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Daily Focus 069

Another slain rapper, when will we learn? Boosie vs Dwade the battle of moral vs a shift in cultural acceptance. Is having photographic skin fetishes a thing? What if break milk tasted like coconut water. Operation Yogi Infiltration is on stage 2. A nice 4 mile run to get the blood flowing as thoughts of endurance and pain management rise. Learning how to crab fish on a San Diego beach. This one was random, enjoy.

 

Quotes Of The Day 

Every river that runs into the sea loses its name

No Sweet Without Sweat

Riches are like perspiration if you rest they dry up

Ours is not mine

Making Air Out of Moondust

ESA opens oxygen plant, making air out of moondust
Oxygen and metal from lunar regolith. Credit: Beth Lomax – University of Glasgow

ESA’s technical heart has begun to produce oxygen out of simulated moondust.

A prototype  plant has been set up in the Materials and Electrical Components Laboratory of the European Space Research and Technology Centre, ESTEC, based in Noordwijk in the Netherlands.

“Having our own facility allows us to focus on , measuring it with a mass spectrometer as it is extracted from the regolith simulant,” comments Beth Lomax of the University of Glasgow, whose Ph.D. work is being supported through ESA’s Networking and Partnering Initiative, harnessing advanced academic research for space applications.

“Being able to acquire oxygen from resources found on the Moon would obviously be hugely useful for future lunar settlers, both for breathing and in the local production of rocket fuel.”

ESA research fellow Alexandre Meurisse adds: “And now we have the facility in operation we can look into fine-tuning it, for instance by reducing the operating temperature, eventually designing a version of this system that could one day fly to the Moon to be operated there.”

Samples returned from the  confirm that  is made up of 40–45% percent oxygen by weight, its single most abundant element. But this oxygen is bound up chemically as oxides in the form of minerals or glass, so is unavailable for immediate use.

ESA opens oxygen plant, making air out of moondust
Credit: European Space Agency

ESTEC’s oxygen extraction is taking place using a method called molten salt electrolysis, involving placing regolith in a metal basket with molten calcium chloride salt to serve as an electrolyte, heated to 950°C. At this temperature the regolith remains solid.

But passing a current through it causes the oxygen to be extracted from the regolith and migrate across the salt to be collected at an anode. As a bonus this process also converts the regolith into usable metal alloys.

In fact this molten salt electrolysis method was developed by UK company Metalysis for commercial metal and alloy production. Beth’s Ph.D. involved working at the company to study the process before recreating it at ESTEC.

“At Metalysis, oxygen produced by the process is an unwanted by-product and is instead released as  and carbon monoxide, which means the reactors are not designed to withstand oxygen gas itself,” explains Beth. “So we had to redesign the ESTEC version to be able to have the oxygen available to measure. The lab team was very helpful in getting it installed and operating safely.”

ESA opens oxygen plant, making air out of moondust
Scanning electron microscope view of lunar simulant particles before the oxygen extraction process. Credit: Beth Lomax / University of Glasgow

The oxygen plant runs silently, with the oxygen produced in the process is vented into an exhaust pipe for now, but will be stored after future upgrades of the system.

“The production process leaves behind a tangle of different metals,” adds Alexandre, “and this is another useful line of research, to see what are the most useful alloys that could be produced from them, and what kind of applications could they be put to.

“Could they be 3-D printed directly, for example, or would they require refining? The precise combination of metals will depend on where on the Moon the  is acquired from—there would be significant regional differences.”

The ultimate aim would be to design a “pilot plant” that could operate sustainably on the Moon, with the first technology demonstration targeted for the mid-2020s.

ESA opens oxygen plant, making air out of moondust
Moondust simulant undergoing oxygen extraction. Credit: Beth Lomax / University of Glasgow

“ESA and NASA are heading back to the Moon with crewed missions, this time with a view towards staying,” says Tommaso Ghidini, Head of ESA’s Structures, Mechanisms and Materials Division.

