Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Thursday, August 27, 2020

World's biggest rooftop greenhouse opens in Montreal

Yahoo – AFP, Sebastien St-Jean, August 26, 2020

Lufa Farms just opened what it says is the world's largest commercial rooftop
greenhouse, seen in this aerial photo in Montreal

Building on a new hanging garden trend, a greenhouse atop a Montreal warehouse growing eggplants and tomatoes to meet demand for locally sourced foods has set a record as the largest in the world.

It's not an obvious choice of location to cultivate organic vegetables -- in the heart of Canada's second-largest city -- but Lufa Farms on Wednesday inaugurates the facility that spans 160,000 square feet (15,000 square meters), or about the size of three football fields.

"The company's mission is to grow food where people live and in a sustainable way," spokesman Thibault Sorret told AFP, as he showed off its first harvest of giant eggplants.

It is the fourth rooftop greenhouse the company has erected in the city. The first, built in 2011 at a cost of more than Can$2 million (US$1.5 million), broke new ground.

Since then, competitors picked up and ran with the novel idea, including American Gotham Greens, which constructed eight greenhouses on roofs in New York, Chicago and Denver, and French Urban Nature, which is planning one in Paris in 2022.

A local Montreal supermarket has also offered since 2017 an assortment of vegetables grown on its roof, which was "greened" in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.

Tomatoes are viewed at Lufa Farms, a company that just opened what it says
is the world's largest commercial rooftop greenhouse in Montreal

'Reinventing the food system'

Lebanese-born Mohamed Hage and his wife Lauren Rathmell, an American from neighboring Vermont, founded Lufa Farms in 2009 with the ambition of "reinventing the food system."

At Lufa, about 100 varieties of vegetables and herbs are grown year-round in hydroponic containers lined with coconut coir and fed liquid nutrients, including lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, bok choy, celery and sprouts.

Bumblebees pollinate the plants, while wasps and ladybugs keep aphids in check, without the need for pesticides.

Enough vegetables are harvested each week to feed 20,000 families, with baskets tailored for each at a base price of Can$30.

The company's "online market" also sells goods produced by local partner farms including "bread, pasta, rice, etcetera," Sorret said.

On the ground floor of the new greenhouse, a huge distribution center brings together nearly 2,000 grocery products for offer to "Lufavores," including restaurants.

Shopper Catherine Bonin tells AFP she loves the freshness of the produce but laments that some items are always out of stock. "I can never get peppers," she says.

Lufa Farms spokesman Thibault Sorret shows off vegetables grown at what it 
says is the world's largest commercial rooftop greenhouse in Montreal

Sales doubled during pandemic

"We are now able to feed almost two percent of Montreal with our greenhouses and our partner farms," said Sorret.

"The advantage of being on a roof is that you recover a lot of energy from the bottom of the building," allowing considerable savings in heating, an asset during the harsh Quebec winter, he explains.

"We also put to use spaces that were until now completely unused," he said.

Fully automated, the new greenhouse also has a water system that collects and reuses rainwater, resulting in savings of "up to 90 percent" compared to a traditional farm.

Lufa "more than doubled" its sales during the new coronavirus pandemic, a jump attributable "to contactless delivery from our online site," says Sorret.

Profitable since 2016, the private company now employs 500 people, around 200 more than before the pandemic, according to him.

It is currently working on the electrification of its fleet of delivery trucks and is in the process of exporting its model "to different cities around the world," starting with Canada and the United States, Sorret said.

"What's a little crazy," he recalls, is that none of the founders "had grown a tomato in their life" before opening the business.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

High-tech farmers sow seeds of revolution in Dubai desert

Yahoo – AFP, Shatha Yaish, August 18, 2020

Al-Badia market garden farm produces an array of vegetable crops in multi-storey format,
carefully controlling light and irrigation as well as recycling 90 percent of the water it uses

An ultra-modern vertical farm in the middle of the desert stands as a testament to Dubai's determination to spark a "green revolution" to overcome its dependence on food imports.

Al-Badia market garden farm produces an array of vegetable crops in multi-storey format, carefully controlling light and irrigation as well as recycling 90 percent of the water it uses.

"It's a green revolution in the middle of the desert," the farm's director Basel Jammal tells AFP.

"Each plant is given the amount of light, humidity, heat and water it needs. It's as if it were a guest in a five-star hotel," he says.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted global supply chains, has refocused attention on food security in the United Arab Emirates.

