Category Archives: Nature

This Blind Man & His Armless Best Friend Have Planted Over 10,000 Trees in China

It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then you hear a story about people overcoming all odds to help others and it completely changes your perspective of the world. The story of Jia Haixia and Jia Wenqi is certainly one of these.

Haixia and Wenqi are two 53-year-old men from China who have faced incredible challenges in their lives. Haixia was born with congenital cataracts that caused him to be blind in one eye. He then lost sight in his one good eye after a work accident in 2000. Wenqi tragically lost both of his arms in an accident when he was only three years old and has been living as a double amputee ever since.

Despite their physical setbacks, Haixia and Wenqi have remained utterly determined to live life to the fullest. These two best friends help one another navigate the world and when they’re together there is nothing that they cannot do.

Adding to their amazing story of friendship is the fact that the pair have managed to plant over 10,000 trees over the course of the past 10 years.

“I am his hands,” said Haixia. “He is my eyes. We are good partners.”

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The pair met in 2001 when they were both struggling to find work because of their disabilities.

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Neither wanted to “give up” on life, so they hatched a plan to plant trees to earn money.

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By planting trees, they could give back to the community and ensure a better future for others. With this idea in mind, they set out to lease three acres of land from the government and got to work. 

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Haixia and Wenqi rise every day at 7AM and set out to plant trees. When they reach the busy stream they need to cross to get to their site, Wenqi carries Haixia to the other side.

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Money is tight, but the pair are determined to reforest their land. Unable to buy new saplings, they use cuttings from older trees to sprout new life.

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“We stand on our own feet,” Wenqi tells Oddity Central. “The fruits of our labor taste sweeter. Even though we are gnawing on steam buns, we find peace in our hearts.”

A number of generous people have volunteered to help Haixia and Wenqi after hearing their story; one kind benefactor has offered to pay for a surgery that could help restore Haixia’s sight, and another has donated money towards their pensions to ensure they always have a good roof over their heads and enough food to eat.

Isn’t it amazing to see one kind action turn into countless others? Take a page from these two today and help keep the compassion going!

All image source: Mymodernmet

Bill Would Revoke Hillary Clinton’s Security Clearances

Republican lawmakers are attempting block presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton from receiving classified information for the remainder of her presidential campaign. A new House bill is the latest effort to revoke Clinton’s security clearance.

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Image via Flickr

Outraged by FBI Director James Comey’s decision to not recommend criminal charges against Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, GOP lawmakers are making a concerted effort to deny her campaign intelligence briefings and to revoke her security clearance.

On July 6, Republican House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, penned a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper urging him to block Clinton from receiving intelligence briefings, Fox News reports.

A precedent dating back to 1952 calls for both major party nominees to receive briefings from the intelligence community in the months leading up to the November election.

“There is no legal requirement for you to provide Secretary Clinton with classified information, and it would send the wrong signal to all those charged with safeguarding our nation’s secrets if you choose to provide her access to this information despite the FBI’s findings,” Ryan wrote.

On July 11, Clapper responded that presidential nominees receive intelligence briefings regardless of security clearance, adding that they are not given full access to confidential material.

“Accordingly, I do not intend to withhold briefings from any officially nominated, eligible candidates,” Clapper concluded.

Meanwhile, 10 Republicans in the Senate have signed a letter requesting that Secretary of State John Kerry deny Clinton or any of her top aides security clearances.

Senate Republicans have also introduced a bill that would bar Clinton and her team from receiving briefings that presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump would be treated to until the November election, Politico reports.

In the House, GOP lawmakers introduced legislation that would revoke Clinton’s security clearance. The bill has been dubbed the Taking Responsibility Using Secured Technologies Act, The Hill reports.

The legislation explicitly states that exercising carelessness serves as adequate grounds to be denied further classified information.

“While the FBI investigation is now closed and Clinton faces no criminal charges, Congress can act,” said Republican Rep. Pete Olson of Texas, who is co-sponsoring the TRUST Act.

Experts on security clearances are skeptical these GOP efforts will lead to any impact, many deeming the bills to be excessive.

“This is monumentally stupid political theater,” said lawyer Bradley Moss, who deals in security clearances. “There are already several provisions within the Adjudicative Guidelines pertaining to security clearance adjudications that address mishandling of classified information.”

Director Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy noted that lawmakers attempting to block Clinton’s security clearance are fighting a losing battle.

