Sustainable Ceremonies Top Wedding Trends

When it comes to weddings, it’s all about the bride and groom. No matter the price tag, food and decor are all up to the lovebirds. However, receptions can be wasteful, and newlyweds are starting to do something about it. For one British couple, it was all about serving up a zero-waste feast. But sustainable ceremonies aren’t the easiest to pull off — at least not without the help of Day Maker Events.

“Many ask for a green wedding these days. People show concern over the use of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials for the decorations. So, we thought why not go back to the past and our valuable traditions!”

To start a new age of wedding trends, the Kochi company in India provides a slew of charming decorations made entirely of coconut products. From grand arches to leaf plates, Day Maker Events knows how to keep it green. And definitely pretty.

“It is environment-friendly and it benefits farmers, too… Above all, the cost is very less compared to other types of decorations. Disposal after use will also not be an issue.”

The best part? Hiring them won’t cost you over a thousand bucks. Interestingly rustic, it shows us one thing: sustainability can come with style!

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58-Year-Old Woman is a Hero in Factory Fire

We have seen a dog protect his human family from a house fire. We have seen a 77-year-old man refuse to evacuate so he could save animals from a wildfire. Today’s hero is a 58-year-old Indian woman who saved 20 people from a factory fire, which was happening beside her apartment in Delhi.

In a swift course of action, Jyoti Verma threw one end of her sari to the employees in a higher floor of the neighboring building so they could climb down to her terrace. However, one worker jumped the distance and Verma had to find another way.

Not wanting anyone else to injure themselves by jumping, Verma rushed inside to find something more useful. In the midst of her apartment, she found a small bamboo ladder. With the help of a neighbor, Verma propped up the ladder onto the roof of her terrace so that it stretched across to the factory window. Over the course of the next half hour, twenty workers were able to crawl to safety.

In the reports, before the ensuing hullabaloo, Verma was making breakfast in her apartment at 6:30 a.m. Her neighbor suddenly called her attention to the burning factory and so she rushed to her window, saw the people crying for help in the third floor of the neighboring building as their lower floors were engulfed by the factory fire, and decided to act.

According to one of the workers, the owner of the illegal factory locks the gates to the building every night in order to prevent theft. If it had not been for Verma’s heroic ingenuity, the employees may not have been able to escape.

Whoever said age is just a number has never been more correct in light of kindness and heroism.

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Mediterranean Diet Prevents Heart and Brain Aging

Many people have different concepts of the best diet habits and what the best diet consists of. Here at our blog, I have written before about my personal stakes in maintaining a healthy diet and a co-worker has also said her piece on vegetarianism. Now, I consider myself far from a diet skeptic as I truly believe in having an eating regimen, but some fads just seem quite absurd, like surviving only on lemonade or grapefruit or baby food for weeks. A growing body of research agrees with me.

Scientists continue to affirm that this certain type of meal plan seems to be best: high consumption of vegetables, protein, and healthy fats; then low consumption of processed foods and refined carbs like white bread. This comes in various versions and labels as some people are completely vegetarian, while others choose to include eggs and dairy, or meat and fish, or all of the above, in their meals. But the base principle remains the same.

This Mediterranean diet or “plant-based” diet (or another label that you prefer) seems to be the healthiest.

In the latest issue of the Journal of Gerontology, scientists outline six recent studies of one version of the diet – the Mediterranean meal plan – and suggest that the eating regimen is closely linked to healthy aging, better mobility, a lower risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease, and improved cognitive function.

One study says that a “plant-based” diet may help slow cognitive decline among people who’ve had a stroke, and provide protection of the brain against neurodegeneration (seen in diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s). As for the more physical benefits, this Mediterranean diet provides protein for the muscles, fiber for the digestive system, and vitamins for tissues and bones.

This balance is also key to keeping you full after a meal and energized throughout the day so you don’t feel the need to overeat, Nichola Whitehead, a registered dietician in the UK, previously told Business Insider. “You need to have a balanced meal — things like whole grains, fibre, and vegetables — in order to sustain your blood sugar. Empty calories [like white bread or white rice] give a temporary fix,” she said.

Her use of the word temporary echoes with me as I think about other dieting plans. A “crash diet” doesn’t sound as good when you focus on the word crash, doesn’t it? For me, dieting is best when planned well and executed mindfully. Science can attest to that.

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Donkeys Bring Books To Rural Zimbabwe

We all know rural communities hardly get their fair share of basic necessities. However, recent changes such as solar roofing and drone deliveries have been making life easier for them. For this humble town in rural Zimbabwe, donkey-pulled mobile libraries are making their way to schools and other establishments.

