Refusing boys HPV vaccine saves the NHS cash but is bad science

Parents can pay for their sons to be vaccinated Dr P. Marazzi/SPL Vaccines are one of the most important advances in medical history. To eliminate the risk of an illness before it even begins is the ultimate in rational medicine. How ridiculous, then, that when we have a vaccine that can defeat a really nasty… Read More

Adderall might improve your test scores – but so could a placebo

Some confidence would help Chris Ryan/Getty By Sam Wong Students who take Adderall to improve their test scores may get a slight benefit, but it’s mainly a placebo effect. The drug Adderall is a combination of the stimulants amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, and is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But it’s growing in… Read More

Mud eel’s wonky body may help it ambush prey

Christopher Martinez By Josh Gabbatiss Species: A type of mud eel (provisionally: Pythonichthys macrurus) Habitat: Sea floors off the coast of West Africa Advertisement Talk about a crooked character. A small eel appears to have evolved the lopsided look of a flatfish. Mud eels are seldom caught or studied. Past analysis suggested these fish were… Read More

Trump’s plan to cut global health research may cost US billions

Less help from US research? Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images By Debora Mackenzie US government proposals to spend less on global health research will be bad for many countries – but perhaps worst of all for the US. An analysis of US research into diseases of poor nations has found that it massively benefits the US. Between… Read More

Bitcoin study reveals how early adopters influence our decisions

Show me the money ROSLAN RAHMAN/Getty By Aylin Woodward Do early adopters matter? The people who chomp at the bit to get their hands on new technologies are often credited with ensuring their spread to the rest of the masses. Gmail, Google Glass and bitcoin were all pioneered by this bunch. But did their initial… Read More

Dark web crackdown as two biggest markets are taken offline

Hansa was one of the two dark web marketplaces to be taken down by police Europol By Timothy Revell Two of the biggest criminal dark web markets, AlphaBay and Hansa, have been shut down by a police sting. These markets were responsible for the trading of over 350 000 illicit goods such as drugs, firearms… Read More

Now North Sea cod is sustainable, is it really ok to eat?

Just add chips Gareth Fuller/PA Images North Sea cod is back on the menu. Those were the headlines in the UK this week as the Marine Stewardship Council, an international body that certifies whether fish sold to consumers was caught sustainably, gave its approval to a fish once feared to be headed for extinction. So… Read More

Elon Musk seems to have ditched Red Dragon lander plan for Mars

No more Mars for Red Dragon? SpaceX By Leah Crane SpaceX may have just slain the Red Dragon. On 19 July, Elon Musk announced that his company would be redesigning its Mars landing plans and moving away from the previous Red Dragon lander. Last year, SpaceX announced plans to go to Mars in 2018 using… Read More

The cosmic dance of three dead stars could break relativity

A fundamental challenge Bill Saxton/NRAO/AUI/NSF By Joshua Sokol Imagine you’re an astronomer with bright ideas about the hidden laws of the cosmos. Like any good scientist, you craft an experiment to test your hypothesis. Then comes bad news – there’s no way to carry it out, except maybe in a computer simulation. For cosmic objects… Read More

Giant deep-sea worms may live to be 1000 years old or more

Set up for a long life Chemo III project/BOEM/NOAA OER By Karl Gruber In the depths of the ocean, life can extend far beyond its usual limits. Take the tube worm Escarpia laminata: living in an environment with a year-round abundance of food and no predators, individuals seem to live for over 300 years. And… Read More

Baby salmon with ‘old’ DNA more likely to survive epic migration

Time to spawn: surviving tagged salmon has surprisingly old DNA Jerome Murray/Alamy Stock Photo By Aylin Woodward There’s something fishy going on. Juvenile Atlantic salmon with shorter telomeres – normally considered a sign of poor health – have a higher chance of surviving the epic migration from their home river to the sea and back… Read More

Spider’s web uses optical illusion to lure nocturnal moths

A deadly lure? Department of Life Science, Tunghai University By Karl Gruber You might call it a web of deceit: the webs made by one spider exploit a visual effect to entice nocturnal insects, which then become stuck in the silky threads. Such “lure and trap” dual-function spider webs have never been seen working at… Read More

Quantum simulator with 51 qubits is largest ever

To the power of 51 sakkmesterke/MIT By Matt Reynolds A team in the US has created a simulator with 51 quantum bits – the largest of its kind so far. Mikhail Lukin at Harvard University announced the achievement on 14 July at the International Conference on Quantum Technologies in Moscow. Quantum simulators are used to model… Read More

