When we eat, we're not just feeding ourselves. The multitude of microbes that reside inside our guts get fed, too. These microscopic beings are crucial to our survival, yet we still know very little about how they keep us thriving. Understanding what makes a microbiome particularly healthy could help us cultivate the ideal colonies inside our stomachs. For now, all scientists really know is that it seems to be better to have a diverse group of microbes than a more homogenous bunch—and that our internal critters change drastically in response to our dietary habits.
When subjected to the pressures (and temperatures) of other planets, even familiar substances can get pretty alien. Case in point: the diamond rains of the ice giants. Scientists have long thought that massive planets like Neptune and Uranus—which probably-maybe (or maybe-probably) contain relatively tiny rocky cores covered with a mantle of slurried water, ammonia, and methane ices and surrounded by a thick atmosphere — are subject to rain made of literal diamonds. Now researchers have synthesised the process in a lab, showing how such conditions might occur.
B vitamins are often sold with the promise of boosting flagging energy levels. But men who smoke might want to skip them, according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. While smoking kills some six million people a year, the study found that men who smoked and took large doses of vitamins B6 or B12 significantly increased their risk of lung cancer.
Life on Earth has survived vast changes in climate, from a warm period 450 million years ago, when most of the present-day United States was underwater, to the last ice age 20,000 years ago, when New England was buried beneath a mile-thick glacier. Though climate change triggered mass extinctions, life went on.
So you looked. Everyone told you not to, but it seemed so easy to sneak one little peek. Or maybe you just thought it would be okay to watch through a pair of sunglasses. Sure, you wouldn't stare at the sun through your sunglasses normally. But you were sure it was fine to chance it for such a momentous occasion.
Last week, China's dominant fighting vehicle manufacturer, China North Industries Corporation (Norinco), displayed a bevy of export armored vehicles as part of its Armor Day celebrations. These festivities, now in their second year, laud the power of Chinese military and offer an occasion to show off to senior foreign military officers, who were likely there as potential buyers.
That's a wrap on another total solar eclipse. And while the coincidental geometry and views of the phenomenon are certainly awe-inspiring, it's worth noting it's not that hard to see a total eclipse. Yes, it's a rare scenario—the last time the path of totality swept across the entire nation was in 1918—but a smaller swath of the country will be hit with totality in 2024, and 2045 will usher in a path almost as nation-wide as the one we were treated to this year. If you're willing and able to travel a smidgen further, South America is set to see total eclipses in 2019 and 2020.
A syzygy feels magical, and not just because it gets you at least 25 points in Scrabble. The whole concept of celestial bodies aligning feels poetic. When it results in a total solar eclipse here on Earth, you can feel for a few moments as though you're part of something much greater and grander than yourself. The transience only makes it more beautiful. Which is why thousands of people will flock to the path of totality on August 21, 2017: to witness a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.
You know that thing where Australians don't want nuclear reactors built in our own backyard? Yeah, China doesn't have that. It's well on its way to becoming a world leader in nuclear power; its 37 reactors are already producing 32.4 gigawatts of electricity, and more than 20 more reactors are currently under construction
The shivers, the shakes, the chills—we've all experienced a fever at one time or another. When we take our temperatures and the thermometer reads anything above 99 degrees, many of us immediately believe we are afflicted with some kind of infectious microbe. But, in fact, having a fever doesn't always signal infection. Yes, contagions like strep throat or the flu, are the most common reason for an elevated temperature, but it's surely not the only one. More uncommon ailments like brain injury, reactions to legal and illegal drugs, and even cancer can raise your body temperature above its natural level. But don't freak out, yet. Knowing what the causes are and how they can occur can help you make the most informed decision about your elevated body temperature.
Imagine. You are an ancient human and your reliable and faithful sun suddenly and unexpectedly goes dark. This terrifies you. You think, 'What if it never comes back? Oh gods, WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO DESER...oh, it's back. Phew.' But then, over the years, it keeps happening. You begin to lose trust in the sun's loyalty and start recording when these events happen. Centuries go by and eventually enough of a pattern has built up that early civilizations are able to predict when these crazy events might occur.