Dr. Obadiah Moyo, the founder of RLRDP (Rural Libraries and Resources Development Program), credits the organization with creating the world’s first donkey-powered mobile libraries . . . These small, roofed, two-wheeled units are divided into lockable compartments, with space for up to three rider-drivers.

Donkeys are abundant in rural Zimbabwe and are used to carrying heavy loads, making them perfect drivers of the project. (Hee-haw!) A few of the carts also sport solar panels for charging gadgets as well as providing Internet and a printer. The upkeep is difficult, but covered mostly by various benefactors.

Moyo estimates that it takes about $150,000 a year to cover the operating costs of RLRDP, and the charity has received financial support from the Latter-Day Saints and Save the Children. As for the books themselves, many of them are supplied by Book Aid International.

Since the arrival of the donkey-mobiles, educational passing rates have risen. And hopefully, children and teachers alike remain inspired.

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Free Shopping Market Sells Surplus Food

The best things in life are free, or so they say. People like Katryna Robinson are making the most of hotel freebies by donating them to the needy. Now, a free shopping market in New Zealand is cutting food waste (and hunger) by selling surplus food.

The Free Store is a nonprofit organization that redistributes surplus food from local businesses… to those in need. It was inspired by a two-week art project… where artist Kim Paton filled a shop with surplus food items from bakeries and supermarkets. Anyone visiting the shop could take what they wanted free of charge.

In New Zealand, the amount of food that goes to waste is staggering at over 120,000 tons. Just like a similar shop in Norway, The Free Store redistributes expired food still fit for a perfectly good meal. At present, they are selling about 250,000 food items per annum.

“We saw the potential in an untapped food supply. You had food that was perfectly good to eat, and then you had people that were hungry. We could facilitate a connection between the two,”

Initiatives such as this one are becoming increasingly popular around the world. While I’m all for consuming anything “spoiled but scrumptious”, I am more enthusiastic about how things are looking up for those in need.

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Your Tears May Replace Old Batteries

Due to shortages of natural resources like oils and fossil fuels, researchers are creating energy with alternative sources. From what it seems, our bodies may be more useful than we give them credit for. As a matter of fact, our sweat can power various electronics, including radios. In this case, so can our tears, as they have been found to contain a protein called lysozyme.

Lysozyme has an innate antibacterial property, as its main role is to protect against infection by breaking down bacterial cells. While many other known piezoelectric materials contain toxic elements like lead, Stapleton says lysozyme’s nontoxic, organic quality could make it useful to biomedical technology.

Big words aside, applying pressure to the protein creates a small electrical charge. That electrical charge can power medical devices such as pacemakers, and can eventually be used to replace old batteries. Head of study Aimee Stapleton explained that lysozymes crystallize, which make them hassle-free and thus make their usage relatively easy to develop.

“I was interested in lysozyme because it can be crystallized really easily, which makes it easier to study,” she says, “because crystallized structures tend to show piezoelectricity.”

The protein is apparently more conductive than other materials, which makes them a good alternative to replace old batteries with, but don’t worry — scientists aren’t going to start making people cry. Lysozymes are apparently also present in egg whites. Maybe chicken farmers are the ones who should be stoked.

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Yellow Peas Are The New Milk

In the food industry, nothing is what it seems. At Ava Winery, wine is grape-less. Popular distillery Misadventure and Co. is producing vodka made with food waste. Ripple is not far behind, introducing an entire line of dairy products made with yellow peas.

“The food system represents 20 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, and dairy is one-quarter of that,” said [co-founder Neil] Renninger… “The impact is massive. More than beef, more than chicken, dairy is actually the largest contributor to emissions by volume. That challenge scratched my sustainability itch.”

Since its launch, Ripple has sold a healthy 2.5 million bottles of plant-based products. Renninger and partner Adam Lowry admitted that most plant food “sucks” because the industry doesn’t spend enough time doing research to create better food items. To be honest, I couldn’t agree more.

“Their idea of innovation is a brand extension . . . We saw huge potential for impact—a lot of white space in the world of food innovation through technology.”

Yellow peas, Ripple’s ingredient of choice, isn’t strongly flavored and is relatively inexpensive to grow. It also provides a sufficient amount of protein, significantly more than almond milk does. Eliminating 3.5 pounds of carbon emissions per 48-ounce bottle, Ripple has a lot to brag about.

