Size matters: meet the world’s biggest jet engine

The GE9X on a test bed in Ohio. Credit: GE Aviation

This beast is called GE9X — the largest jet engine ever built. Standing at 13 feet in diameter, it’s wider than a Boeing 737’s fuselage.

How scientists are using climate records made by 15th century Japanese monks

Omiwatari on Lake Suwa in Japan. (Ozawajun/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-3.0)

If you’re old enough, you might remember how some flowers around where you live blossom earlier or that summers and winters are unusually harsh. In short, freak weather is more common to the point it’s becoming the new norm. Human memory is fallible, which is why we keep records of things like temperature, humidity, concentration of gases in the atmosphere and so on. These record don’t go back that long though — maybe only a century. Some, however, go way back and scientists are using these to keep track of climate change over the centuries.

Fracking caused widespread contamination in North Dakota, new study finds

Nancy Lauer and Jennifer Harkness sample water and soil. (Photo: Avner Vengosh)

Wastewater spills from hydraulic fracking in North Dakota caused widespread water and soil contamination, a new Duke University study finds. Hydraulic fracking involves injecting highly pressurized fluids into subsurface rocks, creating a system of fissures through which the hydrocarbons can escape. There are many environmental issues associated with this technique, one of them being that the entire thing is difficult to control.

How much renewable energy does the world use

renewable energy

According to the Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) from REN21, roughly a fifth of the world’s electrical power production now comes from renewable sources. When will we see a full transition, though?

We still don’t know which gut bacteria is beneficial, but scientists have some good hints

Bacteria

There’s good bacteria and bad bacteria, but the gut seems to be so diverse in its bacterial offering from person to person that scientists have always found it difficult to say “hey, this is what a healthy microbiome should look like.” Analyzing thousands of bacteria species in your guy is challenging and we’re still not there, but a recent effort involving 4,000 participants has some good hints as to what makes a healthy gut.

French rivers dyed green to raise awareness about water pollution

The dye dones't harm the fish, according to environmentalists, via AgentsEnvir / Facebook

The visual effect was extremely strong, and everything was completely safe, activists say.

Say what you want about it, but solar energy is becoming dirt cheap

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Solar is becoming cheaper – fast.

Deep male voices might have evolved to intimidate other males, not attract females

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A deep, low pitch voice is often sought after in a man, but a new study suggests this characteristic might have evolved to intimidate other males, not attract females.

Why we’re in love with anti-heroes

Walter White, a chemistry teacher goes breaking bad after he's diagnosed with cancer. Image: CNBC

How can some people actually like a serial killer, like Dexter from the eponymous TV show ? What about a meth dealer like Walter White from Breaking Bad or Tony Soprano, the gangster from HBO’s The Sopranos?

Thirty three lions rescued from South American circuses and brought to African sanctuary

Animals don't belong in a circus.

Lions previously held by circuses across South America were rescued and will be flown back to Africa, where they will spend the rest of their days in a safe sanctuary. It almost seems like a fairy-tale ending – after spending most or all of their life trapped in circuses in appalling conditions, these lions will finally get the chance to