Friday, 7 August 2015

10 Things You Didn't Know About Cucumbers

Well, e know who has replaced Panacea, Greek goddess of universal remedy: the cucumber. They're delicious, yes, but cucumbers are so much more than just taste. Here are ten things that the supernatural cucumber does.
1. Is there more to cucumbers than just water?
Cucumbers also contain Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, Folic Acid, Calcium, Vitamin C, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, and Zinc. All of these important nutrients to keep you healthy and happy.
2. Stressed?
Cut up a cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water. The chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and be released in the steam, creating a calming and comforting aroma.
3. Had a few too many drinks last night?
We've all been in your shoes. Cucumbers contain enough B vitamins, electrolytes, and sugar to replenish essential nutrients that alcohol absorbs from your body. Say goodbye to morning hangovers after eating a cucumber before you go to sleep.
4. Need a pick-me-up after a long nap?
Stay away from coffee and other caffeinated drinks and eat a cucumber instead. Cucumbers are chock-full of B vitamins and carbohydrates that can provide just the energy you need.
5. Want to give your bathroom a quick and easy clean?
All you need is a slice of a cucumber to get rid of any tarnish or built-up residue. Take the slice and wipe it on any surface that needs some extra care.
6. Writing that dreaded essay with a pen and made a mistake?
Have no fear, the cucumber is here. Take the peel and slowly erase away the pen writing. You'll have a clean page in no time.

7. Struggling to stay hydrated during the day?

Try snacking on some cucumbers. They are made up of 95% water and will help quench your thirst.

8. Hate how your bathroom mirror fogs up after a shower?

Rub a cucumber slice along the mirror. It will eliminate the steam and provide a relaxing, spa-like fragrance.

9. Forgot a pack of gum on your first date?

Ask your waiter (or come prepared) for (with) some sliced cucumbers. Take a slice and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds. The phytochemicals in the cucumber will kill the bacteria responsible for bad breath.

10. Ever hear the term “cool as a cucumber”?

Photo by Haliana Burhans
The saying comes from the cucumber’s ability to cool the temperature of the blood. When applied to your skin, the cucumber cools blood and eases facial swelling which is why cucumbers are so popular in facial regimens.
Never take a cucumber for granted again. I mean seriously, look at everything it’s good for. Try these ten uses and get the most out of your vegetables.


Monday, 3 August 2015

What’s Not To Like? Scientists Discover A New Species Of Sundew On Facebook

A new species of carnivorous sundew, Drosera magnifica, which scientists discovered while surfing Facebook. Photo by Fernando Rivadavia
A new species of carnivorous sundew, Drosera magnifica, which scientists discovered while surfing Facebook.
Photo by Fernando Rivadavia
“It was just another normal day on Facebook,” claims Paulo Gonella, a PhD student at the Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil. “I was scrolling down my newsfeed when I came across a post by a friend. He was sharing a photo originally posted by Reginaldo Vasconcelos, a plant enthusiast from Governador Valadares, showing some plants in their natural habitat.” But as Paulo looked at the low-resolution image, some of the plants jumped out at him. They looked like sundews — in the genus Drosera — but unlike any of the thirty species that are found in Brazil.
“The plants in the photo looked much larger and had very distinctive leaf and flower characteristics when compared to all the other Drosera I know,” Paulo recalls. “I immediately showed this photo to Fernando Rivadavia, who also studies this group of plants, and he was astonished as well.”
Though they weren’t sure, Paulo and Fernando had just done something no one else had ever done: discovered a new species of plant on Facebook.

A leaf of Drosera capensis curls to encircle its insect victim trapped by the glue-like droplets of mucilage visible on the tips of each stalk protruding from the leaf. Photo by Noah Elhardt
A leaf of Drosera capensis curls to encircle its insect victim trapped by the glue-like droplets of mucilage visible on the tips of each stalk protruding from the leaf.

The genus Drosera is the largest carnivorous plant genus on Earth, boasting about 250 species. These vicious flora, commonly referred to as sundews, can be found on every continent except Antarctica, often growing in places where other plants struggle due to their meaty diet. While most plants obtain all the minerals they need from the soil they grow in, Drosera species supplement what they pull from the ground with tasty insects which they catch using a thick, gluey substance produced by special stalks on their leaves.
Recently, plant scientists have been reviewing and revising this genus. In Brazil, there are only 14 species listed on the online database “Lista da Flora do Brasil”, but scientists have described about 30 species from the country. Of course, Reginaldo Vasconcelos wasn’t thinking about sundew taxonomy when he made this Facebook post:

