Barometer of Life

Biologists want $60 million to map the effects of agriculture, development and global warming on earth's biodiversity; currently 140,000 species die out annually.

Biologists want $60 million to map the effects of agriculture, development and global warming on earth's biodiversity; currently 140,000 species die out annually. "A barometer measures atmospheric pressure. Now a coalition of biologists is calling for a similar scientific tool to measure extinction pressure on Earth's biodiversity—a so-called 'barometer of life'. After all, scientists have conclusively identified only a fraction of the species that exist on Earth; the roughly 1.9 million species catalogued to date may represent only 20 percent of the total biodiversity on the planet. 'Species disappear before we know they existed,' wrote biologists Simon Stuart, chair of the Species Survival Commission at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University, and others in the April 9 issue of Science, calling for an international effort to fund the creation of such a bio-barometer. Adds Stuart: 'The point of conservation is to turn that negative trend into a positive trend.'"

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

Videos
  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

Trauma in childhood leads to empathy in adulthood

It's not just a case of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Mind & Brain

  • A new study suggests children who endure trauma grow up to be adults with more empathy than others.
  • The effect is not universal, however. Only one kind of empathy was greatly effected.
  • The study may lead to further investigations into how people cope with trauma and lead to new ways to help victims bounce back.
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Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

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