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Female shark learns to reproduce without males after years alone

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 12:38:45 +0000

Some fish and reptiles can reproduce asexually, but a shark in an Australian aquarium is a rare case of this in an animal that once had a mate



Woman dies from infection resistant to all available antibiotics

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:26:08 +0000

Incurable bacterial infections are on the rise worldwide, but 90 per cent of multi-resistant infections in the US can still be beaten by at least one drug



Smartwatches know you’re getting a cold days before you feel ill

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 19:00:17 +0000

After sensors alerted a researcher to Lyme disease symptoms he was unaware he had, his team have shown that smartwatches can tell if a wearer is getting ill



Curiosity finds Mars rock that may be a meteorite made from iron

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:34:26 +0000

Last week, NASA’s Curiosity rover took a picture that appears to show a new iron-nickel meteorite on Mars, one of only eight that have been discovered by rovers there so far



In an era of nationalism the net needs its freethinking champion

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 16:35:56 +0000

With a rise in isolationist politics and totalitarianism, we must back the body that has quietly defended internet freedom for 10 years, says Carl Miller



Electronic gene control could let us plug bacteria into devices

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 16:00:20 +0000

Hooking up custom-made microbes to electronics could have a host of applications in medicine and industry, such as smarter drugs and better health apps



Calorie restriction diet extends life of monkeys by years

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 16:00:23 +0000

Macaques on permanent diets live significantly longer – the equivalent of nine years in people. But is the detailed meal planning and loss of libido worth it?



Resisting Trump: How to survive the coming surveillance state

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 15:00:00 +0000

Trump has signalled his desire to follow the UK in eroding online privacy. From Tor's hidden dangers to the right secure chat apps, here’s how to stay under the radar



Antelope revived in Sahara years after going extinct in the wild

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:37:10 +0000

Scimitar-horned oryx were hunted to extinction in the 1990s, but are now returning to the wild, thanks to breeding in captivity and reintroduction efforts in Chad



Don’t judge drug funding on political grounds

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

A cash-starved health service like the NHS has to make tough decisions on drug funding – but the “worthiness” of patients shouldn’t be a factor



Complex life may have had a false start 2.3 billion years ago

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 20:00:18 +0000

High levels of oceanic oxygen could have allowed advanced, animal-like life to develop for the first time – only to be wiped out again as oxygen vanished



Largest ever shark was doomed by its taste for dwarf whales

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 12:19:03 +0000

The 16-metre-long megalodon may have fed on small marine mammals, and when they went extinct, so did the sharks



Antibody can protect brains from the ageing effects of old blood

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 17:32:29 +0000

Old blood can prompt ageing and inflammation. But an antibody that blocks a protein associated with ageing called VCAM1 - seems to protect mice from damage



Global sea ice is at lowest level ever recorded

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 17:20:08 +0000

The area of ocean covered by floating ice is at its lowest since the satellite era began, and probably the lowest it has been for thousands of years



Cold case: The unsolved mystery of what lit Kepler’s supernova

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 12:25:24 +0000

In 1604, the last Milky Way supernova recorded by naked-eye observers brightened the night sky. Despite 400 years of study, we still don't know what lit the fuse



We should embrace our ability to harness plant genes

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

A spray that kills crop pests by switching off genes without changing them offers the chance to reach a consensus on genetic modification. It must not be squandered



Taxi races show black cabs beat Uber on speed but not cost

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 09:00:39 +0000

Racing Ubers and black cabs between London destinations is helping researchers develop a journey comparison app that acts like a "Skyscanner for taxis"



Gadget boom sees e-waste in Asia spike 63 per cent in 5 years

Sun, 15 Jan 2017 05:15:40 +0000

A boom in gadgets and a growing middle class has contributed to a spike in e-waste in East and South-East Asia, raising environmental concerns



Carbon seen bonding with six other atoms for the first time

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

A pyramid-shaped carbon molecule breaks one of the most basic lessons of chemistry textbooks – bonding with six other atoms instead of the typical four



