How a Vegetarian Diet Could Help Save the Planet

Meat consumption improves human health in attempt to win over converts. Likewise, climate change activists often cite the strain that animal products place on the environment to advocate for changed practices.

pico de gallo vegan diet

Now, new research published in the journal PNAS combines the two perspectives to show that the widespread adoption of vegetarian and vegan diets could save millions of lives and trillion of dollars. “There is huge potential,” says study author Marco Springmann, a researcher at Oxford University, “from a health perspective, an environmental perspective and an economic perspective, really.”

Researchers assessed four different scenarios with humans consuming varying levels of meat to evaluate the links between diet, health and the environment. The lowest level of meat consumption—widespread adoption of the vegan diet—could help avoid more than 8 million deaths by 2050, according to the study. A vegetarian diet would save 7.3 million lives.

The environmental impacts of a dietary shift could be just as dramatic, according to the researchers. Livestock alone account for more than 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and by 2050 the food sector could account for half if cuts are implemented in other sectors along the lines that countries have committed to doing. A vegan or vegetarian diet could cut those emissions by 70% and 63%, respectively.

Changing dietary patterns could save $1 trillion annually by preventing health care costs and lost productivity. That figure balloons to as much as $30 trillion annually when also considering the economic value of lost life. And that doesn’t even include the economic benefits of avoiding devastating extreme weather events that could result from climate change.

The First Ever Robot-Run Farm Will Harvest 30,000 Heads of Lettuce Per Day

Farming has always been at the forefront of technological advances.  Now, the human element is being completely removed.

Japanese lettuce production company, Spread, has made the world’s very first farm that is entirely “manned” by robots.  What’s truly amazing is that these robots can harvest 30,000 heads of lettuce every day.

The machines at the Kyoto, Japan farm plant seeds, water plants, harvest the plants and even trim the heads of lettuce.

Futurism discovered, “Spread’s system also follows today’s growing agricultural trend ofvertical farming where farmers can grow crops indoors on stacked racks, relying on LED light instead of natural sunlight. This helps increase the efficiency of the farming process, lowers waste production significantly, and eliminates runoff from pesticides and herbicides.”

In a world riddled with food crises, this sort of tech is sorely needed, and Spread CEO J.J. Price says  “Our mission is to help create a sustainable society where future generations will not have to worry about food security and food safety… This means that we will have to make it affordable for everyone and begin to grow staple crops and plant protein to make a real difference.”

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The Gym Class Where You Do Nothing

Gyms that promote exhausting workouts have a new pitch for members: not moving a muscle.

Fitness centers increasingly are offering classes that feature meditation. Organizers say they’re responding to the demands of stressed-out members seeking introspection and relaxation in a place they already frequent.

Antigravity Cocooning, a class launched in January at a Crunch Gym location in New York, puts members in sling-style hammocks that hang from the ceiling.

The class consists of about 20 minutes of stretches and brief abdominal exercises, followed by 15 minutes of guided relaxation, with participants stretched out in the hammocks, their arms crossed like mummies. Soft music and dimmed, colored lighting enhance the effect.

“When I’m in the cocoon and I’m lying down like that, I’m here for me,” says Constantine Theodoratos, a Crunch member who usually lifts weights or does cardio at the gym but has taken a few of the antigravity classes. “I just feel calm.”

People become so relaxed that a few have fallen asleep in the class, says Donna Cyrus,Crunch’s senior vice president for programming. It soon will expand beyond Crunch’s West 19th Street location to more than 10 locations in New York, Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The class works where previous attempts at meditation-centered classes at Crunch fizzled, Ms. Cyrus says, largely because of the hammocks. They are surging in popularity indoors and out.

For about a year, the YMCA of Greater New York has offered half-hour meditation classes at its Upper West Side Manhattan location. Locations in Queens and Brooklyn also offer the class.

Rich Goerling, lower left, leads a 90-minute meditation class twice monthly at StrengthFarm, a Portland, Ore., gym. The sessions teach self-awareness and self-compassion, which he says can help people make progress in their workouts.
Rich Goerling, lower left, leads a 90-minute meditation class twice monthly at StrengthFarm, a Portland, Ore., gym. The sessions teach self-awareness and self-compassion, which he says can help people make progress in their workouts. 

