Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Italy’s olive crisis intensifies as deadly tree disease spreads

Italy’s olive crisis intensifies as deadly tree disease spreads

Containment measures meant to stop a rampant bacterium have been frequently delayed.

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People on love drug MDMA still know who to trust

People on love drug MDMA still know who to trust

For recreational users, ecstasy has long been associated with a harmonious mindset. Now there’s research to back that up. In a new study of MDMA, ecstasy’s main ingredient, the drug indeed made people more cooperative—but only with trustworthy partners.

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Tiny raptor tracks lead to big discovery

Tiny raptor tracks lead to big discovery

Tracks made by dinosaurs the size of sparrows have been discovered in South Korea by an international team of palaeontologists. University of Queensland researcher Dr Anthony Romilio was part of the team which described the tracks, which were originally found by Professor Kyung Soo Kim from Chinju National University of Education, South Korea.

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Let’s Build a Global Power Grid

Let’s Build a Global Power Grid

Reports abound of homeowners and businesses unplugging from the power grid and opting instead to generate and store their own electricity. Such grid defections may make sense in places where electricity rates are sky-high or service is spotty. But for just about everywhere else, it’s far more sensible to do the very opposite: interconnect regional electricity networks to form a globe-spanning supergrid.

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Evolutionary biologists uncover new branch on Tree of Life in rare discovery published in Nature

Evolutionary biologists uncover new branch on Tree of Life in rare discovery published in Nature

Scientists at Dalhousie Universityhave discovered a new branch on the ‘Tree of Life’ that no one knew existed. Their findings were published today in the journal Nature and will be critical to better understanding the evolutionary history of life on earth. “This discovery literally redraws our branch of the ‘Tree of Life’ at one of its deepest points,” explains Alastair Simpson, the lead author of the study and biology professor at Dalhousie. “It opens a new door to understanding the evolution of complex cells—and their ancient origins—back well before animals and plants emerged on Earth.”

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Climate change increasing risk of simultaneous natural disasters

Climate change increasing risk of simultaneous natural disasters

The increase of simultaneous natural disasters caused by climate change over the next century will be devastating for human society, according to a new study. A team of researchers picked through thousands of scientific papers and found 467 different ways greenhouse gasses affect human health, food, water, economy, infrastructure, and security.

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Monday, 19 November 2018

Change in future climate due to Antarctic meltwater

Change in future climate due to Antarctic meltwater

Accounting for meltwater from the Antarctic Ice Sheet in simulations of global climate leads to substantial changes in future climate projections and identifies a potential feedback mechanism that exacerbates melting.

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Why is wombat poop cube-shaped?

Why is wombat poop cube-shaped?

Wombats are the only animals in the world that produce cube-shaped scat. But how and why do they do it? Scientists now have a better idea.

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Why Standing Desks Are Overrated

Why Standing Desks Are Overrated

They’re not cures for anything, and standing is not exercise.

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How I Spent a Year Locked Out of My Own Hand

How I Spent a Year Locked Out of My Own Hand

It was just before midnight when I made the impulsive decision that would transform me into the world’s most useless cyborg. My friend and I had just left a free concert at the 25th annual Def Con, the world’s largest hacker conference, and were roaming the halls of the Las Vegas Caesars Hotel trying to decide what to do with the rest of our night. Then I received the fateful text message from a friend: “Biohacking village shutting down for the night, there’s a few more implants left.”

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Massive study reveals that eating cheese might be the key to helping you live longer

Massive study reveals that eating cheese might be the key to helping you live longer

Regardless of the various toppings and sauces you can get with your incredible pie, you truly haven't lived until you've had a pizza adorned with five different toppings. Four's fine, I suppose, but five's fantastic. Parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella and gorgonzola, but instead of a tomato sauce, the base was adorned with brie.

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High-speed video solves how Florida ants furnish their nests with their enemies’ bodies

High-speed video solves how Florida ants furnish their nests with their enemies’ bodies

The nests of Florida ants called Formica archboldi are adorned with the carcasses of their enemies — namely, the heads of other species known as trap-jaw ants. How Formica archboldi acquire these gruesome home accessories has perplexed scientists since the 1950s. But now, thanks to high-speed and time lapse videos, we have a better picture of this bizarre behavior.

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Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970, report finds

Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970, report finds

Humanity has wiped out 60% of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles since 1970, leading the world’s foremost experts to warn that the annihilation of wildlife is now an emergency that threatens civilisation. The new estimate of the massacre of wildlife is made in a major report produced by WWF and involving 59 scientists from across the globe. It finds that the vast and growing consumption of food and resources by the global population is destroying the web of life..

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Can helplines survive our growing fear of the phone call?

Can helplines survive our growing fear of the phone call?

