Dr. Gary Greenberg is an expert at exploring the beauty of nature at the microscopic level. He started out as a photographer and filmmaker. His photos of pancreatic cancer cells were used as the planet Krypton in the first Superman movie.
He later earned a PhD in biomedical research. He has invented high-definition microscopes, and has used microscopes to capture stunning images of sand, wine, food, and other objects we encounter daily.
Here are some of his photos of sand at the microscopic level. You can see more of his sand images in his book “A Grain of Sand,” or on his website.
See more of Dr. Greenberg’s work on other subjects in the gallery on his website.
Tags: Body & Mind, Nature, Science
The full moon can cause people to have a restless night’s sleep, according to research
By Richard Gray
With a reputation for triggering the appearance of creatures of the night, a full moon has often been associated with restless sleep.
However, new research has shown that the lunar cycle influences the way we sleep far more than simply causing us to cower beneath the covers.
Scientists have found that people’s sleep patterns are tuned to the waxing and waning of the moon, even when they were unaware of whether it was a full moon or not.
Tags: Nature, Science
By Tara MacIsaac
The science behind sunsets has a lot to do with how thick the atmosphere is between the sun and one’s vantage point.
Google+ hosted an online conference Monday with meteorologists to discuss age-old questions like “Why is the sky blue?” The conference was part of a ramp-up to Sunset Day on September 19. Netizens are asked to submit sunset photos on September 19 to the Google+ Sunset Day webpage.
The photos should ideally be taken on September 19, but may be taken on the days leading up to Sunset Day. They must be uploaded, however, on Sunset Day.
So why is the sky blue? Why does the sunset come in different colors? Why is the sky on Mars red?
The color we perceive in the sky has to do with how far the light must travel to reach our eyes, and which colors in the white light get filtered out along the way.
Brad Panovich, Chief Meteorologist at NBC Charlotte, explained that when the distance between the sun and our eyes is the shortest, violet is the color that makes it through the atmosphere best without being scattered.
Technically, the sky is violet, not blue—our eyes compensate and we see it as blue.
Thus, midday, the sky is blue because the sun is overhead and the light has a shorter distance to travel through the atmosphere.
This diagram, shared by Tim Brice of the National Weather Service El Paso, shows what happens when the sun sets. The light coming in from an angle in the evening must travel through more atmosphere to reach our eyes. When this happens, blue and violet are scattered, leaving more red and orange light.
Some factors in the atmosphere can also affect the color of light reaching our eyes. Smoke particles, for example, filter out yellow light, leaving more vibrant red.
Why is a sunset by a lake or another body of water especially beautiful? Panovich said it isn’t necessarily that the light is affected; it could simply be that a large body of water often means better visibility of the horizon without trees and other obstacles.
Meteorologist Morgan Palmer said people have asked him “Why is the sky on Mars red?”
The answer is that the wind and red soil combined creates a red dust in the atmosphere. He thinks without the dust, the sky would be a deep blue.
Tags: Nature, Science, Society
By Jack Phillips
A Bermuda Triangle 1817 tsunami that tossed ships as far away as the Delaware River near Philadelphia was triggered by an earthquake.
At the time, reports said that a “tidal wave” tossed the ships, but according to a report on Tuesday, it was actually a tsunami triggered by an earthquake.
LiveScience.com reported that the tsunami was caused by a 7.4-magnitude earthquake that hit at around 4:30 a.m. on Jan. 8, 1817. It was discovered that the quake, which was originally between a magnitude-4.8 and a magnitude-6, was actually much stronger.
U.S. Geological Survey research geophysicist Susan Hough found the source of the quake via newly found archival records.
“That was the eureka moment,” Hough told LiveScience. “Darned if that wave doesn’t hit the Delaware River and slow way down.”
Ships in the Delaware River also shook in 1858, 1877 and 1879.
“It was interesting enough to mention,” Hough told the website. “People were feeling earthquakes on ships, and earthquakes can damage early ships. Maybe this is part of the thinking that there were strange things going on in that part of the ocean.”
Tags: Body & Mind, environmental issues, Food, Nature, Society, sustainable development
By Channaly Philipp
Biodynamic chocolate business lets nature rule, and the results are world-class
The cacao farmer felt he had no choice. He called Santiago Peralta, the man who normally bought his cacao, and offered to sell him his land so he could move to the city.
