Pollution causes blindness

Air pollution is a global malice. It destabilzes the climate, punishes our lungs and now according to a new study could possibly affect our eye sight or might make you blind.

The research was published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, it analysed 115,000 participants over 14 years. At the start of the study in 2006, these people have no eye problems but in the latest medical examination , 1,286 of them reported A.M.D (Age related Macular Degeneration). It is the leading cause of blindness among the people aged 50+ in rich nations. There are 200 million people living with this condition.

There appears to be a link between A.M.D and air pollution. People exposed to fine particulate matter are more vulnerable to A.M.D, nearly 8% vulnerable and this isn’t from industry level exposure. Even relatively low level of air pollution could be triggering A.M.D.

Effect on eye sight

The eyes have particularly high flow of blood. This leaves them vulnerable fine particles that flow through the body. It’s important to note that this study is observational. It cannot categorically establish a link between air pollution and A.M.D. However there has been similar study elsewhere with the same results. And the link between smoking and A.M.D has always been known.

The threat from air pollution has always been clear, but new studies are revealing more dimensions of this threat.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that air pollution contributes to 7 Million deaths annually. This leaves us with another cause of concern, toxic air could leave you blind.

Volcanic emissions may have made oxygen in climate

During a new investigation of 2.5-billion-year-old Australian rocks, scientists have tracked down those volcanic emissions may have animated populace floods of marine microorganisms, making the initial puffs of oxygen into the air.

This would change existing accounts of Earth’s initial environment, which expected that most changes in the early climate were constrained by geologic or substance measures. The discoveries of the investigation were distributed in the diary ‘Procedures of the National Academy of Sciences’

However, centered around Earth’s initial history, the exploration additionally has suggestions for extra-earthbound life and even environmental change. The investigation was driven by the University of Washington, the University of Michigan and different establishments.

“What has begun to end up being undeniable in the previous few decades is there really are a lot of associations between the strong, non-living Earth and the development of life,” said first creator Jana Meixnerova, a UW doctoral understudy in Earth and space sciences. “However, what are the particular associations that worked with the development of life on Earth as far as we might be concerned, addressed Meixnerova.

In its most punctual days, Earth had no oxygen in its air and scarcely any, oxygen breathing lifeforms. Earth’s air turned out to be for all time oxygen-rich with regards to 2.4 billion years prior, likely after a blast of lifeforms that photosynthesise, changing carbon dioxide and water into oxygen. In any case, in 2007, co-creator Ariel Anbar at Arizona State University dissected rocks from the

Mount McRae Shale in Western Australia, detailing a transient whiff of oxygen around 50 to 100 million years before it turned into a super durable installation in the climate. Later examination has affirmed other, prior, transient oxygen spikes, yet hasn’t clarified their ascent and fall.

In the new investigation, specialists at the University of Michigan, driven by co-relating creator Joel Blum, broke down similar old rocks for the focus and number of neutrons in the component mercury, radiated by volcanic ejections Large volcanic emissions impact mercury gas into the upper climate, where today it circles for a little while prior to pouring out onto Earth’s surface.

The new investigation showed a spike in mercury two or three million years before the brief ascent in oxygen “adequately sure, in the stone beneath the transient spike in oxygen, we discovered proof of mercury, both in its bounty and isotopes, that would most sensibly be clarified by volcanic ejections into the environment,” said co-creator Roger Buick, a UW teacher of Earth and Space Sciences.

Where there were volcanic outflows, the creators contemplated, there probably been Laval and volcanic debris fields. Also, those supplement rich rocks would have endured in the breeze and downpour, delivering phosphorus into streams that could treat close by seaside regions, permitting oxygen creating cyanobacteria and other single-celled lifeforms to prosper. “There are different supplements that tweak natural action on short timescales, however phosphorus is the one that is generally significant on long timescales, Meixnerova said. Today, phosphorus is abundant in natural materials and in horticultural manure. However, in extremely old occasions, enduring of volcanic rocks would have been the primary hotspot for this scant asset.

