A radioactive leak has been detected at Ukraine’s Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, the largest in Europe, a media report says, citing the country’s emergency services. Ukrainian officials have denied the report.
2014 hasn’t even ended yet and we already have one of the best comets of 2015 showing off in our skies: C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy), already visible to the naked eye and predicted to get brighter over the next couple of weeks! This is the fifth comet discovered by Australian
This past year was an exciting time for science researchers—new discoveries and advances were made and more was learned about space, sub-atomic physics, speeding up computers and historical accomplishments, to name just a few.
Genome sequencing of infants could provide doctors and parents data likely to reveal a wider range of potential medical risks than the traditional heel-prick test. Most of the human genome remains a mystery, and it isn’t certain doctors will know how to interpret the information sequencing provides.
We have long known that we can catch germs while traveling. Recent years have shown that we can also bring home bed bugs. This holiday season, a PLoS One study informs us that by merely plopping into the seat of a car or airplane, we can unknowingly pick up dust mites—microscopic 8-legged arthropods that eat the dead parts of our bodies such as skin scales, dandruff flakes, and hair. Dust mites are eyeless, headless, and heartless, yet they’re expert travelers.
Six months after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 it is still the subject of a slew of explanations. Why has this tragedy prompted such a wave of conspiracy theories? Sudden, dramatic events often provoke conspiracy theories - particularly where the official version is disbelieved. Think JFK, Princess Diana, 9/11. But in the case of MH370 there is not even an official version. Nobody knows what happened to MH370. It's a modern mystery.
Sometimes science means getting a bunch of finches sloshed. Or at least giving them blood alcohol levels of around .08 percent, which is pretty crazy by bird standards. In a study published last week in PLOS ONE, researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University tempted zebra finches with spiked juice -- but not because they wanted to help the lab animals ring in the new year in style.
A network of underground tunnels and bunkers used by the Nazis to develop an atomic bomb has been discovered in Austria by a filmmaker. The complex was discovered just outside the small town of St Georgen an der Gusen, near Linz. Its exact location was determined using intelligence reports and radiation tests, which revealed higher than normal levels of radioactivity. Andreas Sulzer, the filmmaker who is leading the exploration, discovered a critical 1944 report...
Given the number of major flight crashes and disappearances this year, it might seem like flight safety has taken a bad turn. But it turns out that 2014 hasn't actually been a statistically worse year than many of those in the recent past. As pointed out by The Wall Street Journal, the Aviation Safety Network currently measures both the accident and fatality rate of 2014 flights as falling beneath the 10-year average — making this year an improvement in some areas.
We can’t see them, but they are all around us. On us. In us. Our personal microbes have us outnumbered by orders of magnitude, but scientists are only beginning to understand how they influence our health and other aspects of our lives. It’s an increasingly hot area of science, though, and this past year saw lots of interesting developments. Here are some of the highlights.
You want to bench a pretty woman and launch your manifesto. Only you get bounced from her muzigo because she's pursuing a pensioner. In the end, you were lucky. She's just a detoother who's after a rich guy. Welcome to Uglish (pronounced "YOU-glish"), the Ugandan variant of English. Bernard Sabiti has written the first Uglish dictionary (not yet available outside of Uganda, but he's working on an e-book version for January).
At least six bodies have been found and at least three recovered in the search for missing AirAsia Flight QZ8501, Indonesian officials and media say. The bodies were spotted along with debris floating in the Java Sea off the Indonesian part of Borneo, in one of the search zones for the plane. One official said the debris was 95% likely to be from the missing aircraft.
Whooping cough may be evolving to outsmart the currently used vaccine, say researchers. Analysis of strains from 2012 shows the parts of the pertussis bacterium that the vaccine primes the immune system to recognise are changing. It may have "serious consequences" in future outbreaks, UK researchers state in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. But experts stressed the vaccine remains highly effective in protecting the most vulnerable young babies.
Joe Gillmer had a problem. A big, stinky, sole-troubling problem plaguing Midtown Alexandria Station condos, where he serves as board vice president. How to put this gently? Dog, er, waste in the vestibule, in the elevator (yes, really), and — this particularly incensed Gillmer — in the garage beside handicapped parking, making life difficult for residents with physical challenges.
According to a new study led by Dr Kevin Baines of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, the reddish color of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter is likely a product of chemicals being broken apart by solar ultraviolet (UV) light in the planet’s upper atmosphere.
It’s long been one of ancient history’s most intriguing mysteries: Why did the Maya, a remarkably sophisticated civilization made up of more than 19 million people, suddenly collapse sometime during the 8th or 9th centuries? Although the Mayan people never entirely disappeared—their descendants still live across Central America—dozens of core urban areas in the lowlands of the Yucatan peninsula, such as Tikal, went from bustling cities...
They're one of the world's rarest jewels - but nobody knows for certain why pink diamonds are pink. That hasn't stopped investors from snapping them up at auction and sending prices skyrocketing. In October a new world record was set at a Sotheby's sale in Hong Kong when an 8.41-carat pink diamond sold for $17,768,041 (£11,438,714) - more than $2.1m (£1.8m) a carat.
A team of archaeologists led by Dr Mykhailo Videiko of the Kyiv Institute of Archaeology has discovered the remains of a 6,000-year-old temple at a Trypillian culture village near modern-day Nebelivka, Ukraine.
Daniel Dennett: I came to realize that many of the issues that philosophers love to talk about in the free will debates were irrelevant to anything important. There’s a bait-and-switch that goes on. I don’t think any topic is more anxiety provoking, or more genuinely interesting to everyday people, than free will But then philosophers replace the interesting issues with technical, metaphysical issues. Who cares? We can define lots of varieties of free will that you can’t have...
