Northern Division
JOHN'S BLOG
Pillar Initiatives Lead By A New Team

With the ‘changing of the guard’ at the Grand Installation management of the pillar initiatives has been reorganised under one national operational advisory team otherwise known as NOAT. The team will consist of a chairman, three Divisional Pillar Coordinators each representing a Division, the Chair of the National Education Committee Dr George Allan and the new Grand Almoner Bob Monson. 

I have the privilege of taking on the chair role and ensuring the NOAT fulfils its brief of identifying the resources required, then developing and undertaking the necessary projects to create them, followed by coordinating the roll out of such resources to the Lodges through the Divisions and Districts.

Much work has been achieved during the last three years since the current Strategic plan and the seven pillars of Leadership, Education, Membership, Charity, Community Engagement, Communication, and Organisational Development were launched. But there is still much to do. While we have an excellent foundation of resources and initiatives, and more in the pipeline, they are of little use unless Lodges are actually using then and making the changes critical in meeting the needs /desires of brethren and growing the Lodge.

Ensuring implementation of the tools and recourses is a critical aspect of NOAT’s work-plan – how do the brethren at Divisional and National level best assist you and the brethren in your Lodge to achieve?

If you have views on this, membership or any idea that will benefit Freemasonry in New Zealand please don’t hesitate to email me on mem.chair@freemasons.co.nz. No one brother, including me, has a monopoly on best practice and it is critical we share ideas and potential resources with one another. I look forward to hearing from you.

Fraternal regards

Warwick Bell, NOAT Chair




What Is Your Lodge's Point of Difference In Attracting Members?

Freemasonry as an organization espouses as its reasons for existence three key themes of brotherly love, relief and truth; or better explained as fellowship among men (expanded to include families and spouses / partners); charity / benevolence; and education / self-development.

Just as each company / business needs a point of difference to differentiate itself from its competitors, membership organisations do as well. i.e. other similar community organisations such as Rotary espouse one or possibly two of the above themes, but only Freemasonry does all three.

But are these themes a sufficient point of difference for a lodge in your community? Furthermore what differentiates your lodge from any other neighbouring lodge?

In answering these questions every lodge should take time in their planning to identify what makes your lodge unique. For example is your lodge one:

Having established the identity take time to discuss and plan how to build on and express this identity. Progress the actions arising and the lodge will significantly enhance its activities including fellowship




When Our Wives and Partners Get Together

An important aspect of Freemasons fellowship is the various occasions when our wives and partners attend activities associated with the Lodge.

Our Grand Masters wife Mrs Diana Litton during the last two and half years has probably attended more of such functions than any other woman associated with our fraternity. Earlier this year when sitting with Diana at dinner after one of the Divisional conferences we discussed her experiences, those that were enjoyable and those that were not, particularly when the ladies meet together. Subsequently we have collaborated, along with several other Freemasons wives on the ‘tool’ in the Freemasons Toolbox called ‘Enhancing Activities When Lodge Ladies Meet’.

This ‘tool’ is essential reading for every Freemason, particularly those organising social activities. We owe it to our wives and partners, indeed our whole fraternity, to ensure that every wife, partner (and other family members) have nothing but a positive experience in sharing that aspect we all value so highly: fellowship.

The tool is also worthwhile reading for any wife or partner involved in organising such activities.

Take a look at the tool now at http://bit.ly/28QOjJC and share with others in your Lodge, particularly the Master, JW and other brethren and ladies involved in arranging social activities. 




Take the Initiative and Follow Through

It’s time for all Lodges and individuals to show initiative and follow through on their actions to build a stronger future for Freemasonry  - this was recently stressed by my counterpart in Victoria Australia, Bro Bruce Stockdale, Membership manager. Taking the initiative is not waiting for someone else to do it. Individuals, Lodges and Districts need to take the lead to recruit, retain, re-engage and reactivate members, whether it be in Victoria or New Zealand.

There are plenty examples of Brethren and Lodges where initiative has been taken and the results on membership are happening.

One of the best and most interesting case studies to highlight in our Division is Lodge Zetland in Wellington.  Zetland have a unique Shetland Island background and tradition around the ‘hardy Norsemen’. That is a good start because they have a ‘point of difference’ but it is not enough on its own to enable lodge survival.  

Being forced to shift when as a tenant the building was sold they relocated across the city to another old and tired lodge facility. Their membership was dropping and it was a struggle – they made the decision to meet every two months (master elected for two years) and use the mid-month for a social function. It worked for a couple of Master’s terms.  A good holding pattern but not going anywhere. 

Very importantly the Lodge identified two key initiatives which they acted on:

  1. Shift to attractive premises in the city to attract a better quality of candidate keen to meet in the city and not outside it;
  2. Recruit 4 or 5 keen brethren from other Lodges to assist them on that journey.

