J. Lavers 2015

Trillions of pieces of plastic are estimated to litter the world's oceans, but we don't really know the extent.

Two researchers travelled to Henderson Island, a remote, uninhabited island in the South Pacific, to try to get a handle on how much plastic refuse had washed ashore. They estimated nearly 38 million pieces of plastic debris are on the island.

  • The details: Roughly 99.8% of the debris found on Henderson was plastic. Between 21 and 672 pieces of plastic debris were found per square meter on the beach, and 53 to 4,497 plastic items per square meter were buried in the sand. The researchers speculated that the nearly 38 million pieces of plastic debris had washed ashore from ocean currents carrying refuse thrown overboard from commercial fishing fleets.
  • Amazing stat: The 17.6 tons of debris estimated to be present on Henderson Island account for only 1.98 seconds' worth of the annual global production of plastic, they wrote.

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Bryan Walsh, author of Future
35 mins ago - Science

The murder hornets are here

A braver man than me holds a speciment of the Asian giant hornet. Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Entomologists in Washington state on Thursday discovered the first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S.

Why it matters: You may know this insect species by its nom de guerre: "the murder hornet." While the threat they pose to humans has been overstated, the invading hornets could decimate local honeybee populations if they establish themselves.

Biden is highest-spending political candidate on TV ads

Joe Biden. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

After spending an additional $45.2 million on political ads this week, former Vice President Joe Biden has become the highest-spending political candidate on TV ads ever, according to data from Advertising Analytics.

By the numbers: In total, the Biden campaign has spent $582.7 million on TV ads between 2019 and 2020, officially surpassing Michael Bloomberg's record spend of roughly $582 million. Biden's spend includes his primary and general election advertising.