Mini fire extinguishers inside lithium batteries may stop blazes

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 19:00:49 +0000

A lithium-ion battery with its own mini fire extinguisher that releases its contents if it gets too hot could stop phones and laptops bursting into flames



Harvester ants farm by planting seeds to eat once they germinate

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 17:41:49 +0000

The ants’ unusual trick lets them snack on seeds that are too big from them to crack. They just let the seeds crack themselves



Binary stars shred up and shove off their newborn planets

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 16:52:33 +0000

There are more pairs of stars than solo stars in our galaxy, but fewer pairs host planets. Now we have an idea why: they rip them to shreds



Concussed athletes more likely to injure their legs months later

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 15:32:53 +0000

After a head blow, athletes are at greater risk of knee ligament tears and ankle sprains. A study of college sportsmen suggests looser legs may be to blame



Poker AI competes to beat top players in no-limit game

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 15:06:36 +0000

Artificial intelligence could be close to conquering poker, as one system takes on four top players, while another has already beaten humans, it is claimed



Press regulators need to act when scientific facts are denied

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 11:48:16 +0000

Journalists do not deserve the backing of press regulators when they deny facts such as those on anthropogenic climate change, says Phillip Williamson



First ever video of an elusive new ruby seadragon filmed in wild

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 01:00:52 +0000

The rare and unusual spiny fish, recognised as a new species in 2015, was previously only known from four museum specimens



No sign of seasonal dark matter after four years of searching

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 19:01:44 +0000

The XENON100 experiment just checked up on a controversial claim that dark matter comes and goes with the seasons - and found nothing



Molecules tied into beautiful ‘octofoil’ knot for first time

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 19:00:10 +0000

The most complex molecular knot ever tied is just 20 nanometres long, and might be used to make innovative new materials



Mice turn into killers when brain circuit is triggered by laser

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 17:00:48 +0000

Two sets of neurons control whether a mouse will pounce to kill. Using a technique called optogenetics, researchers can turn this behaviour on and off



Army of 350,000 Star Wars bots found lurking on Twitter

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 13:23:00 +0000

Star Wars Twitter botnet may span more than 350,000 accounts – and no one knows why it exists



UK urged to push ahead with world-first tidal lagoon power plant

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 12:12:15 +0000

An independent review commissioned by the UK government is expected to back the mega-scheme to harness energy from tides



Fat shaming is everywhere but gets society precisely nowhere

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 11:44:08 +0000

Yet more evidence that poverty is a key driver of obesity makes the growing use of fat shaming to try to change behaviour look repulsive, says Anthony Warner



Baboons recorded making key sounds found in human speech

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 19:00:24 +0000

A claim that baboons are capable of five vowel-like sounds could mean key features of spoken language emerged with the common ancestor of monkey and humans



Preventing Big Cannabis: How to nip marijuana lobby in the bud

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

A powerful lobby could be an unintended consequence of legalising the drug. Could Canada's regulatory approach ensure public health comes before profit?



Squeezed light cools tiny drum to coldest temperature ever

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 18:00:53 +0000

A special trick with lasers helped lower a nano-sized membrane to below the "quantum limit" – colder than was thought possible



Bird-loving vampire bats develop taste for human blood

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 17:55:21 +0000

Bats in Brazil exclusively feed on bird blood, but new arrivals in their territory are now on the menu – they have been caught feasting on human blood



Cyprus reunification may harm unique wildlife thriving on border

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 16:17:24 +0000

The buffer zone between Greek and Turkish sides of the Mediterranean island has become a wildlife haven — but it could vanish if the two get reunited



Space travel's mental health toll could endanger long missions

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 16:00:00 +0000

A review of NASA research highlights the risk that prolonged social isolation poses to long-distance space missions, as well as other dangers like radiation



Thousands of birds to be culled in France to stop bird flu

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 15:00:00 +0000

The H5N8 strain is killing many wild birds, including ducks, swans, plus endangered species like white-tailed eagles, prompting large culls at poultry farms



