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Science

A juice company dumped orange peels in a national park. Here's what it looks like now.

12,000 tons of food waste and 21 years later, this forest looks totally different.

A juice company dumped orange peels in a national park. Here's what it looks like now.


In 1997, ecologists Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs approached an orange juice company in Costa Rica with an off-the-wall idea.

In exchange for donating a portion of unspoiled, forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste — a nature preserve in the country's northwest — the park would allow the company to dump its discarded orange peels and pulp, free of charge, in a heavily grazed, largely deforested area nearby.

One year later, one thousand trucks poured into the national park, offloading over 12,000 metric tons of sticky, mealy, orange compost onto the worn-out plot.



The site was left untouched and largely unexamined for over a decade. A sign was placed to ensure future researchers could locate and study it.

16 years later, Janzen dispatched graduate student Timothy Treuer to look for the site where the food waste was dumped.

Treuer initially set out to locate the large placard that marked the plot — and failed.

The first deposit of orange peels in 1996.

Photo by Dan Janzen.

"It's a huge sign, bright yellow lettering. We should have been able to see it," Treuer says. After wandering around for half an hour with no luck, he consulted Janzen, who gave him more detailed instructions on how to find the plot.

When he returned a week later and confirmed he was in the right place, Treuer was floored. Compared to the adjacent barren former pastureland, the site of the food waste deposit was "like night and day."

The site of the orange peel deposit (L) and adjacent pastureland (R).

Photo by Leland Werden.

"It was just hard to believe that the only difference between the two areas was a bunch of orange peels. They look like completely different ecosystems," he explains.

The area was so thick with vegetation he still could not find the sign.

Treuer and a team of researchers from Princeton University studied the site over the course of the following three years.

The results, published in the journal "Restoration Ecology," highlight just how completely the discarded fruit parts assisted the area's turnaround.

The ecologists measured various qualities of the site against an area of former pastureland immediately across the access road used to dump the orange peels two decades prior. Compared to the adjacent plot, which was dominated by a single species of tree, the site of the orange peel deposit featured two dozen species of vegetation, most thriving.

Lab technician Erik Schilling explores the newly overgrown orange peel plot.

Photo by Tim Treuer.

In addition to greater biodiversity, richer soil, and a better-developed canopy, researchers discovered a tayra (a dog-sized weasel) and a giant fig tree three feet in diameter, on the plot.

"You could have had 20 people climbing in that tree at once and it would have supported the weight no problem," says Jon Choi, co-author of the paper, who conducted much of the soil analysis. "That thing was massive."

Recent evidence suggests that secondary tropical forests — those that grow after the original inhabitants are torn down — are essential to helping slow climate change.

In a 2016 study published in Nature, researchers found that such forests absorb and store atmospheric carbon at roughly 11 times the rate of old-growth forests.

Treuer believes better management of discarded produce — like orange peels — could be key to helping these forests regrow.

In many parts of the world, rates of deforestation are increasing dramatically, sapping local soil of much-needed nutrients and, with them, the ability of ecosystems to restore themselves.

Meanwhile, much of the world is awash in nutrient-rich food waste. In the United States, up to half of all produce in the United States is discarded. Most currently ends up in landfills.

The site after a deposit of orange peels in 1998.

Photo by Dan Janzen.

"We don't want companies to go out there will-nilly just dumping their waste all over the place, but if it's scientifically driven and restorationists are involved in addition to companies, this is something I think has really high potential," Treuer says.

The next step, he believes, is to examine whether other ecosystems — dry forests, cloud forests, tropical savannas — react the same way to similar deposits.

Two years after his initial survey, Treuer returned to once again try to locate the sign marking the site.

Since his first scouting mission in 2013, Treuer had visited the plot more than 15 times. Choi had visited more than 50. Neither had spotted the original sign.

In 2015, when Treuer, with the help of the paper's senior author, David Wilcove, and Princeton Professor Rob Pringle, finally found it under a thicket of vines, the scope of the area's transformation became truly clear.

The sign after clearing away the vines.

Photo by Tim Treuer.

"It's a big honking sign," Choi emphasizes.

19 years of waiting with crossed fingers had buried it, thanks to two scientists, a flash of inspiration, and the rind of an unassuming fruit.


This article originally appeared on 08.23.17

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Photo via Canva, @WhattheADHD/Twitter

The 'bionic reading' font is designed to help keep you focused and read faster.

