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Yellowstone’s Supervolcano More Massive Than Once Thought – On Science

December 18, 2013

A supervolcano just got a little more super…

Facebook’s feeling charitable…

Multivitamins have been lying to us…

And a sparkling find. Coming up today On Science!

Hello and welcome to On Science. I’m Emerald Robinson.

Wouldn’t you just love if somebody told you that you’re more super than you already were? A supervolcano located in Yellowstone National Park is much more super than previously thought. The new study from the University of Utah found that the supervolcano is 2.5 times bigger than earlier estimates, stretching a massive 55 miles. Using seismometers to collect data, they found that the volcano’s chamber is 18 miles wide and runs three to nine miles below the Earth. If (God forbid) it did erupt, they say it would be a “global event.” Its largest blast was 2,000 times the size of the 1980 eruption of Mount S. Helens and another eruption like that would spew large amounts of material into the atmosphere, where it would circle the Earth. So supervolcano, keep a lid on it please!

If you’re feeling charitable this holiday season, Facebook is making it easy for you to give. Last week the social media giant announced the potential “Sympathize” button and this week it’s announcing a possible “Donate Now” button. Facebook said it will add the “Donate Now” button that will allow users to easily donate to charitable organizations. As you scroll down your news feed looking at all the ugly Christmas sweater posts, you will soon see the button appearing on posts associated with participating nonprofit organizations. It will also appear on the Facebook pages of said organizations. Click, select an amount, and enter payment info. Easy as 1,2,3. This donate feature already proved successful in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. I “like” Facebook philanthropy.

Well, this research explains why I have so many allergies. My mom had a no dogs inside policy. A new study from the University of California, San Francisco has found the reason for why children raised in a home with indoor and outdoor dogs develop immunity to allergies later in life. The team found mice that were exposed to dogs that were allowed both indoors and outdoors had their gut microbes altered and experienced a diminished immune system reaction to common allergens. They even found the specific bacterial species that is critical in safeguarding air passages against both allergens and viral infection. They found that inflammatory responses in the lungs were significantly cut in mice that had been exposed to dog-associated dust and it should be the same or kids. See mama, you should of let us have a dog!

But what my Mama did do was make us take our daily assortment of vitamins, which my brother hated. Well, turns out they don’t do much for you. A team of UK and US scientists say that “most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided.” That’s pretty harsh! They say study after study has found they just don’t work and there’s no need going on and studying them more. One found that vitamins have no effect on cognitive decline in men older than 65. Another found that multivitamins didn’t help lessen the development of heart disease in people who suffered a heart attack. But they did say pregnant women should keep taking folic acid during their pregnancy. Sounds like their pretty fed up!

And in really exciting news… Christmas came early! Researchers have found signs of diamonds in Antarctica! They have discovered a kimberlite deposit—rocks known for their propensity to contain diamonds. Diamonds are created deep in the Earth’s mantle by heavy heat and pressure, then after millions of years are brought to the surface by volcanoes and locked in the distinctive kimberlite rocks. But we won’t really know if the rocks contain diamonds because there is an international ban on mining the frozen continent until 2041. Should I feel bad that I’m disappointed?

And that’s what’s up On Science. Hmmm…I think I would like a diamond for Christmas Santa!



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