As the year comes to end, science has left us with 365 days of innovation, groundbreaking research, and countless insights to reflect upon in 2013. For our final rendition of Sci-lights in 2012, we’d like to exhibit a few discoveries this week that may turn typical scientific convention on its head in the coming years.
|Human eye, capable of blinking "15 to 20 times per minute."|
Photo Credit: Guidinginstincts.com
This week, in an article published by Smithsonian Magazine, researchers shed light on the frequency of human blinking. It is estimated that humans blink “15 to 20 times per minute— so frequently that our eyes are closed for roughly 10% of our waking hours overall.” While this figure alone is astounding, it is not the point of contention that has been waves in the science community. What has excited scientists is the article’s position that the brain may take blinking as a chance to filter thoughts and organize information. The researchers believe that the mind experiences a flash of increased cognizance moments after blinking, which was corroborated by findings that showed an increased rate of blinking during times of mental strain. To read up more on this, follow this link to the original post.
|Active volcanoes on Oahu will keep erosion at bay for only (geologically speaking) the next 75,000-1.75M years|
Photo Credit: billiesilvey.com
In an entirely different field of scientific study, MSNBC has issued an article in the journal, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, where geologists postulated that the island of Oahu is eroding from the inside out. They estimated that Oahu “will continue to grow, thanks to plate tectonics, for another 75,000 to 1.75 million years. After that, however, the forces working to eat away at Oahu from the inside out will begin to triumph.” This will probably not be a concern for vacationers who have already booked their trips to the Hawaiian capital, but it is exciting news in the realm of geology nonetheless! For more info, follow this link.
Aerographite, the world's lightest material
Another mind-boggling innovation to hit the presses this week is in the realm of materials science. Scientists at Kiel University and the Hamburg University of Technology have invented a form of graphite, called aerographite, that is 6 times lighter than air. In an article on euronews.com, it was stated “aerographite could enable the creation of much lighter lithium-ion batteries. It could be used for waterproof clothes, lighter computers, efficient air and water filtration and as protective shielding for satellites.”
|Anguilla Bank Skink|
Photo Credit: Karl Questel
To cap off our Sci-lights for the year, here is a link to a very interesting article by slate.com portraying a list of the most beautiful, mystifying, and unique new species discovered in 2012. From the world’s smallest frog to a tri-colored lizard, the critters on this list encapsulate the creativity of evolution at its finest.