Thursday, 19 January 2017

Forget blood transfusions, the fountain of youth could be closer to hand

Forget blood transfusions, the fountain of youth could be closer to hand

There has been a lot of hype and hope over transfusing old people with young blood in an attempt to rejuvenate the body in a similar manner to earlier Heterochronic parabiosis experiments, where the circulatory systems of an old and a young mouse are linked and some level of rejuvenation was observed[1]. Many researchers initially thought that the positive results in these tests were due to there being pro-youthful signals in the young blood, however more recent research suggests that the likely reason is the dilution of pro-aging factors present in the old blood rather than there being any “secret sauce” in young blood.

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Ancient Egyptian “pot burials” are not what they seem

Ancient Egyptian “pot burials” are not what they seem

A new interpretation of why people buried their dead in food jars 5,500 years ago.

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New Zealand to ban plastic microbeads by July 2018

New Zealand to ban plastic microbeads by July 2018

New Zealand plans to ban cosmetic products containing tiny plastic particles known as microbeads from July next year because of the risk they pose to aquatic and marine environments.

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How a computer sees history after "reading" 35 million news stories

How a computer sees history after "reading" 35 million news stories

So far, humans have relied on the written word to record what we know as history. When artificial intelligence researchers ran billions of those words from decades of news coverage through an automated analysis, however, even more patterns and insights were revealed.

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The neuroscience of changing your mind

The neuroscience of changing your mind

We don’t treat all of our beliefs the same. Some misconceptions we give up readily, replacing them with better information when alerted to our ignorance. For other constructs though, for your most cherished beliefs about things like climate change or vaccines or Republicans, instead of changing your mind in the face of challenging evidence or compelling counterarguments, you resist. Not only do you fight belief change for some things and not others, but if you successfully deflect such attacks, your challenged beliefs then grow stronger. Psychologists call this the backfire effect.

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How East and West think in profoundly different ways

How East and West think in profoundly different ways

Psychologists are uncovering the surprising influence of geography on our reasoning, behaviour, and sense of self.

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Membrane that can keep heart pumping forever, prevent heart attacks.

Membrane that can keep heart pumping forever, prevent heart attacks.

Scientists have created an external membrane using a 3-D printer than can keep a heart beating virtually forever and possibly prevent heart attacks within the next two decades. (2014)

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Solar Employs More Workers Than Coal, Oil and Natural Gas Combined

Solar Employs More Workers Than Coal, Oil and Natural Gas Combined

U.S. solar employs more workers than any other energy industry, including coal, oil and natural gas combined, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's second annual U.S. Energy and Employment Report. 6.4 million Americans now work in the traditional energy and the energy efficiency sector, which added more than 300,000 net new jobs in 2016, or 14 percent of the nation's job growth.

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Scientists find link between people impressed by wise-sounding, 'profound' quotes and low intelligence

Scientists find link between people impressed by wise-sounding, 'profound' quotes and low intelligence

Ever get annoyed by people on social media who share 'profound' quotes, or use meaningless, intelligent-sounding soundbites in arguments? A new study has shown that there is a link between these people and low intelligence. It found that those who are receptive to pseudo-profound, intellectual-sounding 'bulls***' are less intelligent, less reflective, and more likely to be believe in conspiracy theories, the paranormal and alternative medicine.

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Ecologists Offer New Explanation for Mysterious Namibian Fairy Circles

Ecologists Offer New Explanation for Mysterious Namibian Fairy Circles

Footprints of the gods, not so much, but the grassland phenomenon is still pretty cool. By Michael Byrne.

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Galileo satellites experiencing multiple clock failures - BBC News

Galileo satellites experiencing multiple clock failures - BBC News

The onboard atomic clocks that drive the satellite-navigation signals on Europe's Galileo network have been failing at an alarming rate.

