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Last feed update: Tuesday January 23rd, 2018 03:20:13 AM

Spy balloons that fly 40km up track drug dealers on the ground

Monday January 22nd, 2018 06:03:00 PM
The US military are testing uncrewed, hydrogen-filled balloons that can keep watch over a small area by catching different winds in the stratosphere

AI that cracked ancient secret code could help robot translation

Monday January 22nd, 2018 05:46:00 PM
Breaking ciphers is like learning to translate a language, so a technique that unscrambled one of the earliest known examples could assist machine translation

Cute cats the size of kittens are seeing their homes destroyed

Monday January 22nd, 2018 05:20:00 PM
Güiñas are the smallest cats in the Americas, smaller than most domestic cats, and they are becoming increasingly rare

Upstart Electron rocket has made it to orbit for the first time

Monday January 22nd, 2018 04:22:00 PM
Space flight is getting more affordable. The Electron rocket, smaller and cheaper than most of its commercial competitors, has put three satellites into orbit

New CRISPR method could take gene editing to the next level

Monday January 22nd, 2018 04:00:00 PM
While CRISPR is great at turning off and disabling genes, it isn’t very good at fixing faulty ones. But a powerful new method could change that

Black holes are firing a triple-threat of speedy particles at us

Monday January 22nd, 2018 04:00:00 PM
Black holes have the weirdest kids. Three types of the highest energy particles in the cosmos could all be born in the chaos near a supermassive black hole 

Ruptured Tibetan glaciers triggered massive speedy avalanches

Monday January 22nd, 2018 04:00:00 PM
In 2016, a pair of glaciers suddenly collapsed and sent huge chunks of ice hurtling downhill. The events suggest such disasters are more common than we thought

Hot yoga’s high temperature may not have any health benefits

Monday January 22nd, 2018 01:15:00 PM
Despite all the extra effort and sweat, a study suggests that the high temperature used in hot yoga classes may not have any useful effect

Your boss not saying ‘thank you’ could be bad for your health

Monday January 22nd, 2018 12:00:00 PM
If you love your job and work hard but feel you get little recognition or reward, you could be on the road to chronic stress, burnout and other health issues

Apocalypse not now but the fate of civilisation is in our hands

Monday January 22nd, 2018 10:00:00 AM
If societal collapse is coming, we have the means to prevent it. Let’s not mess it up like we did with climate change

Medieval gamblers turned their back on fate and made dice fair

Friday January 19th, 2018 05:46:00 PM
Dice from archaeological digs in the Netherlands and the UK became fairer 600 years ago – 250 years before we began to really understand probability

No, the worst-case climate change futures haven’t been ruled out

Friday January 19th, 2018 05:25:00 PM
A single study has been hailed for narrowing the range of possible climate change scenarios, but figuring out how the world will warm is more complicated than headlines suggest

Deadly solar flares may have helped seed life on Mars and beyond

Friday January 19th, 2018 03:43:00 PM
High-energy particles that can strip away planetary atmospheres and cause biological damage might also forge the complex organic molecules that give rise to life

The higher your testosterone levels, the more you love soft rock

Friday January 19th, 2018 02:20:00 PM
A study suggests that men with higher testosterone levels are more likely to prefer genres like heavy metal and soft rock to classical music or jazz

Good news: animals won’t shrink as the climate gets warmer

Friday January 19th, 2018 02:04:00 PM
A 19th-century ‘rule’ connecting animal body size and environmental temperature has been challenged, allaying fears that animals may decrease in size as the climate gets warmer

All other primates live their lives according to a simple rule

Friday January 19th, 2018 01:15:00 PM
Hundreds of species of primate all form groups of the same five sizes, suggesting that the ecosystems in which they live strongly shape their lifestyles

Commercial electric pulse fishing should be banned for now

Friday January 19th, 2018 12:51:00 PM
The growing use in Europe of trawl nets that stun fish with electricity has divided opinion. It should be scaled back and properly researched, says Lesley Evans Ogden

Some exoplanets orbiting red giant stars may just be a mirage

Thursday January 18th, 2018 07:04:00 PM
Red giant stars may be tricking us into thinking they have planets when they don’t. Instead, sunspots or atmospheric ripples might be distorting their light

NASA may finally have a new boss after a year-long wait

Thursday January 18th, 2018 06:07:00 PM
Trump’s pick to head NASA may soon be confirmed. The US President has said he wants the space agency to focus on a mission to the moon

Some people identify smells as easily as if they were colours

Thursday January 18th, 2018 05:00:00 PM
Most people are much better at identifying colours than smells, but one group of hunter-gatherers from the Malay Peninsula shows the opposite pattern

