10 new things we’ve learned about cancer

Cancer's sweet tooth. Turning cancer cells into fat. Unveiling genetic secrets. Scientists are learning about cancer every day.

  • Cancer is a leading cause of death among Americans, second only to heart disease.
  • Researchers are unearthing cancer's genetic secrets and, with it, potential new treatments.
  • Their efforts have seen the cancer death rate for men, women, and children fall year after year between 1999 and 2016.
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NASA's idea for making food from thin air just became a reality — it could feed billions

Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.

Jordane Mathieu on Unsplash
  • The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
  • Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
  • The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
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Evolution just got turned upside down. Sorry sponges.

Stems cells have always been pretty amazing.

Image source: Piotr Kuczek/Lotus_studio/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • New research indicates animals' oldest ancestor was not sponges' single-celled choanocyte bacteria as previously thought.
  • It appears our earliest predecessors were something like modern stem cells.
  • Our lineage just lost its founding member. The search for our true first predecessor is on!
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Researchers announce molecular surgery — no cutting, no scarring

Doctors may be able to painlessly reshape cartilage with the technique.

Photo credit: SHAH MARAI / AFP / Getty Images
  • The application of electrical current can temporarily soften cartilage, allowing it to be manipulated before re-hardening.
  • The technique promises to eliminate cutting, scarring, pain, and recovery time.
  • So far it's been tested on just one bunny who now has one straight ear and one bent one.
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This is not what an atom really looks like

Artistic depictions of the atom have deceived us all.

  • Though artistic renderings suggest otherwise, electrons do not, in fact, move around a nucleus the same way the planets move around a star — at all.
  • Electrons also are not tiny balls, they're more wavelike. Also, in regard to their location, a single electron can also be an entire sphere around the nucleus of an atom.
  • As for their movement, electrons do have a spin, but they're not actually spinning. They're not actually moving around. You can think of them as clouds that exist in different locations around the nucleus based on how much energy they have.