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Nature Travel

7 Teacups Waterfall at Patagonia, Chile

Talk about a dream place to visit.

Siete Tazas, or The Seven Teacups, is located 125 miles from Santiago, Chile. These natural rock pools stack on top of each other to create a sequence of beautiful waterfalls before emptying out into River Claro.

According to travel site BookMundi, visitors can do more than just stare in awe at the amazing waterfall. They can kayak, go rafting, or stand-up paddleboard all the way.

But for the extreme sports enthusiast, consider wakeboarding via drone. This is how pro wakeboarder Steel Lafferty made his way down the 7 freshwater basins.

Add the 7 Teacups Waterfall at Patagonia, Chile to your travel list along with the stunning rainbow waterfall at Yosemite National Park.

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Nature Science

Researchers are developing a new vaccine to treat Lyme Disease

Scientists are developing a vaccine to help treat Lyme disease.

Humans can get Lyme disease through the transmission of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium from the bite of an infected tick.

Called VLA15, the vaccine works by stimulating the immune system to make antibodies that ward off 6 of the most common types of Lyme-causing bacteria in the tick’s gut.

Valneva, the biotech company in France developing the vaccine, is currently in phase II of testing. Writes the Scientific American:

The Food and Drug Administration gave VLA15 fast-track designation in July 2017. Valneva completed initial safety studies in a Phase 2 clinical trial and, according to a company press release , VLA15 “had no associated safety concerns.” The company is now working to determine the dose. Based on current estimates, Lingelbach said Valneva plans to test the vaccine in a clinical trial of at least 15,000 people, and it should be available in four or five years.

There is a second immunity being developed to prevent Lyme disease as well.

Called Lyme pre-exposure prophylaxis (Lyme PrEP), it works by sending a single antibody as a vaccine and is known to have fewer side effects than the VLA15.

The new vaccines build off the original Lyme disease vaccine called LYMErix developed twenty years ago. But production stopped due to fears of the side effects.

Unlike other viruses, Lyme disease is hard to treat since it pervades the body’s tissue in addition to the blood. Joint pain, heart palpitations, muscle weakness, and confusion are some of the symptoms of Lyme disease.

In a worst-case scenario, the bacteria can even dominate the entire central nervous system, producing disastrous effects on the human body.

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Nature

Rainbow Waterfall at Yosemite National Park

Said the “Father of the National Parks“ of America’s national parks John Muir, “Most people are on the world, not in it.” His advocacy helped protect the Yosemite Valley and ultimately led to the establishment of Yosemite National Park.

The video of the rainbow waterfall by landscape photographer Greg Harlow at Yosemite is just one of the many wonders in the 747,956 acres park. Yosemite also played host to the recent documentary entitled Free Solo which filmed the super sensation seeker Alex Honnold climb El Capitan, the vertical granite rock formation located at Yosemite National Park.

PS. If you’re interested in learning the art of adventure photography and film, consider taking National Geographic photographer and the producer of Free Solo, Jimmy Chin’s course teaching adventure photography course on MasterClass. 

Categories
Animals Nature

The African Dung Beetle navigates Earth using the stars

Not sure what’s more amazing about the African dung beetle, one that it rolls immaculate balls out of other animals dung or that it navigates the Earth via the Milky Way.

“These clever insects use the polarized light of the moon to navigate in a straight line,” writes Popular Mechanics. “Their eyes cannot see individual stars but a group of stars together, like the Milky Way, is dense enough to create a luminous line for them to follow.”

But entomologist and photographer Piotr (Peter) Naskrecki of the Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory at Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique believes the Kheper subaeneus beetles are more interesting for what they do for mother Earth. 

Few animals are as important to the African savanna ecosystem as the dung beetles and without their thankless toil the entire ecosystem would soon collapse, covered in a thick layer of waste. 

Piotr Naskrecki
Categories
Nature Travel

Would you climb Austria’s “Sky Ladder to Heaven”?

Austria’s 40-meter long “Sky Ladder,” or “Ladder to Heaven” connects a massive gorge on the way to the peak of Donnerkogel on the Gosaukamm mountain range.

Captured by adventure photographer Alexander Ladanivskyy, these insane panorama-ladder stairs lie 700 meters above the abyss.

“[The Sky Ladder] is a challenge for the mind, but from a climbing point of view, it is actually one of the easier parts of the climb,” said the bridge’s designer Heli Putz.

If you’re looking to make the trek yourself, blogger Jess Dales offers a first-hand experience of climbing the Sky Ladder. Word of caution: you’ll need some climbing experience.

The Sky Ladder portion of the route is located approximately 2/3 of the way up the via ferrata. Although the ladder is only rated a “B,” and is not considered difficult relative to other sections of the climb, the exposure is intense and should not be underestimated. In heavy winds, or when others are on the ladder, the movement can be quite unnerving. 

Jess Dales
Image via Alexander Ladanivskyy
Categories
Nature Science Travel

How Australia’s Lake Hillier gets its pink color

Lake Hillier in the Recherche Archipelago of Western Australia is known for its pink color.

The lake’s bubble-gum color continues to be debated but scientists indicate that the pink body of water is the result of the intermixing of Halobacteria and a salt-tolerant algae species called Dunaliella Salina.

The Halobacteria is known to produce red pigments which when mixed with salt-tolerant Dunaliella Salina, creates a stunning strawberry milkshake color.

Australia's Lake Hillier pink color
via twitter

Unlike other pink lakes that morph into colors, Lake Hillier retains its pink hue all year round. It’s also safe to swim in.

When viewed from above, the contrast between the pink and dark blue ocean is also striking. You can learn more here.