Say that your country is blessed with natural resources. Oil, gas, minerals -- it has it all. New technologies are leading to even more discoveries. The future looks good. But deep down you worry that the bonanza could turn into a bust -- how do you know that's not going to happen?
The seemingly lifeless science of rocks and minerals is inextricably linked to biology. Life is among the most powerful agents of geological change. We cannot understand our planet's history without a keen sense of the coevolution of the geosphere and the biosphere.
A balanced diet of fresh, nutritious foods is still the ideal way to get the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Still, millions of Americans automatically pop supplements every day, and some go so far as to take massive-dose "mega-vitamins."
An essential mineral ingredient used in a variety of electronics could be a death knell for a pristine part of a wild New Mexico desert grassland coveted by environmentalists -- and considered sacred to Native Americans.
A recent government study said more than half of all Americans take dietary supplements, which in my opinion is surprisingly high, considering these pills and powders aren't regulated like drugs but like foods.
As Europe and the US struggle to get their finances in order, and the BRIC nations do their best to build on recent successes, another continent has been quietly gaining pace. And lately not so quietly.
A multivitamin is very, very unlikely to kill anyone. If there is risk attached to the use of such supplements, it is very small. But there may be some risk -- and there is no reliable indication of benefit.