Gobar Times
Cowpats

cowpats - November 15 2010

Sail on a plastic boat

If, for some reason, you had 2,010 empty plastic bottles to dispose of, what would you do? You would probably phone in a scrap dealer, right?

But Xia Yu, a 36-year-old, a man who is a die hard believer of recycling, has built a functional boat out of the plastic bottles. A resident of Xiangtan, Central Hunan Province, China, Xia Yu’s first plastic bottle boat was built out of 1,500 plastic bottles and he sailed 35 miles in it.

He kept adding to his collection of plastic bottles which were discarded by his customers at the tea-house, he runs. Finally his tally went up to 2,010, and then he started building a boat with them.

This boat was large in size as he wanted to sail in it all the way to Shanghai. It is seven meters long with five sails. The tallest sail had a special message that reads “Low carbon emission, beautiful world” and the boat has room for a six member crew.

This boat had undergone several trial runs. It rowed 40 km a day fighting whirlpools, rapids and strong waves of the Yangtze River, in order to spread the message of protecting the environment, by preventing dumping of wastes into waterbodies. Xia has sailed for over 1,000 miles in his ‘waste’ boat till now.

Pain with paper cups!

Disposable paper cups have become quite popular in office pantries. What many overlook is the fact that paper cups have a lining of wax in their inner sides. When very hot liquids are poured over this cup, the wax may disintegrate and some parts of it may come off, which will promptly be dissolved along with the drink and reach our stomachs! While our body can discard minor amounts, long-term use can pose a problem.

Stomach irritation has become a very common ailment now. While normal medical checks do not reveal anything, deeper probes can come up with shocking results. The victims stomach are lying with significant amount of wax. And doctors have now identified the villain of the show - ordinary paper cups which are used for drinking tea in the office pantries.

So what can be done about it? We can try to bring your own glass cups. Glass is one of the least reactive materials in the world. Do keep in mind, acids are stored in glass vessels, blood samples are collected in glass plates. For a good reason. But glass breaks easily, so it requires good care. So, ceramic cups are probably the best choice. Of course, you can also use your ordinary stainless steel glass, but never use plastic ones – its dangers are even worse than wax!

Earth doomsday in 2013?

Remember 2012, the movie, that predicted that the Earth as we know it would be destroyed that year? Turns out that it could be partially true! Scientists have said that a huge solar flare would paralyse our planet in 2013.

Power grids crashing, communication systems collapsing, food supplies hit and the Internet shutting down – these are just some of the disasters waiting to happen three years later, they say.

The trigger? The atmosphere in the Sun would create huge amounts of magnetic energy triggering radiation storms that would cause massive power surges. The last time such a phenomenon had occurred was in 1859, and had covered 66 percent of the Earth’s skies in a red aurora.

A new planet - just like the earth

Until now, Mars has been doubted as our best bet if humans were forced to move to another planet, but a new discovery may change all that. Steven Vogt of the University of California and Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, have found a planet called Gliese 581g that not only contains water on its surface, but also has  environmental conditions that can sustain life.

Gliese 581g has three to four times more mass than the Earth and it lies in the Libra constellation. Another interesting titbit is that one side of this planet always faces the star and basks in perpetual daylight, while the side facing away from the star is in eternal darkness.

Although we might count on another planet now as an alternative habitat, let us hope we would not have to leave our old familiar Earth ever!

 

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Sail on a plastic boat