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Rare "Corpse Flower" Blooms at Kew Gardens, Witnessed by Us

An extraordinary event has taken place at Kew Gardens in London, where the rare and smelly "corpse flower" known as Titan arum has bloomed. This unique plant, which takes 7-9 years to bloom and only lasts for a day or two, has attracted visitors eager to witness its impressive size and foul odor. The flower, native to Sumatra, Indonesia, produces a scent reminiscent of a dead animal to attract pollinators, such as flies. Despite its short lifespan, the Titan arum is a marvel of evolution, requiring significant energy to produce its distinctive smell and size. Botanical gardens like Kew work diligently to protect and cultivate this endangered species, with multiple plants in their collection. Visitors are encouraged to experience the rare bloom firsthand before it collapses within a few days. sources

Published:
Jun 15 2024, 1 am

Asteroid that killed dinosaurs may have created wine

Scientists have discovered the oldest grape in the Western Hemisphere, a fossilized seed named Lithouva, dating back approximately 60 million years in Colombia. This finding, along with other grape seeds ranging from 60 to 19 million years old in Colombia, Panama, and Peru, suggests that the proliferation of grapes may have been influenced by environmental changes following the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Lead author Fabiany Herrera believes that the absence of large animals post-extinction allowed for forests to change, creating opportunities for grapes and other species to spread globally. The discovery, detailed in a paper published in Nature Plants, sheds light on the impact of the extinction event on plant life and the subsequent evolution of grapes in the region. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 7 pm

7 "Alien Megastructure" Candidates Actually Hot Dogs

In a surprising turn of events, seven potential candidates for Dyson spheres, alien megastructures built around stars to harness energy, have been debunked as hot dogs. Astronomers conducting follow-up investigations found that these candidates were likely misidentified, with nearby dust obscured galaxies (DOGs) and hot DOGs contributing to the measured infrared flux densities. Despite this setback, the search for megastructures continues, offering the possibility of discovering other unusual star systems or extreme debris disks. The findings were published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Research Notices of the American Astronomical Society, shedding light on the challenges and complexities of identifying potential alien megastructures in our galaxy. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 8 pm

Rare whale found on New Zealand beach

A spade-toothed whale, the world's rarest whale species, has been discovered washed ashore on a beach in Otago, New Zealand, marking only the sixth documented specimen of this elusive creature. Experts from the Department of Conservation and The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa were surprised by the find, as sightings of this species alive have never been reported. The 5-meter-long male beaked whale is believed to be a spade-toothed whale, known for their elusive nature and scarcity. While DNA testing is still needed to confirm its identity, this discovery is considered significant for scientific and conservation purposes. The Department of Conservation is working with local authorities to ensure appropriate respect for this rare species as they continue to learn more about it. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 7 pm

Differentiating and combating pseudoscience and anti-science

The internet, once envisioned as an "information superhighway," has become a breeding ground for pseudoscience and anti-science beliefs, as highlighted in a recent paper. Pseudoscience, exemplified by practices like acupuncture, relies on the placebo effect rather than scientific evidence. On the other hand, anti-science movements, such as the anti-vax movement and Flat Earth conspiracy, outright reject scientific authority. While countering pseudoscience involves fact-checking and debunking, anti-science arguments are more resistant to rational arguments and may require a different approach. The key is to engage with these beliefs on their own terms, rather than trying to rationalize them out of existence. Ultimately, the rise of pseudoscience and anti-science poses a challenge to the dissemination of accurate information and highlights the importance of addressing these beliefs in a nuanced manner. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 6 pm

Five people drive into acidic lake in Yellowstone Park

Five visitors accidentally drove their SUV into the Semi-Centennial Geyser, a hot, acidic pond in Yellowstone National Park. The geyser, inactive since 1922, has water temperatures of 105 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH just above three. The car was fully submerged under nine feet of hot, acidic water, but all occupants escaped with non-life-threatening injuries. The roadway was temporarily closed for car retrieval, and the incident is under investigation. With over 10,000 hydrothermal features in the park, tourists are reminded to stay informed about road conditions and stay safe. Yellowstone also faces a high fire danger, but the biggest threat to tourists may be their own risky behavior, as seen in previous incidents involving dangerous geysers and bison encounters. Park rangers continue to face challenges in ensuring visitor safety. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 4 pm