“Accordingly we’re shifting our engineering approach to a systematic use of lunar resources in-situ. We are working with our colleagues in the Human and Robotics Exploration Directorate, European industry and academia to provide top class scientific approaches and key enabling technologies like this one, towards a sustained human presence on the Moon and maybe one day Mars.”

Provided by European Space Agency

Fireflies Are Facing Extinction

(CNN) — Around the world, fireflies light up the night with their shimmering bodies. But scientists say this magical display is under threat — with the loss of their natural habitats, pesticide use and artificial light putting some of the 2,000 or so species at risk of extinction.

Habitat loss is leading to the decline of many wildlife species, with some fireflies suffering because they need certain environmental conditions to complete their life cycle, said Sara Lewis, a professor of biology at Tufts University, who led the research published Monday in the journal Bioscience.

For example, she said, one Malaysian firefly (Pteroptyx tener), famous for its synchronized flashing displays, needs mangroves and the plants they contain to breed but across Malaysia mangrove swamps have been converted into palm oil plantations and aquaculture farms.

More surprisingly, the researchers found that the use of artificial light at night, something that has grown exponentially over the past century, was the second most serious threat to the creatures.

Fireflies are facing extinction due to habitat loss, pesticides and artificial light
Fireflies are seen at a sanctuary conserved and protected by the National Forestry Commission near Nanacamilpa, Tlaxcala, Mexico on July 20, 2017.

Skyglow

Artificial light includes both direct lighting, such as street lights and commercial signs, and skyglow, a more diffuse illumination that spreads beyond urban centers and can be brighter than a full moon.

“In addition to disrupting natural biorhythms — including our own — light pollution really messes up firefly mating rituals,” said Avalon Owens, a PhD candidate in biology at Tufts and a co-author of the study, in a news release.

Many fireflies rely on bioluminescence — chemical reactions inside their bodies that allows them to light up — to find and attract mates, and too much artificial light can interfere with this courtship. Switching to energy efficient, overly bright LEDs is not helping, said Owens.

The study noted that, according to conservative estimates, more than 23% of the planet’s land surface now experiences some degree of artificial brightness at night.

The authors of the study, who are affiliated with the International Union for Conservation of Nature Firefly Specialist Group, surveyed 350 members of the Fireflyers International Network to catalog the threats faced by the insect.

They said that more monitoring studies, with long-term data, were needed to understand to what degree firefly populations were declining. Most evidence about firefly numbers is anecdotal, they said.

Dave Goulson, a professor of biology at the University of Sussex in the UK, said the ranking of habitat loss as the single most important driver, with pesticides a significant secondary concern, is in line with what is believed to be driving declines of insects more broadly.

“Of course fireflies are particularly vulnerable to light pollution, more so than perhaps any other insect group, so it makes sense that this also emerges as a major concern,” said Goulson, who was not involved in the research.

Scientists have detailed a “quiet apocalypse” among insect populations, with 41% of bug species facing extinction, according to a recent report on insect decline for the UK Wildlife Trusts authored by Goulson.

The firefly paper highlighted the risk posed by insecticides, like neonicotinoids, which is used in the US for corn and soybean seeds.

Fireflies are facing extinction due to habitat loss, pesticides and artificial light
This photo taken on August 18, 2015 shows fireflies kept in jars during in Guangzhou in China’s southern Guangdong province.

Firefly tourism

Another factor was what the authors called “firefly tourism.” In places like Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia, it’s long been a recreational activity to watch the spectacular light displays put on by some firefly species. However, it is now becoming more popular and widespread — attracting more than 200,000 visitors per year — impacting firefly numbers as a result.

In Thailand, the authors said that motorboat traffic along mangrove rivers in Thailand was toppling trees and eroding river banks and destroying habitat, while flightless species were getting trampled on by tourists in North Carolina and Nanacampila in Mexico.

The authors said guidelines were needed to establish and manage tourist sites that outline the best way to protect the fireflies from trampling, light pollution, and pesticides.