The UAE is rich in oil and ingenuity, but has little arable land and endures dry, baking summers.

That was not an issue decades ago when the area was sparsely inhabited by Bedouins.

The UAE's need to address its over-reliance on imports has inspired other 
strategies, including stockpiling and high-tech agriculture

But the wealth generated by oil discoveries since the 1970s sent expatriates flocking to the UAE.

Dubai now has more than 3.3 million inhabitants of 200 nationalities, relies largely on expensive desalinated water, and its food needs have grown and diversified.

'Choices for the future'

Dubai, like the other six emirates that make up the UAE, is heavily dependent on imports, which make up 90 percent of its food needs according to official statistics.

Produce arrives from all over the world by air and at Dubai's state-of-the-art port, stocking supermarkets with a range that compares favourably to those of any Western capital.

But in a region where geopolitical tensions with nearby Iran frequently threaten to boil over, long-term food security and self-sufficiency are key goals.

More than a decade ago, the UAE began buying or leasing agricultural land abroad, mainly in east Africa, to lock in supply even in times of crisis.

Abdellatif al-Banna is an independent farmer joining the innovation drive, 
growing pineapples in greenhouses using hydroponics and selling his production 
via an internet platform

Problems on the ground including political instability led it to look towards Australia and Eastern Europe.

But the need to address its over-reliance on imports has inspired other strategies including stockpiling and high-tech agriculture.

Jammal says his model farm where everything is controlled by computers, is a "choice for the future".

"We no longer want to depend on imports. We want to produce locally, all year round, without worrying about climate change, rainfall or drought," he says.

Like Al-Badia, a number of farms are springing up in Dubai and less-developed areas like Al-Ain and the mountainous emirate of Ras al-Khaimah.

Abdellatif al-Banna is another independent farmer joining the innovation drive, growing pineapples in greenhouses using hydroponics -- without soil -- and selling his production via an internet platform.

Not far from Dubai's coastline and glitzy skyscrapers, several farms raise cows 
in air-conditioned sheds that help provide the local market with dairy products

At his farm in Al-Awir, Banna also experiments with growing fruits, vegetables and even wheat in the cooler months -- producing enough grain for his family in what he hopes is a prototype.

Elsewhere, not far from Dubai's coastline and glitzy skyscrapers, several farms raise cows in air-conditioned sheds that help provide the local market with dairy products.

And in vast tanks overseen by a control room that duplicates Norway's sunrises and sunsets, salmon are being farmed in tanks, despite searing heat outside.

Free of shortages

Such farms are often private ventures but are actively encouraged by Emirati authorities, said Omar Bouchehab, who chairs Dubai's Food Security Committee.

Authorities have launched a plan to raise domestic agricultural production by 15 percent by 2021 and boost the use of agricultural technologies, he said.

A fruit and vegetable warehouse is seen in Dubai

At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, while many developed cities saw shelves stripped of pasta, tinned goods and toilet rolls, Dubai did not experience any shortages in fresh produce or staples.

Thanks to airborne cargo services via giant carrier Emirates, which repurposed passenger seats to boost capacity, Dubai was even able to ensure the re-export of various food products to its neighbours.

At the Fresh Market, a large wholesale enterprise, workers busily transported and stored tonnes of imported fresh food. Executive director Redha al-Mansouri was upbeat about the emirate's food security.

"Dubai has an adequate infrastructure and a stock capable of meeting the needs of the United Arab Emirates, and even the needs of neighbouring countries," he said.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Scorching temperature in US's Death Valley could be global high

Yahoo – AFP, Ivan Couronne, August 17, 2020

A new scorching temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius)
recorded in California's Death Valley could be the highest ever recorded, US officials say

A temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius) recorded in California's Death Valley on Sunday by the US National Weather Service could be the hottest ever measured with modern instruments, officials say.

The reading was registered at 3:41 pm at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center in the Death Valley national park by an automated observation system -- an electronic thermometer encased inside a box in the shade.

In 1913, a weather station half an hour's walk away recorded what officially remains the world record of 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 degrees Celsius). But its validity has been disputed because a superheated sandstorm at the time may have skewed the reading.

The next highest temperature was set in July 1931 in Kebili, Tunisia, at 131 degrees Fahrenheit (55.0 degrees Celsisus) -- but again, the accuracy of older instruments has been questioned by some weather historians.

