It is a fail-safe seed storage facility, built to stand the test of time — and the challenge of natural or man-made disasters. The Seed Vault represents the world’s largest collection of crop diversity.
Tardigrades are known to be able to go for decades without food or water, to survive temperatures from near absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, to survive pressures from near zero to well above that on ocean floors, and to survive direct exposure to dangerous radiations.
In the south-east of Romania, in Constanța county close to the Black Sea and the Bulgarian border, there lies a barren featureless plain. The desolate field is completely unremarkable, except for one thing.
Below it lies a cave that has remained isolated for 5.5 million years. While our ape-like ancestors were coming down from the trees and evolving into modern humans, the inhabitants of this cave were cut off from the rest of the planet.
Despite a complete absence of light and a poisonous atmosphere, the cave is crawling with life. There are unique spiders, scorpions, woodlice and centipedes, many never before seen by humans, and all of them owe their lives to a strange floating mat of bacteria.
The brilliant flash of an exploding star’s shockwave—what astronomers call the “shock breakout” — is illustrated in this cartoon animation. The animation begins with a view of a red supergiant star that is 500 times bigger and 20,000 brighter than our sun. When the star’s internal furnace can no longer sustain nuclear fusion its core to collapses under gravity. A shockwave from the implosion rushes upward through the star’s
“This is a case where you can be so right and yet so wrong,” says Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke. “We were right on factual arguments and yet so wrong on arguing. It’s not a matter of being right. It’s a matter of engaging the right way and finding a solution.” He adds: “We live in an ambiguous world. We have to be able to cope with that.”
Where exactly are the words in your head? Scientists have created an interactive map showing which brain areas respond to hearing different words. The map reveals how language is spread throughout the cortex and across both hemispheres, showing groups of words clustered together by meaning. The beautiful interactive model allows us to explore the complex organisation of the enormous dictionaries in our heads.
But when her colleague, Rodrigo Moura of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, dredged small areas near the shelf that day in 2012, he uncovered one of the most surprising finds in modern sea research–an extensive deepwater reef system up to 120 kilometers offshore, below the Amazon’s thick, dirty plume.
Einstein’s theory of general relativity, explained using only the thousand most common words in English
Two of his biggest ideas were about how space and time work. This thing you’re reading right now explains those ideas using only the ten hundred words people use the most often.1 The doctor figured out the first idea while he was working in an office, and he figured out the second one ten years later, while he was working at a school. That second idea was a hundred years ago this year. (He also had a few other ideas that were just as important. People have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how he was so good at thinking.)
The problem is that we’ve always looked at zebras through the wrong eyes—ours. Human eyes are exceptionally good at resolving detail in daylight, so “we have a very odd appreciation of the coat of a zebra,” says Tim Caro from the University of California, Davis. By contrast, their main adversaries—lions and hyenas—have eyes with poorer resolution, but greater sensitivity at dawn, dusk, and darkness. So Caro, together with Amanda Melin from the University of Calgary worked out what zebras look like to these predators.