They now have a number of new members and good number of visitors. More importantly they presently have six candidates in waiting. It is working – Lodge Zetland are showing it is possible to re-invigorate a Lodge.  




Membership Matters - Particularly Fellowship

Enhancing fellowship should be the continual focus of all lodges and brethren. By fellowship we mean not just the social activities, either in refectory or outside occasions, but most importantly that sense of brotherhood, friendship and caring for each other that we all value.

Research initiated by Freemasons in Victoria, Australia in the last 12 months indicates that as Freemasons we proportion the value of fellowship at 70% compared to ceremonial, education and charity activities at 10% each.  That is such a significant margin that it definitely indicates where we should be putting our focus. Accordingly it is critical that every lodge for its success recognises the importance of fellowship and provide the opportunities for all members to share and care with and for one another. This research shows that ‘Lodge’ is not just about attending the regular meeting and an associated ceremony – it’s far more than that. It’s about a regular and varied programme of social activities; it’s about fun and stimulating refectory; it’s about fostering internal benevolence; it’s about great mentoring; it’s about involving spouses and partners in an appropriate manner, and so much more.

The Pillars team have now provided many tools in the Freemasons On-Line Toolbox to provide lodges and brethren resources on a vast range of topics. In particular there are numerous tools which have a fellowship theme, so many that shortly we will publish a new booklet on ‘Enhancing Fellowship In Your Lodge – 25 Tools For Success’. Keep an eye out for this publication and ensure the brethren in your lodge get copies.  Particularly keep watch for the soon to be released tool, included in the booklet, on ‘Enhancing Activities When Ladies Meet’.




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JOHN'S BLOG

 

UPDATED: 4th February 2017

THIS IS THE LINK TO GO TO BLOG ARCHIVE

I hope all readers of this blog and food for Thought pages have had a happy and enjoyable holiday season.

I have updated the Masonic blog items on the above date. Food for Thought pages will follow in a few days.

This update has new links in the following sections

 

The items uploaded will have a heading in coloured text

BLACK headings indicate latest items

GREY headings are previous month's items

BLUE headings indicate New Zealand material uploaded

RED headings are Christmas time items

However, all things are in a state of continual evolution, and "Practice makes perfect", though in my case it may just be "better".

 

9 PDF FILES OF BLOG ARCHIVE LINKS WILL BE ON LINE AT NEXT UPDATE

The blog archive pages established on the Food for Thought pages now links to nine PDF files. These are condensed lists of the Blogs with direct links to the page items. They go from 2014 to the current day, and they will continue to be added after one or two Blog Updates.

The link to the Blog Archive page is at the bottom of the first page of Food for Thought which features the index, and to the right of the date above.

 




FREEMASONRY IN GENERAL

GL Arkansas Lawsuit Dismissed

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Alabama Lodge Breaks State's Masonic Color Barrier

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Grand Lodge of Alabama Drops Progressive Line

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Alabama Governor, Grand Lodge under Scrutiny

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French Grand Lodge withdraws amity with the Grand Lodges of both Georgia and Tennessee.

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GL of Florida Restores Relations With GL of Cuba: GM Visits

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Historic Occasion Between Two Texas Grand Lodges

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RECOGNITION OF GRAND LODGE OF ARKANSAS – A PROBLEM FOR OUR GRAND LODGE?

A quick look through many of the entries of news on the Grand Lodge of Arkansas provides thought to whether they can continue to be recognised by other Grand Lodges including our own Grand Lodge. These reports point to behaviour contrary to that dictated by our own Book of Constitution. I list some of the links I have found that may prove of assistance in Wellington's deliberations on the matter. The latest news includes the formation of a new Grand Lodge to follow the principles of international Freemasonry. (Click on title to follow link)

(2006)

Masonic Groups in South Struggle With Racial Separation

(2010 Feb)

Arkansas Grand Lodge forbids Masons buying state Masonic license plates

(2010 March)

Grand Lodge of Arkansas pulls charter of lodge for publicizing edict banning purchase of Masonic license plates because of Black 'Prince Hall' Freemasonry involvement

(2010)

Unjustly Accused

(2010 Dec)

More news from Arkansas

(2012)

U.M.S.O.I.

(2012 November)

Grand Lodge of Arkansas Bans the Shrine (Again)

(28/8/2016)

The Grand Lodge of Arkansas Grand Master suspends former Deputy Grand Master for 25 years and a Past Grand Master for 30 years!

(2016 August)
In a flurry of executive leadership activity over the past week, the Grand Lodge of Arkansas has suspended or expelled every member of the Grand Lodge with the exception of Stella Campbell, the Grand Lodge receptionist.

