Four scientific anecdotes to make your family’s meals better!

Why are there spots on the Moon? How many living things are there in a teaspoon of soil? To provide some agreed-upon topics of conversation over Christmas, while hanging on to the next release of our paper review, here are four scientific anecdotes from four files in our journal.

Let’s face it: Not many of us will avoid traditional anti-science clichés at year-end family reunions. There always comes a time when the climate-skeptical uncle or the ax-opposing sister-in-law has the opportunity to initiate a remark that is likely to escalate and worsen into a heated debate. digestion Yule log.

To avoid falling into such a vicious circle, we offer four backfires for lighting in an emergency. Sources of astonishing four scientific anecdotes, the astonishing expanse of knowledge and a primary consensus. cherry On the Cake: These tales are taken from four of our files new magazineWhich will be released in January. There’s a way for us to wait until then, and wish you a very happy holiday!

1. Why are there spots on the Moon?

We can admire them almost every night and some enjoy imagining their characters contrasts Darkness. Many legends also see in its spots the outline of a celestial rabbit living on the moon. Chinese rover Yutu 2, the first human machine to walk the dark side of the Moon In 2019, door For this reason a name meaning “jade rabbit”. we have debt tooastronomer Michael Florent van Langeren, author of one of the first lunar maps in 1645, denominated “sea” to designate these large craters, as it was thought that these dark spots indicated the existence of oceans on the Moon.

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In fact, these dark areas reveal the presence of bajalat, they are the remains of ancient flows Make The giant craters that filled the largest lunar craters between 3.7 and 3.3 billion years ago. This lava came from inside the moon, which was extremely hot at that time. magmaunder the influence of Expression, then tended to rise to the surface but failed to pierce crust Chandra compared it to places where it was thinnest: where impact craters thinned it. This is why these basalts, these spots, follow the rounded shape of these craters today. In a sense it was the ocean and the ocean… but the ocean of lava!

2. Our genes are a small part of our DNA

We use the two words interchangeably, yet our Genoa probably only … 2% our DNA , To be more precise, researchers now estimate the number of genes encoding approximately 20,000 protein inside genome Man. These are made up of sequences of genes Nucleotide with double helix structure ofd n, But large portions of this long sequence of nucleotides (there are 3.2 billion nucleic bases in the human genome) do not encode any proteins: 90 to 98% of the whole, according to the researchers.

If these sequences were previously known as “junk DNA”, scientists are slowly exploring the fundamental role that these regions of the genome may play. Some, located next to genes and called promoters, are used to regulate their expression or have a role in epigenetic mechanisms. Another example, the sequences are identically repeated and are located at the end of chromosomes, Called telomere, serve to preserveHonesty Chromosomes. Telomeres shorten with each cell division, which plays a role in aging but also protects against cancer, Other large groups of DNA fulfill a function still unknown to researchers, including Jean Self.

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3. How many living things are there in a teaspoon of soil?

It is a world in itself. a universe full of life forms Rich, varied and connected by complex relationships like no other. One teaspoon (5 grams) of forest soil in our latitudes, we find up to 50 million bacteria thousands. owned bycash of various, thousands of species Mushrooms but still amoebic, nematodes, algae, particles of, ciliates, viruses …

There is nothing accidental in this wealth; On the contrary, it is wealth that gives the earth its fertility, which creates the earth.mold and allows plants to feed, some micro-organisms living in symbiosis with their roots, providing them Minerals necessary for them metabolism In exchange for sugar provided by plants. If you take a little more than a teaspoon, you will easily get slightly larger animals, insects and worms, true plowers of the soil. These beautiful people represent 50 to 75% biomass 26% of the living and listed species on Earth. They play an important role in capturing carbon global warming and in the adaptation of agricultural practices … on condition of a better understanding and respect of them.

Machine beats human brain by consuming 50,000 times more energy…

In 2016, L’ia AlphaGo Developed by DeepMind (acquired by two years ago) Google) beats Korean Lee Sedol, one of the best players in the world, in the game of Go. The phenomenon caused a sensation as Go was until then considered one of the most difficult games for AI to emulate, the possible combinations being much greater than for example chess. But to beat its human rival, DeepMind’s algorithm deployed an enormous amount of energy, estimated at up to 1 megawatt, while … for 20 watts. human brain, Or 50,000 times less.

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Since this symbolic confrontation, engineers certainly haven’t stopped improving their AI’s performance and optimizing energy consumption. But it remains a major issue, especially during the learning phases of algorithms. In 2019, AI researchers (artificial intelligence) from the University of Massachusetts Estimated For example that the training of a single artificial neural network As much as CO. can emit2 that five cars throughout their life cycle. Next time you a. play against you get complicated computer, remember that your Brain And its 86 billion neurons remain an unparalleled wonder of efficiency and learning capabilities.

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About the Author: Abbott Hopkins

Analyst. Amateur problem solver. Wannabe internet expert. Coffee geek. Tv guru. Award-winning communicator. Food nerd.

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