Discover (magazine)

Scientists Discover Possible First Proof of Parallel Universes

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A new study about one of the most inexplicable places in the cosmos may offer the first proof that we are living in a multiverse.

The idea of a “multiverse” proposes that an infinite amount of universes, including the one we are living in, exist in parallel to each other. These universes differ in a variety of physical properties, featuring multiple Big Bangs, space bubbles and maybe even an alternate version of you who is reading this article in a world run by slugs. The “multiverse” hypothesis has been so far been impossible to test but has supporters among such scientists as Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Leonard Susskind.

The study by British astronomers focuses on what’s known as the “Cold Spot” – an especially cold area of space that has been observed in the microwave background radiation coming from the early Universe 13 billion years ago. Usually temperatures of the radiation vary throughout the universe, but this area of coolness is much larger than others (about 0.00015 degrees Celsius colder than its surroundings).

Cold Spot map
Cold Spot map

The map of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) sky produced by the Planck satellite. Red represents slightly warmer regions, and blue slightly cooler regions. Credit: ESA and Durham University.

The Cold Spot, first found by NASA in 2004, is a strange place 1.8 billion light years across that doesn’t comfortably gel with existing cosmological models. One explanation is that it simply doesn’t exist, being just an illusion created by the expansion of the universe. Spaces with lower amount of galaxies or “voids” form…

This Caterpillar Eats Shopping Bags, Could Solve Plastic Waste Problem, Discover Scientists

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Scientists might have stumbled upon an unexpected way to solve pollution from plastics. A caterpillar bred to be fishing bait is apparently able to biodegrade polyethylene – a commonly used plastic found in shopping bags. With people using around a trillion plastic bags every year, and with up to 40% of them ending up in landfills, this could be a very significant discovery.

The wax worm caterpillar that eats plastic is the larvae of the common insect Galleria mellonella, aka greater wax moth.

The team working on the study, published in the journal Current Biology, included Federica Bertocchini from the Spanish Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria, and biochemists Paolo Bombelli and Christopher Howe from the University of Cambridge in the UK.

The discovery was made by sheer chance when Bertocchini, who is an amateur beekeeper, removed the worms living in a beehive as parasites – a common problem across Europe. She collected them in a plastic bag and soon noticed holes throughout the bag. The worms ate their way out!

This prompted a timed experiment by her team, who placed about a hundred such worms in a plastic bag from a UK supermarket. They realized that the holes…

Researchers Discover New Species of Giant Spider

Tiny, dainty spiders no bigger than a Tic-Tac probably won’t send your blood pressure rising. But the 4-inch-long, red-fanged Sierra Cacachilas wandering spider (Califorctenus cacachilensis), recently named by researchers at the San Diego Natural History Museum and Mexico’s Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste, is another story.

The species was first located in 2013 in a mountain range in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Researchers, including field entomologist Jim Berrian, came across evidence of an “abnormally big” shed…