What do owls symbolize?


Owls are a very specific species of birds – and we all know birds are geniuses! People have a long fascination with owls. They are afraid of them, admire them, attribute power to them, and also use them for fashion purposes.

Owl symbolism is interpreted differently throughout history and different cultures. It is believed that the owl brings happiness, wealth, health, and love. In many countries, owls associate with wisdom, magic, and heightened sensuality.

To the Romans, the owl was a symbol of wisdom and prophecy. In ancient Rome, a dead owl was attached to a house door to avoid evil. The ancient Romans believed that the announcement of an owl indicated imminent death. Owls are also believed to have warned the Roman army of impending disasters.

The Chinese culture has long rooted in the teachings of Feng Shuai. According to this teaching, owl symbolism has several meanings:

attracting wealth,
study assistance,
protection of family life,
defense against dark forces.

Four of the most frequent symbolism are the following:

1. Owls are famous for their exceptional eyesight and it was thought that you could gain better eyesight from them. In England, the method was to cook owl eggs until they were ash, then incorporate them into a potion. Folklore from India had a more direct method: just eat owl eyes.

2. For some cultures, the owl was sacred. Among Australian Aborigines, owls are the spirits of women and so are sacred. The Kwakiutl people also thought owls were the souls of people and shouldn’t be harmed because if the owl was killed, the person whose soul the owl carried would also die. In fact, many different cultures believed that a person became an owl after death.

3. Owls are of course associate with witchcraft. Greeks and Romans believed witches could turn themselves into owls, and in this form would come to suck the blood of babies. In other cultures, owls were simply the messengers of witches, or hooted to warn of the approach of a witch.

4. Though the owl’s nocturnal activity was at the root of many superstitions, the amazing ability of an owl to rotate its neck to extraordinary degrees was even turned into a myth. In England it was believed that if you walked around a tree that an owl was perched in, it would follow you with its eyes, around and around until it wrung its own neck.

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Personal care products brand Gillette set out to become a more sustainable company


Personal care products brand Gillette, known for its razors, set out to become a more sustainable company one decade ago. And over the past 10 years, it has reduced its energy consumption by 392,851 gigajoules and its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 per cent. The company also has reached zero-manufacturing-waste-to-landfill status across all plants in its global network.

On Monday, Gillette announced its 2030 goals to uplevel its sustainability ambitions. Building on the 26 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions – and using a 2009-2010 baseline – Gillette plans to boost that number to a 50 per cent reduction by 2030.

Personal care products brand Gillette, known for its razors, set out to become a more sustainable company one decade ago. And over the past 10 years, it has reduced its energy consumption by 392,851 gigajoules and its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 per cent. The company also has reached zero-manufacturing-waste-to-landfill status across all plants in its global network.

On Monday, Gillette announced its 2030 goals to uplevel its sustainability ambitions. Building on the 26 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions – and using a 2009-2010 baseline – Gillette plans to boost that number to a 50 per cent reduction by 2030.

One of Gillette’s 2030 goals is to maintain zero-waste-to-landfill status. To achieve that designation at its World Shaving Headquarters in Boston, Gillette worked with local recycler Rand Whitney Recycling to do an in-depth assessment on all of its waste streams, with a goal of ensuring all would be either reused, recycled or incinerated for energy recovery. P&G Corporate, Gillette’s parent company, doesn’t release numbers about how much waste is reused, recycled or incinerated across its brands.

From there, the company worked to reduce scrap waste and engaged employees to help improve recycling rates. Gillette said because the assessment of its waste streams, which helped determine how to treat the waste, was effective, it later was implemented at other plants globally.

Another one of Gillette’s goals is to reduce water consumption related to production by 35 per cent. The company has been cutting its water consumption by using more recycled water at its sites and through water conservation projects. The company shared its Milenio plant in Mexico as an example. At that plant, it said it has zero water discharge, meaning 100 per cent of its wastewater is treated and reused onsite.

