In New Ozone Alert, A Warning Of Harm to Plants and to People

Scientists are still trying to unravel the damaging effects of ground-level ozone on life on earth. But as the world warms, their concerns about the impact of this highly toxic, pollution-caused gas are growing.

For the last four years Jack Fishman, a professor of meteorology at St. Louis University, has guided the planting of five gardens in the Midwest, gardens that have a distinct purpose: to show the impacts of an invisible gas that is damaging and contributing to the premature death of forests, crops, and other plants — and also humans.

"The idea of the ozone garden is that it is a canary in the coal mine," said Fishman, who recently planted one of the gardens at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. The snap beans, milkweed, coneflowers, and other plants that turn brown and sickly from exposure to ozone when it occurs at ground level, he said, are "natural bio-indicators showing this pollutant is harmful to anything that lives — a human, a squirrel, or plants. It's the only way to show the real-time impacts of something that's happening to our planet."

The ozone crisis may fly under the radar compared to climate change, but it is entwined with that mother of all problems. And it’s nothing new for Fishman. He began studying ground-level ozone for NASA in 1977 and has been warning about its impacts since the 1980s. Ozone is highly toxic, even at very low concentrations. Over the last few decades, background levels have steadily increased, though pollution controls have brought down the highest concentrations in many places. And while what scientists know about the effects of ground-level ozone on life on earth is deadly serious, the subject is not all that well-researched — and what they don't know is potentially disastrous.....more 

Self-sufficient Scottish island for sale; comes with broadband and post office

The 760-acre getaway is complete with a stone schoolhouse and 9 traditional cottages all for $2.3 million (or in three cheaper lots).

Stop the presses! The best escape fantasy ever is on the market and could be yours for a mere $2.3 million, or about the cost of a Manhattan condo.

Tanera Mor is the main island of the Summer Isles, an idyllic archipelago a mile and a half off the northwest coast of Scotland near Ullapool. You want seven miles of rugged cliffs, sheltered coves and beaches? Make an offer! The island is 1.6 miles long and 1.2 miles wide, has spectacular views and sustains itself with generators and wind turbines for 24-hour electricity; plus, a freshwater treatment works....more 

Robin Williams' Bike Collection Auction

Beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams was an ardent cyclist and fierce advocate for people with disabilities. This auction honors his passions. Bid on a selection of favorites from Williams's personal bicycle collection, donated by his children, in support of the Challenged Athletes Foundation and Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation....more

Instagram's Newest Feature Is Incredibly Important

We use Instagram to share photos of the beauty around us, the delicious meals we've eaten or created, and our personal highs. But it is a social network, and we also use it to share our feelings when we're sad, upset, or when we need some moral support. Today, Instagram made some subtle but important changes to its app. Now, if you see a friend post something that feels like a cry for help, you can do something about it — without being confrontational.

If a friend posts about self-harm, you can anonymously report it. They'll then get a message that says, "Someone saw one of your posts and thinks you might be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we'd like to help." The app then offers suggestions (that you can access through the app) — that you talk to a friend, contact a local helpline, or receive some mental health advice and support. If you search for a hashtag associated with self-harm (many are nowalready banned), you'll be shown this page, as well....more 

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