Source: Introducing Winter on Mars
The iconic and breathtakingly beautiful coral reefs that are found around the world are truly a sight to behold. They are diverse underwater ecosystems that harbour some of the worlds most fantastic, joyous and in some instances deadly species. The Great Barrier Reef (photo in set) is colossal. I’m sure that it has made the bucket list of many people, some of you reading this may have been lucky enough to have seen it for yourself. However, much like a number of Earth’s natural wonders, human agency seems to lead to its destruction..
After recently becoming fascinated with astronomy, I thought I would expand on my original article – about the creation of atoms in the heart of dying stars – and make a mini blog series on astronomy. While it is my intention to write about all things space and physics that fascinate me, there is a LOT of ground to cover. It will therefore be a very brief and perhaps superficial look.
During its lifespan the Earth has experienced a number of the ice ages, also called glacial ages.
The were times of extreme cooling of the climate where ice sheets expanded to cover large areas of land. Between ice ages there were warmer interglacial periods and we are now living during such a time.
Many factors have altered the Earths climate over time, including tiny periodic variations in its orbit, the orientation of its spin axis and the movements of the continents. Surprisingly, throughout much of the Earth’s history global temperatures were on average 5 ºC warmer than today and the poles remained ice free.
Discoveries of new species tend to result from a combination of fortuitous luck and scientific nous. The discovery of Homo naledi certainly involved both.
In October, 2013, Rick Hunter and Steven tucker – both recreational cavers – stumbled across some human looking fossils in the Dinaledi cavern part of the Rising Star cave system. Initially fearing them to be the remains of fellow cavers they continued to see how far the cavern went back. On their return journey it became apparent that they may have stumbled upon some hominid fossils – previously, they had been told to be on the look out for fossils in this hominid fossil rich area, dubbed the Cradle of Humankind.
After pictures were sent to Professor Lee Berger an expedition party was assembled. Not more than two months after the discovery of these bones the excavation began…
Henry Cavendish born in Nice, France in 1731 was a british physicist, a chemist, a natural philosopher and among other things one of the greatest scientific minds of the century. While he may give Sir Isaac Newton a run for his money in pure brilliance, he could completely surpass him in strangeness. He attended Dr Newcomb’s academy in England and Cambridge in 1749. He was so reserved from society that there is very little record of him, other than the odd venture into society to meet with some scientific peers.
The Homo genus originated in Africa around 2-3 million years ago (mya), as the lineage split from the Australopithecine line (Henke and Hardt 2011), the following wide-spread dispersal lead to the colonisation of almost every habitat on Earth as we see today. It is thought that Australopethicines adaptations were confined to habitats in Africa by ecological, physical or climatic reasons, and the adaptations of the Homo species were able to overcome this (Henke and Hardt 2011).
We seem to see the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) more and more in recent years. Most recently we’ve seen the first genetically modified salmon cleared to enter the food chain by the FDA and there is also GMO pork in development.
Genetically modified food is not permitted anywhere in the world. This is due to public weariness with polls showing 52% of people believe GMO foods are unsafe and a further 13% unsure.
This is the first edition of my new weekly series ‘Simple Sunday’. The idea for this series was initially formed from a Carl Sagan quote I happened to stumble across..
‘“I think I’m able to explain things because understanding wasn’t entirely easy for me. Some things that the most brilliant students were able to see instantly I had to work to understand. I can remember what I had to do to figure it out. The very brilliant ones figure it out so fast they never see the mechanics of understanding.”
This weekly series will really try to encompass this quote by taking difficult concepts and breaking them down to their base ideas to try and help you guys understand them. This is also great because for me to even try and simplify concepts I have to learn the ins and outs too!
Located in the maldives, known as ‘the sea of stars’ Vaadhoo island is breathtaking. The pinpricks of brilliant blue light seem to mimic the stars above and make for some incredible natural lighting.
You may have read in the news recently that our last line of defence against bacterial infection has come under serious threat. While hospitals are already forced into using ‘last-resort‘ antibiotics, new research results suggest we may reach breaking point soon.
This final stand against the tide of antibacterial infection comes in the form of Polymyxin. A group of antibiotics with a general structure of a cyclic peptide and a long hydrocarbon tail. They kill bacteria by binding with lipids in the phospolipid membrane and thus disintegrating it. While this group of antibiotics was developed around 60 years ago they are rarely used. This is because they are both neuro- and nephrotoxic; affecting both the nervous system and the kidneys.