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Video Shows Huge Decline in China Pollution During Lockdown, Then Rapidly Returning to Normal

Video: A decrease in air pollution over China following the coronavirus outbreak, as well as a rapid return of emissions as the quarantine was eased.

Elias Marat

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(TMU) — Shocking new satellite imagery has been released by the European Space Agency (ESA) that shows the massive decrease in air pollution over China following the coronavirus outbreak and nationwide lockdown, as well as the rapid return of emissions as the country’s quarantine measures were eased.

The imagery compares air pollution levels—specifically nitrogen dioxide emissions produced by the burning of fossil fuels over China—between December 20 and March 16, and is based on data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite. Similar images taken between January 1 and March 11 over Italy revealed a major drop in pollution as the European nation implemented major controls to curb the spread of the novel virus.

The ESA reported:

“As news of the coronavirus broke out in the Hubei province, China, in late December 2019, stricter measures were put in place. As a result, by late January, factories were closed and streets were cleared as Chinese authorities had ceased daily activities to stop the spread of the illness.

This led to the dramatic reduction in nitrogen dioxide concentrations—those released by power plants, industrial facilities and vehicles—in all major Chinese cities between late-January and February. The drop in concentrations also coincided with Lunar New Year celebrations, which usually sees a similar drop in concentrations each year.”

ESA mission manager Claus Zehner believes that nitrogen dioxide levels had dropped to roughly 60 percent amid China’s draconian, and largely effective, lockdown measures.

The agency also noted:

“By combining satellite observations with detailed computer models of the atmosphere, their studies indicated a reduction of around 20-30 percent in surface particulate matter over large parts of China.”

On Monday, China once again reported no new community transmissions of the virus but confirmed that 39 infections had been brought in from abroad while nine more people died in Wuhan, where the virus first emerged. No new cases of the novel coronavirus have been registered in Wuhan for five consecutive days.

As China continues to successfully beat back the CoViD-19 outbreak, social control measures in the Communist Party-governed East Asian giant have been relaxed. In recent days, over 500 cinema screen have reopened in the country, reports Variety.

Trends in the People’s Republic that show people trickling back to work and communities returning to a state of relative normalcy stand in sharp contrast to the developing crisis in the West, where new infections have rapidly been cascading, resulting in mass panic, upended markets, and a mad dash by governments to coordinate their response.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

Environment

South Korean Toilet Turns Poo Into Green Energy and Pays Its Users Digital Cash

Elias Marat

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What if your morning #2 not only powered your stove to cook your eggs, but also allowed you to pay for your coffee and pastry on the way to class?

It seems like an absurd question, but one university in South Korea has invented a toilet that allows human excrement to not only be used for clean power, but also dumps a bit of digital currency into your wallet that can be exchanged for some fruit or cup noodles at the campus canteen, reports Reuters.

The BeeVi toilet – short for Bee-Vision – was designed by urban and environmental engineering professor Cho Jae-weon of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), and is meant to not only save resources but also reward students for their feces.

The toilet is designed to first deliver your excrement into a special underground tank, reducing water use, before microorganisms break the waste down into methane, a clean source of energy that can power the numerous appliances that dorm life requires.

“If we think out of the box, feces has precious value to make energy and manure,” Cho explained. “I have put this value into ecological circulation.”

The toilet can transform approximately a pound of solid human waste – roughly the average amount people poop per day – into some 50 liters of methane gas, said Cho. That’s about enough to generate half a kilowatt hour of electricity, enough to transport a student throughout campus for some of their school day.

Cho has even devised a special virtual currency for the BeeVi toilet called Ggool, or honey in Korean. Users of the toilet can expect to earn 10 Ggool per day, covering some of the many expenses students rack up on campus every day.

Students have given the new system glowing reviews, and don’t even mind discussing their bodily functions at lunchtime – even expressing their hopes to use their fecal credits to purchase books.

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Animals

Heat Wave Kills Over 1 BILLION Sea Creatures on Canada West Coast, Experts Say

Elias Marat

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Researchers in Canada are reporting that over 1 billion marine animals on Canada’s Pacific coast are likely to have died in last week’s record-shattering heat wave, showing how ecosystems not accustomed to such high temperatures are especially vulnerable to changing conditions.

The deadly “heat dome” that settled over British Columbia and the U.S. Pacific Northwest for five days is believed to have killed at least 500 people in Canada, and pushed temperatures to extreme temperatures of 104F (40C), sparking wildfires that are burning across the Canadian province.

Multiple experts are now saying that the heat wave also took a horrifying toll on marine life, leaving “postapocalyptic” scenes in its wake.

Marine biologist Christopher Harley of the University of British Columbia knew, when he saw the harrowing weather forecasts, that when the tide dropped the sweltering conditions would absolutely fry the mussels, barnacles and sea stars that were exposed.

When the heatwave actually struck, he was devastated by the stench of decay and the vast death toll sustained by the local ecosystem.

“The shore doesn’t usually crunch when you walk on it,” he told The Guardian. “But there were so many empty mussel shells lying everywhere that you just couldn’t avoid stepping on dead animals while walking around.”

Mussels and barnacles can typical deal with harsh temperatures as high as 113F for a few hours – but any more than that is simply not survivable.

Harley told the New York Times that the loss of mussels likely reaches into the hundreds of millions.

However, when factoring in the death of other marine animals that once lived on the shore and resided on the mussel beds – such as hermit crabs and their crustacean relatives, worms, sea cucumbers and other creatures – the number could quite easily exceed one billion.

“It just feels like one of those postapocalyptic movies,” Harley said.

Harley’s colleagues have also reported on dead sea anemones, rock fish and oysters in the region.

In neighboring Alberta, a massive number of fish also washed up on the shores, likely due to the heat wave.

Fortunately, mussels are able to regenerate over about two years. Starfish and clams, however, live for decades and reproduce much more slowly.

The domino effect of such a vast loss of marine life could be felt on other animals in the ecosystem such as sea ducks, a migratory bird that feeds on mussels in the winter before migrating to the Arctic.

The horrific loss shows that the pace of warming climate conditions is likely outstripping the ability of creatures simply to survive – a prospect that makes Harley feel saddened, but he is still trying to find hope.

“A lot of species are not going to be able to keep up with the pace of change,” he said. “Ecosystems are going to change in ways that are really difficult to predict. We don’t know where the tipping points are.”

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Environment

“Eye of Fire” Blaze In Gulf of Mexico Literally Shows the Ocean Caught on Fire

Elias Marat

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A massive ring of fire exploded onto the surface of the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, creating apocalyptic imagery that enveloped social media with unbelievable imagery of the “eye of fire.”

The harrowing “fire in the sea” came following a gas leak in an underwater pipeline near a drilling platform that was owned by Mexican state-owned oil company PEMEX.

The blaze, which resembled a lava flow from a volcano took some five hours to fully contain, and was extinguished by 10:45 a.m., reports USA Today.

In footage from the scene, a hellish orange glow can be seen beneath the churning ocean as boats sprayed streams of water in hopes to put out the blaze.

One video, which seems to depict footage out of a disaster movie, has accumulated over 21 million views at the time of this writing.

User Dave Anthony said: “Never in your life forget the time humans caught the ocean on fire and then tried to put it out by spraying water on it.”

While journalist Christopher Bouzy tweeted: “I am not sure how spraying water on a fire that is literally in the ocean is going to help put it out. I need someone to make it make sense for me.”

Company workers resorted to using nitrogen to subdue the blaze.

Fortunately, there were no injuries resulting from the disaster – although it is too early to gauge the impact on the local environment.

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