A woman became the third person ever to be cured of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, after she received a stem-cell transplant that used cells from umbilical cord blood, scientists reported Tuesday (Feb. 15).
The two other people cured of HIV, Timothy Brown and Adam Castillejo, both received bone marrow transplants from donors who carried a genetic mutation that blocks HIV infection, Live Science previously reported. These transplants contained adult hematopoietic stem cells, which are stem cells that develop into all types of blood cells, including white blood cells, a key component of the immune system.
The majestic Mount Etna is erupting so strongly in the Mediterranean that it’s catching the attention of the International Space Station crew.
Members of Expedition 66 currently in orbit shared some views of space of the highly active volcano, which has erupted dozens of times in the past year alone.
“@astro_luca’s home volcano #Etna is clearly smoking (and spitting lava as I learnt from the news) ,” wrote European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer on Saturday (Feb. 12), referring to fellow ESA spaceflyer Luca Parmitano, who is from Italy.
A newborn baby in the U.K. died last week of Lassa fever — an acute viral illness that is endemic in parts of West Africa. Because the disease doesn’t spread easily, however, the chances of a wider outbreak are low, health authorities said.
The infant was one of three confirmed cases of the virus in the U.K.; all of the infected were members of the same family, and they had recently traveled to West Africa, the BBC reported on Feb. 15.
If you’re feeling anxious or depressed because you can’t afford to fuel up your car or buy groceries, you aren’t alone. With the cost of living at an all-time high in the U.K., and individuals still reeling from pandemic lockdowns, who could blame you? Though you can’t change the economy, there are simple actions you can take to stay sane and even boost your mental health.
Dips in mental health for a variety of reasons have been stark across the globe. In Great Britain, 17% of adults reported experiencing depression in summer 2021, up from about 10% pre-pandemic. (In early 2021, the rate reached as high as 21%.) The U.S. has seen a similar disruption in mental health: According to statistics published in April 2021 in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the percentage of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety or depression in the U.S. rose from 36.5% to 41.5% between August 2020 and February 2021.
The origin of life on Earth began more than 3 billion years ago, evolving from the most basic of microbes into a dazzling array of complexity over time. But how did the first organisms on the only known home to life in the universe develop from the primordial soup?
Science remains undecided and conflicted as to the exact origin of life, also known as abiogenesis. Even the very definition of life is contested and rewritten, with one study published in the Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, suggesting uncovering 123 different published definitions.
Although science still seems unsure, here are some of the many different scientific theories on the origin of life on Earth.
Researchers have discovered an exceptionally rare, newly hatched “ghost shark” near New Zealand’s South Island, according to the country’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).
Translucent, gelatinous and crowned with a pair of giant black eyes on its pointed head, the alien-like baby likely belongs to one of the more than 50 known species of ghost sharks, also known as chimaeras, which live in deep water around the world. Though not exactly sharks, chimaeras are closely related to both sharks and rays, all of which are fish with skeletons made of cartilage instead of bone, according to NIWA.
Astronomers just found the largest galaxy ever discovered, and they have no idea how it got so big.
At 16.3 million light-years wide, the Alcyoneus galaxy has a diameter 160 times wider than the Milky Way and four times that of the previous title holder, IC 1101, which spans 3.9 million light-years, researchers reported in a new study. Named after one of the mythical giants who fought Hercules and whose name means “mighty ass” in Greek, Alcyoneus is roughly 3 billion light-years from Earth.
(Dark Energy Survey/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/P. Bernardinelli & G. Bernstein (UPenn)/DESI Legacy Imaging Surveys)
The Bernardinelli-Bernstein comet, identified in 2021, is officially the biggest comet ever observed.
The new record, reported on the preprint website arXiv and now accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics Letters, bumps the Hale-Bopp comet from the top spot. Hale-Bopp was discovered in 1995 and became visible to the naked eye in 1996; it was about 46 miles (74 kilometers) across. Bernardinelli-Bernstein, also known as comet 2014 UN271, has now been calculated to be about 85 miles (137 km) across.
The mysterious source of a globe-spanning tsunami that spread as far as 6,000 miles (10,000 kilometers) from its epicenter was an “invisible” earthquake, a new study has found.
In August 2021, an enormous tsunami rippled out into the North Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. It was the first time a tsunami had been recorded in three different oceans since the catastrophic 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake; at the time, scientists thought it was caused by a 7.5-magnitude earthquake detected near the South Sandwich Islands (a British Overseas Territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean).
Ebola can lurk in fluid-filled cavities in the brain and kill monkeys, even after the animals have been treated for the disease and seem to have recovered, a new study shows.
The study, conducted in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), hints at why some human Ebola survivors relapse and die months or years after recovering from their initial infections, The Scientist reported. Past studies of monkeys and humans suggested that the Ebola virus can lurk in various places in the body — including the testes, eyes and brain — and the new report may reveal where in the brain the virus persists.
With five eyes, a backward-facing mouth, and a long, claw-tipped trunk where its nose should be, Opabinia regalis is one of the strangest-looking celebrities of the Cambrian period. In fact, this ancient sea-dweller is so unique that scientists have never discovered another species in the fossil record that appears to fit into its alien-faced family.
A four-story-tall rogue wave that briefly reared up in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Canada in 2020 was the “most extreme” version of the freaky phenomenon ever recorded, scientists now say.
Rogue waves, also known as freak or killer waves, are massive waves that appear in the open ocean seemingly from nowhere.
The rogue wave was detected on Nov. 17, 2020, around 4.3 miles (7 kilometers) off the coast of Ucluelet on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, by an oceanic buoy belonging to Canadian-based research company MarineLabs. Now, in a new study published online Feb. 2 in the journal Scientific Reports, scientists have revealed that the Ucluelet wave was around 58 feet (17.6 meters) tall, making it around three times higher than surrounding waves. Rogue waves this much larger than surrounding swells are a “once in a millennium” occurrence, the researchers said in a statement.
In its 4.5 billion-year existence, Earth has been punched and gouged by hundreds of large asteroids that have slammed into its surface. At least 190 of these collisions have left colossal scars that are still visible today. But not every space rock that zips into our planet’s atmosphere makes it to the ground. So what does it take for an asteroid to make a dent on Earth, and which known impact events have left the biggest craters?
Most space rocks that barrel into Earth’s atmosphere aren’t giant at all. They’re very small — around 3 feet (1 meter) across, according to NASA. That’s good for Earthlings, as any space rock less than 82 feet (25 m) in diameter usually won’t make it past Earth’s atmosphere, NASA reported. The space rock’s super high speeds heat up the gases in the atmosphere, which burn away the space rock (which technically becomes a meteor once it meets the atmosphere) as it passes through. In most cases, any space rock remnant that makes it through the atmosphere will cause little or no damage if it reaches the ground.
This week, you can lunch with the Snow Moon, which will appear at its fullest at 11:57 a.m. EST (1657 GMT) on Wednesday, Feb. 16.
If you can’t make this lunar lunch date, the moon will still be a perfect companion for other outdoor activities, appearing full for three days, from Tuesday (Feb. 15) through Thursday night (Feb. 17), according to NASA.
Astronomers have finally seen the remnants of a dead planet as it tumbled onto the surface of a dead star — and in doing so, they confirmed decades of speculation about what happens to solar systems that reach the end of their lives.
These explosive observations — which were taken with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory — provide a preview of the violent future that may await Earth and its sun billions of years from now, the authors wrote in a study published Feb. 9 in the journal Nature.
The Wari leaders of a 1,200-year-old town now called Quilcapampa may have used their access to the psychoactive substance vilca to help keep their people loyal, a team of archaeologists says.