“Our goal is to make this knowledge available for land managers, policy makers, and firefly fans everywhere,” said co-author Sonny Wong of the Malaysian Nature Society. “We want to keep fireflies lighting up our nights for a long, long time.”

Crystal Caves in Naica Mine : Mexico

This crystal cave is revealed unintentionally, and it is big enough to drive a car inside. The cave located at the Naica Mine in the Mexican state is called Chihuahua. This country is well known for its extraordinary and unique crystals. Mostly, people can find zinc and silver mines, which are operated by the Industrias Penoles, the largest lead producer in Mexico.

The formation of the crystals

The main reason for their creation is the fact that Naica is on an ancient fault. The place is an underground magma chamber, right below the cave. Well, now, the magma heated the water in the ground and created minerals. It creates a large amount of gypsum. The space of the cave is filled with hot water, which is very filthy rich with minerals, and stayed there for 500,000 years. During this time, the temperature of that hot water was the same, and that is 50 degrees Celsius. It is the perfect environment for the formation of the crystals, and they grow into immense sizes.

How did they grow in that big?

In the journal ‘Geology,’ Garcia-Ruiz claims that for such a long time, the crystals thrived in their cave, and it is a rare case. Also, it is extraordinary because the natural environment was stable for such a long time. When the temperature remained the same, which means that the crystals had the perfect conditions for growth, they were growing bigger.

Nowadays, the mining operations are pumping the water out of the ten by thirty meters cave. Now, the mining company received advice by Garcia-Ruiz, to preserve the caves.

Exploration and scientific studies

Paolo Forti led a scientific team to explore the cave in detail, back in 2006. Paolo Forty is a specialist in cave minerals and also a crystallographer at the University of Bologna, Italy. To survive underground in the cave, under such conditions and that high temperature, the scientists invented their refrigerated suits and cold systems for breathing. The suit is called Tolomea suit, and the breathing system was called Sinusit respirator.

The caving overalls fitted with a mattress of refrigerating tubes, placed throughout their bodies, and linked with a backpack that was heavy around twenty kg. The bag was filled with a reservoir of cold water and ice. The cooling process will melt the ice, and that was enough to provide the body half an hour of anatomy.

In the survey, besides the mineralogical and crystallographic researches, there were also studies for biochemical and microbial features of the giant gypsum crystals.
Stein-Erik Lauritzen, employed at the University of Bergen, Norway, did the uranium-thorium survey so that he can find out the maximum age of there crystals. His results showed 500,000 years.

Penelope Boston is part of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and an expert for caves and geomicrobiologist. She finds out that sterile sampling of the crystal gypsum drillcores by creating small boreholes in the big crystals during aseptic conditions. Her goal was to reveal the possible presence of some ancient bacteria that survived in the fluid. The solid inclusions indicated the presence of the calcium sulfate. They consisted of magnesium and iron oxy-hydroxide, and there was nothing organic. The experts couldn’t take DNA from the ancient bacteria from the solid inclusions to amplify by PCR.

Besides these experts, there were many other researchers. They covered the area of palynology-pollen study, geochemistry, and other conditions that are characteristic for this place, the cave of crystals.

People discovered the crystals of selenite (gypsum), and it is big four feet, or 1.2 meters in diameter and fifty feet long, or fifteen meters.

Selenite is named after the goddess of the moon, Selene. Its moonlight-like reflections has a heavenly light that carries complete positivity and purity with a flowing fluid energy. It embodies tranquility, blessing, love and light. Its vibrations are spiritual in nature and connects you to the angelic realm for angelic guidance and provide soul connection, the highest self-illumination, and stimulates the clearest state of mind. Selenite is perfect to help you quiet the mind and achieve mental clarity. It can also help clear the negative baggage in your system to give you the energy you need so your true light can shine.

Our Selenite Purity Stone can completely purify the chakras and activates the Crown Chakra and Etheric Chakras that links to the spirit that helps you to better attune you to higher enlightened things of the universe. Its fine linear striations serve as a pathway for the spirit and is said to carry the history of the world that helps you to connect with ancient wisdom and knowledge.

