People Are Sharing Things They’ll Miss About Lockdowns

Guess what, everyone?

The pandemic isn’t over yet! Not even close, in fact…

And, while we’re seeing a lot of people out there ACTING like things have improved, we all need to be smart about wearing a mask, keeping our distance from people, and washing our hands.

Regardless of all those pesky FACTS, people have been tweeting out what they’re going to miss about lockdown…whenever that happens. It’s good to dream, I guess…let’s take a look at what people had to say! Stay safe out there!

1. That’s a good thing.

Trust me, you’ll be able to hibernate this whole winter.

2. Awwwwww. Keep on enjoying that.

Looks like a good companion.

3. That is definitely a positive thing.

Let’s all keep ’em clean when this is over, okay?

4. The perfect excuse…

What’s YOURS?

5. They’re always there for you.

You gotta love that!

6. All kinds of experiments going on.

That can be good or bad…just ask your pets.

7. All kinds of good stuff.

You still have a good amount of time to enjoy all of this.

8. Pretty steady where I’m at.

That’s cheap!

9. Livin’ the life.

Like I said, lockdown ain’t going anywhere, so keep on enjoying it.

10. Guest appearance!

You know your co-workers love it!

11. Family is everything.

I’m sure they love having you there!

12. Oh come on, lighten up…

Give people a chance! It’s worth it!

Sorry, folks, but we still have quite a ways to go before we can get back to normal again…

Now we want to hear from you!

How are you spending your time during the lockdown?

Talk to us in the comments! And stay safe out there!

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People Share the Scientific Facts They Really Wish Weren’t True

Believing in science is important, and when a fact is irrefutable, researched, and peer-reviewed, we should all accept that it’s true.

That doesn’t mean we have to like it, though.

Here are 17 people who have a beef with one scientific fact or another, and their reasons are pretty darn good.

17. We have no idea what’s down there.

The fact that 80% of the ocean is unexplored.

All of that vast ocean… and we have no idea what’s in it.

16. Well that’s terrible.

Pandas often have twins, but usually the mother can only manage to care for one, so the other is abandoned.

Giant panda cubs can’t even open their eyes until they’re 6 weeks old, and can’t move around until they’re 3 months.

Poor little guys.

15. We won’t be around to see it either way.

The universe was theorized to either slam back together after many more billions of years and possibly create a new Big Bang, or just die by expanding away from everything else and getting colder and colder until atom basically stop moving.

I think its called the Big Chill. Guess which one sounds worse. You pick the Big Chill? Well thats the one scientists believe is the one thats gonna happen.

14. The face I am making right now.

Otters are not as nice as the look.

Male otters sometimes hold pups ransom to force their mothers to give up some of their food

They kill for fun, like a bunch of sociopaths,

One of them grabbed a baby harbor seal (with their fangs) and raped it to death.

11 percent of sea otters found dead on the California coast from 1998 to 2001 were killed, at least in part, by trauma associated with mating.

Also, they are necrophiles.

13. Makes you feel safe, doesn’t it.

Carbon fiber is extremely strong, but only when forces are applied in the direction of the fibers. If you apply the force perpendicular to the fibers, a carbon fiber will split easily.

So you either have to figure out where the forces will be and position the fibers of a carbon fiber part in that direction or settle for a sometimes weaker metal part, which can withstand forces in all directions.

12. Females always getting the short end of the stick.

Felines (and some other animals) have barbed penises which make intercourse extremely painful for females. Females will even try to escape because it causes so much pain.

Unfortunately the spikes are necessary to stimulate ovulation, so it’s unavoidable for reproduction.

11. It’s simple math.

Bigger people, be it taller or fatter are more likely to develop cancer than someone smaller. If anyone doesn’t know what cancer actually is it’s what happens when a cell divides incorrectly and it begins to reproduce at very high speeds.

The more cells someone has the more likely they are to develop cancer. This is not taking any exposure to a substance that can cause cancer into consideration.

10. I would very much never like to find out.

That you can get a blockage in your bowels and die crapping out of your mouth.

9. We so want it to be possible.

That nothing can go faster than the speed of light. I sucks because it make space exploration like in SciFi impossible. And yes I know that there might be ways around it or stuff like wormholes but right now they aren’t really possible.

There is tons of cool stuff we might be able to do in the future. Send seed ships to other solar system. Make generation ship to closer ones. Colonise and terraforming the solar system. Make drone exploration ship.

