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The Edge House 🙌 Double tap if you like it!
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Why Pygmies Are Dealing Weed to Survive
Indigenous communities in the Congo have harvested marijuana as long as they can remember. Now, with no land to call their own, they turn to selling—with dire consequences.
By Nina Strochlic
PHOTOGRAPH BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER BROWN, MAGNUM FOR NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
NORTH KIVU, Congo — Nana sleeps on a pillow of marijuana. It’s a trick his grandfather taught him to make the buds more potent, he explains while tending his sparse plot at the edge of a mud hut village. The current offering of a few dozen plants is unimpressive. But his crop was lush, he says, before Congolese army soldiers came and confiscated it. Across this eastern province, the epicenter of the country’s conflicts, many Pygmy communities grow marijuana, eking out a meager, and dangerous, living.
Marijuana is illegal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which occupies the bullseye of Africa. But after a brutal colonial regime, decades of dictatorship, and more than 20 years of civil war that left 6 million dead, there are few laws that can’t be bent. (National Geographic is not using full identifications of those involved in the marijuana trade for their protection.) In one of the poorest countries in the world, a population of around 600,000 #indigenous forest people, widely known as Pygmies, occupy the lowest economic rung. They’re marginalized by the non-indigenous #Congolese population they call Bantu, and sometimes even kept as slaves. A recent study of the nearly 27,000 #Pygmies living in North Kivu found that the majority survive on less than $1 per day (the average Congolese income is only slightly higher, at $2 per day). For them, #marijuana can offer a reliable income. Their treatment at the hands of Congolese military and police is less predictable. Sometimes, they say, they are beaten and arrested for growing the plant. Other times, soldiers and police officers are their customers.
Twice a week, a small group of Pygmies rises at 6 a.m. and treks three hours into the forests of Africa’s oldest national park, Virunga. Above them looms the volatile volcano, Nyiragongo. 👇👇👇
Scientists have found a way to use spinach to build working human heart muscle, potentially solving a long-standing problem in efforts to repair damaged organs.
Their study offers a new way to grow a vascular system, which has been a roadblock for tissue engineering.
Scientists have already created large-scale human tissue in a lab using methods like 3D printing, but it’s been much harder to grow the small, delicate blood vessels that are vital to tissue health.
The main limiting factor for tissue engineering … is the lack of a vascular network.
One of the defining traits of a leaf is the branching network of thin veins that delivers water and nutrients to its cells. Now, scientists have used plant veins to replicate the way blood moves through human tissue. The work involves modifying a spinach leaf in the lab to remove its plant cells, which leaves behind a frame made of cellulose. “Cellulose is biocompatible [and] has been used in a wide variety of regenerative medicine applications, such as cartilage tissue engineering, bone tissue engineering, and wound healing,” the authors write in their paper.
The team then bathed the remaining plant frame in live human cells, so that the human tissue grew on the spinach scaffolding and surrounded the tiny veins. Once they had transformed the spinach leaf into a sort of mini heart, the team sent fluids and microbeads through its veins to show that blood cells can flow through this system.
The eventual goal is to be able to replace damaged tissue in patients who have had heart attacks or who have suffered other cardiac issues that prevent their hearts from contracting. Like blood vessels, the veins in the modified leaves would deliver oxygen to the entire swath of replacement tissue, which is crucial in generating new heart matter.
The study team says the same methods could be used with different types of plants to repair a variety of tissues in the body. For instance, swapping out the cells in wood might one day help fix human bones.
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This is the task that the good folks over at Yorubaname.com have taken on with their Yoruba speech-to-text initiative. Their immediate goal is to create a Siri-like application that will service millions of Yoruba-speaking people in Nigeria and elsewhere but, ultimately, their creation will help ensure the language’s longevity. Besides, a Yoruba Siri—maybe we’d call her Simi instead— is bound to have a lot of personality.
The website’s curator, Kola Tubosun spoke about the group’s plans to execute the software, offsetting “Western-centrism” in the tech industry and empowering others through technology. Read our conversation below and find out how you can get involved in brining the app to life.
For those who don’t know much about speech synthesis, can you elaborate on it some more and tell us how it’ll be utilized for the Yoruba text-to-speech application?
Speech synthesis is the process of creating human speech using software and audio segments. It’s called text-to-speech because the end product needs written text to put into action. Like those bibles that read the words to you, or like those GPS systems that talk, or even these Word applications that can read to you what you have typed, the system picks out already written text and converts it to synthetic audio. It is created, usually, by a process of training the computer to string along segments of audio into comprehensible speech.
. But because it can respond to commands and take commands, it is useful in many other ways. Blind people, for instance, will be able to operate their phones if they can just talk to it and tell it what they want. You can use it at ATMs to help people who don’t speak English, etc.
Yoruba has over 30 million speakers. That is already a huge population that can benefit from this kind of innovation. Many of those 30 million do not speak English at all, which means that they are shut out of a number of things involving technology. If a market woman can use an ATM in her local language, I think that empowers her. But more importantly, African languages have been left out, for too long in global conversations in technology and that needs to change.
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Shared from @architectureoskar - #Venice 🇮🇹 architecture #building #architexture #city #buildings #skyline #nature #design #minimal #outinnature #art #artistic #architecturelovers #abstract #lines #instagood
Fruit should be eaten alone or with other fruit on an empty stomach.
This is because when fruit is eaten, the digestive process works very quickly and our body uses different enzymes to digest the fruit. The simple sugars contained in fruit need time to be completely absorbed by your body. When fruits are eaten alone, your stomach can more easily process all of the nutrients, fibre and the simple sugars contained in the fruit. This is the optimal 'proper way' to benefit from the fruit you eat. If you eat fruit close to a meal, especially right after a larger meal and combine with other foods, it's held in the stomach too long along with other foods and will rot and ferment in the gut. If you experience indigestion, heartburn, burping and and other digestive discomforts and you blame on the meal - it could be the combination of the food, the fermentation with fruit that causes your upset stomach. If left uncontrolled it could lead to other health problems that stem from the digestive tract.
The best time to eat a bounty of fruit is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
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Follow @spiritualfriend - EMERGENCE OF BILOCATION
"It has taken a few days to understand the nature of the changes that have been taking place for me. There was a sense of closure and energetic separation from the old world. But it was really hard to put my finger on what was really happening.
At the same time my multi-dimensional aspect was even more enhanced and also a sense of being with someone and of someone being with me, my divine counterpart.
This sense of connection was growing more profound and mutually shared. What was happening was not multi-dimensionality because it was spilling over into the 3D world in a growingly tangible way for both of us. It was being in two places and one density at the same time, not being in one density and also in a different density at the same time. This is a profound difference that some might not realize.
At the same time I’ve experienced a distancing from the activities of this physical 3D world that is becoming more pronounced with time. It has been like straddling two different worlds in two different physical locations at the same time. That’s why I have called this the emergence of bi-location, not its fullness, but its beginning emergence.
The next two weeks till the winter solstice will serve to amplify these abilities and provide further energetic separation from old realities. It is not like things are breaking down, but rather fading away! We will see how long this gentle progression can last.
To those people who refuse to give up the old values and ways of living, the world is in a very dangerous place. The rest of us have already left it behind and for the most part are protected.
This sense of bi-location is working with the astral energies in separate ways and separate locations simultaneously and is a most powerful way of proceeding to the lives that we all wish to live. Both realities need to be joined and working within both realities at the same time is the most powerful way to bring these two realities into a union of perfection." - Anarchist Banjo
December 13, 2015
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