MastersConnection 2020
Issue 463 In This Issue January 30th, 2016

Editors Corner

Did you know that there is a type of concrete that, with a small amount of energy, can de-ice itself? No more shoveling, plowing, or having to apply salt or chemicals. A similar, but equally interesting, type of concrete is a mix where the limestone and sand has been replaced with a mineral called magnetite. This mixture can apparently shield against electromagnetic waves. (See "Catching the next wave" near the bottom of the full "De-icing concrete..." article). Click here

Speaking of modifying things, are you aware that we can make crops survive without water? It seems like it would be more ideal if, instead of crops dying when there is a lack of water, they simply stop growing until they get more water. A super-resilient series of plants, called "resurrection plants", may be able to help with this. Click here

While we're on the subject of water, one place in Denmark, that has recently been hit by two so-called “100-year flood” events (first in 2011 and again in 2014), is apparently building parks that can purposefully turn in to ponds when the area gets a deluge. The planners are calling the first park of this type, the cornerstone of the world’s first “climate-resilient neighborhood.” Click here

There's more, but I will leave the rest for you to discover and enjoy. Don't forget to support our advertisers, so we can continue to bring you this wonderful newsletter!
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Technology Watch

De-icing concrete could improve roadway safety
A 200-square-foot slab of seemingly ordinary concrete sits just outside the Peter Kiewit Institute as snowflakes begin parachuting toward Omaha on a frigid afternoon in late December. The snow accumulates on the grass surrounding the slab and initially clings to the concrete, too. But as the minutes pass and the snow begins melting from only its surface, the slab reveals its secret: Like razors, stoves and guitars before it, this concrete has gone electric. Its designer, UNL professor of civil engineering Chris Tuan, has added a pinch of steel shavings and a dash of carbon particles to a recipe that has literally been set in concrete for centuries. Though the newest ingredients constitute just 20 percent of Tuan’s otherwise standard concrete mixture, they conduct enough electricity to melt ice and snow in the worst winter storms while remaining safe to the touch. Tuan’s research team is demonstrating the concrete’s de-icing performance to the Federal Aviation Administration during a testing phase that runs through March 2016. If the FAA is satisfied with the results, Tuan said the administration will consider scaling up the tests by integrating the technology into the tarmac of a major U.S. airport.

Click here to read full article

Why Copenhagen is building parks that can turn into ponds
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — At first glance, the square known as Tåsinge Plads doesn’t look much different from other parks in Copenhagen. A young couple lounges on a small hill surrounded by newly planted trees and wildflowers. Children laugh and play. Old women sit chatting on benches under the shade of tall sculptures shaped like upside-down umbrellas. But there are hidden features that make Tåsinge Plads part of this seaside city’s plan to survive the effects of climate change. During heavy rains, the flowerbeds fill with water and wait to drain until the storm runoff subsides. The upside-down umbrellas collect water to be used later to nourish the plantings. And clever landscaping directs stormwater down into large underground water storage tanks. Above those tanks are bouncy floor panels that children love to jump on — when they do, the energy from their feet pumps water through the pipes below. Just a few years ago, this square was paved with asphalt and dominated by parked cars — a small grassy area was used more as a toilet for dogs than as a park. Now, it’s the cornerstone of a plan to make the surrounding area of Saint Kjelds into what planners here are calling the world’s first “climate-resilient neighborhood.”

Click here to read full article

Huge, hurricane-resistant wind turbines could be coming to an ocean near you
When it comes to big wind power projects, we’re starting to throw caution to — well, the wind. Sandia National Laboratories — with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy — is setting out to create towering offshore wind turbines with blades 650 feet long. That’s two and a half times the length of any that exist today, according to Sandia’s announcement. For a sense of scale, 650 feet is roughly the length of two American football fields, seven blue whales, or $3,250 in $5 Footlongs. Thankfully, these titanic turbines are going to be a lot sturdier than your average wimpy lettuce sub — and they’ll provide us with a lot more energy, too. From Motherboard:

Most conventional wind turbine blades measure over 100 feet, and can generate 1 or 2 megawatts of power. Sandia thinks that by expanding the blade size dramatically, it can increase the amount of energy a windmill can scare up even more dramatically — by as much as tenfold. The lab projects its Trump (Tower)-sized turbine blades will allow a single towering unit to boast a capacity of 50 MW of electricity. That’s like a small power plant, unto itself.

Click here to read full article

Science Watch

How we can make crops survive without water

Something Worth Knowing

Which is More Important: Organic or Non-GMO?
While shopping at your local grocery store, you’ve no doubt come across the labels “non-GMO” and “organic.” Many health-conscious people try to avoid genetically modified ingredients, and they also tend to prefer organic goods to conventional ones. However, the two designations are not at all the same. As you make purchasing decisions about natural foods, it’s important to know the differences between these two labels so that you can determine which products are the best choice for you and your family.