This is why you can’t help babbling to your dog like it’s a baby

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 15:00:47 +0000

Competing theories for the use of baby talk on dogs are being untangled and it looks like it's got less to do with cute faces than you think, says Clive Wynne



Home robot to nudge older people to stay social and active

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 14:00:00 +0000

A home robot called ElliQ is designed to connect older people to online services and proactively pipe up with activity suggestions



Extinct giant goose used its wings to fight rather than fly

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:01:44 +0000

Garganornis ballmanni, which lived on a Mediterranean island, was around 1.5 metres tall and had wing adaptations seen in birds that fight over territory



Wild monkey filmed mounting deer and trying to have sex with it

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 15:18:12 +0000

The unusual inter-species sex may be down to a lack of females pushing Japanese macaques to search for pleasure elsewhere – on the backs of furry Sika deer



Norway is first country to turn off FM radio and go digital-only

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 12:28:29 +0000

From this week, Norway will start switching off its national FM network, forcing people to switch to digital audio broadcasting (DAB) or miss out



Mini-brains made from teeth help reveal what makes us sociable

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 11:15:03 +0000

Tiny balls of brain tissue made from donated stem cells from children with autism or a condition that makes them hyper-sociable show intriguing differences



Why Uber’s human drivers aren’t out of a job just yet

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 18:08:48 +0000

Uber is racing to make autonomous cabs a reality, but public confidence about safety is stuck in the slow lane, says Uber driver Daniel Matthews



Nissan uses NASA rover tech to remotely oversee autonomous car

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 17:35:04 +0000

Car-maker Nissan demonstrates an autonomous driving system developed with NASA that calls on human teleoperators to help when unexpected situations arise



Why mums and babies prefer to keep to one side of each other

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 16:00:20 +0000

Mothers prefer to hold children on the left, and animal young prefer to approach their mother from one side, too. Asymmetry in the brain may explain why



Gene-silencing spray lets us modify plants without changing DNA

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 16:00:35 +0000

A single application keeps working for nearly a month, which could allow us to modify plants without actually altering their DNA



‘Alien megastructure’ signal may be due to star eating a planet

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 15:59:47 +0000

Tabby’s star’s odd blinking and fading has been put down to alien signals and swarms of comets, but devouring a planet could explain everything



The trunk trick that lets elephants pick up almost anything

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 14:49:01 +0000

Kelly the elephant has shown how trunks can grip and lift anything from fine granules to 350-kilogram logs – it’s all in the kink



Miniature brain and skull found inside 16-year-old girl’s ovary

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 11:28:53 +0000

A tumour removed from a girl in Japan contained a thin plate of bone covering a brain-like structure capable of sending electric impulses between cells



Massive drop in London HIV rates may be due to internet drugs

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 13:31:03 +0000

New HIV infections in gay men have dropped by around 40 per cent at some clinics, which could be thanks to people buying PrEP drugs from abroad via websites



Zapping the brain really does seem to improve depression

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 12:39:12 +0000

Can stimulating the brain with electricity really make you better? Many are sceptical, but an analysis now suggests it can help with depression and addiction



Stephen Hawking says he has a way to escape from a black hole

Tue, 25 Aug 2015 11:57:00 +0000

Researchers have long struggled to resolve what happens to information when it falls inside a black hole, but the famous physicist says he has a solution



Ants craft tiny sponges to dip into honey and carry it home

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 08:00:40 +0000

Non-expandable stomachs mean these ants need to use absorbent tools to transport tasty liquids to their nests – and they figure out the best objects for the job



US Congress just made it easier to ditch science for politics

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 17:22:17 +0000

Two new bills could undermine safety and other regulations by giving politicians license to ignore evidence that runs counter to their ideas



Milky Way’s core could be spewing out planet-sized star chunks

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 20:15:16 +0000

The supermassive black hole at the galaxy's heart can stretch and shred stars that approach – then fling the shreds away as spheres as small as Neptune



Physicists can’t agree on what the quantum world looks like

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

A survey of 149 scientists shows that there’s a split over which interpretation is correct – and many don’t even care



