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Are bugs coming back or not after a 60% decrease in 20 years

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Are bugs coming back or not after a 60% decrease in 20 years

Globally, the bug population has been on the decline in the last decades, which poses a great threat to humanity and the future of our planet as insects are pollinators, natural enemies of pests, decomposers, and are critical for the functioning of ecosystems and the environment.

This begs the question of what has led to this rapid decline, and why are some reports saying that certain species populations are booming.

The insect population is declining rapidly worldwide

Even though there are several million species of bugs, there has been a rapid decline in their population globally, so much so that the last two decades have led some scientists to conclude that the sixth extinction of insects has already begun. Currently, ⅓ of the little creatures are already endangered species, and at this rate, within a century, their population could become extinct.

The most affected species globally are:

  • bees;
  • moths;
  • butterflies;
  • beetles;
  • dragonflies.

Insects create the foundation for our ecological systems, so without their numerous services and biodiversity, we are in huge trouble. Let’s explore what makes them so indispensable for the planet’s ecology and survival.

The importance of insects

Bugs have numerous benefits for humans and global ecosystems. Without them, life would be impossible as we know it. They play huge roles because of their diversity and ecological role, plus their influence on our agriculture, health, and environment is indispensable.

Here are the most important roles insects play for us and the planet:

  • Pollinators: both domestic and wild plants require pollination to reproduce, and insects like butterflies, beetles, and bees fall within this category.
  • Soil cleaning and fertilization: lots of bugs, like beetles, are also scavengers and eat dead bodies, which prevents diseases from spreading and also brings back the nutrients into the soil.
  • Diet: many species of insects are food sources for animals and humans, especially in Asian and African cultures.
  • Economy: some species produce substances which are the basis of the honey and wax industries. Silkworms had also played a huge part in the history of the global economy.

But what has led to their decreasing numbers over the past decades?

Reasons for the decline

Habitat loss due to conversion to intensive agriculture and global warming are the main reasons for the major decrease in species worldwide. Other factors are the use of pesticides, as well as rising pollution levels.

The major expansion of intensive agriculture has destroyed many natural habitats of insects and thrown off hundreds and thousands of years of ecological balance. The results have led to major bugs population decline, worsening of soil quality, erosion, and increased the spreading of diseases.

Global warming is the other major cause of insects’ decrease in numbers. Temperatures in rainforests, known to be the most biologically diverse regions in the world, have been rising for the last 50 years, which has led to a collapse in the food chain.

The most significant losses in biodiversity are reported in the tropics, where there are reported cases of about a 70% decrease in the numbers of pollinators.

Currently, bees are in most danger of becoming extinct, which spells serious trouble for humanity as we depend on them for plant pollination. The widespread use of pesticides and loss of natural habitats has destroyed ecosystems, and without bees, humanity is bound to face starvation and catastrophe.

Still, despite all that, some insect species are currently booming, which at first glance doesn’t make sense.

Let’s find out why.

Why some species’ populations are increasing and what can we expect

Studies have shown that terrestrial insects are decreasing by 9% per decade, while freshwater species are increasing by 11%. However, the difference doesn’t balance things out, as freshwater sources are only 2.4% of Earth’s surface.

Warmer temperatures have led to the spreading of invasive pest species (like mosquitoes and certain termites). This has widened malarial zones and increased new cases in previously unaffected areas that were previously too cold to support a full lifecycle.

Termites are also expected to increase in numbers drastically in the next decades. Currently, there are 28 species that are considered invasive, and with the warmer temperatures during winters their numbers are expected to rise.

Also, compared to native species, invasive ones have an easier time adapting to new climatic conditions, populate wide geographical areas, and have highly-competitive biological traits. A hotter climate means not only that the insects will spread out faster and further, but they would also increase in size as well.

Most agricultural pests are non-native species to the region and have been brought by humans, and without their natural predators, have spread and grown in numbers exponentially. More crop pests would also increase crop losses and the use of more pesticides, which will swell costs of production and ultimately lead to hunger.

Insect-borne diseases are another source of worry. A rapid rise in the mosquito population would also mean more infections and the spreading of dangerous pathogens like the Zika virus, Japanese encephalitis and malaria. Home-owners will have to rely on the services of professional pest controllers to safeguard their health and their homes.