But actually go from system to system like in star wars, star trek and a million other show. Not an option and might very well never be.

8. We should be more careful.

Materials that are really useful, but extremely harmful.

Asbestos is an amazing material, if it didn’t cause cancer then freakin everything should be made of it. Lightweight, strong for its density, entirely fireproof, and extremely carcinogenic.

Lead paint and leaded gasoline is just plain better, real shame lead is so poisonous because otherwise you’d never want to use the lead-free versions of those things.

Carbon nanotubes, while not something that currently has practical application, probably never will because like asbestos they cause cancer. It is outstanding what that stuff is capable of, but breathing in broken material will absolutely give you cancer.

I’m sure there are some others I’m forgetting.

7. There are ways to deal with it.

Trauma stays with you for the rest of your life.

There are ways to help overcome it but it never truly leaves and will always keep affecting you to a degree.

6. That sounds unpleasant for all involved.

Animals, like Hamsters, have more babies then their bodies (nipples) can feed.

In order to save the others from competing with each other, the mother will eat any additional young, alive.

5. Really? That’s the thing?

Friction does not depend on surface area but instead on normal force on that surface and friction coefficient.

Drives me mad. If I could ask god one thing it’d be to change this.

4. Not-so-fun facts.

“Increasing number of people are unknowingly spreading HIV because they don’t get regular STI check ups”

– Doctors when I get STI check ups.

3. That sounds terrible.

There have been only 3 people who had died out of the earth.

They were the crew of the Soyuz 11. There have been recorded details about the mission, mostly graphic.

You know something was very serious when even the USSR doesn’t even bother covering it.

Yep, even the USA learned about it the second they heard about it.

2. But only if you’re not blind.

That being blind is akin to trying to watch the back of your head, you simply can’t, blind people don’t see black, they literally see nothing.

It’s a terrifying thought.

1. This really is the worst.

Things that taste good are bad for you.

In 1948, the Framingham Heart Study enrolled more than 5,000 residents of Framingham, Massachusetts, to participate in a long-term study of risk factors for heart disease. (Very long term—the study is now enrolling the grandchildren of the original volunteers.)

It and subsequent ambitious and painstaking epidemiological studies have shown that one’s risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain kinds of cancer and other health problems increases in a dose-dependent manner upon exposure to delicious food.

Steak, salty French fries, eggs Benedict, triple-fudge brownies with whipped cream—turns out they’re killers. Sure, some tasty things are healthy—blueberries, snow peas, nuts and maybe even (oh, please) red wine.

But on balance, human taste preferences evolved during times of scarcity, when it made sense for our hunter-gatherer ancestors to gorge on as much salt and fat and sugar as possible. In the age of Hostess pies and sedentary lifestyles, those cravings aren’t so adaptive.

Me? Why can’t time travel actually work? I have things to do.

What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

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This is How Scientists Figured Out the Age of the Earth

How old humanity is will remain a point of contention probably for as long as there are people around to argue.

When it comes to the age of this beauty, disastrous planet we all call home, though, scientists are pretty much in agreement as far as when she was born in a fury of explosions and creation.

Image Credit: iStock

What you’ll find if you Google this question (aside from my amazingly succinct and informative article), is that – since the 1950s – scientists have been secure in the belief that the earth is around 4.54 billion years old (plus or minus 50 million years).

People have been working on the answer to this question for a few hundred years, actually, all the way back to Greek philosopher Aristotle. He believed that time had no beginning and no end, and that the earth was infinitely old.

In ancient India, religious scholars envisioned a universe that perpetually exploded, expanded, and collapsed before beginning again – their calculations were that this had been happening for around 1.97 billion years.

Image Credit: iStock

In the Middle Ages, Christian scholars combed the Bible for clues, coming up with much shorter estimates, somewhere between 5471 and 7519 years.

From the Renaissance on, scientists looked at factors from the planet’s rate of cooling, the accumulation of sediment, and the chemical evolution but came up with such wide-ranging answers there couldn’t be a consensus.

Around the turn of the 20th century, scientists discovered they could calculate how old a rock was by measuring radioactive decay, from which we got carbon dating – a reliable method for measuring large swaths of time.

In the 1950s, a geochemist named Clair C. Patterson – who had worked on the Manhattan Project – measured the isotopic composition of lead from the Canyon Diablo meteorite and other space rock samples that correlated to the formation of the earth.

