Until now, scientists didn't know for sure where most of the stuff around us came from. Now, they do. Silica, or silicon dioxide (SiO2), is just about the most abundant thing here on the outer shell of Earth. It makes up most of the planet's crust by mass — about 60 percent, according to NASA. It's the main thing in sand at the beach. It's common in dirt and clay. It makes up most of the stuff in sandstone and quartz, and it's a critical ingredient in feldspar (a super common sort of rock). Granite has a lot of it. Humans mix it into cement and melt it into glass. It's also one of the more common molecules in the universe. And until recently, scientists had some good theories as to where it came from, but they weren't sure. Now, according to NASA, they know: All this silica around us was born in supernovas that ripped apart "AGB stars" — a technical term for stars that, more or less, resemble our sun. [Gorgeous Photos of Granite] A team of NASA researchers published a … [Read more...] about Ugh, When Our Sun Blows Up It’s Probably Gonna Get Sand Everywhere
Artists have been painting with ochre, a naturally occurring pigment, for hundreds of thousands of years. Their masterpieces range from prehistoric, ochre-pigmented images on cave walls to paintings on canvasses and other artwork from medieval times and onward. Ochre (pronounced OAK-er) is clay pigmented by hematite, a reddish mineral that contains oxidized iron, which is iron that's been mixed with oxygen, said Paul Pettitt, a professor of paleolithic archaeology at Durham University in the United Kingdom. Because ochre is a mineral, it doesn't wash away or decay, allowing it to persist through the ages. "Its vibrant color and ability to adhere to surfaces — including the human body — make it an ideal crayon or paint base," said April Nowell, a paleolithic archaeologist and professor and chair at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Victoria in Canada. [The Color of Blood: Here Are Nature's Reddest Reds (Photos)] Where it's found Ochre occurs … [Read more...] about Ochre: The World’s First Red Paint
It's happening again: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning Americans to avoid romaine lettuce. In a fresh statement posted online today (Nov. 20), the agency announced that officials are "investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 linked to romaine lettuce." In other words, E. coli-tainted lettuce is here again. So far, 32 cases have been reported in 11 states. In addition, 18 cases linked to the same outbreak have been reported in two Canadian provinces. Consumers are being advised to "not eat any romaine lettuce, and retailers and restaurants [should] not sell or serve any" until the CDC learns more about the outbreak. If you have any romaine in your home, you should throw it away, even if some of it was already eaten and you did not get sick, the CDC says. The advisory applies to all types of romaine lettuce, including "whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of pre-cut lettuce and … [Read more...] about Don’t Eat Romaine Lettuce… Again
Four infants in Texas were hospitalized between mid-August and October of this year with an extremely rare condition, according to a Nov. 16 statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services. The condition? Botulism. And the suspected culprit? Honey-dipped pacifiers. Botulism is a condition caused by a toxin that attacks the body's nerves, leading to muscle weakness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If the toxin attacks the nerves that send signals to muscles involved in breathing, it can lead to breathing problems that can be deadly, the CDC says. [Tiny & Nasty: Images of Things That Make Us Sick] Botulinum toxins are produced by several different species of bacteria. Bacterial spores of one of these species, called Clostridium botulinum, can be found in honey, according to a Nov. 16 statement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If these spores are ingested by an infant, they can grow in the baby's intestines and release the … [Read more...] about 4 Infant Botulism Cases Linked to Honey-Dipped Pacifiers
Today (Nov. 20), two tubby turkeys named Peas and Carrots appeared before the president of the United States. With their pink- and blue-skinned heads perched proudly over rotund, white-feathered bodies, the pair had traveled all the way from a farm in Huron, South Dakota, to receive a precious gift denied to most Thanksgiving birds — a stay of execution. Peas and Carrots were selected from the so-called Presidential Flock of 50 turkey chicks that hatched on June 28, White House representatives said in a statement. Peas weighs 39 lbs. (18 kilograms) and stands 30 inches tall (76 centimeters), while his larger brother Carrots weighs 41 lbs. (19 kg) and is 32 inches tall (81 cm), according to the White House. Peas — the official National Thanksgiving Turkey — was presented on a table to President Donald Trump at the White House (Carrots, as the alternate bird, waited nearby). President Trump extended his arm over the waiting turkey, saying, "Peas, I hereby grant you a … [Read more...] about Turkeys ‘Peas’ and ‘Carrots’ Get a Presidential Pardon. How Did This Thanksgiving Tradition Start?