Peralta asked, “What are you going to do in the city? Beg for money?”
He went to meet the farmer, who said his back caused him pain and he couldn’t carry the bags of cacao anymore.
The solution? Peralta gave the farmer $120 so he could buy a donkey.
That was four years ago. The farmer has carried on with farming cacao, and he never went into the city to beg for money.
Instead a donkey trend caught on. “Everyone started getting donkeys, just like that,” Peralta said.
Peralta, 41, makes some of the best chocolate on Earth, working with 3,000 farming families in his native Ecuador. Pacari Chocolate, which he and his wife Carla Barbota launched in 2008, swept last year’s International Chocolate Awards, taking home 23. These awards are where the world’s finest chocolates are put to the test through blind tastings.
If there was ever the notion that exceptional chocolate could only come out of Europe’s strongholds of culinary achievement, that victory proved the idea wrong. An increasing appreciation for regional authenticity has meant regions that used to be completely off the radar are coming into their own in the most surprising ways.
Just like a bottle of wine, a chocolate bar can reveal its provenance, its terroir, and even when it came about, as long as its flavor remains true to the cacao beans that were used.
Generally, in a mass production process, those flavors are flattened and standardized through over-processing and over-roasting and result in chocolate bars each as predictable as the next. Take a Hershey’s bar, for example.
The business of staying true to the bean is completely different. Pacari’s “tree-to-bar” production, for example, oversees every stage, from the cacao trees to the finished product, in the process creating income for all along the chain, from farmer to packager.
Ecuador has been producing cacao for hundreds of years, becoming the world’s largest cacao exporter in the late 19th century. Its production made fortunes, and played a crucial role in securing its independence from Spain, with farmers seeing the allure of being able to sell not only to Spain, but to other nations as well.
Its geography is particular: a small country, where jungles, deserts, mountains, and volcanoes all juggle for space, with climates ranging from desertic to monsoonic.
Peralta points out different characteristics of single-origin Pacari chocolate bars, tying region and flavor: floral and fruity from the Manabi region, which is dry, and caramel notes from the Esmeraldas region, which is rainy and green.
Then there is the spectacular limited edition Nube bar, which won the gold at the chocolate awards. Peralta won’t reveal the location of the cacao trees whose beans yield a chocolate that’s unbelievably floral—the aroma smacks of roses. It’s all in the terroir and the specific year. These results can’t be engineered; they are happy surprises from nature.
You could call it an accident, but Peralta is willing to partner with Nature and let her have her way, resulting in incredible flavors.
“It’s like love,” he muses. “You don’t control things in life. I have a friend, he’s a great chocolate producer in a company in the U.K. called Booja-Booja, who says, ‘Relax: Nothing is under control.’ Relax! You have nothing to do with it. You’re trying to go one way but the flow is the other way. You don’t control anything.”
Peralta is pushing the envelope as far away from mass production methods as possible. All his chocolate is already organic, and he pays double the market price, a premium far above the going Fair Trade rate, which he said pays 6 percent above the market price (he has little to say that is complimentary about the labeling scheme).
And he’s also making biodynamic chocolate, using an agriculture approach that takes into account the rhythms of nature, pioneered by Rudolf Steiner. The Demeter biodynamic seal took four years to obtain.
Biodynamic means power, you accept the forces, you act with the forces, you go with the flow, you don’t produce 24/7 – Santiago Peralta, co-founder, Pacari
“Biodynamic means power, you accept the forces, you act with the forces, you go with the flow, you don’t produce 24/7.” He became familiar with biodynamic concepts while living in Germany for a year. And he’ll admit, there are some strange practices, but he says they work.
For example, one practice calls for a cow horn filled with a mix of cow waste and silica, buried in the ground. As the concept goes, the silica powder acts as conductor for light and energy, sending concentrated energy underground, benefiting the cacao trees.
Only about 20 grams per hectare of the mixture is used for the cacao trees. There are no fertilizers, no pesticides.
Or when there’s a drought, a refreshing biodynamic mixture is applied over the trees.