Decriminalize Nature DC Board of Elections Effort Today

 

Today, 2/18/20 at 11 AM, we head back to DC Board of Elections for one more step in the process to get @melissalava’s initiative on the ballot so that DC voters can decide to #decrimnature!
…..
#decrimnatureDC #entheogen #entheogens #magicmushrooms #phyrgian #ayahuasca #cactus #iboga #mesclun #restoringourroots #vote

COCONUT CURRY BLACK LENTIL AND POTATO STEW

Reposted from @ betterfoodguru Do you like lentils?

I do, they are little nutritional powerhouses, they cook quickly and their flavor is very mild which makes them versatile as heck.

Today’s turmeric Tuesday post uses small black lentils which cook in a snap and have such a great texture!

👉COCONUT CURRY BLACK LENTIL AND POTATO STEW with  rice, cilantro and mint

🤘Coconut Curry and Black Lentil and Potato Stew Recipe

Prep: 10 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Yield: 5-7

How to:

1. Put 1/2 lb cleaned small black lentils in a big pot to boil with water about 3 inches above lentil level. Boil for about 20 mins while you prep and cook the other ingredients. You may add in 4 cubed small size potatoes I used russetts but any will do around the 15 min mark to boil as well

2. Sauté in a separate pan with 2tsp olive oil 4 cloves chopped garlic, 2 inches fresh ginger chopped, 1 onion chopped small and 1/4 inch fresh turmeric chopped until all are caramelized well about 5 mins. Add 3 peeled and chopped carrots and 3 baby red bell peppers chopped and salt lightly then cook 3-4 mins

3. Push carrot, onion mix to the side to toast the dry spices. Add 2tsp turmeric, 1T garam masala, 1tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1 pinch crushed red pepper and black pepper and cook for 2 mins stirring constantly then add 3T tomato paste and 1 can unsweetened coconut milk and bring to a quick boil then turn off and put aside.

4. Check your lentils. If they are soft add the sauté mixture into the lentils and let simmer for 10 mins. Taste for salt

5. Serve with your fave sides or just a giant bowl and top with copious cilantro and fresh mint.

 

Black History Meets Artistic Expression

Its Black History Month. And in order to celebrate it, every day for  28 days, Seattle mom Cristi Smith-Jones has been posting pictures to Twitter and Facebook of her daughter Lola dressed up as a different famous black woman. The result? One seriously epic photo series.

Just check out this shot of her 5-year-old (on the left) dressed up as infamous changemaker Rosa Parks (pictured at 42):

Pretty powerful, right?

During the past month, Cristi has also dressed Lola up as such modern icons as ballerina Misty Copeland:

And she’s honored scientist Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel into space:

So incredible! And according to Cristi, it all started back in January when Lola came home from school and told her parents she had learned about Martin Luther King Jr.

“She seemed to understand where we were coming from,” Cristi told CNN, then added: “Since it’s a heavy topic, we wanted to find a way to make learning about black history fun for her.”

So the creative mama compiled a list of women in history and showed their pictures to Lola so she could choose the ones she wanted to dress up as. Cristi then shot most of the pics on her phone—her photog friend Kayleigh Stefanko also lent a hand—with Lola tricked out in various wigs and old family clothes and accessories.

The project may have started out as a way to add some levity to a heady topic, but the result is a poignant and empowering celebration of 28 iconic black women. In fact, Cristi’s education-through-art is probably one of the most effective methods of teaching about Black History Month we’ve ever seen. Way to go, Mama—you and that brilliant little muse of yours are truly inspiring!

Check out the rest of the incredible images on Cristi’s Twitter feed.

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Psilocybin Molecule: The Agent of Transfiguration

Anyone who’s went through a well-thought-out serious dose of mushrooms can tell you that psilocybin is a truly life-changing compound.

This molecule first emerged 10 to 20 million years ago, and its primary function was to repel predators from feasting on the mushrooms.

In the millions of years that followed creatures with superior sentience gradually evolved, and in humans the effects produced by psilocybin are completely different from the original purpose of this molecule.

