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Last feed update: Wednesday April 18th, 2018 06:07:36 PM

NASA finally has a new boss after a year-long wait

Thursday April 19th, 2018 07:53:00 PM
After months of debate, Trump's pick to head NASA has now been confirmed. This ends the space agency's longest-ever period without permanent leadership

Plants love carbon dioxide, but too much could be bad for them

Thursday April 19th, 2018 07:00:00 PM
Most plants were expected to grow more as CO2 levels rise, but a 20-year experiment suggests that the extra CO2 is somehow stunting plant growth, which could make climate change worse

Super-tough diamonds have been made bendy and springy

Thursday April 19th, 2018 07:00:00 PM
Diamonds may be tough, but they can also be surprisingly flexible. A team of researchers grew diamond nanoneedles that bent and then sprang back upright

Poking tiny dents into solar panels makes them work better

Thursday April 19th, 2018 07:00:00 PM
Most solar cells are limited by how much energy their electrons can absorb. Denting their materials could help them harvest more electricity and breeze past that limit

Augmented reality glasses help kids with autism relate to others

Thursday April 19th, 2018 05:59:00 PM
A smart glasses app may help children with autism to focus on and interact with other people by overlaying bullseye targets and cartoon faces

Male fruit flies feel pleasure when they ejaculate

Thursday April 19th, 2018 05:00:00 PM
Male insects have been genetically engineered to climax on command, and it seems they get a real buzz out of it – perhaps even a fly orgasm

Why climate engineers are targeting Earth’s last pristine spots

Thursday April 19th, 2018 04:04:00 PM
Some of the last great wildernesses are being considered as likely candidates for geoengineering. It's a sad reflection of climate failings, says Olive Heffernan

Flies cool themselves down by constantly blowing bubbles of spit

Thursday April 19th, 2018 12:23:00 PM
Blowflies repeatedly blow bubbles of saliva, which look like brown bubble gum – and it turns out this odd behaviour helps them keep cool

Doctors who prescribe homeopathy ignore other medical guidelines

Thursday April 19th, 2018 11:49:00 AM
Family doctors who offer homeopathy - not recommended by the NHS - are also more likely to practice other bad habits such as the overuse of antibiotics

Watch robots assemble a flat-pack IKEA chair in just 9 minutes

Wednesday April 18th, 2018 07:00:00 PM
Two robotic arms make assembling flat-pack furniture look easy. Faced with a pile of IKEA chair parts they work together to piece it together

Bioengineered freckle turns darker when it detects cancer

Wednesday April 18th, 2018 07:00:00 PM
An implant of genetically engineered skin cells has been designed to grow darker in colour when it detects early breast, prostate and colon cancers

Your boss is probably to blame for meetings starting late

Wednesday April 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
Half of all meetings start late – and your boss is probably to blame. A study found that meetings delayed just 10 minutes are likely to be less productive

UK failing child refugees because we can’t reliably verify age

Wednesday April 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
Two-thirds of child refugees whose age is disputed turn out to be adults, according to the UK government – but there's no definitive way to determine age

Mavericks are belittling statins – here’s why they’re wrong

Wednesday April 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
Drugs designed to cut the risk of heart disease are being talked down amid a worrying lack of use by people who could benefit from them, says Anthony Warner

Our grandchildren may never see the Great Barrier Reef recover

Wednesday April 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
The reef has been so severely damaged by record ocean heat that it has had no chance to recover fully - and may never be the same again.

Shredded galaxy is disintegrating before our eyes after smash-up

Wednesday April 18th, 2018 04:20:00 PM
After a collision with its neighbouring galaxy, the Small Magellanic Cloud may lose its ability to give birth to new stars, causing it to grow dim

More education is what makes people live longer, not more money

Wednesday April 18th, 2018 04:16:00 PM
As countries get richer, their citizens live longer. We’ve long thought that rising wealth was responsible for this, but it turns out education is the cause

Getting just 6 hours of sleep is linked to mental health issues

Wednesday April 18th, 2018 03:12:00 PM
You might think you can get by on 5 or 6 hours’ sleep a night, but people who get less than 7 hours are more likely to have mood or mental health problems

New blood pressure guidelines could do more harm than good

Wednesday April 18th, 2018 01:32:00 PM
Millions of healthy people have been recast as “sick” under new blood pressure rules, which could trigger unnecessary anxiety and medication use

Millions of censored web pages discovered in massive study

Wednesday April 18th, 2018 12:23:00 PM
Masses of web pages censored in China, Indonesia, Iran, and Turkey, have been discovered. They reveal the content each country is most intent on blocking

Most UK plants will flower at once in short ‘condensed spring’

Tuesday April 17th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
Plants in the UK are set to blaze into flower virtually simultaneously, because flowering has been delayed two weeks by the unusually cold weather

Big tech can digitally erase us – do we need new protections?

