Science Illustrated1 min letti
Science Illustrated
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Science Illustrated7 min lettiPhysics
Cosmic speedometer displays two results: WHY DO WE LIVE IN A TWO-SPEED UNIVERSE?
PLANCK TYPE: Space telescope OPERATION: 2009-2013 WAVELENGTH: From micro waves to the infrared spectrum MISSION: Measuring temperature differences of cosmic background radiation You are driving in a car between two cities, trying to measure your spee
Science Illustrated1 min lettiChemistry
Living Bots Could Clean Oceans And Deliver Cancer Drugs
Different types of biobots can combine into pairs and cooperate. They can then do a job more efficiently – such as pushing tiny particles towards the same place. Scientists suggest that the biobots, which are quickly broken down in nature, could coll
Science Illustrated1 min letti
RAGWORM The ‘King Ragworm’ (Alitta virens) can grow to more than a metre in length; a Russian photographer captured this example in the Russian White Sea. Despite its name, the worm’s life is not very regal. It resides in the darkness of the deep sea
Science Illustrated1 min lettiPhysics
Measurements Produce Two Results
Supernovas light up with a known light intensity. A doubling of the distance results in a quartering of light intensity, as it is distributed across a larger area. So the light intensity shows how far away the star is. When a supernova is travelling
Science Illustrated6 min lettiChemistry
Our Endless Craving For Rare Metals Is CREATING AN OCEAN-FLOOR GOLD RUSH
Back in 1872, HMS Challenger left the harbour of Portsmouth to begin a 1000-day expedition ion across the oceans. Scientists aboard the ship collected data on temperatures, ocean currents and chemical variations in the ocean water, and they took samp
Science Illustrated7 min letti
Best Home Identified For First Martian Colonists
SPACE Scientists and science-fiction writers have long suggested that the safest place to build a base on Mars might be in lava tunnels created by volcanoes that are now extinct. Unlike Earth, Mars does not have a magnetic field that protects against
Science Illustrated1 min lettiPhysics
Matter And Dark Energy Pull In Opposite Directions
Stars, planets, and elementary particles that we can observe, are ordinary matter. All matter attracts other matter – and the attraction is recorded as gravity. Gravity contracts the universe, or counteracts its expansion. Like ordinary matter, dark
Science Illustrated1 min letti
Ocean ‘Vacuum Cleaner’ Swallows Metal Nodules
The Patania II is controlled from a mining ship via a cable. The cable also carries the robot’s weight of 25 tonnes as it is lowered and raised to/from the ocean floor at a depth of 4.5km. The manganese nodules form on small shells or shark teeth, wh
Science Illustrated2 min lettiChemistry
Sweaty Solar Panels
TECHNOLOGY Engineers across the world are searching for ways to improve the efficiency of solar panels. As new materials and designs are tested, any efficiency improvement – even a few percent – is announced as a breakthrough. Most solar panels conve
Science Illustrated1 min lettiPhysics
A Flat Universe – Or A Closed Ball?
If the average quantity of matter and energy – the density – of the universe is high, it bends inwards like a ball. Scientists call such a universe ‘closed’, because two light beams that are sent off on parallel paths will eventually approach each ot
Science Illustrated1 min letti
Ocean Mines: Green Boost Or A Ruined Ecosystem?
The ocean floor includes metals that will be in short supply in a greening world where electric cars replace petrol-powered cars, with demand for car batteries set to explode over the next 10 years. As well as lithium, an electric battery typically i
Science Illustrated2 min lettiScience & Mathematics
Mars Was Once A Ringed Planet – And Its Rings Will Return
ASTRONOMY An effort to explain the path of one of the moons of Mars has led to a surprising conclusion: Mars has a past in which various moons formed and disintegrated. During some period, the Red Planet must have had rings like Saturn – and it proba
Science Illustrated3 min letti
Summer Is The Season For Feasting On Human Blood
Each time you swat a bloodthirsty mosquito, you’re destroying a perfect little machine. When a female mosquito is ready to develop eggs, she needs blood. For this purpose the mosquito has developed a proboscis that consists of a sheath surrounding a
Science Illustrated2 min lettiPsychology
Reveal Your Brain’s Deceit
You are a quality control officer in a factory that makes playing cards. All cards must meet one requirement: if the number on the card is even, it MUST be red. You do not have enough time to check all the cards, so your challenge is to turn over onl
Science Illustrated2 min letti
Teaching Humans To Hibernate
MEDICINE The idea of making astronauts hibernate on long space missions often appears in science fiction, but now it is one step closer to reality. Scientists from the University of Tsukuba in Japan have made mice and rats hibernate, even though they
Science Illustrated2 min letti
Ticks Inject Saliva To Mask Their Attack
There are 17 human-biting ticks in Australia, according to research published in 2019 by an international team including scientists from the University of Sydney and Macquarie University. Ornithodoros gurneyi can cause severe local and systemic react
Science Illustrated1 min lettiBiology
Coming Up On Sale 4 January 2021
Scientists have designed a virus and infected brain cells with it so that they produce a chemical that dampens anxiety. The method has proven effective in monkeys, and scientists believe that humans might also be vaccinated against many forms of anxi
Science Illustrated7 min lettiChemistry
Could CRISPR Kill Cancer Cells?
