The Science Hub: Mozambique’s deadly cyclone, drought-free California, expanding stomachs

The Science Hub is a bi-weekly newsletter to update you on science headlines.


Credit: Rachel Chang / The Foothill Dragon Press

Rachel Chang, Jonathan Soriano, and Thomas Weldele

Mozambique’s devastating aftermath of Cyclone Idai

Cyclone Idai, one of the most disastrous storms to hit Africa in decades, made landfall in Mozambique on March 15. With 1.7 million people in its path, the cyclone proceeded to spread to neighboring Zimbabwe and Malawi.

It is estimated that at least eight hundred people are dead so far, and hundreds of thousands are homeless and stranded without help.

However, “the scale of suffering and loss is still not clear, and we expect that the number of people affected as well as the number of people who have lost their lives may rise,” Jamie LeSueur of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said.

With flooded roads and communities, these countries are trying their best to recover by rescuing survivors, burying the dead, repairing the most necessary roads and preventing cholera outbreaks.

-Rachel Chang


California is drought-free

California, for the first time in eight years, is completely drought-free.  This welcome news comes on the heels of an extremely wet winter, one that filled the reservoirs and added to the snow pack.  Although, this isn’t to say that the entire state is at its normal water capacity.  There are pockets of California that are abnormally dry, but not in drought-like conditions.

Additionally, due to California’s Mediterranean climate, the weather in California likes to fluctuate.  Thus, though the drought is gone for now, it will be back again, so don’t replace your drought-resistant landscaping with grass.  It’ll be useful again in the future.

-Thomas Weldele


Dessert Stomach

After a large, delicious meal, it is common to feel so stuffed that you can’t eat another bite, even the tantalizing dessert that is laid right in front of you. However, your stomach always has room for dessert. Scientist have found a pouch extruding from the stomach which can expand up to 1600 mL allowing for a greater intake of sweets.

When stressed or upset, sugar is a common method to relieve these tense emotions. Similarly, upon contact to sugar, information is sent to the brain which redirects the stomach to expand the pouch for more food to be consumed.

Therefore, next time don’t think twice about skipping that tempting dessertit will be worth every bite.

-Jonathan Soriano

What do you think?