Recent excavations at the center of Quilcapampa, a site in southern Peru, revealed 16 vilca seeds alongside the remains of a drink made from fermented fruit that scientists refer to as “chicha de molle.” The archaeologists found the seeds and drink in an area of the site that contains buildings that were likely used for feasting, the team of researchers wrote in a paper published Jan. 12 in the journal Antiquity.
In 2017, a totally bizarre object zipped through the solar system. Nicknamed ‘Oumuamua, this interstellar traveler was too far away and too speedy to be identified. Years later, scientists are still puzzling over what it might have been.
It’s not too late to go see, according to a new research paper posted to the preprint website arXiv. By executing a complex maneuver around Jupiter, a spacecraft launched by 2028 could catch up with ‘Oumuamua in 26 years.
A powerful geomagnetic storm has doomed 40 Starlink satellites launched by SpaceX last week, the company has announced.
Elon Musk’s company launched a Falcon 9 rocket bearing the 49 satellites from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday (Feb. 3), but a geomagnetic storm that struck a day later sent the satellites plummeting back toward Earth, where they will burn up in the atmosphere.
(Woodruff et al. (2022)/Artwork by Corbin Rainbolt)
Hacking coughs, uncontrollable sneezing, high fevers and pounding headaches can make anyone miserable — even a dinosaur.
Recently, researchers identified the first evidence of respiratory illness in a long-necked, herbivorous type of dinosaur known as a sauropod, which lived about 150 million years ago during the Jurassic period (201.3 million to 145 million years ago) in what is now Montana.
(Ryo Taniguchi, et al. The Science of Nature. September 28, 2021)
Today’s cockroaches are nocturnal creepy crawlers that scatter when you turn on the light. But their ancient relatives were likely the polar opposite, according to the discovery of an immaculately preserved, big-eyed cockroach trapped in amber.
Its huge peepers likely helped it forage during the day, when the sun was blazing overhead.
On an underwater mountain in the Arctic Ocean lives a community of sponges with a ghoulish secret. With little to eat in the nutrient-poor water, the sponges survive by digesting the remains of long-dead animals that once inhabited the seamount peaks where the sponges now live. And they’ve been feasting on their extinct neighbors’ corpses for centuries.
Scientists recently discovered these macabre creatures on the Langseth Ridge, part of a former volcanic seamount in the Central Arctic, at depths of 1,640 to 1,969 feet (500 to 600 meters) where temperatures hover just above freezing. In those icy depths, researchers found thousands of sponges covering an area measuring 5.8 square miles (15 square kilometers).
Imported pet hamsters carried the delta variant of the novel coronavirus into Hong Kong, sparking a local outbreak, a new study suggests.
The research, posted Jan. 28 to the database Preprints with The Lancet, has not yet been peer-reviewed, but it provides the first evidence of hamster-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Hamsters can be infected with the coronavirus in laboratory settings and are often used in research, but prior to the Hong Kong outbreak, there wasn’t evidence of the rodents passing the virus to humans, Nature reported.
So far, the outbreak has affected about 50 people and has prompted government officials to cull thousands of pet hamsters in the city, according to Nature.
(Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library via Getty Images)
NASA’s asteroid monitoring system has been upgraded so that it can scan the entire night sky once every 24 hours for potentially hazardous space rocks that are heading our way.
The Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) is essential for tracking of asteroids and debris that could be on a collision course with Earth, and it is operated from the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. ATLAS began as an array of just two telescopes in Hawaii, but it has now expanded to include two more telescopes in the Southern Hemisphere — giving it a complete view of the sky.
Even the glaciers on Mount Everest are not safe from climate change, new research suggests.
In a record-setting study, a team of scientists scaled the world’s highest peak to monitor the mountain’s highest-altitude glacier — the South Col Glacier, standing nearly 26,000 feet (8,000 meters) above sea level — for signs of climate-related ice loss. After installing the two highest weather stations on Earth and collecting the world’s highest ice core from the glacier, the team found that South Col is losing ice roughly 80 times faster than it took for the ice to accumulate on the glacier’s surface, they reported Feb. 3 in the journal npj Climate and Atmospheric Science.
The ocean is often thought of as a victim of climate change, in need of human protection. But ocean expert Susan Ruffo says that mindset needs to shift. From storing carbon to providing protection to coastal communities, Ruffo highlights the ocean’s ready-made solutions to the climate crisis and asks: With more than eighty percent of the ocean still unexplored, what new solutions are waiting to be discovered?
A conservationist and former diplomat, Susan Ruffo is the senior advisor for Ocean and Climate at United Nations Foundation.
Susan Ruffo’s resource list
TEDMonterey July 2021
The unexpected, underwater plant fighting climate change
Carlos M. Duarte
Once considered the ugly duckling of environmental conservation, seagrass is emerging as a powerful tool for climate action. From drawing down carbon to filtering plastic pollution, marine scientist Carlos M. Duarte details the incredible things this oceanic hero does for our planet — and shows ingenious ways he and his team are protecting and rebuilding marine life.
Carlos M. Duarte researches the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems — and develops nature-based solutions to mitigate them.
Carlos M. Duarte’s resource list
Countdown Summit October 2021
The forest is our teacher. It’s time to respect it
For thousands of years, the Amazon rainforest has provided food, water and spiritual connection for its Indigenous inhabitants and the world. But the endless extraction of its natural resources by oil companies and others is destroying the lives of those who live there, says Waorani leader Nemonte Nenquimo, and threatening the overall stability of Earth’s biosphere. In this powerful talk, she reminds us of the destruction that continues to happen to the world’s largest tropical rainforest — and demands respect for Mother Nature. “The forest is our teacher,” she says. (Filmed in Ecuador by director Tom Laffay and associate producer Emily Wright, in collaboration with Amazon Frontlines. In Spanish with subtitles.)
Nemonte Nenquimo is an Indigenous leader of the Waorani peoples, legendary hunter-harvesters of the south-central Ecuadorian Amazon. She is a founder of the Ceibo Alliance and Amazon Frontlines and a board member of Nia Tero.
Countdown Summit October 2021
The powerful women on the front lines of climate action
When it comes to big problems like climate change, we tend to focus on big solutions — but many of the best ideas come from people on the ground, facing day-to-day conservation battles. Sharing her effort to protect the Leseur ecosystem in Indonesia (the last place on Earth where the Sumatran rhino, tiger, elephant and orangutan still roam together in the wild), TED Fellow and conservationist Farwiza Farhan explains the challenges women face on the front lines of forest preservation within patriarchal societies — and the resilient, world-changing power they hold.
This talk was presented at an official TED conference. TED’s editors chose to feature it for you.
About the speaker
Farwiza Farhan is a marine biologist and forest conservationist seeking to protect and restore the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra. She is a 2021 TED Fellow
Countdown May 2021
Women and girls, you are part of the climate solution
Rumaitha Al Busaidi
What does gender equality have to do with climate change? A lot more than you might think. Empowering women and girls around the world is one of the most important ways to combat carbon pollution and is projected to reduce CO2-equivalent gases by a total of 80 billion tons. Entrepreneur, scientist and TED Fellow Rumaitha Al Busaidi looks at why women are more likely to be impacted and displaced by climate catastrophes — and explains why access to education, employment and family planning for all women and girls is the key to our climate future.
Omani scientist, activist and athlete Rumaitha Al Busaidi empowers Arab women to step into spaces previously denied to them — whether it’s a football field, volcano summit or the front line of the battle against climate change.
