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Having a cigarette may make your body crave coffee too

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 20:32:00 +0000

People who smoke may metabolise caffeine differently to non-smokers, leaving them needing to drink more to get the same hit from their coffee



AI learns to write its own code by stealing from other programs

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 20:01:00 +0000

Software called DeepCoder has solved simple programming challenges by piecing together bits of borrowed code



The greatest danger asteroids pose to us is not from the impact

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:57:00 +0000

If an asteroid hits a major city, only 3 per cent of the casualties will be from the crater it forms – most will be from overheated air and high winds



Morphing drone takes off like a helicopter, flies like a plane

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:54:00 +0000

A drone for surveying farmers’ fields takes off vertically and then shape-shifts into a plane, making it easier to launch and allowing it to fly for longer



Was Kim Jong-nam killed by VX nerve gas? Doesn’t look like it

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 16:23:00 +0000

Malaysia says Kim Jong-nam - half-brother of North Korea's Kim Jong-un - was killed with VX nerve gas that was found on his face and hands. But chemical weapons experts are not convinced



Augmented reality lets cars communicate to reduce road rage

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 15:52:00 +0000

Virtual signs that pop up on your windscreen and say “rushing to the hospital” or “in a hurry to the airport” help turn other drivers’ aggression to empathy



There’s no such thing as ‘clean coal’ – it’s dirty and expensive

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 15:44:00 +0000

Australia and the US want to revive an uneconomical and polluting technology, and, worse, Australia plans to take money from a clean energy fund to do it



Bill Gates’ robot tax alone won’t save jobs: here’s what will

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 12:17:00 +0000

To fend off the worst excesses of automation, we need to start thinking more clearly about the jobs that will be left



AI beats professional players at Super Smash Bros. video game

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 11:55:00 +0000

An AI trained using deep learning came out on top against 10 high-ranking players of Nintendo’s multiplayer fighting game Super Smash Bros. Melee



Bees learn to play golf and show off how clever they really are

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

Bumblebees have shown they can learn how to push a ball into a hole to get a reward, staking their claim to be considered tool users



Extinct Neanderthals still control expression of human genes

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Early humans may have outcompeted Neanderthals, but their influence lives on in DNA some of us inherited after the two interbred



Plain packets help smokers quit by killing brand identities

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:29:00 +0000

Smokers no longer derive a sense of identity from cigarette brands after plain packaging rule was introduced in Australia, helping them to kick the habit



Voyager 1 might have seen Enceladus’ icy plumes 25 years early

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:59:00 +0000

A space image-processing enthusiast claims that he’s found signs of Saturn’s moon’s majestic plumes from 1980 – decades before they were discovered



Dozy drivers pose big dilemma for next step in autonomous cars

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:51:00 +0000

Should we build cars that let drivers relax most of the time? Soporific test drives are highlighting risks in the road map, says Jamais Cascio



Hiring tool uses behavioural science to stop recruitment bias

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:33:00 +0000

The platform, which replaces CVs with a whole new way of recruiting, aims to remove bias – but won’t always lead to more diversity



How to be good: Can science show us how to save the world?

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:00:00 +0000

Effective Altruism promises a scientific revolution for how we do good. Are there hidden dangers?



Exoplanet discovery: Seven Earth-size exoplanets may have water

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:15:00 +0000

The small, cool star TRAPPIST-1 is one of the best places to look for life in the Milky Way: its seven rocky planets might all have water and atmospheres



The EU’s renewable energy policy is making global warming worse

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 09:01:00 +0000

Independent report concludes the massive subsidies for wood energy are increasing greenhouse emissions, and are a waste of public money



You should be eating 10 pieces of fruit or veg every day, not 5

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 00:01:00 +0000

A review of 95 studies suggests we should be eating 10 portions of fruit and veg a day to reduce our chances of dying from a heart attack or cancer



Desert people evolve to drink water poisoned with deadly arsenic

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 21:00:00 +0000

People living in the Atacama desert of Chile evolved specific gene mutations over the past 7000 years that make them better at detoxifying the heavy metal



