Discovered: Our galaxy is on a crash course, get ready for a nasty hurricane season, the poor butterflies, and chocolate is now healthy.
- Our galaxy is going to crash right into another galaxy, eventually. Oh shoot. Science has something grave it needs to tell us. "After nearly a century of speculation about the future destiny of Andromeda and our Milky Way, we at last have a clear picture of how events will unfold over the coming billions of years," explains researcher Sangmo Tony Sohn. And that picture looks kind of violent. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, will run right into another one, Andromeda. "In the 'worst-case-scenario' simulation, M31 slams into the Milky Way head-on and the stars are all scattered into different orbits," explains research Gurtina Besla. "The stellar populations of both galaxies are jostled, and the Milky Way loses its flattened pancake shape with most of the stars on nearly circular orbits. The galaxies' cores merge, and the stars settle into randomized orbits to create an elliptical-shaped galaxy." "Jostled" and "slams"?! That sounds worrisome. [Space Telescopic Science Institute]
- Get ready for a nasty hurricane season. Considering all the wacktastic weather we've had this year, including the crazy supposed tornado apocalypse headed for DC today, this prediction should not come as a surprise. Science has forecast an "active" hurricane season this year. There is a 70 percent probability that we will see 10 to 16 named storms and five to nine hurricanes. But it doesn't look like it will be as bad as last year, during which saw 17 storms and 9 hurricanes. You might doubt the accuracy of these soothsayers, but over time these guys have gotten it close to right, with a mean absolute error of 1.9 hurricanes and 2.3 named storms. [COAPS]
- Climate change will really hurt the butterflies. Science expects extinction of one third of the entire butterfly population due to climate change. Imagine if 1/3 of us just got wiped out by lack of food or heat or a tidal wave or a tornado (see above)! This news compounds earlier research that found our early spring was killing the butterfly population. Beyond sheer numbers, butterflies are also particularly important for our ecosystem. “Insects and plants are at the base of the food pyramid and are extremely important, but they often get less attention when we are studying the ecological impacts of climate change,” explains researcher Javier G. Illan. [Oregon State University]
- Today in junk food is now good for you. Yes! Love this type of research. Science suggests that eating dark chocolate, also known as candy, every single day (no skipping!) might prevent heart problems. It has something to do with the flavonoids and apparently only applies to "high-risk" people, but those who had "100 percent compliance," meaning they followed the very difficult regimen and ate chocolate every day, saw fewer fatal and non-fatal heart-related events. Let's just say we're high risk, OK? [BMJ]