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Wired for memory: how your brain remembers by completing patterns

Wired for memory: how your brain remembers by completing patterns

Your brain is the best pattern completion machine in the known universe. A fragment of input – a snatch of music, or a few words – and your brain fills in the rest. But how does it do this? A fabulous new study has unravelled the machinery, right down to the level of individual neurons, and shown that an ancient theory is correct. (Ancient in neuroscience being anything that predates Pop Tarts).

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Second winner of environmental prize killed months after Berta Cáceres death

Second winner of environmental prize killed months after Berta Cáceres death

Goldman prize winner Isidro Baldenegro López, who was known for his activism against illegal logging, was shot dead months after Berta Cáceres was murdered. By Nina Lakhani.

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Explainer: Why the human voice is so versatile

Explainer: Why the human voice is so versatile

We humans are capable of vocalising many different words in a range of languages. But what is it that gives us a remakable and variable voice?

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Female shark learns to reproduce without males after years alone

Female shark learns to reproduce without males after years alone

A female shark separated from her long-term mate has developed the ability to have babies on her own.

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Testosterone Rex by Cordelia Fine review – men’s and women’s brains are not different

Testosterone Rex by Cordelia Fine review – men’s and women’s brains are not different

The psychologist provides more evidence that the inequality of the sexes in society is cultural, not natural.

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It’s Either Basic Income or Chaos

It’s Either Basic Income or Chaos

Pay it forward or suffer the payback. Basic income has been a pretty hot button topic recently. Forbes says it could help our society’s productivity. The Guardian says it’s an absolute necessity. The New Economy calls it a socialist fairytale. I say it’s either basic income or total and utter, scorched earth, death match for drinking water, cannibalistic chaos.

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Giant Mystery Wave Spotted in Atmosphere of Venus

Giant Mystery Wave Spotted in Atmosphere of Venus

Researchers have spotted a strange, stationary wave suspended in Venus’ atmosphere. By Elizabeth Howell.

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Jack Straw and UK government must face kidnap and torture claims, court rules

Jack Straw and UK government must face kidnap and torture claims, court rules

Claims that rendition and torture of Abdel Hakim Belhaj breached Magna Carta rights must go before judges, supreme court rules. By Owen Bowcott and Ian Cobain.

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Why Most Planets Will Either Be Lush or Dead

Why Most Planets Will Either Be Lush or Dead

The Gaia hypothesis implies that once alien life takes hold, it will flourish. By David Grinspoon.

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Italy convicts 8 South Americans in deaths from 1970s-80s

Italy convicts 8 South Americans in deaths from 1970s-80s

A Rome court on Tuesday convicted eight former South American political and military leaders in the disappearance and deaths of 23 people of Italian origin during the crackdown on leftists and intellectuals by the region’s military dictatorships.

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Ford says electric vehicles will overtake gas in 15 years, announces all-electric 300-mile SUV, hybrid F-150, Mustang, and more

Ford says electric vehicles will overtake gas in 15 years, announces all-electric 300-mile SUV, hybrid F-150, Mustang, and more

Ford is making a big announcement in electrification today. CEO Mark Field confirmed several new models will receive electric drivetrain options, including its flagship F-150 pickup truck that will double as an on-site generator. In 2015, Ford announced a $4.5 billion investment in electric vehicles in order to introduce 13 new models. Today, it confirmed 7 of those 13 new models and the list will surprise a few: a new all-electric SUV with “at least” 300 miles of range, a hybrid F-150 and a hybrid Mustang, a Transit Custom plug-in hybrid and 2 new electric police vehicles.

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Natural selection making 'education genes' rarer, says Icelandic study

Natural selection making 'education genes' rarer, says Icelandic study

Tempting as it may be, it would be wrong to claim that with each generation humans are becoming more stupid. As scientists are often so keen to point out, it is a bit more complicated than that. A study from Iceland is the latest to raise the prospect of a downwards spiral into imbecility. The research from deCODE, a genetics firm in Reykjavik, finds that groups of genes that predispose people to spend more years in education became a little rarer in the country from 1910 to 1975.