Image Credit: Public Domain

His estimate – 4.5 billion years.

That number has been revised only slightly in the decades since.

Patterson recalled later that “no one cared about it.”

Image Credit: Public Domain

He feels that remains true even today, and maybe even less so.

It’s pretty cool to think about, though – rocks from space can tell us how long our planet has been around.

It’s like alien but not, and if you take the time to ponder it for a few minutes more, I doubt you’ll be sorry!

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Futurists Weigh In on What Our World Might Look Like in 500 Years

Barring any significant scientific advancements, none of us alive today are going to be around in 500 years. That doesn’t mean we can’t harbor some curiosity about whether or not our planet will look the same for our descendents, or different?

If it’s going to look different, how will it look different? It can be a crazy thing to consider, and not just from a technology point of view, either.

Image Credit: Pexels

500 years ago, after all, the world barely resembles the one we see all around us today. It was in the midst of a small Ice Age, and a period of vast European exploration and discovery.

When looking ahead several centuries, it’s hard to say for sure, largely because we remain unsure how the relationship between humans and the natural world is going to develop. We’ve been leaving our mark on the Earth since the Neolithic Age, manipulating the evolution of domestic plants and animal species, transforming the landscape, and of course, burning fossil fuels to our heart’s consent.

We’ve altered the planet’s climate, which continues to change and affect everything around us. Carbon dioxide levels are up to 412 parts per million as of the end of 2019, and global temperatures and sea levels are also on the rise.

Our planet is warming, and scientists have been warning for decades that natural disasters, food shortages, and other catastrophic events will eventually lead to social unrest, mass migration, and increased conflict.

Will the 26th century humans be dealing with the fallout of our lack of action? Or will they be looking back and thanking us for changing course while there was still time?

Image Credit: Pexels

Technology will surely continue to advance, and theoretical physicist Michio Kaku predicts that, by then, humans will be a civilization that’s learned to harness the entire sum of a planet’s energy. That means they would be able to use any clean energy technology we’ve imagined, and probably some that we haven’t.

Other theoretical futurists disagree, citing political and economic forces being likely to thwart any real steps toward progress.

Machine learning will be AMAZING, though. Stephen Hawking weighed in, proposing that by the year 2600, we would be publishing theoretical physics papers every 10 seconds. Moore’s Law says computer speed and complexity double every 18 months, so some of this work would surely be done by machines, without assistance.

Chew on that for a minute.

Other ideas include the average human lifespan stretching to 140 years, and that the digital storage of human personalities will let humans achieve a sort of immortality. We’ll be farming oceans, traveling in starships, and living on the moon and on Mars while robots take on the great frontiers.

Image Credit: Pexels

If any or all of that sounds pretty cool to you, I suggest you start calling your representatives today and pushing for action on climate change.

Otherwise we’re just going to be fighting over land and food instead of living on Mars.

And you’ve gotta agree that one of those things sounds way cooler than the other.

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Learn About the World’s Deepest Underwater Trench, and 5 Other Facts About the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire”

There are few things as fascinating as the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean. We have no idea what’s down there, for one, and the mythology and lore surrounding spots like the “ring of fire” in the Pacific are enough to pique anyone’s curiosity.

The “ring of fire” is a vast loop of volcanoes, trenches, and other seismically active delights that run all through the in-aptly named Pacific Ocean. Those 24,900 miles are where the majority of the world’s earthquakes and volcanic events take place.

If you’re chomping at the bit to learn more, don’t worry – we’ve got 6 great facts for you below!

6. It could help set up a new “supercontinent.”

Image Credit: Wikipedia

The Pacific has so many subduction zones that it should shrink significantly over the next 250 million years, bringing Asia, Australia, and both Americans together again.

As with most far-off science, there’s no consensus – others think the Atlantic or Artic Oceans will disappear first.

5. It touches more than 15 countries.

Image Credit: Public Domain

The “ring of fire” touches the western coasts of South, Central, and North America, sweeping up toward Alaska before ambling by Russia and through Japan.

From there, it lines up to hit the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand on its worldwide tour.

It ends in a number of volcanoes near northwestern Antarctica.

4. It produces a ton of geothermal energy.

Image Credit: Wikipedia

The interior of our planet is a source of nearly endless renewable energy, none of which emits greenhouse gasses.

