The past few years have seen marijuana become more accepted within the medical community as an increasingly useful pain treatment. But marijuana isn't alone. Groups of researchers across the country have also been studying the potential benefits of psilocybin, the hallucinogenic compound that gives so-called "magic mushrooms" their power. Soon the drug could become an effective medical treatment.
On Sunday, a NASA satellite caught a hypnotic image of wildfire smoke threading its way up from the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina. The sight of wildfires raging throughout the Southeast is news for some, but for the region it's confirmation of what locals have been going through for weeks. Since October, more than 150,000 acres have burned throughout Appalachia. But why?
For the past several years, every time a single barrel of oil gets pumped up from deep under the Earth's surface in Oklahoma, 10-15 barrels of salty, often contaminated wastewater gets pumped up with it. After being separated from the desired oil and gas, the water is injected back into the Earth, far enough down that the oil operators hope the watery byproduct won't contaminate groundwater supplies in the region. But, much like many toddlers, this part of the country hates injections.
"Lucy" has fascinated scientists ever since her 3.2-million-year-old skeleton was found in Ethiopia over 40 years ago. The exquisite Australopithecus afarensis specimen, one of the oldest and most complete human relatives ever found, gave researchers a glimpse back into a time when diminutive hominids, no larger than modern kindergarteners, took the first upright steps toward modernity.
If you're a large, tree-dwelling ape like an orangutan, what's the best way to get across a gap in the branches? Should you jump or swing across, or maybe climb down and cross the gap on the ground? Scientists suspect the ape's decision will depend on which method uses the least energy, but that has been difficult to study because orangutans are endangered and elusive. So a group of researchers in the U.K. turned to a different kind of ape: humans.
Japan was rattled yesterday by a large earthquake off the Pacific coast. It shook the nation and triggered a tsunami warning that sent people hurrying towards higher ground, waiting anxiously for the all-clear. The earthquake was large, but not monstrous. It attracted so much attention because it occurred just off the coast of Fukushima prefecture, where the largest recorded earthquake in Japan's history struck just five years ago.