Tuesday April 17th, 2018 05:58:00 PM
In an age when a person's online presence can be quickly removed by technology corporations, there's a case for a new right… to be remembered, says Jamais Cascio

World’s biggest bird feeder will use 500 tonnes of shellfish

Tuesday April 17th, 2018 05:15:00 PM
A crucial feeding ground for migrating birds has been almost destroyed by pollution and a bad winter, but help is at hand in the form of an all-you-can-eat buffet

A melting ice shelf can cause rapid ice loss 900 kilometres away

Tuesday April 17th, 2018 04:15:00 PM
If one part of an ice shelf starts to thin, it can trigger rapid ice losses in other regions as much as 900 kilometres away – contributing to sea level rise

Diamond meteorites may come from a lost ancient planet

Tuesday April 17th, 2018 04:00:00 PM
We may have found signs of a planet destroyed during the era of Earth’s formation. Meteorites with pockets of diamond could be the shards of this ancient world

Catching malaria makes you smell more attractive to mosquitoes

Monday April 16th, 2018 08:00:00 PM
Mosquitoes are particularly attracted to the sweat of people who have malaria, suggesting the parasite that causes it may change a person’s body odour

Watch a swarm of underwater drones hunt and surround a boat

Monday April 16th, 2018 05:10:00 PM
Dozens of underwater SwarmDiver drones can autonomously explore an area or encircle an object. To launch them they are just thrown into the sea

Dear IRS, why can’t we have a simpler way to do our taxes?

Monday April 16th, 2018 03:10:00 PM
Pre-filled tax returns in the US could save us a headache and reduce the grip of commercial software that benefits from a complex system, says David Auerbach

How Facebook let a friend pass my data to Cambridge Analytica

Monday April 16th, 2018 01:52:00 PM
Facebook has been alerting users whose data ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica – and our reporter Timothy Revell is one of the unlucky millions

Tune in your head? Mind-reading tech can guess how it sounds

Monday April 16th, 2018 11:50:00 AM
We now have the ability to hear another person’s thoughts. Researchers have identified the brain activity involved in imagining sounds in your head

On the ground at the 2018 March for Science rallies

Saturday April 14th, 2018 02:17:00 PM
The March for Science returned with rallies around the globe in support of science-based policies. Read our on-the-ground coverage from the New York march, with updates from around the world

A high IQ may protect men from a cause of psychological stress

Saturday April 14th, 2018 09:00:00 AM
Men with higher intelligence scores seem less likely to develop psychological problems due to inflammation

Lost shark seen for first time in a decade – in a fish market

Friday April 13th, 2018 05:30:00 PM
Photographs of a Ganges river shark snapped at a fish market in Mumbai are the first confirmed record of the species for more than a decade

Rise of the ATM hackers – how scammers are getting free money

Friday April 13th, 2018 05:00:00 PM
Hacking into cash machines to get them to spit out money or just blasting them open is on the rise, whilst card skimmers are decreasing in popularity

NASA has launched a new space telescope to hunt for exoplanets

Friday April 13th, 2018 04:09:00 PM
The hunt for exoplanets is getting a new set of eyes. NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) could find as many as 20,000 distant worlds

Don’t blame academics like me for Facebook’s privacy crisis

Friday April 13th, 2018 03:57:00 PM
Mark Zuckerberg wonders what is going on at Cambridge University – I can tell him, but he won’t like what privacy researchers have found, says Ross Anderson

Carbon-free shipping is possible, so why aren’t we doing it?

Friday April 13th, 2018 03:51:00 PM
New UN-agreed limits on carbon emissions from shipping don’t go far or fast enough, especially as we already have the tech to make shipping carbon-free

Young Saturn gave Jupiter the building blocks for its big moons

Friday April 13th, 2018 03:38:00 PM
After Jupiter formed, it likely had no nearby material to build moons. Young Saturn may have tossed rocks at the gas giant that grew into its four biggest moons

The Antarctic is melting even in the middle of subzero winter

Friday April 13th, 2018 03:13:00 PM
Warm mountain winds are causing extensive winter melting on the surface of the Larsen C ice shelf, which could contribute to its breakup