Oxytocin surge before a fight helps chimps bond with their group

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 15:33:30 +0000

A spike in the “cuddle hormone” helps chimp comrades bond for war with rival groups, and something similar seems to happen in humans



Your walk could be a password that connects devices on your body

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

Sensors on different parts of the body can pick up your "gait fingerprint", letting wearable devices securely connect with each other



London road has broken annual legal pollution limits already

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 13:39:23 +0000

Brixton Road, Lambeth is the first air quality monitoring site to see levels of nitrogen dioxide exceed the annual hourly limits less than a week into 2017



Transistor stretchier than skin for ultra-flexible wearable tech

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 11:36:31 +0000

A flexible transistor can stretch to twice its length without losing its conductive properties and could be used in electronic tattoo-style wearable sensors



Twitter is being used in classes to help students learn Arabic

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 11:01:22 +0000

An Arabic language lecturer uses Twitter as a teaching tool in his classes and finds it fills a gap for Arabic teaching resources on specialised subjects



Tiny nanoelectrodes record brain’s activity without damaging it

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

Electrodes help treat epilepsy and Parkinson's disease, but can damage the brain and slowly stop working. Nanotube electrodes are safer and should last longer



Woman hit by lightning loses synaesthesia – but then it returns

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 16:49:52 +0000

Medication, meningitis and being struck by lightning have all affected one woman’s synaesthesia, but remarkably it soon returned in exactly the same form



Sustainable tuna fishing is bad for climate – here’s why

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 15:00:09 +0000

Fishing methods meant to keep marine ecosystems healthy may unintentionally aggravate climate change



Brain’s face recognition area grows much bigger as we get older

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 19:00:12 +0000

As we enter adulthood, one part of our brain significantly expands. Occurring later than most brain growth, the change may help us keep track of who we meet



False memory helps us think but we can’t do it when we’re tired

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

Our brains generalise information, linking and associating related concepts. The process can help us improvise in exams – but only if we’ve had enough sleep



Drones inspired by insects could keep flying even when damaged

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

Fruit flies keep flying even after losing a wing. Drone designers can use their secrets to keep flying robots airborne in tough conditions



Racing robot cars will help AI learn to adapt to the real world

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

Robotic games arena challenges AIs to competitions using remote-controlled cars and drones. To win, they'll need to adapt to the unknown



China’s ivory ban is great, now for shark fins and tiger bone

Thu, 05 Jan 2017 13:27:45 +0000

Beijing's ban on ivory is very welcome and could save the African elephant, but it must do the same for rhinos, pangolins and more, says Richard Schiffman



Mars should have loads more water – so where has it all gone?

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

We have either misunderstood what its early years were like – or it is hiding vast amounts of water beneath its surface



Computer uses facial cues to spot if people have autism

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

Learning how people’s responses to stories vary has enabled a program to tell whether people have autism or ADHD



Living near a highway may increase dementia risk by 7 per cent

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 23:30:31 +0000

Living within 50 metres of a busy road like a motorway or highway is linked to higher risk of developing dementia. Air pollution may partly be to blame



Brain shrinks less in older people who eat Mediterranean diet

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 21:00:39 +0000

As we age, our brains shrink. A study of 401 people in their 70s suggests that a diet high in vegetables and olive oil is linked to slightly less shrinkage



Metal asteroid and Trojans selected for next NASA missions

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 19:51:14 +0000

The US space agency will send probes to metallic asteroid Psyche and the mysterious Trojans that flank Jupiter in the 2020s



Simple blood test can detect genetic diseases early in pregnancy

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

Together, single-gene disorders are more common than Down’s syndrome. Now there’s a safe prenatal test that can help prospective parents decide what to do



A cure for ageing is near but you probably can’t afford it

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 18:00:00 +0000

The race is on to develop anti-ageing treatments, but will they really work? And if they do, will only the rich be to defy the ravages of time?



