Stanford Biologist Warns: Early Signs of Earth’s 6th Mass Extinction in Progress ·


Those who keep taking our biodiversity for granted: dumping corporate waste, spraying copious amounts of herbicides and pesticides, contaminating our water with fluoride, arsenic, and other industrial chemicals while generally ignoring the environment at large, have another thing coming. According to a Stanford biology professorRodolfo Dirzo, the earth has begun its 6th mass extinction cycle – and it’s our fault.

More than 3.5 billion years of biodiversity hang in the balance. According to lead author Dirzo, we have reached a tipping point. In a recently published review of scientific literature and an analysis of data published in Science, an international team of scientists cautions that the loss and decline of animals is contributing to what appears to be the beginning of the planet’s sixth mass biological extinction event.

While 320 terrestrial animals have died off since 1500, populations of the remaining animal species show a recurring decline of 25 percent. There is a similar dire prophecy for invertebrate life.

What’s alarming is that previous extinctions were caused by planetary transformation or asteroid strikes, and the current die-off is entirely due to human error.

Humans are Causing the Deaths of Many Species

Professor Dirzo is calling our time an era of “Anthropocene defaunation.” Human ignorance and greed are its causes. According to the study:

“Across vertebrates, 16 to 33 percent of all species are estimated to be globally threatened or endangered. Large animals – described as megafauna and including elephants, rhinoceroses, polar bears and countless other species worldwide – face the highest rate of decline, a trend that matches previous extinction events.

 Larger animals tend to have lower population growth rates and produce fewer offspring. They need larger habitat areas to maintain viable populations. Their size and meat mass make them easier and more attractive hunting targets for humans.”

What people seem to misunderstand is that while these species represent a fairly small number in representation of all animal life, they inherently represent a failure of our global ecosystem to support life. Their loss imposes a trickle-down affect that would eventually eradicate other species, and possibly even human beings.

For example, when zebras, giraffes, and elephants were removed in a Kenyan landscape, the areas quickly became over-run with rodents. The soil compaction also decreased, and more shrubs and grasses grew, causing the rodent population to increase even further – doubling, in fact, in a  very small time period. This means that the diseases rodents carried, including various parasites, also became more prevalent, posing a threat to human health.

“Where human density is high, you get high rates of defaunation, high incidence of rodents, and thus high levels of pathogens, which increases the risks of disease transmission,” said Dirzo, who is also a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment“Who would have thought that just defaunation would have all these dramatic consequences? But it can be a vicious circle.”

While human populations have doubled in the past 35 years (and our abominable environmental practices along with that), invertebrate species are dying off. This includes spiders, butterflies, worms, and bees.

The scientists observed a 45% decrease in the same period that humans have flourished. Loss of habitat and the defamation of ecosystems was primary in the loss of these animals. Since insects pollinate roughly 75% of the world’s food crops, it is obvious that the loss of further invertebrates would further negatively impact modern civilization.

“We tend to think about extinction as loss of a species from the face of Earth, and that’s very important, but there’s a loss of critical ecosystem functioning in which animals play a central role that we need to pay attention to as well,” Dirzo said. “Ironically, we have long considered that defaunation is a cryptic phenomenon, but I think we will end up with a situation that is non-cryptic because of the increasingly obvious consequences to the planet and to human wellbeing.”

Meanwhile, corporations given personhood are absolved from any responsibility for ruining our planet. Glyphosate is still used, our water is still polluted by corporations as diverse as Walmart, Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, Syngenta, and BP Oil or Exxon, and our governments tend to look the other way while worshipping the almighty dollar. I’d like to see them try to eat a $5 bill when there is nothing green or living left on this planet.

References:

http://news.stanford.edu

http://www.sciencemag.org

https://woods.stanford.edu/ 

http://www.independent.co.uk

Robots provide rare glimpse under antarctic sea ice.


Antarctica may be one of the first places we see detrimental effects of ocean acidification on these organisms.

 Antarctic sea, Antarctic sea ice, Antarctic ice, Antarctic temperature, Antarctic sea ocean, Antarctic carbon dioxide, Antarctic absorbs carbon dioxide, science, technology, science news

Antarctica may be one of the first places we see detrimental effects of ocean acidification on these organisms.

An underwater robot has captured a rare glimpse beneath the Antarctic sea ice, revealing a thriving, colourful world filled with coconut-shaped sponges, dandelion-like worms, pink encrusting algae and spidery starfish, scientists said today.

