Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Calvin & Hobbes on Human intelligence!

Biosphere II Project

Biosphere II is a man-made closed ecological system duplicating earth (Biosphere I) - in Oracle, Arizona, built (1987-89) by, Space Biosphere Ventures and now managed by Environmental Research dept. of Columbia University. The project conducted two sealed missions; first from September 26, 1991 to September 26, 1993 and second for six months in 1994 – Both Failed - why read further... - Did we any Lessons ?? - there is a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon (Copyright of Bill Watterson) that answers this question

Biosphere II
Biosphere II project demonstrated how fragile the balance can become. This grand experiment attempted to replicate natural ecosystems inside a self-contained world. However, the system started to fail several months into the experiment. All parts of the ecosystem inside Biosphere II, were in jeopardy because the experiment's designers had overlooked the importance of every parts in an ecosystem, including that of microbes.

The delicate balance of microbes in the soil was tipped when too much fertilizer was used to prepare the soil for crops. The microbial population grew too fast and consumed a huge amount of the oxygen inside the Biosphere. Other species started to die. In desperation, both the team and the external supervisors decided to pump air from outside into the Biosphere. They had failed their primary goal -- all because of their underestimation of the microbes -- one tiny, but crucial part.

To completely understand an ecosystem, (which is beyond human intelligence as per Fukuoka San (One Straw Revolution) - it's necessary to examine every component, including the unseen microscopic life and there relationship with each other and with other lifeforms both living inside /outside the lifeforms. Failure of this experiment was a rude shock to the Biologist who thought they could replicate something like mother earth !...

Somewhere I read...
Ecosystems are like human beings-- working systems composed of living things. Each life form contributes to the whole in multiple ways, providing food for other life forms or consuming others or decomposing. The whole system depends on each member to fulfill a particular job. If something happens to one part, anywhere in the ecosystem, the rest of the ecosystem would suffer. If one species becomes extinct with it several microbes which are dependent on it - and their role we don't yet know. The simple(?) dung beetle role itself is so valuable in Ecology then we can only imagine(?) what are the roles of microbes in the Ecology

Of the 400 odd types of bacteria living in each one of us - we just know a few of them that too partially - we don't have a clue of the inter-relation between these microbes and the billions of microbes outside our body and other organisms /plants and their role in the food we eat and environment... the list is endless.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Save Bacteria!... (Very important)

I recently read an article in Business 2.0 - "Researchers at York University in Britain have identified bacteria living in the roots of poplar trees that produce an enzyme that zaps residue from RDX, a chemical compound used by the military and industry. The scientists are working on ways to genetically engineer the enzyme to boost the tree's ability to suck up toxic waste. So don't be surprised if you start seeing forests sprouting on old military bases.

Meanwhile, a team from the University of Georgia has transplanted a gene from bacteria that helps neutralize mercury contamination into a common flower. The result: a solar-powered bioremediation system that smells nice too"

I give below what I had written in my EBook on Health & Nutrition in 2004

Microbes are single-cell organisms, oldest form of life on earth, so tiny that billions live in our mouth. E.g.: – Bacteria, Yeast, Algae, etc. that help our in daily life – Ferments Bread, Curd, Iddly, Kombucha, etc…

Bacteria – Often dismissed as “germs” that cause illness, bacteria do many useful things, like make vitamins, break down some types of garbage, degradation of waste, maintain our atmosphere, etc. and now plays a major role in Cellulosic Biofuels

Friendly Bacteria in our body fights the disease causing germs and provides the first line of defense alongside our immune system. In addition human body is the home to a very large number of bacteria with large diversity

Over 400 different species or types, of bacteria make their homes in our mouth, skin, intestine, etc.In human body, it has been estimated that there are more microbes (about 1014, or 100,000,000,000,000 bacterial cells) than there are human cells in it (about 1013). (Are we human or a microbes carrying machine?)

Lactobacillus family of bacteria produces vital nutrients & amino acids (protein) such as arginine, cysteine, and glutami in our colon

Without microbes, we couldn’t eat or breathe. Without us, they’d be just fine

Thus we need to avoid unnecessary antibacterial household products. We need the bacteria that surround us, and it is possible that trying to kill them is causing harm. By introducing antibacterial products into the sewage we are ensuring that only the microbes that are resistant to these products survive. Research is underway to determine if we are selecting for resistant bacterial populations causing antibacterial agents, like antibiotics, to lose their effectiveness or disrupt the effectiveness of the wastewater treatment plants or nutrient cycling in the soil. Use antibacterial hand soaps only when dealing with ill and immuno-compromised individuals. Turning to Organic foods is also beneficial to us by protecting the organisms and microbes that help us...

Save over 30% of LPG


Tarak Nath Chowdhury, a civil engineer invented a device, which can save LPG upto 30%. He also got Earth Care award for this. This simple device doesn't cost much and a modified LPG stove with this attachment is expected to cost around Rs.1500 - Rs.2000.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Food Shortage - Blame Game - Economic times article by Arun Firodia

An excellent article on why the food prices are rising and why there is food shortage now... (This is different from another recent news item on developed countries wasting 25% of all processed foods) This economic times article contains important lessons for India to avoid serious food crisis in the coming years


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Eco Damage and Health - Infomural (Pic)

Eco Damage and Health - Text

Friends of nature...

I have created an Infomural (or you can call it as a Mind-Map or anything) of the Eco-system and the damage that we are causing through our unmindful actions and its direct impact on our health and the economy (such as food shortage /water shortage /agri land depletion) in simple terms. This Infomural does not so much refer on "Global Warming" or "Climate Change" or "Carbon Footprint" etc., though there is one reference...

Though I tend to believe "Global Warming" is a phenomenon thats happening but there has been a lot of controversy on this subject as many scientists are against the doomsday theories. But we don't need scientists or experts to confirm that due to pollution the Air that we breath has become toxic and the Water is contaminated and the land that is become unsuitable for cultivation...

This Infomural is all about such damages how they all add up to causing great damage directly and indirectly to our health. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO USE THIS WHEREVER YOU WANT TO...

Prayers to the Godess of Knowledge

Saraswati Namastubyam Varadhe Kamaroopini |
Vidyarambam Karishyami Siddhi Bavathu May Sada ||

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti ||