Photo:UGA CAES Earthworms eat and convert sludge into a more environmentally safe product. Earthworms have a healthy appetite. If you get enough of themtogether and don’t disturb them, scientists say they can safely,quietly dispose of many forms of waste.Vermiculture is a composting system that uses worms to processorganic waste, said Sid Thompson, a professor of engineering withthe University of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.The process could be a viable alternative, he said, for currentwaste-management practices that continue to grow more expensiveand impractical as the world’s population expands.Goes in Bad, Comes Out Good The earthworms don’t have to be trained for vermiculture or doanything unusual. They just do what comes naturally: eat. As theworms eat organic materials, such as sludge from wastewater treatmentplants, they excrete it as castings. Worm castings, which look much like freeze-dried coffee crystals,make good fertilizer for plants. They also improve the waterand nutrient-holding capacity of the soil. “Castings are more microbially active,” Thompson said.”The nutrients are more available to plants.”The worms get rid of the harmful waste and in return provide amuch nicer product that’s not as smelly. Not only are the castingseasy on the environment, they can catch a good price as well.Castings are advertised on the Internet for as much as $4.25 perpound.Cities around the world are looking to vermiculture to combatwaste problems, Thompson said. Vermiculture in India, one of themost heavily populated places in the world, gets rid of as muchas 30 tons of waste a day.Thompson said vermiculture could work for Georgia, too. To beviable on a large scale, though, it must be proven economicallyfeasible.Worms take to sludge like mice to cheese. In fact, one worm caneat its weight in sludge every day. One pound of worms can eatand process one pound of sludge.However, a large land area would be needed for the worms to processlarge amounts of sludge, said Jason Governo, a graduate studentworking closely with Thompson’s research.A Pound of Worms Can Tell You More Most vermiculture research uses only one or two worms in smalllaboratory settings. Thompson and Governo are using pounds ofworms in their research.Their studies show that only 3 to 4 inches of sludge can be placedonto the worms at any one time, Governo said. With such a thinlayer, it would take too much land and wouldn’t be economicallyfeasible for Georgia.But Thompson said the land problem could be solved simply. Heproposes placing the sludge and the worms in trays and then stackingthose trays in a tall structure. “There are ways this canbe done for waste in the state,” he said.Thompson said worms can convert a range of organic material, aslong as the material is presented in an acceptable form.Georgia is one of the leading poultry producers in the world.It’s also one of the leading producers of manure from layer hens,the birds that lay eggs. Large quantities of this manure can strainthe environment.Worms, Thompson said, could convert layer manure into a more environmentallyacceptable product. However, the natural high salt and ammoniacontent found in layer manure dries up and kills the worms.Vermiculture could be the answer to the large volume of chickenlitter produced in Georgia, he said. Scientists just have to findthe right way to present it to the worms.
By Julieta Pelcastre / Diálogo January 23, 2020 In Nicaragua, the Catholic Church is one of the most critical voices of President Daniel Ortega’s actions, denouncing reprisals, murders, and human rights violations in the country.The Church’s remarks are a “major annoyance” to Ortega, who sees its members as his enemies for denouncing the truth, said to Diálogo Marcos Carmona, president of Nicaragua’s Permanent Commission on Human Rights.“Throughout 2019, the Nicaraguan president intensified harassment and violence against Catholic churches that sided with people who took to the streets to express their disagreement with the Sandinista regime’s authoritarian actions,” Carmona said.A group of masked people loyal to Daniel Ortega meet outside a Catholic church in Diriamba, Nicaragua, to intimidate mass attendees, July 9, 2019. (Photo: Carlos Herrera / AFP)Nicaraguan bishops served as mediators in meetings between the state and civil society to find a peaceful resolution to the sociopolitical crisis the nation has been going through for two years. Talks were suspended in the spring of 2018, after security forces’ repression against the population escalated and public protests were criminalized.Ortega blamed the Catholic clergy of being “pro-coup” for supporting injured protesters during the 2018 protests, according to Nicaraguan state media El 19 Digital. The government onslaught against the religious institution includes priests, nuns, and parishioners. Edwin Román, a priest at the Saint Michael Church in Masaya, told the press that the wave of violence the Church experiences surpasses the attacks it faced in the 1980s, during the civil war.Ramón Alcides Peña, a pastor at the church in the municipality of Jícaro, was detained for 12 hours on December 7, charged with disrupting public order. The priest said on social media that he was celebrating mass as usual.In November, followers of the Sandinista regime entered the Metropolitan Cathedral in Managua and attacked a priest and a nun. The same month, in Masaya, they attacked parishioners of the San Bautista parish, while police surrounded the Saint Michael the Archangel Church to prevent displays of solidarity with the priest Román and a group of mothers who went on a hunger strike for nine days to call for the release of their children, detained for demanding the end of the regime.Ortega himself threatened the opposition. “The people will feel within their rights, with the obligation, to seek arms to take power through revolutionary means,” he said in November before the Political Councils’ assembly of the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA, in Spanish).“I feel that it’s a real possibility. The more the doors for a peaceful road close, the wider they open for an armed one,” said Rafael Solís Cerda to French radio RFI. Solís was a guerrilla fighter with Ortega and a judge at Nicaragua’s Supreme Court for 19 years, until his resignation in February 2019.
