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Fortnite Creator is Buying Thousands of Acres of Forest to Stop It From Being Cut Down

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Creator of the online video game Fortnite, Tim Sweeney, has been captivating audiences for decades by developing intricate and interactive digital worlds for players. However, it is his work away from the screen that is currently grabbing attention from gamers and non-gamers alike.

Sweeney is best known for founding the video and 3-D software company Epic Games in the 1990’s. Epic Games has given us popular video game titles such as Unreal Tournament, Gears of War and, most recently, the massively popular game Fortnite. In addition to these popular gaming titles, the billionaire philanthropist has made good on his promise to protect undeveloped and bio-diverse land in the picturesque western Carolina mountains for future generations.

Since 2008, Sweeney has spent millions on conservation projects in his home state of North Carolina to protect and preserve its forest land. He has purchased nearly 40,000 acres over the last decade, making him one of the largest private land owners in the state. Sweeney has also donated money to several conservation parcel projects, including a 1,500 acre expansion to Mount Mitchell State Park.

In November 2016, Sweeney donated $15 million for a conservation easement to protect 7,000 acres of the The Box Creek Wilderness. The forest, located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, had been targeted by a company that wanted to carve up the land and run power lines through it.

By purchasing the land, Sweeney helped protect hundreds of endangered plant and animal species. According to Biologist Kevin Cadlwell, “ecologists documented more than 130 rare and watch-list plant and wildlife species, and several new-to‐science wildlife and plant species, including three moths and a new spiderwort species.

After the purchase Sweeney remarked:

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It’s one of the most diverse areas in North Carolina. It has such rare plant and wildlife species, it seemed a perfect fit with the Fish and Wildlife Service. This is a first step – there will be other places protected. The goal is to connect South Mountains State Park to Chimney Rock. This is one piece of the puzzle.

A year later Sweeney purchased 193 acres in Alamance County for $1.973 million from Sizemore Brothers LLC. Following the purchase, Sweeney’s representative Joe Kelleher confirmed the purchase and guaranteed that the land would remain undeveloped.

Last year, the video game mogul purchased a 1,500 acre parcel of land known as Stone Hills that was being considered for development as a golf resort community. A local newspaper noted that the land would have featured two championship golf courses, a resort hotel and spa, a community of 1,050 homes and up to 90,000 square feet of retail, dining and office space. Following the purchase, Sweeney stated he intends to preserve the land for its’ natural beauty.

I bought this land because it has a nice longleaf pine forest and was available for a reasonable price. I’ll be holding it until I find a permanent nature conservation home for it, which will take years or decades.” When asked what he intends to do with the land in the short term Sweeney replied, “I just plan to hike it and do some tree thinning and burning for ecosystem restoration until I find a permanent conservancy or state home for it.”

Sweeney’s conservation efforts come at a time when protecting our nation’s forests has become increasingly important. As previously reported by The Mind Unleashed, a study led by North Carolina State University professor Nick Haddad and conducted by 24 scientists, found that there are only 2 truly intact forests left on Earth. When the study’s authors examined the effects of human involvement on forests, they found habitat fragmentation leads to 13 to 75 percent decrease in plant and animal diversity, reduces the ability of animals and plants to survive and can even distort the food chain, as smaller patches of forest tend to have an increase in predator population.

Thankfully, as science continues to learn more about the importance of undeveloped forest land, billionaire philanthropists are noticing and taking action. China’s wealthiest man has also taken note of the importance of conservation. In 2015, Jack Ma, the billionaire behind online retail giant Alibaba, purchased 28,000 acres of land in the Adirondack mountains of upstate NY. His first action taken after purchasing the land was to halt logging operations.

 

Image credit: Inverse

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Good News

Twins Born In Different Years, But Only 15 Minutes Apart, In Rare Birth

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In a heartwarming start to the New Year, a pair of California twins were born only 15 minutes apart — in separate years, with one born minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve in 2021 and the other born at precisely midnight on New Year’s Day in 2022.

Their Mother, Fatima Madrigal, gave birth to her son Alfredo Antonio Trujillo at 11:45 p.m. on Saturday night, according to the Natividad Medical Center, which announced the birth on Sunday.

Natividad Medical Center/Facebook

Alfredo’s sister, Aylin Yolanda Trujillo, was born precisely at midnight in a new year with a different birthdate, just 15 minutes after Alfredo’s brother.

Dr. Ana Abril Arias, a family physician at the hospital, described the deliveries as being “uniquely timed” and “one of the most memorable deliveries of my career.”

“It was an absolute pleasure to help these little ones arrive here safely in 2021 and 2022,” Arias added in the release. “What an amazing way to start the New Year!”

