Coffee Leads to Longer Life


That shot of expresso you have every morning? It might just be making you live longer and reducing your risk of getting cancer, diabetes, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

According to the research as reported in Science Daily:

“Drinking coffee was associated with lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease. People who consumed a cup of coffee a day were 12 percent less likely to die compared to those who didn’t drink coffee.”

And, it did not seem to matter whether you drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee which suggests that the effect is not related to caffeine. Even better news… when you drink 2-3 cups a day, the association becomes stronger– an 18 precent reduced chance of death as opposed to 12 percent.

Researchers do not know what it is in coffee that creates this association to a long life, however, according to Veronica W. Setiawan, lead author of the study and an associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC:

“Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that play an important role in cancer prevention.”
 

This association even cuts across ethnic boundaries. There’s a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory and kidney disease for African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and whites. With these four major ethnic groups showing a similar response, it suggests that coffee is good for you whether you are white, African-American, Latino or Asian.

If you are already a coffee drinker, this new research will probably confirm what you already believed, that coffee is good for you! If you are not a coffee drinker, you might consider becoming one!


For further information about coffee see, Coffee Leads to Longer Life, by Dr. Mercola


World's Plastic Waste Could Bury Manhattan 2 Miles Deep


WASHINGTON — Industry has made more than 9.1 billion tons of plastic since 1950 and there's enough left over to bury Manhattan under more than two miles of trash, according to a new cradle-to-grave global study.

Plastics don't break down like other man-made materials, so three-quarters of the stuff ends up as waste in landfills, littered on land and floating in oceans, lakes and rivers, according to the research reported in Wednesday's journal Science Advances .

"At the current rate, we are really heading toward a plastic planet," said study lead author Roland Geyer, an industrial ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. "It is something we need to pay attention to."

The plastics boom started after World War II, and now plastics are everywhere. They are used in packaging like plastic bottles and consumer goods like cellphones and refrigerators. They are in pipes and other construction material. They are in cars and clothing, usually as polyester.

Study co-author Jenna Jambeck of the University of Georgia said the world first needs to know how much plastic waste there is worldwide before it can tackle the problem.
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They calculated that of the 9.1 billion tons made, nearly 7 billion tons are no longer used. Only 9 percent got recycled and another 12 percent was incinerated, leaving 5.5 billion tons of plastic waste on land and in water.

Using the plastics industry own data, Geyer, Jambeck and Kara Lavender Law found that the amount of plastics made and thrown out is accelerating. In 2015, the world created 448 million tons of plastic — more than twice as much as made in 1998.

China makes the most plastic, followed by Europe and North America.

"The growth is astonishing and it doesn't look like it's slowing down soon," Geyer said.

About 35 percent of the plastic made is for packaging, like water bottles. Geyer said his figures are higher than other calculations because he includes plastics material woven into fibers like polyester clothing, including microfiber material.

An official of a U.S. trade group said the plastics industry recognizes the problem and is working to increase recycling and reduce waste.

"Plastics are used because they are efficient, they are cost effective and they do their jobs," said Steve Russell, vice president of plastics for the American Chemistry Council , an industry association that represents manufacturers. "And if we didn't have them, the impact on the environment would be worse."

Using alternatives to plastics for packaging and consumer goods such as glass, paper or aluminum requires more energy, Russell said.

The world still makes more concrete and steel than plastic, but the big difference is that they stay longer in buildings and cars and degrade better than plastic, Geyer said. Except for what is burned, "all the plastics that we made since 1950 are still with us," he said.

"The fact that it becomes waste so quickly and that it's persistent is why it's piling up in the environment," said Chelsea Rochman, a professor of ecology at the University of Toronto. She wasn't part of the study but like other outside experts praised it for thoroughness and accuracy.

"At some point we will run out of room to put it," she said in an email. "Some may argue we already have and now it's found in every nook and cranny of our oceans."

Plastic waste in water has been shown to harm more than 600 species of marine life, said Nancy Wallace, marine debris program director for the U.S. National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. Whales, sea turtles, dolphins, fish and sea birds are hurt or killed, she said.

"It's a huge amount of material that we're not doing anything about," Wallace said. "We're finding plastics everywhere."

Grid Batteries Are Poised to Become Cheaper Than Natural-Gas Plants in Minnesota

A 60-acre solar farm in Camp Ripley, a National Guard base in Minnesota.
by Michael Reilly July 12, 2017
 
When it comes to renewable energy, Minnesota isn’t typically a headline-grabber: in 2016 it got about 18 percent of its energy from wind, good enough to rank in the top 10 states. But it’s just 28th in terms of installed solar capacity, and its relatively small size means projects within its borders rarely garner the attention that giants like California and Texas routinely get.

A new report on the future of energy in the state should turn some heads (PDF). According to the University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab, starting in 2019 and for the foreseeable future, the overall cost of building grid-scale storage there will be less than that of building natural-gas plants to meet future energy demand.

Minnesota currently gets about 21 percent of its energy from renewables. That’s not bad, but current plans also call for bringing an additional 1,800 megawatts of gas-fired “peaker” plants online by 2028 to meet growing demand. As the moniker suggests, these plants are meant to spin up quickly to meet daily peaks in energy demand—something renewables tend to be bad at because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine.

Storing energy from renewables could solve that problem, but it’s traditionally been thought of as too expensive compared with other forms of energy.

The new report suggests otherwise. According to the analysis, bringing lithium-ion batteries online for grid storage would be a good way to stockpile energy for when it’s needed, and it would prove less costly than building and operating new natural-gas plants.

The finding comes at an interesting time. For one thing, the price of lithium-ion batteries continues to plummet, something that certainly has the auto industry’s attention. And grid-scale batteries, while still relatively rare, are popping up more and more these days. The Minnesota report, then, suggests that such projects may become increasingly common—and could be a powerful way to lower emissions without sending our power bills skyrocketing in the process.