THE GREEN PLANET BLOG - Our World and Environment...

All about conservation, ecology, the environment, climate change, global warming, earth- watch, and new technologies etc.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

What is this wobbly shrimp-like creature - A jelly fish?

A fisherman from New Zealand was left baffled when he caught this see-through shrimp-like creature swimming near the surface of the ocean.
Stewart Fraser was fishing with sons Conaugh and Finn 43 miles north off the North Island's Karikari Peninsula when he spotted the translucent 'shrimp' floating near the top of the water.
Mr Fraser said: 'I was in two minds whether to haul it in, but curiosity got the better of me and I decided to take a closer look.
This translucent shrimp-like creature was caught swimming near the surface of the ocean off New Zealand

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Visit Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellington, February - spotlight on the Tuatara...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary, Wellington, New Zealand...

Friday, January 17, 2014

Soil study shock for NZ scientists - Southern Alps fighting climate change...

Isaac Larsen
Krista Larsen
Isaac Larsen collects a sand sample at the Rapid Creek test site.

The fast-growing Southern Alps also appear to be fighting climate change.
In a Science magazine article published online today, scientists from the United States and New Zealand said Southern Alps rocks were transformed into soil twice as fast as previously thought possible.
The new soil is then exposed to chemical weathering, the process by which carbon dioxide in the air reacts with soil. The carbon is locked into the soil, meaning there is less in the atmosphere contributing to climate change.
Researchers from the University of Washington and Lincoln University assessed rates of soil weathering in the Southern Alps.
Visiting sites along the western side of the mountain range, from Hokitika south to Karangarua, the team took soil samples to measure the removal of certain elements.
The research was part of Isaac Larsen's PhD work at the University of Washington. He and co-author Andre Eger, a postgraduate student at Lincoln University, were dropped to remote mountaintops by helicopter to collect soil samples.
By measuring the amount of Beryllium-10, an isotope that only forms at the Earth's surface, Larsen and his colleagues showed soil was being produced on the ridge tops at rates between 0.1 millimetres and 0.25mm a year.
The peak rate was more than twice what had been previously suggested as the "speed limit" for soil production.
Co-author Professor David Montgomery, also from the University of Washington, said "a couple of millimetres a year sounds pretty slow to anybody but a geologist".
"That's shockingly fast . . . because the conventional wisdom is it takes centuries," he said.
Vegetation growing high on the slopes of the Southern Alps could be responsible for the rapid soil production.
Plant roots reaching down into rocks may assist in breaking rocks apart to expose them to rainwater and chemical weat

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Manuka factor - honey made from the New Zealand Manuka tree..

manuka in the sunshine
manuka in the sunshine (Photo credit: Brenda Anderson)
Leptospemum scoparium
Leptospemum scoparium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NZ Manuka Honey1
The Manuka factor - honey made from the NZ manuka tree...First published at Qassia:
Honey made by bees from the nectar of New Zealand's manuka tree, leptospermum scoparium, contains an antibacterial property not found in other honeys.
Honey from the Australian tree leptospermum polygalifollum, or jelly bush, also has this property.
The property has become known as Unique Manuka Factor, UMF, and the honey as active manuka honey.
One of the compounds identified in this particular honey is metylglyxol, although it appears that the antibacterial property relies on the interaction of this compound with other elements in the honey.
The quantity of UMF in manuka honey varies.
Research by Waikato University in New Zealand's North Island, suggests its antibacterial activity is about twice as effective as other honey against Eschericihia co;i and Enteroocci, common causes of infections in wounds. It ismuch more effective than other honey against Helicobacter pylori, a common cause of peptic ulcers.
The University says the evidence that Active Manuka honey is more effective than other honey is not conclusive however. Not quite a miracle, but pretty close to it!
The intense flavour of dark manuka honey was once so disliked it was added to cow feed or simply washed away.
Today it earns such a premium on the export market that fake manuka honey has been a serious problem - industry sources say twice as much manuka honey is sold than produced in New Zealand.
A real health food now under threat from a cheaper Scottish alternative.
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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Water, water the liquid of life, but are we really running out of water...

English: Ban Ki-moon, South Korean politician
English: Ban Ki-moon, South Korean politician (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Challenge of Securing Safe and Plentiful Water for All