Reading is a fundamental tool of learning for most people, which is why it's one of the first things kids learn in school and why nations set literacy goals.

But even those of us who are able to read fluently might sometimes struggle with the act of reading itself. Perhaps we don't read as quickly as we wish we could or maybe our minds wander as our eyes move across the words. Sometimes we get to the end of a paragraph and realize we didn't retain anything we just read.

People with focus or attention issues can struggle with reading, despite having no actual reading disabilities. It can be extremely frustrating to want to read something and have no issues with understanding the material, yet be unable to keep your mind engaged with the text long enough to get "into" what you're reading.


But what if there were a font that could help you stay focused? That could help you not only read faster but better retain what you've just read?

That's what the creators of Bionic Reading claim is possible with their font tool."Bionic Reading revises texts so that the most concise parts of words are highlighted," the Swiss company's website reads. "This guides the eye over the text and the brain remembers previously learned words more quickly."

Give it a try:

@WhattheADHD/Twitter

The gist is that our eyes don't need to focus on the entire word because our brains can fill in the rest for us. By bolding the first part of the word, we're more quickly able to move from word to word.

"Bionic Reading aims to play a supporting role in the absorption of volume text," states the website. "We see technological progress as an opportunity for all those who want to increase the pleasure of reading in a noisy and hectic world in a focused way and without distraction."

While there are no studies cited on this method of reading, there are plenty of anecdotes about it being helpful. The example shared by @WhattheADHD on Twitter got people's attention and many people responded with enthusiasm at how much easier the bionic reading text was for them to read.

"This is amazing! I have ADHD and I didn’t even realize that I was having trouble fixating when I read," wrote one person. "My eye latches right on to the bold face. Can’t wait to try reading a book again. It’s been all audiobooks for a while."

"It's incredible how reading this feels like finally unlocking 100% of your brain," wrote another.

@juanbius/Twitter

However, not everyone was impressed or thrilled with the sample. Some people said that they had a harder time reading the bionic text or that it distracted or slowed them down. Both positive and negative responses came from a diverse pool of people. Some who described themselves as neurodivergent said that they loved it and some said it was harder. The same went for people who said they were neurotypical, so it's hard to say who this tool may specifically help the most. Everyone's brains work differently, and different people will find different things helpful.

Bionic reading might be a game-changer for some, but it's not the only tool of its kind. There are speed-reading programs that train you to stop reading each word and allow your brain to read visually instead of auditorily. There are also various methods of making reading easier by adjusting how your eyes move across the text.

For instance, check out this "space reading" technique:

@uxjavi/Twitter

Bionic Reading has a free text converter on its website that you can use to try out its font changes. A YouTube clip from the company also shows possibilities for how the font can be adjusted to individual preferences, making more or less of the initial letters bolded.

And again, if this doesn't work for you, then it's probably not made for you. For people who struggle with reading, something like Bionic Reading could make a huge difference.

Three cheers for technology being used to help people overcome difficulties and make learning easier and more efficient.


This article originally appeared on 5.30.22.

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Google Maps/Apple Maps

Which map app is the best for what uses?

Those of us of a certain age remember asking for directions and keeping two-inch thick road atlases in our cars to find our way around. Then with the internet came the miracle of Mapquest, followed by the how-did-we-ever-live-without-this GPS systems you could attach to your dashboard.

Then smartphones kicked the road trip game up a notch with map apps that not only give up step-by-step directions but also real-time traffic conditions and the ability to find a gas station or restaurant with gluten-free options along your route. Even those of us who grew up with paper maps struggle to recall how we ever got anywhere before Google Maps.


Now we're so deep into the map app era that we're past the wow stage and into the nit-picky stage. It's no longer good enough to have a handheld computer tell us how to get someplace in real time. Now we have expectations, preferences, opinions and complaints. We also have data and anecdotes with which to compare different apps and discuss which ones do what best.

And hoo boy do people have thoughts on that front.

Former Uber employee Flo Crivello shared some info on X about the analysis they did with three of the most popular map apps—Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze—using a dataset with millions of trips.

The big winner? Apple Maps.

Google came in second, and Waze was a distant third (worst "by far").