The footage was recorded on a camera attached to a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) deployed by scientists under the sea ice at O’Brien Bay, near Casey research station in East Antarctica.

Australian Antarctic Division Biologist, Dr Glenn Johnstone, said the footage was captured while scientists retrieved a SeapHox pH data logger, which has been recording the acidity, oxygen, salinity and temperature of the seawater on an hourly basis since November last year.

Setup Timeout Error: Setup took longer than 30 seconds to complete.

“When you think of the Antarctic coastal marine environment, the iconic species such as penguins, seals and whales usually steal the show,” Johnstone said. “This footage reveals a habitat that is productive, colourful, dynamic and full of a wide variety of biodiversity, including sponges, sea spiders, urchins, sea cucumbers and sea stars.

These communities live in water that is minus 1.5 degrees Celsius year round and are covered in 1.5 metre thick sea ice for 10 months of the year.

“Occasionally an iceberg may move around and wipe out an unlucky community, but mostly the sea ice provides protection from the storms that rage above, making it a relatively stable environment in which biodiversity can flourish,” said Johnstone.

Johnstone said scientists are only just beginning to understand the amazing biodiversity and complexity of the Antarctic near-shore ecosystem and the threats it is facing into the future.

The Australian Antarctic Programme project is the final field component of an experiment designed to determine the impacts of ocean acidification on Southern Ocean sea-floor communities under increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

Project leader, Dr Johnny Stark of the Australian Antarctic Division, said a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, which increases its acidity.

“Carbon dioxide is more soluble in cold water. Polar waters are acidifying at twice the rate of tropical or temperate regions, so we expect these ecosystems to be among the first impacted from ocean acidification,” Stark said.

“Research shows the pink encrusting algae, known as crustose coralline algae, may decrease in extent in a more acidic future ocean, as it incorporates calcium into its structure, and this becomes harder for organisms to obtain as the acidity of the seawater increases.

“Antarctica may be one of the first places we see detrimental effects of ocean acidification on these organisms,” he said. Australian Antarctic Division PhD student James Black said the ROV was deployed through a small hole drilled in the sea ice and also collected diatoms and sediment.

The hibernation science in ‘Passengers’ is not far from reality.


Suspended animation may help us survive interplanetary travel, but it won’t keep us alive for 120 years.

Passengers Hibernation Bay

HIBERNATION BAY

Aboard the spaceship Avalon, passengers and crew alike hibernate for all but the last four months of their 120-voyage to the colony planet Homestead II.

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.

Before humans travel to another planet—and that day may be coming soon—a question will need to be answered: How will astronauts spend their time on a months- or years-long interplanetary voyage?

 In the movie Passengers, which hits theaters today, more than 5,000 people board the starship Avalon on a 120-year journey to a new world called Homestead II. Prior to launch they each enter a “hibernation pod,” which, through drugs and environmental controls, puts them into a suspended animation. Essentially, they’re meant to sleep through all but four months of the century-long trek.

Currently, humanity is nowhere near ready for the interstellar journey that Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) and Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) undertake, but this sci-fi hibernation technology is actually grounded in today’s reality. NASA is helping to fund the research of SpaceWorks Enterprises, a company that aims to put astronauts into artificial hibernation through a process similar to that depicted in Passengers.

NASA’s “Journey to Mars” has the space agency aiming for a crewed mission to Mars in the 2030s, and SpaceWorks President/COO John Bradford thinks the hibernation technology can be ready for that first mission.

SpaceWorks Hibernation Chambers

SpaceWorks thinks astronauts will someday travel to Mars and beyond while “hibernating” in chambers similar to these

Courtesy SpaceWorks Enterprises

How It Works

To set this artificial hibernation in motion (or, rather, not in motion), SpaceWorks would lower a person’s core temperature to 32 degrees Celsius, then sedate her to stop the body’s natural defense against the cold—shivering. Hospitals use this practice, called “therapeutic hypothermia” or “targeted temperature management,” when a patient with a traumatic injury, such as cardiac arrest, needs extra time to heal due to lack of blood flow. The lowered temperature sets the patient into an unconscious-like state and acts as a neuroprotectant, slowing down his metabolic rate and lowering his risk of ischemic injury (tissue damage from lack of oxygen and other nutrients due to low blood flow). Once he’s recovered, doctors can warm him back up and address other injuries.