Female fish mate 200 times but save eggs for the perfect male

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:00:00 +0000

Lampreys engage in prolonged sex sessions where the females pretend to mate with 10 or more males – all the while waiting for "the one"



Skulls reveals that ancient Americans didn’t mix with neighbours

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

Skull shape tells us that some early inhabitants of the Americas kept to themselves, and that South America saw at least two distinct waves of colonisation



HIV vaccine therapy lets five people control virus without drugs

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 18:00:00 +0000

The therapy gives the immune system the tools to flush out HIV, meaning daily drugs can be ditched – one man has been free of them for seven months



Pluto is still an ex-planet, no matter what its fans think

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:48:00 +0000

A fresh attempt to revive full planet status for Pluto is a non-starter. Astronomer Michael Brown explains why hopes of a comeback are futile



Successful Russian launch re-paves the way to space station

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:37:00 +0000

Russia's Soyuz rocket - currently the only way to get to the International Space Station - has had its first successful trip since a failed launch in December, restoring astronauts' ability to get to space



‘Meditating mice’ reveal secrets of mindfulness training

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 14:14:00 +0000

Mice are less on edge if their brainwaves are coaxed to resemble those patterns that meditation boosts in humans



Worst-ever coral bleaching event continues into fourth year

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:25:00 +0000

NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch is predicting that many reefs will bleach in the next three months as sea temperatures remain high despite the recent El Niño coming to an end



New species of bushbaby found in disappearing forests of Angola

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 05:00:00 +0000

The Angolan dwarf galago is the fifth new primate species found in mainland Africa since 2000, but its habitat is under threat



Buttercups focus light to heat their flowers and attract insects

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 00:01:00 +0000

A special layer of cells inside the petals makes them act together like a parabolic reflector, focusing visible and infrared light on the flower centre



US scientists voice fears over how science will fare under Trump

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 21:01:00 +0000

Concerns over the impact of President Trump’s policies on science have been raised at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston



Smart meter tracks when the kettle’s on to check grandpa’s OK

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 20:00:00 +0000

A monitoring system, tested in hundreds of UK homes, builds profiles of energy use and sends alerts if someone’s routine changes in a worrying way



Putting cancer patients in hibernation could help tackle tumours

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

Tumour growth would slow right down or cease while healthy cells in the body become more resistant to radiation



Exercise reduces death from breast cancer relapse by 40 per cent

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:13:00 +0000

A quarter of women with breast cancer will die from cancer spreading around the body – exercise is the most important lifestyle factor in preventing this



Bird flu strain hitting China may be getting more dangerous

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:07:00 +0000

Already this winter H7N9 has caused 424 known cases in humans, and it seems to be acquiring a deadly mutation that will make it spread more quickly



You are what you eat: Old food shortens lifespan in animals

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 14:00:00 +0000

Mice, flies and yeast fed on food from old organisms had a shorter lifespan than animals fed on young organisms, perhaps because of faster accumulation of cellular damage



Mind-reading typing tool for paralysed people is fastest yet

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:14:00 +0000

Three people with paralysis have learned to type by thought alone using a brain implant – at almost half the speed at which people with no motor disability can text



Kids can pick up attitude from robots they play and learn with

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 13:01:00 +0000

Children using a companion robot to help solve puzzles or listen to them tell stories tried harder when it was programmed to have a can-do attitude



Mystery eye disease is latest blow for Australia’s sick turtles

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 09:32:00 +0000

Green turtles on the Great Barrier Reef have developed a strange eye disease, which could be a result of a recent herpes outbreak or high levels of cobalt



Teacher body cams are not the answer to bad classroom behaviour

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 17:59:00 +0000

There is precious little evidence that equipping school staff with body-mounted video kit will help tackle disruptive students, says teacher Tom Bennett



The upstart asteroid who showed rings are for everybody

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 16:40:00 +0000

Rings were thought to belong only to an exclusive celestial club including flashy giants like Saturn – but then Chariklo crashed the party



Family tree of stars helps reconstruct Milky Way’s formation

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:56:00 +0000

Using an array of chemical elements detected in stars as proxies for their “DNA”, stellar histories can be tracked around the galaxy, mapping a family tree



New advice is use fewer passwords – why the change of tack?

