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Recently, protective face masks are in high demand. This is especially noticeable in the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, and is due, first of all, to a high level of air pollution. Thus, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year polluted air causes premature death of at least seven million people around the world. And this is not surprising: inhalation of polluted air increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer, and also exacerbates asthma and other respiratory diseases. The situation is aggravated by rapid climate change, as well as forest fires that are raging in various regions of the planet.

Climate change is forcing people to adapt to new conditions. Protective masks are likely to become a necessity in the future.

Protective masks now don’t scare anyone

Some 10 years ago, people tried to stay away from a person in a protective mask. In those years, outbreaks of SARS, bird flu, influenza pandemic (H1N1) and other equally dangerous diseases were periodically observed in the world. Today the situation has not changed much – so, recently, an outbreak of bubonic plague in China was announced as well and an unknown disease that struck 44 people. And this is not counting the return of measles as well as outbreaks of the BVRS-CoV coronavirus, which was recorded in different countries of the world. However, our attitude towards people in protective masks has changed.

Perhaps the reason for the lack of fear of masked people lies in an ordinary habit – they just stopped surprising us. But not only. Rapid climate change caused by human activities has become especially noticeable in the last decade. Photos of masked people often appear in news bulletins – whether it be forest fires or extreme air pollution. Moreover, musicians popular among the younger generation made masks a part of their image, painting them with different colors, adding stripes and inscriptions. As a result, in almost any city in the world you can meet young people in now-trendy face masks.

Rap artists Ayo & Teo set fashion trend

How clean air becomes a business

Ao Air’s Atmos Faceware recently announced its intention to solve the problem of polluted air. No, you won’t have to change anything dramatically – just buy a new device for 350 US dollars. The gadget, which has just debuted at CES, is a mask that, according to company representatives, provides better protection against particulate matter than standard masks certified by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). According to an official press release , Ao Air considers the mask a new effective method of protection against polluted air.

Atmos Faceware mask looks like this

According to The Verge and the mask manufacturer, the functioning of Faceware will not be prevented by facial hair, sweat and other factors. Moreover, the company also thought about design. So, Atmos Faceware masks are transparent, rely on the nose bridge, allowing others to see your face, including a smile. The kit includes a mask with four additional filters, and the number of new devices today is very limited. However, despite the obvious advantages, not everyone can afford such an acquisition. For comparison, the N95 mask, the most common NIOSH-certified mask, costs about $ 15.

Meanwhile, wealthier people today are breathing clean air. The fact is that air pollution is usually concentrated in low-income areas, where people are more likely to face environmental problems, natural disasters and climate change. Even if high-tech face masks are able to provide better protection, they will only exacerbate social inequality, as they will be available only to those who have a large amount on their bank account. But regardless of our desires and possibilities, the world is heating up. The season of fires, according to experts, will gain momentum.

People in the Middle Kingdom forced to wear face masks due to excessively polluted air

Due to the drought caused by climate change, their intensity and duration will increase, thereby greatly polluting the air. But it’s not just about fires. Rising temperatures, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and dust storms will not make the air on Earth cleaner. Against this gloomy background, the production of protective masks is a logical and natural goal for many companies. It is possible that in the near future, protective face masks will become the same accessory as sunglasses. The issue, as before, is equal access to resources, which, as we know today, does not exist.

Planet Earth

A previously unknown species of winged dinosaur very similar to a dragon discovered in China

Artistic representation of how the Wulong bohaiensis could have been. Credit: Erick Toussaint / San Diego Natural History Museum

A new species of dinosaur, a relative of Velociraptor, has shown scientists a little more about the origins of similarities and differences between the feathers of dinosaurs and birds.

The fossil belongs to a fierce dinosaur from the Cretaceous period called the “dancing dragon” who lived 120 million years ago in what is now China.

‘Dancing dragon’

Fossil of the Wulong bohaiensis. Credit: Erick Toussaint / San Diego Natural History Museum

Called Wulong Bohaiensis, It was a two-legged carnivore, a little bigger than a raven, that resided in an environment next to lakes. He had a scaly face, a mouth full of pointed teeth, a particularly dangerous toenail, and probably hunted small mammals, lizards, birds and fish.

He was gound in the Chinese province of Rehe, in northeastern China and his name translates as ‘dancing dragon’, as it refers to the articulated position in which his skeleton is.

Conserved in its entirety, the skeleton included soft tissues such as feathers, which appear together on its arms and legs, very similar to those of birds now. In addition to its four long limbs and two long feathers at the end of the tail, his body was covered by spongy filaments.

At the end of its long bone tail, fused in a rigid rod, there were 2 very long feathers.

«The Wulong specimen is a magnificent fossil. With the feathers and claws, I think it would have been beautiful and a little scary. I would love to see one alive, ”said leading research paleontologist Ashley Poust of the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Plumage differences between birds and feathered dinosaurs

A thorough examination of the bones showed that this Wulong individual was approximately one year old, that is, he was a young male still growing.

A new species of feathered dinosaur in China

This characteristic puzzled the experts, since usually the feathers appear in the adult stage. “Either the young dinosaurs needed these tail feathers for some function we don’t know, or they were cultivating their feathers very differently than most current birds”, Poust explained

Birds evolved from small feathered dinosaurs approximately 150 million years ago. But there were many feathered dinosaurs that didn’t fly, like Wulong.

Young Wulong seemed to have the plumage of an adult.

«It has long and isolated feathers that extend from its long tail. This is quite different from live birds and tells us that these decorative feathers preceded adulthood in dinosaurs. Of course, they may be using these feathers in a very different way from live birds too, ”said the expert.

Paleontologists are eager to understand many more plumage differences between birds and these feathered dinosaurs.

The finding was described in the scientific journal. The Anatomical Record.

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Planet Earth

Australia Firefighters Save the Only Wild Prehistoric Wollemi Pines on Earth

Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch
Waking Times

It looks as if firefighters in Australia have succeeded in saving a secret grove of prehistoric trees belonging to a species that dates back to the time of the dinosaurs.

The Wollemi pines once grew widely across Australia from more than 100 to 60 million years ago, The Washington Post reported. But now less than 200 remain in the wild, in a national park 125 miles northwest of Sydney.

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Planet Earth

“Huge anomalies” at the edge of the earth’s core

At the edge of the Earth’s core lie two gigantic blobs of ultrahot rock — and that’s about the extent to which geologists agree about them.

NASA PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY. DISTRIBUTED ACTIVE ARCHIVE CENTER

The mysterious blobs are on opposite sides of the planet, one hidden beneath Africa, the other in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – the Quanta Magazine compared the ‘massive anomalies’ to Princess Leia’s iconic hairstyle (Star Wars).

Scientists discovered the blobs decades ago by mapping the interior of the planet, but have not learned much since.

Some ideas

There are two main schools of thought regarding the blobs, according to Quanta. The first camp holds that they’re merely massive clusters of hot plumes.

The other argues that the blobs — so big that they would drown the planet’s surface in a lava ocean over 60 miles deep — are their own distinct entity and not just a particularly warm region of the core.

Recent evidence supports the second camp: Quanta reports that scientists found traces of unique, ancient rocks and isotopes in magma that’s flowed upward from the blobs — materials nearly as old as the Earth itself and not found elsewhere on the planet.

Persistent Mystery

Still, great mystery still surrounds the deeply-buried hotspots. One theory is that they could be fragments of a Mars-sized object that crashed into the Earth.

University of Maryland seismologist Vedran Lekić told Quanta

It would be like having an object in the sky, and asking, ‘Is that the moon?’ And people are like, no. ‘Is that the sun?’ No. ‘What is it?’ We don’t know.

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