“Just a tiny amount. Can you imagine?” asks Peralta. “Normally you need to pump oil from the Amazon, passing the mountains, to Esmaraldas port, passing Panama, going to Germany to make [oil] into a chemical, coming back, taking a truck” to then apply half a ton of chemicals per hectare, which would take someone a week to do. With the biodynamic method, one person covers eight hectares a day with a pump, just walking around.
“This is sustainable. And the cacao is stronger, you can tell it’s stronger.” The crushers that crack the cacao beans had never stopped in years of production. But the first year cracking the biodynamic cacao beans, it happened.
“But just taste it, it’s better,” he adds.
The biodynamic methods were used to make Pacari’s Raw chocolate bar, which has won multiple awards. The chocolate is minimally processed, at low temperatures, and is the only biodynamic chocolate in the world.
“It’s a special chocolate where you see a lot of flavors, every time you try it, you get something different. It’s not a chocolate, which is a nice chocolate, which is gone. It’s still in your mouth. It’s there—boom, aggressive. It has personality, tannic, like wine.”
The flavors evolve as the chocolate melts on your tongue, in turns dry, woodsy, fruity.
The nutritional profile is particular, too: Antioxidant counts are through the roof.
Direct Trade Cacao
Maricel Presilla, a chocolate judge, culinary historian, and chef in Hoboken, N.J., as well as a winner of a James Beard Award, has seen the benefits that a direct-trade approach has had on farmers. She herself comes from a family of farmers in Cuba, where her grandparents were cacao farmers.
She has seen stark differences between farms that were using biodynamic methods and ones that weren’t. During a dry spell, the biodynamic farm’s trees were full with cacao for harvesting. “Next door,” which wasn’t biodynamic, “they had nothing.”
“People begin to care a lot more about the land,” she said. “They see the land as alive, in tune with the seasons.”
Not only that, but cacao, she said, is a “generous plant that likes to live with other plants” so it’s not rare for farmers to also grow coconuts, bananas, and coffee, for their own use. “A typical sight on a cacao farm is to see a farmer carrying plantain, yucca, something like that.”
When Peralta started working with farmers, he began working with farming families. “We believe in family relations in southern countries. It’s very important.”
Peralta wanted high quality, organic cacao, which wasn’t a hard sell for the farmers. “A lot of people don’t believe in chemicals—a lot of people don’t have the money to pay for chemicals.”
He started offering prizes for the best cacao among the farmers he was working with, and also came up with practical, simple, and more importantly, cheap solutions to improve the quality of the cacao.
Some had social consequences, for example, cacao used to be packaged in 100-pound bags, which only strong men could carry. Now, the bags were smaller, able to hold 50 pounds at the most, which opened the door for women to work.
“The women are more clever with money,” Peralta said, so the way the money is spent has shifted too. When men used to get paid, their friends would wait around on payday, hoping for a round of drinks. “Just one stupid thing. We saw it, we changed it, and now life has changed for these people.”
There are small adjustments like these and larger community initiatives, but all of these come about because of direct relationships with farmers.
Peralta spends about a third of his time in the field. The farmers are his friends, his associates, he says.
Presilla says something as simple as paying a premium for cacao has a huge effect on the life of farmers.
Both Peralta and Presilla are members of a relatively new organization, Direct Cacao, formed last year in Honduras. “We have the best chocolate makers from Europe and America involved,” she said. It will open to new members this month.
The goal is to establish a direct network between farmers and chocolate makers, as exemplified in Peralta’s work. There will also be educational programs, and a first international conference in the Dominican Republic.
Ever since the practices in the Ivory Coast were exposed, large companies have been careful. “Even companies that seem to be gigantic do something that is good. Mars, for example, pours millions of dollars in research.” Still, she said, “You cannot have great chocolate inexpensively.”
In the normal chocolate production chain, the divide is wide and long between raw material and finished product. The history of chocolate production is rife with exploitation and in the Ivory Coast, infamously spawned child slavery and human trafficking years ago.
In Ecuador, there are cacao farmers who had produced cacao generation after generation, but had never tasted chocolate.
“We gave them chocolate for the first time in their lives,” Peralta said. “They said ‘It’s sweet! It’s really nice.’ Can you imagine? Your grand-grand-grand grandfather was growing cacao [and you’re growing cacao] and you never have tried it. They are very proud. We have the best chocolate, we have the best cacao on Earth.”