These fish hide fluorescent switchblades in their faces

Friday April 13th, 2018 01:00:00 PM
We've only just discovered that many stonefish can flip out a spiny bone in their faces when predators attack, in addition to having highly venomous spines

No more bad, blocky video calls thanks to smart AI compression

Friday April 13th, 2018 11:01:00 AM
An AI that compresses images by simply throwing bits away and making up what should be there instead could make blocky video calls a thing of the past

What to expect from this Saturday’s March for Science

Friday April 13th, 2018 10:29:00 AM
The March for Science on 14 April will involve rallies in more than 200 cities, as a sequel to last year’s inaugural march in protest of president Donald Trump

The weekly alcohol limit still carries a risk of early death

Thursday April 12th, 2018 11:30:00 PM
An analysis of nearly 600,000 people found those drinking around five glasses of wine or pints of beer a week were at an increased risk of early death

Making custom qubits by pushing together two individual atoms

Thursday April 12th, 2018 07:00:00 PM
For the first time, we’ve made a molecule by pressing two atoms together to make them bond on command. This could help build better qubits for quantum computers

Life on toxic Venus? Acid-loving microbes could thrive in clouds

Thursday April 12th, 2018 05:27:00 PM
Life on Venus has been thought impossible due to its acidic atmosphere. But acid-loving microbes are all over Earth, so they could also live in its toxic clouds

Zuckerberg survived Washington – here’s what’s next for Facebook

Thursday April 12th, 2018 03:01:00 PM
Mark Zuckerberg spent two days answering mostly soft questions from the US Congress, but some of his answers were revealing, says James Ball

A virtual reality hand feels real after a zap to your brain

Thursday April 12th, 2018 02:59:00 PM
Will we ever be able to truly feel like we’re inhabiting a virtual world? A brain stimulation twist on the classic rubber hand illusion suggests we can

Hawaii tops the list of beach destinations at risk of tsunami

Thursday April 12th, 2018 02:40:00 PM
The world’s first ranking of tsunami risks for major tourist beaches shows popular spots like Hawaii and Bali are most in danger

2017 was the year of the biggest fire storms ever seen

Thursday April 12th, 2018 11:57:00 AM
The record-breaking 2017 wildfires in the US generated massive thunderstorms that pumped as much smoke into the stratosphere as a volcanic eruption

Struggle to get up in the morning? You’re at risk of early death

Thursday April 12th, 2018 06:00:00 AM
A six-year study of nearly half a million people in the UK has found that people who were night owls were 10 per cent more likely to die during that time period

Ovarian cancer vaccine improves women’s survival rates

Wednesday April 11th, 2018 07:00:00 PM
A personalised cancer vaccine that trains the immune system to attack tumours has had encouraging results in women with ovarian cancer

War in space may happen soon, but it won’t be what you expect

Wednesday April 11th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
The US is making noises about increasingly militarising space, but orbital conflict won’t be a battle of spaceships and bombs

Science fans have many reasons to take to the streets again

Wednesday April 11th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
A global rally against the denigration of science was a huge event in 2017. The need for a repeat this weekend is strong, says Jonathan Berman

Species with big sex differences are more likely to die out

Wednesday April 11th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
When sexual selection leads to extreme differences between sexes like the peacock's tail, it makes species more likely go extinct

Encrypt your data with random quantum weirdness

Wednesday April 11th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
Random number generators are key to data encryption, but it’s impossible to prove that most truly work. A new one uses quantum laws to guarantee randomness

Your boss is probably to blame for meetings starting late

Wednesday April 11th, 2018 05:13:00 PM
Half of all meetings start late – and your boss is probably to blame. A study found that meetings delayed just 10 minutes are likely to be less productive

Need a new look? Facebook’s AI fashion designer has some ideas

Wednesday April 11th, 2018 04:00:00 PM
Facebook has built an AI fashion designer that is intended to be truly creative. It has designed more than 1000 handbags, jumpers and T-shirts

The Nile river is at least 30 million years old

Wednesday April 11th, 2018 03:30:00 PM
Sediment deposits reveal when the longest river in the world started flowing from Ethiopia to the Mediterranean

Facebook to examine tens of thousands of apps for data misuse

Wednesday April 11th, 2018 11:21:00 AM
The US Senate questioned Mark Zuckerberg yesterday about Cambridge Analytica. He said Facebook will investigate thousands of other apps for similar misuse

Life on nearest exoplanet may have been wiped out by superflare

Tuesday April 10th, 2018 05:18:00 PM
Bad news for life near Proxima Centauri – the star has been seen emitting explosive blasts of radiation that would destroy the ozone on its Earth-like planet

We can read memories by analysing brain gene activity

Tuesday April 10th, 2018 04:50:00 PM
Memories have unique genetic signatures that reveal what they are. The finding could lead to ways to read and alter memories in people with PTSD or phobias

Our eyesight is sharpest at twilight – and now we may know why

Tuesday April 10th, 2018 04:00:00 PM
We see best at dawn and dusk, and this could be because our brain activity changes at these times, making it easier to distinguish signals from background noise

Robots don’t take people’s jobs – they make new ones

Tuesday April 10th, 2018 12:30:00 PM
A German study casts doubt on the story that automation will destroy jobs. Could it be true elsewhere?