In April, luxury gym chain Equinox launches HeadStrong, a conditioning class that invites members to “start training our brains the way we train our hearts, lungs and muscles.” The fourth and final portion of the 60-minute class is called reboot. It includes targeted breathing techniques done lying down, according to Michael Gervais, one of the class creators.

StrengthFarm, a Portland, Ore., gym that offers CrossFit and sports-training workouts, has twice-monthly 90-minute mindfulness sessions in its industrial-style space. They are led by Richard Goerling, a Hillsboro, Ore., police lieutenant who completed a year-long facilitator training at UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center.

Mr. Goerling says the goal of the class is “teaching awareness and self-compassion as two basic tools to help people perform better in their quest for physical fitness.” Common thoughts that surface while people exercise—that they are fat or weak, for instance—can hurt progress, he says.

The mindfulness sessions, typically done sitting or lying down, are “actually pretty exhausting mentally,” says Hannah Slater, a 25-year-old jewelry buyer’s assistant who joined StrengthFarm primarily for workouts that include pull-ups and Olympic weightlifting. “But when you’re done, it’s very refreshing.”

Somadome, a New York-based company, is in talks to place some of its meditation pods at fitness centers, founder and CEO Sarah Attia says.
Somadome, a New York-based company, is in talks to place some of its meditation pods at fitness centers, founder and CEO Sarah Attia says.

Meditation isn’t right for every gym. An Anytime Fitness location in Scottsdale, Ariz., used to offer one-on-one guided meditation sessions in a soundproof room for $20. After about eight months, the gym dropped the option due to lack of demand. Most of the gym’s members like to get in their workouts and go, manager Melissa Hevner says.

But many see meditation as a part of gyms’ future. The 24 Hour Fitness chain is talking to a company called Somadome that makes pods that use sound and light to help people meditate. They consist of a seat with a small dome that covers the head and upper legs, leaving the lower legs exposed but giving the person inside a feeling of privacy.

Frank Napolitano, 24 Hour Fitness president, has talked to Somadome about placing units at some of its gyms. He’s intrigued by devices that aid meditation, because gyms often have tight space and plenty of noise.

“I can meditate in a subway car,” he says. “So I think some people can [meditate anywhere], with a lot of practice. But the majority of people can’t.”

Female hybrid fish grows male sex organs and gives birth

Cichlid fish

The hybridised cichlid fish had both ovaries and testes.

A hybridised female fish bred in the aquarium of a UK university recently shocked researchers when it was discovered she had developed a male sex organ, fertilised her own eggs and produced four offspring.

The tropical freshwater fish, known as a cichlid, gave birth to 42 more offspring over the subsequent year, a rare case of “selfing” in an otherwise sexually reproducing vertebrate (animal with a backbone and/or spinal column), according to a paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

Selfing essentially refers to having sex with oneself and breeding.

The practice is rare in vertebrates. It was previously discovered among mangrove killifish, but for those fish, selfing is a primary mode of reproduction.

“In the mangrove killifish, selfing is an adaptation,” said lead author Assistant Professor Ola Svensson. “It is believed that it can be hard for them to find a mate, and selfing is better than not producing at all.”

Dr Svensson, a researcher from the University of Gothenburg’s Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and colleagues crossed two different species of cichlids to produce what they thought was a normal, albeit hybrid, female fish.

Such hybridisations do occur in nature and have often happened before in laboratory settings.

Upon the fish’s death, the scientists determined that the individual had both ovaries and a male testis, so the fish was intersex.

Unusual case of sexual reproduction

Senior author Professor Cock van Oosterhout of the University of East Anglia said breeding took place in the fish’s mouth.

“These are mouth brooding fish and fertilisation takes place in the mouth. If some spermatozoa are released together with the eggs, they may be fertilised upon release, or in the mouth of the fish,” he explained.

Many cases of “virgin births” have been reported in various species ranging from sharks to scorpions. That type of reproduction, however, is referred to as parthenogenis, and involves no fertilisation.

What makes the recent event so different and unusual is that the individual was both mother and father to the offspring.

