Monthly Archives: December 2017

Couple Hunts for Sea Glass Along Port Huron Beaches

Buried treasure of all kinds can be found on beaches all around the world, and for Amy and Brian Trimble, that treasure is in the form of beach glass.

“It’s just relaxing,” Brian Trimble told The Times Herald. “It gets us out of the house.”

Household items such as jars and glasses are dumped into the sea and water, and after a few years of tumbling around, you get something magical. Beach glass is frosted, smoothed, and polished from being tossed around in the sand and among stones.

Beach glass is also known as sea glass, but that’s only if it’s found on a saltwater beach. As a matter of fact, sea glass can actually be found all over the world. It has existed since before 2000 B.C. in Mesopotamia, which is before humans even started making glass. However, most sea glass today comes from the 19th and 20th centuries.

“This has been a gold mine,” Amy Trimble said. “The other day we found close to 100 pieces, and the next day we found another 50.”

The couple waits for the perfect time to go out and search for their newest pieces of sea glass. They wait for the north and east winds to push waves onto their local beaches near Port Huron, Michigan, where the waves will bring the glass to land.

To dig for their precious findings, they use a trowel, which allows for them to dig into the rows and rows of stones and pebbles along the beach. Since beach glass is made from broken down household items, it tends to be brown and clear. They’re constantly on the hunt for red glass since it’s a color that is so rare.

“We’ve done this for a couple of months, and we’ve only found one red piece,” Brian said.

For the Trimble’s, it’s the discovery and mystery of the glass that is most exciting. The glass they find could have come from something as simple as a beer bottle that was thrown off of one’s boat, or it could have come from a shipwreck that occurred many, many years ago.

“It’s just always changing,” Amy said.

Millennials Are Showing An Increased Interest In Luxury Watch Brands

Everyone knows that millennials love technology. How could they not be infatuated with high-tech gadgets? After all, they developed and created the majority of tech out there. Along with social media and cool devices, there are a few other millennial stereotypes that some young people follow. But there is one aspect of millennial culture that isn’t as well known.

Apparently, millennials love luxury watches.

According to JCK, millennials actually favor traditional luxury watch brands like Rolex and Tiffany, despite not being the most affluent demographic.

Pre-owned Rolexes can range anywhere from $6,000 and up, but affluent millennials are spending top dollar on brand-new luxury items.

A new survey by MVI Marketing polled roughly 1,000 consumers between the ages of 25 and 40 years old (with a household income of $80,000 and higher) and found that high-end traditional watch brands were favored over the rest.

“The distance between Rolex and Tiffany and the rest of the brands was dramatic,” said Marty Hurwitz, CEO of MVI. “I’m not sure that would be the same for the baby boomers. With Tiffany, there was almost a 30-point spread. There is something more going on here, especially with the new nature of these consumers.”

Among Rolex and Tiffany, other jewelry brands involved with the survey were Cartier, Harry Winston, Bulgari, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Chopard, Omega, Piaget, Hermes, Gucci, Chanel, and even Apple.

The luxury market might still be dominated by older Americans, but millennials are certainly going to impact every high-end brand and industry over the next few years. As more and more millennials earn higher wages and accumulate more wealth, it’s likely that the entire outlook of the marketplace will drastically change.

“These kids have a 30-year spending cycle ahead of them and we are just at the beginning of it,” Hurwitz added. “They will be a bigger spending bloc than the boomers. But it will look different. It’s already looking different.”

Research Shows Possible New Link Between Bacteria and Esophageal Cancer

New research shows certain types of bacteria that lead to periodontal disease may be associated with a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer.

Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer around the world, explained Jiyoung Ahn, PhD, an associate professor and associate director for population science at the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Center at NYU Langone Health in New York in Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

“Esophageal cancer is a highly fatal cancer, and there is an urgent need for new avenues of prevention, risk stratification, and early detection,” Ahn said.

Previous studies have found that periodontal disease caused by certain oral microbiota has been associated with multiple types of cancer. Common cancers associated with these oral microbiota include oral, head, and neck cancers.

This particular study looked at the relationship between oral microbiota and the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) or esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC).

Ahn and colleagues collected oral wash samples from 122,000 participants. In the following ten years, 106 participants developed esophageal cancer. The researchers then compared the oral microbiomes of the esophageal cancer cases and the cancer-free cases.

The results showed that certain types of bacteria were associated with a higher risk of esophageal cancer. High levels of Tannerella forsythia bacteria were found to be associated with a 21% increased risk of EAC and Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteria was associated with a higher risk of ESCC. Both of these types of bacteria are associated with common gum disease.