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

When Truth Becomes a Commodity

When Truth Becomes a Commodity

What becomes of the public when truth becomes just another consumer preference? By Daniel T. Rogers.

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Listen with your eyes: one in five of us may 'hear' flashes of light

Listen with your eyes: one in five of us may 'hear' flashes of light

A surprising number of people experience a form of sensory cross wiring in which light flashes and visual movements are ‘heard’, research finds.

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A Fight Over a Sacred Mountaintop Will Shape the Future of Astronomy

A Fight Over a Sacred Mountaintop Will Shape the Future of Astronomy

For years, it seemed as if the future of the Thirty Meter Telescope was writ in the stars. The enormous, next-generation observatory would explore the birth of galaxies and seek signs of life on alien worlds from atop the dormant volcano of Mauna Kea, one of the best places on Earth to study the sky.

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Bird-loving vampire bats develop taste for human blood

Bird-loving vampire bats develop taste for human blood

Human blood is now on the menu. Wild vampire bats that were thought to exclusively feed on bird blood have been caught feeding on people for the first time, raising health concerns. By Sandrine Ceurstemont.

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Facebook has a mysterious team working on tech that sounds a lot like mind reading

Facebook has a mysterious team working on tech that sounds a lot like mind reading

Recently posted job listings from Facebook indicate that its Building 8 hardware team is working on futuristic technology that sounds a lot like telepathy.

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It Can Power a Small Nation. But This Wind Farm in China Is Mostly Idle

It Can Power a Small Nation. But This Wind Farm in China Is Mostly Idle

The Jiuquan Wind Power Base epitomizes the country’s ambition to become a global leader in clean energy. It also reflects the deep challenges facing the sector in China. By Javier C. Hernández.

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Break in the Search for the Origin of Complex Life

Break in the Search for the Origin of Complex Life

A group of newly discovered microbes, named after Norse gods, may belong to the lineage from which we evolved. By Ed Yong.

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Smartwatches know you’re getting a cold days before you feel ill

Smartwatches know you’re getting a cold days before you feel ill

Smartwatches know you’re getting a cold days before you feel ill.

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How a KGB Officer Became One of America’s Top Paranormal Researchers

How a KGB Officer Became One of America’s Top Paranormal Researchers

History’s spookiest spook. By Andy Wright.

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The Road to Pseudoscientific Thinking

The Road to Pseudoscientific Thinking

How to prevent the most salient feature from being the least informative

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Monday, 16 January 2017

Ice crack to put UK Antarctic base in shut-down

Ice crack to put UK Antarctic base in shut-down

The British Antarctic Survey is pulling all staff out of the space-age Halley base in March because of a big crack in nearby ice. By Jonathan Amos.

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Drug Cartels Are Looting Mexican Gas Pipelines

Drug Cartels Are Looting Mexican Gas Pipelines

The black market is booming. By Nasha Cattan and Eric Martin.

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Meet Mary Somerville: The Brilliant Woman for Whom the Word “Scientist” Was Coined

Meet Mary Somerville: The Brilliant Woman for Whom the Word “Scientist” Was Coined

How a Scottish polymath forever changed the course of gender in science and made a high art of connecting the seemingly disconnected. By Maria Popova.

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Turkish Airlines Cargo Plane Crashes in Kyrgyzstan, Killing 35

Turkish Airlines Cargo Plane Crashes in Kyrgyzstan, Killing 35

A cargo plane operated by ACT airlines crashed near the capital of Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, killing 33 people and wounding others, authorities announced on Monday. The accident took place at about 7:30 a.m. in the village of Dacha Su near Manas International Airport. The victims include four people on the plane and dozens of residents of the village. Several injured, including at least three children, were reportedly transferred to a local hospital, according to the Kyrgyz Ministry of Emergency Situations.

