Veined Octopus, Amphioctopus marginatus, showing sophisticated tool use behaviour. Footage shot by Dr Julian Finn of Museum Victoria. Uploaded on 14 Dec 2009
Link to Dr. Finn’s background and current activities with Museum Victoria ~
Octopus Uses Tools
The veined octopus gathers and stcks discarded cocnut shells, then transports them across the sea floor to use as shelter.
The Crafty Coconut Octopus, published on 27 Jan 2013 by reefIDFifer. The Coconut octopus has learned to use a coconut shell as a true mobile home.
The subject of animal intelligence has been touched on in a previous list by Andrew Handley—and it’s a subject which is often uncomfortable for those who like to think of humans as a separate, special kind of creature. Unfortunately for these people, it is impossible to deny that animals are intelligent—and often much more so than we have generally given them credit for.
One of the most startling cognitive abilities demonstrated by animals is their ingenious use of tools. Here is an example of animals who have found that nature did not equip them as well as it might have—and who have thus made up the shortfall themselves.
Octopus Opens Jar: Promo – uploaded on 16 Sep 2010 – A clever octopus opens a screw-top jar to get at dinner inside. “Aliens of The Sea” airs September 23 2010 on CBC-TV
Octopuses Build Mobile Homes
Humans are very vertebrate-centric in their conception of the animal hierarchy. But there are many surprisingly intelligent animals to be found among those species lacking backbones; the minds of octopuses, in particular, are being studied rather rigorously at present, because these animals are such good problem solvers.
They’re so clever, in fact, that under UK law, octopuses are considered honorary vertebrates in terms of their legal protections. Octopuses use their supple bodies to slide into tight places in pursuit of food, but a soft body is little protection from predators. The veined octopus has been observed actively solving this vulnerability problem, by digging up coconut shells and using them as shelter. They have been seen squeezing into the empty shells and carrying them as they “walk” along the seabed, safe from attack.
Bielefeld University students participating in iGEM competition
A biological filter to remove estrogens from waste water and drinking water. The 15 Bielefeld students submitting this project to the ‘international Genetically Engineered Machine
competition’ (iGEM) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA are setting their sights high. They are persuading internationally active companies and associations in the biotechnology and chemistry sector to contribute several ten thousands of Euros to cover the costs of entering this rapidly expanding global competition in synthetic biology. Since May, they have been spending their free time in the laboratory making new DNA building blocks, reproducing them, and producing enzymes. First results give reason for optimism.
The birth control pill is a widespread contraception method. However, large amounts of these modified estrogens leave the body again in urine. The conventional methods in sewage treatment plants are unable to treat this waste water sufficiently because the most frequently used estrogen ethinylestradiol is very difficult to break down. As a result, the hormone finds its way into rivers and lakes and also accumulates in drinking water with serious consequences for fish and other aquatic life. These range from reproductive and severe developmental disorders to the formation of female sexual characteristics in males. The long-term consequences of increasing estrogen pollution for human beings are still largely unknown. Nonetheless, declining sperm counts and thereby increasing infertility in men living in industrial nations may well relate to this hormonal pollution. In addition, testicular and prostate cancers as well as osteoporosis (a reduction in bone density) could be a consequence of overly high concentrations of estrogen in the human body.
Bio filters from tree fungi
The goal of the Bielefeld iGEM team is to develop a biological filter in which certain enzymes (so-called laccases) break down the estrogen. Laccases are to be found in many organisms, and one of their properties is an ability to break down aromatic compounds – to which the estrogens belong. One source of particularly efficient laccases for this process is the turkey tail, a type of fungus that likes to grow on trees. The Bielefeld students are aiming to manufacture this enzyme economically and safely with the help of methods from synthetic biology. It should also be possible to extend the concept to other, in part poisonous and carcinogenic pollutants in drinking and waste water. The students already have one first success to announce: they have managed to isolate the genes of several laccases from various bacteria and have placed them in a standard, allowing further development. By the time of the European Jamboree in October, they want to have confirmed how the enzymes break down
various substrates such as estrogens, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals and to be starting to immobilize them to filter materials.
