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Food waste is one of the defining issues of our time. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that around 795 million people, or one person in every nine, are undernourished. Perhaps predictably, this problem disproportionately effects developing countries, a fact underscored by recent food shortages in East Africa. While the trend is generally declining, mass migration bought on by climate change and conflicts in the middle east are only going to increase food scarcity in the region, exacerbating the problem.

This can’t be a problem in the USA! I hear you cry. You’d definitely think so if you walked by the average American restaurant at closing time. Seeing unused ingredients and leftovers tossed into the garbage for it to rot. In fact, Americans throw away almost 70 billion pounds of food each year and 20-40% of all food grown or produced in the USA is never eaten. At this point, you might be saying to yourself, “Well, it’s terrible, but that food isn’t going to help people in Africa”. You’re right, it probably won’t. However, it is estimated that one in eight households in the US can be classified as “food insecure” and that 70 billion pounds of wasted food could really help them out.  On top of this, food waste often ends up rotting in a landfill where it produces large amounts of methane gas, a major contributor to climate change.

Danish supermarket wefood sells expired food

Danish supermarket wefood sells expired food

What can be done about it? Well, the small Scandinavian country of Denmark might have a few pointers. Through a series of programs aimed at preventing food waste the Danes have managed to reduce the amount of food thrown into the bin by 25% over the last five years, which is pretty phenomenal.

A key component of their success was the “Stop Madspild” campaign. Where as American supermarkets and grocery stores are forced to throw out food that has gone past it sell-by date, or risk being sued into the ground, in Denmark they sell it at a reduced price and customers really pick up on it. In fact I used to live there and can testify that pretty much everyone would run to the Tilbud (reduced) section the second they entered the store. Some grocery shops also sell vegetables by weight, allowing them to bypass the conventional standards in regards to size.

Another way that they’ve tried to cut food waste is by encouraging restaurants to sell food that they don’t use at the end of the day, rather than simply throwing it out. Not only does this provide a cheap source of food for the cash strapped but it helps to ensure that nothing goes to waste. The program is wildly popular and restaurants often end up selling out of everything.

Denmark cuts foodwaste by 25%

Food waste sitting in a landfill

Of course, what works in Denmark is not necessarily going to work in the massive United States. The cultures and legal systems are different and in America the risk of being sued is going to make any grocery store or restaurant wary of offering out of date food. This doesn’t mean that the USA can’t look at Denmark for inspiration though.

There are already a number of organizations and individuals in the United States who are looking at ways to help combat food waste. In New York the city harvest program intercepts waste food from restaurants and delivers it 500 soup kitchens around the city this year they were able to stop 55 million tonnes of food from going to waste. The DC Central Kitchen takes a similar approach by distributing free food to homeless shelters, transitional homes and soup kitchens. Their food recycling program helps to turn food waste into nutritious meals and they offer culinary training to young adults and low income students in D.C. Despite the efforts of these organizations, and others like them, food waste has grown in the US by 20% over teh last ten years.  In order for their efforts to really make a difference they need society at large take notice.

If you want to do your part to help reduce your personal impact there are a few simple steps you can take that will go a long way to help.

  • Only buy what you need. If it’s going to go to waste anyway you’re just throwing money down the drain.

  • If it’s a little bad? Cut off the bad part and use the rest.

  • Not sure if something gone bad? Google what it looks like and you’ll be able to tell if it’s still good to eat, you might be surprised.

  • If you have to buy in bulk cook it all at once and eat the leftovers for lunch the next day or freeze them for later.

  • Don’t just go by the use-by date. They are notoriously conservative, trust your nose and your eyes.

Denmark has set the world a challenge. If everyone does a little bit then it will add up to a lot, it’s not about changing legislation or laws, it’s about changing the way we approach food. So, take a pause and think about whether that carrot really needs to be thrown away.

After all, do you really want to be shown up by Denmark?

You'll find me wandering around the Science sections mostly, excitedly waving my arms around while jumping up and down about the latest science and tech news. I am also occasionally found in the gaming section, trying to convince everyone else that linux is the future of the computer gaming.


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





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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What will happen to Lake Mead in 2024?





After a record-setting summer of found bodies in 2022 and historically low water levels that cut off the Colorado River’s connection to the sea, Lake Mead still seems to be feeling the effects of climate change and population growth, as its water levels have dropped quickly over the past few years.

Lake Mead is the biggest reservoir in the United States by volume. It provides water to about 25 million people in the area between Nevada and Arizona. At full pool, Mead is 104.6 kilometers (65 miles) long, starting at the Hoover Dam, and can be as wide as 9.3 miles (15 kilometers). It can hold about 36 trillion liters (9.3 million gallons) of water.

But as the environment changes and more people use water, the lake’s size is quickly shrinking. In July 2022, the area had the lowest water level ever recorded, at 317 meters (1,040 feet). The next year, 2023, wasn’t much better. At the end of the year, the water level was only 324 meters (just under 1,065 feet), which was much lower than the regular 365 meters (1,200 feet) seen in the 1980s and 1990s.

As of the beginning of 2024, the lake’s water levels are high, which is a big change from the previous year. Lake conditions looked better at the start of the year than they did at the same time in 2023, when the water level was 325.5 meters (1,068 feet) and rose to a peak of 328 meters (1,076 feet).

