1,000 years from now, lego bricks could be found in the ocean

A new study says that it could be centuries before millions of the classic toys submerged in the Earth's seas disintegrate.

Photo by Rick Mason on Unsplash
  • A new study by researchers from the University of Plymouth estimates that it could be up to 1,300 years before LEGO pieces lost to the sea disintegrate.
  • Researchers collected fifty LEGO pieces washed up on beaches in southwest England and compared them to archived blocks in their original condition.
  • The classic children's toy is made of an incredibly durable material called acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a rock-solid polymer.
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Baby bees hatch with damaged brains thanks to pesticides

Study finds that a colony's exposure to pesticides impairs offspring.

Image source: Gill, et al/Tonio_75/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • Pesticide contamination in bee hives damages the learning capabilities of offspring, according to a recently published study.
  • A key area of the affected bees' brains never correctly develops after pesticide exposure.
  • Early impairment appears to be irreversible and is likely a factor in falling bee populations.
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'Vastly underestimated': Fossil fuels emit 40% more methane than previously thought, study finds

Methane is 80 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
  • Methane is the second most abundant greenhouse gas on the planet.
  • A recent study analyzed ice core samples from the pre-industrial era to measure the extent to which industry has played a role in increasing atmospheric methane levels.
  • The researchers note that their results suggest action can be taken to stem methane pollution.
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House plants do not purify the air, study shows

Beautiful? Yes. Air purifiers? Not so fast.

Photo by Katya Austin on Unsplash
  • A new meta-analysis at Drexel University shows that house plants are not effective for purifying the air of toxins.
  • A 1989 NASA report that claimed indoor plants are purifying was not conducted in realistic living conditions.
  • Indoor plants have positive effects on our mental health, just not in regards to air quality.
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New technique turns junk into valuable graphene

Graphene is insanely useful, but very difficult to produce — until now.

Jeff Fitlow
  • Graphene is a lattice of carbon atoms arranged in a chicken-wire formation, a structure that makes it very useful for a wide range of applications.
  • However, it's been very difficult and expensive to make.
  • This new technique cuts down on the cost and difficulty by flash heating any carbon-based material, such as used coffee grounds or plastic waste.
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