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:23:00 +0000

Unique, strong passwords, changed frequently, has been the mantra for all the websites we log into. Why is that advice under attack, wonders Paul Marks



Fish recorded singing dawn chorus on reefs just like birds

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:15:00 +0000

Underwater recordings of vocal fish off the Australian coast reveal an ocean choir composed of at least seven distinct choruses



Alarm as climate sceptic named head of US environment agency

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 12:57:00 +0000

Scientists within the EPA say work continues as usual for now, but they worry about potential changes when Scott Pruitt – a climate change sceptic – takes charge



We need slow science to sow the seeds of future prosperity

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:00:00 +0000

It's tempting to invest in rapid development at the cost of slow and steady research – but good things come to those who wait



Two new drug therapies might cure every form of tuberculosis

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 21:00:00 +0000

In small trials across Africa, the therapies cured people with even the most drug-resistant forms of TB, and more quickly than current treatments



Vitamin D supplements may prevent millions of winter infections

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 20:00:00 +0000

Taking vitamin D could lead to 3 million fewer respiratory infections – like colds and flu – in the UK every year, but some say the evidence isn’t clear



New NASA teams will make human Mars missions light and efficient

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 19:07:00 +0000

NASA just funded two new institutes to develop technology for future space missions: one to make lighter materials, one to help build with the resources on Mars itself



Mars might already be building rings from its moons

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 18:01:00 +0000

Simulations show that Mars will rip its moon Phobos into a ring in a few million years – but proto-rings may already exist



Antarctic sea ice is very low – but don’t jump to conclusions

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:34:00 +0000

Drawing premature conclusions about global warming’s role in Antarctic sea ice loss is unjustified whether positive or negative. The evidence must speak for itself



Hens that can lay eggs from other species could save rare birds

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 17:00:00 +0000

Like a seed bank for poultry, a 'frozen aviary' will store primordial stem cells for rare breeds of birds so they can be saved



Microsoft app helps people with ALS speak using just their eyes

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 16:17:00 +0000

A smartphone app called GazeSpeak uses eye movements to predict the words you want to say, allowing people with motor disabilities to communicate faster



Trump may be very flawed but that doesn’t make him mentally ill

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 13:04:00 +0000

Calls from psychiatrists for Donald Trump to be declared unfit to be US president on mental health grounds are misguided, says Dr Allen Frances



Big builder ants and tiny guard ants live together in one nest

Fri, 17 Feb 2017 10:15:00 +0000

Two completely different ant species live together in a single society in which a fierce dwarf species seems to protect its giant nest mates from invaders



Screening soldiers doesn’t protect them from mental illness

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 23:30:00 +0000

Checking British soldiers for symptoms of PTSD, depression and alcohol problems doesn't prevent them from developing psychological illness after war



Honeybees let out a ‘whoop’ when they bump into each other

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 21:00:00 +0000

A vibrational pulse that was thought to be a “stop” signal between bees may actually be a startled response when they collide



Seagrass meadows help remove dangerous bacteria from ocean water

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

Seawater samples reveal that seagrass areas have much lower levels of a microbe found in sewage – adding to the known benefits of these declining ecosystems



Dwarf planet Ceres hosts home-grown organic material

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

The first evidence of organic material on Ceres opens the door to the possibility that other asteroids harbour precursors to primitive life



Timing when you get pregnant could prevent a miscarriage

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 18:02:00 +0000

A quarter of pregnancies end in miscarriage. A new explanation suggests there’s a window of opportunity when it’s best for some women to conceive



Can we grow woolly mammoths in the lab? George Church hopes so

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 15:11:00 +0000

We may only be two years away from creating hybrid mammoth embryos, but that would only be the first step on a very long road towards resurrecting the animal



