Can we Trump climate change?

A 7.6 magnitude Earthquake struck the Caribbean sea on Tuesday, causing a Tsunami warning to be issued for the already disaster-struck Puerto Rico, as well as the British and US Virgin Islands.

The US Tsunami Center later cancelled this alert, although they still warn of waves of up to a metre high in parts of Honduras and Belize. The Earthquake hit at approximately 10:52pm, local time, and was felt at least as far as north of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, but no damage was immediately felt.

Aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Credit: US DoD

Further natural disasters also struck North America, with heavy rain hitting the hills of Santa Barbara prompting horrendous mudslides. At least 13 people have been killed and more than two dozen have been injured in the West of Los Angeles. One boy was swept hundreds of yards in the mud before being rescued under a freeway overpass. A 14-year-old girl was also rescued after being buried in mud. It is the area’s heaviest rainstorm in nearly a year following the state’s largest wildfire on record.

These reoccurring natural disasters have made incidents like road closures, evacuations, broken power lines, rescues and searches a routine in America. So what’s the cause and solution of these increasingly occurring natural disasters?

It’s no coincidence that the US is less than prepared for these reoccurring disasters following many republican elected officials’ wanting to stop funding climate science, meaning they won’t be prepared for these sorts of repeated environmental procedures.

I’m eager to see how Trump plans on helping the people of Puerto Rico once again after his abysmal display of throwing paper towels into a crowd of desperate, disaster stricken citizens, following Hurricane Maria. He also, ‘honoured’ the people of Puerto Rico by dedicating a golf trophy to them. Just what they needed. I’d say a golf trophy is just as essential to the people of Puerto Rico as another hurricane.

It will be interesting to see his response to the mudslides in California compared to Hurricane Maria as Puerto Ricans’ have repeatedly stated they feel like second class citizens – implying a disregard for the islands of America, not the states. The inefficiency of Trump’s aid and preparation for climate change disasters is baffling.

Research makes it very clear that the planet has reached a new threshold in which climate change has become not only a component of extreme weather disasters but an essential factor for some. Trump and the republicans are oblivious to these issues as they set out to cut funding for research.

I realise these disasters aren’t unique to the US but the amount of climate change cataclysms that have taken place in such a small amount of time in America, in addition to the ignorance of Trump, makes the US’s situation all the more prominent.  It’s as if he is trying to figure out which is worse, apathy or ignorance, but then he realised he doesn’t know and doesn’t care.

In the past, the Presidents’ responses to these sorts of tragedies have been vital in deciding their overall approval ratings. So Mr. Trump, stop implying that people trying to rebuild their country are lazy, stop playing golf (the only sport with an actual assistant) and grasp this opportunity to improve your disgraceful approval rating, sincerely aid the increasingly deprived victims of these natural disasters and actually fund climate science so you’re more prepared for these catastrophes – and perhaps even decrease their occurrences.

Young Blood : Is reversing the aging process snake oil or a reality?

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Some of us want to live forever. Others just want a few more years so they can finally see their dreams become reality. Most people deal with what they are dealt, accepting to go when they go. But what if you could become younger and with renewed energy? There are actually a few prospects you should keep your eye on, if you think you would ever want to turn the clock back.

In California, movie executives and talent agents crave the blood of young people, for its star power and money making qualities. For those not adept at seeking out plasma for yourself, a startup will pump your veins full of the blood of young people for just $8000. The CA startup is called ‘Ambrosia’ and it has launched clinical trials of its vampiric sounding service, claiming that within a month of a one-time infusion of 2 litres of plasma, participants see “improvements.”

The science behind ‘Ambrosia’ is shaky at best, with many scientists questioning the legitimacy of the operation. Jesse Karmazin, the Princeton grad behind the startup took inspiration from studies on mice, conjoining the veins of young and old mice in a procedure called parabiosis. One of the biggest studies published in Cell showed that young blood increased muscle strength, though this could not be replicated in other tests. Other ‘young blood’ research has claimed improvement in cognitive faculties. Another Californian company is testing transfusion waters in the  treatment of Alzhemier’s Disease, albeit not charging patients for the privilege.

Tony Wyss-Coray, a neuroscientist that demonstrated that the memory of old mice improves after transfusions says that the participants of ‘Ambrosia’ are reading too much into inconclusive research. “People want to believe that young blood restores youth, even though we don’t have evidence that it works in humans and we don’t understand the mechanism of how mice look younger. I think people are just attracted to it became of vampire stories.”

Getting fresh blood pumped into you does seem a little bit like voodoo. Perhaps an approach with more of a scientific basis will guarantee youthful results. At the Salk Institute in California, researchers have been able to induce human cells into behaving like younger cells, increasing their lifespan. This is a step forward in the way we understand aging at a cellular level, and has potential to start human trials in the next 10 years.

The telomeres of our DNA, visually similar to shoelace tips

The telomeres of our DNA, visually similar to shoelace tips

If you can’t wait for sci-fi style treatment, there is something you can do now that might help you age gracefully. Nobel Prize winner, Elizabeth Blackburn wrote a book with psychologist Elissa Epel called “The Telomere Effect” which explores the impact that telomeres have on your body. Telomeres are the end parts of your DNA which by listening to your behaviours, will either lengthen or shorten. When they shorten, cells are less likely to continue dividing, eventually dying. With a stressful lifestyle, the effect is greater cell death and accelerated aging. For those who are likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, shortened telomeres could make you susceptible at a younger age. The book details that a healthy, stress free life is the key to halting the aging process.

Critics of the ‘Telomere Effect’ say that we can’t measure the entire aging process down to the tips of our DNA, but the message is still a positive one. Maybe the only real way to really slow down the wheel of time is to treat yourself right and you’ll be rewarded with a few extra years.

Do you haven any tips for slowing the aging process? Let us know at @en4news2016 on Twitter.

California votes to legalize recreational use of marijuana

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Three states look set to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes following polls on Tuesday.

California, Nevada and Massachusetts voted to approve Proposition 64 which will allow the possession, purchase and use of the drug for those aged 21 and over.

The polls which took place alongside the presidential election mean they will join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington State, Washington DC and the District of Columbia in legalizing the drug.

The people of Florida and North Dakota opted for medicinal-only use of the substance.

Meanwhile, Nebraska voted to to reinstate the death penalty, and Oklahoma voted to give capital punishment constitutional protection.

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