What’s more, Coombe said when Gillette thinks about reducing water consumption, it also considers how to reduce the amount of water people who use its razors consume when shaving.

To that end, it designed razors to be easier to rinse hair from, enabling people to use less water. It also recently released a “waterless” razor for “assisted shaving,” or shaving someone else. That product was designed with caregivers in mind, with a shave gel tube attached directly to the razor.

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Is Uber Safer Than a Regular Taxi?


In 2010, Uber launched its ride-sharing app, revolutionizing the taxi service/ridesharing industry, and since, it has recognized tremendous growth. As of 2019, Uber has nearly 4 million drivers and 75 million riders worldwide. However, this sensational growth might hit a bump in the road because of increasing safety concerns. High-profile cases of assault and word-of-mouth anecdotes have many wondering how safe Uber’s ridesharing service is.

In the U.S., Uber drivers and taxi drivers have similar background and credential checks, however, depending on the state, Uber drivers are not put through the same level of drug and alcohol testing as taxi drivers. Uber drivers aren’t monitored as frequently as taxi drivers, so a misdemeanor might go unchecked; Uber drivers can have alcohol in their bloodstream as long as it’s under the legal limit—taxi drivers can’t. Uber requires drivers to use newer models of cars than taxi companies do, but they do maintenance checks on the cars less frequently than taxi companies.

How Accountable Is Uber?

Because Uber drivers use private cars, they are also able to fly under the radar of the rules that apply to professional drivers, making Uber drivers less accountable. Taxi drivers undergo frequent monitoring, while the assessment of Uber drivers is said to be a one-off check. Besides, taxi drivers guilty of a misdemeanor suffer quick penalties and possible suspension, but a misdemeanor by an Uber driver, who is not registered under any federal or state body, may never be exposed.

A big percent of Uber Drivers are part-time employees. After long hours of work, they take the road to make a few extra bucks, without considering that their attention span is highly-reduced and their crashes and accidents are higher than those suffered by professional taxi drivers.

Uber Fatal Crashes Stats

The actual numbers are that in 2017, there were 49 “Uber-related” fatalities over 8.2 billion miles, or approximately 0.59 per 100 million miles traveled; in 2018, there were 58 over 1.3 billion or about 0.57 per 100 million miles. The national average is more than 1.1 per 100 million, so Uber sees about half as many fatalities per mile overall.

But there is no mention whatsoever of non-fatal accidents. These are more difficult to track and categorize, but it seems odd not to include them at all. If the rates of Ubers getting into fender-benders or serious crashes where someone breaks an arm are lower than the national average, as one might expect from the fatality rates, why not say so?

But about the price?

You can call your preferred taxi company and negotiate the price. However, you cannot do so with Uber rides

What is next?

Self-driving Cars

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Who Are The 100 Most Sustainable Companies Of 2020?


A ranking of the organizations doing the most to embrace sustainable business practices was revealed at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Compiled by Canadian research firm Corporate Knights since 2005, the Global 100 list ranks corporations with revenue in excess of $1 billion based on key metrics of sustainability, among them carbon footprint and gender diversity. The organizations that make up this list have made significant strides toward sustainability, but there’s still much work to be done, and it’s in their best interest as businesses to do it.

1 Orsted A/S Denmark
2 Chr. Hansen Holding A/S Denmark
3 Neste Oyj Finland
4 Cisco Systems Inc United States
5 Autodesk Inc United States
6 Novozymes A/S Denmark
7 ING Groep NV Netherlands
8 Enel SpA Italy
9 Banco do Brasil SA Brazil
10 Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp Canada

* List published by Forbes Magazine

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British tourists are traveling to Cuba as their post-pandemic Green Tourism Destination


The Cuban beach resort of Varadero reopened the tourist season in the new normality after the Covid-19 with over 240 British vacationers who arrived on Sunday night from Manchester on a G-TUI direct flight.

