shychemist

ted:

SCIENCE NEWS! There’s life way, way below Antarctica — chilling out in a subglacial lake. Just a few weeks ago, a team of scientists confirmed that half a mile beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, a bunch of tiny, single-celled organisms are alive and well… in a lake boasting sub-zero temperatures and no access to sunlight. 

The discovery is groundbreaking, leading some to wonder if there might also be life on a similar place — Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. 

John Priscu is one of the lead scientists behind the study. In a talk at TEDxBozeman, he explains what it’s like to be a scientist drilling though thousands of feet of ice while living in a tent in Antarctica. 

Watch the whole talk here»

Photos courtesy of NASA

mindblowingscience
scinote:

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Tooth?

Every time you squirt toothpaste on your toothbrush, you could be brushing your teeth with the stars. And by “stars”, I don’t mean celebrities, but our sun’s ancestors. 
Fluorine is a chemical element that appears in our toothpaste and chewing gum. You’ll often hear it called “fluoride,” which simply means that the fluorine is in the form of an ion (the fluoride ion, F-). Fluorine is often used to prevent cavities, but up until now, we didn’t really have any idea of where it originally came from.
Researchers from the U.S., Ireland, and Sweden have found evidence to support the theory that fluorine was formed in red giants, which are heavy stars at the end of their lifespan. The material from these dead stars became the sun and the planets in our solar system.  Using a powerful telescope in Hawaii, researchers detected fluorine in stars of different ages by measuring the light emitted, which is possible because each element gives off different wavelengths of light. Next, researchers will explore the possibility of fluorine formation in the early universe, before any red giants existed, to determine if fluorine might be produced in different environments (like black holes, perhaps) and to discover if the process is different.
Surprisingly, most elements are actually formed in stars, and understanding the processes of their formation can give us insight into our early universe. For now, I’ll just think about where the ingredients of my toothpaste came from and hope that brushing with them will make my teeth twinkle like the night sky.

Submitted by: Allison T., Discoverer
Edited by Margaret G.

scinote:

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Tooth?

Every time you squirt toothpaste on your toothbrush, you could be brushing your teeth with the stars. And by “stars”, I don’t mean celebrities, but our sun’s ancestors.

Fluorine is a chemical element that appears in our toothpaste and chewing gum. You’ll often hear it called “fluoride,” which simply means that the fluorine is in the form of an ion (the fluoride ion, F-). Fluorine is often used to prevent cavities, but up until now, we didn’t really have any idea of where it originally came from.

Researchers from the U.S., Ireland, and Sweden have found evidence to support the theory that fluorine was formed in red giants, which are heavy stars at the end of their lifespan. The material from these dead stars became the sun and the planets in our solar system.  Using a powerful telescope in Hawaii, researchers detected fluorine in stars of different ages by measuring the light emitted, which is possible because each element gives off different wavelengths of light. Next, researchers will explore the possibility of fluorine formation in the early universe, before any red giants existed, to determine if fluorine might be produced in different environments (like black holes, perhaps) and to discover if the process is different.

Surprisingly, most elements are actually formed in stars, and understanding the processes of their formation can give us insight into our early universe. For now, I’ll just think about where the ingredients of my toothpaste came from and hope that brushing with them will make my teeth twinkle like the night sky.

Submitted by: Allison T., Discoverer

Edited by Margaret G.

Follow the link to read more! If the taste of artificial sweeteners wasn’t enough of a deterrent for you maybe Nature-worthy research will!

scinote

scinote:

thescienceoffandom:

Here are some basics on herd immunity, and here is some more technical research if you’re interested in the details! 

Condensing all of our additional commentary!

From palavra-valise

Herd immunity is even more important than that, actually. Those three people who are vaccinated when nobody else is could still get the disease (doesn’t necessarily work with protection against zombies themselves so I’m not going with the theme here) because with more unvaccinated people, there are more opportunities for bacteria or viruses to mutate, so the strain included in the vaccine would be too different from the circulating strain for it to offer much, if any, protection. That’s why each and every one of us has a responsibility to keep up our vaccines, for the good of EVERYONE in our society.

Basically, the unvaccinated people in the mostly vaccinated population are safer than the fully vaccinated people in the mostly unvaccinated population. That’s why, if anyone says “Why do you care? You/your kid are/is fully vaccinated,” you should punch that person in the face and then give them a 20-minute lecture about herd immunity and not being a self-absorbed twit and about our responsibility to society unless we choose to live on, I don’t know, an island floating in space.

This is a really good point! 

I should also point out that vaccination is still important even for diseases that don’t show up frequently in the human population any more (or even just the local population), because often those diseases still exist in reservoir species that can transmit the disease, or in human reservoirs in other parts of the globe - which is how we’ve gotten the recent measles outbreaks in unvaccinated kids.

We should also point out (as other people have on this post - you guys are awesome!) that the vaccine-autism link has been repeatedly debunked by sound studies and that the original paper it was based on has been disavowed and was deeply, both scientifically and ethically, unsound in the first place.

Also, madeofpatterns brings up a good point - there’s variation in people’s responses to the flu vaccine in particular, according to the CDC, (just based on age, general health, etc., not the quality of the vaccine) which makes it even more important for a lot of people to get vaccinated, to build up that buffer to protect people who aren’t immune. 

Given that a lot of people are curious about vaccine safety and the vaccine testing process (and some of you have mentioned this - thanks to randomguy319 !) we’ve got a bunch more information on the vaccine development process and their safety.

Here is a really good overview piece that explains the years of development that go in before a vaccine hits the market, and here and here are more from the CDC with lots of good links.

Both the CDC and the FDA have a TON of information on vaccine safety.

Bottom line: Every vaccine on the market or that will come onto the market goes through years and years of testing before even being tested in humans, and then goes through multiple rounds of testing in humans before being approved by the FDA and continually checked for product quality and for any instance of side effects. Therefore, vaccines are really very safe. 

Submitted by squireofgeekdom

Edited by Jessica F.

shychemist

zzkt:

"Catch of the Day" Campaign Presents Trash Fresh from the Sea

To bring attention to the issue of ocean pollution, the Surfrider Foundation teamed up with advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi LA to create the “Catch of the Day” campaign. Actual trash collected from beaches around the U.S. was re-packaged as food and left on display at farmer’s markets to create a impactful, site-specific message. By addressing consumers at the point of purchase, the “Catch of the Day” reminds seafood buyers that ocean pollution isn’t someone else’s problem; rather, it impacts individuals on a daily basis. Some of the repackaged items include cigarette butts from Venice Beach, California; aerosol cans from South Padre Beach, Texas; and condoms from Newport Beach, California. While environmental campaigns often emphasize shock value above all else, the Surfrider project tempers startling subjects with a restrained presentation and refined target audience.