Being Intellectually Stimulated Can Delay Dementia

More and more studies seem to be coming out that all conclude that keeping your mind active can be helpful to all sorts of health issues. Speaking more than one language and certainly help and so can just keeping your mind intellectually stimulated through various tasks:

Examples of activities the researchers considered cognitively stimulating (if performed at least three times per week) included reading books and magazines, playing games and music, and participating in arts and crafts.

All participants then underwent a battery of neuropsychological tests designed to measure a variety of cognitive skills, including executive functioning, language, and memory.

“Higher levels of educational, occupational, and cognitive activity are independently associated with a lower risk of dementia,” they report. Among people with the APOE4 variant, who are at relatively high risk for dementia, the difference is huge: The onset of cognitive impairment was delayed, on average, by more than eight and one-half years for people who ranked in the top 25 percent in terms of lifetime intellectual enrichment, compared to those in the bottom 25 percent.

Read more here.

Reducing Highway Size Doesn’t Negatively Impact Congestion

Nobody likes being stuck in traffic and in the recent past the solution was to build more roads (or add more lanes). Ironically this makes traffic worse as an increase in traffic capacity means more people will drive places. These narrow-minded solutions are still applied in some places like Toronto where Crack-Mayor removed bike lanes. Hopefully the next time transportation options are being looked at crack-voters will come to understand that the best way to make traffic flow better is to not cater to car drivers.

Whenever some city proposes taking lanes away from a road, residents scream that they’re going to create a huge traffic snarl. But the data shows that nothing truly terrible happens. The amount of traffic on the road simply readjusts and overall congestion doesn’t really increase.

For instance, Paris in recent decades has had a persistent policy to dramatically downsize and reduce roadways. “Driving in Paris was bad before,” said Duranton. “It’s just as bad, but it’s not much worse.”

So where did those other drivers go? Many of them switched to public transit, which in Paris has increased by 20 percent in the last two decades. Other trips have simply been avoided, or done on foot. It’s not just Europeans who are eager to get out of their cars. San Francisco removed a highway section, called the Central Freeway, that carried nearly 100,000 cars per day in 1989. The boulevard that replaced it now only carries around 45,000 daily cars and yet they move. (Yes, I’ve been stuck in traffic on Octavia Boulevard, but it’s not like you never get through.) Perhaps the biggest success story has been in Seoul, South Korea, where the city tore down a highway that was considered a vital roadway corridor, carrying 168,000 cars per day. After replacing the cars with a river, parkland, and some smaller roads, traffic didn’t get worse and many other things, including pollution, got better.

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Edmonton Has a Massive Waste to Biofuel Facility

The province of Alberta is usually only mentioned on this site when people are campaigning against the tar sands and the destruction of the environment. Today though, the capital of Alberta, Edmonton, has done something rather great. Edmonton is home to a large industrial-scale waste processing plant that converts what would normally go into a landfill into useful energy.

Thanks to its extensive composting and recycling facilities, the city of Edmonton, Canada is already diverting approximately 60 percent of its municipal waste from the landfill. That figure is expected to rise to 90 percent, however, once the city’s new Waste-to-Biofuels and Chemicals Facility starts converting garbage (that can’t be composted or recycled) into methanol and ethanol. It’s the world’s first such plant to operate on an industrial scale, and we recently got a guided tour of the place.

More here.

Time for an Ocean Cleanup

We recent looked at Illinois banning microbeads, which will cut back on plastic pollution in large bodies of water. But what about the plastics that are already in the oceans? That’s where Ocean Cleanup comes in.

Right now, the young organization is raising $2 million through crowd funding to do a large-scale cleanup of plastic trash floating in the ocean. They have successfully completed a pilot study and are about to start a larger feasibility study before moving on to the final goal. Now is your chance to help contribute to saving the oceans!

  • At least one million seabirds, and one-hundred thousand marine mammals die each year due to plastic pollution (Laist, 1997)
  • Lantern fish in the North Pacific Gyre eat up to 24,000 tons plastics per year (Davidson & Asch, 2011)
  • The survival of many species, including the Hawaiian Monk Seal and Loggerhead Turtle, could be jeopardized by plastic debris (Derraik, 2002)
  • Plastic pollution is a carrier of invasive species, threatening native ecosystems (Barnes, 2005)
  • The Ocean Cleanup

    A Better Take On The Current Generational Divide

    It’s not rare to read in old media that young people these days are worthless, listless, clods. That viewpoint is beyond ridiculous, in recent months there has been a backlash to this attitude from millennials. Instead of being lazy and not doing anything about it – they are now quick to point out the young one aren’t the people who have essentially caused climate change, economic devastation, and a focus on profits over people.

    In fact, in a recent article in The Nation it’s argued that due to the rot left from previous generations millennials are motivated to change the world.

    The conventional wisdom about your generation and mine, the story that’s retold every day in every way as jobs disappear, debt redoubles, superstorms gather and islands—literally entire countries—sink into the ocean, is not just a lie, but a very useful lie for the lying liars of the world—for those who control the means of production and persuasion; who have helped to usher in this harrowing present; and who are most likely to survive and thrive, at least in the short term, a catastrophic future, should it come to pass. Conventional wisdom absolves them of their very real sins against the earth, against the poor and against their children. It’s a distraction, and an easy way to pass the buck. Finally, it’s an efficient method of controlling us, its targets. It’s a way to keep us in line.

    Because in this narrative, we are apathetic and ineffective. We don’t think for ourselves, nor do we band together. We were raised to stare like zombies at television screens, and now our heads are permanently stuck in the Cloud. The global looters and profiteers—they are not well meaning. They operate with full knowledge of what harm they do, and do it anyway, because they don’t particularly care about you, about us or about the future. It’s not their problem. They will be dead, and their children, I don’t know, will be living in a bunker somewhere, alone, with the last of all that glistering loot.

    In the meantime, while there is still some oil left to extract, one last blood diamond to mine, they are counting on us to close our eyes and build our apps in blithe resignation. Because this only goes their way if we agree to pretend not to notice what is right here in front of our eyes: that they are fiddling, gleefully, as the rest of Rome goes up in flames.

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