US ranked worst healthcare system, while the NHS is the best

Difficult to afford Spencer Platt/Getty By Andy Coghlan A comparison of health systems in 11 wealthy nations has found the US falling short by multiple measures, while the UK’s National Health Service leads in several categories. “We measured performance quality across five domains, and the USA fell short in all five,” says Eric Schneider of… Read More

AI suggests recipe for a dish just by studying a photo of it

Cooking something novel needn’t be purely a matter of guesswork Getty By Matt Reynolds Ever eaten a dish you didn’t know the name of and wished you had the recipe so you could recreate it at home? Soon you might only need a picture of it. Researchers have devised a machine learning algorithm that looks… Read More

Restoring Estonian alvar grasslands to save unique species

Grazing maintains the species-rich grass Julianna Photopoulos By Julianna Photopoulos in Estonia, on Muhu island It’s hot and sunny, and the long, flat fields are covered in grasses, with patches of shrubs and trees here and there. In the distance, a large herd of cows is grazing. “The area was overgrown with junipers and pine… Read More

Tides on exoplanets could drive alien biological clocks

Time and tide help to get life going Micha Pawlitzki/Getty By Abigail Beall Worlds with a permanent day and night side aren’t obvious places to look in the search for extraterrestrial life. Apart from having extremes of temperature, such planets would make it hard for a biological clock to get going. But now it seems… Read More

Con artists took me for a ride. Here’s how to protect yourself

How can you avoid a real life Dirty Rotten Scoundrel? Terry O’Neill/Getty Images Record numbers of people are falling prey to fraudsters. Snake oil salesmen have adapted well to the 21st century; con artists abound. They still run scams in the street, but they also exploit cellphones and the internet to reach victims more readily.… Read More

Australia to expand commercial fishing in marine sanctuaries

Fishing boats could soon be able to operate in more of Australia’s marine parks Fairfax Media via Getty By Alice Klein Draft guidelines released on Friday propose increasing the total proportion of Australia’s marine reserves permitting commercial fishing from 64 to 80 per cent. If environment minister Josh Frydenberg’s proposal is approved, Australia will become… Read More

Screaming gel balls reveal a way to power soft but noisy robots

Busy building up energy Courtesy of Scott Waitukaitis/University of Leiden By Veronique Greenwood A viral video of gel beads bouncing and squealing in a hot frying pan has led to the discovery that hydrogels slapping against a hot surface can generate substantial kinetic energy. This could one day give a power boost to bots made… Read More

Your eardrums move in sync with your eyes but we don’t know why

Look and listen Jason Horowitz/Getty By Aylin Woodward See, hear. Our eardrums appear to move to shift our hearing in the same direction as our eyes are looking. Why this happens is unclear, but it may help us work out which objects we see are responsible for the sounds we can hear. Jennifer Groh at… Read More

Fake duck test shows drones and AI beat humans at bird census

Not quackery Jarrod Hodgson/Unmanned Research Aircraft Facility University of Adelaide By Chris Baraniuk Is it a bird? Well, no, it’s a plastic duck. In fact, it’s about a thousand of them, give or take a few. An experiment using fake ducks to stand in for the real thing has found that when it comes to… Read More

Tiny robots swim the front crawl through your veins

Michael Phelps: Faster than a nano-swimmer but won’t fit in your veins Francois Xavier Marit/AFP/Getty Images By Leah Crane It’s no Michael Phelps, but this tiny magnetic robot swims the front crawl at 10 micrometres per second. It would take about two months for the bot to swim the length of an Olympic swimming pool… Read More

Robot spots signs of melted fuel at submerged Fukushima reactor

View from the remote-controlled robot from within the submerged reactor TEPCO By Aylin Woodward A submersible robot has spotted what representatives from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) say is likely missing melted nuclear fuel from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. In the wake of a magnitude 9 earthquake, the power plant was disastrously taken… Read More

Our brains always plan one step ahead of our bodies when we walk

Easy: we walk with just a hint of forward planning André Schuster/plainpicture By Aylin Woodward Keep your head up. Today, navigating the urban jungle can be challenging, with uneven sidewalks and errant kerbs presenting obstacles to easy walking. So why do we rarely trip up even though we hardly ever give walking our full attention?… Read More