The United States, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Philippines have all capitalized on these natural hot water reservoirs for years.

3. It all comes down to plate tectonics.

Image Credit: Public Domain

The planet is divided into 15-20 tectonic plates that drift over molten lava-like stuff that exists deeper inside the earth. There are three types of boundaries between them, and the “ring of fire” are home to all three.

Divergent boundaries occur when two neighboring plates move in opposite directions, generating new crust in the process.

The huge Pacific Plate is bring pushed away from four others by the another type, the East Pacific Rise.

And in California we have the transform boundary, where two plates sideswipe each other horizontally. The friction is what causes earthquakes.

2. Volcanoes and earthquakes abound.

Image Credit: Public Domain

There are around 452 active and dormant volcanoes through the “ring of fire,” which accounts for around 75% of the world’s volcanic activity.

90% of the world’s earthquakes occur in the general area, with some of history’s most shocking natural disasters all originating around the area’s volatile tectonic boundaries.

1. It’s home to the Mariana Trench.

Image Credit: Hussong, Fryer

A convergent boundary appears when plates collide head-on, and an excellent example sis how the Nazca plate is currently being driven underneath the South American continental plate. The ensuing subduction zone is setting off earthquakes like crazy, while lifting mountains and causing volcanoes to erupt at the same time.

The giant Pacific Plate is being overridden by the Philippine Sea Plate and creating the Mariana Trench, a yawning underwater chasm that’s deeper than Mt. Everest is high. The deepest part of the Mariana Trench, the “Challenger Deep,” has been measured at 36,070 feet below sea level.

The more you know, right?

Good luck to your opponents at your next night of Trivial Pursuit – they’re gonna need it!

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This is How Fireworks Really Work

Whether you love them or hate them, fireworks are here to stay. Too many people fall into the “love” camp on this one – anyone without dogs or little kids, or who can wear earplugs if they need to, basically – and they really are a dazzling, fun way to celebrate any ol’ thing.

You might be curious how they work, though, or how we came up with exploding pretty things in the first place – and if so, we’ve got some fun info for you below.

Firecrackers are a form of fireworks that are smaller and simpler. They’ve been around for hundreds of years, and consist of black powder (gunpowder) in a tight paper tube, and a fuse used to light it.

Image Credit: iStock

Gunpowder contains charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate, though the powder used in fireworks may have aluminum, too, to brighten the explosion.

A sparkler burns over a longer period of time, producing bright and showery lights, and contains different compounds – fuel, an oxidizer, iron or steel powder, and a binder.

Image Credit: Pexels

The fuel is generally charcoal and sulfur, and potassium nitrate is the most common oxidizer. The binder is sugar or starch, and then the whole thing is mixed with water and dipped onto a wire – voila! a sparkler.

To create the bright, shimmering sparks in both firecrackers and sparklers, aluminum, iron, steel, zinc, and magnesium are used, because when the metal fakes heat up they shine incandescently. Different chemicals can be added to create the different colors that make us ooh and ahh.

The large fireworks that you see at displays on the 4th of July or at sporting events are called aerial fireworks, and they’re made up of a shell. A shell has four parts – a container, stars, a bursting charge, and a fuse.

Image Credit: Pexels

Below the shell is a small cylinder that contains the lifting charge to get it off the ground.

The shell is launched from a mortar, like a short, steel pipe with black powder to lift it into the air.

When it launches the shell, it lights the fuse, which burns until the shell reaches the desired altitude before it explodes.

Image Credit: iStock

There are more complicated shells, called multi-break shells, that burst in two or three phases to create different colors or compositions or brighter or softer light. Some of the crackle, or whistle, etc. They’re basically shells within shells, each ignited by a separate fuse, or perhaps set up so that the bursting of one shell ignites the next one and so on.

The different patterns are created by the arrangement of pellets inside the shell. If you space the pellets equally in a circle, you’ll see a set of small explosions equally spaced in a circle. Basically, whatever you want to see in the sky, you create it in the shell with the pellets, then place explosive charges in order to blow them outward into a large figure.

Image Credit: Pexels

I’m kind of surprised that things are a bit simpler than I figured, but I suppose that’s the way with most things, once you pry the lid off.

Even so, I’m not going to be making my own fireworks anytime soon – best to sit back and enjoy, and leave the explodey things to the experts, don’t you think?

