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Here’s what would happen if all insects on Earth disappeared

Although it’s impossible to say exactly what would happen if all insects on Earth suddenly vanished, it’s likely that civilisation and ecosystems would be in serious trouble. Nitrogen-rich faeces would potentially build up, choking plant life and preventing new growth. Meanwhile, no dermestid beetles and other corpse-eaters would lead to […]
Here’s what would happen if all insects on Earth disappeared
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Why you don’t see brilliantly blue fireworks

Bright blue fireworks are far more challenging to produce than common colours like red, white, or green. Pyrotechnicians have been trying to produce brilliant blue fireworks for centuries, to no avail. The challenge is that the copper compound needed to create that bright colour breaks down at the high temperatures […]
Why you don’t see brilliantly blue fireworks
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The worst storms on Earth are nothing compared to the weather on other planets

Earth has some pretty severe weather– hurricanes,earthquakes, and tsunamis can be devastating – but we’re better off living here than on other planets. Earth’s worst storms are nothing compared to the sulfuric acid rain on Venus, towering dust devils on Mars, or supersonic winds on Neptune. Watch the video above […]
The worst storms on Earth are nothing compared to the weather on other planets
US

The fascinating way helium changes your voice

Inhaling helium and talking like Daffy Duck is a classic party trick. But not many know how helium works. Helium is much lighter than air, so sound waves move much faster through the gas. This amplifies the higher frequencies in your voice. The gas sulphur hexafluoride works in the opposite […]
The fascinating way helium changes your voice
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NASA ‘tasted’ complex organic compounds in a blast of water from one of Saturn’s moons — and can’t yet rule out the possibility that they’re from alien life

Enceladus, an ice-encrusted moon of Saturn, hides an ocean of saltwater that blasts ice into space. NASA flew its Cassini spacecraft through the ice geysers in 2015. Scientists continue to analyse the data, and on Wednesday a group announced that it had detected complex organic molecules. Though not definitive proof […]
NASA ‘tasted’ complex organic compounds in a blast of water from one of Saturn’s moons — and can’t yet rule out the possibility that they’re from alien life
US

Why soda tastes different in a can or bottle

People often have strong opinions about how they drink their soda. Some people prefer it in a can, others prefer a glass or plastic bottle. While soda companies claim that the recipe doesn’t change, there are a few factors that might affect the way you taste a soda depending on […]
Why soda tastes different in a can or bottle
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The fascinating chemistry that goes into a fireworks display

The fireworks you enjoy every 4th of July are the result of a chain of chemical reactions. When a firework container is lit, its contents of coloured explosives called “stars” light up the sky. The colours that sparkle in the sky are chemical reactions happening right before your eyes. The […]
The fascinating chemistry that goes into a fireworks display