Making sense of how life fits together - Bobbi Seleski
From something as miniscule as a cell to the biosphere we all call home, living things fit together in numerous interesting ways. Bobbi Seleski catalogs biology from our body and beyond, tracking how unicellular organisms, tissues, organs, organ systems, organisms, populations, communities, ecosystems, and our biosphere build off of each other and work together.
About 1.1 billion years from now, the sun will begin to change. As the hydrogen fuel in its core is used up, the burning will spread outward toward the surface. This will make the sun grow brighter. This increased radiation will have a devastating effect on our planet. Here’s what that might look like.
The Last Pictures: A collection of 100 photographs that will be etched onto an ultra-archival, golden silicon disc and sent into orbit on board the Echostar XVI satellite this month. It is a time capsule that is meant to outlast the Sun itself, a permanent record of our civilization. Read more about it @brainpickings.
Exciting news for people who are curious about where we came from and what makes our planet tick! Henry Reich, they guy behind MinutePhysics, has a new channel called MinuteEarth, all about how we know what we know about the history of our planet.
This unearthly, reddish river in southwestern Spain is unlike any you’ve ever seen before. The water gets its coloration from iron dissolved in the water, and is notable for being extremely acidic. This may not sound like a suitable place to find life, but living in the bizarre waters of Rio Tinto are extremophile aerobic microorganisms that feed on the iron and sulphide minerals plentiful in the river.
Scientists now believe that these conditions could be the perfect analogue to what happens when liquid water flows on other planets or moons, such as on Mars or perhaps on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. If life can survive under these conditions here on Earth, then it’s possible that it also has survived elsewhere, making Rio Tinto an important case study into astrobiology.
Earth teems with a staggering variety of animals, including 9,000 kinds of birds, 28,000 types of fish, and more than 350,000 species of beetles. What explains this explosion of living creatures—1.4 million different species discovered so far, with perhaps another 50 million to go? The source of life’s endless forms was a profound mystery until Charles Darwin brought forth his revolutionary idea of natural selection. But Darwin’s radical insights raised as many questions as they answered. What actually drives evolution and turns one species into another? To what degree do different animals rely on the same genetic toolkit? And how did we evolve?
“What Darwin Never Knew” offers answers to riddles that Darwin couldn’t explain. Breakthroughs in a brand-new science—nicknamed “evo devo”—are linking the enigmas of evolution to another of nature’s great mysteries, the development of the embryo. NOVA takes viewers on a journey from the Galapagos Islands to the Arctic, and from the explosion of animal forms half a billion years ago to the research labs of today. Scientists are finally beginning to crack nature’s biggest secrets at the genetic level. The results are confirming the brilliance of Darwin’s insights while revealing clues to life’s breathtaking diversity in ways the great naturalist could scarcely have imagined.
Once every 2,000 years or so, an asteroid the size of a football field comes in contact with the Earth. Then, every few million years, our planet experiences an impact event. This is when an object big enough to end life as we know it collides with Earth. Scientists generally agree that an asteroid impact eliminated the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago.
Not only have these impacts shaped evolution, they have created important ore deposits and land disturbances. Impacts have even helped shape and form our oceans. 7 asteroid impacts on Earth
“An asteroid half the size of a football field will give Earth the ultimate close shave this month, passing closer than many satellites when it whizzes by, but it won’t hit the planet, NASA scientists say.
The asteroid 2012 DA14 will fly by Earth on Feb. 15 and zip within 17,200 miles (27, 680 kilometers) of the planet during the cosmic close encounter. The asteroid will approach much closer to Earth than the moon, and well inside the paths of navigation and communications satellites.
“This is a record-setting close approach,” Don Yeomans, the head of NASA’s asteroid-tracking program, said in a statement. “Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we’ve never seen an object this big get so close to Earth.”