A capsized oil tanker is releasing invisible toxins into the sea

Thursday January 18th, 2018 04:30:00 PM
The slick of oil condensate from a stricken tanker in the East China Sea is a threat to all marine life, not least because it is invisible

Stars that devour their planets get brighter and faster

Thursday January 18th, 2018 03:53:00 PM
When the sun expands and engulfs Earth, our planet's ashes will brighten the sun and spin it faster. We might be able to watch this happen across the universe

Bitcoin’s utopia has failed as big players hold all the power

Thursday January 18th, 2018 02:55:00 PM
Cryptocurrencies are built on the idea that no one institution holds the power. But for bitcoin and ethereum, that’s no longer true

Trump, this ‘shithole’ continent pioneered heart swaps and more

Thursday January 18th, 2018 11:59:00 AM
Seeking to understand other people is better than dismissing them with insults. Trump needs lessons in African history, culture and science, says Curtis Abraham

Breathing in a nanoparticle spray could prevent heart damage

Wednesday January 17th, 2018 07:00:00 PM
An inhalable drug is designed to move straight from the lungs to the heart, where it is hoped it will prevent the organ from deteriorating after heart attacks

How ‘stem cell’ clinics became a Wild West for dodgy treatments

Wednesday January 17th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
Hundreds of clinics offering unregulated stem cell therapies have sprung up across the US and Australia thanks to lax oversight

Algorithms that change lives should be trialled like new drugs

Wednesday January 17th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
An algorithm used by US courts to predict reoffenders turns out to be no more accurate than random people on the internet. Why wasn’t it properly tested before now?

Blindness treatment will insert algae gene into people’s eyes

Wednesday January 17th, 2018 05:50:00 PM
Optogenetic techniques that use light to control nerve cells are being tried in people at last – and could lead to treatments for several types of blindness

Swollen eye is setback for blindness treatment using stem cells

Wednesday January 17th, 2018 05:08:00 PM
A man in a flagship stem cell trial for age-related macular degeneration has swelling in his eye, but the cause is probably surgery – not stem cells

DNA of man who died in 1827 recreated from his living relatives

Wednesday January 17th, 2018 04:40:00 PM
The DNA of Hans Jonaton, an ex-slave who fled to Iceland in 1802, has been reconstructed using only the genes of his descendants

Chit-chat makes humans and robots work together better

Wednesday January 17th, 2018 03:43:00 PM
Introducing some chatter between humans and artificial intelligence improved the amount of collaboration – and results – across hundreds of games

Source of world’s biggest listeria outbreak still unknown

Wednesday January 17th, 2018 01:00:00 PM
There have been almost 750 cases of listeriosis in South Africa so far, and the source of the food poisoning infection remains unknown

Bowel cancer test may be a much better way to screen for polyps

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 10:00:00 PM
A new blood test seems to be more than twice as good at detecting bowel cancer than the method currently used to screen for polyps and early bowel cancer

Johann Hari doesn’t know depression’s real causes – no one does

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 05:22:00 PM
Taking a view on unsettled science is always likely to cause controversy, but the fiery debate Johann Hari's new book has sparked is worth having, says Samantha Murphy

You may be making cryptocurrency for hackers without realising

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 05:09:00 PM
Thousands of websites are tricking people into mining cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, adblockers might be the only way to stop them

Tiny individual decisions really could help avert climate chaos

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 03:40:00 PM
A new computer model has shown individual decisions can massively influence how bad global warming might get. Time to take the human factor seriously, says Adam Corner

Copycat justice has turned US counties into execution hotspots

Tuesday January 16th, 2018 11:40:00 AM
Criminals assigned the death penalty are five times more likely to be executed in some US counties than in others – a trend that some argue is unconstitutional

Mount Etna may not really be a ‘proper’ volcano at all

Monday January 15th, 2018 05:30:00 PM
Italy’s famous volcano Mount Etna may be fed mostly by hot water and carbon dioxide, with only a small dose of molten rock to make it resemble a classic volcano

Clever maths will stop hackers spying on the quantum internet

Monday January 15th, 2018 11:42:00 AM
Quantum communications are theoretically secure, but keeping a complex quantum network unhackable in practice is more difficult than expected

Science helped cause the opioid crisis – now it must make amends

Monday January 15th, 2018 10:29:00 AM
A US commission recommending how to solve the painkiller addiction killing 175 Americans a day also shows how opinion got in the way of fact to help cause the problem