For decades, Childline and Samaritans have offered a friendly ear. But how does that work when so many of us would rather text, email or instant message?

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UM stem cell research lifts hope for Alzheimer's patients

UM stem cell research lifts hope for Alzheimer's patients

Eva Feldman's research shows Implanting neural stem cells in the brains of mouse models improved recognition and spatial memory, along with learning

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Neandertals probably lived a much less violent- life's than modern humans which their skull damage suggests

Neandertals probably lived a much less violent- life's than modern humans which their skull damage suggests

Neandertals are shaking off their notoriety for being head bangers. Our nearby transformative cousins experienced a lot of head wounds, yet no more so than late Stone Age people, an investigation proposes. Rates of cracks and other bone harm in a huge example of Neandertal and old Homo sapiens skulls generally coordinate rates recently revealed for human foragers and agriculturists who have lived inside the previous 10,000 years, closes a group driven by paleoanthropologist Katerina Harvati of the University of Tübingen in Germany.

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Sunday, 18 November 2018

Yes, A Donut-Shaped Planet Is Technically Possible

Yes, A Donut-Shaped Planet Is Technically Possible

Have you ever wondered why every planet we know about is shaped like a sphere? Why not a cube, or an hourglass? While those—and let's be honest, most other shapes—would definitely break the laws of physics, there's one odd planet form that wouldn't: a donut.

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'Sad surprise': Amazon fish contaminated by plastic particles

'Sad surprise': Amazon fish contaminated by plastic particles

Scientists have found the first evidence of plastic contamination in freshwater fish in the Amazon, highlighting the extent to which bags, bottles and other waste dumped in rivers is affecting the world’s wildlife. Tests on the stomach contents of fish in Brazil’s Xingu River, one of the major tributaries of the Amazon, revealed plastic particles in more than 80% of the species examined, including the omnivorous parrot pacu, herbivorous redhook silver dollar, and meat-eating red-bellied piranha.

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Lab-Grown Mini Kidneys 'Go Rogue,' Sprout Brain and Muscle Cells

Lab-Grown Mini Kidneys 'Go Rogue,' Sprout Brain and Muscle Cells

Miniature lab-grown kidneys have been hiding something from the scientists who grew them. Instead of developing into different varieties of kidney cells, some of the cells took a different path and became brain and muscle cells. These simple mini kidneys — also known as kidney organoids — are grown from stem cells that are encouraged to develop into clusters of specific kidney cells. But it turns out that the "recipes" that encourage the development of specialized kidney cells were also cranking out cells from other organs, according to a new study.

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How a 2001 video game warned us about the dangers of artificial intelligence and genetic engineering

How a 2001 video game warned us about the dangers of artificial intelligence and genetic engineering

Long before the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal and the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, a Japanese video game developer predicted society's issues of truth and reality. Over a decade before my posts on post-truth aphorisms and our struggles in constructing narratives, Hideo Kojima would create a game in which the archenemy was none other than the American government itself in 2001.

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The Human Brain Is a Time Traveler

The Human Brain Is a Time Traveler

Looking to the future has always defined humanity. Will A.I. become the best crystal ball of all?

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'Toxic Air is Killing Us but We can’t Afford to Quit'

'Toxic Air is Killing Us but We can’t Afford to Quit'

Delhi's rickshaw pullers say they don't contribute to air pollution, but are still the worst affected.

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US paves way to get 'lab meat' on plates

US paves way to get 'lab meat' on plates

US authorities on Friday agreed on how to regulate food products cultured from animal cells—paving the way to get so-called "lab meat" on American plates.

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Landing site selected for UK Mars rover

Landing site selected for UK Mars rover

Due to land in 2021, the ExoMars rover will be the first of its kind to travel across the Martian surface and drill down to determine if evidence of life is buried underground. Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive, UK Space Agency said: After the Earth, Mars is the most habitable planet in the Solar System, so it’s a perfect destination to explore the possibility of life on other planets, as well as the history of our own.

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How Did Life Emerge?

How Did Life Emerge?

How did life begin? Two common answers come to mind. One is that, at some point, a deity decided to suspend the laws of physics and will a slew of slimy creatures into being. A second is that a one-in-a-trillion collision of just the right atoms billions of years ago happened to produce a molecular blob with the unprecedented capacity to reproduce itself.

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Saturday, 17 November 2018

The million-dollar drug

The million-dollar drug

UBC scientists spent decades developing Glybera, the world’s first approved gene therapy. But market forces needed just two years to make the potentially life-saving drug disappear.

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The buried secrets of the deadliest location on Earth

The buried secrets of the deadliest location on Earth

Chicxulub Puerto, Mexico, is the centre of the impact crater that scientists believe was made when the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs smashed into the Earth’s surface.