“It is a case of sexual reproduction,” said Dr Svensson.

Some of the offspring were male, while others were females. They were able to reproduce normally, and none of their offspring were capable of selfing.

Nevertheless, the progeny suffered from what the researchers called “inbreeding depression”, showing minimal genetic diversity evident among them.

Dr Svensson said many of their colleagues therefore wondered: “If this is such an unsuccessful form of reproduction, why might it have evolved in the first place?”

What is the point of selfing?

Evolutionary biologist Dr Lukas Schärer from the University of Basel and his team share the view of Dr Svensson’s group that some reproduction for certain species is better than none at all.

Dr Schärer and his team discovered selfing in the flatworm species Macrostomum hystrix. In that case, the process is doubly unusual because the intersex worms must inject sperm directly into their own heads in order to reproduce.

“To us this sounds traumatic, but to these flatworms it may be their best bet if they cannot find a mate but still want to reproduce,” said Steven Ramm of Bielefeld University, who studied the phenomenon.

So selfing is not always an evolutionary dead end, since it can result in some offspring that may reproduce. Time will tell if the process may occur in vertebrates other than certain fish.

Professor Van Oosterhout said scientists now have clues on what to look for in different species.

“Selfing would be advantageous in a species that has a low population size or excellent colonising potential because, under these circumstances, finding a mate may be most difficult,” he said.

Newborn baby’s death caused by vaccines, experts confirm

Image: Newborn baby’s death caused by vaccines, experts confirm

Elijah Daniel French was born on May 4, 2007. Days after receiving eight routine vaccinations in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended vaccine schedule, the once healthy baby boy quickly declined into poor health and suffered from breathing problems and high fever. After a few more visits to the doctor and even more recommended vaccine injections, at only 14 months of age, young Danny died.

According to his family, Daniel was vaccinated for seven different diseases at five-and-a-half months old, including with DTaP, hepatitis B, polio, Hib and pneumococcal vaccines. Despite suffering immediate adverse effects, Daniel was brought back to the doctor’s office just a few months later and jabbed again with all the same vaccines.

Though Daniel’s pediatric visits constantly left him feeling unwell, his mother, Rachel, believing that the doctor knew what was best for her child, brought him back for another round of vaccines at 14 months old. Danny was given eight vaccines in four separate injections: MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Hib, varicella and DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis).

According to Rachel, “That night, Danny was still eating and drinking but was cranky and slept more than usual.

“By the next day, he was extremely fatigued, irritable and had a loss of appetite. He did not have a fever at this time. He was red and warm where they injected him. These symptoms only worsened.

“By the third day, Danny was unable to stay awake for longer than thirty minutes, he had zero food intake, his fluid intake diminished and he cried excessively. Seventy-one hours after his doctor visit, Danny developed a fever from the vaccines and was given Children’s Tylenol. His doctor was called but there was no answer from him because it was the July 4th holiday, the office was closed.”

Three independent pathologists confirm that young Danny’s death was caused by vaccines

A few hours after being given another round of Children’s Tylenol, Danny’s body became cold and unresponsive. At 14 months old, the pride and joy of Rachel and her husband had passed away. And the cause of death, as Danny’s mother would only find out years later after conducting her own thorough investigation, was the vaccines he was given.

The initial autopsy revealed that Danny had died from asphyxia. Rachel, however, was unconvinced. She then found out that “the official death report noted acetaminophen from the Tylenol in Danny’s blood, but nothing from the vaccines, pointing to a cover-up.” Other medical experts whom Rachel consulted all unanimously determined that, based on blood and tissue samples taken from Danny’s body, vaccines were the cause of the boy’s death.

“Everything was reviewed by three separate pathologists,” she said. “All three confirmed the same findings. The pathologists stated vaccine-induced hypercytokinemia as the cause of my son’s asphyxiation. They were able to determine this in large part to the blood panel taken prior to Danny receiving his vaccines, in contrast with the samples I had stored.”

“They also agreed encephalopathy was likely responsible, as it’s a cytokine storm syndrome. Danny’s pathology report stated his cause of death was asphyxiation, secondary to hypercytokinemia, caused by vaccines received approximately 72 hours prior.”

