Amid obesity epidemic, many American kids are still ditching water

A new research letter points to another reason for childhood obesity.

Photo credit: Mark peterson / Corbis via Getty Images
  • A research letter, published in JAMA Pediatrics, notes that one out of every five children (ages 2–19) do not drink water on any given day.
  • Children that replace water with sugar-sweetened beverages drink twice as many calories.
  • Researchers note that this is a factor in childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and other avoidable ailments.
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Surprising Science

Inside India's sand mafia

In India, a construction boom is fueling a criminal enterprise around one of the most ubiquitous substances on Earth: Sand.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images
  • India's construction industry is booming, which means that demand for concrete is very high.
  • Sand is a crucial ingredient in concrete, but mining it can cause significant environmental damage.
  • The Indian government has therefore regulated the mining of sand, but doing so is an easy way for many Indians to earn some extra money. As a result, illegal sand mining has become a commonplace activity, leading to corruption and sometimes violence.
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Politics & Current Affairs

Why the ocean you know and love won’t exist in 50 years

Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?

  • Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
  • The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
  • If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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Videos

How a wee Scottish village is shining a light — literally — on rising seas

At high tide each night, bright lights predict the underwater future.

(Niittyvirta/Aho)
  • Lochmaddy is a seaside village sitting at the encroaching edge of the North Atlantic.
  • Artists dazzling lights depict the town's submerged future as the oceans continue rising.
  • It's an unsettling visualization of global warming's impact.
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Technology & Innovation

Behold, close-ups of the sand from around the cosmos

Think you've seen sand? You haven't seen sand.

Image source: Evil Minion on Shutterstock
  • Microscopic photography exposes the beauty and strangeness of sand.
  • Water wave action produces a startling variety of sand grains.
  • That stuff between your toes is a lot more interesting than you might think.
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Surprising Science