Planet Goes Into Ecological Debt

Yesterday marked the day when Earth went into ecological debt, having already used a year's worth of productivity and resources. It has been dubbed 'Earth Overshoot Day'. 

What's the Latest Development?

Yesterday marked the day the Earth went into ecological debt. Humans have already used a year's worth of the planet's productivity and natural resources. Dubbed 'Earth Overshoot Day' by the Global Footprint Network, the planet will be in ecological debt for the rest of the year. "Human's depend on the Earth for everything from food to fuel and clothing, but since the 1970's humans have been using more resources than a single planet provides, the Network says. To keep up our current usage rates we would need between 1.3 to 1.5 Earths." From rising food and fuel prices to climate change, we are suffering the consequences. 

What's the Big Idea?

The industrial economies of the world are unsustainable. If everyone on the planet consumed energy the way an average American did, we would need five Earths to meet our energy needs. Europe and Canada consume more than the Earth can provide, too, and emerging economies like India and China are quickly catching up. "The Network estimates in the Living Planet Report 2010, that by 2030 humans will be using double the Earth's capacity." Earth Overshoot Day was calculated by comparing global demand to global supply. 

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
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China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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