When you think of the ways a volcanic eruption can hurt or kill, you probably imagine gooey lava streams, steaming fissures and crumbling ash columns that could turn a whole city into statues. You might not imagine the volcano belching gigantic, red-hot cannonballs at you, though — but they do that, too. When globs of molten lava blast into the air and solidify, they become "lava bombs." One such bomb recently struck Hawaii Island resident Darryl Clinton while he tried to put out a fire in his neighborhood. Burning ejecta from the still-erupting Kilauea volcano had lit the blaze. According to CNN, the chunk of hardened lava shot like a rocket from a fissure roughly 100 yards (91 meters) away from Clinton, set his porch on fire and sliced his leg to the bone. [Fiery Lava from Kilauea Erupts on Hawaii's Big Island] "It was the most forceful impact I've ever had on my body in my life," Clinton told the KHON news channel. "I've been hit by big waves and various … [Read more...] about How Did a ‘Lava Bomb’ Split a Man’s Leg Open?
The current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has spread to at least 58 people, and has killed nearly half of those individuals, according to an update today (May 23) from the World Health Organization (WHO). This is the nation's ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976, when the deadly virus was first discovered in a village near the country's Ebola River. But what if scientists were able to predict Ebola outbreaks and stop them before they even started? That's the goal of one group of researchers, who hope to predict Ebola outbreaks before they begin by tracking the migration patterns of one of the main hosts of the disease: bats. The researchers detailed their work in a new study, published yesterday (May 22) in the journal Scientific Reports. [5 Things You Should Know About Ebola] "Traditionally, scientists studying the [spread] of diseases like Ebola have operated under the assumption that the disease moves uniformly," said study co-author Paolo Bocchini, a … [Read more...] about How Bats Could Help Scientists Stop Ebola Outbreaks Before They Start
Is the Loch Ness Monster real? Researchers are very doubtful, but they plan to use DNA sequencing just to make sure. A new project aims to look for foreign, or unknown, DNA sequences that could possibly have been shed by this beast. However, one scientist not involved in the project suggests such a finding would be like spotting a pink unicorn. The myth of Scotland's famous monster, nicknamed Nessie, has given Loch Ness, a roughly 22-mile-across (35 kilometers) lake with the deepest known point reaching 754 feet (230 meters), a mystical allure. Every year, the myth pulls in thousands of curious folks, most hoping to glimpse the elusive "creature." While some say Nessie is a myth, others believe that the monster is a living dinosaur similar to a plesiosaur or a sea serpent that somehow survived to this day. According to a Catholic legend, in one of the earliest appearances of the beast, during the sixth century, St. Columba reprimanded Nessie and stopped it from attacking a man. … [Read more...] about Scientists to Hunt for Loch Ness Monster DNA
Not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to your health; many studies even link the lack of Z's to higher odds of dying during a certain time period. But a new study from Sweden suggests that if you can't sleep as much as you need during the week, you may be able to make up for it on the weekends. The researchers found that people ages 65 and under who slept 5 hours or less a night had a 65 percent higher risk of death during the 13-year study period than those who got 6 or 7 hours of sleep a night. But individuals who balanced their short weekday sleep with longer weekend sleep did not appear to have any increased mortality risk. The findings suggest, in other words, that you may be able to make up for the damaging effects of lost sleep. [5 Surprising Sleep Discoveries] "We can't really say 100 percent we have proven this, but it's a reasonable assumption that this is what's happening," said lead study author Torbjörn Åkerstedt, a professor of behavioral medicine at … [Read more...] about Can You Make Up for Lost Sleep on the Weekend?