Anti-Aging Cucumber Green Tea Sugar Scrub Recipe

Green Tea is not only loaded with antioxidants and but has some amazing antibacterial properties too. It contains a high amount of enzymes, amino acids, and phytochemicals like polyphenols. It also has B vitamins, folate, manganese, potassium, magnesium and caffeine.

Since this recipe has a fresh cucumber, it has to be stored in the fridge. Yes, it’s cold when you use it, but it feels great!

In addition to its health benefits, green tea has an impressive list of skin and hair care benefits.
1. Improves Skin Complexion
2. Reduces Puffy Eyes and Dark Circles
3. Fights Aging Signs
4. Treats Acne and Pimples
5. Works as a Skin Toner


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Nearly 1.8 billion people will face water scarcity by 2025: UN

By 2025, some 1.8 billion people will face absolute water scarcity and an estimated two-thirds of the worlds population could be living under water-stressed conditions, showed UN statistics released on Monday.

A panel discussion held at the UN headquarters highlighted that safeguarding forests is an essential way to manage global freshwater resources and to avoid water shortages, Xinhua reported.

Three-fourths of the fresh water that people use every day comes from forested catchment areas and more than 1.6 billion people live on the forests for food, water, medicines and fuel, forest experts said at the panel discussion marking the International Day of Forests which falls on Monday.

Experts said forested watersheds and wetlands influence how and where rain falls and can filter and clean the water. Forests also play an important role in providing and regulating water in a number of ways, from groundwater recharge to erosion control.

“The protection and restoration of forest watersheds and catchments is not just climate-smart; it is a cost-effective and green alternative to new infrastructure development for water purification,” said Manoel Sobral Filho, director of the UN Forum on Forests Secretariat.

“Forests are the planet’s natural water towers,” he added.

The International Day of Forests is observed annually on March 21. UN statistics show that every year, seven million hectares of natural forests are lost and 50 million hectares of forest land are burned.

Dark Matter Particle Could be Size of Human Cell

Dark matter could be made of particles that each weigh almost as much as a human cell and are nearly dense enough to become miniature black holes, new research suggests.

We hear a lot about dark matter, and how physicists are ever on the hunt for it. But how do you look for something you can’t even see?

While dark matter is thought to make up five-sixths of all matter in the universe, scientists don’t know what this strange stuff is made of. True to its name, dark matter is invisible — it does not emit, reflect or even block light. As a result, dark matter can currently be studied only through its gravitational effects on normal matter. The nature of dark matter is currently one of the greatest mysteries in science.

If dark matter is made of such superheavy particles, astronomers could detect evidence of them in the afterglow of the Big Bang, the authors of a new research study said.

Previous dark matter research has mostly ruled out all known ordinary materials as candidates for what makes up this mysterious stuff. Gravitational effects attributed to dark matter include the orbital motions of galaxies: The combined mass of the visible matter in a galaxy, such as stars and gas clouds, cannot account for a galaxy’s motion, so an additional, invisible mass must be present. The consensus so far among scientists is that this missing mass is made up of a new species of particles that interact only very weakly with ordinary matter. These new particles would exist outside the Standard Model of particle physics, which is the best current description of the subatomic world.

Some dark matter models suggest that this cosmic substance is made of weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs, that are thought to be about 100 times the mass of a proton, said study co-author McCullen Sandora, a cosmologist at the University of Southern Denmark. However, despite many searches, researchers have not conclusively detected any WIMPs so far, leaving open the possibility that dark matter particles could be made of something significantly different.

Now Sandora and his colleagues are exploring the upper mass limit of dark matter — that is, they’re trying to discover just how massive these individual particles could possibly be, based on what scientists know about them. In this new model, known as Planckian interacting dark matter, each of the weakly interacting particles weighs about 1019 or 10 billion billion times more than a proton, or “about as heavy as a particle can be before it becomes a miniature black hole,” Sandora told

A particle that is 1019 the mass of a proton weighs about 1 microgram. In comparison, research suggests that a typical human cell weighs about 3.5 micrograms.

