Injury is the leading cause of death for U.S. children and adolescents, accounting for over 60% of all deaths in this group. Many of these deaths occur during fun, everyday activities, like swimming in the backyard pool or during a family car ride. But a disproportionate and disturbing number of these deaths in the U.S. occur as a result of firearms. Firearms are the second leading cause of death among U.S. children and adolescents, after car crashes. Firearm deaths occur at a rate over three times higher than drownings. We have dedicated our careers to understanding violence and injury prevention, including how firearm injury and deaths happen and how they can be prevented. Causes of injury and death due to motor vehicle crashes have steadily declined over the last 20 years, but death and injury due to firearms has remained about the same over the same period. Firearm death rates Since 2013, fatal firearm injuries for children and teens have risen unabated. Rates of death … [Read more...] about Firearms Are 2nd-Leading Cause of Death in Kids and Teens
Before life on Earth emerged, by about 3.5 billion years ago, the oceans were a soup of randomly jumbled molecules. Then, somehow, some of those molecules arranged themselves into well-organized strings of DNA, protective cell walls, and tiny organ-like structures capable of keeping cells alive and functioning. But just how they accomplished this organization has long baffled scientists. Now, biophysicists at Ludwig–Maximilians University in Munich think they have an answer: bubbles. The beginnings of life weren't instantaneous. Early precursor molecules somehow transformed into the building blocks of life, like RNA, DNA, salts and lipids. Then, those molecules organized to form the first early versions of cells, which then became the first single-celled organisms. "This is the basis for all living species," Dieter Braun of Ludwig–Maximilians University, the lead author of the study, told Live Science. In order for cells to form, begin replicating and take on a life of … [Read more...] about The Key to Life’s Emergence? Bubbles, New Study Argues
A hieroglyphic inscription found in an ancient Maya city now reveals kingdoms making up this civilization waged extraordinarily destructive warfare much earlier than previously thought, a new study finds. These findings may shed light on what may or may not have brought about the end of the Maya empire, researchers said. The ancient Maya civilization encompassed an area twice the size of Germany, occupying what is now southern Mexico and northern Central America. At the height of the Maya empire, known as the Classic period, which stretched from about A.D. 250 to at least 900, perhaps as many as 25 million people lived in the region, potentially rivaling the population density of medieval Europe. [7 Bizarre Ancient Cultures That History Forgot] Mysteriously, this ancient Maya Golden Age collapsed more than a thousand years ago. Its population declined catastrophically to a fraction of its former size. The ruins of its great cities are now mostly overgrown by jungle. Scientists have … [Read more...] about Maya Civilization Was Ultraviolent, Even Before Its Collapse
It barely got a mention in the media, but in June the U.S. Navy briefed members of Congress on UFOs. The fact that we live in a culture where this is only a minor news story gives me pause; if someday extraterrestrial life actually visits Earth, the story will least make the top 10 list of "Most Significant Things That Have Happened in Human History." To be fair, the briefing was classified, so we don't actually know what Congress was told. But according to a 2015 survey, 56 percent of Americans already "believe" in UFOs, regardless of what Navy pilots may or may not have seen. For many people, "UFO" is synonymous with aliens, but it's worth reminding ourselves that it literally stands for "unidentified flying object." An unidentified object could be just about anything, because … well, it's unidentified. One of our mottos in science is that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." This doesn't mean that crazy-sounding things are never true; it means that we should … [Read more...] about No E.T. Life Yet? Here’s Why That’s Important.
Three and a half billion years ago, a blood-red wall of water as tall as a skyscraper may have hurtled across the surface of Mars, inundating an area of land larger than the United States. Two separate groups of astronomers first put forth the controversial theory in 2016. Their idea was based on "fingerprints" of massive wave action left behind on the Martian landscape — the huge fields of boulders carved with rivulets, potentially left behind as the waves retreated back over the landscape. Now, astronomers have another piece of evidence for such a tsunami. An enormous asteroid struck Mars just before waves, most-likely colored red due to the copious dust on the surface of Mars, inundated the planet. That collision have been ground zero for the "mega-tsunami." [The 7 Most Mars-like Places on Earth] Francois Costard, an astronomer at the French National Centre for Scientific Research and among the first scientists to propose the tsunami theory, traced the wave's path of … [Read more...] about Martian Meteor Collision May Have Triggered a 1,000-Foot Tsunami