Rumaitha Al Busaidi’s resource list
Western states face a bleak future amid the worst drought in more than 1,000 years
The so-called megadrought that is afflicting the American West is the worst in 1,200 years, according to a study published this week. It has dried up water supplies, threatened ranchers and fueled wildfires. Park Williams, the lead author of the study just published in the journal Nature Climate Change, joins William Brangham with more. Stream your PBS favorites with the PBS app: https://to.pbs.org/2Jb8twG Find more from PBS NewsHour at https://www.pbs.org/newshour Subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2HfsCD6
In 1797, English scientist Henry Cavendish measured the strength of gravity with a contraption made of lead spheres, wooden rods and wire. In the 21st century, scientists are doing something very similar with rather more sophisticated tools: atoms.
One of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes, Mount Vesuvius, appears to “peer up” into the sky through an eerily circular hole in the clouds in this striking satellite image.
The Operational Land Imager onboard the Landsat-8 satellite snapped the photo, which was released Jan. 10 by NASA’s Earth Observatory. The volcano’s summit caldera — a large bowl-like depression that forms when a volcano erupts and collapses — is clearly visible in the new image, as well as a section of large mountainous ridge to the north, which is a remnant of Mount Somma — an ancient volcano that once stood in the same spot as Mount Vesuvius, before the newer volcano’s cone grew from it’s center.
The Earth seems to inhale and exhale in a new animation that shows how carbon is taken up and released as the seasons change.
The animated continents seem to deflate during summertimes, indicating times and places where vegetation is growing and plants are sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. When it’s winter, the continents seem to inflate, indicating that vegetation is dying off and carbon is being released.
Stalactites and stalagmites decorate caves the world over. Stalactites hang down from the ceiling, while stalagmites rise up from the ground. They grow incredibly slowly, and some are so ancient that they predate modern humans, Live Science previously reported.
These tooth-like rock formations grow when dripping water comes into contact with the cave air, according to the National Park Service website. The water carries dissolved minerals, picked up on its journey from Earth’s surface. As it passes through the cave, it leaves tiny traces of those minerals behind, building each stalactite drip by drip.
A small pile of pebbles is clogging up the Perseverance Mars rover’s operations.
The rover, which is collecting rock samples for eventual return to Earth, began to struggle on Dec. 29, after extracting a core from a rock the mission team nicknamed “Issole.” According to a NASA blog, the problem occurred in the device that transfers the drill bit and sample out of the rover’s drill arm and into a carousel inside the rover’s chassis for storage. During the transfer, sensors within the rover recorded a higher-than-normal amount of friction at an unexpected point in the process.
Multiple sclerosis — an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord — may emerge after infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).
An estimated 90% to 95% of people catch EBV, also called human herpesvirus 4, by the time they reach adulthood, according to the clinical resource UpToDate. In children, the virus typically causes an asymptomatic or very mild infection, but in teens and young adults, EBV can cause infectious mononucleosis, better known as “mono.” Despite EBV being a commonly-caught virus, there’s evidence to suggest that infections with the virus are a risk factor for multiple sclerosis, a far less common condition.
A million years ago, the soundtrack of the “sky island” mountains of East Africa may have been very similar to what it is today. That’s because a group of tiny, colorful birds has been singing the exact same tunes for more than 500,000 years — and maybe as long as 1 million years, according to a new study.
Sunbirds in the family Nectariniidae are colorful, tiny, nectar-feeding birds that resemble hummingbirds and are common throughout Africa and Asia. They are the “little jewels that appear before you,” senior author Rauri Bowie, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a curator in the school’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, said in a statement.
Doctors have transplanted the heart from a genetically modified pig into the chest of a man from Maryland in a last-ditch effort to save his life. The first-of-its-kind surgery is being hailed as a major step forward in the decades-long effort to successfully transplant animal organs into humans.
Although it’s been tried before — one of the earliest subjects, known as Baby Fae, survived 21 days with a baboon’s heart in 1984, according to Time — the practice has fallen into disuse because the animal organs are usually quickly rejected by their human host.
But doctors say this new transplant is a breakthrough because the donor pig had undergone gene-editing to remove a specific type of sugar from its cells that’s thought to be responsible for previous organ rejections in patients.
About 2,500 years ago, a man in northwest China was buried with armor made of more than 5,000 leather scales, a military garment fashioned so intricately, its design looks like the overlapping scales of a fish, a new study finds.
The armor, which resembles an apron-like waistcoat, could be donned quickly without the help of another person. “It is a light, highly efficient one-size-fits-all defensive garment for soldiers of a mass army,” said study lead researcher Patrick Wertmann, a researcher at the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies of the University of Zurich.
A hungry badger searching for food seems to have uncovered what turned out to be hundreds of Roman coins in a Spanish cave, according to a new study.
Archaeologists first discovered several coins laying on the ground at the entrance to a small cave in the woodlands outside Grado in northern Spain in April 2021. The researchers suspect that the coins were unearthed by a European badger (Meles meles) from a nearby den after a heavy storm dumped several feet of snow on the ground, making it harder for animals to find food. The hungry badger probably ventured into the cave looking for something to eat but came across the coins instead.
Roughly 3,600 years ago, the massive Thera volcano in the Aegean Sea blew its top, unleashing massive tsunamis. Now, archaeologists in western Turkey have unearthed the bones of a young man and a dog killed by one of those tsunamis.
It’s the first time that any victims of the ancient eruption have been found in their archaeological context, and it’s the northernmost evidence found of the tsunamis that followed it.
The remains of a monstrous, 33-foot-long (10 meters) “sea dragon” that swam in the seas when dinosaurs were alive some 180 million years ago have been unearthed on a nature reserve in England. The behemoth is the biggest and most complete fossil of its kind ever discovered in the U.K.
“It is a truly unprecedented discovery and one of the greatest finds in British palaeontological history,” excavation leader Dean Lomax, a paleontologist and visiting scientist at the University of Manchester, said in a statement.
Though many such ichthyosaurs have been found in the U.K., none have been as large as the current discovery.
Energy saving light bulbs were invented as a greener alternative to traditional bulbs, needing 90% less electricity to produce the same light, according to the Centre of Sustainable Energy. But how do they do it?
As bright ideas go, it’s almost impossible to overstate the impact the humble light bulb has had on human civilization. Before Thomas Edison had the original ‘light bulb moment’ and patented his invention all the way back in 1879 people were literally living in the dark ages, according to the Franklin Institute. People depended on oil or gas lamps and candles to light their rooms and streets, and when the sun went down the world would look much duller than it does today.
(Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)
The ice giants Uranus and Neptune don’t get nearly enough press; all the attention goes to their larger siblings, mighty Jupiter and magnificent Saturn.
At first glance, Uranus and Neptune are just bland, boring balls of uninteresting molecules. But hiding beneath the outer layers of those worlds, there may be something spectacular: a constant rain of diamonds.
Astronomers have watched a giant star blow up in a fiery supernova for the first time ever — and the spectacle was even more explosive than the researchers anticipated.
Scientists began watching the doomed star — a red supergiant named SN 2020tlf and located about 120 million light-years from Earth — more than 100 days before its final, violent collapse, according to a new study published Jan. 6 in the Astrophysical Journal. During that lead-up, the researchers saw the star erupt with bright flashes of light as great globs of gas exploded out of the star’s surface.
(ESA/Gaia/DPAC, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO & T. Müller/J. Syed/MPIA)
Astronomers have discovered what may be the longest structure in the Milky Way: an unusual cloud of hydrogen.
The gigantic structure, which is more than 3,900 light-years long and around 150 light-years wide, is located roughly 55,000 light-years away from the solar system, according to a statement by researchers. (Previously, the largest known clouds of gas in the Milky Way were thought to be about 800 light-years across.) The team named the lengthy cloud “Maggie,” which is short for the Magdalena River, the longest river in Colombia.
Rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 may not reliably detect the omicron variant during the first few days of infection, even when a person is shedding the virus in high enough quantities to be contagious, preliminary evidence hints.
For the new study, posted Wednesday (Jan. 5) to the preprint database medRxiv, researchers looked at 30 people from five different workplaces in New York and California, all of whom tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in December 2021.
Buried in Australia’s so-called dead heart, a trove of exceptional fossils, including those of trapdoor spiders, giant cicadas, tiny fish and a feather from an ancient bird, reveal a unique snapshot of a time when rainforests carpeted the now mostly-arid continent.
Paleontologists discovered the fossil treasure-trove, known as a Lagerstätte (“storage site” in German) in New South Wales, in a region so arid that British geologist John Walter Gregory famously dubbed it the “dead heart of Australia” over 100 years ago. The Lagerstätte’s location on private land was kept secret to protect it from illegal fossil collectors, while scientists excavated the remains of plants and animals that lived there sometime between 16 million and 11 million years ago.
A group of mysterious, ultradense structures just outside Earth’s core may be the remnants of an ancient interplanetary collision, new research suggests.
These strange structures are known as ultralow-velocity zones (ULVZs), because seismic waves generated by earthquakes travel about 50% more slowly through these zones than through the surrounding mantle. That means the ULVZs are also much denser than the rest of the mantle, and possibly made of heavier elements.
China’s “artificial sun” has set a new world record after superheating a loop of plasma to temperatures five times hotter than the sun for more than 17 minutes, state media reported.
The EAST (Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak) nuclear fusion reactor maintained a temperature of 158 million degrees Fahrenheit (70 million degrees Celsius) for 1,056 seconds, according to the Xinhua News Agency. The achievement brings scientists a small yet significant step closer to the creation of a source of near-unlimited clean energy.
A nuclear-powered U.S. submarine that ran aground in the South China Sea last month collided with an uncharted seamount, according to a U.S. Navy investigation.
The USS Connecticut, a Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine, collided with an unknown object in international waters on Oct. 2, causing minor to moderate injuries to 11 crewmembers, NPR reported. The damaged submarine surfaced and made it to a port in Guam unassisted. The Navy hasn’t disclosed the full extent of the damage, and all the Navy said about the incident at the time was that “it was not another submarine” that had collided with the vessel, The Associated Press reported.
A 79-year-old man named Alan Gosling, who kept pet ducks at his home in Devon, England, recently became the first U.K. resident to catch the H5N1 strain of bird flu, DevonLive reported.
A flock of more than 100 ducks lived outside on Gosling’s property in Buckfastleigh, and after feeding the animals for some time, Gosling brought 20 of the ducks into his home to keep as pets. In December 2021, a few of the ducks in the outdoor flock fell ill, Gosling noticed.
Before Earth and the other planets in our solar system existed, the sun may have been surrounded by giant rings of dust similar to Saturn’s, according to a new study.
Those rings of dust may have prevented Earth from growing into a “super-Earth” — a type of planet that is about twice the size of Earth and up to 10 times its mass, according to NASA. Astronomers have discovered super-Earths orbiting about 30% of sun-like stars in our galaxy.
A fiery new photograph of the Flame Nebula depicts the emissions from brand-new stars, burning through space like cosmic wildfires.
These wildfires don’t actually burn hot — the orange and yellow regions captured in this image are actually only a few tens of degrees warmer than absolute zero, the point at which the movement of atoms and other fundamental particles freezes, according to the European Southern Observatory (ESO). But the emissions are revealing. By pointing the SuperCam instrument aboard the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment in the Chilean desert at this region, researchers were able to discover a brand-new nebula and explore two dusty interstellar clouds, Messier 78 and NGC 2071.
(Shachar Givon, Matan Samina, Prof. Ohad Ben Shahar, Prof. Ronen Segev/BGU)
Fish may not need bicycles, but they seem to like cars.
A supremely weird new video shows a goldfish driving a water-filled, motorized “car” from one end of a room to another, bobbing and weaving to avoid obstacles along the way. Scientists performed the odd experiment to better understand how goldfish navigate terrestrial environments.
Millions across the U.S. are under winter weather alerts, inside a Pittsburgh children’s hospital overwhelmed by Covid cases, and bodycam video shows dramatic rescues from Colorado wildfire. 00:00 Intro 01:44 Millions in U.S. under winter weather alerts 03:48 Inside children’s hospital overwhelmed by Covid cases 06:30 Novak Djokovic facing deportation, again 08:08 U.S. warning Russia may be prepping Ukraine invasion 09:05 Trump set for first rally of 2022 11:34 Bodycam video from Colorado wildfire 13:10 Covid testing company investigation 15:33 Critics blame China for Mekong River environmental disaster 19:16 Chicago’s oldest hot dog stand’s special community connection » Subscribe to NBC News: http://nbcnews.to/SubscribeToNBC » Watch more NBC video: http://bit.ly/MoreNBCNews NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and powerful news brands that deliver compelling, diverse and engaging news stories. NBC News Digital features NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, TODAY.com, Nightly News, Meet the Press, Dateline, and the existing apps and digital extensions of these respective properties. We deliver the best in breaking news, live video coverage, original journalism and segments from your favorite NBC News Shows. Connect with NBC News Online! NBC News App: https://smart.link/5d0cd9df61b80 Breaking News Alerts: https://link.nbcnews.com/join/5cj/bre… Visit NBCNews.Com: http://nbcnews.to/ReadNBC Find NBC News on Facebook: http://nbcnews.to/LikeNBC Follow NBC News on Twitter: http://nbcnews.to/FollowNBC#NightlyNews#NBCNews#FullBroadcast
In an extravagant display of evolutionary tricks and mating rituals, new footage by Adrian Smith of the wildly popular Ant Lab YouTube channel focuses on six tropical butterflies. The extremely slow-motion montage zeroes in on a trio of tropical creatures as they crack open and emerge from their chrysalises and others like the striking Blue Morpho as they take flight. Smith paired the spectacular clips with behind-the-scenes footage of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences Living Conservatory, which fosters a climate-controlled environment that hundreds of butterflies hatch from every few weeks. If you haven’t seen his previous footage yet, make sure you watch these moths and an unusual muppet-esque troupe as they lift off the ground. (via The Kids Should See This)
I filmed slow motion flight and time-lapse eclosion sequences of tropical butterflies, and give a behind-the-scenes tour of our museum’s walk-in tropical rainforest exhibit. Check out https://naturalsciences.org/ for info about when to visit our museum and the butterflies. [Right now (Dec, 2021) the exhibit is closed due to pandemic-related safety measures. But we’re all hoping we can lift restrictions and get it open to all again soon!] Content 00:00 – owl butterfly 01:09 – behind the scenes 02:22 – timelapse eclosion 03:29 – longwings 04:13 – blue morpho 05:14 – malachite 05:38 – cattleheart 06:21 – blue morpho Butterfly species (in order of appearance) “Owl butterfly” – Caligo eurilochus “Blue-frosted Banner” Male – Catonephele numilia “Heliconious Longwing” – Heliconius hecale “Monarch” – Danaus plexippus “Heliconious Longwing” (on left) – Heliconius melpomene “Heliconious Longwing” (on right) – Heliconius hecale “Blue Morpho” – Morpho peleides “Malachite” – Siproeta stelenes “Cattleheart” – Parides arcas Music licensed from soundofpicture.com Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dradriansmith/ Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrAdrianSmith#BUTTERFLIES#INSECTS#VIDEO
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26-year old photographer Paolo Pettigiani (previously) has been taking pictures since age 11, and in the last few years has produced several series of eye-popping infrared images. Pettigiani’s most recent work showcases the Dolomites, a craggy mountain range in the northeastern region of his native Italy.