What’s the difference between non-GMO and organic?
Foods that are labelled as non-GMO don’t contain any genetically modified ingredients, but they aren’t necessarily organic. The opposite is true of USDA-certified organic foods—these items are required by law not to contain any genetically modified ingredients, as well as to be raised or grown without the use of synthetic pesticides.

Which is more expensive, and why?
Some retailers and food industry professionals have wondered how non-GMO and USDA-certified organic foods impact each others’ sales. Though many natural-minded consumers prefer non-GMO and organic foods, they’re likely to choose the former over the latter when faced with both options.

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In The News

WHO says Zika ‘spreading explosively’ & 4mn may be infected, while ‘no vaccine expected for years’
The World Health Organization will assemble an emergency committee to deal with what it says is a rapidly spreading Zika virus pandemic. However, scientists believe a vaccine is years away, while doctors say “questions abound” concerning the disease. The UN-endorsed body says that since the first cases were registered in Brazil in May of last year, as many as 1.5 million people have been affected by the virus in that country alone, while more than 20 other Central and South American states have registered native infections as well. The disease had previously only broken out in small pockets of Africa and Asia. “Last year the disease was detected in the Americas, where it is spreading explosively,” Margaret Chan, the WHO’s director general, said at a hastily arranged press briefing in Geneva. “The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty. Questions abound – we need to get some answers quickly. For all these reasons, I have decided to convene an Emergency Committee.” Most people with the disease, a mosquito-borne cousin of dengue and yellow fever, do not know they have been infected, or suffer mild flu-like symptoms. However, a notable minority appear to develop Guillain-Barre syndrome, a severe auto-immune condition, or give birth to children with microcephaly, a birth defect that results in an underdeveloped head and brain.

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Mercury levels in rainfall are rising in parts of North America, study finds
An analysis of long-term trends in the amount of mercury in rainfall and other forms of precipitation in North America found recent increases at many sites, mostly in the center of the continent. At other sites, including those along the East Coast, mercury levels in rainfall have been trending steadily downward over the past 20 years. The findings are consistent with increased emissions of mercury from coal-burning power plants in Asia and decreased emissions in North America, according to Peter Weiss-Penzias, an environmental toxicologist at UC Santa Cruz. Weiss-Penzias is first author of a paper on the findings published in the journal Science of the Total Environment (in press, available online). Mercury is a toxic element released into the environment through a variety of human activities, including the burning of coal, as well as by natural processes. Rainfall washes mercury out of the atmosphere and into soils and surface waters. Bacteria convert elemental mercury into a more toxic form, methyl mercury, which becomes increasingly concentrated in organisms higher up the food chain. Mercury concentrations in some predatory fish are high enough to raise health concerns.

Click here to read full article

Nature Watch

Climate change is about to give these fuzzy creatures a rough wake-up call
Few things in this life are worse than someone yanking off your covers on a cold winter morning. It's grounds for a screaming match with a parent, the silent treatment with a roommate, a straight up WWE smack-down with a sibling. And god help the significant other who thinks it's a cute way to wake you up in the morning. But just as we rely on that warm refuge under the covers to protect us from cold floors and drafty windows, a surprising number of animals rely on snow to protect them from freezing winter temperatures. So as the climate heats up and that blanket of snow grows thin, those animals are in for a chilly awakening — and unlike the mild inconvenience of getting out of bed in the morning, this chilly awakening could be deadly. Unfortunately, we don't know much about this winter refuge. It was only two years ago that scientists even came up with a word for it — the subnivium. Here's one of those scientists speaking with Smithsonian:

“Typically the way people have predominantly viewed snow was almost like a simplifying agent of the landscape,” says Jonathan Pauli from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Click here to read full article

Triad Theater
Calendar of Events

January 30th @ 7pm: LIVE MUSIC – A live concert from Kissy Flick’s new CD “Look @ Life”
Cost $20, includes one beverage. Hear a preview on their website This will SELL OUT - get your tickets NOW!! Tickets available for purchase on our website at

January 31st @ 2pm: VIDEO/ DOCUMENTARY – “The truth about Cancer” Part 2
Learn alternative approaches that doctors can’t tell you about… and why they can’t. Cost $8.

February 2nd @ 7pm: MIRACLES and INSPIRATIONS with independent news reporter Scott Mowry
Every other Tuesday, Scott explores hot issues not heard on mainstream media. No matter how awful the news, you’ll feel good about it. Cost $10.

FYI - No Friday night (February 5th) movie due to the Theater being rented for a private party.

February 6th @ 7pm: FILM - David Wilcock hosts "Things they don't teach you in school"
In his Wisdom Teachings about what's going on in the world. Cost $8.

February 7th @ 3:25pm: SUPERBOWL
We will start broadcasting the Superbowl pregame at 2pm and kickoff at 3:25pm. The Seahawks didn't make it but we can still watch the commercials or cheer for the team of your choice as the Panthers and the Broncos battle for the title.

February 13th @ 3pm: The Triad Art Gallery proudly displays an exhibit of Art and Handcrafted items from The McCloud Family of The Nisqually Tribe. Open on Weekends at 3pm.

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