Surfers may be swallowing bacteria and spreading it to others

Friday January 12th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
Surfers seem to swallow more antibiotic resistant bacteria from polluted water than swimmers. They may also be spreading it to vulnerable people they know

Voice assistants dominate CES as Google plays catchup with Alexa

Friday January 12th, 2018 05:43:00 PM
Google had more than 350 voice-controlled devices at the Consumer Electronics Show, including speakers, cars, and a giant toy town complete with a railway

We may be able to see mountains and valleys on distant worlds

Friday January 12th, 2018 04:09:00 PM
If alien planets have canyons and mountains like ours, we may be able to catch a glimpse of them in an exoplanet’s shadow as it passes in front of its star

The universe still seems to be expanding faster than it ought to

Friday January 12th, 2018 03:35:00 PM
The universe is expanding but our measurements of the rate are all over the place and they just got worse, so we can’t tell when the cosmos is going to die

Even a small cut in global warming will help slow sea level rise

Friday January 12th, 2018 03:15:00 PM
Limiting climate change to 1.5 °C instead of 2 °C, even if we overshoot at first and then bring temperatures back down, will ease the rise in sea levels

A swarm of home-made drones has bombed a Russian airbase

Friday January 12th, 2018 02:30:00 PM
Thirteen home-made drones carrying bombs descended on Russian forces in Syria in the first confirmed swarm attack

Study proves that humblebragging really is the worst

Friday January 12th, 2018 10:30:00 AM
It’s time for the #humblebrag to die. Experiments show that everybody hates thinly-veiled boasts, but nearly 45 per cent of people witness one a day

Mars has ice sheets 130 metres thick hiding below its red dust

Thursday January 11th, 2018 07:00:00 PM
Eight newfound Martian cliffs made up of layers of ice could tell us how the Red Planet's climate has changed in the past several million years

UK’s plastic bag ban is a pitiful attempt at a greener future

Thursday January 11th, 2018 05:47:00 PM
Talk of cutting plastic pollution has grabbed the headlines, but the UK’s long-awaited 25-year plan for the environment consists almost entirely of vague aspirations and vacuous promises

Hidden exoplanets could be revealed by echoing light

Thursday January 11th, 2018 05:32:00 PM
Reflected light from a star’s flares may help us find otherwise invisible worlds. These exoplanets could be hit by powerful blasts, but may still host life

We must accept more risks if we want space travel to take off

Thursday January 11th, 2018 04:45:00 PM
Going to space is already one of the most dangerous things a person can do, but we will need to take far more risks than we do in order to push space exploration forward

Mystery dark matter may be ordinary neutrons that have decayed

Thursday January 11th, 2018 03:29:00 PM
Dark matter makes up a lot of the universe, but we still don’t know what it is. Could it be neutrons decaying into strange particles that shun normal matter?

The smart humanoid robot that will help in grocery warehouses

Thursday January 11th, 2018 11:07:00 AM
Grocery company Ocado has unveiled a prototype humanoid robot called ARMAR-6 that will help maintenance staff keep the warehouses running smoothly

A single gene can either raise or lower Crohn’s disease risk

Wednesday January 10th, 2018 07:00:00 PM
Comparing the DNA of 5700 Jewish people has identified a gene with two variants – one that lowers a person’s risk of Crohn’s disease, and one that raises it

Robotic implant could help children with rare disorder eat again

Wednesday January 10th, 2018 07:00:00 PM
The device lengthens the oesophagus so its two ends can be stitched back together, improving life for children with a birth defect called oesophageal atresia

Mystery radio bursts may be from neutron star near a black hole

Wednesday January 10th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
The source of repeating fast radio bursts is one of astronomy’s biggest mysteries. They may come from a fast-spinning neutron star next to a huge black hole

If the sea floor is sinking, are we safe from sea level rise?

Wednesday January 10th, 2018 05:23:00 PM
The first study to calculate how much the ocean floor is sinking due to the extra weight of meltwater going into the sea has been widely misrepresented

Hormone replacement therapy may prevent depression in menopause

Wednesday January 10th, 2018 05:04:00 PM
A study of 172 women suggests that HRT treatment is more effective than a placebo at preventing symptoms of depression from emerging during early menopause

Latest measurement of a proton’s mass has got physicists puzzled

Wednesday January 10th, 2018 04:07:00 PM
Knowing the mass of the proton is key to understanding matter, but nobody can agree on it. The latest, most precise measurement further muddies the waters

Storm waves can move boulders heavier than the Statue of Liberty

Wednesday January 10th, 2018 03:15:00 PM
Extreme storm waves at sea have shifted a boulder weighing 620 tonnes, explaining why huge rocks are sometimes mysteriously found on high cliffs