Infrared photography uses a special film or light sensor that processes the usually not-visible wavelengths of infrared light (specifically near-infrared, as opposed to far-infrared, which is used in thermal imaging.) The resulting images from Pettigiani depict the stands of coniferous trees as watermelon-pink, while surfaces that don’t reflect IR light stay more true to their nature hues. You can see more of the artist’s photographs on his website, as well as on Behance and Instagram. Pettigiani also offers prints of his work via Lumas.
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Archaeologists in Scotland have revealed the ornate hilt of a Viking sword after scanning it with X-rays. The sword is highly corroded and covered in dirt, but the new images show the weapon in a new light and reveal its striking design.
The sword is part of a hoard of Viking treasures unearthed in 2015 at a burial site on Papa Westray, one of the Orkney Islands located north of mainland Scotland. Archaeologists found the sword laid atop human remains. The burial also contained a buckle, arrows and a shield boss — the metal, central part of a shield. The site likely dates back to the first-generation Norwegian settlers, who came to the Orkney Islands during the 10th century, according to Historic Environment Scotland.
Strong winds and unusual ocean currents helped paint a breathtaking icescape on the surface of the ocean near Antarctica, and the rare phenomenon was recently captured in a stunning satellite image.
The incredible image was taken on Nov. 20 by the Operational Land Imager onboard Landsat 8, a collaboration between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, and was released on Dec. 8 by NASA’s Earth Observatory. The picture focuses on a channel of water about 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) across between the Ronne Ice Shelf — a permanent floating extension of the main Antarctic Ice Sheet, which birthed A-76, the world’s largest iceberg, in May — and a large chunk of sea ice in the Weddell Sea.
Scientists have spotted a long hypothesized, never-seen-before state of matter in the laboratory for the first time.
By firing lasers at an ultracold lattice of rubidium atoms, scientists have prodded the atoms into a messy soup of quantum uncertainty known as a quantum spin liquid. The atoms in this quantum magnetic soup quickly became connected, linking up their states across the entire material in a process called quantum entanglement. This means that any change to one atom causes immediate changes in all of the others in the material; this breakthrough could pave the way for the development of even better quantum computers, the researchers said in a paper describing their findings Dec. 3 in the journal Science.
Visit our Website https://www.lightspacetime.art Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery is pleased to announce that its 11th Annual “Open” 2021 Art Exhibition is now posted on its website and ready to be viewed online. 2D and 3D, artists were asked to submit their best representational and/or abstract art. The gallery received submissions from 26 different countries around the world and 36 different states including the District of Columbia. Overall, the gallery received 879 entries that were judged for this art competition. Congratulations to Overall 1st Place winner, John H. Diephouse, and all the artists designated as this month’s winners, along with the Special Merit and Special Recognition artists. To proceed to the gallery’s 11th Annual “Open” online art exhibition follow this link: https://www.lightspacetime.art/open-a….
“Open” 2015 Online Art Exhibition – Part 2 – Painting Category
Visit our Website https://www.lightspacetime.art Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery is pleased to announce that the September 2015 Open Art Exhibition is now posted on their website and is ready to be viewed online. The “Open” is a No Theme Art Competition, whereby artists were asked to submit their best representational or abstract artworks on any subject matter. An art competition was held in August 2015 which determined and judged the art for this exhibition. The gallery received submissions from 19 different countries from around the world and they also received entries from 34 different states and the District of Columbia. Overall, there were 734 entries judged for this art competition. The Guest Judge for this competition was Jeffrey Shonkwiler the Founder of Florida Artists Registry, a member supported arts organization, created in 2000. He is past director of Gallery at Avalon Island where he curated over 60 exhibits. http://artistsregistry.com. Congratulations to the artists who have been designated as this month’s category winners, along with the winning Special Merit and Special Recognition artists. The gallery commends all of the winning artists for their artistic skill and their creativity, as this online art exhibition is indicative of their creativity. To proceed to the gallery’s “Open” online art exhibition follow this link https://www.lightspacetime.art/open-n….
John Oliver discusses ransomware attacks, why they’re on the rise, and what can be done about them. Connect with Last Week Tonight online… Subscribe to the Last Week Tonight YouTube channel for more almost news as it almost happens: www.youtube.com/lastweektonight Find Last Week Tonight on Facebook like your mom would: www.facebook.com/lastweektonight Follow us on Twitter for news about jokes and jokes about news: www.twitter.com/lastweektonight Visit our official site for all that other stuff at once: www.hbo.com/lastweektonight
3D printed rockets save on up front tooling, enable rapid iteration, decrease part count, and facilitate radically new designs. For your chance to win 2 seats on one of the first Virgin Galactic flights to Space and support a great cause, go to https://www.omaze.com/veritasium Thanks to Tim Ellis and everyone at Relativity Space for the tour! https://www.relativityspace.com/https://youtube.com/c/RelativitySpace Special thanks to Scott Manley for the interview and advising on aerospace engineering. Check out his channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/szyzyg ?????????????????????????? References: Benson, T. (2021). Rocket Parts. NASA. — https://ve42.co/RocketParts Boen, B. (2009). Winter Wonder: Rocket Icicles. NASA. — https://ve42.co/EngineIcicles Hall, N. (2021). Rocket Thrust Equation. NASA. — https://ve42.co/RocketEqn Benson, T. (2021). Rocket Thrust. NASA. — https://ve42.co/RocketThrust Regenerative Cooling — https://ve42.co/RegenCooling How A Gold Bullet Almost Destroyed A Space Shuttle by Scott Manley — https://ve42.co/ManleyEngine ?????????????????????????? Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Burt Humburg, Blake Byers, Dumky, Mike Tung, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Ismail Öncü Usta, Paul Peijzel, Crated Comments, Anna, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, Oleksii Leonov, Jim Osmun, Tyson McDowell, Ludovic Robillard, Jim buckmaster, fanime96, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Alfred Wallace, Arjun Chakroborty, Joar Wandborg, Clayton Greenwell, Pindex, Michael Krugman, Cy ‘kkm’ K’Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal ?????????????????????????? Written by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, and Emily Zhang Animation by Mike Radjabov Filmed by Derek Muller, Raquel Nuno, Trenton Oliver, and Emily Zhang Edited by Trenton Oliver SFX by Shaun Clifford Additional video supplied by Getty Images & Pond5 Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, and Emily Zhang
Highlighting an upcoming Earth-observing mission, the science on the next resupply mission to the space station, and testing a new material to help future spacecraft land on distant worlds … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA! Download Link: https://images.nasa.gov/details-Highl… Producer: Andre Valentine Editor: Lacey Young Music: Universal Production Music
The Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way spirals out of our galaxy’s center, forming a swooping highway of gas that spans tens of thousands of light-years. This highway is dotted with the headlights of billions of stars, all seemingly moving along the same curvy track. But now, astronomers have found something unusual — a “break” in the arm, slashing perpendicularly through the spiral like a splinter poking through a piece of wood.
Spanning about 3,000 light-years, this stellar splinter makes up just a fraction of the Milky Way (which has a diameter of about 100,000 light-years). Still, the newfound break is the first major structure to be discovered disrupting the seemingly uniform flow of the galaxy’s Sagittarius arm, according to a study published online July 21 in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Archaeologists in Poland have discovered a mass grave that the Nazis tried to destroy at the end of World War II, a new study finds.