Monthly injections could replace daily pills for people with HIV

Soon to be replaced by an injection? David Goldman/The New York Times/Eyevine By Andy Coghlan Daily pills may become a thing of the past for people who have HIV. A long-acting injection has been found to work just as well or better than standard pill-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) at preventing the virus from bouncing back… Read More

Everyone gets lonely. We must admit it or bear the consequences

Loneliness is a routine feature of modern life Axel Killian/plainpicture ALL the lonely people, where do they all come from? When The Beatles wrote Eleanor Rigby in 1966, they helped perpetuate the stereotype that loneliness is a problem of elderly and isolated people. Maybe it was true 50 years ago, but no longer. Loneliness can… Read More

Lasers reactivate ‘lost’ memories in mice with Alzheimer’s

A good memory aid – but lasers might be better Diana Haronis/Getty By Alice Klein A chance to remember? Forgotten memories have been reawakened in mice with Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting that the condition may not actually destroy our memories, but instead impair our ability to recall them. It has long been assumed that Alzheimer’s disease… Read More

Blood test detects Alzheimer’s plaques building up in brain

Early screening Deyan Georgiev / EyeEm / Getty By Andy Coghlan A blood test can detect whether plaques of beta-amyloid are building up in a person’s brain – a sign that they may develop Alzheimer’s disease. People with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have sticky clumps of beta-amyloid in their brains, although the part these plaques… Read More

Aliens slumbering for billions of years are out there – really?

Where are all the aliens, anyway? gremlin/Getty The vastness of the universe suggests advanced alien civilisations, or at least evidence of them, ought to be out there. The signs – such as megastructures and communications – should be obvious. Instead, astronomers are confronted with a silent universe beyond our own planet. This “eerie silence”, as… Read More

'Ants Among Elephants' offers a window into the complexities of India

It should go without saying that India is a complicated place, a churning cauldron of languages, ethnicities, castes, and religions bubbling atop and throughout one another in a perplexing mass that we call, for the sake of convenience, a “nation.”  But to many Western readers, the story of India begins and ends with Gandhi’s campaign… Read More

Praying for those facing hunger and starvation

July 24, 2017 —It was an image that’s all too familiar. A group of desperate women sat on the ground holding malnourished babies. They looked toward the camera without energy, simply flicking the flies off their little ones and waiting. The picture was one of helplessness and despair. As I watched the newsreel, I asked… Read More

'The Unwomanly Face of War' records Russian women fighting in WWII

In World War II, about a million Soviet women helped their country fight the Nazis. When the war ended, most of those women, who had served as pilots, snipers, mine-detectors, nurses, cooks, and laundresses, quietly went home and resumed everyday life. Twenty million of their fellow citizens had perished, meanwhile, in those four years.  Many… Read More

How do refugee students make the jump to Germany's universities?

July 24, 2017 Frankfurt—Mohamad Taqi Sohrabi has had to fight for an education his entire life. An Afghan refugee born in Iran, Mr. Sohrabi says it wasn’t easy for him to go to school. By age 10 or 11, he was working during the day and studying at night. Sohrabi was eventually able to study English… Read More

Cities turn to trees to beat the heat

July 24, 2017 —To solve the modern problem of urban heat islands in a warming world, some cities are turning to an ancient solution: trees. The Nature Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit, is helping 20 cities in the United States cool off this summer by planting trees. Trees promote cooling by providing shade to streets and… Read More

Hot new job for middle-class students: manual labor

July 24, 2017 Boston—Hunched over their workspaces in a dusty, sunlit room in the North Bennet Street School in Boston’s North End, Jim Reid-Cunningham’s bookbinding workshop seems grateful for an interruption. The class is working through an unforgiving technique for repairing and restoring leather bindings, one in which tiny, irreversible errors can build off each… Read More

‘Bot vs. Bot:’ Texas professors to develop fake-news-fighting software

July 24, 2017 Arlington, Texas—Incensed by what he thought was a pedophilia ring headquartered in a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant, a man opened fire inside Comet Ping Pong Pizza last year, sending employees and customers scrambling for cover. The Dallas Morning News reports the shooting was real, but the sex ring – supposedly overseen by 2016 Democratic… Read More

What restores peace for Jerusalem’s Old City

July 25, 2017 —In most religions, sacred shrines are meant to remind the faithful of the promise of peace. But for Muslims and Jews in Jerusalem’s Old City, that promise seemed illusive this month. A series of killings, which began at the Temple Mount on July 14, set off the worst violence between Israelis and… Read More

A tipping point for Washington’s investigative culture?

