August 1st, 2017

The Fight Against Climate Change

When it comes to discussing the fight against climate change, there are two facts we must behold: First, climate change is here; it’s happening; it’s been happening…and we’re already feeling the impact. Second, for those living in the United States, the current political climate is not one of change. The current administration has, in fact, taken steps that have sent us backwards in the fight against global warming, not forward. But we can change the tide (literally).

In an exclusive interview with Futurism, Former Vice President Al Gore acknowledged that the current political climate is a precarious one, calling President Trump’s environmental policies “reckless and indefensible.” America is on the wrong side of history right now but the Former V.P is not without hope, largely due to the grassroots movement that has risen up around the country in response to some of President Trump’s more drastic decisions — such as withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement.

Gore believes that the momentum behind the movement, and the commitment at the local level to uphold the work of the Paris Agreement, will be successful, “regardless of what Donald Trump says.” But if we want to tackle climate change from the ground up, so to speak, where — and how — should we truly begin? As far as the Former V.P. is concerned, there’s really only one place to start: Education. “Number one, learn about it,” he said, “People sometimes feel that it’s hard to talk about the climate crisis. But the more you know, the more confident you are, the easier it is to talk about it.” And he clarifies that his films, and their corresponding books, were conceived as tools to help facilitate these conversations.

He concludes, “We can and will win this.” And there’s reason to hope he’s right. While governments and corporations play a role, and can have a major impact in terms of setting standards and writing policy (and, ideally, adhering to them), they aren’t the only ones who need to step up. Regardless of where you live (and whether or not your local or federal government supports the efforts). the first step is to acknowledge our responsibility for what has already happened and start a conversation. This is how all of our greatest movements—from the Civil Rights to the Campaign for Women’s Sufferage—got started.

We can’t reverse the damage that has already been done, but we can set our sights on what’s happening right now — and commit to doing better.

Kemo D. 7

Credit: Futurism

J. R. R. Tolkien

Known as the father of modern fantasy literature, J. R. R. Tolkien is one of the most prolific British authors of the last century. His rich and complex imagination has produced tales of elves, wizards, dwarfs, and extraordinary fantasy worlds such as Arda and Middle-earth. Together, his work has formed a literature body of poems, tales, fictional histories, and invented languages that, when published between the 1930s and 1940s, changed the course of fantasy literature. While many other authors at the time had already published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit resulted in a complete resurgence of the modern fantasy genre. The Hobbit was published in 1937, followed by The Lord of the Rings, written between 1937 and 1949, which he initially intended to be a sequel but turned into a much larger work of art, becoming one of the best-selling novels of all time with over 150 million copies sold.

In 2008, Tolkien was honored as one of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945” by The Times, while in 2009, he was ranked in 5th position on the “Top Five Dead Celebrities” list made by Forbes. Apparently, audiences around the world feel the same about Tolkien, especially since Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies hit the box office. The Tolkien aficionados want more of Tolkien, particularly to know more about his own life story, and reportedly, their dream is about to come true, since the latest news is that a biopic about Tolkien is one step closer to the big screen.

Reportedly, the storyline will center on Tolkien and his group of friends (Robert Gilson, Geoffrey Bache Smith, and Christopher Wiseman), who called themselves “The Tea Club and Bavarian Society” (TCBS). The four friends attended school together and became very close, enjoying a passion for writing that they shared and critiqued. During those years, Tolkien cultivated his dedication to writing poetry and traveling, probably his main catalysts for creating Middle-earth as the backbone of both of his best-known works. Their enthusiastic companionship was shadowed by the outbreak of World War I in 1914, and they joined the military and fought in the front lines. Later, he incorporated these horrific experiences into The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, presenting the brutality of warfare and depicting the utterly painful sense of loss that overwhelmed post-war Europe.

It has been suggested that this inspired Tolkien to vividly render the war against Sauron and the destruction of the Shire.

Kemo D. 7

Credit: The Vintage News

The Importance of Getting Enough Sleep

Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study. The findings showed that people who were sleeping on average around six hours a night had a waist measurement that was 3cm greater than individuals who were getting nine hours of sleep a night. And shorter sleepers were heavier too. The results strengthen the evidence that insufficient sleep could contribute to the development of metabolic diseases such as diabetes -- major health challenges facing the NHS. The study -- led by Dr Laura Hardie, Reader in Molecular Epidemiology at the University of Leeds -- not only looked at the links between sleep duration, diet and weight, but also other indicators of overall metabolic health such as blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar, and thyroid function. The study involved 1,615 adults who reported how long they slept and kept records of food intake. Participants had blood samples taken and their weight, waist circumference, and blood pressure recorded.

The researchers looked at the associations between how long people were sleeping and these key biological parameters.

Kemo D. 7
Credit: University of Leeds
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The Forbidden Atoll

With emerald-green waters, blue skies and and a rugged empty landscape, Zannone has everything you'd expect from a near-deserted Italian island. It also has a reputation for something rather more unexpected: Orgies.

"See that white colonial villa up high there?" says former fisherman Giorgio Aniello as he points a rough finger at a clifftop villa overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. "That's where the Marquis Casati Stampa held lavish sex parties." Aniello is a regular visitor to Zannone, taking tourists on boat trips to the wildest atoll among the Pontine archipelago off the west coast of Italy. The big attraction, aside from the island's natural beauty, is its dark, sexy past, most of which centers around the Marquis and his wife Anna Fallarino, a former actress.

"He was a lewd man, a voyeur who liked to watch and photograph his starlet wife get kinky having sex with with other younger guys," Aniello adds, enjoying spinning R-rated tales as he navigates a maze of reddish-yellow cliffs, old stone fisheries and sea stacks. During the 1960s, Zannone -- meaning "big fang" in Italian -- was a secret vacation retreat that the chic and sexually adventurous aristocratic couple had rented from the state. "The nobleman went hunting while his beautiful wife killed time doing different activities," says Aniello.

These, he adds, included skinny dipping in ancient Roman pools and entertaining herself on the beach with other men. The isle's isolation made it a perfect place to host masked parties that would culminate in debauched scenes reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut." And its exotic setting matched the provocative nude photographs of Anna taken by her husband. Dozens of yachts and motorboats would land during weekends as dukes, barons, countesses, VIPs and billionaires dropped by.

Guests and hosts drank heavily. During recent maintenance work, heaps of broken bottles and glass shards were found buried in the ground by local authorities. According to rumors, the villa also featured a "hidden mirror room" to spy on heavy sex sessions. "The villa was a hot jet-society get-together," recalls former caretaker Salvatore Pagano, an old Zannone sea dog who once lived next door to the marquises. "It was crazy here." The erotic games ended in bloodshed in 1970 when Anna fell in love with one of her many handsome lovers.

In a fit of jealousy, her husband killed the pair, then shot himself in the head in their attic in Rome.

Kemo D. 7
Credit: CNN travel

Mystical Places

The name "Shangri-La" first appeared in James Hilton's 1933 novel Lost Horizon as a fictional utopia high in the Tibetan Himalayas, where life is enlightened and days are lived in peace and wonder. So influential was the myth that the term now appears in the dictionary as a synonym for a remote paradise. Several communities deep within the snowcapped Himalayas have since claimed to be the novel's inspiration, and the China-Tibet border town of Zhongdian even renamed itself Shangri-La in 2001. But any definite location of any actual Shangri-La, as with Buddhism's enlightened Himalayan kingdom of Shambhala, is pure speculation.

Kemo D. 7