All of the above calls for major actions to slow down the expansion of high-intensity agriculture and reduce global carbon emissions, before the process becomes irreversible.

Conclusion

With the widespread use of chemicals, global warming, and their habitats disappearing, no wonder why the insect population is decreasing rapidly and possibly facing extinction. And if that happens, it will spell disaster for every living being on this planet.

Protecting global biodiversity and being more environmentally conscious can significantly slow and ultimately reverse the process.

All it takes is the will to act before it’s too late.

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High School Internships: Building Blocks for Your Future

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High School Internships

Internships for high school are more than a mere tick on a resume. Today, they lay the foundational blocks toward a more considered and well-planned future. Navigating school years is a formidable challenge for students. However, the journey can be enriched with valuable lessons and skills acquired through internships.

Real-world Exposure:

  • Internships provide high school students with a taste of working life outside the academic bubble. They offer an escape from textbooks and classrooms, presenting potential career paths to explore. This real-world exposure is invaluable for students trying to identify their early interests and passions.

Skill Development:

  • Beyond textbook learning, internships offer practical application of skills. From communication and problem-solving to technical abilities, students gain hands-on experience that extends beyond traditional educational boundaries.

College Admissions Advantage:

  • In the competitive race for college admissions, internships can be a significant advantage. They demonstrate to admissions officers a proactive, action-oriented approach to learning and success.

Start Early:

  • Starting internships early can lead to greater success. While some programs are tailored specifically for high school students, providing a structured introduction to the working world, others span various fields like business and bio-medicine. This early exposure smooths out the transition from academic concepts to career realities.

Leverage Networking:

  • Networking is crucial in career building. Internships offer high school students opportunities to connect with professionals in their field of interest. These connections can provide mentorship and valuable insights for future career endeavors.

Tailor Internships to Career Goals:

  • It’s important for students to seek internships aligned with their career goals. Whether in STEM, arts, or business, targeted internships offer more focused and relevant experiences. Colleges look beyond academic scores, valuing the ability to apply theoretical knowledge in practical settings. High school internships provide a tangible demonstration of a student’s active engagement in learning and development.

Standout Applications:

  • Internships enhance college applications by showcasing practical skills acquired outside the standard curriculum. These experiences make applicants stand out to admissions officers.

Demonstrating Initiative:

  • Internships reflect a student’s capacity to tackle challenges and take initiative. This quality is highly valued in the college admissions process, indicating an active and dynamic approach to learning and personal development.

Insight into Chosen Field:

  • For students with clear career objectives, internships provide hands-on experience in their chosen field. This direct exposure aids in making informed decisions about college courses and future professions.

Finding the Right Internship: Advice from College Admissions Experts

Embarking on a high school internship journey involves selecting the right opportunity, navigating the first day, and adapting to different professional environments.

Research Opportunities:

  • Students should thoroughly research internship opportunities. Many organizations offer programs specifically designed for high school students, providing a more structured experience than self-directed options.

Seek Guidance:

  • Consulting with knowledgeable counselors, such as those from IVY’D, who have experience and insights into specific internship programs, is beneficial. Their team of Ivy League graduates and admissions advisors can guide students towards internships that align with their academic, personal, and professional goals.

Leverage Resources:

  • IVY’D focuses on empowering communities and individuals. They offer free college preparation workshops for nonprofits, libraries, and schools, providing students with the guidance needed to pursue higher education.

Conclusion:

Internships for high school are not just about ticking a box; they represent an investment in personal and professional growth. These experiences lay the groundwork for success in education and beyond, helping young individuals find their passion and interests. The high school internship process grants invaluable experiences, develops coping skills, and provides insightful perspectives, setting students on a path to a brighter, more informed scholarly and professional future.

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Decoding 2024’s Hydration Trends: Alkaline Water Vs. Hydrogen Water

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Decoding 2024's Hydration Trends

In a world where health and wellness are increasingly becoming top priorities, staying hydrated has never been more critical. We’ve come a long way from simply quenching our thirst with tap water or the occasional bottled water. Today, the hydration market is flooded with various options, each claiming to offer unique benefits. Among the emerging trends in the realm of hydration, two stand out: Alkaline water and Hydrogen water.

