Discovered: Record breaking U.S. droughts, China has more child diabetes than the U.S., things look bad for the coral reef, and a human-like robot eye.
- Surprise! Record breaking U.S. droughts. Kidding about the surprise part. This makes absolute sense to anyone living anywhere in America, where things have gotten so hot it hurts to think about going outside. That map down there shows our country's drought situation as of the end of June. And science now says that more of the U.S. is experiencing moderate to extreme drought than any time throughout the entire history of science measuring this sort of thing. In numbers: Almost fifty percent of the country is going through some sort of hot, dry, rainless period. "The recent heat and dryness is catching up with us on a national scale," explains researcher Michael J. Hayes. "Now, we have a larger section of the country in these lesser categories of drought than we've previously experienced in the history of the Drought Monitor," he continues. On a personal level, we would really love some refuge from this oppressive-ass heat. [National Drought Mitigation Center]
- China has more childhood diabetes than the U.S. China is turning into America in all sorts of ways: The country has surpassed us even in obesity related diseases. "The findings suggest a very high burden of chronic disease risk starting at a young age, with 1.7 million Chinese children ages 7-18 having diabetes and another 27.7 million considered prediabetic," explains researcher Barry Popkin said. "In addition, more than one-third of children under age 18 had high levels of at least one cardiometabolic risk factor." When compared to the U.S. that put 1.9 percent of Chinese children age 12-18 with the diesase, compared to 0.5 percent of children in the U.S. Though we can think of some usual suspects -- McDonalds, driving -- these researchers suspect it has a lot to do with diet. [Obesity Reviews]
- Things look bad for the coral reef. Alright, humanity, look what we're doing. "As humans continue to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the climate is once again on the threshold of a new regime, with dire consequences for reef ecosystems unless we get control of climate change," explains researcher Richard Aronson. Looking at how this exact type of climate change has effect the coral reef, science has found that if things go like they did in the past, the future looks bleak for these watery abodes. "We were shocked to find that 2,500 years of reef growth were missing from the frameworks," added researcher Laurnen Toth. "For Pacific reefs to have collapsed for such a long time and over such a large geographic scale, they must have experienced a major climatic disturbance. That disturbance was an intensified ENSO regime." Get ready. [Florida Institute of Technology]
- A human-like robot eye. Science (over there) has created this robot eye that moves just like human eyes, which should make any robot with these eyes look much more human like. "For a robot to be truly bio-inspired, it should possess actuation, or motion generators, with properties in common with the musculature of biological organisms," explains researcher Joshua Schultz. "The actuators developed in our lab embody many properties in common with biological muscle, especially a cellular structure. Essentially, in the human eye muscles are controlled by neural impulses. Eventually, the actuators we are developing will be used to capture the kinematics and performance of the human eye." Science says human-like, we say creepy. [Georgia Institute of Tech]
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