Hogs Destroy Millions Every Year, Texas Returns The Favor
Aug09

Hogs Destroy Millions Every Year, Texas Returns The Favor

Wild boars are a nuisance in several states, with a rapid breeding cycle and the ability to cause thousands in damages in just a few minutes. Because of this, the business of hog hunting has been growing in states like Texas, which suffers from the largest population of wild hogs in the United States. To combat the problem, Texas lawmakers want to make it much easier for hunters to cull the hog population. That’s why they recently made it legal to hunt feral hogs from hot air balloons. The reason? Helicopters make too much noise. Already, hunters, ranchers, and farmers in the Midwest are encouraged to shoot these nuisance animals on sight. First introduced to the United States nearly 500 years ago by Spanish explorers, the wild hog reproduces at a rate of 12 to 20 piglets every year, and these giant pests have caused $1.5 billion in damages annually. According to CNN Money, the hog population has grown so out of control in Texas that some companies are turning to extreme hunting measures. With a population of 2.6 million wild hogs, and growing fast, some hunters even take to the air in a helicopter and lay into hogs with full auto AR-15s. It’s apparently harder than it looks. “Your target is running, and it’s not necessarily running in the same direction that the helicopter is flying,” said one hunter to KTAB in Abilene. “Imagine riding in a roller coaster while you’re trying to shoot something, and it’s moving.” While airborne hunting might seem unusual, some states allow the practice so long as the species is overpopulated and causing damage to the ecosystem. But while hog hunting companies in Oklahoma, Texas, and other midwestern states are eliminating thousands of feral hogs each year, their efforts have hardly put a dent in the overall population. Of course, while everyone can agree that this invasive species is causing direct harm to the ecosystem and the agricultural industry, some activists will never condone hunting. “We’re against any kind of aerial gunning as a way to manage a conflict with wild animals, especially when it’s sort of farmed out like this,” said John Griffin, director of urban wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States. “They do take a toll on the environment, but they should be handled more humanely. This is more of a spectacle than a responsible way of managing them.” However, Texas state lawmakers disagree. They are ruling in favor of more and more ways and methods to kill hogs, including by...

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Could 200-Year-Old Windows Be More Efficient Than New Models?
Aug04

Could 200-Year-Old Windows Be More Efficient Than New Models?

Good news for historic home owners: Your vintage windows may be just as energy efficient as newer models. This is according to a study by Shannon Kyles and colleagues at Mohawk College in Ontario, Canada. The researchers found that restored 200-year windows actually prevented heat loss just as well as updated models, despite many older homes’ reputation for being drafty. Treehugger reports that the study involved an eight by 12 foot tiny house. The house had two new windows and two 200-year-old windows. They were all installed with foam insulation by John Deelstra, Professor of Carpentry at Mohawk College. The results? They found no difference in efficiency. “The test results demonstrate that there is no difference in air infiltration between new windows and restored pre-war windows,” Kyles said in a statement to Treehugger. However, “restored” is the operative word in that sentence; most old windows aren’t professionally restored with foam insulation. So while there are other factors to consider, these results speak to the effectiveness of restoration. And since 45% of the average energy bill goes toward heating costs, according to the Department of Energy, it pays to choose the best window option for your home. Kyles also writes in the study that potential air leaks aren’t the only factors to consider, since other types of energy go into window production and transportation. “An existing 200 year-old window essentially consists of wood and glass with paint or varnish,” she writes. “The energy needed to restore it is minimal. Comparing this to a new window, one must consider first the embodied energy required to extract raw materials to produce the new product, then the direct energy used to remove the existing window and dispose of it in a land fill. More direct energy is needed to then take the new window to the building.” According to Treehugger, some cheap replacement windows are manufactured with lower standards than those crafted several hundred years ago. While this has sparked a debate in the historic preservation community, window industry data shows that the market for energy efficient windows is predicted to increase by almost 9% between 2017 and 2021. Preservationists, perhaps this is your chance to close the blinds on this...

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Don’t Rely On Multivitamins For Your Nutrition, Doctors Say
Aug04

Don’t Rely On Multivitamins For Your Nutrition, Doctors Say

Americans have been taking multivitamin and mineral supplements since they first were introduced in the early 1940s, using them as a way to get the nutrients they may be lacking. But are multi vitamins alone a good idea? Do they make up for poor nutrition? Millions of American men take a multivitamin every day, but according to an article on WebMD, it may not be helping men’s hearts when taken just on their own. They’re beneficial, but not when taken as a substitute for nutrients. This information comes from a study by Howard Sesso, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “Many had thought that men with ‘poor’ nutritional status at baseline may benefit more from long-term multivitamin use on cardiovascular outcomes; however, we did not see any evidence for this in our recent analysis.” In the study, Sesso and his colleagues took data from an ongoing national study of more than 14,000 U.S. doctors over the age of 50. According to the 11 years of follow-up on the study, the multivitamins did not reduce the men’s risk of heart disease when taken solely without major dietary or lifestyle changes. They aided in helping reduce the amount of nutrient deficiency but did not completely prevent the problem or stop the risk. Applying this data to men that had a relatively poor diet, lacking in certain nutrients, did not yield any difference in results, stated Dr. Kevin Marzo, chief of cardiology at the NYU Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. “This study, like previous studies, suggests that multivitamin use does not reduce risk of heart disease — even in men with poor nutrition.” Marzo believes that too many Americans feel that multivitamins are just a quick fix to ward off greater health concerns. Too often they are primarily taken as a way to avoid proper diet and exercise. While they have benefits to boost a diet, they should not be taken as a replacement for poor eating choices. They are a very good supplement. “Prevention strategies for reducing heart disease risk should focus not on dietary supplements but rather on regular exercise and a healthy diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, and unsaturated fats,” said Marzo. Stephanie Schiff, a dietitian registered at Huntington Hospital in Huntington, N.Y., believes that they still have their place in the American diet. “The best way to get nutrients is from whole foods, but sometimes it’s beneficial to take a multivitamin to help prevent nutritional shortfalls,” she...

