Earth

Consumption vortex and the terrifying mathematics of the Anthropocene

Consumption vortex and the terrifying mathematics of the Anthropocene

Here are some surprising facts about humans’ effect on planet Earth. We have made enough concrete to create an exact replica of Earth 2mm thick. We have produced enough plastic to wrap Earth in clingfilm. We are creating “technofossils”, a new term for congealed human-made materials – plastics and concretes – that will be around for tens of millions of years.

Journey to the center of the core of the Earth

Journey to the center of the core of the Earth

About 85 percent of the Earth's core is made of iron, while nickel makes up an additional 10 percent. What is the final 5 percent? A variety of of light elements, it's been assumed, but no one knows.

The core, which is the deepest region of the Earth, is composed of a liquid outer core (2900~5100 km in depth) and solid inner core (5100~6400 km in depth). The core is one of the most important "final frontiers" for scientists looking to understand the history of Earth, and the conditions during its formation 4.5 billion years ago.

Good news: Animal species in today's oceans most diverse ever

One of the most frustrating claims by people raising money promoting an environmental apocalypse has been that species are about to go extinct or diversity will be lost. It leads to rampant distrust in science because advocates know if their side is spinning facts to suit an agenda, the science side might be too.

There are thriving wildlife populations in Chernobyl

There are thriving wildlife populations in Chernobyl

A team of international researchers, including James Beasley, assistant professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Georgia Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and the Warnell School Forestry and Natural Resources, has discovered abundant populations of wildlife at Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 nuclear accident that released radioactive particles into the environment and forced a massive evacuation of the human population.

Hawaiian fruit flies had multiple ancestors

Hawaiian fruit flies had multiple ancestors

Like African cichlids and the Darwin finches found on the Galapagos Islands, Hawaiian drosophilids are a striking example of a single lineage diversifying by adapting to a wide variety of environments. The Hawaiian drosophilids are broadly divided into two main groups: the Hawaii-endemic genus Idiomyia and the Scaptomyza genus. About 60 percent of Scaptomyza species are unique to the Hawaiian Islands, with the other 40 percent distributed around the world.

The Alps are growing

The Alps are growing

The Alps are steadily "growing" by about one to two millimeters per year. Likewise, the formerly glaciated subcontinents of North America and Scandinavia are also undergoing constant upward movement.

Formaldehyde formed during chemical breakdown of the flavored liquid in E-cigarettes

Atmospheric scientists at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) have turned their attention toward the growing e-cigarette industry and found that toxic aldehydes, such as formaldehyde, are formed during the chemical breakdown of the flavored e-liquid during the rapid heating process (pyrolysis) that occurs inside e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

Swimming lizards of the Antarctic seas

Swimming lizards of the Antarctic seas

Kaikaifilu is a new species of giant sea lizard (mosasaur) discovered in 66 million year-old rocks of Antarctica. At about 10 m long, it is the largest known top marine predator from this continent. It lived near the end of the dinosaur age, when Antarctica was a much warmer ecosystem, and fed on filter-feeding marine reptiles.

Evolution from single-celled ancestors to multi-celled organisms, now with less drama

Evolution from single-celled ancestors to multi-celled organisms, now with less drama

The first animals evolved from their single-celled ancestors around 800 million years ago, but a new paper suggests that this leap was a lot less dramatic than scientists have assumed, because the single-celled ancestor of animals likely already had some of the mechanisms that animal cells use today to develop into different tissue types.

Plastic: There's value in marine waste

Plastic: There's value in marine waste

The Biomat research group of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) is using marine waste on the Basque coast (squid, fish and algae waste) to obtain new materials. This line of research is offering a fresh take on plastics aligned with the principles of the circular economy, which is based on preserving and improving natural capital by controlling finite stocks and balancing the flows of renewable resources.