It only took two-and-a-half minutes of brilliance for the Wisconsin men’s soccer team (9-4-2, 3-1-1 Big Ten) to score a pair of second-half goals in its 2-0 defeat over Penn State (4-8-2, 2-2-0) Sunday. With a goal by freshman Scott Lorenz in the 61st minute and a second strike by sophomore Victor Diaz in the 63rd, the Badgers moved one conference victory closer to claiming the 2006 Big Ten title.After the match, Wisconsin head coach Jeff Rohrman attributed the win to hard work, good ball movement and strong field vision.”When we’re moving the ball and moving off of the ball and seeing things quickly and playing quickly — there are a lot of good things that can happen with our team,” Rohrman said. “I thought [Sunday] we did a good job of that. I think it was obviously a tremendous win, and I was really pleased with the effort and the performance today.”After a scoreless first half, the Nittany Lions produced some dangerous opportunities in the first 15 minutes of the second half — including a chance from six yards out that was bounced off the crossbar. However, it was the Badgers who got on the scoreboard first, following some tactical passing that would make the Dutch national team jealous.In the 61st minute, sophomore Zack Lambo sent a through ball in the direction of Diaz near the center of the field. Rather than play the ball, Diaz ducked and allowed the ball to go through — right into the run of freshman Andy Miller. Miller carried the ball into the 18-yard-box and surgically split a pair of Penn State defenders with a pinpoint pass to a wide-open Lorenz. With the ball near the penalty spot, Lorenz took a touch and then slotted it into the lower right corner of the net to give Wisconsin the all-important lead.In his first career start as a Badger, Lorenz definitely made his match memorable with the game-winning goal in such a crucial conference showdown. After the match, Lorenz expressed his excitement with the opportunity and his overall performance.”[Coach] told me yesterday that I would be starting, so I was pretty excited all of yesterday and then this morning,” Lorenz said. “I just wanted to come out and play my game — not really do anything different, just try not to do too much. Luckily, I got a gift-wrapped goal. I had plenty of time and was able to take a touch on it. … It just felt really good to get [that goal].”Just two minutes after Lorenz’s memorable strike, Diaz continued his cheeky play with a goal of his own. After receiving a pass from senior defender Aaron Hohlbein, Diaz juked his way past three defenders before slipping it past a desperate Nittany Lion goalkeeper. Although the keeper got a hand on the shot, it wasn’t enough to stop it from rolling into the back of the net for Diaz’s team-leading fourth goal of the season.In the defensive third, for the sixth time in the past seven matches, the Badger defense produced yet another shutout. Rohrman praised senior goalkeeper Jake Settle and his back line for the accomplishment. “I thought [the defense] was very good,” Rohrman said. “Positionally, we were smart. We were in the right places at the right times, and we were very alert and aware of where we needed to be. We also had a good understanding of when to play out and when not to play out. I thought the coordination between Jake [Settle] and our backs was very good in terms of dealing with some of the longer balls that [Penn State] was playing.”After Sunday’s important victory, the Badgers are now only one conference victory away from bagging the 2006 Big Ten hardware. The only team standing in their way is No. 9 Indiana (10-3-2, 3-0-1). Although Wisconsin must first handle Northern Illinois and UW-Green Bay before traveling to the Hoosier State, Rohrman and his club certainly have the Big Ten title on their minds. “We’re going to Indiana with a chance to win it,” Rohrman announced emphatically. “We posed that to our boys before the [Penn State] game, and certainly they responded.”