“It’s not that we have the only pea milk on the market; what makes us unique is that, thanks to technology, we have the purest plant protein in the world,” says Renninger.

And with its pea milk currently coming in five different flavors, I can’t imagine Ripple is going out of business anytime soon.

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Type of “Exploding Ants” Discovered in Borneo

Sometimes, biological discoveries are inexplicable, except somehow by serendipity — or perhaps how the ecological balance of the world makes way for good things — as seen in the resurfacing of the supposedly extinct crest-tailed mulgara in Australia or the resurgence of the starfish population in South California. Sometimes, much-studied and long-awaited breakthroughs happen, as seen in the unearthing of 215 dinosaur eggs in China.

Other times, scientific research takes a backseat for almost a century due to a lack of progress, until certain individuals bring it upon themselves to finally answer some questions. Such is the case when an interdisciplinary research team did an expedition to Borneo, Thailand, and Malaysia to study “exploding ants” again — the first time since 1935.

The team from the Natural History Museum Vienna, Technical University Vienna, and other contributing institutions published the results of their studies where they were able to identify 15 separate species of exploding ants, including one new discovery.

The new species is called Colobopsis explodens, but the researchers like to call it “yellow goo” on account of its bright yellow grand secretion. The researchers consider C. explodens to be a model species of exploding ant, which means it’ll now serve as a reference point, or an exemplar, for future research. The new species earned this designation because it’s particularly prone to self-sacrifice when threatened.

When threatened, the newfound species of Southeast Asian exploding ants intentionally rupture their own abdomen to release a sticky and toxic substance that can kill the enemy. Called “autothysis,” this suicidal mechanism can only be found in super-social organisms like ants, who work towards the preservation of their colony rather than the life of any individual insect.

[I]n addition to documenting the ants’ exploding behavior in more detail, the researchers also studied their eating habits; these insects like to munch on algae, moss, fungi, dead insects, fruit, and fish.

The discovery itself of an interesting species should already be lauded as a great contribution to biology. But what’s more important about the work of these scientists is how they laid the groundwork for future research involving these insects.

We must have missed a lot of scientific opportunities in the past. This is why being very proud of rediscovering them is the farthest thing from making a mountain out of an anthill.

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Generous Elderly Man Buys Toys For Toddler

Random acts of kindness can range anywhere from rescuing a drowning family to saving a swan tangled in fishing wire. Whatever the case, they are often unexpected and incredibly heartwarming. This generous elderly man decided he would pay it forward to the next generation, buying toys for a toddler at Target.

“Owen grabbed [three dinosaur toys] and we were trying to pick out which one he wanted when Owen abruptly yelled, “Hi,” at this older man walking past us,” [mom Alyssa] Hacker wrote [on Facebook]. “He turned around and said, ‘Hey sweet boy.’”

A grandfather himself, the generous elderly man handed the child a $20 bill for all three toys as the little boy continued to play with the miniature dinosaurs. His reason for doing so? It’s tear-jerking, to say the least.

“I just lost my 2-year-old grandson last week. You take this money and buy this boy all three dinosaurs.”

Tissues, anyone? Hacker initially felt that the anonymous grandpa was a little too close for comfort — clearly, his act of benevolence changed that. The video that she posted on Facebook even garnered hundreds of thousands of shares.

“There is still some good in this world,” she added.

While it’s often best to remain cautious with strangers, keep in mind that there are a bunch who mean well.

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Dental Augmented Reality Acts As Virtual Mirror

The world of dentistry is now more futuristic than ever. Alternative treatments include some unexpected new contenders such as green tea extract and squid ink. Like all whitening and strengthening products, however, results take time — unless you’re working with this Swiss startup. Kapanu has created a dental augmented reality device that allows patients to “try on” their future smiles.

It works by matching a 3D scan of the person’s mouth cavity… to scans of known sets of good teeth… Once the software locks onto the user’s mouth and teeth, it overlays the improved teeth — and that’s where the fun starts.

Because the program is interactive, users can edit the spacing between teeth, as well as their shape. While the system may seem like a teeth-only version of The Sims, the fact that replacement teeth are molded down to every detail is mind-blowing. 

Once the patient has customized their teeth and given them a preview in the AR “virtual mirror,” the final model is sent off for manufacture wherever it is replacement teeth are made.

Shown at the International Dental Show in Cologne, the dental augmented reality program immediately hit some marks for investors. As an independent operator, Kapanu has yet to lay down its terms for commercial use. In the meantime, I’ll remember to stay off the sweets.

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