However, patients are usually kept in this state for only a few days; the longest it has ever been tested was a 14-day study in China, which showed no lasting or negative side effects on the patient. Bradford thinks SpaceWorks can advance the current technology to extend that timeframe for a healthy person.

“It’s closer to reality than it sounds, but there’s still a lot of questions, and a lot of development that needs to occur,” he admits.

Crew hibernation rotation schedule

CREW HIBERNATION SCHEDULE

This is what the crew’s hibernation (or “torpor”) schedule might look like on a Mars mission

Screenshot, via NASA

Instead of one long hibernation, like in Passengers, crew would go through staggered two-week stasis periods, says Bradford. After two weeks of hibernation, a crew member would be resuscitated, recover for a few days, and then go back into hibernation for another cycle. “Our medical team is more concerned about the duration of any one cycle versus repeat cycles,” says Bradford, “because there doesn’t seem to be any lasting or long-term impacts on the recovery period.”

In Passengers, a computer monitors the functions of the ship and those aboard it. But in real life, Bradford says there would always be at least one person who is awake to take care of the crew and systems during the initial trials. As the technology gets better, though, SpaceWorks would like to extend the duration incrementally until it is able to suspend astronauts for the entirety of the transit to Mars. An IV line filled with a nutrient-packed liquid (called “Total Parenteral Nutrition”) would sustain the astronauts while they’re unconscious.

Spaceship cross section

SPACESHIP CROSS-SECTION

SpaceWorks’ proposed ship is designed to reduce mass and utilize space efficiently. The hibernation modules are in the middle section.

Courtesy SpaceWorks Enterprises

 Unlike the Homestead Company (which manufactures and runs the Avalon in Passengers), SpaceWorks won’t stop the aging process and prolong human life. So the Avalon‘s passengers would have arrived at the new colony 120 years older than when they left Earth.

But the technology could make long-duration spaceflight a lot more efficient. While the Avalon has drawn comparisons to the Titanic for its size and glamour (and to the movie Titanic for a love story set on a sinking ship), SpaceWorks is actively working to reduce the amount of space each person needs on the spaceship.

If astronauts are asleep, fewer resources need to be invested in living quarters, accommodations, food, etc., and more can be spent on finding technologies to speed up the trip and protect the crew, such as thicker radiation shielding. “We’re doing it for the purposes of reducing how much food and consumables people need, and to be able to package people in a small space,” says Bradford. SpaceWorks thinks it can reduce the mass of a NASA vehicle by 52 to 68 percent, depending on the configuration.

Smaller spacecraft could make exploring the cosmos a lot cheaper, which, in turn, brings us that much closer to real-life interplanetary exploration.

11 Reasons Why You Should Drink Water In Copper Vessels


Ayurveda talks about how water stored in a copper vessel can regulate the doshas or energies in our body, namely vata, pitta, and kapha. Studies show that water stored overnight (for atleast eight hours) in a copper vessel gets nourished with all the health benefits of copper. Copper is necessary for your body as it regulates the growth of your body, regulates enzymatic reactions, enhances the health of connective tissues, and ensure the efficient utilization of iron. You can attain all these benefits and more by drinking water stored in copper vessels. Check out some of them here.

1. Aids Weight Loss

1-helps-with-weight-loss

Tired of following countless fruit and vegetable diets in vain? Try drinking water stored in a copper vessel regularly and be amazed by the results. Copper has the ability to get your digestive system back in shape. It will also help your body cut down fat quickly and effectively.

2. Prevents Premature Aging

2-keeps-you-young

Copper happens to be a strong antioxidant and it safeguards the cell membranes with the help of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase, keeping you safe from free radicals. Copper can help slow down aging, keeping your fine lines and wrinkles at bay. It also promotes cell regeneration, replacing the dead skin cells with new and healthy ones.

3. Heals Wounds Faster

3-helps-you-heal-faster

Copper is known to heal wounds quickly, owing to its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antiviral properties. Its ability to stimulate cell regeneration is another factor that contributes to quick healing. Copper can also boost your immune system and heal you from the inside, curing various internal infections especially in the stomach.

Setup Timeout Error: Setup took longer than 30 seconds to complete.

