Wedding Photo Featuring Venus And The Moon Is Absolutely Stunning

Good News – The Huffington Post
Wedding Photo Featuring Venus And The Moon Is Absolutely Stunning
One Florida photographer captured a truly out-of-this-world moment at a wedding earlier this month.

Dustin Prickett of Sunglow Photography was able to capture not one, but two couples in the stunning shot — bride and groom Karly Kryza and Lucas Farmer in the foreground and a celestial couple, the moon and planet Venus, in the background.

(Story continues after photo)

2013-09-23-Venus.jpg

Credit: Dustin Prickett//Sunglow Photography

The photo was taken on September 8 at Cross Creek Ranch in Dover, Fla. on a night when the moon and Venus appeared very close together in the sky — an event astronomers call a conjunction.

This isn’t the first heavenly wedding photos we’ve come across lately. In June, Australian photographer Andrew Tallon posted a photo of a newlywed couple beneath a super-starry sky to Reddit, where it generated more then 1,000 comments.

[h/t Space.com]

Click through the slideshow below for more amazing photos of space.

Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost Weddings on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Green – The Huffington Post
Hydropower
Hydropower is frequently mentioned in conversations about renewable energy generation in the 21st century. Frequently on World Ocean Radio I have reported on various ocean technologies involving exploitation of water movement such as waves and tides to harness natural capacity not reliant on fossil fuels. Historically dams have also served such a function, from small stream diversion for irrigation to massive structures that have re-engineered a regional landscape to generate serious power capacity distributed nationwide. The United States Army Corps of Engineers lists over 79,000 dams in its national inventory. Some 2,540 dams are regulated as certified energy providers by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Over the past decade, however, environmentalists have targeted dams as outmoded, inefficient energy providers with serious impacts on water flow, surrounding and downstream environment, species migration and spawning, sediment collection, algae blooms, and other damage to the natural process. Dams have taken on the identity of plaque in arteries, unhealthy intrusions into the water circulatory system that can take on crisis proportion, even deadly consequences. American Rivers and other conservation organizations have taken up the strategy to remove these outdated impediments; some 925 dams have been removed from the inventory over the past 100 years, with recent successes increasing public pressure for more.

Those successes have had some very positive and immediate results. In some instances, the return of ocean fish to freshwater spawning ground, inhibited by the dam, has been observed in less than a month. Fish like alewives, historically essential to the ocean food chain and heretofore threatened, have shown almost instant response to the restoration of the natural passage where once a dam intervened, a natural renewal so essential to their health and proliferation.

But what about the dams remaining? American Rivers suggests six strategies to improve dam operations and to mitigate the economic and environmental impacts, to reconcile the needs of energy suppliers, rate-payers, natural species, and community interests: 1) increase efficiency by retrofitting and improving dams, many of which were constructed 50, even 100 years ago; 2) consider adding capacity to certain existing dams; 3) uphold environmental safeguards; 4) hold hydropower developers responsible for dam safety; 5) design new dams for defined lifetimes; and 6) evaluate dams for production outcome, not size. The Low Impact Hydropower Institute is a new organization dedicated to reducing impact of retrofits and new construction through market incentives and a certification process that evaluates river flows, water quality, fish passage and protection, watershed protection, threatened and endangered species protection, cultural resource protection, recreation, and facilities recommended for removal — standards for public validation of best hydro-practice.

The primary strategy seems mostly about dam removal or modification to acceptable performance of existing installations. New dam construction does not seem to have much of a constituency, projects being inhibited by permitting and regulatory applications and community activists. And frankly, dam removal has its own environmental downsides including removal of flat water reservoir, local wetlands drainage, resultant habitat modification, sediment release, increased stream turbidity, distribution of accumulated toxins downstream, temperature and water quality issues — negatives hopefully to be overcome by restoration of the long-term natural process.

Looking forward is exciting. There are some very interesting new technologies in development for hydro-power: enhanced turbines, for example, generating more energy from the same volume, and small generators built with stock parts and installed in descending sequence in unexpected places like irrigation canals, locks, outlet pipes, storm drains, and existing dams or sites with smaller falls, less than 30 feet from one pool to the next — all resulting in much reduced manufacturing cost, installation cost, operating cost, and environmental impact. The scale of this micro-hydro approach is well suited to developing nations and new installations. Another imaginative example is pumped storage, a system that cycles and recycles a fixed volume of water to gravity fall through a series of miniature blade assemblies to generate enough energy to drive a pumped return cycle and generate surplus electricity for cumulative contribution to the grid and can be built anywhere where there is an appropriate water source. One might even go so far as to imagine such a closed system for a positive re-use of fracked or black water left over from other environmentally degrading systems.

Now wouldn’t that be something!