“Congress has a voice, but they don’t run it and they don’t control,” Aftergood said.

While GOP efforts to deny Clinton access to classified information would be in vain if she is elected president, their legislation could prevent the former secretary of state’s team from working at the White House.

Clinton aides Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills were all deemed to have been careless by Comey. If their security clearance is blocked, it would be difficult for any of them to serve in key administrative roles.

Security clearance lawyer Bill Savarino has stated that Clinton could use her presidential powers to override such a hurdle to allow Abedin, Sullivan and Mills to work in roles that receive classified information.

“If the president wants somebody cleared, somebody’s gonna get cleared,” Savarino said. “That’s just the bottom line.”

Stop Calling It Just A Weed, This Is One Of The Best Plants To Boost Your Health

Portulaca oleracea, or Purslane as you all know it, is the annoying weed that grows in your back yard. But, things are about to change here.

Purslane is native to Persia and India, but today it grows in every corner of the world. In some cultures it is grown and used in cooking, while in others it is just a weed that ends up in the trash along with other weed or rotten leaves and stems.

Purslane is known for its meaty leaves and tiny yellow flowers. It may not have the best of looks, but it will sure amaze you with its benefits that you probably have no idea of.

Tough seeds
Purslane seeds are extremely powerful, and they remain good for about 40 years. Plus, it is the safest plant when it comes to GMO dangers. Purslane likes both arid climate conditions and nice gardens, and it grows equally in every aspect.

The plant itself is super-powerful, resistant and amazingly healing. Some herbalists use it to provide an immunity boost or bring overall health to an optimal level.

Although it is referred to as pig weed, it is definitely a lot better choice for pigs than the GMO grains they and other livestock are given. Believe it or not, purslane is higher in omega-3 fats than most of the fish oils you can get.
Moreover, it is the richest source of vitamin A in the group of leafy green veggies. Vitamin A is known for its ability to enhance ocular health, and it also contributes to a stronger protection against various cancers.

Strong antioxidant
There are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments in purslane – beta-xanthins and reddish beta-cyanis. Each of them is known for its powerful antimutagen and antioxidant effect. Purslane is abundant in vitamin C, B vitamins, including niacin and riboflavin, carotenoids and trace minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron.
The conclusion would be that purslane sure has a lot to offer, and it deserves a treatment of potent health booster instead of plain weed. Who needs expensive supplements, when we have such a powerful plant in the backyard?

If You Have This Plant In Your House, You Will Never See Mice, Spiders & Other Insects Again!

Insects are members of the group of arthropods, and can be of various species.

There are around 200 million of insects. Their body and specialized extremities split into parts, covered with exoskeleton which can be developed into a shell.

They often have wings or antennas. Usually small in size, except for the beetles, which are larger, insects feed on plants, meat or carrion.

They play an essential role in nature, as they feed other species, and prevent them from turning into big plagues. Namely, they eliminate and decompose great percentage of the organic matter, so they are excellent pollinizers of plants which are economically and economically vital.

Yet, there is no doubt that often their occurrence in the home is quite unpleasant. As soon as one sees an insect, he panics, or screams, as none of us wants them near us or our family.

Fortunately, nature has also provided natural insect repellents, which do not contain harmful chemicals, nor affect our health, unlike commercial products. The insect repellent we are going to reveal today will also provide great smell in your home.

Its main ingredient is fresh mint, an aromatic grass of big diffusion, which leaves a refreshing odor. Despite its use in gastronomy, it also has significant medicinal properties.

Its use is very simple, as you need to put it in a spray bottle, and spray it around the house, on doors, corners, window rims, and everywhere where you have spotted insects or mice. This will keep them far away, and you will finally enjoy your fresh-smelling home!

Featured Image via HFT

He Put A Rose Into A Potato & Planted It That Way. 7 Days Later He Didn’t Believe What He Saw!

Roses have always been among the most favorite flowers of all. Here is an amazing trick that can help you grow them successfully from a rose stem! You can now have a yard full of roses all summer long!

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Image via fhffthl

You need:

a cut down rose

a potato

a plastic bottle

soil

a flowerpot

Directions:

Remove all the leaves from the stem and cut it at an angle of 45 degrees.

Make a hole in the potato with the stem and then shove it in. Make sure it’s well fixed and doesn’t move.

Then, fill 2/3 of the pot with soil and put the potatoes in.

Fill the rest of the pot with soil but make sure the soil surrounds the rose.