On the other hand, Neisseria bacteria was found to be associated with a lower risk of EAC.

While gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, an expert in esophageal cancer stressed that the researchers cannot prove a causal link yet.

Dr. Anthony Starpoli, associate director of esophageal endotherapy at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City said, “What is not clear is whether the presence of these bacteria or the resultant periodontal disease is primarily responsible for the development of cancer.”

Due to the growing number of health conditions associated with poor oral health, researchers are continuously trying to find ways to diagnose and treat serious health conditions early on. Unfortunately, not everyone takes care of their teeth as well as they should. In fact, about one in four Americans over the age of 74 no longer have any of their natural teeth. While this may be due to a variety of reasons, dentists continue to remind patients of the importance of good oral health.

The study does confirm that good oral health is an important way to decrease the risk of periodontal disease as well as additional health risks. The researchers hope to continue this research and learn more about the bacterial communities living in the mouth.

Online Businesses Urge FCC To Keep Net Neutrality

Online businesses are urging the U.S. Government to keep Net Neutrality rules. A letter written to the Federal Communications Commission on Monday, November 27 noted several Internet businesses including Twitter, Tumblr, Etsy, Reddit, AirBnb, and Shutterstock were advocating the FCC to abandon their plans to remove Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality was introduced in 2015 to guarantee an open Internet with websites free for public use. However, the FCC recently announced a plan to dismiss Net Neutrality rules.

This would allow broadband service providers such as Comcast, Verizon, Spectrum, and others to have power over consumer access to the Internet. The FCC’s vote to dismiss Net Neutrality is set for December 14.

While many broadband service providers see the removal of Net Neutrality as a victory, online businesses that rely on free and open Internet are not as thrilled. According to Reuters, slowing access to Internet content may very well hurt the U.S. economy.

“This would put small and medium-sized businesses at a disadvantage and prevent innovative new ones from even getting off the ground,” said the letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

The FCC defended its pending decision to remove the Internet regulations. Up to 58% of businesses fear cyber attacks and the dismissal of the Net Neutrality rules, the FCC claims, may make the Internet a safer place.

FCC spokesperson Mark Wigfield said returning to the Internet framework prior to 2015’s Net Neutrality would increase the country’s investment in broadband networks. As a result, more Americans would be able to access the services broadband networks offer via the Internet.

However, news sources such as Forbes calls the FCC’s stance on net neutrality misguided. It isn’t enough for broadband networks to promise free consumer access if they still have the ability to limit consumer access.

This is why online businesses are so worried. However, Pai says online companies such as Twitter were thriving in the years prior to Net Neutrality and therefore will be able to do so again.

“There is nothing good for consumers and average users of the internet, or for the nation as a whole in repealing net neutrality,” said Forbes. “Returning to the way things were means that ISPs can act the way they did before net neutrality – which is why we needed net neutrality to begin with.”

First Living Organisms Able to Survive In Mars-Like Soil

Within its pores, soil stores about 0.01% of all the water on Earth. But what kind of storage capacity does soil have on Mars? We might be close to finding out.

Scientists are closer than ever to finding out how to get humans living on Mars. The only way to reach that level, however, is to find a way to grow and incubate plants in the environment.

According to Quartz, Mars soil is quite difficult to use for plants because it’s hard, volcanic, and covered in various chemicals that could jeopardize plant life. Plants need soft soil that contains microbes, which are on Earth (and not on Mars).

But scientists and researchers from the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands have found ways to grow tomatoes, radishes, rye, and more in Mars-like soil. The big breakthrough, however, was the fact that living organisms were able to be birthed and survive in this foreign soil.

Earthworms are crucial to a healthy ecosystem because they are essentially super-composters. They eat dead plants and release productive soil through their feces.

“Clearly, the manure stimulated [plant] growth,” said Wieger Wamelink, biologist and researcher who has been working on growing plants in Mars 1A soil since 2013. “However, the best surprise came at the end of the experiment when we found two young worms in the Mars soil simulant.”

Though scientists are realistic and believe there is still a long way to go before the real Mars environment could support earthworms or other living organisms, this discovery is certainly a step in the right direction.

“The positive effect of adding manure was not unexpected,” added Wamelink, “but we were surprised that it makes Mars soil simulant outperform Earth silver sand.”

The next goal is to have an organized molecular analysis of dirt and soil from different areas of Mars, perhaps even collected by humans.