Tue, 03/20/2018 - 3:27am

NC Science Now Reporter's blog

All About the Gyre

The lines and clumps of sargassum (reddish brown grass floating at sea that forms the foundation of a complex sea community) can stretch for miles along the ocean’s surface here in the North Atlantic. Get high above the surface and you’ll find the orange and brown seaweed as far as the eye can see. And you can’t see it all, because the area known as the Sargasso Sea stretches for almost 2 million square miles.

Flash Facts

It’s time for a news flash, or at least a lightning flash.

The folks at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tell me that lightning flashes more than three million times a day around the world. That’s about 40 flashes per second. Not all of those flashes hit the ground and those flashes are pretty quick—lasting only about 30 microseconds.

Medicines With Class

It’s a pretty common routine.

You visit the doctor’s office for a medical issue and, after a brief examination, you walk out of the office with a prescription. At some point later, you stop by the pharmacy and leave with the medicine in hand.

You may not pay much more attention to the medication. After all the pill, liquid, nasal spray or injection is just something to help you feel better. But it turns out, there are huge differences in medicines. Here are the basics.

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic

The terms aerobic and anaerobic are not only used when talking about processing and cleaning wastewater, as discussed in the story Turning Wastewater Into Energy. These words can also apply to exercise.

In both cases, the words are referring to the amount of oxygen being used to perform an activity. During aerobic exercise, just as in cleaning wastewater, there is enough oxygen available to continue the current level of activity without getting additional energy from another source.

Slowing Down

The idea of fast-growing vegetables and plants is implied in every advertisement for some brands of fertilizers, compost, or other soil additives. If the particular product and the chemicals inside it are added to the soil, plants will produce more fruits and vegetables because they will grow stronger, higher, hardier and faster.