By: Staff Writer Gelsey Plaza
“Only the bold swim in the cold.” The annual New Year’s Alcatraz Swim took place January 1 in the 53 degree water of the San Francisco Bay. Men and women participated in this start to the new year of 2015 by swimming 1.4 miles to shore. The swim started at 7:30 AM in an outside temperature of 40 degrees. The currents, rather than the cold, were large obstacles for these swimmers. The choppy bay pushed the many swimmers east towards the Bay Bridge, causing more of a two mile swim to shore. A tradition since the 1960s, San Francisco Bay’s frigid waters in the winter still do not turn steadfast swimmers away from entering the New Year with a cool, fresh start.
The Hubble Space Telescope revisited the “Pillars of Creation” this month in preparation for its upcoming 25th anniversary in April. NASA describes this phenomenon as “three giant columns of cold gas bathed in the scorching ultraviolet light from a cluster of young, massive stars in a small region of the Eagle Nebula, or M16.” The Hubble, which initially took photos of these pillars in 1995, returned to the nebulous star-forming region of M16 this month to capture a stunning new image. In 1995, NASA connected the pillars with star formation. Now, with higher definition tools, the new image hints that these columns of gas and dust are also “pillars of destruction.”
Royal Dutch Shell, a multinational oil and gas company, has agreed to give $84 million to residents of the Bodo community in the Niger Delta. This local fishing community in Nigeria had experienced severe oil spills, which increased the price of fish, a staple food, by almost ten times. The spills disturbed thousands of mangrove hectares in south Nigeria, creating devastating environmental damage. Each of the fishermen will receive $3,300 for the losses, and the leftover $30 million will go to the community. The law firm representing the Nigerian fishermen and their community describes Shell’s deal as one of the largest payouts to a whole community after an environmental catastrophe.
“Foodini,” a 3D printer, uses edible ingredients that are squeezed out of stainless steel capsules to create food. A company called Natural Machines introduced this miniature food manufacturing plant. The size of a small oven, this newfound contraption is capable of producing a wide range of dishes, from sweet desserts such as chocolate cake, to savory meals, such as ravioli and pizza. The company assures the food will be free of preservatives. It is currently working on preparing pre-packaged plastic capsules that can be loaded into the machine and make food. Although many people are apprehensive about the idea of eating printed food, Natural Machines has high hopes of mass production in the second half of 2015.