The Homo sapiens view of our world is all a matter of perspective, and we need to remember that we’re among the larger creatures on Earth. At around 1.7 meters in length, we’re much closer in size to the biggest animals that have ever lived – 30-meter-long blue whales – than the viruses and bacteria that are less than one-millionth our size.

 

Our relative size and their invisibility to our naked eye makes it easy to forget that there are vastly more of those little guys than us – not just in number, but also in mass and volume. And they’re vital to the health of our planet. For example, every other breath of oxygen you take is courtesy of the photosynthetic bacteria that live in the ocean.

 

As early microscope pioneer Antony Van Lewenhook discovered approximately 350 years ago, these little “animalcules” are in almost every nook and cranny you can think of on Earth. But until now, we haven’t been able to study most microscopic forms of ocean life in their native marine habitats at sufficient resolution to discern many of their miniature features. This is important, as there are thousands of different millimeter-sized underwater creatures we previously couldn’t study unless they were removed and brought to the lab.

 

Our new Benthic Underwater Microscope (BUM) changes that. In building our underwater microscopes, we are inspired by oceanographer Victor Smetacek’s question of whether an in situ computerized telemicroscope could “do for microbial ecology what Galileo’s telescope did for astronomy.” Simply put, we hope so. Underwater microscopy can help scientists tackle research questions in new ways. Using the BUM, we’ve already seen some amazing new coral behaviors.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: theconversation.com

Schools at all levels and in all places around the globe are regularly criticized for failing to prepare their students for the modern workplace. But it is the future workplace as much as the modern one that demands our attention. Recognizing the extraordinary uncertainty the future holds, critics suggest that educators should focus on improving student “innovation”.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.weforum.org

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More than 100 Nobel laureates have signed a letter urging Greenpeace to end its opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The letter asks Greenpeace to cease its efforts to block introduction of a genetically engineered strain of rice that supporters say could reduce Vitamin-A deficiencies causing blindness and death in children in the developing world.

 

“We urge Greenpeace and its supporters to re-examine the experience of farmers and consumers worldwide with crops and foods improved through biotechnology, recognize the findings of authoritative scientific bodies and regulatory agencies, and abandon their campaign against ‘GMOs’ in general and Golden Rice in particular,” the letter states.

 

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.washingtonpost.com

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