In 2016 and 2017, weather stations in Mitribah, Kuwait and Turbat, Pakistan recorded temperatures of 129.2 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celsius). After evaluation by the World Meteorological Organization both were downgraded by a few fractions of a degree.

The Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization said Monday it would start the process to verify the new US reading.

"This observed high temperature is considered preliminary and not yet official," said the US National Weather Service.

The sensor that recorded a temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit 
(54.4 degrees Celsius) on August 16, 2020 in Death Valley National Park, 

Heating up

Dan Berc, an official at the Las Vegas NWS office responsible for the site, told AFP that the sensor would be brought in for evaluation.

The investigation would take "at least a couple of months," he said, adding: "Growing up as a kid, I thought 130 degrees Fahrenheit was a really cool record." 

Validation isn't a formality, and long-held records have been thrown out after modern evaluation.

For decades, the heat record was officially the 136.4 degrees Fahrenheit (58 degrees Celsius) recorded in 1922 in El Azizia, now modern Libya. 

But a WMO panel that investigated it in detail between 2010 and 2012 stripped it of the title after finding multiple troubling aspects including a potential problem with the thermometers and an inexperienced observer.

The southwestern United States is currently enduring an intense heat wave, which scientists say are becoming more frequent and dangerous because of human-driven climate change.

Worldwide, the five hottest years in history have occurred in the last five years.

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, nations committed to limit temperature rises to "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, mainly through sweeping emissions cuts.

These goals are seen as crucial to prevent triggering a series of tipping points that would cause irreversible planetary heating by the end of the century, making vast swaths of the planet inhospitable for human and animal life.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Wind and solar power at record high in 2020, coal dips: analysis

Yahoo – AFP, Patrick GALEY, 13 August 2020

Despite a near-record drop in power demand due to the pandemic, renewables'
share of the electricity mix was up 14 percent compared to the same period last year

Wind and solar produced a record 10 percent of global electricity in the first half of 2020 as the world's coal plant fleet ran at less than half its capacity, analysis published Thursday showed.

Despite a near-record drop in power demand due to the pandemic, renewables accounted for 1,129 terawatt-hours in January-June, compared with 992 in the first six months of 2019, according to a report by the Ember energy think tank.

Overall, the percentage of power drawn from wind and solar has more than doubled from 4.6 percent in 2015 -- the year of the landmark Paris deal on climate change.

On the other hand, generation from coal -- the most polluting fossil fuel -- fell 8.3 percent in the first half of 2020, the analysis showed.

This was despite leading emitter China increasing its share of the global coal fleet slightly.

"From 2015 it's an incredible amount of growth (in solar and wind), but even at 10 percent it's not completely transformational," Dave Jones, senior electricity analyst at Ember, told AFP.

"When we ask is it enough what we are really talking about is, how fast are emissions falling?

"Thirty percent of fossil fuel emissions globally are just from coal power plants, so coal fired power generation needs to collapse quickly in order to limit climate change," said Jones.

The analysis showed that many major economies -- including China, the United States, India, Japan, Brazil and Turkey -- now generate at least 10 percent of their electricity through wind and solar.

Britain and the European Union were singled out for particular praise, deriving 21 and 33 percent of their power from renewables, respectively.

'Not fast enough'

Under the Paris Agreement, nations committed to limit temperature rises to "well below" two degrees Celsius (3.6 Farenheit) above pre-industrial levels, mainly through sweeping emissions cuts.

The accord also aims for a safer cap of 1.5C of warming.

To reach this, the United Nations says emissions must fall 7.6 percent annually this decade.

Jones said that while 30 percent of coal's decline this year could be attributed to increased wind and solar generation, the rest was likely due to the economic slowdown caused by COVID-19.

"A large part of this is obviously due to the pandemic rather than long term trends and -- let's be honest -- it's not fast enough if your target is 1.5 C," he said.

A study published last week in Nature Climate Change found that absent a rapid switch away from fossil fuels, the unprecedented fall in emissions due to COVID-19 would do virtually nothing to slow climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that coal use needs to fall 13 percent every year this decade to keep the 1.5-C goal in play.

China, the world's leading polluter, reduced its coal production just two percent so far this year despite its economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.

"Where is China's plan to collapse that coal generation by 2030?" said Jones.

"At the moment it doesn't exist."