Jellyfish-like salp are amazing swimmers, converting their gelatinous bodies into efficient undersea propulsion systems. But these tiny creatures can move even faster and further when banding together to create long, snake-like chains. Researchers have finally figured out how this unusual configuration makes salp even better swimmers. Salps are tiny, barrel-shaped marine invertebrates that move through the water by pumping liquid through their gelatinous bodies with pulsed contractions. At the same time, filters along the salps’ bodies strain the incoming water, providing the animals with nutritious phytoplankton. These creatures are capable of living in equatorial, temperate, or cold seas, and are most abundant in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, where they form enormous swarms. They can often be found in long inter-chained links, with colonies up to 15 feet long (4.5 meters). Advertisement New research published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface shows that … [Read more...] about These Jelly-Like Critters Form Serpentine Chains to Become Incredible Swimmers
Semi autonomous in biology
We’ve been fantasizing about self-driving cars for decades; the luxury of napping, watching TV, or reading while a robot car takes us to our destination. The first truly autonomous car debuted in the 1980s from Carnegie Mellon University’s Navlab project, and in the last four decades transportation has rapidly evolved into chauffeur-esque services like Uber and Lyft. But what are the real implications of this impending driverless future? New data from Uber and Lyft might give us a window to our unregulated driverless future: increased congestion and emissions. Automated vehicles are an oft-overlooked issue in climate policy, even though transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and traffic congestion is at an all-time high in many cities. A future where cars drive themselves will ideally cut down our time spent unproductively sitting in traffic, reduce air pollution, and make transportation more accessible for underserved groups. But … [Read more...] about Uber and Lyft Induced Congestion Give a Preview of Driverless Car Hell
Everyone feels something when they're in a really good starry place a really good starry place on a really good starry night and they look up and see this: Advertisement Some people stick with the traditional, feeling struck by the epic beauty or blown away by the insane scale of the universe. Personally, I go for the old "existential meltdown followed by acting weird for the next half hour." But everyone feels something. Physicist Enrico Fermi felt something too—"Where is everybody?" A really starry sky seems vast—but all we're looking at is our very local neighborhood. On the very best nights, we can see up to about 2,500 stars (roughly one hundred-millionth of the stars in our galaxy), and almost all of them are less than 1,000 light years away from us (or 1% of the diameter of the Milky Way). So what we're really looking at is this: When confronted with the topic of stars and galaxies, a question that tantalizes most humans is, "Is there other intelligent life out … [Read more...] about The Fermi Paradox: Where the Hell Are the Other Earths?
Goop published an interview about “protecting yourself from wifi & cellphone toxicity” today with a nutritionist whose genre of “detoxification” diet advice has been called “tantamount to fraud” by an actual doctor. Nutritionist Ann Louise Gittlemen is basically your mom’s version of Food Babe—a fearmongering opportunist who uses buzzwords like “organic” to freak people out about modernity. She’s most famous for her utterly unhealthy detox plan, the Fat Flush Cleanse. But she has expanded into a new genre of terrible advice. Advertisement Here is a sampling of some of the very wrong things Gittlemen says, published by Goop: The bad news, unfortunately, is that cell phone radiation has been associated with many types of cancer, the best known being brain tumors. The longer the hours of use, and years of use, the greater the risk. This is not true. Linking cell phone radiation with cancer is a great way to … [Read more...] about Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Consults ‘Fat Flush’ Diet Quack About ‘Cell Phone Toxicity’