July 25, 2017 —Many members of Congress were furious. It was 1792, and a military campaign led by General Arthur St. Clair against Native Americans in what is today Ohio had ended in complete disaster. So lawmakers launched the first congressional investigation of US executive branch actions. President George Washington responded with wary cooperation, aware… Read More

BBC women journalists want wage reform now – not in 2020

July 24, 2017 London—Some of the BBC’s most prominent female journalists and TV presenters are banding together to demand that the broadcaster fix its wide gender pay gap immediately rather than in several years as management has proposed. TV personalities including Clare Balding, Victoria Derbyshire, and others wrote an open letter Sunday to the BBC’s… Read More

Seeds of Peace youth camp celebrates 25 years of optimism

July 24, 2017 Otisfield, ME—Middle East peace is no closer today than it was a quarter century ago when Seeds of Peace brought the first Israeli and Palestinian teens together in the woods of Maine. But the latest group to spend time together sees reason for optimism. Husam Zarour, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, said… Read More

We are safe

July 25, 2017 —On a recent morning, following one of the terrorist attacks in Europe, I was in a landmark building in Boston. Since the attacks took place in social spaces, such as in an arena and on a bridge, I found myself nudged by fear that I couldn’t really feel safe in public places.… Read More

The question that truly matters

July 23, 2017 —At the heart ofHenry Gass’s cover story this week is a lingering question: Is Mark Gonzalez right or wrong? There is no question he makes for a fascinating leading man – a tattooed, Harley-riding Texas prosecutor who seems more likely to appear on an FX network drama than in the courthouses of… Read More

Bestselling books the week of 7/27/17, according to IndieBound

1. The Late Show, by Michael Connelly, Little Brown2. Camino Island, by John Grisham, Doubleday3. House of Spies, by Daniel Silva, Harper4. A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles, Viking5. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, by Arundhati Roy, Knopf6. Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins, Riverhead7. Magpie Murders, by Anthony Horowitz, Harper8. The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead, Doubleday9. Norse Mythology,… Read More

The bounty that heads off famine

July 24, 2017 —With more than 20 million people at risk of famine, or what is called the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II, a Monitor series this week looks at some of the successes in avoiding famine. The focus is on the peasant farmers of Eastern Africa, the epicenter of a drought-fueled hunger… Read More

Boomer parents: 'One day, this will all be yours.' Grown children: 'Noooo!'

July 25, 2017 Boston—Two hundred stuffed animals, two violins, and a 7-1/2 foot-tall Christmas tree: That was just a corner of the possessions Rosalie and Bill Kelleher accumulated over their 47-year marriage. And, they realized, it was about 199 stuffed animals more than their two grown children wanted. Going from a four-bedroom house in New… Read More

Democrats return to blue-collar roots with new populist agenda

July 24, 2017 Washington—Democratic leaders believe they lost to President Trump partly because voters don’t know what the party stands for. So they’re trying to rebrand themselves with a new slogan and a populist new agenda as they look ahead to the 2018 midterms. It’s called “A Better Deal” and House and Senate Democratic leaders… Read More

Violence at Israel's Jordan embassy escalates crisis over Jerusalem shrine

July 24, 2017 Jerusalem—A deadly shooting at Israel’s Embassy in Jordan further complicated Israeli government efforts on Monday to find a way out of an escalating crisis over a major Jerusalem shrine, including mass Muslim prayer protests and Israeli-Palestinian violence. The shooting, in which an Israeli security guard killed two Jordanians after being attacked by… Read More

In Ethiopia, model drought defenses are put to the test

July 24, 2017 Gode, Ethiopia—Battered by drought and civil wars, more than 20 million people from Yemen to Tanzania are at risk of starvation in what aid workers call the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. But over the past two decades, nations that once produced searing images of famine’s toll have moved to… Read More

In drought stricken Kenya, Nairobi residents recycle polluted dam water

July 25, 2017 Nairobi, Kenya—As residents of Nairobi’s largest slum look for new sources of water amid lingering drought, they have seized on an unlikely one: An old 88-acre water reservoir full of sewage and trash, draped in water hyacinth. The Nairobi dam has been the capital’s spare water reservoir in times of drought since… Read More