“During enduring under the Archaean air, the new basaltic stone would have gradually disintegrated, delivering the fundamental full scale supplement phosphorus into the streams, Meixnerova added.

“That would have taken care of organisms that were living in the shallow seaside zones and set off expanded natural usefulness that would have made, as a result, and oxygen spike, Meixnerova clarified.

The exact area of those volcanoes and magma fields is obscure, however huge magma fields of about the right age exist in cutting edge India, Canada and somewhere else, Buick said “Our examination proposes that for these transient whiffs of oxygen, the prompt trigger was an expansion in oxygen creation, as opposed to an abatement in oxygen utilization by rocks or other non-living cycles,” Buick said “It’s significant on the grounds that the presence of oxygen in the climate is key – it’s the greatest driver for the advancement of huge, complex life,” Buick added.

Eventually, analysts said the investigation proposes what a planet’s geography may mean for any life developing on its surface, an agreement that guides in recognizing liveable exoplanets, or planets outside our close planetary system, in the quest for life in the universe.

Why do Insectivorous plants exist?

If you find insectivorous plants strange and fascinating then this blog is for you.

What are insectivorous plants?

Insectivorous plants are those plants that derive some nutrients by trapping and consuming animals, mainly insects.

Categories of being insectivorous

There are essential two things that a plant has to do to be considered insectivorous:-

  1. Ability to take nutrients from dead prey:- a plant should have the ability to trap the prey and absorb nutrients from it. Those prey is usually insects or small vertebrates like, salamanders. It is not enough for the plant just to have defenses that can kill an animal that’s trying to snack on it. It also has to get it’s animal’s nutrients.
  2. At least have one adaption:- the plant need to have one adaption that actively lures in, catches, or digests it’s prey.

Doing at least one of these things and absorbing the nutrients for it’s benefit make it a insectivorous plant.

Plant traps

Over millions of years and across hundreds of species, plants have developed five different types of traps, most of them are from different times. And traps can be passive, if prey just fall into them and can’t escape, or active, if plant actually moves to catch its prey.

  1. Pitcher plant:- pitfall traps are the standard and passive trap used by plants like pitcher plants. Prey lands on the plants slippery surface and slides down into a pool of digestive juices.
  2. Sundews:- these are flypaper traps in which the prey become stuck in a sticky substance that is produced by the plant leaves. These traps can be passive as well as active. Sundews have sticky moving tentacles that react to contract with prey.
  3. Venus fly trap:- these are snap traps which are active, using rapid modified leave
  4. Bladderworts: they have bladder-suction. This creates little negative pressure vacuum inside their traps, which, when triggered by prey, pop open and suck the victim inside before snapping close.
  5. Lobster-pot trap:- they passive traps that force prey to move towards the plant’s digestive organ by having little inward pointing hairs that keep prey from moving backward out of the trap.
Venus fly trap
Lobster-pot trap
Bladderworts
Sundew
Pitcher plant

All of these unrelated plants have not only developed the same kinds of traps but it looks like they have also developed that same molecular mechanism for digesting their prey.

Reason of existence

It goes back to idea of convergent evolution. All these different insectivorous plants are responding to similar environmental pressure:-

  1. Found in open sunny places that have moist but nutrients – poor – acidic soil. Many of them live in bogs and fens.
  2. In these kind of habitat where nitrogen and phosphorus is not present in the soil, the plant tend to developed two kinds of leaves one for normal photosynthesis and one that are modified onto their particular type of trap.
  3. This results them to invest more in modified leaves than normal photosynthesis leaves as they have to live in a place with enough sunlight as well as to trap preys

Insectivorous plants can stop paying carnivorous temporally once they’re put in nutrients rich soil and if they don’t get enough sunlight and water.

Insectivorous plants are pretty rare and they are only found in certain kinds of habitats, they are just less likely to fossilize than other kinds of plants that are more widespread.

Are you a Smartphone Zombie?

Few days back i saw a question on a site asking “I want to put my phone aside and study, but i’m not able to do it? Is there any I can get rid of it?”

