A mysterious plague has manifested in the world's starfish population, quickly spreading to several regions in which starfish (also called "sea stars") are found. Starfish afflicted with the disease tear themselves to pieces, the arms crawling in opposite directions until the animals are literally torn to pieces. Unlike healthy starfish, the affected animals are not able to regenerate after they are torn apart.
The disease is largely a mystery. Researchers who are studying it are asking beach-walkers to photograph any starfish they see to tweet photos of it with the #sickstarfish tag. Starfish are important marine predators; a serious depletion of their numbers will have far-reaching consequences for marine ecosystems.
BEN MINER: The experiments are infectiousness experiments, where we take individuals that have signs of the syndrome and we put them in tanks with individuals that don’t have signs.
KATIE CAMPBELL: Then they closely watch the progress of the disease. First, the stars twist their arms into knots, and sometimes lesions form on their skin.
BEN MINER: One of them was very sick, and the other two individuals started ripping themselves apart. The arms just crawl away from the particular body.
KATIE CAMPBELL: You heard that right. The arms crawl in opposite directions, until they tear away from the body and their insides spill out. And unlike most starfish, the arms don’t regenerate. Stars that came in with symptoms died within 24 hours.
Mysterious epidemic devastates starfish population off the Pacific Coast [PBS]
This video depicts light speed in contexts where it appears to be slow. The moon is 1.2 light seconds from Earth; Mars several light minutes. This is, of course, why humans aren’t moving out of this solar system any time soon.
Randall Munroe's "Good Question" column in the New York Times is in the vein of his How To and What If books, in which he answers weird science questions with equally weird thoroughness.
This year’s episode of the grand meteor shower the Leonids will peak on Monday morning before dawn. The meteors are bits of debris dropping off the comet Tempel-Tuttle that intersects Earth’s orbit every November. Unfortunately, it may be tough to see many shooting stars because activity this year will be low and the waning gibbous […]
Seems like no matter what kind of wireless earbud you buy, you’re sacrificing something: Sound for longevity, battery life for durability, the list goes on. Finally, it seems like the tech is starting to come together for the full package in a few newer models. Case in point: These PaMu Slide Bluetooth 5 In-Ear Headphones. […]
If you’re doing any kind of data work, chances are you’re working in Excel. This venerable platform has evolved beyond its roots as a workhorse spreadsheet creator into an essential tool for data analysts and other high-level number crunchers. Want to brush up on this year’s version of the software? There’s no quicker way than […]
Does your computer gear need an upgrade? Don’t cross your fingers and wait for Christmas. You can get 15% off the final sale price of all these essential accessories now by using the online code BFSAVE15, including gaming mice and computer desks. Wireless Charging Mouse Pad Talk about a space saver. This high-quality mouse pad […]