Theresa May pledges £75 million for prostate cancer research

Monday April 9th, 2018 10:30:00 PM
The prime minister, Theresa May, is to pledge £75 million for clinical trials researching prostate cancer, which affects around one in eight men in the UK

One bad night’s sleep may increase levels of Alzheimer’s protein

Monday April 9th, 2018 08:00:00 PM
A bad night’s sleep may lead to a protein linked to Alzheimer’s building up in the brain, but whether this raises the risk of the condition is unclear

Antarctica still losing ice despite big rise in snowfall

Monday April 9th, 2018 04:44:00 PM
A 10 per cent rise in snowfall in Antarctica is adding more ice to the continent each year, but the ice sheets are still shrinking because it's being lost faster too

Ancient finger bone may reveal humanity’s path out of Africa

Monday April 9th, 2018 04:00:00 PM
A single bone found in the Saudi Arabian desert is at least 85,000 years old, and may shed light on the route early humans took out of Africa

Infections during pregnancy affect a child’s brain function

Monday April 9th, 2018 04:00:00 PM
Contracting infections like flu during pregnancy seems to lead to changes in a child’s brain that affects their cognitive abilities

Zuckerberg vs US Congress – here’s how he can address data fears

Monday April 9th, 2018 03:13:00 PM
When Mark Zuckerberg faces US politicians this week, he should admit his network is a global behavioural experiment that needs oversight to match, says Mark Harris

Newly-discovered human organ may help explain how cancer spreads

Monday April 9th, 2018 11:22:00 AM
A newly discovered network of fluid-filled channels in the human body may be a previously-unknown organ, and it seems to help move cancer cells around the body

World’s first over-the-phone abortion service hailed a success

Monday April 9th, 2018 10:59:00 AM
An over-the-phone abortion service to end unwanted pregnancies in their early stages – operating in Australia - has been found to be safe and effective

Touching personal medical stories are no substitute for science

Monday April 9th, 2018 10:00:00 AM
Routine screening for prostate cancer seems like a good thing, but for every life saved many more are blighted by unnecessary treatments

A simple mathematical rule shapes the behaviour of Arctic ponds

Friday April 6th, 2018 05:51:00 PM
Understanding Arctic ponds can help us predict how fast the ice is melting. Their formation is governed by the simple maths of drawing overlapping circles

Wasps drum with their stomachs to tell each other about food

Friday April 6th, 2018 05:30:00 PM
German yellowjacket wasps alert each other to food by drumming their abdomens against the nest wall, in a wasp equivalent of the famous honeybee “waggle dance”

Waggle-dancing robot tells bees where to look for food

Friday April 6th, 2018 01:25:00 PM
A robotic bee talks to bees in their own language, but not all of them seem to pay attention

Mind-reading headset lets you Google just with your thoughts

Friday April 6th, 2018 07:00:00 AM
A mind-reading device can answer questions in your head. It works by picking up signals sent from your brain when you think about saying something

Lunar X Prize to put a rover on the moon has been resurrected

Thursday April 5th, 2018 05:23:00 PM
The competition for a private firm to put a rover on the moon was cancelled in January when no firm seemed close enough. It’s back now, but without a cash prize

Old people can produce as many new brain cells as teenagers

Thursday April 5th, 2018 05:00:00 PM
The discovery that healthy, older adults produce just as many new neurons as young people could provide clues to how to keep our brains sharper for longer

Astronauts could 3D print tools from their own processed faeces

Thursday April 5th, 2018 03:27:00 PM
Astronauts on long missions won't be able to bring all their tools with them. A new way of turning faeces into 3D-printable plastic may solve that problem

Spending on renewables in rich countries has halved in six years

Thursday April 5th, 2018 02:00:00 PM
Spending on renewables in developed countries has halved since 2011, with investment levels in Europe falling back below the 2006 level