Tags: Nature, Science
By Epoch Times
Creatures we thought were long gone, creatures from millions of years ago, have been discovered alive and well, living among us. These living fossils take us back on a journey through millions of years of Earth’s history.
Tags: Body & Mind, health, Nature
The deep-golden petals of the common marigold Calendula officinalis have been used for millennia as an antiseptic in creams, ointments, poultices, washes, and tinctures. Everyone from soccer moms to mountaineers should have some on hand for occasions when an accident leads to cut or grazed skin, a burn or scald, or crushed body tissue of any kind.
Calendula ointments or creams can bring about such quick healing that it will amaze you. Even in severe trauma, calendula can eliminate any signs of inflammation, throbbing, and infection as early as the following day, without the development of scar tissue.
It is not only the main antiseptic ointment used by herbalists throughout the world, but also the petals contain resins that are anti-fungal as well. It acts to stimulate the lymphatic circulation, reducing swelling in lymphatic nodes and also mobilizes white blood cells, helping to fight infection.
Herbalists use calendula tincture or ointment instead of proprietary antiseptics and iodine tincture, which can be very harsh on the sensitive areas of the body. Since calendula can be applied to sensitive body areas, it is much more useful and effective for conditions such as diaper rash, bed sores, and ulcers of the elderly, or any itchy skin rash.
Making Your Own
While there are many creams and ointments on the market that contain calendula, I find that the best results are obtained from calendula cream or ointment that I have made myself. I use calendula that I have either grown myself or sourced locally so that I can be guaranteed of the amount and its freshness.
If you have not made your own creams or ointments before, calendula is an easy one to start with. Harvest the flower petals after the morning dew has dried and just after the flowers have opened in summer. Dry them at a low temperature and then mix well into the base of your choice—glycerin for creams and beeswax for ointments.
Marigolds are easy to grow, and once they are established in your garden, they will self-seed readily. The flower heads open and close with the rising and setting of the sun, and open flower heads in the morning forecast a fine and sunny day.
Plant marigolds in springtime in a sunny spot in well-drained soil without too much temperature variation. They are well-suited to growing in pots and window boxes. Plant in a standard potting mix combined in equal parts with composted fine bark. Deadhead or harvest the flowers regularly for your creams, as this will encourage continuous flowering.
Be careful not to confuse the medicinal calendula with the African marigold (Tagetes species). If you are unsure, check with your local nursery before attempting to make your own medicines.
A Long History
Calendula has an extremely long history, being first used in Indian and Arabic cultures. The Egyptians made use of its beneficial properties as did the Greeks, who flavored their food with the petals.
This long record of traditional use has commonly included the addition of the petals in soups for their taste, color (used instead of saffron), and of course medicinal properties.
In 17th century Britain, the peasantry considered the petals so important to the making of broth that none were considered well-made without the addition of dried marigold. Among its many other virtues, it was also said to strengthen and comfort the heart.
Traditionally, its principal internal use was for viral infections of the liver and the treatment of varicose veins. But this would have been prescribed with caution, as calendula can stimulate liver function too quickly and lead to nausea.
Calendula also contains high amounts of carotene, which can also be upsetting to the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas if taken in high doses. The plant contains high amounts of potassium, calcium, and sulfur, which together have a tonic effect on the liver, kidneys, muscles, and the heart, while also indirectly affecting the blood-flow rate.
Certainly the herb requires care when prescribed internally, and herbalists only rarely do so.
If you want to experiment with calendula, there are many recipes that include it, and many advise using it the same way the Greeks did—adding it as a garnish to either savory or sweet dishes.
The place it is most useful, however, is as an ointment in the medicine cabinet—the first remedy you should go to for first aid.
Luke Hughes is a classical Western herbalist and horticulturist based in Sydney, Australia.
More in Alternative Health
Tags: Body & Mind, health, Nature
By Luke Hughes
Epoch Times Staff
Ginger is an Asian herb that is particularly well known to us in the West. Over time, and with trial and error, its stimulating properties and piquant flavor have been integrated into both our herbal “materia medica” and cuisine.
By Luke Hughes
Epoch Times Staff
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” So goes the well-known quote attributed to Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician who is sometimes referred to as the father of Western medicine. Whenever we include celery in our meals, we are doing just what Hippocrates advised.