After spending time in the hospital with their mother and father, Robert Trujillo, the two newborns will travel home to meet their three older siblings – two girls and a boy.

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Health

Game Changer: The FDA Approved Eye Drops That Replace Reading Glasses

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The Food and Drug Administration authorized eye drops that may possibly replace reading glasses for millions of people in October, and they entered the market this week.

“It’s definitely a life changer,” trial participant Toni Wright told CBS“I would not need my readers as much, especially on the computer, where I would always need to have them on.”

The drops, known as pilocarpine, and sold by pharma outlet Allergan under the name “Vuity,” might help the 128 million people in the United States who are nearsighted. One drop in each eye, according to the business, may enhance closeup eyesight for six to ten hours, according to CBS News.

The drops function by utilizing the eye’s natural capacity to shrink its pupil.

“Reducing the pupil size expands the depth of field or the depth of focus, and that allows you to focus at different ranges naturally,” George Waring, lead investigator of a clinical trial, told CBS.

At $80 for a 30-day supply, the drops aren’t cheap, but they’re also not excessively pricey, considering the benefit..

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However, it is not a cure-all, and headaches and burning eyes are two of the most common adverse effects reported. The manufacturer also advises against using the drops at night while driving or when operating machinery.

Middle-aged adults are the ones who benefit the most from the drops. According to CBS, those over the age of 65 will be less affected by them.

Millions of people find wearing reading glasses inconvenient, therefore getting rid of them is surely appealing.

Along with revolutionary technologies like Lasik, humans are continually moving towards a future where problems with eyesight are a thing of the past. Nice.

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Bizarre

The Worlds Largest Pot Brownie Has Been Unveiled and Weighs 850 lbs

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December 8th is National Brownie Day, and yesterday the king of all brownies was revealed. Breaking the Guinness Book of World Records, the recently revealed brownie is taking the internet by storm. If you like brownies, incredible feats of baking, and maybe a bit of THC, then the world’s largest pot brownie is just for you!

Pexels

Massachusetts-based cannabis company MariMed, Inc. is getting ready to launch its edibles bakery brand, Bubby’s Baked. What better way to introduce the world to your edible company, than by baking the world’s largest THC-infused brownie? 

MariMed is a “premier seed-to-consumer vertically integrated multi-state operator. The company’s driving mission continues: to improve the lives of people everyday through our products, actions, and values.” and advises people who plan to produce cannabis on design, development, operations, and financing, according to the company’s website. 

Just before National Brownie Day, on Tuesday, the company baked a record-breaking treat. Using the same ratios from one of their normal-sized edible brownies, the team amped things up and made a mega-brownie.

Jon Simon

Weighing in at a whopping 850 pounds, the massive brownie contains a mindblowing amount of THC too. How much THC, you ask? Well, 20,000 milligrams to be exact.

The massive chocolatey treat measures 3 feet wide and 3 feet, 15 inches tall. The previous record in the Guinness World Records was a mere 243 pounds. Looks like this edible is going to hold the title for quite a while.

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Bubby’s Baked fills a big hole in the edibles market that cannabis consumers crave – high-quality, delicious baked goods that stay moist and chewy,” said MariMed Chief Product Officer and SVP/Sales Ryan Crandall. “For many of us, homemade brownies were our first taste of cannabis-infused edibles.”

MariMed, headquartered in Norwood, Massachusetts, saw its craft confectioners use the same ingredients and a similar procedure to making its smaller pot brownies, using all the typical ingredients – flour, butter, eggs, sugar – for the giant one, including the 20,000 milligrams of THC.”

In total, to create the incredible edible, the bakers used: 1,344 eggs, 250 pounds of sugar, 212 pounds of butter, 5.3 pounds of vanilla extract, 81 pounds of flour, two pounds of baking powder, three pounds of salt, and 122 pounds of cocoa powder. Quite the shopping list!

“Bubby’s recreates and elevates that nostalgic experience, infusing full-spectrum, craft-quality cannabis into timeless recipes, for a reliable high reminiscent of simpler times. Strategically, Bubby’s is part of our effort at MariMed to build a house of brands that meets different consumer needs across a diverse range of occasions,” the news release continued. 

If you’re wondering where you can find Bubby Baked’s brownies, their confectionary line is available throughout Massachusetts. This includes the MariMed Panacea dispensary in Middleborough. They are expected to hit dispensary shelves in Delaware and Maryland next year, so keep your eyes open for that exciting development!

Sources:

  1. USA Today – “National Brownie Day: This company unveiled an 850-lb pot brownie as the world’s largest December 8, 2021
  2. Fox10 News – “World’s largest pot brownie unveiled ahead of National Brownie DayDecember 8, 2021
  3. MariMedWhat We Do

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