Smell of death tells undertaker bees it’s time to remove corpses

Wednesday January 10th, 2018 02:45:00 PM
Undertaker honeybees get rid of the bodies of dead nestmates, but only those with a good sense of smell are able to do it

When people sleep more they also eat less sugar and carbs

Wednesday January 10th, 2018 12:15:00 AM
When people are given advice on how to get more sleep, not only do they get more slumber than they used to, they also start eating more healthily

Arsonist falcons suggest birds discovered fire before humans did

Tuesday January 9th, 2018 05:30:00 PM
Multiple eyewitness accounts describe Australian birds of prey deliberately setting wildfires by carrying burning sticks, in order to flush out prey

People with diabetes seem to be protected against migraine

Tuesday January 9th, 2018 05:30:00 PM
Doctors' hunches that people with diabetes get fewer migraines have finally been backed up by good evidence and it could help us treat migraines

Ban on plastic microbeads comes into force in the UK

Tuesday January 9th, 2018 05:15:00 PM
A UK-wide ban on the manufacture of products containing tiny pieces of plastic has come into force - but the ban on selling such products won't come in until July

Aussie flu: Just what the doctor ordered?

Tuesday January 9th, 2018 04:00:00 PM
A really bad but not pandemic flu season could be the wake-up call the world needs

Survey reveals extreme gender bias plagues STEM – it must change

Tuesday January 9th, 2018 03:00:00 PM
A new snapshot of women working in science and technology in the US shows deep levels of discrimination against them. It must spark action, says Lara Williams

Extreme weather in US and Australia may be due to climate change

Tuesday January 9th, 2018 03:00:00 PM
The eastern US has shivered through freezing temperatures while Australia has sweltered in a colossal heatwave, and both events may be linked to climate change

Invasive toxic pufferfish causes havoc in European waters

Tuesday January 9th, 2018 01:45:00 PM
A pufferfish that carries the lethal poison tetrodotoxin has entered Europe's seas, and local species are increasingly becoming poisonous as well

AI listens in on emergency calls to diagnose cardiac arrest

Tuesday January 9th, 2018 12:05:00 PM
Identifying cardiac arrest over the phone is a tricky task, in Denmark eaves-dropping artificial intelligence is lending a helping hand

How to protect yourself from the Meltdown and Spectre bugs

Tuesday January 9th, 2018 12:00:00 PM
After initial rumours of an Intel bug, a massive security flaw has been revealed in most computer processors leaving personal data and passwords vulnerable

With political will, we can solve the global vision crisis

Tuesday January 9th, 2018 09:00:00 AM
Impaired sight costs the world trillions every year, but leaders with vision could deal with this under-reported and unnecessary problem

Sex tweets help track spread of sexually transmitted infections

Monday January 8th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
Twitter provided a more sensitive warning signal for syphilis rates in US counties than the previous year’s disease levels

The ugly, fractured reality of the cosmos deserves our attention

Monday January 8th, 2018 02:58:00 PM
A puzzling clash between perfection and imperfection in our universe is getting fresh attention. This great cosmological mystery merits it, says Geraint Lewis

Freeze-dried valves used in animal heart surgery for first time

Monday January 8th, 2018 11:20:00 AM
Pieces of heart tissue can be freeze-dried, stored in plastic bags at room temperature, and later rehydrated for successful heart surgery in sheep

Fight continues over whether sex addiction is a real thing

Monday January 8th, 2018 10:30:00 AM
Guidelines from the World Health Organization are being drawn up that may recognise sexual compulsivity as a mental disorder

We should teach kids how to use social media, not scare them off

Monday January 8th, 2018 10:18:00 AM
A report into the social media habits of under 12s seems worrying, but children are unlikely to switch off, so they should learn how to safely navigate the online world

Tackle UK’s killer toxic air before waging war on ocean plastic

Friday January 5th, 2018 04:33:00 PM
If only environment secretary Michael Gove's enthusiasm to curb plastic pollution extended to more pressing environmental issues, says Olive Heffernan

How besieged ants decide when it’s time to abandon their nests

Friday January 5th, 2018 04:20:00 PM
Colonies of turtle ants are often attacked by competing species, and the ants understand enough military strategy to decide when certain nests should be abandoned

Baby skeleton from Alaska reveals origins of Native Americans

Friday January 5th, 2018 02:12:00 PM
DNA from an infant girl who died 11,500 years ago reveals where America’s first human settlers came from and when they arrived

