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  • Who’s in the mood for some good news?

  • Yeah, when we talk about all the changes taking place on Earth, we usually wind up talking

  • about living things that are endangered, threatened, or even extinct.

  • But science is always giving us lots of discoveries of new kinds of life as well.

  • To remind us that were still finding new organisms all over the planet, even as others

  • are disappearing, every year the International Institute for Species Exploration issues its

  • Top 10 New Species list.

  • On Thursday it released its roster of the most interesting species discovered in 2014,

  • and they range from the pesky to the huge to the adorable.

  • I’m assuming you want to see the adorable, so let’s start there.

  • Well, weve told you before about the olinguito -- it looks like a cross between a raccoon

  • and a teddy bear -- and it’s the first mammal to be discovered in the Americas in 35 years.

  • It was only confirmed in the wild last summer, found in the cloud forests of Ecuador and

  • Colombia.

  • But it turns out that, for the past century or so, some olinguitos had been mistakenly

  • displayed in museums, and even zoos, as their larger relatives, olingos.

  • It was only after a DNA comparison, and many reports of strange, little olingos acting

  • weird in zoos, that biologists confirmed it was a whole different animal.

  • Plants, too, made this year’s list, but none can rival the size -- or the awesome

  • name -- of the Kaweesak’s Dragon Tree.

  • Hard to imagine it’s gone overlooked for so long, since the dragon tree grows up to

  • 12 meters tall and sports a crown 12 meters wide, with leaves shaped like sword blades.

  • But it grows only on limestone hills in parts of Burma and Thailand, and there are only

  • about 2,500 of them known to exist.

  • What’s more, biologists say the dragon tree is endangered because the limestone it grows

  • on is rapidly being extracted to be used for concrete.

  • And one surprise on the list is an organism that was found growing in probably one of

  • the only place on Earth where we absolutely do not want anything but us to live.

  • The new bacterium known as Tersicoccus phoenicis was found growing in two different clean rooms

  • where NASA’s Phoenix Lander is being assembled -- one in Florida and the other in French

  • Guiana. Yes, it was named after a Mars lander.

  • We make spacecraft in these hyper-sanitized clean rooms because we don’t want to contaminate

  • the other worlds we send them to -- in this case, the Phoenix will be going to Mars -- and

  • we don’t wanna muck up the experiments that we conduct to test for alien life.

  • But sure enough, these germs survived multiple rounds of chemical cleansers and UV sterilization,

  • giving us new insights into the extreme environments that life can survive in.

  • You can check out the rest of the IISE’s Top 10 List in the links below.

  • But now let’s get ready to talk about something really huge: last week, work finally began

  • on key components of the world’s first experimental fusion reactor.

  • It’s called ITER, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, and it will weigh 23

  • thousand tons, and take up about 60 soccer fields worth of space in southern France.

  • By the time it’s ready to go online in 2025, itll have more than ten million parts...including

  • 80,000 kilometers of superconducting filaments, to power its immense magnets.

  • This thing is going to rival one of my favorite pieces of hardware -- the Large Hadron Collider

  • -- for the title ofmost complicated machine ever built.’

  • ITER’s ultimate aim is to generate energy the same way the Sun does: by fusing hydrogen

  • atoms to make helium.

  • It’s going to try to do it by using a magnetic field to contain superheated plasma in a doughnut-shaped

  • reactor called a tokamak.

  • So sounds simple enoughwhy does it need to weigh as much as three Eiffel Towers?

  • Well, the Sun has a lot going for it, other than super-high temperatures, when it comes

  • to causing fusion. It’s got all that gravity.

  • But we cannot replicate that gravity on Earth, so our plasma needs to be that much hotter

  • in order to compensate.

  • The core of the Sun is about fifteen million degrees Celsius.

  • The ITER tokamak is going to be ten times hotter. TEN TIMES HOTTER THAN THE CORE OF

  • THE SUN!

  • And right now, in the French Riviera, the magnets that are going to power this thing

  • are being manufactured. Theyre made of massive loops of high-grade stainless steel.

  • Seven of these things stacked on top of each other will make one magnetic coil, and will

  • weigh about as much as a 747.

  • Many believe that fusion power is the world’s best hope for clean and plentiful energy;

  • but others say that ITER will just end up costing 20 billion dollars and being a neato

  • science experiment but not actually helping with the energy crisis

  • Remind me to follow up with you about this in 11 years or so.

  • In the meantime, thank you for watching SciShow News! If you want to keep learning more about

  • the world with us, you can help us by going to and becoming a contributing

  • member.

  • And if you want to keep getting smarter with us, you can just go to

  • and subscribe!

Who’s in the mood for some good news?


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十大新物種和首個核聚變反應堆 (Top 10 New Species and the First Fusion Reactor)

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    Jerry shiu 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日