Surferbird News-Links, 4th Edition


Welcome to Surferbird News-Links. Join me on an exploration of health, food, science, and the environment. For more information on the name and origin of Surferbird News-Links, see here. Oh, I almost forgot; there's always an earworm at the end of every edition.What's an earworm? you ask. Well, scroll on down to discover!

Surferbird News-Links, a weekly summary from across the web

Giving - Village Enterprise

The Living on Less Campaign begins this next week - just a reminder. Could you eat on $1.90 a day? Have you tried doing the math? For many people, this is an everyday reality. Here's a link to their website.



Reducing food waste - So what's up with food waste? Hey, at least it's biodegradable, right? Beyond the familiar people are starving mantra (well, they are), wasting food is also wasting the resources used to produce that food. From apps connecting farmers with food banks to using food waste as larvae feed, this article highlights many of the innovations that are providing solutions.

Is ugly fruit sweeter and more nutritious? - One apple cider producer in Virginia tested ugly, scarred apples in comparison to cosmetically perfect apples for sweetness, and the imperfect apples won. But they also might be more nutritious. Read more to find out why.

No-Till Potatoes - Have you heard about carbon farming? Many see this as agriculture's answer to climate change. Tilling, as far as carbon sequestration goes, is considered a big no-no as it releases carbon dioxide back into the air. Check here for more information on carbon farming. For now, I hope you enjoy the video; it's kind of soothing. And a big thank you to Susi Batstone for introducing me to so many articles and links on soil regeneration and more. You can follow her on twitter - @SusiB348.


Anxious mouse or calm mouse - which are you? - A fascinating study on using probiotics to treat PTSD, anxiety, and even depression. Would you whip up a concoction for our family? Seriously, this could help so many people - and mice, too.

Well, I'm glad my son and I tromped around our neighborhood playing imaginary rescue animal games - It turns out that nurturing children during preschool years is more important than during later years. I'm sure that both are important, but I get it. Interesting study.


I tweeted about an article in Science Daily this past week that earned a lot of attention, so I figured you might want to be kept in the loop. Can single-celled organisms learn? Scientists have demonstrated that a protist is capable of a type of learning called habituation. Fascinating study. Does anybody know why spell check doesn't recognize the word protist?


Disappearing Salmon - The disappearance of Chinook salmon from the Yukon River watershed has left natives devastated. The natives depend on the fish for food and spiritual sustenance. But the story may yet play out in a positive light, depending on the resilience of the salmon, and they do have a knack for resilience.

Rapid plant evolution in California due to climate change - The drought in California between 1997-2004 changed a plant in the mustard family - genetically; Evolutionary changes happen much faster than previously thought.

Solar Impulse and plastic waste - Did you catch the historic solar flight from Hawaii to California? Amazing. But the pilot, Bertrand Piccard,  flew over a plastic waste dump the size of a continent. (Check out my plastic post for details about gyres.) A young inventor, Boyan Slat, founded a company called The Ocean Cleanup, which is a project to rid the Earth's oceans of plastic - a project Piccard supports. Check out the video at the end.

A solar platform that can ride the waves - This solar technology is still in the developmental phase but looks quite likely to be a reality for the future. The potential applications for this are astounding.

Forget about the family car when you can travel by solar airship - Meet DIRISOLAR, a futuristic solar powered airship. I'll leave you to check it out.


Can you imagine filling a jar with a year's worth of trash? - Well, two families succeeded at doing just that. Shamefully, our family doesn't even come close. This subject is worthy of a longer post, but for now, the details are in the above link to the article.

A Floating Food Forest? - I wish that I could have included a picture of this, but I'm not fond of stealing other people's pics. It's exactly what my heading/link suggests - a barge that's been turned into a food forest floating along the New York City waterfront. It will be quite lovely when finished and provide city dwellers with a free touring edible garden; visitors are even encouraged to forage. This is such a creative effort - one that has the potential to expand the way we think about growing food. Take a peek.


As always, Surferbird News-Links wouldn't be complete without an earworm. This week's earworm is a lie. What I mean is that the song that I couldn't get out of my head didn't fit with this post, so I turned the dial to another channel. Solar platforms riding waves, sipping wine on a floating forest, and experiencing life as a protist avoiding bitter substances just didn't fit with the slow melancholy song playing in my head.

Well, my father would be pleased. He introduced me to Dave Brubeck when I was about twelve. You know, I can almost hear him saying, "Laurabird, that Surferbird News-Links thing you have going is pretty cool." "Thanks, Dad."

Enjoy -    Laurabird, "The Owl"