Q&A: Tackling zinc deficiency with a new approach to urine testing

Estimates suggest up to 1.3 billion, or one in six of the world’s population, could be suffering from zinc deficiency.

Zinc is a component in many bodily proteins, including over 300 enzymes – so it plays an important role in all our cells and affects growth, hormones, the immune system, the brain, and other organs. Read more.

Kazakh Meteorite Reveals Signs of Ancient Solar ‘Superflare’

Scientists have found evidence of an ancient solar “superflare” hidden in a meteorite that was first found in Kazakhstan in 1962, according to a new paper.

Meteorites here on Earth can be useful for telling the story of the Solar System’s history, specifically through the elements they contain. By analyzing the Efremovka meteorite, a pair of researchers determined that a superflare that occurred around 500,000 years after the Sun’s birth could have emitted as many x-rays as the largest solar flare each second, but for perhaps an entire year. A solar flare, which usually lasts just minutes, is an outburst of energy and accelerated particles from the Sun; today, solar flares are a concern due to their potentially harmful effects on our technology. Read more.

Roadkill Is Sad and Gross—And Can Be Useful for Scientists

It can help researchers track diet, reconstruct food webs, and identify threats to wildlife.

When a coyote dies after being struck by a car on a Southern California road, Rachel Larson wants to get her hands on it. Sometimes, she gets a heads up from an official via email. Other times, she’ll come upon a dead coyote when an intern loads an animal up and drives it to a lab. Larson has worked on coyote carcass dissections in the bed of a pick-up truck and in gleaming, stainless steel facilities that look like a veterinarian’s office. Wherever Larson comes across these unfortunate creatures, she goes for the whiskers. Read more.

Protecting wetlands from underground mining impacts

What happens to a swamp (wetland) when you dig a longwall coal mine beneath it? The evidence suggests that on many occasions the water disappears and the wetland can dry up, but until now there has been a hole in the research about the processes that contribute to this. Read more.