Science news of interest...


18 August 2015

How climate change created the modern dog


A new study of dog fossils as old as 40 million years suggests that the evolutionary path of whole groups of predators can be a direct consequence of climate change...


13 August 2015

Marine organisms evolving in response to ocean acidification


Researchers at Plymouth University have found that polychaete worms living in acidified waters exhibit a tendency to nurture their offspring to a greater extent than those in more regular conditions...


4 August 2015

Bonobo communication similar to that of human infants, suggests new study


Researchers have found that wild bonobos (our closest living relatives in the primate world) are able to produce vocalizations in a wide range of emotional states and situations. The findings challenge existing theories about the evolution of communication and potentially move the dividing line between humans and other apes...


31 July 2015

New technique for thought-controlled data input almost as accurate as one-fingered typing


A "brain dynamics" algorithm that continuously corrects brain readings to give people with spinal cord injuries a more precise way to enter commands by using a thought-controlled cursor is being tested in a clinical trial...


29 July 2015

New definition of chaos proposed


University of Maryland scientists hope the concept of "expansion entropy" will become a simple method to identify (sometimes hidden) chaos in a wide range of systems - and could help distinguish which chaotic systems could be subject to some measure of control...


23 July 2015

NASA discover Earth's twin 1,400 light-years away


The Kepler mission has found the first near-Earth-size planet in the "habitable zone" around a Sun-like star...


20 July 2015

Could solar flares be triggering birth defects?


It's known that airplane crews at high altitude are exposed to potentially harmful levels of radiation from cosmic rays, but could these cosmic rays pose hazards even at sea level?


17 July 2015

Innovative lightweight metal foam set to protect astronauts


Lightweight composite metal foams are effective at blocking X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation, say researchers from North Carolina State University who believe their discovery holds promise for use in nuclear safety and space exploration...


14 July 2015

Stimulant drug abuse appears to reduce brain volume in women but not men


Using MRI to study the brains of cocaine and meth users, researchers found that while the women demonstrated widespread brain differences when compared to their healthy control counterparts, the men demonstrated no significant brain differences...


7 July 2015

Reusable shopping bags trigger junk food purchases


Bringing reusable bags to the grocery store can mean you're an environmentally friendly shopper. But data analysis in a new study shows it also influences the things you buy. Specifically, bringing your own bags makes you more likely to purchase organic food - and junk food...


6 July 2015

Physicists map conductivity change in transition from 3 to 2 dimensions


Scientists have for the first time described the behavior of electrons in a previously unstudied analogue of graphene, two-dimensional niobium telluride, and, in the process, uncovered the nature of two-dimensionality effects on conducting properties...


2 July 2015

Universe may be less crowded than we think


New research suggests there may be far fewer galaxies in the far reaches of the Universe than previously thought...


29 June 2015

Key element of human language discovered in Australian bird


Stringing together meaningless sounds to create meaningful signals was previously thought to be the preserve of humans alone, but a fascinating new study has revealed that Australian babbler birds are also able to communicate in this way...


24 June 2015

Could our beliefs about human consciousness and the notion of self be completely wrong?


"People confuse what consciousness is for with what they think they use it for," claim researchers in a radical new assessment of what consciousness actually is...


22 June 2015

Robots get micro-tentacles to handle delicate objects


Using a transparent elastomer, Iowa State University scientists have created tiny tentacles that robots can wrap gently around delicate objects to handle them safely...


21 June 2015

New photosynthesis-mimicking technology could enable round-the-clock solar power without batteries


Developed by chemists at UCLA, a new photosynthesis-like technology is capable of storing solar energy for up to several weeks without the use of batteries - an advance that could change the way we think about photovoltaic solar cells and energy storage...


11 June 2015

Latest images of Ceres show detail of bright spot


New images of the dwarf planet Ceres, taken from 2,700 miles above by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, show the surface of this mysterious world in sharper detail than ever before...


