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Tag: Nature (Page 1 of 6)

Scientists shocked by 75 percent decline in flying insect numbers

insect population

Bees, moths, and other flying insects can be a bit of a nuisance when you're trying to enjoy a nice sunny day outside, but they're still incredibly vital links in the ecological chain. Now, new research out of Germany has caused a panic in the scientific community, revealing that the total biomass — that is, the total amount of flying insect life in the surveyed area — has plummeted by a whopping 75% over just the past 27 years.

The research, which was published in the journal PLOS One, was conducted by monitoring the insect biomass in 63 different protected nature areas within Germany, and paints an extremely dire picture. What makes the troubling trend even worse is that the researchers found the decline was universal across all habitats and was seemingly not affected by weather change or the type of land the insects call home.

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Google Maps goes interplanetary, adds Pluto, Venus, and a bunch of moons

google maps planets

When it comes to maps, Google has already conquered Earth. Whether you need a bird's eye view of your neighborhood or a street-level glimpse at a storefront half the world away, Google can deliver it in seconds. So it's no wonder that after doing pretty much everything it possibly can to map our home planet, it set its sights skyward, and today the company announced it has added a total of 12 new worlds to Google Maps.

The all-new destinations include a whole host of moons scattered around our Solar System, including Europa, Titan, and the frigid Enceladus. Also on the list are the nearby Venus and the once-planet Pluto, and you can explore all of them with nearly the same freedom as the more remote areas of the Earth. You'll have to excuse the lack of Street View support for now, but Google is probably working on that as we speak.

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Genetically-modified apples that don’t go brown are headed to supermarkets next month

arctic apples

There are few things as satisfying as biting into a nice, crisp apple, but the beloved fruit has always had one big problem: it tends to go brown just minutes after its skin is pierced, giving apple slices a very short window of appeal. Science has finally come up with a solution, and it's going to start landing in grocery stores and markets early next month.

It's called the Arctic apple, and it's the result of some very clever genetic engineering that, according to the company, "silences" the enzyme that causes regular old nature-made apples to brown. The pitch to consumers is a piece of fruit that keeps its aesthetic appeal much longer after being sliced, leading to less waste and potentially even cost savings.

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Yellowstone’s supervolcano could erupt much faster than anyone thought

yellowstone volcano

There's a dangerous giant sitting dormant in the United States, and when it finally wakes up it has the potential to cause utter devastation. I'm talking of course about the supervolcano hiding beneath Yellowstone National Park, and while it's long been thought that any hint of a possible eruption would be seen thousands and thousands of years in advance, new research throws that safety buffer right out the window, suggesting that the Yellowstone Supervolcano could go from calm to critical in as little as decades.

The research, which was presented at the IAVCEI 2017 volcanology conference in Portland, focuses on the most recent eruption of the volcano, which is thought to have occurred some 631,000 years ago. But rather than taking several thousands of years to build up, as previously thought, the newest data suggests that the most recent eruption was prompted by new magma pushing into the Yellowstone system just decades ahead of the big event.

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A massive hole just opened up in Antarctica’s ice and scientists can’t explain it

antarctica hole

Thanks to its usefulness as an indicator of how badly humans are messing up the Earth with global warming, scientists like to keep a pretty close eye on the ice in Antarctica. Now, a massive hole the size of Lake Superior has appeared many miles inland from where the ice meets the ocean, and scientists have little concrete explanation as to why it's there.

The hole, which is called a polynya, is incredibly puzzling because of its odd behavior. This isn't the first time it's been spotted, having appeared last year for a brief period as well, and long before that it was detected back in the 1970s. However, it disappeared for several decades before showing back up, throwing a huge kink in many scientific explanations for its existence.

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