The genesis of the idea for these supermassive particles “began with a feeling of despondency that the ongoing efforts to produce or detect WIMPs don’t seem to be yielding any promising clues,” Sandora said. “We can’t rule out the WIMP scenario yet, but with each passing year, it’s getting more and more suspect that wehaven’t been able to achieve this yet. In fact, so far there have been no definitive hints that there is any new p.

Dark matter could be made of particles that each weigh almost as much as a human cell and are nearly dense enough to become miniature black holes, new research suggests.

At first, Sandora and his colleagues regarded their idea as little more than a curiosity, since the hypothetical particle’s massive nature meant that there was no way any particle collider on Earth could produce it and prove (or refute) its existence.

But now the researchers have suggested that if these particles exist, signs of their existence might be detectable in the cosmic microwave background radiation, the afterglow of the Big Bang that created the universe about 13.8 billion years ago.

Currently, the prevailing view in cosmology is that moments after the Big Bang, the universe grew gigantically in size. This enormous growth spurt, called inflation, would have smoothed out the cosmos, explaining why it now looks mostly similar in every direction.

leftover energy heated the newborn universe during an epoch called “reheating.” Sandora and his colleagues suggest that extreme temperatures generated during reheating could have produced large amounts of their superheavy particles, enough to explain dark matter’s current gravitational effects on the universe.

However, for this model to work, the heat during reheating would have had to be significantly higher than what is typically assumed in universal models. A hotter reheating would in turn leave a signature in the cosmic microwave background radiation that the next generation of cosmic microwave background experiments could detect. “All this will happen within the next few years hopefully, next decade, max,” Sandora said.

If dark matter is made of these superheavy particles, such a discovery would not only shed light on the nature of most of the universe’s matter, but also yield insights into the nature of inflation and how it started and stopped — all of which remains highly uncertain, the researchers said.

For example, if dark matter is made of these superheavy particles, that reveals “that inflation happened at a very high energy, which in turn means that it was able to produce not just fluctuations in the temperature of the early universe, but also in space-time itself, in the form of gravitational waves,” Sandora said. “Second, it tells us that the energy of inflation had to decay into matter extremely rapidly, because if it had taken too long, the universe would have cooled to the point where it would not have been able to produce any Planckian interacting dark matter particles at all.”

Solid electrolytes open doors to solid-state batteries

Japanese scientists have synthesized two crystal materials that show great promise as solid electrolytes. All-solid-state batteries built using the solid electrolytes exhibit excellent properties, including high power and high energy densities, and could be used in long-distance electric vehicles.

Solid electrolytes open doors to solid-state batteries

High power batteries are desirable for numerous applications, including the electric vehicles of the future. These batteries must be rechargeable, remain safe to store and use at variable temperatures, and retain charge for a considerable length of time. Now, Yuki Kato and Ryoji Kanno in collaboration with colleagues from Toyota Motor Corporation, Tokyo Institute of Technology and High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) in Japan, have successfully designed and conducted trials on novel, all-solid-state batteries with promising results.

Most traditional batteries rely on the flow of ions through a between two electrodes; used in mobile phones would be one example of this type of battery. However, batteries incorporating a liquid electrolyte are prone to problems, including low charge retention and difficulties in operating at high and low temperature. Previous designs for solid electrolytes have shown promise, but have proven expensive and some have exhibited problems with electrochemical stability.

Kato and his team synthesized two new lithium-based ‘superionic’ materials based on the same crystal structure previously discovered by the same team. They studied these crystal structures using Synchrotron X-ray diffractometer, BL02B2, at SPring-8 and neutron diffractometer iMATERIA(BL20) at J-PARC. Superionic materials are solid crystal structures through which ions can ‘hop’ easily, essentially maintaining a flow of ions similar to that which occurs inside a liquid electrolyte. They showed how the lithium ions move fast in the structure of their compounds even at room temperature.

Solid electrolytes open doors to solid-state batteries
Ionic conductivity of new superionic conductor, Li9.54Si1.74P1.44S11.7Cl0.3, developed in this project (together with those of the materials with Li10GeP2S12 (LGPS) analogue structure). New Li9.54Si1.74P1.44S11.7Cl0.3 exhibits 25 mS cm-1 at room temperature. This value is two times higher than that of original LGPS.