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This is Why the Ocean Changes Color, Depending on Your Location

There are few things that attract people the way the ocean does. We’re not natural water-going beings, and yet, the lure of the sea’s vastness, the calming sound of its waves, has drawn us in since the beginning of time.

If you’re someone who has gone out of their way to visit the ocean whenever and wherever you’re in the vicinity, you might have noticed that it’s not always the same color.

Image Credit: Pexels

It makes sense, to some extent, that the ocean is an ever-changing beauty, and you probably guess that it has something to do with the depth in certain regions, but is there more to it?

Hold on – let’s find out together!

First, let’s dispel the notion that the water is – or is even supposed to be – blue. NASA oceanographer Gene Carl Feldman explains:

“The water of the ocean is not blue, it’s clear.

The color of the ocean surface for the most part is based on depth, what’s in it and what’s below it.”

Basically, if a body of water is deep enough that light can’t reflect off the bottom, it appears blue. When the sun’s rays strike the ocean, they interact with water molecules and can be either absorbed or scattered. Light of shorter wavelengths – which looks to the human eye blue or green – is most likely to hit water molecules and scatter.

The depth of the water, as well as the composition of the ocean bottom, will affect whether we see the dusky, dark blue of large parts of the Atlantic, or a sapphire-blue as in the tropics, says Feldman.

“In Greece, the water is this beautiful turquoise color because the bottom is either white sand or white rocks.

What happens is the light comes down and blue light gets down, hits the bottom and then reflects back up so you make this beautiful light blue color in the water.”

Complicating matters is the fact that the ocean isn’t empty – it’s full of small plant and animal life, along with sediment or other, man-made, contaminants.

Image Credit: Pexels

Feldman studies images of the ocean’s surface taken by satellite, and can analyze the color patterns to assess where sediment and runoff are an issue (the water will appear brown) or where phytoplankton, a microscopic plant, turns the water green.

Phytoplankton use chlorophyll to convert water and carbon dioxide into organic compounds, generating about 50% of the oxygen on the planet. They give ocean water a green tint most of the time, though they can also cause us to see yellow or reddish brown in some situations.

Feldman says green water should make us smid
As with everything in this world, balance is key – and both a decrease or increase in phytoplankton is not a good thing. It’s one more sign that our planet’s climate is out of whack.

Image Credit: Pexels

In the ocean’s least-touched, least-polluted sector – in the water off the coast of Easter Island – the water is deep and remarkably clear. It appears to the naked eye a pure, deep indigo.

“The light just keeps going down, down, down; there’s nothing that bounces it back.

Here is the deepest blue you’ll ever see.”

Just one more reason to love the ocean, y’all.

And if you do, with the depths of your heart, it’s long past the time to join in the fight to save it.

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This is When Turquoise Is More Valuable Than Diamonds

There are a lot of stones and gems out there that are more valuable than diamonds. The coveting of diamonds, the idea that they’re the end-all, be-all for women around the globe, that you must have a large one ready if you’re going to propose marriage, is all a marketing scheme.

That said, if I asked you to name a gem other than a diamond that has a large inherent value, I bet you would say a ruby, or maybe an emerald.

Not, probably, turquoise.

Image Credit: Rob Lavinsky

There are people, though, who have been mining, buying, and selling turquoise in the American Southwest for generations – people who know it’s history, it’s value, and can pick out both with a quick glance at the raw stones.

People like Michael Garland of Sedona, Arizona, whose family has worked with American Indian art for four generations.

He told How Stuff Works,

“Turquoise has a fascinating and unique history. This beautiful stone has captured human imagination all over the globe for thousands of years, from King Tutankhamun’s death mask to Aztec and Mesoamerican art.

Turquoise has been cherished and used by the Southwest Native American Indian tribes for centuries in trade, for ceremonial purposes, and to enhance their beautiful art forms — from sandpaintings to jewelry. Its rarity and beauty continue to make it a highly coveted stone.”

Cultures all over the world have long treasured the precious stone, and though its chemical compound is well known, the truth is that its value goes far beyond the science.

Image Credit: Public Domain

Here’s more from Garland…

“Turquoise is formed by a complex combination of aluminum, copper, phosphorus, water, and other local ingredients that may change the color or add matrix (host rock). Turquoise is found at elevations between 3,000 and 8,500 feet (914 and 2,590 meters) and typically in dry, arid climates.