Your computer may run 30 per cent slower due to Intel chip bug

Friday January 5th, 2018 12:30:00 PM
The details of a massive issue with Intel chips built over the last decade are slowly being revealed in what could be the biggest security flaw of the century

A daily blast of sound and electrical pulses may tame tinnitus

Friday January 5th, 2018 11:00:00 AM
A new technique to tackle the phantom noises of tinnitus brought total relief for some patients and eased symptoms in half those who tried it

‘Thrill-seeking’ genes could help birds escape climate change

Thursday January 4th, 2018 07:00:00 PM
Some birds may escape extinction if their genes favour exploring newer, more hospitable habitats

The universe could be full of more huge stars than we thought

Thursday January 4th, 2018 07:00:00 PM
Part of the Large Magellanic Cloud has 32 per cent more giant stars than we expected. That could mean the universe has more supernovae and black holes, too

Opioids that hit different brain target could be less addictive

Thursday January 4th, 2018 05:00:00 PM
Researchers have determined how morphine derivatives bind to the kappa opioid receptor, which should enable safer painkillers to be developed

Iconic tree from Twin Peaks threatened by climate change

Thursday January 4th, 2018 02:56:00 PM
The Douglas fir is one of the most ecologically and economically vital species in the Pacific Northwest, but global warming may pose a serious threat to it

SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket test is the start of a race to Mars

Thursday January 4th, 2018 01:05:00 PM
The imminent first flight of Elon Musk's giant new rocket could mark a spectacular start to a new era in space flight, says Paul Marks

Largest prime number ever found has over 23 million digits

Thursday January 4th, 2018 11:38:00 AM
Two multiplied by itself nearly eighty million times minus one is the biggest prime number ever discovered by the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search

A new bitcoin Ponzi scheme or scam pops up almost every day

Thursday January 4th, 2018 10:44:00 AM
Everyone seems to be investing in bitcoin, but it can be a financial minefield. Now researchers have shown that new scams are popping up every day

Tides and atmospheres on TRAPPIST-1 planets may help life thrive

Wednesday January 3rd, 2018 08:57:00 PM
The planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system could be complex worlds with volcanoes, atmospheres and warm subsurface oceans. Some might even be able to host life

NHS is switching to cheaper mimics of expensive cancer drugs

Wednesday January 3rd, 2018 06:00:00 PM
Biological drugs like some antibodies used to fight cancer are difficult to make. The NHS is now turning to cheaper alternatives, but some doctors fear they won’t work as well

China’s plan to stop recycling the world’s rubbish may backfire

Wednesday January 3rd, 2018 06:00:00 PM
China is giving Western nations a headache with a ban on imports of "foreign garbage" to recycle, but the move is also creating a Chinese cardboard shortage

Weird dim star isn’t due to alien megastructure – it’s just dust

Wednesday January 3rd, 2018 03:58:00 PM
Tabby’s star flickers like no other star we’ve seen. Some have suggested that’s due to an alien structure blocking its light, but it’s likely just dust

Can listening to a low hum destroy Alzheimer’s brain plaques?

Wednesday January 3rd, 2018 02:00:00 PM
Flickering light, low sounds and vibrating pads are all being tried out in people with Alzheimer’s after promising research in mice

Blood test spots ovarian cancer years before it is usually found

Wednesday January 3rd, 2018 11:16:00 AM
A blood test that detects ovarian cancer up to two years earlier than is presently the case could help reduce the deadliness of the disease

2018 preview: Quantum computers to overtake ordinary machines

Wednesday January 3rd, 2018 10:30:00 AM
The quantum computing era is upon us. Google is building up to a breakthrough on par with the launch of Sputnik or the splitting of the atom

Californians can now buy marijuana for recreational use

Tuesday January 2nd, 2018 03:47:00 PM
It already has a booming marijuana industry, and on 1 January, California became the sixth US state to make marijuana legally available for recreational use

2018 preview: Last chance for new physics at the LHC for years

Tuesday January 2nd, 2018 12:00:00 PM
It is almost six years since the LHC spotted the Higgs boson, and the collider will soon shut down for upgrades. Will it find anything else?

Japan launches super-low-orbit satellite to test ion engines

Tuesday January 2nd, 2018 10:48:00 AM
Tsubame will take high-resolution images of Earth and measure oxygen levels and has been designed to orbit at an altitude of just 180 kilometres

2018 preview: Get ready to meet your newest long-lost ancestor

Monday January 1st, 2018 10:00:00 PM
Fossils from our ancient relatives have been turning up at an increasing rate, and rumours are rife that the next new species is about to drop

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