When a magnitude-6.0 earthquake hit California's wine country this summer, scientists rushed to California Highway Patrol helicopters to survey the scene. The results were surprising. The earthquake tore up to the surface, producing a 9-mile-long scar that sliced through vineyards, asphalt and even homes. A buried earthquake fault had awoken along a trail never before documented or mapped by scientists, stunning homeowners who found houses spun off their foundations and broken...
Nano-robots that fix tissues and control drugs have been envisioned for over 30 years. Now, using DNA origami and molecular programming, they are reality. These nanobots can seek and kill cancer cells, mimic social insect behaviors, carry out logical operators like a computer in a living animal, and they can be controlled from an Xbox. Ido Bachelet from the bio-design lab at Bar Ilan University explains this technology and how it will change medicine in the near future.
No doubt you know several folks with perfectly respectable IQs who repeatedly make poor decisions. The behavior of such people tells us that we are missing something important by treating intelligence as if it encompassed all cognitive abilities. I coined the term “dysrationalia” (analogous to “dyslexia”), meaning the inability to think and behave rationally despite having adequate intelligence, to draw attention to a large domain of cognitive life...
'Tis the season for cookies and pies. But pie crust is notoriously temperamental. Even the best bakers can have trouble getting that perfectly flakey consistency. Don't let that stop you from making your pie crusts from scratch! In the video above, UCLA biophysicist Amy Rowat reveals some of the molecular secrets of perfect pie.
Russia has agreed on a new deal to supply coal and electricity to Ukraine, which is struggling with a lack of raw fuel for power plants due to a separatist conflict in the industrial east, Russian officials said on Saturday. The move comes a day after Kiev said it would suspend train and bus services to Crimea, effectively creating a transportation blockade to and from the region annexed by Moscow in March this year. Kiev has briefly cut off electricity to Crimea before.
Recently, I went to check up on the reservation I made for my flight to Vegas in January 2015, a flight I had booked and confirmed months ago. But the app didn’t accept my password. I tried it several times, and then I got locked out completely and was directed to call the help desk. I thought it odd but put the call off for a few days: I got busy and thought it was likely just a site glitch. It wasn’t.
Over the past few weeks, there's a good chance that someone on your Facebook News Feed has shared a story about a once-in-a-lifetime planetary alignment happening on January 4, 2015. The interplanetary gravitational pull of the galactic event will, seemingly miraculously, counteract Earth's gravity for a short period of time, rendering everyone on the planet briefly weightless. This story was picked up by a few small viral sites like...
The microbes that live in and on humans may have evolved to preferentially take down the elderly in the population, a new computer model suggests. That, in turn, could have allowed children a greater share of food and resources, thereby enabling an extended childhood. Such a microbial bias may also have kept the first human populations more stable and resilient to upheavals, the findings suggest.
Chatting with a digital assistant is about as much fun as trying to reason with a stubborn child. If you've ever found yourself yelling at your Xbox or swearing at Siri, you may have already lost hope. But researchers say recent breakthroughs in speech recognition and artificial intelligence will soon make gadgets dramatically better at understanding people. This new breed of highly competent machines, which are able to not only hear us but to understand context and nuance, is just a year...
Software that can crunch data faster than any researcher is as much a part of science these days as petri dishes and the occasional bout of megalomania. Researchers are even designing their own bespoke programs, but not every scientist is a programmer, and bad software produces bad science.
The Mariana Trench cuts a 1,500-mile incision in the bottom of the Pacific Ocean near the island of Guam. That's where an international team of scientists has just spent over a month sending probes down to the deepest place on Earth. The scientists were stunned by the amount of life they found there, including a fish species inhabiting the deepest depths.
More than six decades later, Timothy Friedman easily recalls the jostling on the bus that took him across the frozen Volga River in southwest Russia to the orphanage. He was 14 years old when he was sent 530 miles away from Moscow to live in Engels, a small town named after the co-founder of communism.
Founded by futurists to engage in truly long-term thinking, the Long Now Foundation is best known to many for Long Bets or its recent placement of a Rosetta Disk on a comet, but the organization has an array of amazing projects designed to last hundreds of generations, including a 10,000 Year Clock. Something to consider before we go any further: civilization as we know it is arguably only around 5,000 years old – we are talking here about an technologically sophisticated endeavor aiming to span
Scientists have made primitive forms of artificial sperm and eggs in a medical feat that could transform the understanding of age-related diseases and fertility problems. Researchers in Cambridge made the early-stage sex cells by culturing human embryonic stem cells under carefully-controlled conditions for a week.
Our Milky Way galaxy has a neighbor we hadn't met yet. A team of Russian and American scientists has discovered a previously-unknown dwarf galaxy located about 7 million light years away from our own. Astronomer based at the Special Astrophysical Observatory in Karachai-Cherkessia, Russia, spotted the tiny galaxy using the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys in August.
Did you say a cheetah? You’re wrong. For some reason, the idea that the cheetah is the planet’s fastest creature has hardened into fact through years of childhood repetition. But not all superlatives in the animal kingdom are so easily settled as weight (the blue whale) and height (the giraffe). In fact, determining the fastest creature on earth is much more complicated than we’ve all been led to believe.
Another study confirms that the most cost-effective way of fighting homelessness is to get some housing for the chronically homeless. Not only does it work, but it's dramatically cheaper than sporadic police and medical interventions.
Thelma the snake confused then astounded her keepers. This 6m long (20 ft) python had spent four years alone in Louisville zoo in the US, without ever having met a male of her species. But, somehow, she laid over 61 eggs, producing six healthy babies. Perhaps she’d managed to secretively mate with a male many years before, and store his sperm all this time?