Tags: archaeology, Body & Mind, CCP, China, Culture, environmental issues, film, funny things, health, human rights, IT and Media, labor camps, Nature, persecution of dissidents, Science, Society, sustainable development
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By Michelle Yu
“When I die, bury me on the sunny side of the hill, because I’m afraid of the cold,” a child, now nameless and faceless, said to his fellow teenage prisoners over half a century ago. For the 4,000-5,000 juvenile prisoners at the Dabao labor camp, such requests were common, as the children were surrounded by death every day.
By Gu Qinger
Chinese torture victims have confronted Xinhua, the official propaganda organ of the Chinese regime, over its publication of a report by Liaoning officials which denies that inmates are being tortured at a labor camp in the northeast of the country called Masanjia.
By Matthew Robertson
It would have been impossible even very recently in China to produce a documentary about torture and slavery in an officially-run labor camp, and not be thrown in jail for it. Chinese independent filmmaker Du Bin, however, has done just that, and he’s now in Hong Kong speaking at film screenings and blithely taking interviews from overseas media.
By Shar Adams
WASHINGTON—After five days and 40 testimonies from international witnesses from the military, scientific and academic fields, a committee of six former Congress members agreed to seek international support to break a “truth embargo” on encounters with extraterrestrial life.
By Jack Phillips
Some are questioning the origin so-called “ring around the sun” that appeared on Monday.Reports said that the ring is a 22-degree halo, also known as a sun halo, according to ABC News. The halo is formed by small ice crystals that are contained in cirrostratus clouds. The sunlight then refracts through the ice at the 22-degree angle, creating the optical phenomenon.
By Matthew Robertson and Carol Wickenkamp
A group of nearly a dozen Chinese human rights lawyers who attempted to investigate an extralegal “brainwashing center” in the southeast of the country were violently set upon by guards on May 13, before being handed over to police, who beat them further and held them overnight before releasing them.
By Cassie Ryan
While the latest official news from China says that the H7N9 bird flu outbreak is now under control, a new international study urges continued caution.
By Gao Zitan
Chinese media recently exposed quality issues in the bottled water industry, saying its regulation levels are from the Soviet era.
Beijing News reported May 2 that over 10 Chinese experts had found that the standards for bottled water are very low, with only 20 test indices versus 106 for tap water quality.
By Will Hickey
One reason behind greater pollution leading to global warming has been artificially lowered gas prices brought by subsidies. Governments have carried on this shortsighted policy to foster growth and satisfy consumers. But as world fuel prices begin rising again, the costs of subsidy—both budgetary and environmental—will come to the fore.
By Matthew Robertson
University professors and administrators in China have been given clear instructions recently about precisely what topics of discussion are off-limits in the classroom.
By Sally Appert
Communist officials in Shaanxi Province have resorted to hiring fake monks to collect donations in an attempt to recover the debt they incurred from a large development project near the ancient Famen Temple.
Accused of violating one-child policy, Zhang Yimou’s real crime was backing Jiang Zemin
By Xia Xiaoqiang
A successful Chinese film director becomes entangled with the propaganda schemes of a brutal dictator. The director enjoys a rich and privileged life, but then loses everything when the dictator’s political opponents charge him with violating the nation’s family-planning laws.
By Zachary Stieber
Byzantine mosaic floor: The “extraordinary” floor was in a public building during the Byzantine Period in what is today Isreal, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, China, Culture, documentary, environmental issues, film, human rights, IT and Media, labor camps, Nature, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Science, Society, sustainable development, technology
Since I have not posted any articles in a long time I will post some so you can select those that are of interest to you.
By Sarah Laskow
We have seen a lot of solar chargers in our day. And among all of them, this is the first one we’ve seen that we will definitely run out and buy as soon as it’s made available in the U.S. It’s a portable socket that gets its power from the sun rather than the grid. You plug into a window instead of into the wall. It’s easy.
By Joshua Philipp
Epoch Times Staff
Watching the soft glow of fireflies could become a more common activity if researchers at Syracuse University have anything to do with it. They’re developing a method to artificially create luciferase, the chemical behind the soft glow of fireflies, and are working to create commercial lights that mimic the insects’ bioluminescence.
These migrants know why they keep moving
By Francisco Gavilán
When I was going to travel through Central Asia for the umpteenth time, I was looking for new and enriching experiences, including living for a while with the nomads of Song Kul, in Kyrgyzstan.
