Environmental Issues, News, World Problems

California lost half its large trees since 1930, steep decline continues

large tree

California’s large trees or those larger than two feet in diameter have declined in numbers to half that recorded in a 1930 census, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The leading cause of the demise is thought to be rising surface temperatures which but high stress on large trees, along with water shortages.

Did you know?, Physics, Space

How fire burns in zero gravity

fire-zerogravity

In space, of course, you can’t have any fires because there isn’t any oxidizer (i.e. oxygen) to sustain the combustion process. Inside a spacecraft or in the International Space Station, however, things are a bit different. Inside you have the same air mixture as on Earth, but because gravity is millions of times smaller an open flame behaves significantly different.

News, Physics

Speed of light slowed down by changing its shape

speed of light

Nothing can travel faster than light in vacuum, per Einstein, but in the real world light travels at variable speed as it passes through a medium, be it air, water or glass. Physicists at University of Glasgow now demonstrate that its not only the medium that can slow down light, but also shape after they performed an experiment where light traveled through a ”mask”.

Climate, News, World Problems

New subglacial lakes discovered in Greenland accelerating melting

Meltwater on the Greenland ice sheet carved this canyon. Credit: IAN JOUGHIN

Using satellite imagery, scientists have discovered two new subglacial lakes under Greenland’s ice sheet bringing the total number to four. The discovery is not well met, however. These lakes are already drained, signaling that climate change is making its way beneath the Greenland ice sheet. The discovery suggests subglacial lakes could increase the sensitivity of ice to climatic change, further accelerating ice melt which can lead to catastrophic floods.

Diseases, Health & Medicine, News

A third of Americans think antibiotics cure the flu

antibiotic for flu

A lot of Americans seem to be confused about what are antibiotics and what they’re good for. According to a YouGov survey (full results), a third of American correspondents replied that antibiotics can cure the flu, while a third also thought that vaccines can give you the flu. It goes without saying that this is false. The findings suggest an over prevalence of thought that antibiotics are “good for everything”, an abuse that might cost public health dearly.

Did you know?, Feature Post

Why Chinese men are the most single in the world: the perils of gender imbalance in China

china_workers_quer_1_112624

Possibly the greatest demographic challenge China is facing has due to do with a hugely discrepant gender imbalance. On average, 118 boys are born for every 100 girls compared to the world average of 103 to 107, respectively. The effects of the imbalance are already felt by an aging population and in time, it could seriously affect Chinese society for the worse.

Did you know?, Health & Medicine

Why you get zapped when you hit your elbow – the hilarious funny bone

funny bonny

We’ve all hit our elbow a rough couple of times before, so you must remember what follows: a gripping tingling suddenly engulfs your whole arm in tandem with excruciating pain. It all feels like a million volts of electricity just passed through you. Usually, this numbness only lasts a couple of minutes, but if it doesn’t go away then this is the case for a doctor. If you ever wondered what causes this strange sensation, read on.

News, Technology, Videos

Russian military ‘Daft Punk’ biker parades in circles riding a quad – Putin is visibly not impressed

robot-biker-0432

A popular staple in science fiction is the idea of a robot or robots in general designed to be the ultimate warrior. It’s a frightening thought – a robot doesn’t bleed, it follows orders to the very last line of code and bears no mercy. Luckily, judging from a recent video footage released by Russia Today this won’t happen for a long, long time. The report shows an embarrassing looking human-shaped robot that seems like a cross between a storm trooper and a Daft Punk. The autonomous bot rides a quad at low velocity through a training ground, but even the fires in the background doesn’t help the robot look any more menacing.