In drought stricken Kenya, Nairobi residents recycle polluted dam water

July 25, 2017 Nairobi, Kenya—As residents of Nairobi’s largest slum look for new sources of water amid lingering drought, they have seized on an unlikely one: An old 88-acre water reservoir full of sewage and trash, draped in water hyacinth. The Nairobi dam has been the capital’s spare water reservoir in times of drought since… Read More

South Korea strives for more labor-friendly growth and financial equality

July 25, 2017 Seoul, South Korea—South Korea’s new leadership has promised to help many left behind as the country grew prosperous, laying out a new five-year economic plan that promises to boost incomes and improve the country’s sagging social safety net. The labor-friendly economic blueprint released Tuesday by the finance ministry is aimed at addressing… Read More

Divided Britain agrees, a bumpy Brexit ride for both sides ahead

July 24, 2017 London—Lucy Harris thinks Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is a dream come true. Nick Hopkinson thinks it’s a nightmare. The two Britons – a “leave” supporter and a “remainer” – represent the great divide in a country that stepped into the unknown just over a year ago, when British voters… Read More

Is Complaining Good or Bad For You?

We all know (or even love dearly) someone who complains about everything. They complain about their partner, the weather, their boss, their weight, their internet speed, that the only thing on the menu at the local Indian restaurant is Indian food, or that this portobello sandwich has mushrooms on it! This week, by request from… Read More

On Russia, Congress shows remarkable unity

July 24, 2017 Washington —The Russia controversy – one of the most defining issues of Donald Trump’s young presidency – has been cast by the president and his supporters as a political “witch hunt,” even while Democrats are all over the news talk shows raising serious questions. But strip away the political and media noise, and what is… Read More

President Erdogan says 'era of a submissive Turkey' is over

July 25, 2017 Brussels—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ramped up his anti-Western rhetoric Tuesday ahead of a meeting between his foreign minister and top European Union officials, saying the era of a submissive Turkey bowing to every Western demand is over. Turkey has been mired in an escalating diplomatic row with European Union powerhouse Germany… Read More

Betty Shannon, Unsung Mathematical Genius

His name has faded in our era, but in mid-20th century America, Claude Elwood Shannon of Bell Telephone Laboratories was a bona fide scientific star. In 1954, for example, Fortune featured Shannon in a list of the nation’s 20 most important scientists, alongside future Nobel Laureates Richard Feynman and James Watson, among others. Shannon also… Read More

TV's Big Bang Theory Inspires Real New Chemical: BaZnGa!

The work of the eminent physicist, Dr Sheldon Cooper of hit TV show The Big Bang Theory, has served as the springboard for the creation of a new chemical compound—BaZnGa! Those familiar with Dr Cooper will know that his use of the phrase ‘bazinga!’ tends to be associated with a jest or jape. Despite this, Paul Canfield,… Read More

Bacteria Can Be Resistant To Brand New Antibiotics

Perhaps the chief poster child of antibiotic resistance is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. The bacterium is impervious to a suite of antibiotics, and can cause blood infections, pneumonia…even death. And you’d assume that it developed its namesake resistance to methicillin…by being exposed to methicillin.  But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Instead, the… Read More

The Social Ties between Autism and Schizophrenia

When the shy, dark-haired boy met with clinicians for a full psychiatric evaluation two years ago, almost everything about him pointed to autism. W. had not spoken his first words until age 2. He was at least 4 before he could form sentences. As he got older, he was unable to make friends. He struggled… Read More

Iceland Drilling Project Aims to Unearth How Islands Form

Geologists and biologists are about to pierce one of the world’s youngest islands: tiny Surtsey, which was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions off Iceland’s southwestern coast between 1963 and 1967. Next month, the team plans to drill two holes into Surtsey’s heart, to explore how warm volcanic rock, cold seawater and subterranean microbes… Read More

Psychiatry Group Says Members Can Comment on Trump's Mental Health

A leading psychiatry group has told its members they should not feel bound by a longstanding rule against commenting publicly on the mental state of public figures—even the president. The statement, an email this month from the executive committee of the American Psychoanalytic Association to its 3,500 members, represents the first significant crack in the… Read More

Fossils We Want to Find

We’re all used to the idea that amazing fossil discoveries – sometimes wholly unexpected and totally out of left field – are found on a regular basis, and if anything’s clear about the fossil record it’s that a hell of a lot of stuff remains to be discovered. If we think about the fossils that will… Read More

The World May Have Less Time to Address Climate Change Than Scientists Thought

The temperature baseline used in the Paris climate agreement may have discounted an entire century’s worth of human-caused global warming, a new study has found. Countries in the Paris climate agreement set a target of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius by curbing carbon emissions compared to their preindustrial levels. But a new study shows… Read More

Are Tardigrades Really That Tough?

