Discovered: Venice is sinking, record low TB cases, more evidence that breast cancer screenings work, and very speedy planets.
- The sinking city is still sinking. Contrary to what this blogger believed, even though water engulfs the entire city, science had decided Venice stopped sinking into the depths of the earth sometime around the '80s. The water level continues to rise, however, because of rising tides. But, now science says that's all wrong. Venice is still sinking. "Venice appears to be continuing to subside, at a rate of about 2 millimeters (.07 inches) a year," explains researcher Yehuda Bock. That couple with rising tides of 2 millimeters per year means quite the watery future for the Italian city. [UC San Diego]
- Record low TB cases. There's good news and bad news with this one. Good news first? U.S. cases of tuberculosis fell 6.4 percent in 2011 to an all-time low of 10,521 reported cases. Great! Now for the not so good news: The U.S will not eliminate -- ie. reduce the disease to fewer than one case per one million people -- until 2100. That is a very long time from now. [Reuters]
- And, once again, breast cancer screenings work. The other week science found that women who had mammograms between the ages of 40 and 49 had better prognoses than those who did not. This week, a 20 year study finds breast-cancer screenings lead to a"significant" drop in deaths. How significant is significant. "Compared with the pre-screening period 1986 to 1988, deaths from breast cancer among women aged 55-79 fell by 31% in 2009," said research Jacques Fracheboud. "We found there was a significant change in the annual increase in breast cancer deaths: before the screening programme began, deaths were increasing by 0.3% a year, but afterwards there was an annual decrease of 1.7%. This change also coincided with a significant decrease in the rates of breast cancers that were at an advanced stage when first detected." So, there you have it. It works. [University Medical Center, Rotterdam]
- Planets that move faster than the speed of light. Though our here-on-Earth neutrinos probably don't move faster than the speed of light, these planets do. Space researchers have found planets that travel up to at a few percent of the speed of light, up to 30 million miles per hour. "These warp-speed planets would be some of the fastest objects in our galaxy. If you lived on one of them, you'd be in for a wild ride from the center of the galaxy to the Universe at large," explains researcher Avi Loeb. Sounds like fun? [Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics]