February 13, 2013
Don’t Go In The Water! Shark Bites Are On The Rise – The Daily Orbit
Shark bites on the rise.
What orbiter breaks a world record?
And say good-bye to being cold!
All that and more coming up on the Daily Orbit!
Hello and welcome to the Daily Orbit. I’m Emerald Robinson.
Wanna know why I don’t really venture into the water at the beach—well that would be because of sharks. And 2012 saw the highest number of shark attacks since 2000 — 53 in the US alone. Worldwide there were 80 unprovoked attacks, 7 of which were fatal. What state wins the shark bite contest? Florida at 26 attacks, with Hawaii coming in 2nd at 10 and California and South Carolina both at 5. Want to steer clear of the bite? Scientists say avoid areas and times when sharks are most common. Or I say don’t surf. Surfers made up 60% of the bite bunch. So you will see me chillin’ safely on the sand…pina colada in hand.
And the World Record for the “longest-operating Earth observation satellite” goes to…drum roll please. Well, it’s award season folks and it’s not a star taking home the prize but one amongst the stars. NASA’s “Landsat 5” has been awarded the Guinness World Record title for “longest-operating Earth observation satellite.” The orbiter has been feeding us high quality, global data of Earth’s land surface for 28 years and 10 months; way surpassing its 3 year life expectancy. During its tenure, the satellite has made 150,000 orbits and sent back 2.5 million images. But it’s the end of the road for this record setting satellite. NASA announced in December that Landsat 5 will be decommissioned in the coming months due to the failure of a redundant gyroscope. Well done satellite soldier.
And just when you thought that there couldn’t POSSIBLY be yet another source of CO2 to add to global warming, well, there is. This one’s found in the Arctic and is surprising researchers. Ancient carbon trapped in Arctic permafrost is now being released due to permafrost melting. This melting is causing the overlying land surface to collapse, forming erosional holes and landslides, and opening up these long-buried and highly sensitive soils to the sunlight. The sunlight increases bacterial conversion of exposed soil carbon into CO2 by at least 40% compared to carbon that remains in the dark. According to researchers this conversion is happening faster than expected and they say this means “permafrost carbon is potentially a huge factor that will help determine how fast the Earth warms.”
And this warming of the Earth has meant bad news bears for Colorado’s trembling aspen trees. A team of scientists looked at the widespread die-off of these trees, and what did they find? They say that hotter temperatures resulting in a drought from 2000-2003 affected the trees’ water-transport systems, losing upwards of 70% of water conductivity within the tree. Such an extreme die-off changes an entire ecosystem, affecting biodiversity and poses fire risks. Scientists believe these die-offs could be among the biggest impacts of drought and climate change. Poor trees.
And though I am very saddened by global warming and its affects, there’s nothing I hate more than being cold. So I am pretty excited about this next discovery. Scientists say that they can “shut off” the ability to sense cold while keeping heat and touch sensors unaffected. They say there is a link between experiencing cold and a protein called TRPM8 (trip-em-ate) and can isolate and “ablate” the neurons that express TRPM8. Scientists hope that a better understanding of how we feel sensations will lead to the development of better pain treatments. They can knock out my TRPM8. Anyone else think it’s warm in here?
Well, that’s all for the Daily Orbit….will someone turn on the air conditioning!!!