Only certain regions on earth provide this recipe for turquoise to form. Turquoise mines in the Southwest United States are the most famous, such as Bisbee, Lander Blue, Number Eight or Lone Mountain. However, other areas in the world produce high quality natural turquoise such as Iran, Tibet, China, Egypt and Kazakhstan.”

Emerald Tanner and her father, who own Tanner’s Indian Arts in New Mexico, talk about how the value can vary widely.

“The value of turquoise comes from the quality and rarity of the stone. Some mines produced tons of material over numbers of years — others, only a hundred or so pounds and for a very short period of time. Turquoise can be as soft as chalk or as hard as a 6 or 7 on MOH’s scale — the harder and more intense colors tend to be more valuable. Another variable in valuing turquoise is comparing all-natural turquoise to ‘stabilized’ or ‘enhanced’ turquoise.”

The fact is there’s a lot of turquoise out there – but not a lot that’s strong enough to survive the cutting and polishing process.

There is a process for “strengthening” turquoise that’s not naturally strong enough, but since it has to be manipulated and stabilized, it’s not as valuable.

Which means that even though you’ve probably seen something touted as turquoise in gift shops all over the world, only about 10% of turquoise on the market is natural and untreated.

The tanners say this definitely matters.

“Over 90 percent of the ‘turquoise’ on the world market has been stabilized, treated, or tampered with to enhance the color or harden the stone. Some of the ‘turquoise’ on the market isn’t even turquoise at all, but an imitation material that has been dyed or colored to look like the stone.

We always encourage anyone looking to purchase turquoise or turquoise jewelry to ask questions about the stones and forever say ‘if you don’t know your turquoise, know your turquoise dealer.’ Natural gem quality turquoise is one of the most rare and collectable natural commodities of our world. It is indeed a special stone and one to be collected and celebrated.”

Turquoise is graded like any other gemstone, on the four C’s of color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. There are other factors to weigh, as well, such as where it was mined.

Image Credit: Tim Evanson

Since it’s so much rarer than a diamond of the same grade, turquoise definitely qualifies as more valuable.

It’s worth more than gold, as well, and most other precious gems that people consider high value.

Garland says that, when it comes to turquoise, the hardness, aesthetic beauty, and rarity all play a huge role.

On hardness:

“Only a small percentage of all turquoise mined is naturally hard enough to be used in jewelry. In some cases, as much as 90 percent of the turquoise mined is chalky and soft and would need to be stabilized in order to be used. The top-level of turquoise that is naturally hard enough to be used is called ‘natural’ or ‘untreated’ turquoise. Within this top tier of natural turquoise, there are further categories such as ‘high-grade’ and ‘gem-grade’ that describe the absolute best and hardest natural stones.”

When it comes to aesthetic beauty:

“The depth of the stone’s color and the presence of matrix or host rock can both add value. Deeper, darker colors are generally more expensive. Tight webbing in the matrix (called ‘spider webbing’) can also add value to turquoise. There is an ongoing debate regarding value in the turquoise world: matrix vs. clear gem turquoise,” they write. “A gemologist will tell you the more clear, the more perfect the stone, and the more valuable. Collectors and Native American jewelers may deem the more matrix with intense and beautiful webbing, the more valuable.”

And last, the stone’s rarity:

“Rarity is a huge factor in price, specifically as it relates to the turquoise mines. A fantastic example of this is the Lander Blue turquoise mine in Nevada. Lander Blue was considered a ‘hat mine,’ meaning the entrance to the mine was so small you could cover it with a cowboy hat. High-grade Lander Blue turquoise can sell for as much as $500 per carat.

To put that in perspective, that’s more than $1.1 million per pound. Why is it so expensive?

Because it is considered to be some of the hardest and highest grade turquoise ever discovered. On top of its quality, it was an extremely small deposit — only about 100 pounds was mined before the deposit completely ran out in the 1970s. The rarity, combined with the quality of the stones and their aesthetic beauty, makes Lander Blue the most expensive turquoise mine in the world.”

It’s not uncommon, then, for gem-grade turquoise to sell for anywhere before $40-$200 per carat – nearly four times the price for the same amount of gold, even at the low end.

Image Credit: Mike Beauregard

All of the experts recognize the significance the stone has for Native Americans who populate the American Southwest, and the Tanners make sure to point it out at every turn.