Well we can say that we all faced this phase where we get too much addicted to Mobile phone and couldn’t keep it aside and focus on other works. A research recently released the details of a study which told us where in the world was the biggest Smartphone penetration:-

  1. South Korea
  2. Australia
  3. Israel
  4. U.S
  5. Spain
  6. U.K

But this doesn’t mean that people in this countries are using mobile phones all the time. Based on a 2016 study led by Statistica, it does look like people in those countries might fall into the category of smartphone zombies. The study also said that

  • Brazilian spend the most hours on average connected to a smartphone as 4 hr 48 mins per day.
  • Chinese spend the most hours on average 3 hours 3 mins
  • Followed by U.S 2 hours 37 mins
  • Italy 2 hours 34 mins
  • Spain 2 hours 11 mins
  • South Korea 2 hours 10 mins

One thing range true for all countries in the study, and that was the fact time spent on a smartphone for the average person was up quite a lot from 2012 to 2016.

It’s not totally people’s fault that we are addicted to the smartphones. We have this exciting thing in our pocket that flashes, beeps and invites us to use it. NPR in 2018 talked about this manipulative object we carry around with us, that is just so irresistible. The story mentions Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov, and what we know as Pavlov’s dog. The psychologist one day realised that when his dog heard a bell or a buzzer, he knew it was feeding time, thereby associate with a sound to eating, which led to the dog drooling and looking excited.

Modern psychologist tells us this is what is happening to us when we hear a beep or a ding inside our pocket; we become excitable, like Pavlov’s dog. Our reward is coming, and we get a hit of dopamine and we want more. We check our phone on average every 15 mins and that make the tech use psychological tricks to keep us checking in.

All the time spent checking in may affect our sleep, our relationship, our work, or even all the creative things we might do to have a flourishing existence. Psychologist tend to agree we should be checking in less, and tech producers need to start thinking about creating less powerful digital drugs. But that isn’t easy because as most people now need those beeps and likes, and need to feel that they are not missing out on something.

Experts even states that putting your phone down, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as craving, restlessness, irritability or difficulty in concentrating. So from now on you might turn off notifications, have a plan for the day and stick to it, take off the apps you really don’t need as that might lead to a kind of app surfing. In general, not many people are against these technologies, but we should be focusing on what we might call device quality time, educating ourselves and being productive and creative.

Researchers are coming closer to being able to record your dreams.

Source: Google

We are living in odd times. Scientists are making significant progress on recording people’s dreams, and they’re a lot closer than you might believe.

Moran Cerf, an Israeli neurologist at Northwestern University, researches decision-making processes in both awake and sleeping humans. Cerf said he is putting electrodes on the brains of persons undergoing brain surgery as part of his research to “listen to activity of specific brain cells.” This allows him to get a sense of what individuals are thinking. “We may assume you dreamed about your mother and father,” said Cerf, a Tel Aviv University alumnus. “However, we’re not sure what your mother was wearing.”

Those visuals may get clearer in the near future. Kyoto University’s Yukiyasu Kamitani is a Japanese researcher. Using a gadget that detects brain activity, he has already begun reconstructing images from a waking person’s mind. He wants to use the same technology to record his dreams.

And scientists don’t need to go into your skull to figure out what’s going on. You’re paralysed during REM sleep, so you can’t act out your dreams. When you dream about running away from a dinosaur, though, your brain still sends electrical signals to your legs instructing them to move.

“Nerve impulses are still travelling to those muscles,” said Daniel Oldis, a lucid dream researcher at the University of Texas who collaborated with David M. Schnyer, an American neuroscientist. These signals are being measured by Oldis and Schnyer. They’re also looking at the signals in people’s lips and throats to see what they’re saying in their dreams.

So, when will you be able to witness your fantasies come true? This will most likely happen in stages. According to Cerf, you could have a device that tells you what you dreamed about in a general sense in a few months to a year. You’ll probably have to wait decades for a true dream cinema.

Naturally, this poses a slew of concerns. Will you be able to peek into other people’s dreams? Will businesses begin to place advertisements into our dreams in the near future?