(2016 Blog)
Ok, what in blazes is going on with the Grand Lodge of Arkansa

(2016 September)

More Antics out of Arkansas

(2016 September)

Arkansas Floggings Continue Yet Morale Doesn't Improve

(2016 October 31)

New Grand Lodge formed in Arkansas

(2016 November)

Oklahoma Edict on Arkansas Lapses: Amity Restored

(2016 December)

Arkansas's Holiday Surprises

(2017 January 24)
GL Arkansas Lawsuit Dismissed

(2017 February 7)

GL OF Arkansas announces travel ban on Foreign Jurisdictions
 

 



Ask Geoffrey: The History of Freemasonry in Chicago

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Managing the Future of Freemasonry – An Interview with Dr David West

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Postmodern vs. Masonic Ethics- If It’s Not Illegal, Unethical or Immoral Just Do It!

Read more




FREEMASONRY MEMBERSHIP

I wasn't expecting the Spanish inquisition

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Older freemasons told to smile and stop criticising in bid to attract millennials

 

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Freemasons initiate new member

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Barry McLaggan

Obituary in Sunday Star times - The man and his community Community

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MASONIC LODGES

A Tale of a Temple

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Piece of Freemason history returned to South Tyneside masonic lodge

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Masonic march celebrates 300th anniversary

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Masonic Hall restored

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100 Years of Freemasonry

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Third Degree On The Blue Ghost

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Freemasons establish Spinnaker Lodge – the UK’s first boating lodge

Read more


Clever Kiwi conversion: Masonic Lodge becomes an arty retreat

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Black Member Tests Message of Masons in Georgia Lodges

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MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Virginia Settles With Shriners

Read more


 

Grand Lodge Of Massachusetts
Recognizes Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Of Texas
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UGLE Masonic Festival Jewels
Around the mid 1800s, the United Grand Lodge of England decided to instigate Festival Stewards Jewels for the three main Masonic Charities.
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Thai Freemason News & Events
Widows - Hamish Fletcher of the NZ Herald provides an interesting story.
Read more





MASONIC ACTION

Brother to Speak on Freemasonry in the Modern Middle East
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Building Hiram
another in a series of Catechism Primer formats that Nagy has published for increasing Light in Freemasons.
Read more


Promoting Morality
The question is, are we doing enough to promote morality in this country?
Read more


Plan for Make a Difference Month
This October, lodges and Masonic youth orders will work side by side on service projects for their communities. With just two months to go, here’s how to prepare for an impactful Make a Difference Month event.
Read more


Freemasons: Your questions answered
An Excellent 2012 news item of Nigel Brown answering readers' questions about being a Freemason
Read more


Public tour set to demystify Salt Lake City’s Masonic Temple

For anyone who has driven by Salt Lake City's Masonic Temple and wondered what's behind the majestic stone staircase, towering columns and mysterious sphinx statues, the annual public tour Saturday should satisfy your curiosity.

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MASONIC FUNDRAISING & BENEVOLENCE

Lifelites raffling the ultimate library of 100 signed books to raise money for children in hospices

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Leicestershire and Rutland Freemasons visit Lifelites headquarters

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The philanthropy and tea empire of Freemason Sir Thomas Johnstone Lipton

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Giving a voice

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Time to share

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Life in motion - with a Wizzybug

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Masonic Lodge gives out free turkeys in area neighborhoods

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Urbana Masons donate $108,000 to senior-citizen programs

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Otago and Lakes District Freemasons help keep rescue helicopter in air

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Teddies for Loving Care

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Devon Air Ambulance presented with £4,000 by local Freemasons

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£500,000 to be donated to Cheshire charities to mark Freemasons tercentenary

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Devonshire Freemasons donation of £5,000 to MACMILLAN Cancer Support

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Shropshire Freemasons gave Midlands Air Ambulance £1,100,000 in 25 years.
Read more


Unveiling of Yorkshire Air Ambulance's new helicopter
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Grand Charity awards £100,000 to Cancer Genetics team
Read more





MASONIC AND OTHER RELEVANT LITERATURE

I'M THE GUY

I'm the guy who asked to join your organization. I'm the guy who paid his dues to join.

I'm the guy who stood up in front of all of you and promised to be faithful and loyal.

I'm the guy who came to your meetings and no one paid any attention to. I tried several times to be friendly to some of the fellows, but they all had their own buddies they talk to and sat next to.

I sat down several times but no one paid any attention to me. I hoped very much that somebody would have asked me to take part in a fund raising project or something, but no one saw my efforts when I volunteered.

