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Fires across the Brazilian Amazon have sparked an international outcry for preservation of the world’s largest rainforest. Here’s a look at the role the Amazon plays in regulating the world’s climate:
Is the World’s Oxygen Supply at Risk?
No. While it’s commonly said that the Amazon produces 20% of the world’s oxygen, climate scientists say that figure is wrong and the oxygen supply is not directly at risk in any case. That’s because forests, including the Amazon, absorb roughly the same amount of oxygen they produce. Plants do produce oxygen through photosynthesis, but they also absorb it to grow, as do animals and microbes.
That doesn’t mean the fires aren’t a problem for the planet. The Amazon is a critical absorber of carbon of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas produced by burning fossil fuels, like oil and coal.
Is the Amazon ‘the Lungs of the Planet?’
The Amazon rainforest is frequently referred to as the “lungs of the planet,” but it may not be the most accurate analogy for the forest’s role.
Carlos Nobre, a University of Sao Paulo climate scientist, says a better way to picture the Amazon’s role is as a sink, draining heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Currently, the world is emitting around 40 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. The Amazon absorbs 2 billion tons of CO2 per year (or 5% of annual emissions), making it a vital part of preventing climate change.
What Do the Fires in the Amazon Mean for the World’s Climate?
Fires in the Amazon not only mean the carbon-absorbing forest is disappearing, but the flames themselves are emitting millions of tons of carbon every day. Nobre says we’re close to a “tipping point” that would turn the thick jungle into a tropical savannah.
The rainforest recycles its own water to produce a portion of the region’s rain, so deforestation makes rains less frequent, extending the dry season. Nobre estimates that if 20% to 25% of the forest is destroyed, the dry season will expand enough that it will no longer be a forest, but a savannah.
“Unfortunately, we are already seeing signs of the Amazon turning into a savannah,” he said, citing the increasingly long dry seasons. “It’s not just theoretical anymore, it’s happening already.”
What is Causing the Fires?
The current fires in the Amazon are not wildfires. They are manmade and are mostly set illegally by landgrabbers who are clearing the forest for cattle ranching and crops.
Deforesting the Amazon is a long, slow process. People clear the land by cutting down the vegetation during the rainy season, letting the trees dry out and burning them during the dry season. Fully clearing the dense forest for agricultural use can take several years of slashing and burning.
“When I’m talking about 21st century deforestation, I don’t mean a family headed into the woods with a chainsaw,” said NASA researcher Doug Morton. “I mean tractors connected by large chains. They’re pulling trees out by their roots.”
He said researchers could see piles of trees months ago in satellite images. “They’re burning an enormous bonfire of Amazon logs that have been piled, drying in the sun for several months.”
“What has changed is the political discourse,” Nobre said. President Jair Bolsonaro has decreased the power and autonomy of forest protection agencies, which he says get in the way of licensing for developing land and accuses of being “fines industries.”
“The number of fires increasing is because people think law enforcement won’t punish them,” Nobre said. (VOA)
By Quaid Najmi
Junking an empty chips packet, a water bottle or a juice can make Haribaabu Naatesan scowl and perhaps even pick it up carefully -- for, it could be a future piece of 'artwork' in his creative mind. The Mumbai-based artist specialises in recycling all kinds of 'kabaad' (junk) -- organic, inorganic, metal, wood, plastic, e-wastes and even bird feathers -- to create some eye-popping masterpieces of artworks, stupefying the beholder.
Naatesan, 46, collects a staggering 6 tonnes -- or 500 kgs per month -- of all types of oddments as his cheap or virtually free raw material and then deploys his creative juices to convert them to treasured and coveted showpieces. The weird passion for the rejects came out of a dire need -- to secure admission to the prestigious NID, Ahmedabad, for a postgraduate course (2000 batch).
"I had no money for purchasing expensive raw materials to make an attractive art project, a prerequisite for the NID seat... So I just picked up some trash lying around, created a daddy long-legs (spider) and other creatures as my 'offering' for admission," chuckled Naatesan. Needless to say, the selectors were zapped - and 'wasted' no time in awarding a prized seat to the new-found genius on the campus - who promised to be a valuable future asset for 'Save the Planet' efforts.
Naatesan, 46, collects a staggering 6 tonnes -- or 500 kgs per month. | IANS
From January 25, Naatesan will unveil a major public exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, of a dozen stunning designs made entirely from e-waste -- already ranked as a major global nuisance. Titled "Irreversible 2.0 - Obsoleteness is Mukti" there are innovations, with certain interactive surprises in store for the unsuspecting visitors. "When any viewer approaches it, one or other static component springs alive and moves... Some have light sensors that glow when someone is close. In others, discarded CPU fans start rotating, and huge antique tape-recorder cassette wheels start churning if someone goes near," explained Naatesan with a glint.
The dozen arts to go on display are entirely created from e-scrap like motherboards, CPU cooling fans, CDs, floppy discs, laptop keyboards, tape-recorder cassettes, speakers, etc., 6x6 feet dimensions, around 50-60 kgs each, and took up to six months' tough labour to fructify. Some of his other mega-creations include a 800-kg Lord Ganesh idol made from alum, a Volkswagen's Think Blue campaign resulting in a Beetle car made totally from e-scrap.
From January 25, Naatesan will unveil a major public exhibition at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai. | IANS
Then, there's the magnificent 'Make In India' logo of a 3-dimensional Lion -- commissioned by the Bombay Iron Merchant Association -- which stands on a pedestal at P.D'Mello Road, and a Golden Spiral for the Raheja Groups at Bandra Kurla Complex. There's his biggest creation from waste till date -- a stupendous 17-metre long, 6-metre-tall whale, born from 10 tonnes of automobile junk -- standing on the Gujarat Science City campus.