Key Alzheimer’s drug shows ‘virtually no chance of working’

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 14:43:00 +0000

The failure of another drug that targets beta amyloid plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s has revived doubts over whether plaque causes the disease



Far-off asteroid caught cohabiting with Uranus around the sun

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:45:00 +0000

The second Trojan asteroid of Uranus ever found suggests there could be hundreds more associated with the planet



Turn satellites into sparkling fireworks to burn up space junk

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 10:32:00 +0000

Satellite debris that falls to Earth could be deadly, but pellets made of a heat-generating mixture could help them burn up safely in the atmosphere



Tiny 3D-printed camera lens could give drones vision like ours

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

The camera, measuring less than the width of a few human hairs, combines four lenses to mimic the natural vision of predators with precise detail only in the centre of an image



The Mars paradox: Why we still don’t understand water on Mars

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:00:00 +0000

A 40-year quest to resolve discrepancies between climate models and observations just got another false start. Are we missing something more fundamental?



Universes that spawn ‘cosmic brains’ should go on the scrapheap

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:00:00 +0000

Weird consciousnesses called Boltzmann brains arise in many cosmological theories – but we now have reason to rule them out unless we live in an old universe



Churchill’s lost essay on alien worlds has a message for us all

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 18:00:00 +0000

In 1939 Winston Churchill mused about the possibility of exoplanets and life beyond Earth. His words still resonate today, says Rebecca Boyle



Dormouse might be first tree-climbing mammal shown to echolocate

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 16:45:00 +0000

It's not just bats that navigate at night using a form of sonar – so might a dormouse, and if so it could tell us whether bats' echolocation preceded flight



Emergency clause lets European countries beat bee pesticide ban

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 16:29:00 +0000

About half of the European Union’s member states are making use of an emergency clause to allow the use of banned pesticides that are thought to harm bees



Metabolic switch may bring on chronic fatigue syndrome

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 21:00:00 +0000

CFS, also known as ME, may be caused by the body switching from fully breaking down carbohydrates to using other energy sources, bringing on pain and exhaustion



Junk food tax and veg subsidies could add 500,000 years of life

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

If Australia taxed junk food and subsidised fruit and veg, it would prolong healthy lives and save A$3 billion in future healthcare costs in the process



Crews race to fix California dam before more rain falls

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 17:55:00 +0000

Heavy rains caused erosion and a partial collapse of spillways at a California dam - and more rain is forecast, threatening to overflow it again and flood towns



Human genome editing shouldn’t be used for enhancement – yet

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Gene editing can already treat human diseases, but while editing the germline and enhancing human traits might be acceptable one day, we’re not there yet, says report



How to build better sex robots: stop making them look human

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 15:31:00 +0000

From a stimulating exoskeleton to a vibrating fist, innovators are ditching the sex-bomb stereotype. But can we ever fully escape the uncanny valley of the dolls?



Sex and dentistry: I made a fellatio prosthetic for my mouth

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:31:00 +0000

Dentist-turned-artist Kuang-Yi Ku wants to change the way we think about medicine – and our mouths – with custom sex prosthetics. Frank Swain tried it out



Female shark learns to reproduce without males after years alone

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:54:00 +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



Metadating helps you find love based on your everyday data

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 10:48:00 +0000

Some sites use algorithms to match people looking for love – "metadating" goes a step further and lets you pore over a potential date's data



More people now believe human-made climate change is happening

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 00:01:00 +0000

The proportion of people in the UK who accept climate change is happening and is largely human-made has risen from 57 per cent three years ago to 64 per cent now



Mars landing sites for 2020 NASA mission down to the final three

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 18:06:00 +0000

At a meeting in California, NASA scientists whittled down the landing sites for its next rover - which will search for signs of life



NHS to start prescribing health apps that help manage conditions

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 17:08:00 +0000

Apps that let patients monitor their conditions and send data directly to doctors are coming to selected NHS trusts this year in a bid to reduce hospital visits



