11. It isn’t just the bee colonies that are dying, it’s all our insects. Recent research and predictions are saying that our insect populations, particularly that of butterflies and moths are on track to extinction in 100 years due to pesticides and climate change. If our insects continue to decline we will see a cascade flow into other animals, birds, etc including our own species.
Environmental scientists are saying we’re at the beginning of a mass extinction event. Truly terrifying and very little is leaking to the public via mass media or being mocked as a conspiracy theory.
12. Pretty much all water and food we consume contain microplastics. Cool!
13. Bacteriophages being used to cure diseases and being able to solve the antibiotic crisis. Given I think Kurgzgewhateveritscalled (the youtube channel that gives people existential crisis’) did a vid on it.
14. Göbekli Tepe, ruin discovered in Turkey that dates back to 11000 BCE, or further. This throws a massive wrench into our understanding of what people were capable of at that time and hints at advanced civilizations having likely existed long before we thought they did. It has also only been about 10% excavated.
15. Guardant Health’s blood test is more effective and ridiculously quicker at detecting some forms of lung cancer than a conventional, more intrusive tissue biopsy.
16. There’s a good chance there will be a cure for celiac disease within the next 10 years. There’s currently an active and ongoing clinical trial where participants (with diagnosed celiac) are getting infusions that will ultimately reverse the autoimmune response a person with celiac has when they consume gluten. It’s still far from complete, but closer than we’ve ever been to curing celiac disease.
17. One of the more recent theories in psychiatry gaining popularity (although it was acknowledged decades ago) is the role of inflammation and the immune system in mental illness. There are studies showing that in schizophrenia and other psychotic conditions, inflammation attacks the brain. Some of the damage by inflammation might be irreversible, so the hope is that early intervention could prevent chronic schizophrenia. Trials have been attempted with anti-inflammatories like fish oil, with mixed success.
The role of inflammation has been extended to multiple mental illnesses, like depression, with raised inflammatory markers and other evidence being a common finding. Ultimately mental illness is multifactorial, and the causes are often biological, psychological, and/or social. So we can’t reduce something so complex and heterogeneous to just an action by the immune system. But it has gained some excitement in the field because there could be people out there, for example, with schizophrenia for whom one of the primary causes is immune system dysregulation, and researchers are racing to find prevention.
18. New cancer therapy in development causing not only cancer but also the metastasis to shrink.
19. Astronomer here! Most of you have heard that the universe is expanding. Astrophysicists believe there is a relationship between the distance to faraway galaxies and how fast they are moving from us, called the Hubble constant. We use the Hubble constant for… just about everything in cosmology, to be honest.
This isn’t crazy and has been accepted for many decades. What is crazy is, if you are paying attention, it appears the Hubble constant is different depending on what you use to measure it! Specifically, if you use the “standard candle” stars (Cepheids and Type Ia supernovae) to measure how fast galaxies are speeding away from us, you get ~73 +/- 1 km/s/Mpc. If you study the earliest radiation from the universe (the Cosmic Microwave Background) using the Planck satellite , you get 67 +/- 1 km/s/Mpc. This is a LOT, and both methods have a lot of confidence in that measurement with no obvious errors.
To date, no one has come up with a satisfactory answer for why this might be, and in the past year or so it’s actually a bit concerning. If they truly disagree, well, it frankly means there is some new, basic physics at play.
Exciting stuff! It’s just so neat that whenever you think you know how the universe works, it can throw these new curveballs at you from the most unexpected places!
You can read this article to learn more about what’s going on, and this article can tell you about the expansion of the universe. In short, we see that the universe is now accelerating faster than we expect even when accounting for dark energy. It’s weird!
20. Women can get pregnant using their bone marrow instead of a male’s semen.
21. A male birth control pills are making its way through human trials!
22. CRISPR and its successors are going to define the 2020s IMO.
23. Not sure how recent it is, but there are cameras that can film at 10 trillion fps, fast enough to film the speed of light!
24. The T-Rex had fur.
25. Skrillex stops mosquitos from having sex.