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Have you ever wanted to eat your water bottle? No?  Well soon you can thanks to Ooho. Yes, I am aware of how weird that pitch sounds, but please keep in mind I never said it was a plastic water bottle. The Ooho is meant to be edible.

So, what is the Ooho? It might just be part of the solution to our pollution problem, at least the problem caused by throwing out plastic water bottles. Oohos are completely organic gelatinous packaging made out of seaweed. They looks like big spheres of water you can pop in your mouth, which is something you actually can do. Of course, you can always just tear a hole in the Ooho’s top, drink out of it like a small spherical waterskin, and compost the rest.

The main draw of the Ooho is that it is less expensive to make than plastic, and I don’t just mean in terms of money. According to Skipping Rocks Lab, based at the Imperial College London, Ooho’s production creates 5x less carbon dioxide and requires 9x less energy than standard plastic water bottles. Granted, Oohos are much smaller, but the math still holds up even when you take into account the size difference. Plus, Oohos break down in four to six weeks, which is great for our landfills — but don’t try to store them in your pantry.

Skipping Rocks Lab has been developing Ooho for the past several years and recently started a crowdfunding campaign to increase production. With luck, the Ooho might replace the water bottle in the near future, as well as the Coca Cola bottle, the Sprite bottle, the Gatorade bottle, and even the beer bottle.

All you have to do to get my attention is talk about video games, technology, anime, and/or Dungeons & Dragons - also people in spandex fighting rubber suited monsters.

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Environment

The US is expected to have a record-breaking heatwave this week, with temperatures rising to very high levels

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This week, it looks like it will be very hot in the US because the first big heatwave of the season is starting. During the first half of the week, it could get as hot as all-time highs in parts of the Midwest, Great Lakes, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic. Extreme temperatures that will last for so long in some places haven’t happened in decades.

From the Ohio Valley to the Northeast, many daily high-temperature records and even some monthly records for June could be broken. High temperatures in some places are expected to reach up to 40.5 °C (105 °F).

US residents will also have to deal with heavy rain, flash flooding, snow, and storms in different parts of the country. High temperatures aren’t the only weather problem that will happen.

The National Weather Service (NWS) says that in the new week, there will be “heavy wet snow across the northern Rockies.” Deep tropical moisture is also expected to move ashore across the Gulf Coast States, which could mean heavy rain. This danger goes all the way to the upper Midwest, where flash flooding and a few big storms are likely to happen.

The heatwave will now move from the central Plains to the Great Lakes, the Ohio Valley, and the Northeast today. It will stay in the Northeast through the middle of the week, according to the most recent report from the NWS’s Weather Prediction Center.

Over the next few days, a low-pressure system is expected to move across the central High Plains and get stronger as it moves toward and reaches the upper Midwest. The Weather Prediction Center says that “a heat wave is quickly emerging” ahead of this low-pressure system.

The heat will move into the Northeast by Tuesday. As far north as Vermont and New Hampshire, high temperatures will reach well into the 90s [90°F/32°C]. Some places in the middle of New England could see temperatures above 100 °F (38 °C) by Wednesday afternoon. In some places, this would be a daily record high.

Axios says this means that by Sunday, the air will have reached or been above 32°C (90°F) in 268 million places.

In the Four Corners region of the southwestern US, on the other hand, “critical fire danger conditions are anticipated today under persistently dry conditions.”

As the NWS points out, heat is the main cause of weather-related deaths in the US. Because of this, they want people to take the heatwave seriously and be careful, especially older people, pregnant women and babies, and people who already have persistent health problems. See the NWS’s helpful guides for tips on how to stay safe in the heat.

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Environment

Stark Warning: Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley” has been found to have dangerous levels of toxic gas

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High levels of toxic gas used in petrochemical manufacturing have been detected in Louisiana, surpassing safe limits by a significant margin.

This particular chemical is ethylene oxide, a highly flammable and colorless gas that has a faintly sweet odor. It is utilized in various industries for the manufacturing of antifreeze, detergents, fibers, and bottles. In addition, it is utilized for sterilizing medical and food production equipment.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University recently conducted a study in southeastern Louisiana to measure the levels of ethylene oxide in the air. They used two vans equipped with advanced technologies to accurately monitor the gas in real-time.