Climate change is already battering hundreds of animal species

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Almost half of all threatened land mammals and a quarter of threatened birds may be feeling the pinch as a result of habitat loss and other changes



Virtual reality weather add-ons let you feel the sun and wind

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 15:11:00 +0000

You could soon get an even more immersive VR experience thanks to the Ambiotherm plug in, which exposes you to the elements of your virtual world



Australia’s extreme heatwave is a preview of things to come

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 11:54:00 +0000

The current record-breaking heat, sparking bush fires and putting people in hospital, could be a foretaste of the new normal as climate change proceeds



We need transparent trials to keep confidence in medicine

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 10:00:00 +0000

Controversies about the safety of medicines given to millions of people can’t be settled unless data is made more freely available



Deep-sea squid points a big, bulging eye up and a tiny eye down

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:01:00 +0000

Videos reveal that the cock-eyed squid’s two contrasting eyes are adapted for entirely different hunting purposes



Robotic bee could help pollinate crops as real bees decline

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 21:00:00 +0000

With bee populations tumbling, an autonomous drone just 4 centimetres wide could help pollinate crops by flying from flower to flower



New talk of warming pause just another faux climate controversy

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 17:58:00 +0000

The latest attempt to resurrect climate change deniers' favourite trope of a warming pause is just more smoke and mirrors, say Michael Mann and Susan Hassol  



Secrets of Earth’s birth carried in lava jets from planet’s core

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 16:19:00 +0000

Time capsules from around the time of Earth’s birth 4.5 billion years ago are preserved in the hottest mantle plumes despite planet’s plate tectonic activity



400 pilot whales stranded on New Zealand’s ‘whale trap’ beach

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 16:11:00 +0000

The reasons for mass strandings of marine animals, like this event in New Zealand, aren’t clear, but NASA is looking into whether solar storms could be involved



Foxes seen climbing trees at night to track down and eat koalas

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 14:03:00 +0000

Native Australian tree-dwellers may be at risk from European red foxes, which appear to have learnt how to climb trees in pursuit of prey such as koalas



Software helps musicians stop slouching by ruining their music

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 12:55:00 +0000

A system called the Musician's Mirror is designed to guard against posture-related injuries by giving players unpleasant auditory feedback



Stinky armpits? Bacteria from a less smelly person can fix them

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 11:44:00 +0000

Bacteria in your armpits are to blame for body odour, and some people have it particularly bad. But bacteria from a more fragrant relative can help



Monkeys and dogs judge humans by how they treat others

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:33:00 +0000

Experiments show that both canines and capuchins prefer those of us who help other people, hinting that morality may have a more-ancient origin than thought



New beetle species bites army ant’s butt and hitches a ride

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 01:00:00 +0000

The beetle uses its mandibles to latch on to an army ant’s rear, where it blends in while moving to a new nest together with the ants



Starlight test shows quantum world has been weird for 600 years

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 22:00:00 +0000

Unknown physics that could undermine quantum theory has been ruled out in a measurement guided by starlight emitted at least six centuries ago



Why grey wolves kill less prey when brown bears are around

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 20:30:00 +0000

We’ve long assumed wolf packs are forced to kill more often to make up for having meals stolen by scavenging bears – but the opposite is true, they kill less



AI learns to solve quantum state of many particles at once

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

The same kind of artificial intelligence that beat a top human player at Go could help grapple with the astonishing complexity of large quantum systems



Magnetic meteorites narrow down solar system’s birthdate

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 19:00:00 +0000

Magnetic fields in 4-billion-year-old rocks suggest the dust and gas cloud that spawned the solar system had gone by 3.8 million years after the sun formed



How a raised hand from a pedestrian could stop driverless cars

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 18:12:00 +0000

An LED display for the windscreens of driverless cars could tap into sensors to show pedestrians whether the car is aware of their presence and make it stop



Great lettuce crisis is a taste of climate crop chaos to come

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 17:50:00 +0000

The UK's lettuce shortage is a stark warning of how even the world's wealthy will find their food supply disrupted by climate change, warns Olive Heffernan