4. Stimulates The Butterfly Gland

4-regulates-the-thyroid-gland

A thread that binds together many patients who suffer from thyroid diseases is that they have very less copper content in their bodies. Copper is an important mineral that regulates the functioning of thyroid gland. Though mostly observed in people with high thyroid hormone levels, copper deficiency could pose a threat to those with low thyroid hormone levels too. Regular consumption of water from copper vessels can make up for copper deficiency and keep a check on your thyroid levels.

5. Reduces The Risk Of Cancer

5-cuts-down-cancer-risks

Free radicals play a major role in the growth of cancerous cells in your body. The strong antioxidant properties of copper can eliminate these radicals and cancel out their negative effects on the body. Though it has not been scientifically proved, certain copper complexes are believed to possess anticancer properties too.

6. Manages Melanin Production

6-regulates-melanin-production

Copper plays a vital role in producing melanin, a pigment that gives color to your eyes, skin and hair. Melanin protects your body from sun damage and helps heal wounds faster. A major reason that might be causing untimely graying of hair or pigmentation of skin could be the fact that your body is devoid of copper. Lack of melanin is also factor that causes your eyes to lose their beautiful color as you grow older.

7. Keeps Anemia At Bay

7-helps-fight-anemia

Copper’s role is often overlooked when it comes to your body’s ability to absorb iron. Your body will become anemic when there is a shortage of iron in your bloodstream, causing many symptoms like fatigue,  muscle aches, weakness, and digestive problems. Copper is necessary not just for cell formation and regeneration, but also to ensure that the right amount iron is absorbed into your blood. It helps absorb iron from the intestinal tract and in the release of iron into your body from storage sites like the liver.

8. Eliminates Digestive Problems

8-prevents-digestive-disorders

Copper regulates the contraction and relaxation of your stomach, thus facilitating the smooth passage of food along the digestive tract, eliminating discomforts like acidity and gas. It can also kill harmful bacteria in your intestines, keeping your stomach free of inflammations, infections and ulcers.

9. Makes Sure Your Heart Is Healthy

9-boosts-cardiovascular-health

Studies prove that copper can keep a check on your heart rate and blood pressure. It regulates your cholesterol and triglyceride levels and dilates blood vessels for better blood circulation. Additionally, copper is known to prevent the plaque accumulation in your arteries, which is a leading cause for heart disease.

10. Enhances Brain Function

10-regulates-brain-function

Our neurons have an outer layer called myelin sheath, which helps transmit signals from one neuron to another. Copper helps synthesize a class of lipids called phospholipids, which are necessary for the formation of myelin sheath. Thus, copper can help your brain function faster by increasing the speed and efficiency of signal transmission. It is also known to prevent seizures, owing to its anti-convulsive properties.

11. Gives Relief From Arthritis Pain

11-reduces-arthritis-pain

Copper has strong anti-inflammatory properties which can provide great relief to arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis pains. Additionally, copper is known to strengthen your bones and immune system, which is necessary to prevent arthritis and other body pains. Consuming water stored in copper vessels acts as a strong home remedy to relieve arthritis pain and other joint discomforts.

Homeopathy is dangerous, it can kill you. You’re stupid to follow it


Cunningham illustrates in comic book panels how this practice is ineffective in countering health concerns.

pg1_122116020141.jpg

Your Body Is Acidic. Here Is What You Need To Do (The Real Truth Behind Cancer You Will Never Hear From Your Doctor)


Your body is in a delicate balance between acid and alkaline, but it has been found that the cause of cancer is to do with the body being in too much of an acidic state, and that to help prevent cancer you should keep your body as alkaline as possible.

Nobel prize Winner Dr. Otto H Warburg, has discovered that the root cause of cancer is oxygen deficiency, which leads to an acidic state in the human body. Dr. Warburg also found that cancer cells are anaerobic (do not breathe oxygen) and can’t survive in the presence of high levels of oxygen, such as is found in an alkaline body state.

 “All normal cells have an absolute requirement for oxygen, but cancer cells can live without oxygen – a rule without exception. Deprive a cell 35% of its oxygen for 48 hours and it may become cancerous.”

Diet plays a huge part in wther our body is being maintained in an acidic or an alkaline state. It needs to be in an alkaline state of a pH level of 7.365 in order to survive. Sadly, our modern diet are full of acid-forming foods like processed sugars, refined grains, genetically modified organisms, all of which contribute to a higher pH level, pushing it into the dangerous ‘acidic’ category.

Imbalance in the bodies pH can play havoc with the cell health, and an excessively high acidic pH can lead to many serious health problems such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and heartburn.

