Family composting

first_imgBy Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaWhen it comes to recycling, you probably sort out glass andplastic products from your householdtrash and maybe even save newspapers for the local Boy Scouttroop. But what about yesterday’sbanana peel and the spent grounds from this morning’s java?Composting your household vegetable and fruit waste is a formof recycling, too. You’re keepingthose items out of the landfill and creating plant food.Compost is the organic matter that remains after microbes havedecomposed your fresh vegetablerinds and grass clippings. It doesn’t sound appealing, but soiland plants think it’s yummy. New habit formed quicklyI was amazed by how quickly I adjusted to composting. For aweek or so, I caught myself headingto the trash can with an apple core or the shriveled remains of ahead of lettuce. But before long, itbecame second nature.I was also surprised by how quickly my daughters latched ontothe concept. My 12-year-old iswholeheartedly into composting. She even questions me as towhether something fits the”composting bill.”She helps me when I break down the veggie remains before I putthem in the bin, too. (I like to speedthe progress along, so I cut my fresh vegetable waste into smallpieces.)My friend Krissy is the queen of composting. She has fourcompost bins in various stages. Shecomposts shredded paper from her office and banana peels andapple cores from her lunches. Sheeven “feeds” her bins paper towels and dryer lint.Her son Jack, a 4-H’er and Boy Scout, is just as dedicated tocomposting. When they enterStarbucks, they leave with a bag of spent coffee grounds.They also love to watch the sides of their compost bins formystery plants. Krissy has a three-foottall avocado plant that got its start in one of her bins. I had anice-sized potato plant in mine until thefirst Georgia frost killed it.For me, the true moment of composting glory was the day my16-year-old daughter slam-dunked abanana peel into the composting collection bucket. No, I wasn’tamazed by her basketball skills. Myamazement and pride came from the fact that she did so of her ownfree will.Now, if I could somehow convince both my girls that picking upafter themselves helps theenvironment. Composting newbieI have to be honest. As a science writer for the University ofGeorgia, I’ve worked aroundagricultural scientists for the past 12 years. But I’m acomposting newbie.When I decided to take the composting plunge, I gathered tipsfrom my veteran-composting friends,all of whom happen to be UGA Cooperative Extension specialists. Ilearned that a compost bin couldbe a large plastic drum, a wire bin or even just a true pile. Youcan put as little or as much moneyand effort into your compost bin as you’d like.Living on a 6-acre homestead in middle Georgia, I have a bitof an advantage over metrohomeowners. I don’t have to worry about whether my bin has curbappeal or is neighbor-friendly.My nearest neighbor is an acre away.I decided to use an old horse trough as my compost bin (yetanother form of recycling). Be sure toplace your bin in a convenient outdoor place. You don’t want itso far removed that using it will bea chore.And since you don’t want to constantly trek back and forthfrom your kitchen to the compost bin,you need a collecting bin indoors. I chose a small plastic bucketthat easily fits under my kitchensink.last_img read more

FDA Issues Emergency Approval of COVID-19 Test for “Pooled” Use

first_imgThe Food and Drug Administration over the weekend gave emergency approval to a new approach to COVID-19 testing that combines test samples in batches rather than running them one by one, thereby speeding up the process.The FDA announced on Saturday that it had reissued an emergency use authorization to Quest Diagnostics to use its coronavirus test with pooled samples.It is the first test to be authorized for use in that way.With pooling, labs would combine parts of samples from several people and test them together.A negative result would clear everyone in the batch.On the other hand, a positive result would require each sample to be individually retested.Pooling works best with lab-run tests, which take hours, not the quicker individual tests that are used in clinics or doctor’s offices.Today, the FDA issued the first Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for sample pooling in a #COVID19 diagnostic test. https://t.co/YtHeydxH1N pic.twitter.com/WF7Im9dIXP— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) July 18, 2020 The potential benefits of sample pooling include stretching lab supplies further, as well as reducing costs and expanding testing to millions more Americans who may unknowingly be spreading the virus.Health officials continue to say they believe that infected, asymptomatic people are largely responsible for the rising number of cases throughout the country.“It’s a really good tool. It can be used in any of a number of circumstances, including at the community level or even in schools,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said last month at a Senate hearing.Pooling does not save time or resources when used in a COVID-19 hot spot, such as a nursing home. That is because the logistical and financial benefits of pooling only show when a small number of pools test positive.Experts recommend the technique be used when fewer than 10 percent of people are expected to test positive for the virus.last_img read more

NASA Drops Racially Charged Nicknames of Celestial Bodies

first_imgFor example, “Eskimo Nebula” and “Siamese Twins Galaxy” will no longer be used.“Nicknames are often more approachable and public-friendly than official names for cosmic objects, such as Barnard 33, whose nickname ‘the Horsehead Nebula’ invokes its appearance,” NASA said in a release last week. “But often seemingly innocuous nicknames can be harmful and detract from the science.”Additionally, NASA is examining its use of phrases for planets, galaxies and other cosmic objects “as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”As we work to identify & address systemic discrimination & inequality in all aspects of the scientific community, we are reexamining the use of unofficial terminology for cosmic objects which can be not only insensitive, but actively harmful. Read more: https://t.co/ZNicp5g0Wh pic.twitter.com/jDup6JOGBd— NASA (@NASA) August 5, 2020 NASA is apparently taking a cue from grocery store items, pro sports teams, and country music bands which have all removed racially insensitive names in recent weeks and months.The space agency just announced it is adding celestial bodies to the list that already includes Aunt Jemima, the Washington Football Team and hitmakers The Chicks and Lady A. The space agency goes on to say that it “will use only the official, International Astronomical Union designations in cases where nicknames are inappropriate.”Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, DC, explains, “Science is for everyone, and every facet of our work needs to reflect that value.”Last June, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream said it was dropping the brand “Eskimo Pie” after a century. The word is commonly used in Alaska to refer to Inuit and Yupik people, according to the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska.“This name is considered derogatory in many other places because it was given by non-Inuit people and was said to mean ‘eater of raw meat,’” the company stated at the time.“Siamese twins” is considered to be an antiquated expression for conjoined twins, based on brothers from Siam (now Thailand) who were used as sideshow freaks in the 19th century.last_img read more