Alkaline Water: The Basics

The pH level of alkaline water is higher than that of normal tap water. It is usually between 8 and 9 on the pH scale. Some ways to get this high pH are through ionization or adding alkaline minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

The Science Behind Alkaline Water

Proponents of alkaline water argue that it can help balance the body’s pH level, which tends to be slightly acidic. They believe that by drinking alkaline water, you can reduce the acidity in your body, potentially preventing various health issues.

Our body’s pH level is tightly regulated, and deviations from the norm can be detrimental to health. However, the body has a robust buffering system that helps maintain a stable pH within a narrow range. Skeptics argue that drinking alkaline water has minimal impact on the body’s pH, as the stomach is highly acidic to aid in digestion. When you consume alkaline water, it passes through the stomach, where the acidic environment quickly neutralizes it, making its effects on overall body pH limited.

Purported Benefits of Alkaline Water

Hydration: Because its molecules are less clumped together, alkaline water is thought to be easier for the body to absorb. But there isn’t a lot of solid evidence to back up this claim.

Antioxidant Properties: Some alkaline water enthusiasts claim that it possesses antioxidant properties due to its negative oxidation-reduction potential (ORP). Free radicals and oxidative stress can be fought with antioxidants, which may lower the chance of getting chronic illnesses.

Better Bone Health: Calcium and magnesium are chemicals that are important for bone health that are found in alkaline water. Some people say that drinking alkaline water can help keep bones from breaking.

Improved Digestion: Some people believe that alkaline water can help digestion by eliminating too much stomach acid and easing the signs of acid reflux.

Hydrogen Water: The Basics

Hydrogen-rich water, which is another name for hydrogen water, is water that has molecular hydrogen (H2) gas added to it. Molecular hydrogen is a gas that has no color or smell and has gotten a lot of attention because it might be good for your health.

The Science Behind Hydrogen Water

The concept behind hydrogen water is based on the idea that molecular hydrogen acts as a powerful antioxidant. It is believed to have the ability to neutralize harmful free radicals, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.

Hydrogen’s small molecular size allows it to penetrate cell membranes and enter the cellular compartments, where it may have a therapeutic effect. It’s thought to selectively target the most harmful free radicals, such as hydroxyl radicals, without interfering with essential signaling molecules in the body.

Purported Benefits of Hydrogen Water

Antioxidant Properties: Hydrogen water is praised for its potential to combat oxidative stress, which is implicated in various chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders.

Improved Athletic Performance: Some studies suggest that hydrogen water may enhance physical performance by reducing muscle fatigue and promoting faster recovery.

Brain Health: Because hydrogen can pass through the blood-brain barrier, some people think it may have neuroprotective benefits that lower the chance of cognitive loss and neurodegenerative illnesses.

Skin Health: Hydrogen water is claimed to have benefits for skin health, with proponents suggesting it can reduce wrinkles, improve skin hydration, and promote a more youthful appearance.

The Debate: Alkaline Water vs. Hydrogen Water

As we’ve looked into the science and supposed benefits of both alkaline water and hydrogen water, it’s important to note that scientists are still arguing about how well they work.

Alkaline Water Debate

Critics of alkaline water argue that the body’s pH regulation is a highly complex and tightly controlled process. The body maintains a slightly acidic pH in the stomach to aid digestion, while the blood and other tissues have a stable pH range. Drinking alkaline water may have limited impact on these systems, as the body compensates for any pH fluctuations.

Furthermore, the scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of alkaline water is limited and often inconclusive. While some studies suggest potential benefits, many are small in scale, and more robust research is needed to draw definitive conclusions.

Hydrogen Water Debate

On the other hand, the best hydrogen water machine has garnered more interest from the scientific community due to its potential antioxidant properties. Several studies have explored the effects of hydrogen-rich water on various health markers, and while the results are promising, more research is needed to establish its effectiveness definitively.

One challenge in the hydrogen water debate is determining the optimal concentration of hydrogen for therapeutic effects. Too much hydrogen may have limited benefits, while too little may not yield any noticeable effects.

Considerations for Making a Choice

When considering whether to incorporate alkaline water or hydrogen water into your hydration routine, several factors should guide your decision:

Personal Health Goals: Assess your specific health needs and goals. If you are primarily concerned with reducing oxidative stress, hydrogen water may be more aligned with your objectives.

Taste and Preference: Some people prefer the taste of alkaline water over regular tap water, which may encourage increased hydration. Hydrogen water typically has no distinct taste.

