Animal cafes where you can enjoy a hot cup of coffee and pet cute animals like cats, dogs or even sheep have been springing up all over the world, but Amix Coffee is the only cafe in the world where you can relax as dozens of decorative fish swim at your feet.
Located in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, Amix Coffee features two flooded floors filled with hundreds of fish both small and large. They are both insulated with two layers of plastic tarp and furniture legs are wrapped in cotton to minimize friction and prevent damage to the tarp. Each floor covers an area of 20 square meters and the water level is up to 25 centimeters deep. In order to gain access to these man-made ponds full of colorful fish, visitors are required to take off their shoes and clean their feet. They can then enjoy a wide range of refreshments and snacks as Japanese carp and other small fish swim at their feet.
Amix Coffee is the brainchild of 23-year-old Nguyen Duoc Hoa, who wanted to take the concept of animal cafes to a whole new level. However, making her idea a reality wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. Flooding the first and second floor of the Amix Coffee building with around 10,000 liters of water and keeping it clean at all times proved challenging, but he eventually came up with viable solutions.
The cafe uses a triple filtration system to keep the water crystal clear at all times, and pumps that change between a quarter and half of the water on each floor to maintain optimum conditions for the fish. However, preventing patrons from stressing the fish too much has proved much more difficult.
Hoa told Spanish news agency EFE that families with small children make up an important part of the clientele, and while most of them don’t cause problems, some parents let their kids run after the fish, which isn’t allowed.
“Most families don’t cause any problems, but there have been some naughty children who try to catch the fish, and their parents don’t say anything. We have had to invite them to leave”, Hoa said.
The first floor of Amix Coffee is home to small decorative fish, while the second one features large Japanese carp weighing around 300 grams each. The young owner told Saigoneer that in the future he plans to buy more Japanese carp to replace the smaller species because they are more prone to death due to shock.
While feedback to Ho Chi Minh’s flooded cafes has been generally positive, it has received its share of criticism as well. Some people believe that subjecting the fish to unnecessary stress and having them live in unsanitary conditions for the sole purpose of providing entertainment to visitors is an abhorrent crime.
The title of the painting is the Republican Club.
I took a road trip to the western edge of the Red River Valley in Manitoba. The two major communities in the area are Winkler and Morden.
There are still some ripe corn fields standing.
Cool old house in Morden.
An aerospace executive in China has announced plans to launch a satellite which would serve as an artificial moon designed to illuminate a city at night. The unorthodox idea was reportedly revealed by Wu Chunfeng, who heads one of the main contractors for the Chinese space agency, at a conference last week. According to him, the faux moon will hover over the city of Chengdu emitting a “dusk-like glow” which would eliminate the need for street lights.
The illumination from the satellite, he said, will be adjustable and could cover an area of land ranging from five to fifty miles in diameter. While the idea may sound fanciful to some, Chungfeng appears to be quite serious about the endeavor, explaining that the concept has been tested extensively for the last few years and now looks to be almost fully feasible. With that in mind, the executive is eying a 2020 launch for the fake moon.
Lest one have concerns about how the illumination will impact wildlife in the area, an aerospace professor was quick to assure Chinese media that it will not be a problem thanks to its similarity in intensity to twilight. Be that as it may, whether the residents of Chengdu want another moon is another matter altogether. Alas, they probably won’t have much of a say in the decision, so hopefully they won’t mind living under the light of a fake moon.
The late physicist and author Prof Stephen Hawking has caused controversy by suggesting a new race of superhumans could develop from wealthy people choosing to edit their and their children’s DNA.
Hawking, the author of A Brief History of Time, who died in March, made the predictions in a collection of articles and essays.
The scientist presented the possibility that genetic engineering could create a new species of superhuman that could destroy the rest of humanity. The essays, published in the Sunday Times, were written in preparation for a book that will be published on Tuesday.
“I am sure that during this century, people will discover how to modify both intelligence and instincts such as aggression,” he wrote.
“Laws will probably be passed against genetic engineering with humans. But some people won’t be able to resist the temptation to improve human characteristics, such as memory, resistance to disease and length of life.”
In Brief Answers to the Big Questions, Hawking’s final thoughts on the universe, the physicist suggested wealthy people would soon be able to choose to edit genetic makeup to create superhumans with enhanced memory, disease resistance, intelligence and longevity.
Hawking raised the prospect that breakthroughs in genetics will make it attractive for people to try to improve themselves, with implications for “unimproved humans”.
“Once such superhumans appear, there will be significant political problems with unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete,” he wrote. “Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant. Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving at an ever-increasing rate.”
The comments refer to techniques such as Crispr-Cas9, a DNA-editing system that was invented six years ago, allowing scientists to modify harmful genes or add new ones. Great Ormond Street hospital for children in London has used gene editing to treat children with an otherwise incurable form of leukaemia.
What is Crispr?
Crispr, or to give it its full name, Crispr-Cas9, allows scientists to precisely target and edit pieces of the genome. Crispr is a guide molecule made of RNA, that allows a specific site of interest on the DNA double helix to be targeted. The RNA molecule is attached to Cas9, a bacterial enzyme that works as a pair of “molecular scissors” to cut the DNA at the exact point required. This allows scientists to cut, paste and delete single letters of genetic code.
However, questions have been raised about whether parents would risk using such techniques for fear that the enhancements would have side-effects.
The astronomer Lord Rees, who was a friend of Hawking at Cambridge University but often disagreed with his peer, noted a sperm bank in California offering only “elite” sperm, including from Nobel prize winners, had closed due to lack of demand.