Dennis Mersereau
at 11:37 AM Oct 13 2017
Nature // 

Hurricane Ophelia is an odd storm. It's a picture-perfect hurricane with winds around 90 MPH, but that's not the odd part, of course. What makes this storm weird is its location. It's way out in the Atlantic, where it's usually too cool for hurricanes to develop—much less survive. Ophelia is so far off the beaten path that instead of heading for the Americas (as so many storms have this season), the system will evolve and threaten Ireland and the United Kingdom early next week.

Kendra Pierre-Louis
at 11:37 AM Oct 13 2017
Science // 

Once upon a time, Tabasco sauce was considered spicy and a jalapeno hit the upper threshold of heat for the American palate. But that was before 2007, when the Bhut jolokia—an Indian chili better known as the ghost pepper—became the first to top a million Scolville Heat Units (SHU), the measure of spicy pain. While your typical sweet pepper weighs in at zero on the Scolville scale, the ghost pepper's 1 million SHUS make it 125 times hotter than your hottest jalapeno; between 200 and 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce.

Claire Maldarelli
at 11:37 AM Oct 13 2017
Nature // 

In the past couple of years, you've likely heard much talk about the bacteria that live inside your digestive system, what scientists and doctors now call the gut microbiome. All that buzz is for good reason. Researchers have found that these tiny bugs can have an influence on our health, though how much and in what ways is still unknown. Store shelves are now full of products promising to deliver these beneficial bacteria, though many of them have little, if any, evidence to back up their claims.

Ellen Airhart
at 11:37 AM Oct 13 2017
Nature // 

In 1918, a ship beached on Lord Howe Island. It brought rodents to the lush, crescent-moon-shaped volcanic remnant in the Tasman Sea for the very first time. Without any predators to hold them back, the rats decimated native species of insects and birds.

Sara Chodosh
at 11:37 AM Oct 13 2017

It only took 181 years to eradicate smallpox once we had a way to inoculate against it. That cocktail was the first successful vaccine, and the basis for most future immunizations. And we're still not really sure what was in it.

Mary Beth Griggs
at 15:50 PM Oct 12 2017
Nature // 

We typically think of insects as pests or pestilences, carrying disease or gnawing their way through our gardens before we can get a bite. But they are also gorgeous creatures, as photographer Levon Biss explores in his latest book, Microsculpture: Portraits of Insects. The book is a continuation of his Microsculpture exhibit at Oxford's Museum of Natural History, which displayed bugs from the collection in a larger-than-life way.

Rachael Sharman / The Conversation
at 15:50 PM Oct 12 2017
Science // 

Most people are probably familiar with the classic fight or flight response to a feared stimulus. If a snake were to fall from the ceiling on top of you as you read this, you have two options: fight off the snake or get away from it as quickly as possible.

 
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