Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fool's Gold: Scientists Discover Gold in Eucalyptus Trees

The old saying goes "Money doesn't grow on trees", but the leaves of the eucalyptus tree may hold clues that there is gold in the ground beneath them!

Scientists in Australia have discovered that many plants and trees in the drier areas of the country have root systems that burrow deep within the earth in search of precious water in order to survive. (Australia is the driest nation on the planet, as the current devastating wildfires will attest.) The trees, in particular the eucalyptus, then absorb gold and other mineral particles from the ground. In an effort to expel the toxic heavy metals, the particles of gold are then expelled through the leaves, which are the favorite treats of those adorable koala bears!

The gold particles are extremely tiny—only about one-tenth the width of a normal human hair— which means it would take a lot of particles to make any money. The presence of the gold particles in the trees, however, would be a good indication that there are gold deposits located in the ground beneath the trees, which is good news for any prospectors Down Under!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Beast Approaches: India Prepares For Monster Cyclone Phailin

India has emergency preparations in place as highly dangerous Cyclone Phailin, which formed only a few days ago in the Bay of Bengal, bears down on the sub-continent.  The storm is as of now the equivalent of a Category Five on the Saffir-Simpson scale  and is enormous in size, comparable in size to Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region of the United States in 2005.

Highly destructive winds well over 160 kph (100 mph) and flooding rain of at least 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) is expected across a wide area.  A catastrophic storm surge of at least 4-6 meters (14-20 feet) is expected in advance of the storm making landfall on Saturday morning, local time.

The local government has issued mandatory evacuation orders for people living in the path of the ferocious storm, with several hundred thousands residents already relocated to designated shelters throughout the region. Anyone residing in the states of Orissa or eastern Andhra Pradesh is strongly encouraged to take proper precautions and prepare for life-threatening conditions as the storm makes landfall.

Phailin is the most dangerous storm to hit the region since 1999, when super cyclone Odisha hit India, killing more than 15,000 people.  The areas expected to be pummeled by Phailan this weekend, specifically in an area from the cities of Visakhapatnam to Brahmapur, is home to millions of people, a majority of whom live in substandard housing.

After making landfall in northeastern India on Saturday, the cyclone will continue to track northwest through the interior of India and weaken Sunday into Monday, where heavy rain will continue to cause flooding and even mudslides through early next week.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Creepy Crawlies: Centipede Venom May Be More Powerful Than Morphine

Scientists at the University of Utah have discovered that the venom of centipedes may actually be a more powerful painkiller than morphine, a new study has concluded.

The venom from the Chinese red-headed centipede apparently contains a compound that blocks pain receivers in the body, and would work better than the standard morphine currently being used for sufferers of acute, chronic pain.

Experiments conducted on mice in a laboratory have shown that the centipede venom is highly effective in stopping pain and in some instances can actually work better, but without the terrible side effects of morphine.  Another positive is that mice given the venom did not develop an addiction to the drug because it does not block the same receptors that morphine does.

The drug will have to go through a battery of more tests to prove how safe it is and pass muster with the FDA before being introduced to the US market.

This kind of gives a new twist to that creepily awful movie The Human Centipede...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...