Doing research in their own time
The Bielefeld team is composed of 15 students in the Genome-Based Systems Biology, Molecular Cell Biology, and Molecular Biotechnology degree programmes. Participating in the international competition means sacrificing many hours of their own free time, because the Bielefeld students have to carry out the research on top of their regular studies. Moritz Müller, a Master student of Molecular Biotechnology, explains why participating is nonetheless attractive: ‘Taking part in the competition gives you a chance to build up your own laboratory work while you are still studying, to pursue your own ideas, and even carry out your own project. These are the sort of challenges you will be facing in your professional career’. The students are being supported by Professor Dr. Alfred Pühler, Professor Dr. Erwin Flaschel, Dr. Jörn Kalinowski, and Dr. Christian Rückert from Bielefeld University’s CeBiTec (Center for Biotechnology)…
After reading paragraphs 2 and 3, you should be concerned. Our drinking water – municipal or well is not as healthy for you as you are led to believe. Also, if your family is not enjoying the taste of your tap water, you would be wise to consider installing a Rainsoft Reverse Osmosis system (watch video below). Not only will you enjoy the benefit of pure natural tasting water, but you will stop worrying about the harmful chemicals, pharmaceuticals, including modified estrogens, pesticides and herbicides that are present in your water.
QUESTIONS? ~ Call us to help with your home’s water filtration needs. More and more people realize that even though they are on municipal water, filtering your home water is a necessity now that evidence states more and more dangerous chemicals such as fluoride, trihalomethanes, lead and pharmaceuticals(i.e. altered estrogen) may be in your water.
Eternally Pure Water Systems, Inc.
5450 Canotek Rd., Unit 66-67
Ottawa, ON K1J 9G5
Check out our customer reviews on Homestars site ~
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Here’s a lovely way to start your weekend by watching as more than 30 musicians from the Municipal School of Dance and Music play “Bolero” by Ravel poolside.
Youtube video,”Splashmob Hotel Cordial Mogán Playa”, Published on May 3, 2013
A flashmob straight from the wonderful pools of Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa, in Puerto de Mogan, Gran Canaria. More than 30 musicians from the Band of the Local Municipal School of Dance and Music of Mogan, surprise our guests playing “Bolero” (Ravel). Music splashes in Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa. Thank you for sharing it, we hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Un flashmob desde las maravillosas piscinas del Hotel Cordial Mogán Playa, en Puerto de Mogán, Gran Canaria. Más de 30 músicos de la Banda Escuela Municipal de Música y Danza de Mogán sorprenden a nuestros huéspedes con una original interpretación de El Bolero de Ravel. La música se moja en el Hotel Cordial Mogán Playa. Gracias por compartirlo, que lo disfrute tanto como nosotros.
Have a great weekend and we look forward to having you visit with us a while next week.
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“Line of Defence”
Pipe lining is quickly becoming a cheaper alternative for protecting drinking water from corrosive material and contamination—so what are the benefits? written for Water Canada magazine by Rachel Phan
Who are the major players?
While this trenchless pipe lining technology is relatively new to North America, a number of Canadian companies are offering similar technologies and services to municipalities dealing with rapidly aging infrastructure. These companies include:
• FER-PAL Infrastructure
• LiquiForce Services
When the town of Rothesay, New Brunswick began to receive complaints about dirty water, it was discovered that the source of the problem was a section of cast iron watermains constructed in the 1960s. Rather than digging up and replacing the pipes, the Town opted to explore other cheaper and less disruptive options. Pipe lining—a relatively new technology in North America—was chosen as the most convenient solution.
Liners are primarily used to solve the problem of municipal water pipe deterioration. When pipes are corroded over time, pipe liners are applied to the inside of unlined cast iron or cement mortar-lined pipes. While older structural spray lining, often called Cured-In-Place- Pipe, is slow setting and requires a minimum 16 hour cure period and an additional 36 hours of service shutdowns, the new generation polyurea pipe linings are rapid-setting and quick cure.
“Generally speaking, pipe liners have been specifically developed for the rehabilitation of potable water pipe infrastructure to help extend service life, reduce leaks, and improve water quality by preventing tuberculation—the build-up of corrosive material on the inside of iron piping—that can lead to colour, taste, and odour issues,” says Sylvain Masse, the business development manager of the 3M Infrastructure Protection Division.
