Now you can walk in trash! Well not exactly in garbage though... A leading sportswear and equipment supplier is coming out with eco-friendly shoes made from waste products. The Trash Talk shoe’s upper part is made of leather and synthetic leather waste from the factory floor stitched together for a special look. The mid-sole uses ground up foam from factory production, and the out-sole uses a mixture of reduced toxics new rubber and rubber from recycled shoes. ‘Going green’ seems to be the new mantra!
The Borneo pygmy elephant may not be native to Borneo, the third largest island in the world. Instead, they could be the last survivors of the Javan elephant race! A new paper, ‘Origins of the Elephants Elephas Maximus L. of Borneo,’ published in Sarawak Museum Journal shows that there is no archaeological evidence of a long-term elephant presence on Borneo.
Thus, supporting a long-held local belief that the elephants were brought to Borneo centuries ago by the Sultan of Sulu, now in the Philippines. These Sulu elephants, in turn, are thought to have originated in Java Island in Indonesia. This could be the first elephant translocation in history that has survived to modern times!
Ants are skilled fungus farmers. A single ancestor discovered agriculture approximately 50 million years ago! This was revealed by entomologists Ted Schultz and SeÃ¡n Brady at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, US, who constructed an ‘evolutionary tree’ of fungus-growing ants using DNA sequencing. Infact, in the past 25 million years, four different specialised agricultural systems have evolved.
The most recent is the fungus-growing ant species – Leaf-cutter Ants. These ants grow their fungus gardens on their bodies and then eat them! By studying the agricultural evolution of ants, scientists may be able to develop more evolved agricultural and medical methods.
Tsunamis have been occurring periodically through the centuries. And the proof lies in the layers of coastal sediments that provide geological record of recent and ancient tsunamis. The size of the sand particles can provide clues about the actual height of the water column, says Alan Ruffman, research associate in Dalhousie’s Department of Earth Sciences, India. Photograph of a dig in Thailand shows four distinct bands of sand.
The surface layer was deposited by the 2004 tsunami, and the next layer was left by a tsunami dating back 400 to 600 years, probably of the same size! This is not all. There is also an expression for Tsunami in Tamil, the oldest language in southern India – Azhii peralai, meaning ‘from the deep… large waves’. It shows that tsunamis are common – common enough to have a phrase for them.
Marine turtles may show us the effects of climate change! “Turtles are a really good way to study climate change because they depend on healthy beaches as well as mangroves, sea grass beds, coral reefs and deep ocean ecosystems to live”, says Dr. Lucy Hawkes, coordinator of a WWF initiative to develop adaptation strategies for climate change impacts to turtles. If we understand the effects of climate change on beaches, reefs and oceans, it would save the endangered sea turtles, and also, the people living along the coasts worldwide.
Want to use plastics made from beet? Then here it is... Victoria Finkenstadt and LinShu Liu, chemists at Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, plan to use beet pulp as value-added plastics ingredient. The pulp is a fibre-rich byproduct of sucrose extraction procedures used by sugar beet processors. It is otherwise used as livestock feed or pet-food ingredient.
The idea is to convert this pulp into a specialised filler material for polylacticacid- based plastics, which are similar to petroleum-based thermoplastics, but are biodegradable. The pulp-based PLA may be used to make goods such as water bottles, cups and packaging, and lightweight indoor-construction materials such as table tops, billboards, pressed furniture. A healthy solution indeed!