How Important Is Earth's Magnetic Field?
Earth's magnetic field has typically been understood to shield the planet from solar wind, but recent observations of Mars and Venus have sparked a debate over the supposed shield.
The long-held theory that Earth's magnetic field protects its atmosphere from solar winds has some new challengers. "The controversy stems from recent observations that show Mars and Venus are losing oxygen ions from their atmospheres into space at about the same rate as Earth. This came as something of a surprise, since only Earth has a strong dipolar magnetic fieldthat can prevent solar wind particles from slamming into the upper atmosphere and directly stripping away ions. 'My opinion is that the magnetic shield hypothesis is unproven,' said Robert Strangeway from UCLA. 'There's nothing in the contemporary data to warrant invoking magnetic fields.'"
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.