“Essentially, liners reduce the contact water has with piping, which in turn reduces the likelihood of water discolouration and poor pressure,” he adds.
Aside from acting as a thin layer of protection, liners can also be applied as a structural addition to the pipe, which means the layer of liner can act as a pipe in the event that the actual pipe fails due to age or corrosion.
As a result, pipe liners can prevent contaminants from reaching water in cases where the earth surrounding a corroding pipe is contaminated.
The Town of Rothesay came across the new lining technology after receiving complaints about poor pressure and water becoming yellowish or rusty during high flow events. While these issues are not generally health hazards, the discoloured water is often unsettling for customers. In 2011, Rothesay started a trial run project where 1,000 metres of cast iron pipe were relined in about three to four weeks.
“Initially, it was very attractive to do the relining versus digging up pipes and replacing them because there was minimal disruption to the customer and it was cost saving for the municipality,” says Bruce King, Rothesay’s utilities coordinator. “The benefit of relining outweighed the process of replacing the pipe.”
In Rothesay, approximately 100 metres of pipes were relined in a day, and for the most part, the water was back in service by night on sections that were relined that day (albeit on a boil water advisory while the process was ongoing). This made the process relatively pain-free for residents.
The original trial run was so successful that the Town of Rothesay applied the liner to an additional 1,600 metres of iron pipe in 2012, which took approximately four to five weeks to complete. An engineer estimates that the 2012 project was about 36 per cent of the cost to replace the pipe.
“There was a dramatic drop in dirty water complaints and the process was fairly easy,” King says. “We received a lot of immediate positive feedback, especially about the water quality improvement.”
He says Rothesay has plans to reline its last remaining cast iron mains in 2014. In the meantime, the technology continues to gain popularity with municipalities looking for a cost-effective alternative to replacing aging infrastructure. WC
Rachel Phan is Water Canada’s managing editor
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Time for another fun Friday.
Enjoy and share.
Have a great weekend.
Watch what these dogs when they discover the cat has stolen their bed.
The following youtube video “Cats Stealing Dog Beds” was published on 19 Oct 2013by ailaikvis.
Cats love cozying up in small spaces. Cats can also be furry little jerks. So, it’s safe to assume that when a cat decides to sleep in the (much larger) bed of a dog sibling, it’s done purely to screw with the dog.
Sadly, dogs are too polite for confrontation and resort to halfhearted pleas with their feline occupier. On the other hand, it appears as if the cats couldn’t care less.
Posted in Art, Children's Entertainment, Collage, Entertainment, Humour, Humourous video, Laughter, Video
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Thinking Inside the Box
For Canada’s remote First Nations, smaller towns, and suburban developments, containerized sewage treatment promises plenty of benefits. Are we ready to rethink small systems?
This article was written by Julie Stauffer and appeared in Jan/Feb 2014 issue of WaterCanada magazine.
Across the country, small towns are facing the problem of sewage lagoons nearing capacity or reaching the end of their lives. On First Nation reserves in particular, more than half the wastewater systems have been classified as high or medium risk. Meanwhile, urban Canadian municipalities are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to connect new outlying developments to existing treatment plants.
According to Trish Johnson, a senior environmental consultant at R.V. Anderson Associates Ltd., the status quo approach to small sewage systems no longer makes sense. “We have to do
things differently,” she says.
Bullish on boxes.
More and more companies are betting the answer lies in packaged or containerized sewage treatment. The concept is simple. Fit your technology—complete with plumbing and electrical—into a shipping container or trailer, transport it to your site via truck or barge, hook everything up, and suddenly, you’ve got a functioning system in a matter of days at a fraction of the cost of conventional plants. As an added bonus, the effluent that comes out the other end is just as good—or better—than in traditional facilities.
Take the example of EcoLibra Systems. A few years ago, this Saskatoon based company was building sewage treatment plants from scratch with all the contracting headaches and weather delays that accompany any construction project. CEO Jason Tratch then decided to package his company’s lime-based treatment technology in a standard 40-foot sea container. The resulting system serves roughly 300 people, and to scale up, the user simply adds another container.
Meanwhile, for the past 13 years, Calgary’s FilterBoxx Packaged Water Solutions Inc. has been providing water and sewage treatment in the work camps of Northern Alberta, “literally 500 miles north of nowhere,” CEO Larry Novachis says.