"The challenge of securing safe and plentiful water for all is one of the most daunting challenges faced by the world today...often where we find water, we find guns." Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General.
According to an Uzbek saying,"if you run out of water, you run out of life." Some experts would probably say that those words seem more prophetical than proverbial. Each year about two million people die as a result of poor sanitation and contaminated water, and 90% of the victims are children. Suffer the poor children!
"The Aral Sea in Central Asia was the fourth largest lake on the planet in 1960. By 2007 it had shrunk to 10% of its original size." - Scientific American.
"The five great lakes of the United States and Canada - Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior - are shrinking at an alarming pace." - The Globe and Mall.
At one time, Australia's Deniliquin mill processed enough grain to meet the needs of 20 million people. Now, however, the rice crop has been reduced by 98%, and the mill closed in December 2007. The cause? Six long years of drought." - The New York Times.
I acknowlege the excerpts from the above newspapers:
Draining dry the rivers and streams:
"Africa's Lake Chad, once a landmark for astronauts circling the earth, is now difficult for them to locate. Surrounded by(Cameroon), Chad, Niger, and Nigeria...the lake has shrunk by 95% since the 1960's. The soaring demand for irrigation water in that area is draining dry the rivers and streams the lake depends on for its existence. As a result, Lake Chad may soon disappear entirely, its whereabouts a mystery to future generations. - Plan B 2.0 - "Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble", by Lester R. Brown.
America's Thirst for Water:
"America's thirst for bottled water seems unquenchable, reaching nearly 30 billion bottles a year," according to US News and World Report. Many consumers did not realise, however,that most bottled water is simply tap water, so "anyone who is opting for bottled over municipal(water) for health reasons is misguided," said the above magazine. What flows out of the tap in many countries is monitored to ensure uniformity to strict standards. And when compared with the 'outrageously expensive' bottled alternatives, tap water is practically free."
In my opinion the global bottled water industry is nothing more than blatant exploitation of water resources.
The standard of tap water is so high in New Zealand, it would be simply stupid and a waste of money to buy 'bottled tap water'. You just need only to run the tap until the water is nice and cool, fill a used soft drink or soda bottle, and leave it in the fridge until you go out for your daily jog or walk!
The water crisis is global. It poses health risks to billions of people around the globe. Many steps have been taken to bring water supply and water use back into balance in some areas of the world, but not in others. This global balance is a vital necessity if we are not to have an acute water shortage in certain areas.
Each country seems to have its own method of dealing with the the water crisis. In some lands where favourable winds regularly blow, windmills raise water to the surface and also serve to generate electricity. In wealthier nations, desalinisation of seawater is also viewed as a viable solution. In many places huge dams retain river water and rainwater - a measure that has proved somewhat effective, even though reservoirs in arid areas may lose about 10 percent of their water through evaporation.- "Awake" Jan 2009.
But are we really running out of water, or is it just an imbalance in water distribution?

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Monday, January 6, 2014

Scientists claim sniffing Rosemary improves memory by 75%...

Scientists Find Sniffing Rosemary Can Increase Memory By 75 Percent
Photo – – licensed under CC 2.0
Rosemary is a wonderful herb with a tradition of use spanning millennia. It has innumerable uses in both the kitchen and in herbal medicine.
Did you know that rosemary has been associated with memory enhancement since ancient times? It is true – and it has even been referred to from the latter part of the Elizabethan Era to the Early Romantic period as theherb of remembrance. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” (Hamlet, iv. 5.) It has also long been used as a symbol for remembrance during weddings, war commemorations and funerals in Europe and Australia. [1] Mourners in old times would wear it as a buttonhole, burn it as incense or throw it into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead.
It seems that this tradition of Rosemary may actually far more ancient and have its origins in the Arabic world of medieval times, which was greatly advanced in science: In Henry Lyte’s 1578 “Niewe Herball“, an English version of Rembert Dodoens’ French treatise, it is written “The Arrabians and their successors Physitions, do say that Rosemarie comforteth the brayne, the memory and the inward senses, and that it restoreth speech, especially the conserve made of the flowers, thereof with Sugar, to be received daily.” [2]
Because of this seemingly esoteric association, rosemary has at times been made into a sort of herbal-amulet, where it was placed beneath pillowcases, or simply smelt as a bouquet, and it was believed that using rosemary in these ways could protect the sleeper from nightmares, as well as increase their memory.
What’s fascinating is that several scientific studies have now found remarkable results for rosemary’s effects on memory:
Rosemary essential oil’s role in aromatherapy as an agent that promotes mental clarity was validated by the study of Moss, Cook, Wesnes, and Duckett (2003) in which the inhalation of rosemary essential oil significantly enhanced the performance for overall quality of memory and secondary memory factors of study participants.[3]
More recently, in 2012 a study on 28 older people (average 75 years old) found statistically significant dose-dependent improvements in cognitive performance with doses of dried rosemary leaf powder. [4]
Another study by Mark Moss and Lorraine Oliver at Northumbria University, Newcastle has identified 1,8-cineole (a compound in rosemary) as an agent potentially responsible for cognitive and mood performance. [5]
Further studies by Mark Moss and team have found memory enhancements of up to an amazing 75% from diffusion of rosemary essential oil. [6]
Now if you are asking “How is it even possible that an aroma can enhance memory?” – well, that’s a great question. Here’s a fascinating quote from one of the scientific papers referenced: “Volatile compounds (e.g. terpenes) may enter the blood stream by way of the nasal or lung mucosa. Terpenes are small organic molecules which can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore may have direct effects in the brain by acting on receptor sites or enzyme systems.” [5]

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