Published: Pixable (February 24, 2015)
This has been a historic month for science. Even if all scientific progress crawls to a stop this week, the knowledge we’ve already acquired since February 1, 2015 is likely to have a direct impact on all of our lives. Among the lessons we’ve learned:
1. The theory of the Big Bang may be false
In a paper published by Physics Letters B titled “Cosmology from quantum potential,” researchers Ahmed Farag Ali in Egypt and Saurya Das in Canada propose that the universe is filled with a quantum fluid that expands space by exerting a slight but constant force on all matter. If correct, their argument could disprove the Big Bang theory, which has long been criticized due to its equations being unable to take scientists back to the universe’s origin point – one that, if the Big Bang theory is to be believed, would be an infinitely small and dense singularity. The Ali-Das model not only fixes this by positing a universe that has always existed, but even explains physical phenomena like gravity and the theory of relativity.
2. Global warming is causing a megadrought on the verge of literally transforming America.
As President Obama pushes for stricter regulations to curb global warming, Americans are being offered an ominous glimpse of what will happen if we fail to act. First, researchers from NASA joined experts at Cornell University and Columbia University to warn against an impending “megadraught” that will grip the Southwestern and Plains states by 2050 if climate change continues at its current pace. According to the report, shifts in weather patterns will lead to major water shortages, threatening America’s agricultural industry and increasing the likelihood of wildfires throughout the country.
Then, a panel of climatologists submitted a report projecting that future heat waves will bury large sections of New York City under water by the middle of the century, turning the Big Apple into another Venice.
3. Losing weight isn’t as simple as exercising and dieting.
A massive study led by I-Min Lee of the Harvard School of Public Health has found that eating less and exercising may not be enough to cure obesity. Numerous biological mechanisms encourage people to eat more when they’re trying to diet, the paper argued, from the body slowing the rate at which it burns calories during exercise to the brain making high calorie foods seem more appealing. Since 80 to 95 percent of obese people regain the weight they lose solely through diet and exercise, the study concluded doctors should prescribe obesity medications and/or bariatric surgery in conjunction with diet and exercise for patients who want to permanently lose large amounts of weight. Similarly, international genetics researchers have discovered more than 90 gene regions that explain why some people are more likely to gain weight than others, which can be used to further improve weight loss treatment in the future.
As we approach the final ten months of 2015, our best hope for the future is to learn from the fruits of modern scientific progress. Whether we’re discussing the shapes of our bodies, the landscape of our continent, or the origin of the universe, the stakes clearly couldn’t be higher.