The first flight with foreign visitors to Varadero, arrived last night at the Juan Gualberto Gomez International Airport, in the western Cuban province of Matanzas.

The TUI UK agency (Germany-UK) restarted operations at the renowned sun and beach resort with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft from the English city of Manchester with 276 passengers on board, 241 of whom were tourists.

They were accommodated at the Royalton and Iberostar Varadero hotels, both belonging to the Cubanacan hotel chain, and at the Playa Vista Azul, of the Gaviota group.

Upon arrival, the holidaymakers were subjected to the hygienic-sanitary controls established to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and biosecurity measures provided for in the protocols such as PCR, without losing the fluidity and agility in the attention to travelers.

Varadero is located in the Hicacos Peninsula on the northern coast of Matanzas, 140 kilometers east of Havana.

Its 20-kilometer-long beach is considered the world’s second-best, according to international surveys, and has varied extra hotel activities with ample recreational options, especially those dedicated to sailing.

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Cuba’s nature reserve stands out for its biodiversity


The Topes de Collantes Nature Reserve currently appears as one of the safeguarded areas in Sancti Spiritus central province as it stands out for its biodiversity.

It is located in the municipality of Trinidad, near Trinidad city and its Valle de los Ingenios, both places declared by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture in 1988 as Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Specialists suggest that the high endemism of its wildlife provides a relevant scientific value to Topes de Collantes, nestled in the Guamuhaya or Sierra del Escambray mountain group, and makes it an excellent option for nature tourism.

The microclimate that prevails in that place, with a pleasant temperature, favors the habitat of different kinds of flora such as orchids, as well as over 100 species of birds, including 45 percent of those endemic to Cuba.

Topes de Collantes is deemed the area where there is the greatest development of nature tourism in Cuba and has various products, including trails, walks and tours, in addition to having infrastructure for it.

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3 Unforgettable Urban Waterfalls


For many, the word “waterfall” conjures a distinct image of an idyllic, semi-secret place that can be accessed only by committing to an arduous hike through the woods. This, of course, isn’t always the case.

Across North America, there are a handful of significant waterfalls located smack dab in the downtown core of major cities. For what they lack in seclusion or unspoiled natural beauty, these urban waterfalls — most of them natural or once-natural features of rivers — make up for in history-changing impact. These are the waterfalls that America’s early manufacturing hubs sprayed forth from. After all, what’s a bustling 19th century mill town without a raging, hydropower-producing waterfall in the middle of it?

1. High Falls — Rochester, New York

Perched on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, New York’s third most populous city, Rochester, is famed as a tech-centric innovation and manufacturing hub, birthplace of Eastman Kodak, the Xerox Corporation, Bausch & Lamb and others. However, the presence of the High Falls, a roaring waterfall on the Genesee River that’s smack dab in the middle of the city, serves as a potent reminder of Rochester’s early days as a bustling flour mill boomtown.

In fact, during the first half of the 19th century, bustling Rochester reigned as America’s so-called Flour City with dozens of mills lining the mighty Genesee. However, Rochester’s flour-milling heyday didn’t last long, and by the 1850s, the city’s economy was dominated by plant nurseries. Yep, within just a couple of decades, the Flour City had become the Flower City.

Today, the 96-foot-tall cataract often referred to as a mini-Niagara is a popular stopover for Niagara Falls-bound tourists — a little taste (emphasis on little) of what’s to come 90 minutes down the road, if you will. The surrounding Brown’s Race Historic District, home to the High Falls Center and Interpretive Center and the pedestrians-only Pont De Rennes Bridge, is chock-full of gritty, post-industrial charm. And for an authentic Rochester experience, no visit to High Falls and the lower Genesee River Gorge is complete without a pilgrimage to the Genesee Brewing Company. Established in 1878, it’s New York’s oldest brewery and one of the oldest continually operating breweries in the U.S. (Try a Cream Ale and a Zweigle’s White Hot.)

