Report: Chipotle, Sweetgreen bowls contain cancer-linked 'forever chemicals'

The synthetic chemicals — called PFAS — never break down naturally.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
  • The results don't suggest that eating from any of these restaurants poses a serious health risk.
  • The Food and Drug Administration allows a certain amount of PFAS to exist in food containers.
  • Still, the science behind the health and environmental effects of PFAS remains largely unclear.
Keep reading Show less

How oceanic evolution took a left turn 170 million years ago

New research reveals a major shift in what pressures life used to face.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash
  • For the vast majority of the evolutionary history of ocean life, sudden changes in climate and oceanic chemistry had a huge impact on what life could flourish and what life could not.
  • But about 170 million years ago, this changed. The ocean became more stable, and things like predator-prey relationships started to dominate how life evolved.
  • The reason for this sudden change? Calcifying plankton came to dominate the oceans.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create an "eye on reality" camera that sees invisible light

Harvard engineers make a breakthrough polarization camera.

  • Harvard researchers create a tiny camera that can see polarization.
  • Seeing the invisible light can help in numerous applications, from self-driving cars to satellites.
  • The scientists used nanotechnology to achieve this feat.
Keep reading Show less

No more squeaky voices: We're running out of helium

Its scarcity could impact scientific research as well as the high-tech industry.

Photo by Luca Upper on Unsplash
  • Although it's commonly used to make balloons float, helium is actually a precious, non-renewable resource.
  • Without helium, a great deal of scientific research can not be conducted, and technology like MRI machines won't work.
  • The demand for helium is enormous and growing; there is no way to create artificial helium economically and no way for the Earth's helium stores to sustain the demand.
Keep reading Show less

Where do atoms come from? Billions of years of cosmic fireworks.

The periodic table was a lot simpler at the beginning of the universe.

  • Michelle Thaller's "absolute favorite fact in the universe" is that we are made of dead stars.
  • The Big Bang, when it went off, produced basically three elements: hydrogen, helium, and lithium. Every atom more complex had to be formed inside a star. Over time, stars such as the sun produce things like carbon and oxygen.
  • They don't really get much more far off the periodic table than that. If you want to go any farther than the element iron, then you actually need a very violent explosion, a supernova explosion.