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Utah Couple Charged After Giving Newborn Drugs To Hide Addiction
Aug04

Utah Couple Charged After Giving Newborn Drugs To Hide Addiction

A Utah couple has been charged with child endangerment after giving their newborn daughter pain medication in an attempt to disguise the child’s opiate addiction. According to a report from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, Lacey Dawn Christenson, 26, and Colby Glen Wilde, 29, had given their child a prescription pain medication known as Suboxone the day of her birth. The child’s addiction developed during Christenson’s pregnancy when Christenson abused the use of prescription pain medication and heroin. The Elk Ridge couple attempted to cover the infant’s addiction by providing the baby with Suboxone along her mouth and gums at Utah Valley Hospital when they were away from medical staff. Drug overdose is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the United States as the opiate epidemic continues its rampage. Babies of drug-addicted parents often become addicted to opiates because pregnant women suffering from addiction often find detoxification difficult as the withdrawal stage may be harmful to themselves as well as the fetus. According to CNN, “informants told law enforcement that parents of drug-addicted babies sometimes [give their children pain medication] to hide signs of addiction from hospitals.” While the event took place on April 9, the couple only faced arrest on June 26 after Wilde was arrested for theft at a Spanish Fork Walmart. Christenson was also taken in for an outstanding warrant. Based on a tip from a former pet-sitter, the police obtained a search warrant and searched the couple’s home while Wilde and Christenson were in prison. The police found drug paraphernalia next to various children’s things including a sippy cup and bassinette. The couple’s four children, three boys between the ages of two and eight and their three-month-old daughter, were taken into custody where they were tested for drugs. Having been arrested on prior charges, the couple was released from jail only to be arrested again on July 18 when the police had obtained a second search warrant regarding the couple’s drug abuse. According to CNN, “When the deputies arrived to do the second search warrant, they found Wilde ‘actively smoking heroin’…” Wilde and Christenson have since been charged with the use of heroin and methamphetamine, endangerment of a child, possession of drug paraphernalia, and distribution of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone. According to police deputies, the couple’s oldest child tested negative for drugs while the younger children tested positive for methamphetamines. The couple’s daughter tested positive for heroin and morphine. Christenson and Wilde’s cash bail is currently set at...

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Researchers Create Futuristic Self Destructing Circuit Board
Aug03

Researchers Create Futuristic Self Destructing Circuit Board

Scientists have created a unique circuit board that will make sci-fi enthusiasts around the world very, very happy. Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee have created simple circuit boards that will rapidly disintegrate if placed in water that is cooler than room temperature. So while these boards aren’t quite like the “This message will self destruct” technology seen in spy movies, they’re still pretty nifty. These boards include conductive traces and adaptors that work perfectly fine above 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but if placed in an area or water that is cold, they will immediately disappear. The idea behind this interesting technology is that if the engineer neglects it, it will automatically destruct. The researchers were hoping to create a piece of technology that would remind the user to take care of it, or else it is ruined forever. Once it dissolves, it cannot be put back together. The circuit board system is complex considering its size — it involves a system of silver nanowires that are connected via a polymer that is hydrophobic at room temperature or warmer. Hydrophobic molecules do not hold a charge, so they are nonpolar and do not dissolve. Once the board is placed in water, the polymer dissolves and the silver nanowires detach from each other, making the board completely nonexistent in a matter of minutes, Spectrum reports. Dr. Leon Bellan, one of the researchers on the project, explains the technology to Digital Trends: “What we have done is produce a composite system that behaves like a regular circuit board when immersed in warm water, but if the water cools below a threshold temperature, the entire system disintegrates, dissolves, and stops working. We have achieved this behavior by coupling two separate materials: networks of silver nanowires, and a polymer that exhibits the odd behavior of being insoluble in warm water, but soluble in cold water.” One can compare this interesting technology to that of a normal printed circuit board, and how these boards change appearance. Regular PCBs have Temperature Marker material that is opaque initially, but once it reaches 413 degrees Fahrenheit, the material liquifies, becomes shiny, and cannot be reversed back to its original state. This self-destructing circuit board takes that concept to a whole new level. The next step for the researchers is to now see if these circuit boards can sustain themselves when embedded in human and animal tissue, such as the arm or a...

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