This region of the state encompasses “Cancer Alley,” a corridor along the Mississippi River connecting New Orleans and Baton Rouge, which unfortunately experiences alarmingly elevated rates of cancer and various health concerns among its population. Coincidentally, the area is home to numerous petrochemical plants that release a wide range of industrial chemicals, such as ethylene oxide.

Exposure to ethylene oxide at concentrations exceeding 11 parts per trillion can have detrimental effects on human health. This is because it has the potential to directly harm DNA and elevate the risk of developing cancer.

Surprisingly, this study discovered levels reaching as high as 40 parts per billion in areas in close proximity to industrial facilities. The concentrations turned out to be significantly higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s estimates.

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It was anticipated that ethylene oxide would be present in this region. However, the levels we observed were far beyond our expectations and significantly exceeded the estimated levels provided by the EPA,” stated Peter DeCarlo, an associate professor of Environmental Health and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

“As we drove through the industrial areas, we observed concentrations reaching 40 parts per billion, a level that exceeds the accepted risk for lifetime exposure by over a thousand times,” DeCarlo explained.

Researchers have issued a warning about the potential increased cancer risk for individuals residing in close proximity to ethylene oxide manufacturing and usage facilities.

Our discoveries carry significant implications for the well-being of community residents, particularly infants and children. According to Keeve Nachman, an associate professor of Environmental Health and Engineering and the co-director of the Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute, it has been demonstrated that ethylene oxide can cause direct harm to DNA. This implies that exposures to this substance during early life are particularly hazardous.

The latest research was recently published in the esteemed journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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Environment

Was cloud seeding responsible for the unusual floods in Dubai? Experts are skeptical

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Traditionally linked to dry sand and heavily air-conditioned megacities, many areas of the Gulf region have recently experienced a substantial amount of rainfall. Dubai, located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), encountered an amount of rainfall in a single day that is equivalent to what it typically receives in a year and a half. This resulted in floods and disorder in the city.

There has been widespread speculation that the torrential rainfall was either caused by or made worse by cloud seeding. This procedure commonly entails dispersing minute particles, such as silver iodide, into the atmosphere to serve as “nuclei” for water droplets to gather around. This process enhances the development of ice crystals, hence augmenting the likelihood of precipitation in the form of rain or snow.

The UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) is widely recognized for its regular utilization of cloud-seeding techniques to alleviate the country’s water scarcity issues. Nevertheless, there is no empirical data to suggest that the act of seeing clouds has any correlation with the precipitation that occurred this week. Conversely, meteorologists have observed that the occurrence in Dubai is connected to broader weather patterns.

A mesoscale convective system, which consists of medium-sized thunderstorms formed by sizable thunderclouds, is most likely what caused these storms. This occurs when heat causes moisture to rise into the sky. These weather phenomena have the capacity to generate substantial quantities of precipitation. When they happen across a broad region and in succession, they can result in extremely intense rainfall. According to Professor Maarten Ambaum, a meteorologist at the University of Reading who has researched rainfall patterns in the Gulf region, these events can quickly cause floods in surface water, as demonstrated at locations like Dubai airport.

Currently, there is no technology available that has the capability to originate or significantly alter this type of rainfall occurrence. Ambaum clarified that there had been no cloud seeding operations conducted in this area recently.

The NCM has confirmed this perspective by asserting that no cloud seeding operations occurred during the recent heavy rainfall. The National state-owned daily said that the NCM did not carry out any seeding activities during this occasion.

Cloud seeding requires the deliberate targeting of clouds in their first stages, prior to the onset of rainfall. Once a severe thunderstorm condition arises, it becomes impractical to carry out any seeding operations.

Ensuring the safety of our personnel, aviators, and aircraft is of utmost importance to us. The NCM stated that it does not carry out cloud seeding activities during severe weather conditions.

Cloud seeding frequently becomes the subject of conspiracy theories. In February of this year, a pilot program aimed at artificially inducing rainfall by seeding clouds in California was held responsible for causing two significant storms that struck the southern regions of the state, resulting in the occurrence of floods and landslides. Nevertheless, authorities emphasized that cloud seeding was not conducted during the two significant storms and, moreover, clarified that cloud seeding cannot directly generate storms.

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