Scientific Evidence: Keep in mind that both alkaline water and hydrogen water have limited conclusive scientific evidence supporting their benefits. Therefore, it’s essential to approach these options with a degree of skepticism.

Cost and Accessibility: Consider the cost and accessibility of these products in your area. Alkaline water may be more readily available, while hydrogen water may require specialized equipment or hydrogen tablets.

Consult a Healthcare Professional: A healthcare expert or nutritionist can give you personalized advice based on your health state and goals before you make any big changes to how you stay hydrated.

The Bottom Line

As of 2024, more specific ways to stay hydrated, such as alkaline water and hydrogen water, are becoming popular. Although these drinks seem like they might be good for you, it’s important to look at them with a critical eye and think about your own health goals and wants. It’s important to remember that healthy food and way of life are still the best ways to stay healthy generally. Staying hydrated is essential, but the choice between alkaline water and hydrogen water should be made with care and awareness of the available scientific evidence. Ultimately, the best hydration choice for you may be the one that aligns with your preferences and complements your overall health and wellness strategy.

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The Timeless Legacy of Art: Exploring the Evolution of Painting and Sculpture

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The Timeless Legacy of Art

Art, a universal language of human creativity, transcends time and culture. This article delves into the world of painting and sculpture, exploring their evolution from ancient times to the present day. We will look at how different eras and movements have contributed to the rich tapestry of art history.

The Roots of Art: Ancient Civilizations

The story of art begins with ancient civilizations, where painting and sculpture served religious, ceremonial, and decorative purposes. Egyptian art was characterized by rigid, formal styles that adhered to strict laws of representation. In contrast, Greek art celebrated humanism and the beauty of the human form, as seen in sculptures like the Venus de Milo.

The Renaissance: A Rebirth of Classical Art

The Renaissance marked a pivotal era in the history of art. It was a time of renewed interest in the classical past and a shift towards realism and humanism. Artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo redefined artistic standards, employing techniques such as perspective and chiaroscuro to bring a new depth and realism to their work. Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa” and Michelangelo’s “David” are enduring symbols of Renaissance artistry.

Baroque and Rococo: Drama and Ornamentation

The 17th century witnessed the emergence of the Baroque style, characterized by dramatic use of light, rich colors, and dynamic compositions. Caravaggio and Rembrandt are notable figures of this period. Following Baroque, Rococo emerged as a more decorative and playful style, with artists like Jean-Honoré Fragonard creating light-hearted, elegant works.

Neoclassicism and Romanticism: A Return to and Departure from Tradition

Neoclassicism, a reaction against the excesses of Rococo, sought to return to the simplicity and purity of classical art. Artists like Jacques-Louis David emphasized harmony and moral virtue in their works. Romanticism, on the other hand, rebelled against the rationality of Neoclassicism, focusing on emotion, nature, and individualism, as seen in the works of Eugène Delacroix.

Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: Breaking Conventions

The late 19th century saw the rise of Impressionism. Artists like Claude Monet and Edgar Degas broke away from traditional methods, focusing instead on capturing the fleeting effects of light and color. Post-Impressionism followed, with artists like Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne pushing the boundaries further through bold colors and brushwork.

Modernism: A Diverse Range of Styles

The 20th century ushered in Modernism, an era of diverse artistic styles. Cubism, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, deconstructed objects into abstract forms. Abstract Expressionism, represented by Jackson Pollock, focused on spontaneous, emotive expressions of paint on canvas. Meanwhile, Surrealism, led by Salvador Dalí, explored the world of dreams and the subconscious.

Contemporary Art: Breaking Boundaries

Contemporary art, spanning the late 20th century to the present, continues to break boundaries. It is characterized by a diverse range of styles and mediums, reflecting the globalized and digitalized world we live in. Artists like Ai Weiwei and Banksy use their art to comment on social and political issues, while others explore new mediums and technologies.

The Impact of Technology and Globalization

The advent of digital technology has transformed the art world. Digital art, virtual galleries, and online platforms have made art more accessible than ever. Globalization has also led to a cross-cultural exchange of ideas, enriching the diversity of contemporary art.

The journey of painting and sculpture through history reveals a constant evolution of styles, techniques, and themes. Art has always been a reflection of its time, capturing the essence of human experience and imagination. As we move forward, art will continue to evolve, shaping and being shaped by the world around it.

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