2. Idaho Falls — Idaho Falls, Idaho

If you show up in the outdoor recreation-blessed burg of Idaho Falls expecting to be blown away by raging urban rapids or a cataract of significant height in the middle of the Gem State’s fourth-largest city, you might be disappointed as Idaho Falls’ signature waterfall system is only 20 feet tall and largely man-made.

Idaho Falls wasn’t even Idaho Falls until 1891 when the residents of Eagle Rock, Idaho, voted to change the town’s name to reflect a series of picturesque natural rapids on the Snake River. In the following years, the falls were converted into a man-made hydroelectric diversion dam with a 600-foot-wide concrete spillway filling in for natural cascades. Whatever the case, the falls, located along a lovely urban greenbelt system, remain one of downtown Idaho Falls’ top attractions.

While Idaho Falls’ namesake waterfall may not be all that huge of deal (both figuratively and literally), this isn’t to say the state of Idaho is lacking in show-stopping natural cascades. Follow the Snake River along a roughly two-hour drive to the southwest of Idaho Falls and you’ll come face to face with the mighty Shoshone Falls, a horseshoe-shaped behemoth that, at 212 feet tall, towers 45 feet higher than Niagara Falls. (Hey, they don’t call it the Niagara of the West for nothing.)

3. Niagara Falls — Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls, hypnotizing honeymoon destination for the ages, can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. For those who find themselves wandering about mist-drenched and dazed, it helps to remember the numbers: three waterfalls (Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls), two countries (the U.S. and Canada), two cities with the same name (Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario), four wax museums, 22 Tim Hortons locations and a couple hundred heart-shaped Jacuzzi tubs.

That said, Niagara Falls is about as urban as urban waterfalls can get. So then, what Niagara Falls city is the best? A tough question, given that they’re so different. Home to Niagara Falls State Park, the city of Niagara Falls, New York, is smaller and less intense than its Canadian counterpart. It’s touristy, no doubt, but it’s also more subdued, approachable, even a bit old-school.

Niagara Falls, Ontario, is a significantly larger and, for better or worse, kitschier city. Case in point is Clifton Hill, a neon-lit promenade best described as the hyperactive Canadian lovechild of the Las Vegas Strip and the Coney Island Boardwalk. Home to a Ferris wheel, no less than five haunted houses and about 1,001 places to buy fudge, Clifton Hill is a three-Advil type of diversion. The city’s casinos, botanic garden, indoor aviary and space-age observation tower also lure in the falls-peeping masses. And it’s no big secret that Canada rules when it comes to knockout panoramic views of North America’s most spectacular trio of waterfalls.

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N.J. voters strongly favor legal weed ahead of referendum, new poll shows


“Legalizing marijuana is the right thing to do. We must also expunge the records of those arrested for marijuana offenses and reinvest proceeds from legalization directly back into our communities.” – Cory Booker

La marihuana medicinal se ha legalizado en 33 estados y muchos expertos médicos han aprobado su uso para afecciones médicas que están afectando a los adultos mayores de 50 años en Estados Unidos.

New Jersey voters support the ballot question seeking to legalize marijuana by a 2-to-1 margin, continuing a trend of strong favorability for the referendum with just two weeks left before Election Day.

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Green Tea Drinkers May Live Longer


People who love their green tea may also enjoy longer, healthier lives, a large new study suggests.

Researchers found that of more than 100,000 Chinese adults they tracked, those who drank green tea at least three times a week were less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke over the next seven years.

Tea lovers also had a slightly longer life expectancy. At age 50, they could expect to live just over a year longer than their counterparts who were not regular consumers of green tea.

The study is the latest to look at green tea’s potential health effects.

Over the years, many studies have linked the beverage to benefits like healthier cholesterol levels and body weight, and lower risks of heart disease and certain cancers.

Those studies, like the current one, were “observational” — where researchers ask people about their lifestyle habits and other factors, then follow their health outcomes. The limitation is they do not prove that green tea, itself, provides any benefits.

