One of the biggest modern myths about agriculture is that organic farming is inherently sustainable. It can be, but it isn’t necessarily. After all, soil erosion from chemical-free tilled fields undermined the Roman Empire and other ancient societies around the world. Other agricultural myths hinder recognizing the potential to restore degraded soils to feed the world using fewer agrochemicals.
Without knowing it, most Americans rely every day on a class of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs. These man-made materials have unique qualities that make them extremely useful. They repel both water and grease, so they are found in food packaging, waterproof fabric, carpets and wall paint.
Cassini is the most sophisticated space probe ever built. Launched in 1997 as a joint NASA/European Space Agency mission, it took seven years to journey to Saturn. It’s been orbiting the sixth planet from the sun ever since, sending back data of immense scientific value and images of magnificent beauty.
A rare species of cuttlefish called Metasepia pfefferi, more commonly known as the Flamboyant Cuttlefish shows off his true colors in this remarkable video from the Aquarium of the Pacific in California. This species of cuttlefish occurrs in tropical Indo-Pacific waters off northern Australia, southern New Guinea, as well as numerous islands of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. The flesh of this colorful cephalopod contains unique acids, making it unsuitable for consumption and thus, highly poisonous.
Inspired by his dreams, self-taught photographer Adrien Broom sets up colorful art installations to capture amazing scenes. On display in 2015 at the Hudson River Museum, Broom uses the entire spectrum of the rainbow to create his own dream-like portrait for the eyes . The piece is meant to invoke the perception of a young girl and the simple joys of color.
A central theme of HBO’s new sci-fi series “Westworld” is the question of what it means to be human.
The setting is an immersive adult theme park that’s been fashioned after the American Old West and is inhabited by intelligent lifelike robots. Over the years, the robots – called hosts – have been updated to look and act more human. As a result, the hosts have started to deviate from their programming. They’ve become unpredictable – just like humans.
Behold a world of microscopic excellence with the 2014 Nikon Small World contest. 40 years running, the competition highlights the amazing world of photography taken under the microscope. Winners are set to be announced October 30th and the competition has received over 1,200 entries from over 79 different countries around the world.
In the spring of 1837, a “long, gawky, ugly, shapeless man” walked into Joshua Speed’s dry goods store in Springfield, Illinois, requesting supplies for a bed. Speed said the cost would be US$17, which ended up being too pricey for the visitor, who asked instead for credit until Christmas. The 23-year-old Speed was nonetheless taken with this stranger; he “threw such charm around him” and betrayed a “perfect naturalness.”
Humans and animals need to do several things to pass on their genes: eat, avoid being eaten, reproduce and sleep. Missing any of these biological imperatives leads to death. But when we’re asleep we can’t perform those other functions. One of modern science’s big mysteries, then, is: why do we sleep?