Science news of interest...


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...


17 April 2015

Major advance in artificial photosynthesis uses sunshine to create fossil fuel analogs


Berkeley Lab scientists say their nanowire-bacterial system has the potential to fundamentally change the oil industry by producing chemicals and fuels in a totally renewable way...


15 April 2015

Prototype video camera requires no power


Columbia University researchers have developed the first video camera to be fully self-powered - its pixels not only measuring the incident light, but also converting it into electric power...


14 April 2015

Search of 100,000 galaxies for advanced civilizations yields no obvious candidates


Using data from NASA's WISE orbiting observatory, a team of scientists has found no evidence of the mid-infrared energy emissions we would expect to observe from other advanced civilizations...


13 April 2015

Mars may have liquid water


We've known for a long time that there is water in the form of ice on Mars. But now, new data from NASA's rover Curiosity indicates that it's possible that there is liquid water on the surface of Mars...


9 April 2015

Passive smoking and litter could explain high levels of nicotine found in spices, herbal teas, and medicinal plants


Despite the fact that nicotine insecticides were banned in 2009, European researchers say that high concentrations of nicotine are still detected in many plants...


7 April 2015

Primordial DNA could have appeared spontaneously, suggests new study


The self-organization properties of DNA-like molecular fragments four billion years ago may have guided their own growth into repeating chemical chains long enough to act as a basis for primitive life, say an international team of scientists...


2 April 2015

Scientists create artificial link between unrelated memories


Working with mice, researchers at the University of Toyama were able to generate artificial links between unrelated pieces of information stored in memory, resulting in long-lasting changes in behavior. The work may point the way to the development of new treatments for disorders such as PTSD, where the main symptoms arise from unnecessary associations between unrelated memories...


1 April 2015

Spring-assisted exoskeleton beats evolution


It's taken millions of years for evolution to perfect how we walk, but research published in the journal Nature shows that humans can get better efficiency - around 7 percent - using an unpowered exoskeleton to modify the structure of their ankles...


30 March 2015

Chinese tree planting reverses global forest loss


Although massive vegetation loss is still occurring in Asia and South America, an analysis of 20 years of satellite data has revealed that the regrowth of forests in China, Australia, and Africa mean that the total amount of vegetation globally has increased by almost 4 billion tonnes of carbon since 2003...


26 March 2015

High-fat intake could trigger psychiatric disorders


High-fat diets have long been known to increase the risk for heart disease and stroke, but there is new evidence to link diets high in fat with a range of psychiatric disorders...


26 March 2015

Surprisingly, higher education doesn't seem to improve levels of happiness


In an intriguing new study, UK researchers say that while low educational attainment is associated with mental illness, happiness, or mental wellbeing, was equally likely across all levels of educational attainment...