A U.S. government employee experienced mysterious symptoms after working at a U.S. consulate in China, in a case that's being likened to the so-called "sonic attacks" in Cuba last year. The employee in Guangzhou, China "reported subtle and vague, but abnormal sensations of sound and pressure," according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in China. "We do not currently know what caused the reported symptoms and we are not aware of any similar situations in China," the statement said. The employee reported these symptoms between late 2017 and April 2018, and was later diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury, the BBC reported. U.S. officials are advising staff in China to consult a medical professional if they experience any concerning symptoms while working there. In addition, the statement advised: "If you experience any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises, do not attempt to locate their source. … [Read more...] about Mysterious Ailment Strikes U.S. Employee in China, Drawing Comparisons to Cuba ‘Sonic Attacks’
A beach-ball-size jellyfish that looks like a cross between an alien ghost and a pinkish cosmetic bag was captured in a rare video taken by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in the inky depths of the Pacific Ocean. The ROV, dubbed Hercules, recorded the unusual jellyfish — named Deepstaria enigmatica after the Deepstar 4000, a deep-sea submersible designed by the French explorer Jacques Cousteau — off the coast of Mexico's San Benedicto Island in the Pacific Ocean in November 2017, according to a new study published in the May 9 issue of the journal American Museum Novitates. "It's just this crazy, weird alien thing," lead study researcher David Gruber, a professor of biology at the City University of New York and a Radcliffe fellow at Harvard University, told Live Science. "We barely know anything about it." [Image Gallery: Jellyfish Rule!] Scientists have published studies on D. enigmatica only about a dozen times since 1966, when three researchers aboard the … [Read more...] about This Mysterious, Deep-Sea Jellyfish Looks Like the Ghost of an Alien
There is no pill that will protect you against the sun, the FDA warned in a statement yesterday (May 22). Companies like Advanced Skin Brightening Formula, Sun-safe Rx, Solaricare and Sunergetic supposedly claim that their products like nutritional supplements will provide protection against the harmful effects of UV radiation. The FDA issued a warning to each of the companies, instructing them to correct all false claims and violations against the law about their products (the warnings can be seen on each of their websites). They are "putting people's health at risk by giving consumers a false sense of security that a dietary supplement could prevent sunburn, reduce early skin aging caused by the sun, or protect from the risks of skin cancer," the statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said. [5 Things you Must Know About Skin Cancer] Legitimate sunscreens, on the other hand, come in the forms of lotions, creams, sticks and sprays, according to Gottlieb. "All of these … [Read more...] about Sunscreen Pills Are Fake, FDA Warns
Summer barbecues may expose you to potentially cancer-causing chemicals in a surprising way: The chemicals may literally get under your skin, a small new study from China suggests. The study found that people who sat around a grill were exposed to chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) through their skin. PAHs can be produced from the burning of organic substances, such as coal, gasoline and wood; they also form when meats are cooked using "high-temperature methods," such as panfrying or grilling, according to the National Cancer Institute. Exposure to these chemicals has been linked with an increased risk of certain cancers. But most previous studies have focused on exposure to PAHs through food or the air, rather than through the skin. The new study, however, found that during grilling, people absorbed higher amounts of PAHs through their skin than through the air, the researchers said. Still, the greatest levels of exposure to PAHs occurred through eating the … [Read more...] about Summer BBQs Could Expose Your Skin to Cancer-Causing Chemicals
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has a vision: He wants to get humans to Mars as soon as possible. He already wowed the world this year, when the Falcon Heavy launched and flung a Tesla car toward the asteroid belt. And this heavy-lift rocket will be dwarfed by the boosters Musk plans for Mars exploration, which he says will carry colonists in fleets of ships to the Red Planet. While getting to Mars is an end in itself, there's another compelling reason to go. Science fiction is full of dystopian futures for Earth if humanity remains limited to this planet. There are the asteroid strikes of the "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon" films, the robot wars of the "Battlestar Galactica" TV series and "Terminator" film franchise, the medical problems and overpopulation in the "Children of Men" and "Elysium" movies, and many other disasters natural and artificial. Dark futures and colonizing other planets is covered in "AMC Visionaries: James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction," which ran its … [Read more...] about Does Humanity Need a Backup Earth?
Two lynx face off on the side of a road in Ontario. "RNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH," says one. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHNHHNHAAAHHH," says the other. "YYYYYYAAAAAAAHHHHHSSSSS," they say in unison, tapping their foreheads together before suddenly darting apart. This fight, captured on video by passerby Edward Trist and shared on Twitter by the website Globalnews.ca, is truly strange to watch and listen to. And Luke Hunter, chief conservation officer for Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, said it's almost certainly about sex. "Canada lynx, due to their harsh winters, are highly seasonal breeders, and this is right at the end of their usual breeding period," Hunter told Live Science. Lynx mostly breed in the spring, finishing up in April or sometimes May, Hunter said. By summer, the females settle down to give birth, and any lynx that haven't bred have missed their shot. That means, he said, that this is a time when lots of male and female lynx are out on the prowl, … [Read more...] about These Two Angry, Yelling Lynx Are Probably Fighting About Sex