His photos, including the unnamed Drosera, were shared by a few of his friends, one of whom was also friends with Paulo. Paulo then showed the picture to Fernando, and the pair contacted Reginaldo to ask more about the plant. Reginaldo was able to provide more pictures and where he shot them, and helped the pair get in touch with locals who guided them to the summit of the mountain he had been exploring, Pico do Padre Ângelo. Less than three months after they first saw the picture on Facebook, Paulo and Fernando were on their way to see what they suspected was a new species with their own eyes. Getting to it, however, would prove more difficult than they anticipated.
“It was mid rainy season and the dirt roads leading to the region were especially slippery. We finally had to give up driving to the mountain when we reached a steep slope and instead of going uphill, our car was going downhill!” Paulo explains. “We walked the rest of the way under rain and over a muddy road to finally reach the mountain base. From this point, it took 4 hours to reach the top, so we arrived there quite late. We quickly collected all information we needed, made observations, collected the specimens for herbarium specimens and took some photos, as we needed to return before sunset.”
Finding the plant was key, because although the photo suggested a new species, without actual specimens and a detailed description, no one could be sure. “We also needed to confirm other important data about the species, such as population size and potential threats to its habitat to evaluate the conservation status,” says Paulo.
Several features set the new plant — Drosera magnifica — apart from its closest relatives. It has a higher number of leaves per rosette, for example, and they’re a little broader. The team decided upon the species name ‘magnifica’ because of the plant’s “magnificent appearance.” It’s the largest sundew in the New World, and until its description was published July 24, 2015 in Phytotaxa, it was completely unknown to science.
Map of D. magnifica distribution in Brazil. Figure 1 from Gonella et al. 2015
Map of D. magnifica distribution in Brazil.
Figure 1 from Gonella et al. 2015
The team searched the mountain, but they only found a few populations of D. magnifica. Most of the plants were at a single site on the south slope of the summit of Pico do Padre Ângelo between 1500 and 1530 m in elevation. As far as habitats go, it’s not the most plant friendly; Paulo and Fernando found these robust sundews in loose, sandy soil or even growing out of cracks in the mountain’s sandstone surface. The site is wetter than most around because of the shape of the mountain and wind patterns, which might be why D. magnifica does so well there. Two nearby mountaintops were searched a few months later, but they were drier and barren of the new species. So D. magnifica is considered a microendemic and critically endangered due to the potential for extinction from habitat loss.
This magnificent plant is the first new species of plant discovered on Facebook, following on the heels of a new species of lacewing that was described after a photo of it was posted to the picture sharing site Flickr. Social media platforms are often maligned, thought of as frivolous networks that cater to narcissists and teenagers (but I repeat myself). Paulo, however, is one of a growing number of scientists who sees these sites a little differently.
“As a botanist, I see Facebook as an important tool,” says Paulo. “It allows me to be in touch with not only other fellow botanists, but also plant enthusiasts from all over the globe. I participate in a few plant identification groups, where people post photos of the plants they see in nature, and from these photographs, it is not rare for specialists to discover new regional records, new populations of rare plants and, now, new species.”

Citation: Gonella, P. M., Rivadavia, F., & Fleischmann, A. (2015). Drosera magnifica (Droseraceae): the largest New World sundew, discovered on Facebook. Phytotaxa, 220(3), 257-267. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.220.3.4
CATEGORIZED UNDER: More Science, select, Top Posts

Latest Science Findings

planetary nebula

Hubble Catches Sight Of A Dying Star’s Beautiful Final Moments

The Hubble Space Telescope captured this breathtaking image of a planetary nebula. Like a supernova, a planetary nebula is the explosive phase of a star's death, but these two phenomena are not the same.
1999 JD6 Asteroid

NASA Snaps Pics Of 'Space Peanut' As It Passes By Earth

NASA scientists have produced radar images of the peanut-shaped asteroid known as 1999 JD6, which passed near the Earth, through the use of the 230-foot Deep Space Network antenna in California and the 330-foot National Science Foundation Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Makes Closest Approach To Sun On Aug. 13: What To Expect

Churyumov-Gerasimenko is due for a perihelion, allowing the comet to achieve its closest approach to the sun and complete an important milestone in its current journey.
Humpback whale

Dead Humpback Whale Washes Up On Pacifica Shore

Another humpback whale was found on a beach in Pacifica, adding to the series of carcass discoveries in California. Authorities are still studying what might possibly cause the steak of marine mammal deaths.
Cabbage White

Cabbage White Butterfly Holds Secret To More Efficient Solar Panels

A unique butterfly structure has inspired scientists studying solar power. Mimicking the posture of Cabbage White wings, they hae been able to develop cheaper and more efficient solar panels.
Florida panther

10 Percent Of Florida Panthers Killed In Vehicular Accidents Within 7 Months

The number of panthers getting killed by vehicles increases each year, but authorities do not seem to care much. The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, in fact, claims that the number of big cats has exceeded carrying capacity.

