On top of intensifying algal blooms and depleting oxygen, a new study reveals Earth’s bodies of freshwater are also evaporating at a greater rate than we realized. What’s more, “lake evaporation plays a larger role in the hydrological cycle than previously thought,” says ecologist Gang Zhao who was at Texas A&M University during the study.
Month: June 2022
Like its movie namesake, the horrific marine heatwave nicknamed the Blob destroyed much in its path during its peak, causing mass deaths of fish, birds, and many other marine animals, threatening fishing industries. Since then, the Blob has at least briefly reared its head twice, hinting at an underlying persistence to its cause. Now,
For years, computer scientists have warned of the perils artificial intelligence (AI) poses in the future, and not just in the sensational terms of machines overthrowing humanity, but in far more insidious ways too. While this cutting-edge technology is capable of wondrous breakthroughs, researchers have also observed the darker sides of machine learning systems,
The oceans are one of our planet’s most important carbon sinks, with currently around 39,000 gigatons of carbon dioxide locked away – that’s around 50 times more than what’s circulating in the atmosphere right now. However, we can’t rely on this carbon capture and storage to solve our climate crisis problem, because we’re producing too
These days, peeing on your food plants may be considered a gross and wacky gardening hack, despite the practice having been proven beneficial for thousands of years. But our modern squeamishness has meant gardeners and farmers alike must resort to expensive fertilizers to provide their crops with the much-needed nutrients found free in our pee.
Australian scientists have created the world’s first-ever quantum computer circuit – one that contains all the essential components found on a classical computer chip but at the quantum scale. The landmark discovery, published in Nature today, was nine years in the making. “This is the most exciting discovery of my career,” senior author and
In many places around the world, grocery store produce aisles are a delightful array of colors, even in the depths of winter, when it feels like not much could grow outside. But this year-round variety has a real cost on the planet, with a new study finding that ‘food miles’ account for 19 percent of
A historic drought affecting Italy’s largest river has brought a World War II-era shipwreck to light. The Po River runs 405 miles (651.8 km) from the Cottian Alps to empty into the Adriatic Sea. It’s currently facing its worst drought in 70 years, which has caused a decades-old sunken ship to resurface. The Zibello,
We biological beings are messy things, leaving bits of our former selves behind everywhere we go – even in the air. This trail of self includes various secretions like saliva, discarded waste. and our constantly shedding outer layers like dead skin cells – many of which contain our unique DNA signatures. Bugs are no exception. From
A few years ago, deep beneath the Apennine Mountains in Italy, a team of physicists hunted for flashes of light that just might suggest human consciousness is the product of gravitational forces. The fact they came up empty-handed doesn’t mean we’re all meat computers with no free will; it does make the quest for a
A new breakthrough has allowed physicists to create a beam of atoms that behaves the same way as a laser, and that can theoretically stay on “forever”. This might finally mean the technology is on its way to practical application, although significant limitations still apply. Nevertheless, this is a huge step forward for what
A strange gap between theoretical predictions and experimental results in a major neutrino research project could be a sign of the elusive ‘sterile’ neutrino – a particle so quiet, it can only be detected by the silence it leaves in its wake. It’s not the first time the anomaly has been seen, adding to
A senior software engineer at Google was suspended on Monday (June 13) after sharing transcripts of a conversation with an artificial intelligence (AI) that he claimed to be “sentient”, according to media reports. The engineer, 41-year-old Blake Lemoine, was put on paid leave for breaching Google’s confidentiality policy. “Google might call this sharing proprietary property. I
Climate change is slowing down the conveyor belt of ocean currents that brings warm water from the tropics up to the North Atlantic. Our research, published today (June 6) in Nature Climate Change, looks at the profound consequences to global climate if this Atlantic conveyor collapses entirely. We found the collapse of this system
After previously studying the phenomena of two sound waves in quantum liquids, scientists have now observed sound moving at two different speeds in a quantum gas. If you were somehow immersed in the three-dimensional gas used for this study, you would hear every sound twice: each individual sound carried by two different sound waves moving
If microplastics have boundaries, we don’t yet know what they are. We seem to find this microscopic trash everywhere we look, from the bottom of the ocean to Earth’s highest peak. We’re starting to figure out why. Beyond all the disturbing discoveries of microplastics turning up inside our bodies, we now know these tiny