Both superionic materials developed by the team showed extremely high ionic conductivity and high stability. The researchers used their two new solid electrolytes to create two battery cell types; one high-voltage cell and one cell designed to work under large currents. Both all-solid-state cell types exhibited superior performance compared with lithium ion batteries, operating very well at temperatures between -30 and 100°C. Kato’s team found that the cells provided high power density, with ultrafast charging capabilities and a longer lifespan than existing battery types.

Although the technology requires further development before it is commercially available, these promising results indicate that all-solid-state batteries may soon provide a much-needed boost to applications requiring stable, long-life energy storage.

A need for solid electrolytes

Most batteries and capacitors we use in daily life are powered by liquid electrolytes. Rechargeable lithium ion batteries, for example, work by maintaining a flow of ions from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during use, and the ion flow is reversed during charging. Although lithium ion batteries are useful for these purposes, there is still strong demand for new devices with higher power and energy densities. All-solid-state batteries are the most promising candidates for future battery systems, due to the high energy density attainable by direct-series-stacking of battery cells. However, the low power characteristics of all-solid-state batteries, due to their higher solid electrolyte-resistivity than conventional liquid electrolyte, still remain unsolved.

The search for materials suitable for creating solid electrolytes has already produced some prototypes. So far, these ‘superionic’ materials, which allow ions to move quickly and freely through their crystal structure, have been developed using the expensive element germanium – researchers are therefore keen to find alternative superionic conductors that could provide the basis for all-solid-state batteries.


The development of two new lithium-based superionic conductor materials (structures: Li9.54Si1.74P1.44S11.7Cl0.3 and Li9.6P3S12 ) by Yuki Kato and his team represents a leap forward in the creation of useable solid-state batteries. Their two cells based on the novel solid electrolytes performed very well in trials in comparison with lithium ion batteries. The cells remained stable and operated consistently at a range of temperatures between -30 and 100°C. They exhibited high energy and high power densities, and very small internal resistance levels. Their properties would allow the cells to be stacked close together without interference.

Further, the cells exhibited ultrafast charging, retained their charge for lengthy periods, and appeared to have a long lifespan with excellent cycling ability (after over 500 cycles, the cells retained around 75% of their initial discharge capacity).

These promising results require further investigation prior to commercialization. The addition of electrodes into the solid-state cells could enhance the power of the batteries still further. Also, processing technology to complement the batteries that would allow for stacking is required before such configurations could be fully tested. Kato and his team are hopeful that their new materials will pave the way for all-solid-state batteries for multiple applications, including long-distance electric vehicles, in future.

New Frontiers in Cancer Treatments


For decades, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy have been the three staple treatments against cancer. But clinical trials over the past five years have shown that harnessing the body’s immune response—which evolved to fend off harmful bacteria and viruses, among other things—presents a new treatment alternative. In fact, for some types of cancer, clinical trials of immunotherapy have reported complete remission in 90 percent of cases. The April issue of Scientific American highlights these emerging therapies, but we have covered the growing promise of immunotherapy for quite a while. In this special digital package, we have pulled together other recent Scientific American articles about different types of immunotherapy that tell you even more about this exciting next generation of cancer treatment.


The Cancer Defense

Against cancer, new enhancements to the body’s own immune system are looking like lifesavers

By Karen Weintraub on April 1, 2016

What Gene Therapy Needs Now: A Good Off Switch

Researchers are developing molecular switches that can inactivate transplanted genes, paving the way for safer gene therapies. First up—immunotherapies for cancer

By Jim Kozubek on January 1, 2016

Can Viruses Treat Cancer?

For some cancer patients, viruses engineered to zero in on tumor cells work like a wonder drug. The task now is to build on this success

By Douglas J. Mahoney, David F. Stojdl, Gordon Laird on November 1, 2014

New Drugs Free the Immune System to Fight Cancer

By releasing the brakes that tumor cells place on the immune system, researchers are developing a new generation of more powerful treatments against malignancy

By Jedd D. Wolchok on May 1, 2014

A New Ally against Cancer: Vaccines

The FDA recently okayed the first therapeutic cancer vaccine, and other drugs that enlist the immune system against tumors are under study