In the end, cut down a plastic bottle and cover the rose with it. That will help you create a greenhouse effect.

The first signs of your rose growing again will appear in a week. Now, you can enjoy your rose-filled summer garden!

What This Person Caught On Camera Is Something I’d Never Want To See In Real Life.

Weather patterns are responsible for some of the most fascinating events in nature. When the conditions are just right, something as common as an ordinary downpour can turn into an amazing rare phenomenon.

But one strange weather pattern is taking the world by storm, and quite literally. It’s called a rain bomb, and it’s like something straight out of a sci-fi movie!

This extraordinary occurrence is a beautiful and destructive weather event known as a “rain bomb.”
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More commonly known as a microburst, a rain bomb happens when a cooled heavy column of air sinks suddenly in the middle of a storm. This downdraft pulls the water droplets down with it with tremendous force.
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When the air hits the ground, it’s pushed outward in a curling motion, causing winds of up to 150 mph and bringing crushing torrents of rain.
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This outflow makes the event look like a bomb from far away. Some people also describe microbursts as an “upside-down tornado.”
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Microbursts reach areas of no more than 2.5 miles across, and they come and go quickly, making them extremely rare.
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But this storm chaser in Arizona was lucky enough to capture a rain bomb in action!

This incredible phenomenon is amazing to look at from a distance. But I definitely wouldn’t want to be caught in the middle of one!
Share this rare footage with others below. It’s really, really cool!

The Truth About The Mysterious House On The Ellidaey Island In Iceland

There is a lonely little house on the remote Ellidaey Island in Iceland. The house looks like the one from the Harry Potter Movie in which Harry was hiding on his 11-th birthday. Over the years many photos were taken by passing planes and ships, even more different stories were told, and most of them where completely untrue. For example: The house was not a gift from the government to the Icelandic singer Bjork, it`s not Photoshopped and it doesn’t belong to a secret millionaire or to some religious fanatic. As a matter of fact it`s not even a house!
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Image via Thebeautyoftravel.com
300 years ago this Island was inhabited by five families that lived in huts and survived merely on fishing, raising cattle and puffin hunting. After most of them left to search more civilized hunting grounds, it turned out that this location is the best spot on Iceland for puffin hunting. In 1953 the Hunting Association decided to build this island lodge so their members can have a place to stay during the puffin hunting season.

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Norway : The First Country To Commit To Zero Deforestation!

The Norwegian government has pledged that the nation will become the first country in the world to be deforestation-free. In the latest in a pretty strong record for rainforest conservation and protection, the government will now “impose requirements to ensure that public procurements do not contribute to deforestation of the rainforest.”
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Photo via Byjeng/SHutterstock
This means that the parliament will no longer award government contracts to any company that cuts down and destroys forests. Many products that are commonly used around the world are linked to rainforest deforestation, from tropical timber and soy to the palm oil that laces a lot of what we eat. The government will now no longer buy these products. The exact workings of this deal are still to be announced, but it has already been praised by conservation groups.
“This is an important victory in the fight to protect the rainforest. Over the last few years, a number of companies have committed to cease the procurement of goods that can be linked to destruction of the rainforest,” says Nils Hermann Ranum from the Rainforest Foundation Norway, an organization that has worked with the government to make this commitment happen. “Until now, this has not been matched by similar commitments from governments. Thus, it is highly positive that the Norwegian state is now following suit and making the same demands when it comes to public procurements.”
But Rainforest Foundation Norway doesn’t think that things should stop with Norway. They have called on other nations to do the same, specifically the UK and Germany, with whom the Norwegian government made a joint statement at the UN Climate Summit in New York in 2014 on the issue of deforestation. During the conference, the three nations said they want to “promote national commitments that encourage deforestation-free supply chains, including through public procurement policies to sustainably source commodities such as palm oil, soy, beef and timber.” With Norway now committed, they want these other nations to step up to the plate.
While obviously the commitment by Norway to stop contributing to deforestation around the world is a brilliant thing for any nation to do, in reality it does little for the country’s green credentials, considering it is still one of the world’s largest producers of oil and gas. Norway has long been exploiting the massive reserves that were found in the North Sea, and has now moved on to those found in the Barents Sea, bordering on the Arctic Circle.

While it is still so heavily reliant on the burning of fossil fuels, it doesn’t really matter if it protects some rainforests as climate change will destroy them anyway. However this, and the recent announcement it wants to sell only electric cars by 2025, is at least a step in the right direction.