How come some mushrooms have psilocybin?

Over two hundred species of mushrooms (which grow in almost every corner of the world) have developed psilocybin, and what’s fascinating is that this molecule seems to have evolved “separately” in each of them.

This unusual process where the beneficial genetic material jumps from species to species is called the horizontal gene transfer. This specific type of gene transfer is usually a result of a specific threat or opportunity in the environment.

It is speculated that the psilocybin-carrying genetic material “jumped” from one species to another because a great number of differing mushrooms grow on manure and rotten wood, but more importantly because in this fungi-friendly environment there’s also a lot of insects, who are the mushroom’s natural enemies.

Science has figured out (1) that unlike with humans (whose consciousness distorts in profound ways when psilocybin is introduced), psilocybin causes insects to perceive that they are full, which prevents them from eating the mushroom in question.

This sensation in the insects’ mind makes psilocybin a very sophisticated defense mechanism, because it doesn’t poison or kill them, but instead deters predatory insects from continuing to eat the mushroom.

How does psilocybin induce psychedelic effects?

Firstly, when we consume psilocybin mushrooms, the presence of water molecules in the body causes a phosphate group to detach from the psilocybin molecule.

This process is called dephosphorylation, and it converts psilocybin into psilocin, which is responsible for the mind-altering effects.

Once psilocybin is converted to psilocin, this molecule is now able to attach to specific receptors in the brain.

Because it is structurally quite similar to serotonin, psilocin prevents the reuptake (reabsorption) of serotonin on these serotonin receptors sites.

This means that psilocin temporarily “hijacks” serotonin receptors from serotonin, and stimulate them throughout numerous important regions of the brain.

This ability to stimulate serotonin receptors means that psilocin is a serotonin receptor agonist.

Serotonin is an immensely important neurotransmitter, with an extremely wide set of functions within the human body.

It’s frequently called the “happy chemical” as it’s essential for our feelings of wellbeing and happiness, but it is also intricately connected with numerous other functions such as mood, appetite, sleep cyclessexual desire, memory and learning. Low levels of the serotonin molecule is also tightly tied with depression.

Similar to serotonin, but not the same

Psilocin molecules are capable of stimulating serotonin receptors because they are structurally similar to serotonin, and a very similar thing happens with cannabinoids from cannabis, which are able to stimulate the cellular receptors of the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid receptors have evolved to be stimulated by our endogenous endocannabinoids like anandamide. But, because cannabinoids like THC and CBD are structurally similar to our body-made endocannabinoids, endocannabinoid receptors also respond to the simulation of cannabinoids.

Just like endocannabinoids and cannabinoids are different, psilocin and serotonin are different. They don’t produce the same effects, even though they are similar in structure and fit onto the same receptors.

Since psilocybin (and subsequently psilocin) still remains a Schedule 1 substance, science is still having a hard time uncovering all of its mysteries, because the illegality cripples both the funding and volume of research.

What we know so far

Research has shown that psilocin stimulates serotonin receptors differently than serotonin, and the main difference is that psilocin activates phospholipase A2 enzymes, unlike serotonin which activates phospholipase C enzymes.

This basically means that psilocin and serotonin produce different effects when they stimulate these receptors, and other psychedelic compounds like DMT and LSD also activate phospholipase A2.

This kind of receptor activation is produces a cascading domino effect, affecting numerous regions in the brain – most importantly the default mode network.

The default mode network

Psylocibin vs placebo
image source: pnas.org

When scientists first began taking brain scans of people under the influence of psilocybin, they expected to see a great increase in brain activity, corresponding with the intense sensations that people regularly report.

But unexpectedly, they saw a significant decrease of cerebral blood flow (CBF) in a specific network that is essential to our perception of self.

The default mode network (DMN) is a set of structures located in the midline of the brain, which connects structures of the frontal cortex (the most recently evolved part, home to our executive functions like planning, reasoning and problem solving), with older and deeper structures of the brain that are involved with emotions and memory.