Sometimes the discovery of new physics demands insane levels of energy. Big machines. Fancy equipment. Countless hours of sifting through reams of data. And then sometimes the right combination of materials can open a doorway to invisible realms in a space little bigger than a tabletop. Take this new kind of relative to the
By now, few people question the reality that humans are altering Earth’s climate. The real question is: How quickly can we halt, even reverse, the damage? Part of the answer to this question lies in the concept of ‘committed warming,’ also known as ‘pipeline warming.’ It refers to future increases in global temperatures that will
Deep beneath the waves there’s a source of power quite unlike any other. To tap into it, Japanese engineers have constructed a true leviathan, a beast capable of withstanding the strongest of ocean currents to transform its flow into a virtually limitless supply of electricity. Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries – now known simply as IHI
From Talos, the giant bronze automaton who guarded the princess Europa in ancient Greek myths, to Cylons and Terminators, the idea of artificial humans has both fascinated and creeped us out for centuries. Now, we’re closer than ever to making a robot look remarkably like a human, with the development of living robot skin. This
The US has succeeded in developing the world’s first ‘true’ exascale supercomputer, honoring a pledge made by President Obama almost seven years ago, and ushering the world into a new era of computational capability. Until now, the most speedy supercomputers in the world were still working in the petascale, achieving a quadrillion calculations per
The Siberian tundra could disappear by the year 2500, unless greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced. Even in the best-case scenarios, two-thirds of this landscape – defined by its short growing season and cover of grasses, moss, shrubs and lichens – could vanish, leaving behind two fragments separated by 1,553 miles (2,500 kilometers), scientists recently predicted.
A new generation of artificial intelligence (AI) models can produce “creative” images on-demand based on a text prompt. The likes of Imagen, MidJourney, and DALL-E 2 are beginning to change the way creative content is made with implications for copyright and intellectual property. While the output of these models is often striking, it’s hard
Scientists have figured out how to make platinum more affordable as a catalyst: turn it into a low-temperature liquid. It’s been known for centuries that noble metals like platinum, gold, ruthenium, and palladium make excellent catalysts for chemical reactions, because they help break the chemical bonds between atoms more efficiently than other metals. But
Planting more crops isn’t the only way to feed a growing population. Cutting air pollution could go a long way towards increasing crop production while saving precious land and money, according to new research. If the world cuts the emissions of just one type of air pollutant in half, estimates suggest winter crops could
The idea of a mirror universe is a common trope in science fiction. A world similar to ours where we might find our evil doppelganger or a version of us who actually asked out our high school crush. But the concept of a mirror universe has been often studied in theoretical cosmology, and as
Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in May were 50 percent higher than during the pre-industrial era, reaching levels not seen on Earth for about 4 million years, the main US climate agency said on Friday. Global warming caused by humans, particularly through the production of electricity using fossil fuels, transport, the production
Even if you’re enjoying gloriously fast broadband at home wherever you live in the world, you’re still going to be a long, long way behind the new record for data transmission: an incredible 1.02 petabits per second. That’s a million gigabits shifted down a line every single second. The record was set by a
This year in April, the Biden administration announced a renewed commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. The goal is now to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. The target is ambitious, but it isn’t a pipe dream. According to a newly published analysis of existing climate models, it’s more than possible with strong
The famous snow-capped peaks of the Alps are fading fast and being replaced by vegetation cover – a process called “greening” that is expected to accelerate climate change, a study said Thursday. The research, published in Science, was based on 38 years of satellite imagery across the entirety of the iconic European mountain range.
Physicists have just taken an amazing step towards quantum devices that sound like something out of science fiction. For the first time, isolated groups of particles behaving like bizarre states of matter known as time crystals have been linked into a single, evolving system that could be incredibly useful in quantum computing. Following the