Green-tea drinkers may differ from non-consumers in other ways. Research in the United States has found that tea drinkers (all types of tea) generally have healthier diets than non-drinkers, said Whitney Linsenmeyer, an assistant professor of nutrition at Saint Louis University.

Researchers do try to account for such differences. In the current study, the investigators were able to weigh overall diet, exercise habits, smoking and education level, among other factors.

Still, it’s impossible to control for everything, said Linsenmeyer, who is also a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

That said, a number of studies across different countries have now found health benefits among green-tea drinkers, according to Linsenmeyer.

Plus, there’s some evidence from clinical trials. Linsenmeyer pointed to a recent trial of Iranian women finding that those who drank three cups of green tea a day saw improvements in weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol over eight weeks.

So if you’re a green-tea fan, drink up, advised Linsenmeyer.

“Green tea is calorie-free and antioxidant-rich,” she said. “It’s a healthy beverage to include in your diet if you like the taste.”

It does contain caffeine, though. “So be wary if you take medications that interact with caffeine, or if you struggle with insomnia,” Linsenmeyer said.

The findings were published online Jan. 9 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The study was based on 100,902 Chinese adults who were free of heart disease and cancer at the outset. The participants were interviewed about their lifestyle habits and medical history, and had their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol measured.

Over the follow-up period — typically seven years — almost 3,700 suffered a heart attack or stroke, or died of cardiovascular causes. The risk was 20% lower, however, among those who habitually drank green tea (at least three times a week).

Those habitual consumers were also 15% less likely to die of any cause, versus people who drank green tea less often or not at all.

Green, black and white tea all come from the same plant, but there are differences in how they are made. And compared with black tea — which is more popular in the United States — green tea is higher in antioxidants called flavonoids, according to the study authors.

Lab experiments suggest green-tea extracts can quell inflammation and improve functioning of cells in the blood vessels and heart, the researchers said. The team was led by Dr. Xinyan Wang, of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, in Beijing.

For now, the jury is still out on whether adding green tea to your diet will ward off any diseases, said Connie Diekman. She’s a food and nutrition consultant and past president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

But Diekman said she often encourages people to go ahead and enjoy their tea, since it’s a calorie-free form of hydration (provided it’s not loaded with sugar or cream).

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Microsoft to buy green jet fuel to cut emissions from business flights


Microsoft will buy sustainable jet fuel to help reduce the environmental impact of its employees’ business travel, the tech giant said Thursday.

The Windows maker announced a partnership with Alaska Airlines to offset emissions from its staffers’ flights on three frequently traveled routes out of the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

Microsoft will purchase credits for the cleaner fuel — which is made with used cooking oil or other plant oils — from Dutch supplier SkyNRG, which will deliver the fuel to Alaska Airlines. The arrangement will cover carbon emissions from Microsoft employees’ travel between Seattle and San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose, the company says.

“We hope this sustainable aviation fuel model will be used by other companies as a way to reduce the environmental impact of their business travel,” Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Commercial Business, said in a statement.

The deal follows Microsoft’s pledge earlier this year to become a “carbon negative” company by 2030, meaning it will work to remove more carbon from the environment than it pumps out.

Business travel accounted for roughly 3.3 percent of Microsoft’s total greenhouse gas emissions last year, a company fact sheet shows. Using SkyNRG’s sustainable jet fuel could help reduce that footprint given that it emits about 75 percent less carbon than standard fossil jet fuel, according to a news release.

Microsoft’s efforts come as the coronavirus pandemic continues to depress global air travel. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has said he doesn’t expect demand for business flights to return to normal levels until 2024 as more companies conduct business remotely thanks to the virus.

Microsoft nevertheless hopes other companies will follow its lead in supporting the sustainable jet fuel industry by creating a stable “demand signal” for the product.

“After a decade advancing sustainable aviation fuel, this partnership marks a significant milestone in the work to make [sustainable aviation fuel] a commercially-viable aviation fuel alternative,” Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said in a statement.

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