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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Trip to rainforest yields new way to degrade plastic

To read an article entitled, "Trip to rainforest yields new way to degrade plastic" please click on the following link:

Why am I telling you about this science news? Because some Yale University students who were engaged in research in the Amazon rainforest have apparently discovered some living organisms which were in fungi, and which can degrade polyurethane through their normal living activities!! As mentioned in the article:

"the enzyme identified by Yale students holds particular promise because it also degrades plastic in the absence of oxygen — a prerequisite for bioremediation of buried trash!!!"

Let us hope that scientists can discover how these organisms are able to degrade polyurethane so that this understanding can be applied to deal with the plastic waste which is filling land-sites and our oceans!

Sadly in doing this blog post I have become aware of the fact that scientists have discovered  another great garbage patch in one of our oceans. Previously, Charles Moore, an ocean researcher discovered a large patch of plastic floating in the Pacific in 1997 which was later referred to by some as the "Great Garbage Patch". Now according to the website:

"the Atlantic can lay claim to a human produced waste patch of its own.Wife and husband team Anna Cummins and Marcus Eriksen sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in February between Bermuda and Portugal’s mid-Atlantic Azores Islands. In the middle of the Atlantic is the Sargasso Sea, an area surrounded by various ocean currents, including the well known Gulf Stream. The pair took samples ever 100 miles (160 kilometres) and each time they pulled up their trawl it was full of plastic.

“We found the great Atlantic garbage patch,” said Anna Cummins. “Our job now is to let people know that plastic ocean pollution is a global problem – it unfortunately is not confined to a single patch.”
Why the importance on letting people know that this is a problem? Because there is no feasible way to go about cleaning up the ocean garbage patches. "these garbage patches provide a huge danger to animals, both water based and air based. Plastics entangle birds while fish unwittingly mistake small bits of plastic for plankton and other edible treats. Countless stories exist of fish being caught and their bellies being full of plastic debris.

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.