By Tara MacIsaac
Earth permanently deformed: Geologists have discovered that the Earth’s crust may not be as elastic as previously thought. Quakes in Northern Chile have permanently deformed the Earth.
Celebrating compassion and higher living across the globe
By Arshdeep Sarao
In India the full moon day of May 25, 2013, is being celebrated as Buddha Purnima or the birth anniversary of Buddha Shakyamuni. This year the Buddha becomes 2,556 years old.
By Matthew Robertson
‘I didn’t take blood money from a government that is murdering its people,’ says Jeffrey Van Middlebrook, Silicon Valley inventor.
By Leonardo Vintini
Everybody longs for happiness, but it seems like a hidden treasure. One way or another—consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly—everything we do, our every hope, is related to a deep desire for happiness.
Tags: Nature, summer
Early summer is here! And there has not been time to sit by the computer, or more accurately, it has not been a priority! After a long winter you long for woods and fields, sea and beach as the sun shines and warms day after day.
Tags: Body & Mind, Culture, Food, health, Nature
Thyme is without a doubt one of the most useful herbs we have at our disposal, being a powerful germicide with carminative and anti-inflammatory properties. It is described by one of the preeminent herbalists of our time Dorothy Hall as being “powerfully protective and therapeutic”, and one of the “big three of herbal medicine”.
During the Middle Ages, thyme was grown in the monastic gardens of Italy, France and Spain and used to treat those suffering from poor digestion, intestinal parasites and a sore throat. Herbalists used thyme as a powerful germicide to treat patients infected with the plague that swept through Europe between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries.
In 1725 a German apothecary ‘discovered’ thymol, the powerful disinfectant present in the essential oil of thyme, which is effective against bacteria and fungi. Thymol has been found to be very similar to carbolic acid in its action, though more powerful against infection and less irritating to the skin.
In fact cultures as far back as the ancient Sumerians employed thyme as an antiseptic. The ancient Egyptians also used thyme as an antiseptic and preservative in the process of embalming their dead. No doubt the learned physicians of these cultures also knew of and used thyme in all its therapeutic capacity.
Thyme was even used extensively in hospitals during World War I and well into the twentieth century to purify the air and dress the wounds of soldiers.
For medicinal purposes, classical herbalists today use both Wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum) and Common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) sometimes called Garden thyme.
Thyme is very effective when used to treat respiratory conditions. A cup of thyme tea brewed up can bring relief to those suffering from a sore throat, or better still make a cup at the first signs of a throat infection.
The tea is also very useful as a throat gargle for those people, like singers or football coaches, who use their voices a lot. Thyme tea can be quite strong for some people, so dilute with extra water to taste. Brew a cup of thyme tea only when required, as it is not suited for regular use.
A professional herbalist can prescribe thyme in extract or tincture form if this herb is indicated for you therapeutically.
Luke Hughes is a classical Western herbalist.
Title quote by Rudyard Kippling.
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Tags: Body & Mind, China, funny things, Nature, Science
By Li Wenhui
Ms. Xiao Hongyun, a teacher at Changde Normal School in Hunan Province, usually suffers dizziness, tinnitus, and palpitations the day before an earthquake occurs. She has suffered these symptoms in conjunction with earthquakes in China as well as in Taiwan and Chile.
She recently experienced dizziness and insomnia a few days before the 7-magnitude earthquake in Ya’an in Sichuan Province, China on April 20.
Voice of China interviewed Ms. Xiao about her physical prediction of the Ya’an earthquake.
According to Ms. Xiao, she suddenly fainted while giving a lesson. She was sent to the hospital and examined, but no abnormalities were found.
Xiao said, “I began to feel dizzy on the 18th and I could not fall asleep during the night, especially on the 20th, I was still awake at 4 a.m., feeling very tired as if I were in a boat swaying on the water.”
She said to her husband, “I’m afraid a quake is about to happen somewhere.” The Ya’an earthquake did then happen on the morning of April 20th. “I was sitting on the sofa and my legs could not stop shivering when the quake took place,” said Xiao.