The mass grave, filled with the remains of about 500 individuals, is linked to the horrific “Pomeranian Crime” that took place in Poland’s pre-war Pomerania province when the Nazis occupied the country in 1939. The Nazis killed up to 35,000 people in Pomerania at the beginning of the war, and they returned in 1945 to kill even more people, as well as to hide evidence of the prior massacres by exhuming and burning the bodies of victims.
Operators of satellite constellations are constantly forced to move their satellites because of encounters with other spacecraft and pieces of space junk. And, thanks to SpaceX’s Starlink satellites, the number of such dangerous approaches will continue to grow, according to estimates based on available data.
SpaceX’s Starlink satellites alone are involved in about 1,600 close encounters between two spacecraft every week, that’s about 50 % of all such incidents, according to Hugh Lewis, the head of the Astronautics Research Group at the University of Southampton, U.K. These encounters include situations when two spacecraft pass within a distance of 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) from each other.
In March, the U.S. Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron (18SPCS) reported the breakup of Yunhai 1-02, a Chinese military satellite that launched in September 2019. It was unclear at the time whether the spacecraft had suffered some sort of failure — an explosion in its propulsion system, perhaps — or if it had collided with something in orbit.
We now know that the latter explanation is correct, thanks to some sleuthing by astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell, who’s based at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Chinese astronomers hope to establish a major observatory program on the roof of the world, the Tibetan Plateau, with new research arguing for pristine observing conditions nestled in the uplands.
The analysis focuses on a study site near Lenghu Town in Qinghai Province at an altitude of more than 2.5 miles (4.2 kilometers) and some 1,900 miles (3,000 km) west of Beijing. In the paper, the scientists argue that three years of monitoring shows conditions on par with those at some of the most renowned scientific outposts on Earth.
Scientists used an unconventional method of creating nuclear fusion to yield a record-breaking burst of energy of more than 10 quadrillion watts, by firing intense beams of light from the world’s largest lasers at a tiny pellet of hydrogen.
Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Northern California said they had focused 192 giant lasers at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) onto a pea-size pellet, resulting in the release of 1.3 megajoules of energy in 100 trillionths of a second — roughly 10% of the energy of the sunlight that hits Earth every moment, and about 70% of the energy that the pellet had absorbed from the lasers. The scientists hope one day to reach the break-even or “ignition” point of the pellet, where it gives off 100% or more energy than it absorbs.
Physicists have created the first ever two-dimensional supersolid — a bizarre phase of matter that behaves like both a solid and a frictionless liquid at the same time.
Supersolids are materials whose atoms are arranged into a regular, repeating, crystal structure, yet are also able to flow forever without ever losing any kinetic energy. Despite their freakish properties, which appear to violate many of the known laws of physics, physicists have long predicted them theoretically — they first appeared as a suggestion in the work of the physicist Eugene Gross as early as 1957.
A female of the world’s largest squid — sometimes called the “kraken” after the mythological sea monster — that was caught off the coast of Japan apparently had just one amorous encounter in her lifetime.
The female had sperm packets from just one male giant squid embedded in her body, which surprised researchers. Because giant squid are solitary creatures that probably run across potential mates only occasionally, scientists expected that females would opportunistically collect and store sperm from multiple males over time.
Scientists recently grew mini brains with their own sets of “eyes,” according to a new study.
Organoids are miniature versions of organs that scientists can grow in the lab from stem cells, or cells that can mature into any type of cell in the body. Previously, scientists have developed tiny beating hearts and tear ducts that could cry like humans do. Scientists have even grown mini brains that produce brain waves like those of preterm babies.
Now, a group of scientists has grown mini brains that have something their real counterparts do not: a set of eye-like structures called “optic cups” that give rise to the retina — the tissue that sits in the back of the eye and contains light-sensing cells, according to a statement.
West Antarctica is one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth. For evidence, you need look no further than Thwaites Glacier — also known as the “Doomsday Glacier.”
Since the 1980s, Thwaites has lost an estimated 595 billion tons (540 billion metric tons) of ice, single-handedly contributing 4% to the annual global sea-level rise during that time, Live Science previously reported. The glacier’s rate of ice loss has accelerated substantially in the past three decades, partially due to hidden rivers of comparatively warm seawater slicing across the glacier’s underbelly, as well as unmitigated climate change warming the air and the ocean.
Now, new research suggests that the warming ocean and atmosphere aren’t the only factors pushing Thwaites to the brink; the heat of the Earth itself may also be giving West Antarctica’s glaciers a disproportionately nasty kick.
The saying “once in a blue moon” is especially pertinent this week: This Sunday (Aug. 22), the full Sturgeon Moon is expected to impress skygazers, particularly because of its “blue” designation.
Typically, the term “Blue Moon” refers to the second full moon within the same month. The last one rose on Oct. 31, 2020, when an eerie Blue Moon lit up the night sky on Halloween. But there’s a lesser-known definition, dating to 1528, which applies to the third full moon in a season with four full moons, according to NASA.
The latest on the deadly San Jose rail yard shooting, Ohio announces the first winner of $1 million vaccine lottery, and a California health official urges caution for Memorial Day weekend. Watch “NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt” at 6:30 p.m. ET / 5:30 p.m. CT (or check your local listings). 00:00 Intro 01:59 San Jose Shooting 04:25 Memorial Day Travel Rush 08:00 Mother Of Capitol Hill Officer Urges Commission 09:52 Cybersecurity Crackdown 11:29 Anti-Asian Hate Crimes 13:27 Tulsa Confronts Trauma Of Massacre 16:52 Lost Submarines Of WWII » Subscribe to NBC News: http://nbcnews.to/SubscribeToNBC » Watch more NBC video: http://bit.ly/MoreNBCNews Connect with NBC Nightly News online! NBC News App: https://smart.link/5d0cd9df61b80 Breaking News Alerts: https://link.nbcnews.com/join/5cj/bre… Visit NBCNightlyNews.com: https://nbcnews.to/2wFotQ8 Find Nightly News on Facebook: https://bit.ly/2TZ1PhF Follow Nightly News on Twitter: https://bit.ly/1yFY2s4 Follow Nightly News on Instagram: https://bit.ly/2tEncJD NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and powerful news brands that deliver compelling, diverse and engaging news stories. NBC News Digital features NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, TODAY.com, Nightly News, Meet the Press, Dateline, and the existing apps and digital extensions of these respective properties. We deliver the best in breaking news, live video coverage, original journalism and segments from your favorite NBC News Shows. #NBCNews#MemorialDay#Tulsa
Could a small jolt of electricity to your gut help treat chronic diseases? Medical hacker and TED Fellow Khalil Ramadi is developing a new, noninvasive therapy that could treat diseases like diabetes, obesity, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s with an electronic pill. More targeted than a traditional pill and less invasive than surgery, these micro-devices contain electronics that deliver “bionudges” — bursts of electrical or chemical stimuli — to the gut, potentially helping control appetite, aid digestion, regulate hormones — and even stimulate happiness in the brain.
This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.
This groundbreaking selection of talks from the TED Fellows are snapshots of influential, new ideas from leading voices in medicine, human rights, conservation, astrophysics, education and beyond. Dive in to discover what (and who) is shaping your future.
A phone call to a US prison or jail can cost up to a dollar per minute — a rate that forces one in three families with incarcerated loved ones into debt. In this searing talk about mass incarceration, criminal justice advocate and TED Fellow Bianca Tylek exposes the predatory nature of the billion-dollar prison telecom industry and presents straightforward strategies to dismantle the network of corporations that has a financial interest in seeing more people behind bars for longer periods of time.
This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.
This groundbreaking selection of talks from the TED Fellows are snapshots of influential, new ideas from leading voices in medicine, human rights, conservation, astrophysics, education and beyond. Dive in to discover what (and who) is shaping your future.