I missed a few meetings after joining because I was sick and couldn't be there. No one asked me at the next meeting where I had been. I guess it didn't matter very much to the others whether I was there or not. The next meeting I decided to stay home and watch TV. The following meeting I attended, no one asked me where I was when the last meeting was held.

You might say I'm a good guy, a good family man who holds a responsible job, loves his community, and his country.

You know who else I am? I'm the guy who never came back!

It amuses me when I think back on how the heads of the organization and the members were discussing why the organization was losing members.

It amuses me now to think that they spent so much time looking for new members when I was there all the time.

All they needed to do was make me feel needed, wanted and welcome!

SOURCE: unknown


THE CLOCK OF LIFE

The clock of life is wound but once

And no man has the power

To know just when the hands will stop

At late or early hour

Now is the only time you have

Live, love and toil with a will

Put no faith in tomorrow

For the clock may then be still


 




MASONIC EDUCATION

Living Stones Magazine available to all

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Lore of the Ring - 33rd degree ring

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The title deeds of the Craft

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Apron Styles

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Albert Pike's Immortal Lessons

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The Lost History of the Freemasons

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The Symbolic Lodge

A collective term for the first three degrees of Craft (or blue Lodge)

Read more


The prince and the fugitive

How did an escaped prisoner become a close associate of the Grand Master

Read more


Did the Templars Hide the Ark of the Covenant?

Read more





HIDDEN MYSTERIES OF NATURE AND SCIENCE

 

HISTORICAL

 

The Great Wall of India: 80km (diwaal) is an ancient mystery no one knew about

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ASU scientist finds advanced geometry no secret to prehistoric architects in US Southwest

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Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich

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Archaeologists discover man whose tongue was replaced by a stone

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Treasures from 2,600-year-old grave of Celtic princess in Germany reveal their secrets

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The ancient Indus civilization's adaptation to climate change

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Anthropologists uncover art by (really) old master's 38,000 year-old engravings

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James Cameron links find of bronze-age anchors to lost city of Atlantis

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Ancient Mayan Superhighways Found in the Guatemala Jungle

Read morel


Humans May Have Arrived in North America 10,000 Years Earlier Than We Thought

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How King Arthur became one of the most pervasive legends of all time

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Egypt unearths 7,000-year-old lost city

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Steep commute gave ancient Egyptian workers osteoarthritis

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Does This Ancient Egyptian Dish Demolish Everything We Know about the Origins of Greek Astronomy?

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New discoveries that rewrite Stonehenge landscape

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How to climb the social ladder in ancient Rome

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Australia’s oldest ornament found in kimberley region

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Glassmaking may have begun in Egypt, not Mesopotamia

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Clay figurine is Bronze Age ancestor of Rodin’s ‘Thinker’

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Stunning medieval murals painted over by Shakespeare's father on the orders of Henry VIII are revealed for the first time in 450 years

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Rice farming in India much older than thought

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A Baby Was Buried Upon aSwan's Wing in Denmark 6000 Years Ago

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Archeologists Have a Huge New Stonehenge to Figure Out

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The Great Salt Lake Enigma: Science Shows Anomalies – Evidence of a Global Flood?

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Ancient Royal Boat Tomb Uncovered in Egypt

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HIDDEN MYSTERIES Continued

DISCOVERY TODAY

Researchers confirm the existence of a 'lost continent' under Mauritius

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Save The Monkeys, Save The Trees, Sell The Chocolate

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Some Scientists Say the Only Way to Save Species May be to Privatize Them

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Priceless Ancient Seed Bank Saved from Destruction in Syria

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Groundbreaking system allows locked-in syndrome patients to communicate

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Scientists Are Reversing the Symptoms of Alzheimer's

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Pictures Reveal One of the Last Unexplored Places on Earth

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Cost of electricity from offshore windfarms drops by a third in just four years

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Gene editing has saved the lives of two children with leukaemia

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Plants smell different when attacked by exotic herbivores

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Too much sitting, too little exercise may accelerate biological aging

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Why the Earth's magnetic poles could be about to swap places and how it would affect us

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Scientists discover even wasps make trade deals

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Animals are way smarter than we give them credit for

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Horses Aren't Shy When Asking Humans For Help

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The Mind of an Octopus (and they are smart, Ed.)

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Firms push hydrogen as top green energy source

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Ancient Andes glaciers have lost half their ice in just 40 years

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Climate change could push risk of ‘megadrought’ to 99% in American southwest

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First farm to grow veg in a desert using only sun and seawater

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Grow veggies, not grass, to cut greenhouse gas

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Planet at its hottest in 115,000 years thanks to climate change, experts say

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Acidity in atmosphere minimised to preindustrial levels

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Colonizing the moon? Frequent meteor impacts may get in the way

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Is our world a simulation? Why some scientists say it's more likely than not

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