Ms. Xiao, age 53, says her physical episodes date from an electric shock she suffered at the age of 13. “At that moment, my whole body went numb and I collapsed on the ground. Luckily I was not hurt badly,” she said. Since then, she has experienced the dizziness and other symptoms from time to time, yet medical examinations have always been normal.
Ms. Xiao recalls that when she was 16 years old, one day she heard a roar in the field while harvesting rice crops, but people next to her didn’t hear anything. Many days later, she learned that the Tangshan earthquake had happened on that same day. (On July 26, 1976 the Tangshan earthquake struck in northeast China, killing hundreds of thousands of people.)
However, Ms. Xiao did not associate her abnormal physical symptoms with earthquakes until September 1999. “When I saw on TV the strong quake in Taiwan on September 21, 1999, I began to think, maybe my strange illness is related to earthquakes.” Xiao said, because she had suffered strong physical reactions the day before.
Since then, Ms. Xiao watches the news every time she feels unusual. “After my physical reaction, most likely there will be an earthquake. Based on the degree of the ringing in my ears, I can judge how far, how strong, and in what direction approximately a quake will be,” she said
Because nobody believed her and thought something was wrong with her, Xiao started recording every premonition that had been verified by an earthquake. She asked her family and colleagues to sign the pages as confirmation. According to her diary, the closest earthquake occurred in Linli County of Chengdu and the farthest occurred in Chile.
Ms. Xiao contacted Sun Shihong, a retired professor of the Chinese Seismograph Station, the day before the Yushu earthquake of April 14, 2010. She told him she had a strong physical reaction and that this usually happened the day before an earthquake.
Sun Shihong believed Ms. Xiao’s condition really is linked to earthquakes.
Subsequently, experts from various seismic stations throughout Hunan Province made a special trip to Ms. Xiao’s home to conduct an investigation and analysis.
The experts concluded that Xiao’s reactions were indeed linked to the earthquakes because her body could sense the infrasonic sound of the earthquake in advance. The higher the magnitude is, the stronger the sensation is.
Translation by Alex Wu. Written in English by Arleen Richards.
Tags: Body & Mind, environmental issues, Food, health, Science, Society, sustainable development
By Jack Phillips
Earlier this week the U.S. Congress quietly passed the Agricultural Appropriations Bill, which has been derided by opponents as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” it was reported.
In the appropriations bill, the provision essentially protects purveyors of genetically modified seeds, including Monsanto, from lawsuits amid potential health risks, according to Salon.com.
President Obama signed the measure into law on Tuesday.
More than 250,000 people have signed a petition that opposes the Monsanto Protection Act, according to Food Democracy Now.
“Once again, Monsanto and the biotech industry have used their lobbying power to undermine your basic rights,” reads a statement on Food Democracy’s website.
There has been anger over how the provision passed through Congress, without being reviewed by the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees. The provision was introduced anonymously as the Agricultural Appropriations Bill progressed, according to Salon.
Now, the Food Democracy Now and the Center for Food Safety have blamed the Senate Appropriations Committee and chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
The Center for Food Safety said that “many Democrats were unaware of its presence in the larger bill,” according to its website.
“In this hidden backroom deal, Senator Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental, and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto,” Andrew Kimbrell, the head of the Center for Food Safety, said in a statement.
He added: “This abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Senator Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate.”
Tags: beauty, Nature
By Jarrod Hall
Each year in April, South Korea’s many cherry trees come to life with bright white and pink flowers. Koreans celebrate the occasion outdoors with festivals, picnics, bike-rides and other outdoor activities. The blossoms are not a symbol of national pride, as they are for the Japanese, but are dearly loved – crowds flock to the countries parks and gardens to enjoy the show.
One of the largest and most popular cherry blossom festivals in South Korea is the Yeouido Spring Flower Festival in Seoul. Yeouido is situated on a large island surrounded by the Han River in the heart of the city. It’s the country’s financial and political center, home to major government, financial and media organizations. The road that circles the island is lined with cherry blossoms and parts of the road are closed to traffic for the festival.
Olympic Park in Seoul’s Southeast doesn’t have a flower festival but has beautiful gardens filled with walking paths, bike trails and traditional wooden rotundas. It was built to house the 1988 Olympic games and is home to many cherry trees and other flowering trees that bloom at the same time such as Magnolias and Forsythia.
See more photos: City in Focus: Cherry Blossoms in Seoul (Photos)