Damselflies, insects related to dragonflies, can be found on every continent save Antarctica and have existed for 250 million years. A recent study by a team at the University of Toronto revealed that climate change could put these insects into distress, resulting in increased rates of cannibalism.
There's no shortage of articles of how addicting our phones are, even in situations that would be prime time for some good, old-fashioned face-to-face. We're expecting a certain dopamine response from our online interactions and when they don't deliver, we keep searching for something that does. Reality cannot compete with our expectations. One recommendation is to make your screen grayscale to reduce your interest in individual apps, making you less likely to fall prey to the psychology of color. Time Well Spent wants users to understand the lengths that "attention companies" go to just to keep you in their ecosystem as long as possible—and the negative impact this is having on the quality of our attention.
With all the Hygge obsession last holiday season, the next Scandi invasion has got to be baked goods. What could be prettier than krumkake cookies? These curled cookies are first cooked on something that's like a really flat yet elaborately patterned waffle iron and then rolled into a cone before they cool. Enjoy them as they are or fill with whipped cream and fruit before om-nom-nom.
An international research team from Canada, France, the US and Israel recently dissected the full sunflower genome. Previously attempts frustrated researchers because sunflowers have 22,000 genes (about 10% more than we do) and bits of the plant's DNA are really long and similar looking. As part of their research, they traced the evolution of an entire family (asterid clad) which includes 75,000 different plants like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, petunias, coffee, mint and olives. The sunflower split off to do its own thing 29 million years ago.
It's one thing to be fascinated by the ruins of ancient Greece or Egypt and quite another to be confronted with the detritus of your own civilization. Many urban explorers and photographers are attracted to scenes of urban and rural decay like old theme parks, drive-ins and ghost towns. Graphic novelist Kristen Radtke didn't realize she was among them until someone pointed out her fascination. Her new memoir-as-graphic-novel, Imagine Wanting Only This, examines the decaying places around us. And the Guardian recently took a look at businesses repurposing abandoned spaces.
Excessive artificial light, also known as light pollution, is on the rise around the world because of urban expansion. Something like 80% of North Americans can't see the galaxy because of sky glow. In many cities, we're lucky to see a handful of the brightest stars. Light pollution makes astronomical research more challenging and disrupts wildlife—and it's a growing threat to our own health. While we may have once feared the dark, we actually need it to produce melatonin, which regulates our sleep/wake cycle, boosts our immune system and lowers cholesterol.
Whale sharks are endangered, enormous filter feeders, ranging over so much of the ocean that it's been difficult for conservationists to get good estimations on population size. Traditionally this would involve tagging and photographing, but you have to know the sharks are there to do so. Scientists in the Persian Gulf have figured out how to use just 30 litres of seawater and eDNA (otherwise known as environmental DNA) to estimate the size of the entire Indo-Pacific population without ever needing to see the whale sharks.
Can something finally challenge all that is unicorn? While the black food trend is not new, it's gaining ground as "goth" food, maybe just to give us a respite from all the rainbows clouding our vision. Made primarily from black rice, squid ink and activated charcoal, it's definitely different, looks cool and maybe is a little healthier than all that toxic food coloring?