The Week In Numbers: Drugs In Your Water, A Spaceship For The Sea, And More

The SeaOrbiter

Illustration by Jacques Rougerie

2016: year by which a French team hopes to finish an ambitious ocean-going laboratory that would rival the Starship Enterprise in scope

4 hours: battery life of a jetpack for divers

31 days: time Fabien Cousteau will spend living in the undersea research habitat Aquarius

100 percent: portion of untreated water that contained morphine in a recent study

100 feet: height by which water levels at Lake Mead, the largest drinking-water reservoir in the U.S., have dropped in the past decade (another 50 feet, and the first intake pipe will start sucking air)

Lake Mead

White mineral deposits circling Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam have emerged as water levels have fallen.Jim Wilson/The New York Times/Redux

43 pounds: amount of electronic waste generated each year for every human on the planet

1.1 million: number of plastic particles per square kilometer in Lake Ontario, according to a recent study (Illinois is now the first state to ban microbeads, small plastic bits often found in cosmetic products)

Beads galore

Microplastic beads found recently in the Great Lakes.5 Gyres / YouTube

36 percent: the packing density of small, rigid particles

30 billionths of a degree: precision of a thermometer made from light

The light thermometer

A computer generated image of the Light Thermometer. A slight difference in the speed of the green and red light can tell us the temperature.Credit: Dr James Anstie, IPAS and School of Chemistry and Physics, University of Adelaide

46 percent: portion of the world's population that watched the 2010 World Cup

12.6 terabytes: data traffic that attendees of this year's World Cup are expected to create (more World Cup numbers here)

150 kHz: frequency of the calls of the highest-pitched species ever recorded

photo of a cricket-like insect

Supersonic Lover

Yowch. Supersonus is newly discovered genus of katydids that includes three species that sing at the highest known frequencies of any known insect, spider, or other arthropod. Male katydids sing to attract female katydids, but at these frequencies, they would be difficult for other species to hear. That's a good thing. Researchers think the high frequencies likely help Supersonus katydids from being overheard by predatory bats.University of Lincoln