If you can’t afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you, right? Not in US civil court. From high legal fees to confusing paperwork and expensive lawyers, it can be difficult to settle civil matters. Entrepreneur and TED Fellow Rohan Pavuluri is working to streamline cumbersome legal processes with an app that empowers people to solve their own legal problems.
This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.
There’s a job out there with a great deal of power, pay, prestige, and near-perfect job-security. And there’s only one way to be hired: get appointed to the US Supreme Court. But how do US Supreme Court Justices actually get that honor? Peter Paccone outlines the difficult process of getting a seat on the highest bench in the country. [Directed by Hernando Bahamon, narrated by Addison Anderson, music by Manuel Borda].
MEET THE EDUCATOR
Peter Paccone · Educator
TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators.
TED-Ed | November 2016
Every environment on the planet — from forested mountaintops to scorching deserts and even the human gut — has a microbiome that keeps it healthy and balanced. Ecologist Steven Allison explores how these extraordinarily adaptable, diverse collections of microorganisms could help solve big global problems like climate change and food insecurity — and makes the case for getting to know Earth’s original inhabitants in fascinating ways.
This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxUCIrvine, an independent event. TED’s editors chose to feature it for you.
Your lifelong health may have been decided the day you were born, says microbiome researcher Henna-Maria Uusitupa. In this fascinating talk, she shows how the gut microbes you acquire during birth and as an infant impact your health into adulthood — and discusses new microbiome research that could help tackle problems like obesity and diabetes.
This talk was presented at a TED Institute event given in partnership with DuPont. TED editors featured it among our selections on the home page. Read more about the TED Institute.
Every year, TED works with a group of select companies and foundations to identify internal ideators, inventors, connectors, and creators. Drawing on the same rigorous regimen that has prepared speakers for the TED main stage, TED Institute works closely with each partner, overseeing curation and providing intensive one-on-one talk development to sharpen and fine tune ideas. The culmination is an event produced, recorded, and hosted by TED, generating a growing library of valuable TED Talks that can spur innovation and transform organizations.
There are about a hundred trillion microbes living inside your gut — protecting you from infection, aiding digestion and regulating your immune system. As our bodies have adapted to life in modern society, we’ve started to lose some of our normal microbes; at the same time, diseases linked to a loss of diversity in microbiome are skyrocketing in developed nations. Computational microbiologist Dan Knights shares some intriguing discoveries about the differences in the microbiomes of people in developing countries compared to the US, and how they might affect our health. Learn more about the world of microbes living inside you — and the work being done to create tools to restore and replenish them.
This video was produced by TEDMED. TED’s editors featured it among our daily selections on the home page.
Rob Knight is a pioneer in studying human microbes, the community of tiny single-cell organisms living inside our bodies that have a huge — and largely unexplored — role in our health. “The three pounds of microbes that you carry around with you might be more important than every single gene you carry around in your genome,” he says. Find out why.
This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.
From the microbes in our stomachs to the ones on our teeth we are homes to millions of unique and diverse communities which help our bodies function. Jessica Green and Karen Guillemin emphasize the importance of understanding the many organisms that make up each and every organism. [Directed by Celine Keller and Paula Spagnoletti, narrated by Jessica Green].
The human brain is the command center for the human nervous system.
A medical illustration of the human brain from ‘Quain’s Elements of Anatomy, Eighth Edition, Vol.II’ (by William Sharpey MD, LLD, FRS L&E, Allen Thomson, MD, LLD, FRS L&E, and Edward Albert Schafer) depicts the right half of the brain, 1876. (Image credit: Vintage MedStock/Getty Images)
The human brain is the command center for the human nervous system. It receives signals from the body’s sensory organs and outputs information to the muscles. The human brain has the same basic structure as other mammal brains but is larger in relation to body size than the brains of many other mammals, such as dolphins, whales and elephants.
HOW MUCH DOES A HUMAN BRAIN WEIGH?
The human brain weighs about 3 lbs. (1.4 kilograms) and makes up about 2% of a human’s body weight. On average, male brains are about 10% larger than female brains, according to Northwestern Medicine in Illinois. The average male has a brain volume of nearly 78 cubic inches (1,274 cubic centimeters), while the average female brain has a volume of 69 cubic inches (1,131 cubic cm). The cerebrum, which is the main part of the brain located in the front area of the skull, makes up 85% of the brain’s weight.
HOW MANY BRAIN CELLS DOES A HUMAN HAVE?
The human brain contains about 86 billion nerve cells (neurons) — called “gray matter,” according to a 2012 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The brain also has about the same number of non-neuronal cells, such as the oligodendrocytes that insulate neuronal axons with a myelin sheath. This gives axons (thin strands through which electrical impulses are transmitted between neurons) a white appearance, and so these axons are called the brain’s “white matter.”
OTHER COOL FACTS ABOUT THE BRAIN
The brain can’t multitask, according to the Dent Neurologic Institute. Instead, it switches between tasks, which increases errors and makes things take longer.
The human brain triples in size during the first year of life and reaches full maturity at about age 25.
Humans use all of the brain all of the time, not just 10% of it.
The human brain can generate 23 watts of electrical power — enough to fuel a small lightbulb.
Do Scientists Understand The Human Brain? | Video
“We might someday figure out how the brain works” says NYU neuroscientist Gary Marcus, co-author of “The Future of the Brain”, in this exclusive interview with Live Science’s Bahar Gholipour. Marcus breaks down the latest advancements in neuroscience and explains where these discoveries are coming from.
ANATOMY OF THE HUMAN BRAIN
The largest part of the human brain is the cerebrum, which is divided into two hemispheres, according to the Mayfield Clinic. Each hemisphere consists of four lobes: the frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital. The rippled surface of the cerebrum is called the cortex. Underneath the cerebrum lies the brainstem, and behind that sits the cerebellum.
The frontal lobe is important for cognitive functions, such as thought and planning ahead, and for the control of voluntary movement. The temporal lobe generates memories and emotions. The parietal lobe integrates input from different senses and is important for spatial orientation and navigation. Visual processing takes place in the occipital lobe, near the back of the skull.
The brainstem connects to the spinal cord and consists of the medulla oblongata, pons and midbrain. The primary functions of the brainstem include relaying information between the brain and the body; supplying most of the cranial nerves to the face and head; and performing critical functions in controlling the heart, breathing and levels of consciousness (it’s involved in controlling wake and sleep cycles).
Between the cerebrum and brainstem lie the thalamus and hypothalamus. The thalamus relays sensory and motor signals to the cortex. Except for olfaction (sense of smell), every sensory system sends information through the thalamus to the cortex, according to the online textbook, “Neuroanatomy, Thalamus” (StatPublishing, 2020). The hypothalamus connects the nervous system to the endocrine system — where hormones are produced — via the pituitary gland.
The cerebellum lies beneath the cerebrum and has important functions in motor control. It plays a role in coordination and balance and may also have some cognitive functions.
The brain also has four interconnected cavities, called ventricles, which produce what’s called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This fluid circulates around the brain and spinal cord, cushioning it from injury, and is eventually absorbed into the bloodstream.
In addition to cushioning the central nervous system, CSF clears waste from the brain. In what’s called the glymphatic system, waste products from the interstitial fluid surrounding brain cells move into the CSF and away from the brain, according to the Society for Neuroscience. Studies suggest this waste clearance process mostly happens during sleep. In a 2013 Science paper, researchers reported that when mice were asleep, their interstitial spaces expanded by 60%, and the brain’s glymphatic system cleared beta-amyloid (the protein that makes up Alzheimer’s disease’s hallmark plaques) faster than when the rodents were awake. Clearing potentially neurotoxic waste from the brain or “taking out the trash” through the glymphatic system could be one reason that sleep is so important, the authors suggested in their paper.