Newsweek talked to Jennifer Pitt, the Colorado River program director for the National Audubon Society. “The combined storage of Lakes Powell and Mead, the two large reservoirs on the Colorado River, has declined somewhat since the beginning of the year,” Pitt said.

But “Lake Mead, which receives water released from Lake Powell and makes releases to water users downstream, has since January 1 increased by about 7 percent, or around 600,000 acre-feet.”

Although water levels typically decline in March as summer approaches, this year’s unusually high water levels are projected to persist into the summer due to above-average snowpack levels.

Snowpack is the accumulation of snow on the ground in hilly areas. When this snow melts, it serves as a crucial water source for several lakes and rivers. Elevated snowpack levels in the adjacent mountains will result in augmented water resources when they gradually thaw over the warmer months and stream into the Colorado River, which accounts for 97 percent of the influx into Lake Mead.

Regrettably, this serves as only a transient solution for a somewhat more substantial problem concerning Lake Mead. Despite a promising start to the year, predictions show that water levels at the end of the year will be even lower than in 2023, a year in which higher-than-average snowpack levels also had an impact.

According to a recent 24-month operation plan by the US Bureau of Reclamation, the water levels in the reservoir are projected to decrease steadily for the remainder of this year, resulting in a decrease of 5 meters (17 feet) by December. By 2025, it is projected that the water levels in December may reach a mere 318 meters (1,044 feet), which is only a little more than 1 meter above the unprecedented low recorded in 2022. If the water level of the reservoir ever dropped below the critical point of 273 meters (895 feet), it would be incapable of supplying water to the states of Nevada, California, and Arizona, as well as some areas of Mexico.

The increased supply demands brought about by a growing population, the impact of climate change on rainfall patterns that result in protracted droughts, and the rising rate of evaporation are all having a significant negative impact on the health of this essential water source. Furthermore, the diminished water levels are adversely affecting the quality of the remaining water, indicating that the situation in the area is unlikely to ameliorate without implementing dramatic measures.

Pitt highlighted that the disparity between supply and demand will increase as climate change persists in reducing the size of the Colorado River, resulting in quicker depletion of the reservoirs.

“The decision-makers responsible for the Colorado River are currently engaged in negotiations to establish new regulations for the reservoirs,” she informed Newsweek. “Their ability to effectively manage the equilibrium between supply and demand will be crucial in ensuring a reliable water supply for all organisms reliant on this river.”

Managing the lake is challenging because of its large size. However, the loss of its resources will have a significant impact on millions of people, as it is one of the most crucial reservoirs in the United States.

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11-Year-Old Scientist Creates Lead Detector for Water.





Genius can show itself in many ways, some people have propositions, others create. It’s all a game of “Who can implement these solutions to a full extent?”. This 11-year-old girl decided to take the matters into her own hands and revolutionized the world of science and health. By creating a lead detector device, this girl contributed to end the massive contamination of the liquids in her region once and for all.

The story begins at Flint, Michigan. An 11-year-old girl named Gitanjali Rao took notice of the water crisis people were having at the time. The drinking water became contaminated with led and caused a major public health crisis.

“I had been following the Flint, Michigan, issue for about two years,” Gitanjali told ABC News. “I was appalled by the number of people affected by lead contamination in water and I wanted to do something to change this.”

When she saw the current solutions that were painfully average and slow at best. The girl decided to step up and fight this, but how? Lead isn’t that easy to detect in contaminated water, right? Well, like any inventor, she made her best effort to make this an easy process for everyone.

She told Business Insider that: “I went, ‘Well, this is not a reliable process and I’ve got to do something to change this,’ ” And so, she went on a quest to find the best solution to the problem.

First, she went to the MIT’s Materials Science and Engineering website to see “if there’s anything’s new,” she read about new technologies that could detect hazardous substances and decided to see whether they could be adapted to test for lead.

Once she found out a project that worked best, she created a device that fulfills one basic purpose: Identify lead compounds in water, portable and relatively inexpensive. And she succeeded.

The device consists of 3 essential parts: There is a disposable cartridge containing chemically treated carbon nanotube arrays, an Arduino-based signal processor with a Bluetooth attachment, and a smartphone app that can display the results. The name? Tethys, like the Greek Goddess of Fresh Water.

How does it work? The carbon nanotubes in the cartridge are sensitive to changes in the flow of electrons. Those tubes are lined with atoms that have an affinity to lead, which adds a measurable resistance to the electron flow.

Once the cartridge is dipped in water that is clean, the electron flow doesn’t change and the smartphone app shows that water is safe to drink. However, if it is contaminated water, the lead in the water reacts to the atoms, causing resistance in the electron flow that is measured by the Arduino processor. The app then shows that the water isn’t safe to drink.

This invention is such a work of art and creativity; it deserves the greatest amount of recognition. And as such, Rao was dubbed “America’s Top Young Scientist” in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge this distinction comes with a check for $25,000, more than enough compensation for saving many.

Here at GeekReply, we hope that this child genius aspires to the greatest of futures. With the recent contributions that have been helping science and health developments. People like this could be a great help for the brighter future of human society.

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