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Why 'Vampire Deer' Have Fangs, While Other Hoofed Mammals Have Horns

Why 'Vampire Deer' Have Fangs, While Other Hoofed Mammals Have Horns

When do you need a broadsword, and when would you be better off with a dagger? That’s the question that faced artiodactyls, the group of mammals that includes deer, antelope, goats, giraffes, pigs, buffalo and cows, during their evolution. Many male artiodactyls fight over females using weaponized body parts such as horns and antlers. But pigs and several groups of deerlike animals have tusks instead, and a few species have both. Water deer have tusks so pronounced they are nicknamed “vampire deer.”

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Organisms found on hike in the woods are like no other life on Earth

Organisms found on hike in the woods are like no other life on Earth

Canadian researchers have discovered a new kind of organism that’s so different from other living things that it doesn’t fit into the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, or any other kingdom used to classify known organisms.

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Neanderthals Were Just As Violent As Early Humans

Neanderthals Were Just As Violent As Early Humans

Is it time to put the stereotype of the violent and brutish Neanderthal to rest? New research paints a different picture of the ancient hominin — one that looks similar to Homo sapiens. Researchers previously thought that Neanderthal lives were far more nasty, brutish and short than ancient H. sapiens, based mainly on studies looking at levels of injury among both groups. Now, however, in a much more comprehensive look, a team of University of Tübingen (UIT) researchers found that both Neanderthals and H. sapiens living in the Ice Age sustained similar levels of head trauma.

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Why being vegan isn’t as environmentally friendly as you might think

Why being vegan isn’t as environmentally friendly as you might think

Go vegan, they said. Save the world, they said. But is the plant-based diet as good for the environment as we’ve been told? Emma Henderson finds out how it could be more sustainable

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Astronomers May Have Just Discovered a Super Earth Just Six Light Years Away

Astronomers May Have Just Discovered a Super Earth Just Six Light Years Away

In a new paper published in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers have shared that there may be a super-Earth orbiting Barnard's Star, a very-low-mass red dwarf star that is only six light years away from regular Earth. The astronomers didn't exactly see the planet, but they do have the data to back up what they believe is out there.

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Scientists are using artificial intelligence to see inside stars using sound waves

Scientists are using artificial intelligence to see inside stars using sound waves

How in the world could you possibly look inside a star? You could break out the scalpels and other tools of the surgical trade, but good luck getting within a few million kilometers of the surface before your skin melts off. The stars of our universe hide their secrets very well, but astronomers can outmatch their cleverness and have found ways to peer into their hearts using, of all things, sound waves.

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FCC tries to clean-up space

FCC tries to clean-up space

Who's in charge of cleaning up all the space junk orbiting Earth? That's the question the Federal Communications Commission is officially asking as it takes comment on a proposal to review its orbital debris rules. The FCC voted unanimously on Thursday to revamp its 2004 rules. Since the rules took effect more than a decade ago, there have been loads of new technologies developed and many more satellites launched into space.

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NASA scientists think they can extract rocket fuel from Martian soil

NASA scientists think they can extract rocket fuel from Martian soil

A major problem with Mars missions: Bringing enough fuel for a return journey. In a striking new first-person account in IEEE Spectrum, NASA team lead Kurt Leucht writes about how the space agency is hard at work on a potential solution he hopes will let future Mars missions — or even colonists — extract rocket fuel from Martian soil.

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FCC tells SpaceX it can deploy up to 11,943 broadband satellites

FCC tells SpaceX it can deploy up to 11,943 broadband satellites

SpaceX today received US approval to deploy 7,518 broadband satellites, in addition to the 4,425 satellites that were approved eight months ago. The Federal Communications Commission voted to let SpaceX launch 4,425 low-Earth orbit satellites in March of this year. SpaceX separately sought approval for 7,518 satellites operating even closer to the ground, saying that these will boost capacity and reduce latency in heavily populated areas. That amounts to 11,943 satellites in total for SpaceX's Starlink broadband service.

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Friday, 16 November 2018

Scientists Grow Full-Sized, Beating Human Hearts From Stem Cells

Scientists Grow Full-Sized, Beating Human Hearts From Stem Cells

Of the 4,000 Americans waiting for heart transplants, only 2,500 will receive new hearts in the next year. Even for those lucky enough to get a transplant, the biggest risk is the their bodies will reject the new heart and launch a massive immune reaction against the foreign cells. To combat the problems of organ shortage and decrease the chance that a patient’s body will reject it, researchers have been working to create synthetic organs from patients’ own cells.

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When Space Science Becomes a Political Liability

When Space Science Becomes a Political Liability

Representative John Culberson, an 8-term Texas Republican and staunch supporter of NASA and planetary exploration, lost his re-election bid to Democrat Lizzie Fletcher last week. Many factors played into this outcome, but one bears consideration by space advocates: his support for the scientific search for life at Europa was seen as a weakness and attacked accordingly.