Eze Nri - The Prince of Peace by Emeka Maduewesi

Before Christ came, there was Eze Nri, the Priestly Igbo King, who preached peace to Ndigbo. This was the speech the then reigning Priestly King made in 1913 lamenting that since "government" came, everything has spoiled.
Because succeesive Eze Nri's preached peace, Igboland grew in population. No town lorded it over the other, and no kingdoms existed beyond the borders of any town.
But slavery came upon them, and many, about 3 million of them, were taken into slavery.
The first and second pictures was the speech. The third picture was what the British wrote about him and his jurisdiction.


For the sake of your sanity and spiritual serenity, the enlightened mind needs to focus less on Nigeria politics.. How else can you describe a scenario where self acclaimed "intellectuals or intelligent" people sworn to an oath never to see anything wrong with what APC does even when it stinks far above the high heavens.
Daily the APC indicts itself, rubbish its "aunty kwaruption" hocus pocus, insult our collective intelligence, deny and later accept facts yet intelligent people sacrifice their intelligence on the altar of the infallible St Buhari (even the Catholic Church doctrine states that the Pope is fallible). Their god Buhari doeth no wrong.
just last night, the whole world was told that over 80% of the money APC used during the presidential campaign was stolen from the treasury of Rivers State by Rotimi Amaechi.
A bold declaration from a party that masturbates about fighting corruption that the foundations of the party was laid with corruption.
Right under Buhari's nose are the biggest thieves and most corrupt politicians in our history whom by virtue of being close to St Buhari has been inducted into Sainthood. Same icons of corruption chanting litany of "this government will fight corruption"
I weep for Nigeria, the grand deception of our political history has just begun.

By  Chijioke Malachi Anyacho

Letters To My Unborn Child (Introduction To "Talking To The Sky") by Marianne Van der Well

“”There is only me AND us; US and Me!  You cannot have one without the other.  We each leave our imprint and we are each an equally important member of the universal mosaic.”

I don't who you are or what you would have become but I know the time was never right for you and I to meet. For you, I wanted better than what I had. I wanted you to feel whole and healthy, strong and empowered, loved, respected and accepted. Most of all I wanted you to live a life full of challenge and meaning to grow into your own full potential while at the same time be able to build bridges of co-operation with those around you, be they near or far. On some deep guttural level, I knew I could not give you any of this: not from a personal perspective, not from a family perspective and certainly not from a societal perspective. So even though I cried myself to sleep for many years when mid life arrived knowing children would not come, not bringing you into the world was the right choice.

I hope you understand my yet to be born child that I could not bring you into this world. You see, I could never find that family environment I craved having survived a world war from age 0-4 and then grew up in a home full of confusion, discourse, tension, loneliness, and much love that, on some level, felt more like pain. My adult years were spent in and out of mental hospitals as I searched for survival and a place to belong. In midlife, I began a journey of fixing my inner brokenness so that today, when I am in my seventies, I think I could be a whole person to guide you to your full potential but alas my biological clock has ticked. I miss you! However, I am glad you are not yet here. What I see in this world is what I saw in my own family: confusion, discourse, tension, loneliness, and love that feels like pain. I also see hatred, abandonment, power mongering, cruelty, disregard, torture, selfishness and fear that is translating into nothing short of ugly behaviour. I want better for you! In fact, I want better for all the world's children! They all deserve better!

There is good in this world, a lot of it, with many hands trying to tip the balance. Yet, somehow we, as a species, have not yet been able to break through the glass ceiling of negativity so that the good in us can lead. I have not yet given up hope that some day, you can come to this world and find it a better place:
  • A world where we treat each other with respect, where no person considers her/himself as more than or less than another.
  • A world of sustainability where we have learned to live as part of nature, not as its masters
  • A world where decisions are made through consensus by everyone across the globe, with exactly one voice and one vote, for each person who has reached the age of consent, which has yet to be agreed upon.
  • A world where we act locally to raise our young to be their best selves to live empowered lives so that we have positive communities with bridges of co-operation between them.
  • A world where the goal is to be contented with enough so that we can be a beautiful mosaic and thus a positive force of love in this grand universe that lifts up, instead of "love" that brings pain!

A tall order, I know but as in archery, if we do not aim high, we will never hit the centre. The world I dream of for you may never be as ideal as I envision it but it can be much, much better than it is currently.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

The bionic eye that could CURE blindness: World first as British scientists save the sight of 80-year-old man in astonishing breakthrough that could help thousands

Ray Flynn, 80, from Audenshaw, Manchester, has become the first patient in the world to receive an artificial retina for dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of eyesight problems in the UK.