GENE TECHNOLOG Yes it could: indeed DNA editing using CRISPR-Cas9 ‘gene scissors’ is already used in cancer treatment. But the most promising editing is not aimed directly at cancer cells, instead employing immune therapy to improve the body’s own de
Science Illustrated2 min lettiNature
Horsefly Cuts A Hole In Your Skin
Horseflies are one of the most common groups of bloodsuckers; they exist throughout the world in some 3000 species, and Australia has around 200 of those. They can be one of the most painful bloodsuckers around in the summer, as like midges they cut
Science Illustrated1 min letti
Why Do Christmas Island Crabs Swarm Every Year?
NATURE Once a year on Christmas Island, Australia’s distant territory in the Indian Ocean, some 120 million terrestrial crabs migrate from the jungle to the water to breed. The crabs swarm during the rainy season, between October and December. When t
Science Illustrated8 min letti
Everybody Can Have A Good Hair Day!
THE FOLLICULAR CHALLENGE FOR SCIENCE One single delicate hair stands up, surrounded by an excited team of scientists. The small hair is not very impressive in itself – it can’t be used to treat disease or feed the world. But it is, nevertheless, a hu
Science Illustrated1 min lettiChemistry
… Bacteria Can Feed On Oil Pollution?
CHEMISTRY Scientists know of more than 500 organisms that can consume different types of hydrocarbons, including oil. The most specialised is a genus of bacteria known as Alcanivorax, which survives almost solely from breaking down crude oil. The spe
Science Illustrated1 min lettiBiology
Your Hair Falls Out After Five Years
Hair growth begins when a group of stem cells moves from the side to the bottom of a hair follicle, where there is a hair papilla in which blood vessels supply oxygen and nutrients to the cells. The stem cells develop into hair cells and divide over
Science Illustrated2 min lettiNature
Why Do Silverfish Live In Bathrooms?
ZOOLOGY If you have silverfish in your bathroom, laundry room or basement boiler room, it is primarily a symptom of high air humidity, usually in combination with high temperatures. It’s often said that silverfish will be more likely to invade a bath
Science Illustrated1 min lettiNature
Hair Invades Science
The sea otter has the densest fur of any animal. Every square centimetre of skin includes 140,000 hair follicles, making the fur 100% waterproof. In comparison, humans have 100 hair follicles per cm2. Black holes – extremely massive objects in space
Science Illustrated1 min lettiChemistry
Does Honey Really Never Go Off?
CHEMISTRY If honey is kept in a jar with a tightfitting lid so that no moisture can enter, it should last effectively forever. The lack of an expiry date is due to a combination of very high sugar content, special enzymes, and low water content. When
Science Illustrated1 min lettiBiology
Hair Cells Reveal Your Mental Health
The MPST gene is hyperactive in the brain cells of schizophrenics. The gene codes for an enzyme that contributes to producing hydrogen sulphide, so that schizophrenics produce excessive quantities of it. Hydrogen sulphide is an antioxidant that prote
Science Illustrated2 min lettiScience & Mathematics
… A Bright Star Shone Above Bethlehem?
ASTRONOMY The shining star that heralded the birth of Jesus is mentioned only in the Gospel of Matthew, and the text is not very scientifically informative, making it difficult to identify the star as a celestial event. The uncertainty of an accurate
Science Illustrated2 min lettiBiology
Five Myths About Hair
TRUE Scientists used to think that the cause of sudden grey hair growth was solely genetic, but new research from Harvard University in the US demonstrates that stress can also play an important role. In stressful situations, the nervous system liber
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