Surfing Industry Hopes To Ride Artificial Wave To Profits
The surfing industry has been struggling. Big retailers are facing market saturation — Billabong recently reported a $536 million loss — and about half of all independent surf shops worldwide shut down during the recession.

It’s no surprise then that the future of the surfing industry — to say nothing of the soul of the sport itself — is currently being debated by some of surfing’s biggest names and retailers. For some, surf parks, which use massive pools to generate artificial waves, offer opportunities for the sport to grow both financially and in terms of reach, but skeptics worry about the effects of artificial waves on the sport’s unique and treasured culture.

At the Surf Park Summit, which was recently held in Laguna Beach, industry experts got together with entrepreneurs, engineers and designers to discuss the feasibility of surf parks big enough to attract professional surfers. Tom Lochtefeld, owner of a wave technology company called Wave Loch, said it would cost between 15 and 25 million dollars and require a two-acre large pool in order to allow surfers to paddle out and find consistent, 10-foot barrels. The cost to the surfer? As low as $1 a wave, according to Matt Reilly, director of operations and marketing at Surf Park Central, which put on the summit. (Renowned surfer Kelly Slater even tried to open his own wave park in Australia, but financial issues proved tricky and the project appears to be delayed indefinitely.)

Surf board manufacturers, apparel retailers, and serious surfers all agree that there are legitimate advantages to artificial waves. For starters, surf parks would take geography out of the equation, allowing everyone from the midwest to the middle east to experience the joy and thrill of surfing. The market expansion is an obvious boon to retailers, but it’s also appealing to advocates of a national surf league, a hypothetical professional league much like the NBA.

For most surfers, however, the holy grail would be to finally get surfing accepted as an Olympic sport. Surf parks would remove two of the biggest hurdles so far: ensuring standardized waves and unlocking the ability to host a surfing competition anywhere in the world. Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association, told the AP that “Without man-made waves, there will not be Olympic surfing. It’s the ultimate wave-sharing that you can imagine.”

Even casual surfers are falling for the appeal of surf parks. Samantha Akre hasn’t surfed in the ocean for more than a year. “This is just so much more fun,” she told the AP. Cliff Char, who’s been surfing for 15 years, agrees. “In a park, you can always get in a perfect position,” he said. “The wave will always be perfect and you can really work on your surfing.”

But as anyone who has seen the 80s classic “North Shore” knows, surfing culture is much more than just technique and competitions. Soul surfers believe that the connection to nature and the ability to read waves are vital aspects of surfing. ‘Surf culture,’ according to freelance writer Zac Heisey, is “about having a genuine respect and connection with the ocean.” Other critics argue that the environmental toll of powering such monstrous waves is antithetical to surfing values.

The imposition of technology on a classic and beloved sport is nothing new. As the AP points out, skiers who were used to hiking mountains were opposed to chair lifts and many rock-climbing purists were resistant to rock walls in urban gyms.

Whether they be chlorinated, perfectly predictable waves, or salty and unruly ones, it’s hard to argue with Duke Kahanamoku, the famous Hawaiian waterman, who once said that, “the best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.”

Global Warming Hasn’t Stopped: It Was the Hottest Decade on Record
Originally posted on DeSmogBlog.

With the release of a major climate science report by the United Nations coming this week, the self-proclaimed climate “skeptics,” better referred to as the climate deniers or flat-earthers, are kicking it into high gear for their fossil fuel clients and right wing ringleaders.

The likes of Tom Harris, better known for his lobbying work on behalf of the Canadian energy industry, and Fred Singer, formally a tobacco company expert-for-hire, are trying to make headlines again claiming that the warming of our planet has significantly slowed down. As Harris, a man with absolutely no scientific background in climate change, reassures us like a bunch of schoolchildren, “don’t be scared.”

I wish it were the case that the rate of global warming has significantly slowed and that we don’t have to “be scared” of more extreme weather events, droughts and flooding.

But according to the scientific community, the experts who have decades of training in the field of atmospheric and climactic study, our planet continues to warm. In fact, we just came through the hottest decade ever recorded. Not only was it been the hottest decade recorded, it has occurred despite the presence of major cooling factors, like La Nina’s and reduced solar activity. Such events should result in a significant dip in the earth’s temperature, but they are only having a relatively slight cooling effect.

Not good. And not at all what the flat earth society is trying to tell you.

For more on Tom Harris, see his profile on DeSmogBlog. And for a look at Fred Singer, check out this handy sharable graphic from the Climate Denial Playbook series:

Click here to see a larger version.

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Real Men Love Their Bodies From the Inside Out: The Gay Man’s Intro to Loving His Looks
Fall and winter are a’comin’, and while we all know it’s cuddle season, it’s also the time a lot of us look down at our tummies and question all that booze and BBQ we scarfed down all summer. The gym membership flyers are starting to pile up on the kitchen counter, giving us the evil eye every time we head toward the fridge. “Right after the New Year, it’s totally gonna happen,” we tell ourselves. Even the most dedicated gym bunny among us is probably in a bit of an autumnal sweat slump.

