The Rise of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
In the 1940s, the miracle drug known as penicillin began taking the world — and its most devastating diseases — by storm. People suddenly had access to a bacteria-killing antibiotic that treated and cured them of diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis. Eventually, the wide-scale production of penicillin led to an eight-year increase in the human…
Under the Microscope: Ebola
In 1976, researchers first identified a frightening virus that had emerged in the African nation then known as Zaire. The source of this fast-moving, destructive disease remains unknown, but Ebola is believed to have spread to humans from apes, monkeys and bats. There have been several Ebola outbreaks since 1976, primarily in African countries, though…
Plastic-Eating Bacteria For Cleaner Oceans
Eight to ten metric tons. That’s the estimated amount of plastic that ends up in the earth’s oceans each year. Birds, fish and other sea creatures often mistake pieces of plastic for food and eat them. Many species of whales feed by swimming with their mouths wide open, taking in krill, plankton or small fish,…
How UV Lights Kill Harmful Bacteria and Viruses
You’ve probably seen it used during crime scene investigations depicted in procedural TV shows. Ultraviolet light, or UV light, reveals traces of bodily fluids that aren’t visible to the eye, allowing them to be collected as evidence in a criminal investigation. Investigative reports, often seen on TV news programs, also use them to expose just…
What We Do for Longevity
Could the life expectancy of an American adult reach 110 years by 2120? Few if any of us will ever know, but a look at historical data does suggest that life expectancy can take a significant leap over the course of a century. Back in 1920, the life expectancy of an American adult was 54.1 years. By 2020 it had reached 77 years — an increase of more than 42%.
Astrobiology: What Is It, and What Can It Teach Us About Life on Earth?
Clouds of sulfuric acid float through the crushing carbon dioxide atmosphere of Venus. Tens of thousands of volcanoes pockmark its surface. A runaway greenhouse gas effect turned the planet into a molten hunk of rock, but it wasn’t always like this. Earth’s “sister planet” may have once been covered in a shallow ocean. Had it not been for an alternative evolutionary path, Venus could have been teeming with life.