A 'vampire' fungus has killed millions of bats since 2006. Here's why it matters.

White-nose syndrome is nearly as lethal to bats as the Black Plague was for humans.

Photo by Igam Ogam on Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • White-nose syndrome has killed at least 6.7 million bats, though this estimate was made in 2012, and the current figure is almost certainly much higher.
  • Bats serve a crucial role in our ecosystem and economy, and white-nose syndrome is already pushing many species to the brink of extinction.
  • Researchers and scientists are working hard to develop novel methods to cure white-nose syndrome; a few methods have shown promise, but none have yet been deployed in the field.
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5 types of climate change deniers, and how to change their minds

Talking about climate change doesn't have to be an argument over Thanksgiving dinner. Some people, though maybe not all, can be persuaded.

Matt Artz via Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Climate change is easily one of humanity's greatest threats, and a mountain of data and evidence support this assertion.
  • Despite the evidence, only 71% of Americans believe that climate change is real and primarily driven by human activities.
  • People can and do change their minds about climate change. Trying to convince people to change their minds is often more about picking the right target than it is providing the right arguments.
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How will we travel to another star?

Proxima Centauri, our closest star, is more than 4 light years away. Reaching it under 10,000 years will be challenging; reaching it with living humans will be even harder.

NASA
Technology & Innovation
  • Eventually, humanity will want to travel to a new solar system to propagate the human race, explore, and maybe find signs of alien life.
  • But our closest neighbor, Proxima Centauri, is so far away that current methods could take tens of thousands of years.
  • How will we surmount this incredible distance and the other challenges associated with interstellar travel?
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Top 5 messages sent to alien civilizations

Between Carl Sagan's laughter, the brainwaves of somebody in love, and a live theremin concert, humanity has sent a lot of data out into the stars.

ESA/Hubble & NASA
Surprising Science
  • Ever since we've had the capability, humanity has been desperately trying to make contact with other life in the universe.
  • While we've been beaming out information passively through our television and radio broadcasts, we've also sent more intentional messages.
  • Looking at these messages tells us how humanity wants to think of itself and what kind of relationship we hope to have with alien life.
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