9 June 2015

Water droplet computer can algorithmically manipulate physical matter


Researchers at Stanford have built a synchronous computer that operates using the unique physics of moving water droplets. The droplet processor is significantly slower than an electronic computer, but the research team says that speed is not their aim; rather, they want to develop a completely new class of computers that can precisely control and manipulate physical matter...


3 June 2015

Missing link found between brain and immune system


In a discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist...


2 June 2015

Researchers find link between cannabis use and fewer parasites


The more that hunter-gatherers in the Congo smoke cannabis, the less they are infected by parasitic intestinal worms, according to U.S. researchers who say that the tribe may unconsciously be, in effect, smoking medical marijuana...


28 May 2015

New paper shows how spacetime is built from quantum entanglement


A new paper has made a significant step toward unifying general relativity and quantum mechanics by explaining how spacetime emerges from quantum entanglement...


25 May 2015

Blind human echolocators can recognize the shape, size, and material properties of objects, according to new study


New Canadian research suggests that as well as being able to locate objects, some blind people can also discern the shape and texture of those objects. Intriguingly, these highly developed echolocation skills appear to use the regions of the brain normally associated with visual perception...


22 May 2015

Sudden increase in Antarctic ice loss


An international group of scientists has observed a sudden increase in ice loss on the Southern Antarctic Peninsula, what was previously thought to be a stable region of Antarctica...


19 May 2015

Video game link to Alzheimer's?


Video gamers spend a collective three billion hours per week in front of their screens. And while the average young person will have spent 10,000 hours gaming by the time they are 21, the effects of video gaming on the brain are only beginning to be understood...


17 May 2015

Vaping flavorings found to alter lung function at cellular level


Certain flavorings used in electronic cigarette liquids may alter important cellular functions in lung tissue, according to new research presented at this year's American Thoracic Society International Conference...


15 May 2015

Lab study suggests mad cow disease can be transmitted by plants


A study appearing in the latest issue of Cell Reports suggests that grass plants can bind, uptake, and transport infectious prions. This means that plants may play an important role in environmental prion contamination and the horizontal transmission of the disease...


12 May 2015

New metal composite floats on water


A new metal matrix composite that combines light weight with strength and heat resistance could be used in marine vessels within three years...


11 May 2015

Memristor artificial synapse circuit demonstrated


In what its developers say is a significant step toward brain-like computing; a memristor-based circuit of about 100 artificial synapses has performed a typical human task: image classification...


6 May 2015

Stars can create DNA precursors, suggests new experiment


Scientists at Berkeley Lab have shown how DNA's molecular precursors - carbon ring structures with embedded nitrogen atoms - could be created in the region surrounding a star...


5 May 2015

Centimeter-accurate GPS system could radically transform mobile devices


Centimeter-accurate positioning systems are already used in surveying and mapping, but the antennas these systems employ are too large and costly for use in mobile devices. Now, however, scientists have devised a powerful and sensitive software-defined GPS receiver that can extract centimeter accuracies from the inexpensive antennas found in mobile devices...


4 May 2015

Premature birth alters key brain connections


New research from King's College London sheds light on why premature birth is linked to a greater risk of neurodevelopmental problems, including autistic spectrum disorders and attention deficit disorders...


1 May 2015

Mars astronauts will suffer significant brain damage


Scientists have been investigating what might happen to an astronaut's brain during the long journey to Mars and found that constant exposure to highly energetic charged particles will cause significant damage to the astronaut's central nervous system and brain...


27 April 2015

High-pitched sounds found to cause seizures in cats


Veterinary specialists in the UK have authored an intriguing paper regarding feline seizures, which in some cases appear to occur in response to certain high-pitched sounds...


22 April 2015

Link between serotonin and depression is a myth, argues leading psychiatrist


The belief that depression is due to low levels of serotonin in the brain - and that effective pharmaceutical treatments raise these levels - is nothing but a myth, according to David Healy, a Professor of Psychiatry in the UK...