Robert O. Young says in his book, The pH Miracle, that most health problems arise from being acidic, because parasites, bad bacteria, viruses, and candida overgrowth thrive in acidic environments. An alkaline environment neutralises all of these threats.

As you can see, maintaining an alkaline pH in your body is essential for good health.

Home Remedies For Acidity

Ingredients: 

1/3 tsp. baking soda and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or organic apple cider vinegar.

Method: 

Mix everything together. The acid/base combination will immediately begin to fizz. Keep adding baking soda until the fizz stops and then fill the glass with 8 oz. water. Drink all at once. This home remedy will neutralize the pH and create an alkaline-forming environment in your body. It will help with stomach acid and reduce acidosis.

An End to Blindness: “Holy Grail” of Gene Editing Partially Restores Vision


IN BRIEF
  • With this new development we are finally able to use CRISPR to edit regular adult cells, giving hope to treat formally incurable diseases.
  • Healing the blind is only the beginning for this technology. The scientists are also looking into treating muscular dystrophy, hemophilia and cystic fibrosis.

HOLY GRAIL

Gene editing techniques like CRISPR Cas9, while revolutionary and game-changing, have their limitations. One of this is the inability to target stable, non-dividng cells in the eyes, brain, heart, kidneys and liver.

But a new study published in Nature is changing that. Researchers from the Salk Institute have demonstrated the ability to edit the DNA of cells that do not divide or modify their DNA, partially restoring sight in mice born with genetic defects.

Their study involved targeting NHEJ, a DNA-repair cellular pathway present in most cells. Damaged DNA is repaired by rejoining the original strand ends. The researchers set to work modifying the NHEJ pathway to accommodate the CRISPR Cas9 gene editing technique.

They used a custom insertion package called HITI (homology-independent targeted integration) to deliver genetic instructions to the target. All this allowed the researchers to place DNA in cells not previously responsive to CRISPR, making them candidates for gene editing.

To test their method, they decided to cure mice’s retinitis pigmentosa. This is an inherited disorder caused by a faulty gene that makes retinal cells die off. One of these faulty genes is Mertk. So the scientists inserted a replacement Mertk in 3-week old partially blind mice. At the 8 week mark, the rodents showed signs of responsiveness to light.

INFINITE POSSIBILITIES

If proven and perfected, the procedure could usher in a new milestone in genetic engineering. Previous gene editing efforts focused on embryonic stem cells, since they have the propensity to divide a lot. With these, genetic aberrations in a regular adult could be corrected.

The researchers are already at work improving the method. They want to increase the efficacy rate from a mere 5% of cells responding to something closer to 100%.

The company wants to look into gene therapies for muscular dystrophy, hemophilia and cystic fibrosis. They estimate that the product could begin human clinical trials in one to five years.

Loners Are The Most Loyal And Intellectual People You Will Ever Meet. Here’s Why…


Loners Are The Most Loyal And Intellectual People You Will Ever Meet. Here's Why... 1

Loners are the most loyal and intellectual people you will ever meet. Do you have any idea why?

I remember the first time I realized that I might be kind of a loner. When friends would invite me to hang out, usually I would tag along regardless of what was going on.

 But then I started growing up and getting older, and solitude started to actually mean something to me. I grew more and more comfortable simply being by myself, alone with my own company.

Loners get a bad wrap sometimes, simply because they’re not super extroverted or concerned with having an active social life. But that doesn’t mean anything is wrong with them or that they need someone to help them socialize.

There are actually two different types of loners. The extroverted loner, who has no problem making friends or being social, but chooses to be alone, and the introverted loner, who actually feels more secure and safe by being alone, not having much of a choice.

Loners Are The Most Loyal And Intellectual People You Will Ever Meet. Here's Why... 2

Extroverted loners carry great potential to be some of your best friends, because after all, they’d rather be spending time alone anyway, so if they want to spend their time with you, it’s because they really like you. They’re not about to hang out with just anyone.

 The introverted loner is easily overwhelmed by crowds or large groups, so they choose different social avenues, like online forums or communities rather than concert venues or bars. They still crave human interaction just as much as their extroverted peers, they just go about pursuing it differently.

Loners Are The Most Loyal And Intellectual People You Will Ever Meet. Here's Why... 1

But if there’s one thing to take away from this article, it’s that being a loner is entirely different than being lonely. There are numerous reasons for a person to enjoy simply existing in solitude, so if you’re starting to realize that you might be a loner, don’t worry about being persecuted or stigmatized, embrace it.