This Is Why You Should Pee As You Shower, According To Mathematics!

You should be peeing in your shower – not just for the liberating, rebellious adrenaline rush that you may or may not get from it, but because you could save the planet, just a little bit, by doing so.
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Photo via Ariwasabi/Shutterstock
et’s think about it for a moment, mathematically. Every single time you pee, you have to flush the toilet. Whereas those foul smelly poops do need considerable amounts of water to send them off to the mysterious aquatic underworld below, urine barely needs any encouragement once the flushing begins. Although many toilet flushes can be stopped part of the way through their noisy waterfalls, most can’t, and that’s wasting a heck of a lot of water.

An average flush for a modern, Western-style toilet uses 6 liters (1.6 gallons) of water, and the average adult pees about seven times every 24 hours. That means that each day of weeing takes 42 liters (11.1 gallons) of toilet water to flush away. Assuming that people urinate the same way every single day, this means in just one year, the average person uses 15,330 liters (4,050 gallons) of toilet water.

There are 319 million people in the US, so assuming they all pee the same – which they don’t, but we’re making broadly accurate assumptions here – that’s about 4.9 trillion liters (1.3 trillion gallons) of water flushed away in the name of urine every 365 days. For comparison, that’s like flushing away 1.97 million Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth per annum.

Now, if you peed in the shower, you’d massively reduce this figure. Say that this means that you only pee in a toilet six, not seven times, per day. This means that in just one year, you’d save 2,190 liters (579 gallons) of toilet water. Extrapolating this to the entire US population, that’s 699 billion liters (185 billion gallons) of water saved.

Partly thanks to man-made climate change, and partly thanks to inefficient use of water resources, water supplies around the world are running incredibly low. So go on, do the planet a favor – pee as you shower.

Man-eating monster crocodile may be Florida’s newest invasive species!

We all know alligators love Florida. Now, researchers are confirming the presence of Nile crocodiles in the state.

A University of Florida news release states, “man-eaters that can grow to 18 feet long and weigh as much as a small car have been found in the Sunshine State.”

The team conducted DNA analysis of crocodiles caught between 2000 and 2014 to make their determination and believe more are likely out there.

The press release further notes, “…three juveniles…have been found in South Florida, swimming in the Everglades and relaxing on a house porch in Miami”

The species has quite a track record in Africa.

According to the university statement, “The ancient icon eats everything from zebras to small hippos to humans in sub-Saharan Africa… (Nile crocodiles) were responsible for at least 480 attacks on people and 123 fatalities in Africa between 2010 and 2014. They are generalist predators and eat a wide variety of prey. In Florida, everything from native birds, fish and mammals to the state’s native crocodile and alligator would be fair game for the carnivorous croc.”

Researchers aren’t certain how the invasive species made its way to Florida but pet trade is suspected to be the most likely pathway.

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photo credit: File photo of a Nile Crocodile. Julian W/Shutterstock.

We know that they can survive in the Florida wilderness for numerous years, we know that they grow quickly here and we know their behavior in their native range, and there is no reason to suggest that would change here in Florida.”

The study of their DNA also revealed that they were genetically very similar, suggesting they had come from the same source. Where that source is, however, remains unclear. The study did point out that groups of Nile crocodiles have been imported for display at zoological attractions, such as Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and to supply the state’s pet trade.

Florida has more introduced species than any other governed area on Earth. Along with their endemic American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), there are four other known species of crocodilians that aren’t native to the state. However, the newly found Nile crocodile is a very different beast.

The Nile crocodile is native to sub-Saharan Africa, can grow up to 5.5 meters (18 feet) in length, and is famed for its particularly aggressive temperament – eating anything and everything from zebras, buffalo, hippos, and humans – making it one of the most dangerous creatures in the world. Between 2010 and 2014, they were blamed for over 480 attacks and 123 fatalities on humans in Africa.

Florida’s subtropical climate makes it a comfortable environment for other non-native tropical species to flourish, including the Burmese python and Cuban tree frog, both of which have settled in the area. While Nile crocodiles turning up on people’s porches might seem like an issue in itself, the study also hopes to highlight the wider problem of invasive species disturbing the ecosystem of Florida.

“My hope as a biologist is that the introduction of Nile crocodiles in Florida opens everyone’s eyes to the problem of invasive species that we have here in our state,” Krysko added. “Now here’s another one, but this time it isn’t just a tiny house gecko from Africa.”