But here’s the most important question: Who cares? Seriously, who are you working out for? If the answer is anyone other than yourself, we need to have a little chat.

Full disclosure: I’ve had some nasty body dysmorphia in my life. When I first started out acting in New York and L.A., I thought having a killer body was everything, and I had no idea when enough was enough. I was nailing magazine covers and product endorsements, but even with a gorgeous boyfriend who told me I was beautiful every day, I never felt like I was good enough when I looked in the mirror. It took a lot of growing up and letting go, casting off the people who brought me down and made me doubt myself. It finally got better when I began surrounding myself with love and support from friends who cared about the real me.

For the first time, the body on the outside was as strong as the heart on the inside.

Ask a guy why he joined a gym, and the answer will often be, “I want to get hot!” Well, friends, it’s my pleasure to break it to you: You already are! If there is one thing I learned in the long journey to being happy with my looks, it’s that the outside should always be the physical manifestation of how you feel inside.

I’ve been asked repeatedly to write about fitness and why it means so much to me, but I really had no idea where to begin. Do I tell you about which weights are best? What you should be eating? The yummiest protein? No, none of that matters until you look at yourself in the mirror and realize that the only person you need to worry about impressing with your body is yourself. Don’t worry, there are plenty of websites with lots of tips and videos about getting that beach body you’re looking for, but first things first: Let’s figure out why we’re going to sweat.

Each week RuPaul tells her ladies on Drag Race that they’d better remember who really comes first, because “if you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” Amen, Ru. Amen.

Listen, body image, like that gorgeous muscle boy you stare at each time you go to the bar, is nothing but a mess of confusion. Every ad in every magazine shows us glistening pecs and rippling six-packs that lead us to believe that we’re not worth squat unless we can grate cheese on our stomachs. We are being told that if we don’t match this prepackaged ideal, we’re something “less-than.”

What you are is a gorgeous man who is already sexy just because you’ve embraced who you are. Working out, eating right, and keeping your body and brain healthy make the wrapping on the present firm and desirable, but it’s the man inside that matters.

Just remember that there will always be some guy younger and fitter than you, but he doesn’t have your heart. That’s the sexiest muscle you’ve got!

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
Fears Can Be Reduced During Sleep, New Research Shows
First, it was shown that it’s possible for us to learn new information as we sleep. And now, a new study shows it’s also possible to conquer our fears as we snooze.

The study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, suggests that nighttime treatment of phobias could be a good addition to daytime phobia treatments of exposure therapy.

“It’s a novel finding,” study researcher Katherina Hauner, who is a postdoctoral fellow in neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a statement. “We showed a small but significant decrease in fear. If it can be extended to pre-existing fear, the bigger picture is that, perhaps, the treatment of phobias can be enhanced during sleep.”

The idea for the study builds off the knowledge that sleep is vital to the strengthening of new memories and that memory consolidation occurs during the slow-wave (deep) sleep.

Hauner and colleagues conducted their study on 15 healthy people, who were mildly shocked in response to seeing two faces, while simultaneous being exposed to one of several specific smells — including new sneaker, mint, lemon, wood and clove — while seeing each face. The researchers did this with the purpose of having the study participants associate the smell and the face with fear (being shocked).

Then, as the study participants were sleeping, researchers exposed them to just one of the two scents linked with the fear response. They exposed them to the scents when the participants were in slow-wave sleep; however, this time, the scents were not accompanied with the mild electrical shock.

When the participants woke up, researchers again showed them the images of the faces and tested their fear responses to them. They found that when the image of a face was shown that was associated with a scent smelled during sleep, the fear response by the study participant was lower, compared with the face shown that was associated with a scent not exposed to them during sleep.

Jon Hamm To Undergo Throat Surgery To Remove Polyp
His performance as the perpetually smoking Don Draper brought him an Emmy nod, but it looks like the rasp in Jon Hamm’s voice isn’t just due to method acting. The 42-year-old actor is set to undergo throat surgery next week after allegedly coughing up blood recently, according to multiple reports.

A rep for the actor confirmed to The Huffington Post that Hamm would be having surgery, calling it a “routine outpatient procedure to remove a single polyp from his throat.” Previous reports suggested that Hamm was to remove two, not one, polyps (abnormal tissue) from the region.

Meanwhile, a report in Life & Style magazine claims the surgery news is not new for Hamm’s “Mad Men” cast mates. “January Jones was talking about [Hamm’s throat surgery] at the Governors Ball after party last night,” a source for the publication said.

#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo

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