Related Article: Are You Energy Sensitive? 6 Telling Signs

Loners Are The Most Loyal And Intellectual People You Will Ever Meet. Here's Why... 2

Loyalty and intelligence are your hallmark characteristics. So, be smart, choose your friends wisely, and don’t be afraid to say “no” when a night in by yourself sounds better than a night out on the town.

Source: Higher Perspectives

Physicists have mimicked an elusive ‘synthetic’ magnetic state with an atomic clock.


http://www.sciencealert.com/physicists-have-used-atomic-clocks-to-achieve-an-elusive-synthetic-magnetic-state

A controversial new gravity hypothesis has passed its first test.


A controversial new hypothesis that suggests our understanding of gravity is wrong has just passed an important first test.

First proposed back in 2010, the new hypothesis states that gravity might behave and arise very differently than Einstein predicted, and an independent study of more than 30,000 galaxies has now found the first evidence to back this up.

 

The hypothesis is referred to as ‘Verlinde’s hypothesis of gravity’ after the theoretical physicist who came up with it, Erik Verlinde from the University of Amsterdam. If it can stand up to further testing, it could completely overhaul over a century of physics – including getting rid of dark matter altogether.

It could even be part of the puzzle that takes us one step closer to one of modern physics’ Holy Grails – a much-longed-for ‘theory of everything‘, that merges the observable effects of classic physics, with the weird, microscopic world of quantum mechanics.

The problem with our current understanding of gravity – even though it’s widely accepted by the physics community – is that it doesn’t quite account for everything we see in the Universe.

Most glaringly, researchers have shown that there’s more gravity in our Universe – especially in our galaxies – than can be produced by all the visible matter out there.

This inconsistency has been explained by assuming the presence of dark matter – a mysterious force in the Universe that we can’t see that’s forming all of this extra gravity. But despite decades of searching and many leading candidates for a dark matter particle, researchers are still no closer to actually detecting this invisible substance.

Verlinde’s approach, on the other hand, says we don’t need dark matter at all, we just need to rethink gravity.

As we described back in November:

“His suggestion is that gravity isn’t a fundamental force of nature at all, but rather an emergent phenomenon – just like temperature is an emergent phenomenon that arises from the movement of microscopic particles.

In other words, gravity is a side effect, not the cause, of what’s happening in the Universe.”

For the past six years, this hypothesis has been left untested. But now a team of researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands has tested it for the first time, and shown some evidence that it could actually hold up.

The team, led by Margot Brouwer, looked at the distribution of matter in more than 33,000 galaxies, and said that what they say could indeed be explained without dark matter if they used Verlinde’s hypothesis of gravity.

Testing this involved studying something called gravitational lensing – the way galaxies closer to us bend the light of more distant galaxies. This is a well-established way of measuring the amount of dark matter in galaxies.

But the team found that if they just factored in Verlinde’s modified gravity, then their results made sense without them having to add in the idea of dark matter.

The team compared their results to the predictions made by Einstein’s general theory of relativity and those made by Verlinde, and found that both fit.

But they found that Verlinde’s predictions matched their observations without needing to use any free parameters – which are values that can be tweaked to make observations match a hypothesis. The presence of dark matter, on the other hand, required four free parameters.

“The dark matter model actually fits slightly better with the data than Verlinde’s prediction,” Brouwer told New Scientist. “But then if you mathematically factor in the fact that Verlinde’s prediction doesn’t have any free parameters, whereas the dark matter prediction does, then you find Verlinde’s model is actually performing slightly better.”

Importantly, this is just one very early test of Verlinde’s hypothesis, and it’s going to take a lot more than that to throw out over a century of accepted thinking on gravity and dark matter.

Also, Verlinde’s hypothesis might get rid of mysterious dark matter, but it doesn’t match up with everything else we see in the Universe, either. String theorist Lubos Motl recently took down Verlinde’s ideas a blog post, saying: “I wouldn’t okay this wrong piece of work as an undergraduate term paper.”

So, to be very clear, our current understanding of gravity, based on Einstein’s generally theory of relativity, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But neither is Verlinde’s hypothesis.

“The question now is how the theory develops, and how it can be further tested,” said Brouwer in a press release. “But the result of this first test definitely looks interesting.”