Cosmic radio bursts tracked to home galaxy for first time

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 18:00:31 +0000

One repeating example of a fast radio burst has finally been pinned down to a tiny and distant dwarf galaxy, narrowing down its precise origin



Battle to see all data behind drug trial tragedy must go on

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 17:19:49 +0000

A year after a volunteer died during a test of an experimental painkiller, full details remain beyond wider scrutiny. That must change, says James Randerson



DeepMind’s AlphaGo is secretly beating human players online

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 17:25:35 +0000

Under the pseudonym 'Master', Google DeepMind’s Go-playing AI has been taking on more top players at an online version of the Chinese game – and beating them



Computer vision algorithms pick out petty crime in CCTV footage

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 16:18:18 +0000

Technology that recognises fighting and bag-snatching could be used to catch petty criminals in the act or help police combat "digital evidence overload"



There are five times more urban foxes in England than we thought

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 08:00:16 +0000

There may now be some 150,000 foxes living in English cities, up from 33,000 in the 1990s. That’s one fox for every 300 urban residents



Becoming a mother may change the brain to read baby’s mind

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 16:00:58 +0000

Scans before and after pregnancy have revealed structural changes in areas of the brain important for empathy - changes not seen in new dads



The 12 biggest and best science stories of 2016

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 18:00:00 +0000

From the detection of gravitational waves to the birth of a three-parent baby, New Scientist wraps up the most mind-expanding discoveries of the year



Giant ball of gas is a totally stinky galactic chemistry lab

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 18:19:55 +0000

Sagittarius B2 is a molecular cloud about 100 light years wide near the centre of our galaxy – and it would taste absolutely terrible



Largest lake in southern Europe under threat from “eco-resort”

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 16:34:08 +0000

One of the most biodiverse lakes in Europe, home to many species found nowhere else, is under threat from the development of a resort and hydropower dams



Molten iron river discovered speeding beneath Russia and Canada

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 16:00:14 +0000

A hot stream of molten iron that is 420 kilometres wide is moving westwards under North America and Siberia and has inexplicably tripled its speed over the past 15 years



Australia bans non-prescription codeine to fight opioid crisis

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 12:02:55 +0000

Codeine-related deaths have doubled in Australia since 2000. The country is following the US by making codeine prescription only, but the UK has no such plans



Gravity may have chased light in the early universe

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 11:12:43 +0000

A new twist on a controversial idea suggests the speed of light varied just after the big bang - and could overturn our standard cosmological wisdom



Oldest early human footprints suggest males had several ‘wives’

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 08:00:28 +0000

New fossil footprints in Tanzania have spawned a theory that australopiths like Lucy may lived in family groups with a single male and several females



If your smartphone is keeping you up at night, give it a rest

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 17:00:00 +0000

A nocturnal digital detox would make a good new year resolution, says Martin Lee



‘Psychedelic sanctuary’ will help drug users get over bad trips

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 13:00:20 +0000

The first psychedelic drug treatment centre in the US plans to help users of LSD, magic mushrooms and other hallucinogens come to terms with their experiences



How to make even your toughest new year’s resolutions stick

Sun, 01 Jan 2017 10:00:00 +0000

Our annual vows to ditch bad habits rarely manage to change behaviour, but why? Frank Swain examines how to make a new you in 2017



First test of rival to Einstein’s gravity kills off dark matter

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 17:41:06 +0000

A radical new model of gravity seems to account for bending of light by distant galaxies without invoking extra unseen mass whose identity remains mysterious



Deepest water found 1000km down, a third of way to Earth’s core

Wed, 23 Nov 2016 18:00:00 +0000

Water identified far below the surface suggests Earth may contain many oceans’-worth of hidden water throughout the mantle



Gene editing starts to save lives as human trials get under way

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 18:00:00 +0000

At least one life has already been saved by gene editing, and by the end of 2017 it might be dozens



Invasive parakeets muscle in on native bird’s nests in Israel

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 08:00:48 +0000

Eurasian hoopoe are the latest native victims as ring-necked parakeets spread around the globe



Google Translate AI invents its own language to translate with

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:31:35 +0000

The translation tool is thought to have made up its own language to find common ground for translating between language pairs it isn’t trained on