All of this entails that the DMN is a crucial hub in the brain, involved with self-criticism, self-reflection and negative ruminating thoughts. It is also connected with our ability to think about both the past and the future, which is considered crucial for a well-developed sense of identity.

The DMN also plays a part in the theory of mind, which is the ability of humans to imagine various mental states (desires, intents, emotions and beliefs) in other people.

The ability of this molecule to temporary silence the default mode network is theorized to be responsible for the sensations of ego dissolution that many people experience on psilocybin.

This brief disconnect from the DMN results in a reconnection to everything, and the current research with psilocybin is showing astonishing results for people suffering from depression and addiction, as they are most afflicted with ruminating negative thought-patterns.

While the DMN is shut down, new neural connections are being formed, which brings us to the second important effect of psilocybin.

Novel brain connections

2014 study was performing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain scans on 15 participants who all had previous experiences with psychedelics, while they were on psilocybin.

The scans showed a significant decrease in activity in the default mode network, but more importantly, the data showed that the brain under the influence of psilocybin was creating a lot of new biologically stable neural connections.

Neural connections
Image source: volteface.me

Because the regular functioning of the default mode network is temporarily inhibited, structures within the brain that otherwise don’t directly communicate are able to connect.

This momentary rearrangement is thought to be responsible for the dramatically positive shifts in perspective that so many people experience with psilocybin, because it allows an otherwise-constricted and loop-driven brain to develop brand new insights and perspectives.

Even though these novel connections are only temporary and the functions of the brain are normalized after the psilocybin session, the study showed that the ego-dissolution in combination with new insights produces positive long-lasting neurological changes.

This occurs because the consciousness has had a chance to “experience” a different and less-constricted form of functioning, and this effect is something that isn’t easily forgotten.

Changes in the visual cortex

One of the most captivating effects of psilocybin are the vivid visual hallucinations, and scientists are currently trying to unravel how they occur.

Even though the 2019 study dealing with this correlation was performed on mice, it provided the research team with a lot of tangible insights.

A compound called DOI (2,5-Dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine) was used in this research, which is just like psilocybin activates phospholipase A2 enzymes.

This type of stimulation of the serotonin receptors caused the visual cortex to behave in a very disorganized fashion.

In normal states, exposure to a visual stimuli would result in an instant burst of neural activity, but for mice on DOI, this initial response was significantly obstructed.

Neurons fired with decreased intensity, and the timing of the firing was atypical. The main hypothesis is that hallucinations occur because the brain is trying to compensate for the lack of data it’s getting from the visual cortex.

The diminished input received from the main visual processing regions is possibly causing the brain to counterbalance the lack of information, which results in strange visual distortions.

This hypothesis coincides with the sensations experienced on a psilocybin trip, because the user is intellectually aware of the experienced hallucinations.

Conclusion

Humans have been utilizing psilocybin mushrooms for spiritual purposes for millenia, but the resurgence of interest within the scientific community for psilocybin is showing that a responsible and educated use of this molecule is extremely beneficial for both our psyche and our spirit.
Contemporary research is currently verifying with factual evidence that psilocybin therapy provides a multitude of benefits for numerous disorders of the mind, including treatment-resistant depression, end-of-life depression and anxiety, and alcohol and nicotine addiction.

Source – GreenCamp

Cause and Effect Project Human

Ahead of a series of major events later this year, The Foundation for Deep Ecology and the Population Media Center released a collection that illustrates the devastating effects of out-of-control growth and waste, and it’s breathtaking.

“This is an issue that people care about, and oftentimes it’s just not discussed by mainstream media,” Missie Thurston, director of marketing and communications at the Population Media Center, told Mic.

It’s difficult to always know the impacts of our daily choices, like the real effect of buying a bottled water or an extra TV or laptop. With 220,000 more people on the planet every day, and the average person generating over 4 pounds of waste a day — an almost 60% increase since 1960 — the impact of that growth and change in behavior is rarely seen like this.