Killer AI boycott row shows there is research we can’t accept

Thursday April 5th, 2018 01:24:00 PM
A South Korean university has dismissed fears it would work on killer robots. The dispute reflects growing worries over autonomous weapons, says Paul Marks

How you and your friends can fight back against online trolls

Thursday April 5th, 2018 01:00:00 PM
Squadbox lets people team up with their friends to fight back against trolls, so that together they can filter out abusive messages online

Palm trees have been spotted changing sex for the first time

Thursday April 5th, 2018 01:00:00 PM
Four Quindío wax palms in Colombia have changed sex from male to female, which was thought to be impossible for such plants

Facebook admits data scandal may have hit 87 million users

Thursday April 5th, 2018 11:15:00 AM
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has said that Cambridge Analytica may have accessed data from 87 million accounts, 37 million more than previously thought

NASA is trying to build a supersonic aircraft without the boom

Thursday April 5th, 2018 10:28:00 AM
NASA awarded a $247.5 million contract to Lockheed Martin to design and build an aeroplane that breaks the sound barrier without shattering the peace and quiet

We see neutrinos from the big bang in the way galaxies cluster

Wednesday April 4th, 2018 08:20:00 PM
Just after the big bang, waves of neutrinos and other matter raced across the cosmos. Those neutrinos reached forward in time to dictate where galaxies form now

Suit that gives you electric shocks makes VR more realistic

Wednesday April 4th, 2018 07:10:00 PM
The Teslasuit is fitted with components that produce electric shocks that make your muscles twitch and is designed to help you immerse yourself more deeply in virtual reality video games

Eye implant improves vision in people with age-related blindness

Wednesday April 4th, 2018 07:00:00 PM
A patch of cells implanted at the back of the eye has stabilised and in some cases improved the vision of four people with dry age-related macular degeneration

Our obsession with a ‘free’ internet led to Facebook data row

Wednesday April 4th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
If you’re not paying, you’re the product, so the saying goes. It's time to re-evaluate our pact with the tech giants that has driven the market in our data

The centre of our galaxy may be swarming with 10,000 black holes

Wednesday April 4th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
We knew that the centre of the Milky Way was home to a supermassive black hole. But now we’ve also spotted evidence of 10,000 smaller black holes flanking it

Congestion charge can cut childhood asthma attacks by half

Wednesday April 4th, 2018 05:00:00 PM
A congestion charge in Stockholm not only cut levels of air pollution, it halved the number of children admitted to hospital with asthma attacks

Miniature human brains with their own blood vessels grown in lab

Wednesday April 4th, 2018 04:51:00 PM
Mini brains with a blood supply have been made in the lab for the first time. They may lead to a better understanding of the brain, and new injury treatments

Robots won’t take as many of our jobs as we feared, says report

Wednesday April 4th, 2018 03:15:00 PM
New OECD report says that the risk of jobs being handed over to artificial intelligence is a lot lower than previously forecast

DNA from another mystery human ancestor lingers in some people

Wednesday April 4th, 2018 03:00:00 PM
Some modern Yoruba people in West Africa carry DNA that suggests an ancient species of hominin lingered longer than we thought

Virtuoso bowhead whales constantly make up new songs

Wednesday April 4th, 2018 12:01:00 AM
Bowhead whales are such talented singers they can make two sounds simultaneously, and they invent new songs every year

Ten ‘one-stop shop’ cancer diagnosis centres planned for England

Tuesday April 3rd, 2018 05:05:00 PM
England is to get specialist cancer diagnosis centres, which aim to more quickly diagnose people who have non-specific symptoms like weight loss and fatigue

Ultrasonic micro-explosions can harvest gold from old SIM cards

Tuesday April 3rd, 2018 03:12:00 PM
We waste $22 billion in gold from electronics that are tossed out instead of recycled. A new technique uses ultrasound to harvest that precious metal from SIM cards

Just half a degree less global warming would avert food shortage

Tuesday April 3rd, 2018 11:20:00 AM
Governments are dithering over whether to limit climate change to 1.5°C or 2°C, but it seems the stricter target would avoid food shortages and major economic losses

Refusing to accept GM food is safe is like climate change denial

Tuesday April 3rd, 2018 11:00:00 AM
Environmentalist Mark Lynas, who once destroyed GM crops and then made headlines by ending his opposition, is stepping up his call for reason to triumph 

Shrimp and lobster are as bad for the climate as eating beef

Monday April 2nd, 2018 04:00:00 PM
Fish and seafood are normally fairly environmentally friendly, but it takes so much fuel to catch some species that their carbon footprint is as big as that of red meat

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