"The research also included which apps people *thought* was worse, and the order came in the exact opposite order," Crivello shared. "We understood why Apple Maps got a bad rap given how bad it was at launch — it rapidly got better, but the brand stuck. Waze was more of a mystery, and we ended up realizing that people thought its routes were best because it was exposing them to so much info on traffic, construction, police presence etc… Everyone thinks they want a minimalist UI, but in practice, when they see all this info, they subconsciously conclude 'wow, these guys really have their sh*t together' — even when the routes were actually the worst ones."

Crivello said the results "may be shocking," presumably because Apple Maps started with the worst reputation. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook famously apologized for Apple Maps in 2012 and recommended people use Google Maps instead.

However, in the years since, Apple Maps has redeemed itself while Google Maps has lost a bit of its initial luster. Then Waze came along, which people in cities with variable traffic touted as more accurate for timing and real-time updates, becoming some people's favorite. But according to his data eight years ago, Apple was the winner.

Do those results still hold? Some people in the replies said Google Maps was the best, hands down, while other said they preferred Apple or Waze.

It might depend on where you live and what you look for in a map app (and whether you even have access to Apple Maps). Discussions about these apps abound, with some common threads throughout. Many people agree that the U.S. is where Apple Maps shines, but Google Maps works better abroad. Apple Maps offers more natural navigation directions, such as "Not at this stop sign, but at the next one, turn right," instead of Google Maps' assumption that everyone knows how far 300 feet is. Google maps has great searchability and is easier to check reviews of places compared to Apple Maps. So opinions might vary on "best" depending on what you're using it for.

Waze has loyal users and people who love to joke about where it reroutes you when there's traffic.

These are not the only three map apps available, either. People who travel internationally and use public transportation seem partial to the CityMapper app, which makes finding train and bus routes simple with a user-friendly interface, so again, a lot depends on why you're using the app in the first place.

As far as popularity goes, Google Maps boasts a whopping 1 billion monthly users. While Apple Maps usage doesn't have any hard numbers, there is data that shows younger generations are partial to iPhones, on which Apple Maps is a native app, so its usage may be growing.

What's your experience? Which map app do you prefer?

Friendship

American coworkers surprise grieving Māori man with haka after he missed family funeral

He was stuck in America for his grandmother's funeral so his friends brought New Zealand to the states.

Representative photo Gary Stockbridge|Get Archive

American friends learn haka for grieving Māori man

It's not easy living away from family, especially when you live in a completely different country. The distance can become increasingly more difficult to adjust to when tragedy strikes your family back home. It can be cost prohibitive to fly back home and depending on your employer's attendance policy, it may be nearly impossible.

Jarom Ngakuru recently faced this very situation. The New Zealander of Māori descent is living in the United States while his family still resides in his home country. Unfortunately, when Ngakuru's grandmother died, he was unable to make the trip back to the island to give his proper goodbye.

Not being able to attend his grandmother's funeral left him sad and broken. He wanted nothing more than to be there with his family. Ngakuru's friends knew how important it was for him to send his grandmother off properly so the group of American colleagues worked in secret to learn the haka.


Haka is a traditional dance performed by Māori people for important events like weddings, funerals, and significant life events as a sign of respect. The dance has been known to bring viewers to tears, and this haka is doing the same. Not just because of the haka itself, but because of everything that went into a group of American men learning a dance from another culture to honor their friend and his grandmother.

Ngakuru uploaded the video to his TikTok page with the caption, "Hardest part about living in America is that we live so far away. I couldn't make it home for my nan's funeral and I was BROKEN! So my boys at work learned the haka without me knowing and brought home to me."

See why commenters could not stop crying below:

@jaromngakuru

Hardest part about living in america 🇺🇸 is that we live so far away. I couldnt make it home for my nans funeral and i was BROKEN! so my boys at work learned the haka without me knowing and brought home to me 🇳🇿🏠 #haka #grateful #maori #newzealand #brothers #fyp #foryou

"I don't think they even understand how beautiful of an act this is," one person writes.

"There is so much depth of emotion attached to the Haka I uncontrollably cry every time. This was beautiful," another says.

"Well I'm sobbing like a baby in my office now," a commenter reveals.

"You can feel the mana [spiritual power] and the aroha [love]they have for you they know your mamae [hurt], what a beautiful tribute to you and our culture. Arohanui [deep affection] for your loss," someone else writes.

Ngakuru explains in the comments that it's his brother-in-law, who is Tongan, leading the chant. He is also the one that taught their friends the haka in a single day. What an impressive show of love for their grieving friend. There's no doubt that Ngakuru will remember this for the rest of his life.