The packaged membrane bioreactor sewage treatment systems serve anywhere from 600 people to more than 5,000. Now, FilterBoxx is expanding its clientele to small communities, First Nations, resorts, and hotels. “If the camp people put their faith in a packaged approach day in and day out in –50°C, there’s no reason why a small town or an Indian reserve couldn’t either,” Novachis says.
There are dozens of other examples. Treatment containers from Canadian-owned Nomadic have seen action everywhere from fly-in fishing camps in British Columbia to mining camps in Siberia. Siemens has installed its Xpress system at Tsuu T’ina Nation’s Grey Eagle Casino in Calgary, while Quebec-based Bionest piloted their Kodiak system in the Arctic town of Iqaluit.
And whether the company uses an activated sludge process, rotating biological contractors, chemicals, or membrane technology to treat wastewater, the objectives remain the same: provide a packaged system that is effective, easy to transport, and simple to maintain.
‘It’s a slam dunk’
So how do boxed systems stack up against conventional approaches? When compared to lagoons—the go-to solution for most Canadian communities of 5,000 people or fewer—the big advantage for small systems is performance. While lagoons are a well-established technology, a 2006 Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment report cites problems with odour issues and high ammonia levels in the treated discharge.
As environmental regulations get stricter, Novachis expects more towns to look for alternatives to lagoon systems. Packaged or containerized systems are highly reliable, he says. They have a significantly smaller footprint than a lagoon, plus they’re enclosed, avoiding odour issues. Most importantly, they produce an effluent that can be reused for anything from washing equipment to watering golf courses. “Really, it’s a slam dunk going packaged versus lagoon,” Novachis says.
Packaged systems have advantages over bricks-and-mortar facilities, too. In remote communities where on-site construction costs can run 10 times as high as urban areas, packaged systems make financial sense. While the material costs are similar to a so-called “stick-built” system, Novachis says, the huge savings on installation cut total ownership costs between a half and two-thirds.
Tratch also points out the economies of scale created when a company manufactures standardized packages rather than constructing a custom-built facility. Packaged systems can be designed and installed much faster than the 18 to 24 months typically required to build a plant from scratch. “We can have a sea can at your door, ready to turn the key, within three to four months,” he says.
As for suburban settings, packaged systems allow municipalities to expand without the need to connect nodes of development to treatment plants dozens of kilometres away. Tratch says he’s
getting calls from developers putting in 100 or 150 houses on the outskirts of town. “This is a big new market,” he says.
And the advantages of small systems do not end there. Packaged systems don’t require specialized expertise, which is ideal for small communities where highly trained engineers and operational staff are not always available. Take the example of an EcoLibra system: “Every three to four days, someone’s going to have to go into the plant and add the green chemical to the green bin, the blue chemical to the blue bin, and then swap out the bag that was collecting the sludge,” Tratch says. Compared to more traditional systems, this process is relatively easy.
As for FilterBoxx, it has 35 certified water and wastewater professionals in Stony Plain, Alberta dedicated to running the plants it installs.
In a country still dominated by big pipe,
urban-focused thinking, manufacturers of packaged and containerized systems face a few hurdles. One of the biggest, according to Johnson, is policy. “Buttoned down” and “risk adverse” federal protocols require operators and backup systems that are exorbitantly expensive, she says.
And while some provinces do allow communities to manage private systems, others insist new suburban developments should be connected to existing sewage.
Then there’s the additional problem facing any new technology: unfamiliarity.
While the engineering companies that design and build municipal plants know all about bricks-and-mortar plants, plug-and-play systems are a different ballgame. “I think the next guys that need to change is the small and the large engineering firms,” Tratch says.
However, Johnson points to economic drivers, the data flowing in from pilot plants, the federal government’s willingness to look at alternatives for First Nations, and the growing number of qualified vendors as signs that attitudes are shifting. “Once we start to put out the information and the results, and the proof of the pudding is there, we’re going to see huge changes,” she predicts. WC
Julie Stauffer is an award-winning freelance writer and the owner of Cadmium Red Communications.
Posted in Art, Collage, Educational, Environment, Innovative technology, Photography
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