.

Categories
SCI

Opioid alternatives increase risk of suicide

As doctors increasingly prescribe fewer opioids and instead give their patients non-opioid alternatives for chronic pain, research suggests that the non-opioids have deadly side effects of their own. A study concludes that non-opioids Gabapentin and Baclofen are fueling rising rates of suicides.

The study, published in the journal Clinical Toxicology, examined data from the U.S. Poison Centers for the National Poison Data System, focusing on cases involving Gabapentin between 2014 and 2017 and cases involving Baclofen between 2013 and 2017. In these time periods, according to the researchers, suicide attempts rose 80.5% among patients taking Gabapentin and 43% among patients taking Baclofen.

Around 50 million adults–roughly 20% of the U.S. population–suffers from chronic pain. Opioid drugs can relieve pain, but doctors have been steering away from them in the face of surging rates of opioid overdose deaths in recent years. Gabapentin, an anti-epileptic drug that also treats nerve pain; and Baclofen, a muscle relaxant and antispasmodic drug that relieves muscle spasms, pain, and stiffness, have gone into increased use as alternatives.

Suicide rates in general have risen nationwide by 30% between 1999 and 2016, the study authors noted. They also pointed out that both drugs list sucidal thoughts as a potential side effect. The authors noted rising prescription rates for both drugs in recent years and cautioned doctors to weigh the potential dangers of these drugs, as well.

“Building a better understanding of the risks carried by these non-opioid medications is necessary so that providers and patients can make better-informed decisions about their role in pain management—and could also lead to the introduction of new public health measures,” said Kimberly Reynolds, a University of Pittsburgh researcher who led the study.