There's Gold In Them Thar Tree Leaves!

Australian researchers have discovered particles of gold in the leaves of eucalyptus trees, and speculate that they're coming up from larger deposits underground.

What's the Latest Development?


Researchers from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) say they've discovered traces of gold inside the leaves, twigs, and bark of certain eucalyptus trees with the help of the country's synchrotron, which uses X-rays to reveal extremely detailed composition information. Such particles have been found before in the soil around the trees, but the new findings -- published in Nature Communications -- show that they're absorbing them from hitherto-untapped deposits located more than 30 meters (about 100 feet) underground.

What's the Big Idea?

Besides the fact that vegetation analysis of this type could help explorers discover new sources of gold while minimizing the financial cost and environmental impact of excavation, it could also reveal whether plants are sitting atop other mineral deposits, such as iron or copper. CSIRO geochemist Mel Lintern says: "We've found a lot of the easy deposits in Australia and elsewhere in the world as well. Now we are trying to tackle finding these more difficult ones that are buried beneath tens of metres of river sediments and sand dunes. And the trees are providing us with a method to be able to do this."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at BBC News

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

Are we all multiple personalities of universal consciousness?

Bernardo Kastrup proposes a new ontology he calls “idealism” built on panpsychism, the idea that everything in the universe contains consciousness. He solves problems with this philosophy by adding a new suggestion: The universal mind has dissociative identity disorder.

We’re all one mind in "idealism." (Credit: Alex Grey)
Mind & Brain

There’s a reason they call it the “hard problem.” Consciousness: Where is it? What is it? No one single perspective seems to be able to answer all the questions we have about consciousness. Now Bernardo Kastrup thinks he’s found one. He calls his ontology idealism, and according to idealism, all of us and all we perceive are manifestations of something very much like a cosmic-scale dissociative identity disorder (DID). He suggests there’s an all-encompassing universe-wide consciousness, it has multiple personalities, and we’re them.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less