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Human Organs-on-Chips - Microchips lined by living human cells that could revolutionize drug development

Human Organs-on-Chips - Microchips lined by living human cells that could revolutionize drug development

Clinical studies take years to complete and testing a single compound can cost more than $2 billion. Meanwhile, innumerable animal lives are lost, and the process often fails to predict human responses because traditional animal models often do not accurately mimic human pathophysiology. For these reasons, there is a broad need for alternative ways to model human diseases in vitro in order to accelerate the development of new drugs and advance personalized medicine.

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How Electric Vehicles Could End Car Ownership as We Know It

How Electric Vehicles Could End Car Ownership as We Know It

If I say “personal electric vehicle,” you might think “Paul Blart: Mall Cop,” or maybe “exploding hoverboards.” You don’t think global transportation revolution. But in the past few years, with the convergence of better battery technology, lighter materials and smaller, more powerful electric motors, entirely new kinds of transportation have bloomed. The electric powertrain, unlike that of the internal combustion engine, scales...

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Resistance to the Antibiotic of Last Resort Is Silently Spreading

Resistance to the Antibiotic of Last Resort Is Silently Spreading

The alarm bells sounded on November 18, 2015. Antibiotic resistance is usually a slow-moving crisis, one of the reasons its danger can be hard to convey. One by one, over the years, the drugs used to fight the most stubborn infections have fallen by the wayside as bacteria have evolved resistance to them. For certain infections, the only drug left is colistin. Then on November 18, 2015, scientists published a report in the British medical journal The Lancet: A single, easily spreadable gene makes the bacteria that carry it resistant to colistin, our antibiotic of last resort.

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A Lot of What Is Known about Pirates Is Not True, and a Lot of What Is True Is Not Known.

A Lot of What Is Known about Pirates Is Not True, and a Lot of What Is True Is Not Known.

Pirates were everywhere. But they were not who we thought they were. They were not anarchistic, antisocial maniacs. At least not in the seventeenth century. Many were welcome in colonial communities. They married local women, and bought land and livestock. Pirate James Brown even married the daughter of the governor of Pennsylvania and was appointed to the Pennsylvania House of Assembly. Pirates, it seemed, could be civil, neighborly, and law-abiding. Why hadn’t this been noticed before? By Mark G. Hanna.

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The rise and fall and rise of logic

The rise and fall and rise of logic

Is logical thinking a way to discover or to debate? The answers from philosophy and mathematics define human knowledge. By Catarina Dutilh Novaes.

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Sunday, 15 January 2017

New Fund Aimed at Teaching Morals to AI

New Fund Aimed at Teaching Morals to AI

A new 27 million dollar fund aimed at teaching AI religion, morality, and ethics has been collected from a group of high-profile investors. MIT media lab and the Berkman Kein Centre for Internet and Society at Harvard will serve as hubs for the initiative, which is dubbed the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund. The purpose of the fund is to apply the humanities, social sciences, and other non-technologically based fields to push the development of AI in a more positive and conscious direction.

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What the ancient Greeks can teach us about herbs

What the ancient Greeks can teach us about herbs

Alain Touwaide, with his wife and fellow researcher Emanuela Appetiti, created an organization named the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions 10 years ago whose mission, in part, has been to study how our forebears relied on a knowledge of herbs (and to a lesser degree, animal products and minerals) to manage maladies and keep themselves healthy. The result is a new book, essentially an inventory of Greek medical manuscripts spanning the Byzantine Empire between the 5th and 15th centuries.

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Neanderthals Were People, Too

Neanderthals Were People, Too

New research shows they shared many behaviors that we long believed to be uniquely human. Why did science get them so wrong?

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Saturday, 14 January 2017

Eat hot peppers for a longer life?

Eat hot peppers for a longer life?

Consumption of hot red chili peppers is associated with a 13 percent reduction in total mortality, a large prospective study has found.

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SpaceX returns to flight with Falcon 9 rocket launch

SpaceX returns to flight with Falcon 9 rocket launch

The US SpaceX rocket company resumes operations after a launch pad explosion in September.

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