Fortunately for Naatesan, his wife, Dahlea H. -- a graphic designer -- did not 'junk' him after his love for the junkyard came to the fore, and now their 10-year-old daughter Neinyaa H. has taken the first steps to save the Earth by carefully disposing off even choco-wrappers -- as her Papa beams with pride. Contrary to perception that he goes hunting for 'kabaad', it's the reverse now, given his reputation for hoarding it -- all junk comes to him, even from his housing society, and he recycles it all into unrecognisable art-forms.
'Make In India' logo of a 3-dimensional Lion -- commissioned by the Bombay Iron Merchant Association. | IANS
"Once, the TV remote at home went missing... My wife suspiciously asked me whether I had 'junked' it... Well... I admitted the truth..." laughed Naatesan, explaining his obsession for any unwanted things lying around at home, garden, roadside, etc., and he devises ways to give it 'mukti' (salvation). "When I recycle any unloved junk into art, it ends the recycling and 'liberates' them in the sense that those pieces now find an eternal place for themselves," said Naatesan, summing up his cranky but eco-friendly and money-spinner profession. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Crores , Kabaad, Artworks , Creator, haribaabu-naatesan, junk, salvation eco-friendly, profession, make in india)
By Ganesh Bhatt
Lawyers are facing great difficulty in keeping client details organised during the pandemic. | Unsplash
"It was then that I conceived the idea of creating an app to find a solution to this problem. I decided to use my knowledge of coding and build an app so that my father and other lawyers like him could also handle and share their documents easily. Through 'E-Attorney', they can also keep clients informed. I first created a prototype for this app, which had the facility for lawyers to sign-in, enter client details, and store basic case related information."
However, what started as a small coding project, grew into a passion project when Kanishkar won a competition held by WhiteHat Jr, an online learning platform for children, and was awarded a scholarship to develop the app. The scholarship money helped Kanishkar's parents transform 'E-Attorney' into a full-fledged child-driven enterprise. To take their kid's idea further, they formed a company called PRK Online Solutions and hired a professional tech team to improve the app, so that it could be developed from a prototype to a web application that could be used by lawyers across the country.
Kanishkar started his entrepreneurial journey by testing the app with five lawyers to ensure everything runs smoothly. Currently, he is focusing with his tech team to fix bugs and glitches. Since this application will store sensitive information related to legal matters, it will require a number of security measures.
A lawyer, K. Mohan K., who is testing this app, while talking about the experience, said: "I have been using this web app for a few days now. The private chat feature between the lawyer and the client is very useful. Its second advantage is that many searches can be done in it. Lawyers can keep track of their cases easily through this app." (IANS/ MBI)
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By- Nanci SEO
Now we're into 2022, the anticipation for a new racing season is hotting up even more.
By the time the world focuses its gaze on Ascot in mid-June, records will have been broken, and new winners will have been celebrated in the other meetings such as the Grand National. However, there's nothing quite like the Royal Ascot meeting and the historic Ascot Gold Cup race, which has been running since 1807. The race is the first leg of the triple crown of thoroughbred racing in the UK, making it one of the most important on the racing calendar.
The meeting is held at the course, which is just 28 miles west of London and only a few miles from the residence of the British Royal Family, Windsor Castle. It's also been an event that the monarchy of Britain has often visited and had a personal interest in. Not only has the Queen of England long been a visitor to the racing at Ascot but she's also had the honour of having a winner of her own at the meeting as noted by Town & Country. Will there be another Royal victory this year? Let's look at some of the favourites for the headline race, the Gold Cup.
The six-year-old gelding's pedigree means he's a real threat to all his other riders at Ascot this year. Trueshan has previous experience of winning the course; he won in 2020 at the British Champions Long Distance Cup, with his jockey Hollie Doyle commenting, 'he went through the ground like a tractor, he loved it.' Going into 2021, he was much fancied after looking strong in the lead up to the meeting but was pulled when his trainer Alan King deemed the ground to be too firm. He had a successful season, winning the Goodwood Cup and the Prix Du Cadran in France in October. So he's in fine fettle going into 2022, does that mean it's finally his year to taste Gold Cup success?
The Irish thoroughbred has become a name synonymous with Royal Ascot over the past few years with a record that's the envy of many a trainer, and this year, the target is to equal a record set by one of the greats of racing. Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Stradivarius has won three of the last four Gold Cups and is already second favourite in the Coral Gold Cup markets for a fourth. Four wins at the Gold Cup is a feat that has only been achieved once before by Yeats, a fellow Irish thoroughbred. Although last year wasn't to end with the record-equalling run he was aiming for; he's keen to be back this year as his owner, Bjorn Nielsen, says he can't wait: "He's as enthusiastic as ever, which is quite amazing."
Last year's winner of the Ascot Gold Cup is again in the frame for a win; last year, with veteran jockey Joe Fanning in charge, Subjectivist ran the perfect race, by first maintaining pace with the leading pack going into the final corner before striding majestically to a win, leaving the likes of Stradivarius in his wake, and adding to his win in the Dubai Gold Cup earlier in the year. Fanning wasn't surprised by the success as the four-year-old got on with the job at hand. "I just find he's a horse you don't complicate things with; if there's something in front, let him go," he said.
(Disclaimer: This is a sponsored article and includes some commercial links.)