“Turquoise is a sacred stone to many of the Native American tribes of the American Southwest.

The unique appeal of turquoise comes from its color kinship to the sky and compatibility to water, which is the most precious thing in the Southwest.”

The Navajo, especially, says Garland, have a connection to the stone.

“Turquoise took on special meaning for the Navajo people, specifically, as one of the four sacred stones of the Navajo tribe.

Along with white shell, abalone and jet, these stones are associated with the Four Sacred Mountains, which form the traditional boundaries of Navajoland.”

In short, there are many things that make a stone valuable.

When it comes to turquoise, none of them are man made, and marketing is the last thing on any miner’s mind.

Just a few things to think about the next time you pass through a gift shop or visit a gem show – the turquoise might be a better investment than you might have thought!

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Could Planting 1 Trillion Trees Help To Save Us From Climate Change?

Most of us are looking for ways to combat climate change, since the science is irrefutable – we’re running out of time. If we want to have a viable earth to pass down to our kids and grandkids, time is of the essence.

What’s the answer, though? That’s a little harder, but even if planting trees couldn’t hurt anything, could planting a whole lot of trees actually save us?

The answer is… scientists think so.

In a recent report, the U.N. suggested that adding 2.5 billion acres of forest to the world could limit global warming by 2050.

What’s more? Data backs up their claims.

Image Credit: Pexels

A group of researchers out of Switzerland found that restoring around 223 million acres of canopy cover (that’s an area roughly the size of the contiguous United States) is “our most effective climate change solution to date.”

That number of trees could store about 205 billion tons of carbon – 2/3 of the carbon that has been emitted since the Industrial Revolution.

Jean-François Bastin, from the Switzerland study, lays out what that really means.

“The idea was to estimate what tree cover could be expected when you removed the ‘human factor,’ i.e. what specific types of forest would naturally occur in the absence of other development, and where.”

They built a “model to link tree cover with climate/soil/topography, based on 78,000 observations of tree cover in protected areas.”

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They used some more fancy math to exclude land currently being used for urban settlements, croplands, and existing forests, which left them the total amount of land available for restoration.

These studies align with global efforts like the Trillion Trees Vision, which wants to plant those trillion trees by 2050, and the Bonn Challenge, a partnership between Germany and the U.N. that wants to restore 371 million acres of deforested land by the end of this year.

If you’re thinking this sounds easy, and we should just do it like, yesterday, but things are always more complicated than they seem.

Mostly, the fact that only a few countries are willing to chip in, says Jim Hallett, chair of the Society for Ecological Restoration’s board of directors.

“Implementation of forest restoration on the scale discussed in this paper is not as straightforward as it might seem.

By 2018, there were commitments of over 420 million acres (170 million hectares) by 58 nations, which exceeds the Bonn Challenge goal.

Current estimates indicate that around 29 percent of the committed lands are now under restoration, but most of this work has been done by a few countries.”

Other major challenges, according to Hallett, include “financing, governance, land tenure and ownership, [and] capacity to do the work. There is ample evidence that, in some contexts, if the benefits of restoration are not equally shared, the project will fail. So incentive programs have to be carefully developed.”

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Experts also warn that planting trees alone is not enough, even if we plant a billion of them. The models depend on us not further degrading the forested lands we currently have, too.

Not only that, but there are other scientists, like climate change researcher Eike Luedeling, who are skeptical for other reasons.

“Many of the allegedly available restoration areas are clearly unsuitable for more trees than they currently support.

If you look closely at the map, a large proportion of these areas are in regions where soils are permanently frozen.

The methodology implicitly (probably not on purpose) implies that carbon stock is proportional to canopy cover, i.e. ecosystems without trees contain no carbon.

This is clearly false and strongly inflates the global estimate [of restoration].”

Basically, for some, these studies and proposals are nothing more than interesting academic proposals that will never be able to be implemented in the real world.

The U.N. and Hallett, recognize that nothing they’ve proposed will be simple, but it could be a viable course of action if the kinks could be worked out.

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“What we need is universal action: international agencies, NGOs, governments, all citizens — anyone can be involved.

Local communities and small organizations may be especially effective.

While they do not have the same reach as national agencies, they have the benefit of knowing what works best in their own backyards.”

It seems like this could be a great solution, or at least the start to one.

I mean, who doesn’t love trees, right; they’re the best!

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