Toddler's bedtime prayer includes adorable demands for pizza

Toddlers can be hilarious. They're learning the world around them while simultaneously acting as if they've got it all figured out. There's nothing like arguing with a tiny version of yourself whose pants are on backwards and inside out. But even with all their sass, they're mostly filled with adorable moments.

Caroline Victoria uploaded a video to her social media page of her toddler daughter saying her bedtime prayers. The little girl is wearing a pink satin bonnet laying on the bed with a sweet grin on her face as her mom starts prayer. Since the girl is just a toddler she is only contributing one word responses for the things she's thankful for.

That tiny toddler voice only makes the answers even cuter. Caroline starts off by saying, "dear Lord, thank you for," then she pauses waiting for the little girl's response. She's off to a pretty solid start by being thankful for her brother, Brandon and her mommy but things quickly take an interesting turn.


Caroline starts her off again, "thank you for?" The response was no longer a person in the house. This baby was thankful for pizza and she didn't think her mom was taking her gratitude for the cheesy delicious meal seriously. You hear her mom laughing behind the camera before asking her again what she was thankful for.

If you thought the answer was going to change, you don't know how much she appreciates pizza. The little girl rattled off pizza at least five more times in a row to make sure her point was taken proving to be a bit too much for Caroline who can be heard squeaking with laugher in the background.

Watch her request below:

Commenters can't seem to get over how adorably hilarious the little girl is.

"She is a little comedian and a beauty," one person writes.

"Too precious!! She grateful for her Pizza.. Amen," another says.

"She didn't add you in the prayer ma'am.She said her brother, me , and pizza.She didn't say "mummy." Go get your prayers somewhere else," someone jokes.

"I'm with her Pizza is definitely something to be thankful for all the time," another person declares.

Let's all hope mom answers this little girl's prayers and order some pizza. It's clear that pizza is a top priority for her and until she has it her little brain will not be able to move on to pray for other things.

Joy

Video of two 90-year-old sisters saying goodbye shoots straight to the heart

“If we don’t see each other again on this earth, we’ll see each other in heaven."

@stephanieatkinson/TikTok

Don't say goodbye.

A video making the rounds online is reminding us all that love transcends all time and distance.

94-year-old Barbara Carolan of Seabrook, Massachusetts, hadn’t been able to see her 90-year-old sister Shirley, who lives in Nevada, since 2020.

When it became clear to Barbara that she might not have much time left to spend with her beloved sister, she prepared to make the 2,700-mile cross country trip to say goodbye.

“They waited so long to see each other, and if you don’t know if you’re going to see someone again, you know, especially siblings, it must be really hard,” Barbara’s granddaughter, Stephanie Atkinson Shively, told told her local news outlet WMUR.

Shively volunteered to ride alongside her grandmother and document the trip. In a TikTok video, which has been seen over 13 million times, we see Barbara and Shirley getting emotional while reminiscing.

“We had a wonderful, wonderful time,” Barbara tells Shirley through tears.

“If we don’t see each other [again] on this earth, we’ll see each other in heaven,” her little sister assured.

“You betcha!” Barbara sobs. “You betcha.”

Watch the video below, aptly captioned: “Hug your sister.”
@stephanieatkinson #goodbye #sistersforever #notgoodbye ♬ original sound - Stephanie Atkinson Shively

Needless to say, viewers were struck by the sweet moment.

“There needs to be a category on this app for videos that are guaranteed to make you cry cuz dammit I’m tired of randomly balling my eyes out!” one person wrote.

Another added, “It’s not good bye, it’s see you later. I imagine when we pass, it’ll be like going home. And never again will we have to be separated from the ones we love.”

Shively shared several other moments from the journeys, including some pictures of the sisters when they were younger. But the ‘last tearjerker’ showed grandma Barbara waving goodbye as she made her way back home.

There’s a bit of comic relief in this one, as Barbara yells “until we meet again!” and gets “WHAT?!” from Shirley, having to repeat herself a few times.

Watch:

@stephanieatkinson #sistersforever #notgoodbye #sisterlylove ♬ original sound - Stephanie Atkinson Shively

All in all, just a beautiful, heartwarming reminder to savor our lives, and all the loved ones in it.

Now go hug someone.


This article originally appeared on 9.16.23