High school student creates vertical landing model rocket

A high school student, Aryan Kapoor, has successfully created a model rocket that can land vertically after three years of hard work. This impressive feat, akin to SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster, showcases Kapoor's innovative approach using thrust vector control instead of traditional fins for stability. The rocket's flight is controlled by software, making it a remarkable achievement for a student project. Despite initial challenges with altitude measurement during test flights, Kapoor persevered and finally achieved a successful landing in May 2024. His accomplishment has garnered attention and admiration, with many suggesting that someone at SpaceX should consider hiring this talented young engineer. sources

Published:
Jul 15 2024, 5 pm

Effects of Long-Haul Flights on Body and Coping Strategies

Flying can be exciting, but it can take a toll on our bodies. Spending hours in a plane can lead to dry skin, lips, nose, and eyes due to the low humidity in the cabin. While dehydration is a concern, the risk is minimal if you stay hydrated. Blood clots, known as deep vein thrombosis, can also form during long flights, especially if you remain immobile for extended periods. To prevent this, it is recommended to move around the plane, do exercises, and wear compression stockings. Additionally, jet lag can occur after crossing multiple time zones, causing disrupted sleep and fatigue. To minimize its effects, adjusting your sleep schedule before the trip and strategically managing sleep and caffeine intake can help. Overall, staying hydrated, moving around, and adjusting to time zone changes can make air travel more comfortable and healthier for passengers. sources

Published:
Jul 13 2024, 4 pm

Discovering the meaning behind QR codes

QR codes, initially developed in 1994 by Masahiro Hara and his team at DENSO, have recently experienced a resurgence during the COVID-19 pandemic as a touchless way to relay information. The code system, which stands for "Quick Response," was inspired by the strategic game Go and was created to address the limitations of traditional barcodes. Hara, the inventor, expressed surprise at the diverse applications of QR codes, including financial payments and tracking infections. With the ability to store a significant amount of information and remain scannable even when distorted, QR codes have proven to be highly practical. Looking ahead, Hara has hinted at developing a new version of the QR code, potentially incorporating colors and a rectangular shape to store even more data. sources

Published:
Jul 13 2024, 4 pm

Long-term COVID symptoms persist years after initial infection

A recent study has found that signs of the COVID virus can linger in the body for years after the original infection, shedding light on the mysterious condition known as Long COVID. The study, which followed 24 COVID patients over a period of up to 900 days, revealed a potential factor that has previously gone unnoticed: T cells. These immune cells have been linked to COVID-19 in previous studies, with the latest research showing patterns of long-term T cell activation that may explain the persistence of Long COVID symptoms. While the study isn't definitive, it represents a significant step in understanding the disease process and could pave the way for new treatments. The findings were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, offering hope to the millions of patients suffering from Long COVID. sources

Published:
Jul 13 2024, 5 pm

Don't Dig Holes on the Beach - Here's Why

Digging deep holes on the beach can be more dangerous than you think, with statistics showing that more people die from sand suffocation than shark attacks. The stability of dry sand is crucial, as slopes beyond 33 degrees can become unstable, leading to collapses that can be deadly. Unlike in movies, where quicksand seems like a major threat, in reality, it is difficult for a human to become completely submerged. A 2005 study found that humans are about half the density of quicksand, making it unlikely for someone to be sucked completely under. If caught in quicksand, the best course of action is to ditch heavy items and distribute weight evenly to make it easier to escape. So, while quicksand may not be as deadly as once thought, it's still important to avoid digging deep holes on the beach to prevent accidents and suffocation. sources

Published:
Jul 11 2024, 12 am

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