The Blue Files | Episode 1

[As Featured in Episode 1]

Historical Heat

The world was captivated as one of Paris France’s most famous landmarks, Notre Dame Cathedral was ravaged by flames. The restoration efforts were almost immediate with the hope that the structure could be saved, but now it’s not the heat from flames that is a problem – it’s heat from the sun. 

A blistering heat wave is drying the masonry that is still wet from firefighter’s efforts months ago too quickly, causing the ceiling of the historic structure to shift almost to the point of collapse. In an effort to keep track of the sun’s ravaging rays, crews have installed special sensors to monitor movement in the vaulted ceiling.

Paris recently recorded a temperature of 43 C, or 107 F, which is the hottest temperature ever recorded in the French capital.

All time heat records were also broken in other European countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and Scotland.

Tree Stump Given Nature’s Life Support

Two ecologists, Dr. Martin Bader and Dr. Sebastian Leuzinger, were hiking in west Auckland, New Zealand, when they came across an amazing discovery. A Kauri tree stump was keeping itself alive by fusing onto the roots of its neighbouring trees. The living trees had become a life support system, exchanging water and resources through the grafted root system.

The new research published in iScience, suggests that our perception of trees may be incorrect.

 “Trees don’t live independently, but may in fact work together to ensure survival in the forest as a superorganism,” says  Dr. Leuzinger, of Auckland University. While root grafts are common between living trees, the ecologists were curious if a tree reduced to a stump would continue to be part of a superorganism along with thriving trees. In this case the answer is, yes. The discovery is calling on more research to look at the survival of trees and the ecology of forests, particularly with our changing climate and the risk of more frequent and increasingly severe droughts.

Drug infested waters

New research reveals some scary details.

A study of rivers across 72 countries found antibiotics in 66 percent of 711 samples, with many of the most drug-polluted waterways found in Asia and Africa.

Environmental pollution from antibiotics is one driver of microbial drug resistance, which threatens public health worldwide. William Gaze, a microbial ecologist at the University of Exeter Medical School in England, says that even if wealthy countries curb antibiotic pollution, drug-resistant microbes can hitch a ride across the globe with traveling people, migrating birds or traded food and livestock.   

These findings were not only in third world nations, but included parts of the Austrian Danube and an American river in Iowa, both of which were near many animal farms.

So how does it get there?  The report says that in some instances the result is runoff from pharmaceutical plants. The researchers hope their work leads policy makers around the world to take action toward curbing antibiotic pollution.

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