Peter Essick/Foundation for Deep Ecology

Electronic waste, from around the world, is shipped to Accra, Ghana, where locals break apart the electronics for minerals or burn them. 

Pablo Lopez Luz/Foundation for Deep Ecology

Mexico City, Mexico, one of the most populous cities in the Western Hemisphere.

Digital Globe/Foundation for Deep Ecology

New Delhi, India, where many landfills are reaching a breaking point. The surrounding population of Delhi totals some 25 million people

Mike Hedge/Foundation for Deep Ecology

Los Angeles, California, which is famous for sometimes having more cars than people.

Mark Gamba/Corbis/Foundation for Deep Ecology

Kern River oil field, California, USA.

Daniel Dancer/Foundation for Deep Ecology

Former old-growth forest leveled for reservoir development, Willamette National Forest, Oregon, per the Population Media Center.

Jason Hawkes/Foundation for Deep Ecology

Coal power plant, United Kingdom. The tall center structure is a stack from the plant, while the surrounding structures are its cooling towers.

Cotton Coulson/Keenpress/Foundation for Deep Ecology

North East Land, Svalbard, Norway, where rising global temperatures are fundamentally changing the ecology.

Digital Globe/Foundation for Deep Ecology

The world’s largest diamond mine, Russia.

Daniel Beltra/Foundation for Deep Ecology

Amazon jungle burns to make room for grazing cattle, Brazil.

Garth Lentz/Foundation for Deep Ecology

Tar sands and open pit mining in an area so vast, it can be seen from space. Alberta, Canada.

Daniel Dancer/Foundation for Deep Ecology

Tires discarded in Nevada.

Garth Lentz/Foundation for Deep Ecology

Vancouver Island, Canada.

Yann Arthus Bertrand/Foundation for Deep Ecology

Industrial agriculture in Almeria, Spain, stretches for miles.

Garth Lentz/Foundation for Deep Ecology

Tar sands, Alberta, Canada.

Lu Guang/Foundation for Deep Ecology

A man turns away from the smell of the Yellow River in China.

Power of Hand Washing

Sometimes a prime example is better than words — especially when it comes to explaining something to children. That’s exactly what Jaralee Metcalf, a teacher from Idaho, decided to do to show her pupils the importance of washing their hands properly. And now the whole world is following her example!

Here at Bright Side we were so impressed by how simple and clear this project was, that we couldn`t hold back from telling you about it.

At the beginning of winter, when flu season had just started, Jaralee Metcalf, a behavioral specialist from Idaho Falls Elementary School, shared that she was tired of always being sick. Although the spread of bacteria in her class was inevitable, she wanted to show the kids why they needed to wash their hands to kill germs.

The point of the experiment

To explain how bacteria spread and why it’s important to wash your hands well and often, Jaralee came up with a simple classroom activity with her students: she asked several kids with various levels of hand cleanliness to touch 5 pieces of white bread that were taken from the same loaf, at the same time. Then, they put the bread in individual plastic bags to observe what would happen over the course of one month.

Steps of the project

“We took fresh bread and touched it.” — explains Jaralee in her Facebook post that has been shared about 70K times.

The first piece was rubbed on all of the classroom laptops. The second one was a control piece — it wasn’t touched, it was placed immediately in the plastic bag and labeled “Fresh & untouched.” The third piece of bread was touched by the whole class using unwashed hands. For piece #4 the whole class washed their hands with warm water & soap and, again, touched the slice. And for bread piece #5, they cleaned their hands with hand sanitizer and then touched it.

A slice wiped on laptops

One month later the Chromebook-rubbed slice looked worse than all the other specimens. As the teacher explains, at their school they do sanitize the laptops, obviously they didn’t do that for the project.

The effect of soap & warm water

The only slice of bread that didn`t have the obvious bacteria on it was example #4. It was the one that was touched by hands that were just washed with warm water & soap, which clearly showed the children why they should wash their hands often.

The “dirty hands” slice

Example #3, the “dirty hands” slice, was covered in spectacular mold growths one month later and didn`t need any additional explanation.