Is The Human Brain Just a Computer? One Neuroscientist Thinks So
In recent years, much of the scientific community has backed away from the ‘computational engine’ comparison, citing the brain’s extreme complexity. But NYU neuroscientist Gary Marcus, co-author of “The Future of the Brain,” thinks “we’ve given up too soon,” in this chat with Live Science’s Bahar Gholipour. PLAY SOUND
IS BRAIN SIZE LINKED TO INTELLIGENCE?
Overall brain size doesn’t correlate with level of intelligence for non-human animals. For instance, the brain of a sperm whale is more than five times heavier than the human brain, but humans are considered to be of higher intelligence than sperm whales. A more accurate measure of an animal’s likely intelligence is the ratio between the size of the brain and body size, although not even that measure puts humans in first place: The tree shrew has the highest brain-to-body ratio of any mammal, according to BrainFacts.org, a website produced by the Society for Neuroscience.
Among humans, brain size doesn’t indicate a person’s level of intelligence. Some geniuses in their field have smaller-than-average brains, while others have brains that are larger than average, according to Christof Koch, a neuroscientist and president of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. For example, compare the brains of two highly acclaimed writers. The Russian novelist Ivan Turgenev’s brain was found to weigh 71 ounces (2,021 grams), while the brain of French writer Anatole France weighed only 36 ounces (1,017 g).
The reason behind humans’ intelligence, in part, is neurons and folds. Humans have more neurons per unit volume than other animals, and the only way they can all fit within the brain’s layered structure is to make folds in the outer layer, or cortex, said Dr. Eric Holland, a neurosurgeon and cancer biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington.
“The more complicated a brain gets, the more gyri and sulci, or wiggly hills and valleys, it has,” Holland told Live Science. Other intelligent animals, such as monkeys and dolphins, also have these folds in their cortex, whereas mice have smooth brains, he said.
How the brain is integrated also seems to matter when it comes to intelligence. A genius among geniuses, Albert Einstein had an average size brain; researchers suspect his mind-boggling cognitive abilities may have stemmed from its high connectivity, with several pathways connecting distant regions of his brain, Live Science previously reported.
Humans also have the largest frontal lobes of any animal, Holland said. The frontal lobes are associated with higher-level functions such as self-control, planning, logic and abstract thought — basically, “the things that make us particularly human,” he said.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LEFT BRAIN AND RIGHT BRAIN?
The human brain is divided into two hemispheres, the left and right, connected by a bundle of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum. The hemispheres are strongly, though not entirely, symmetrical. Generally, the left brain controls the muscles on the right side of the body, and the right brain controls the left side. One hemisphere may be slightly dominant, as with left- or right-handedness.
The popular notions about “left brain” and “right brain” qualities are generalizations that are not well supported by evidence. However, there are some important differences between these areas. The left brain contains regions that are involved in language production and comprehension (called Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, respectively) and is also associated with mathematical calculation and fact retrieval, Holland said. The right brain plays a role in visual and auditory processing, spatial skills and artistic ability — more instinctive or creative things, Holland said — though these functions involve both hemispheres. “Everyone uses both halves all the time,” he said.
In April 2013, President Barack Obama announced a scientific grand challenge known as the BRAIN Initiative, short for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies. The $100-million-plus effort aimed to develop new technologies to produce a dynamic picture of the human brain, from the level of individual cells to complex circuits.
Like other major science efforts, such as the Human Genome Project, the significant expense is usually worth the investment, Holland said. Scientists hope the increased understanding will lead to new ways to treat, cure and prevent brain disorders.
The project contains members from several government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), as well as private research organizations, including the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
In May 2013, the project’s backers outlined their goals in the journal Science. In September 2014, the NIH announced $46 million in BRAIN Initiative grants. Industry members pledged another $30 million to support the effort, and major foundations and universities also agreed to apply more than $240 million of their own research toward BRAIN Initiative goals.
When the project was announced, President Obama convened a commission to evaluate the ethical issues involved in research on the brain. In May 2014, the commission released the first half of its report, calling for ethics to be integrated early and explicitly in neuroscience research, Live Science previously reported. In March 2015, the commission released the second half of the report, which focused on issues of cognitive enhancement, informed consent and using neuroscience in the legal system, Live Science reported.
The Brain Initiative has achieved several of its goals. As of 2018, the NIH has “invested more than $559 million in the research of more than 500 scientists,” and Congress appropriated “close to $400 million in NIH funding for fiscal year 2018,” according to the initiative’s website. The research funding facilitated the development of new brain-imaging and brain-mapping tools, and helped create the BRAIN Initiative Cell Census Network (BICCN) — an effort to catalog the brain’s “parts’ list.” The BICCN released its first results in November 2018.
Beyond a parts list, the BRAIN Initiative is working to develop a detailed picture of the circuits in the brain. For example, in 2020, BRAIN Initiative researchers published a study in the journal Neuron, reporting that they had developed a system, tested in mice, to control and monitor circuit activity at any depth in the brain. Previous efforts could only examine circuits close to the surface of the brain. Also in 2020, the initiative’s Machine Intelligence from Cortical Networks (MICrONS) program, an effort to map circuits in the cortex, launched a website where researchers can share their data, including electron microscopy images of circuits.
April 2019 marked a milestone for both the initiative and neuroscience research at large: BRAIN Initiative researcher Nenad Sestan, of the Yale School of Medicine, published a report in the journal Nature, revealing that his research team had restored circulation and some cellular functions to pig brains four hours after the animals’ deaths, Live Science previously reported. The results challenged the prevailing view that brain cells are suddenly and irreversibly damaged shortly after the heart stops beating. The researchers did not observe any signs of consciousness in the brains, nor were they trying to; on the contrary, the researchers injected pig brains with chemicals that mimicked blood flow and also blocked neurons from firing. The researchers emphasized that they did not bring the pig brains back to life. They did, however, restore some of their cellular activity.
Larval fish of Dendrochirus, all images copyright Ryo Minemizu
Japanese marine life photographer Ryo Minemizu focuses his lens on some of the tiniest and most abundant life forms in our oceans. His series Phenomenons explores the diverse beauty and extravagant colors of plankton, and is shot amongst the dark waters of the Osezaki sea near Mount Fuji and other coasts around Japan, the Philippines and Maldives. To capture the small creatures Minemizu sets his shutter speed to just a fraction of a second, while ensuring that his own movements don’t disturb the surrounding organisms.
“Plankton symbolize how precious life is by their tiny existence,” he explains. “I wanted other people to see them as they are in the sea, so it was my motivation from the beginning to shoot plankton underwater, which is quite a challenge. Most plankton are small, and their movements are hard to predict.”
His solo exhibition Jewels in the Night Sea begins a three-city tour at Canon Gallery in Ginza, Tokyo from August 20-29, 2018. It will then move to Cannon galleries in Nagoya and Osaka from September 6-12 and September 20-26, 2018. You can see more of Minemizu’s underwater photography on Instagram and Twitter. Select prints from his Phenomenons series are available in his online shop. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
Abdominal fin of an unconventional trough pattern is large enough to ensure buoyancy. Body length: 35mm
Unknown a larval Gymnapogon
This fish resembles a color and a way to swim like a flatworm/body length 20mm
Batesian mimicry, larval fish of Soleichthys
Unlike as now that being shed by the tide, when it comes to adults it is not moving at the bottom of the deep sea.
Larval Tripod fish
A kind of Paralepididae, which is approaching with interest in the light.