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Quietly, Japan has established itself as a power in the aerospace industry

Quietly, Japan has established itself as a power in the aerospace industry

In early September, the island nation of Japan was doing Japan things. One day, Typhoon Jebi roared ashore near Osaka and Kobe, breaking historical wind records. Early the next morning in Tokyo, as thick clouds from Jebi’s outer bands raced overhead, an offshore earthquake rattled softly but perceptibly through the city. The capital city’s skies remained a bleak gray a few hours later as we entered the headquarters of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in the city’s bustling Shinagawa area.

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Plans Revealed for Enormous Particle Collider in China

Plans Revealed for Enormous Particle Collider in China

Scientists this week released a conceptual design report for a next-generation particle accelerator in China, which would serve as a “Higgs boson factory,” as its proponents have called it.

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Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?

Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?

Despite the easing of taboos and the rise of hookup apps, Americans are in the midst of a sex recession.

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Ikea has a plan to fix the pollution crisis in India's cities

Ikea has a plan to fix the pollution crisis in India's cities

Ikea has come up with a plan to help some of the world's most polluted cities breathe easier. The global furniture giant will start making products out of agricultural waste in India, meaning farmers no longer have to burn it. The initiative, called "Better Air Now," will provide Indian farmers with a use for unwanted rice straw, which is often burned. Smoke from the fires is one of the major contributors to northern India's pollution crisis.

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The US military is testing stratospheric balloons that ride the wind so they never have to come down

The US military is testing stratospheric balloons that ride the wind so they never have to come down

The idea of a balloon that floats high up above Earth indefinitely is a tantalizing one. Solar power would allow such stratospheric balloons to operate like low-cost satellites at the edge of space, where they could provide communication in remote or disaster-hit area, follow hurricanes, or monitor pollution at sea. One day, they could even take tourists on near-space trips to see the curvature of the planet.

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A new Venezuelan ID, created with China's ZTE, tracks citizen behavior

A new Venezuelan ID, created with China's ZTE, tracks citizen behavior

China's ZTE is helping Venezuela build its new ID system.

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Cars without drivers still need a moral compass. But what kind?

Cars without drivers still need a moral compass. But what kind?

Loved by some philosophers, loathed by others, the so-called trolley problem is the quintessential moral puzzle. A runaway train is heading towards five people tied to a track. You can change a signal, diverting the train down a spur, so saving five lives. Unfortunately, one person is on the spur, and would die. What should you do? Most people – young and old, rich and poor – believe you should divert the train.

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Thursday, 15 November 2018

Maybe Next Time: Barnard’s Star B is Likely Uninhabitable

Maybe Next Time: Barnard’s Star B is Likely Uninhabitable

Put on your friendliest face and say hello to the newest member of our planetary neighborhood: Barnard’s star b. An international team led by researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science announced today that they’ve detected an exoplanet orbiting Barnard’s star, the closest single star to Earth at just six light-years away. The astronomers calculate the newfound world, dubbed Barnard’s star b, to be about 3.2 times the mass of Earth and to orbit its host star once every 233 days.

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People who are religious and 'ontologically confused' are more likely to share pseudo-profound bullshit

People who are religious and 'ontologically confused' are more likely to share pseudo-profound bullshit

A new study has found that the more literally a person understands metaphorical statements and the more religious they are, the more likely they are to share pseudo-profound bullshit on social media. The new research, published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, replicated Gordon Pennycook’s 2015 study on bullshit receptivity — meaning the propensity to interpret nonsensical sentences as profound statements — using a sample from two Eastern European countries.

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'Cut lamb and beef' to fight climate change

'Cut lamb and beef' to fight climate change

The number of sheep and cattle in the UK should be reduced by between a fifth and a half to help combat climate change, a report says. The shift is needed, the government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC) maintains, because beef and lamb produce most farm greenhouse gases. The report foresees an increase in the number of pigs and chickens because these produce less methane. The farm union NFU said it did not agree with reducing livestock numbers.

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Your Children’s Yellowstone Will Be Radically Different

Your Children’s Yellowstone Will Be Radically Different

Climate change is altering America’s first national park so quickly that plants and animals may not be able to adapt.

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Impact crater 19 miles wide found beneath Greenland glacier

Impact crater 19 miles wide found beneath Greenland glacier

An illustration of the ice-filled crater discovered in Greenland. Photograph: Nasa/Cryospheric Sciences Lab/Natural History Museum of Denmark A huge impact crater has been discovered under a half-mile-thick Greenland ice sheet. The enormous bowl-shaped dent appears to be the result of a mile-wide iron meteorite slamming into the island at a speed of 12 miles per second as recently as 12,000 years ago.

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