A recent paper in Scientific Reports has examined the apparent limits of cosmic conditions through which one of the hardiest types of organism on Earth could survive – the beloved tardigrade, or water bear. The idea behind this work is that we can appeal to the various survival bounds of tardigrades, from temperature extremes to radiation… Read More

Wealthy People Give to Charity for Different Reasons than the Rest of Us

What motivates people to give to charity? Surprisingly, the most obvious answers to this question have been difficult to prove. For example, having a desire to give is often not enough: many people who express a strong intention to make charitable donations often fail to follow through on their intentions. The research is also mixed… Read More

Giant Radio Telescope Scaled Back to Contain Costs

Designs for the world’s largest radio telescope have been scaled back to save money—a decision that astronomers say could affect its ability to peer deep into the Universe’s past.  The Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a telescope 50 times more sensitive than current instruments, is expected to cost billions of dollars. Its final design calls for… Read More

Paleo Profile: Currie's Alberta Hunter

2017 could be called the Year of the Troodontid. Several of these small, fluffy dinosaurs have already been announced in the past 7 months. And while most have been uncovered in China, that’s hardly the only place these sharp-clawed dinosaurs strutted around during their Cretaceous heyday. The latest of these raptor-like dinosaurs has just been… Read More

Are You Afraid of Sharks? Don't be.

There are moments in life that take your breath away. Not the best idea when scuba diving, however hard to avoid when the moments involve looking into the eyes of sharks. I had one such moment lined up in the current alongside a dozen gray reef sharks on the ocean floor of the south pass… Read More

The Internet of Living Things

10 A.M.—It is hot and sultry in the slums of the Campina Barreto neighborhood on the north side of Recife, in Brazil, and a public health worker named Glaucia has just taken a blood sample from a young, pregnant patient. Glaucia feeds it into a portable sequencer the size of a USB stick, plugs the… Read More

68-Year Study: Childhood Intelligence and Longevity Related

Smart children tend to live longer than their less intelligent peers, a new study suggests. The analysis by Scottish researchers, published by medical journal BMJ, tracked 75,252 men and women born in 1936 who had taken standardized intelligence tests in 1947. By 2015, researchers confirmed a cause of death for 25,979 of them; 30,464 were… Read More

Scientists Debate If We Should Be Sending Messages to Alien Worlds

A new look at a message sent into space by astronomers in 1974 asks whether humans should be worried about contacting other civilizations in the universe. The New York Times examines a new push to beam Earthly messages. The consensus on whether or not to broadcast to the universe is mixed. Kathryn Denning, who works… Read More

The Science of Passionate Sex

Our culture is obsessed with sex. Everywhere you look is another article on how to have hot sex, harder erections, mind-bending orgasms, and ejaculations that go on for days. What people seldom realize, though– and which the latest science backs up– is that this is exactly the problem. There’s nothing wrong with desiring sex. I’m extremely sex positive. Rather, I… Read More

Chasing Consciousness, and the Information Revolution

As I’ve written about before on these pages, of all the ‘Big Questions’ in science, the issue of those slippery, tricksy quantities we call consciousness, awareness, and intelligence is one of the most challenging. That’s especially true when it comes to any sense of the universality of such things. We’re barely beginning to recognize the extraordinarily sophisticated, yet alien,… Read More

News at a glance

Summary In science news around the world, a giant iceberg rifts off the Antarctic Peninsula after months of anticipation, Brazilian scientists who have weathered 3 years of austerity budgets are now bracing for a 40% cut in science funding in 2018, Yemen’s government suspends its request for oral cholera vaccine amid concerns about effectively administering… Read More

The Supracranial Sinus of the Horned Dinosaur Skull

In an article published here back in November 2016, I discussed the very weird and highly elaborate nasal region of the ceratopsids – the group of ornithischian dinosaurs that includes Triceratops. That article was meant to be part 1 in a short series, and today we embark on part 2. This time, we move away… Read More

Zika rewrites maternal immunization ethics

Summary Pregnant women long have been excluded from vaccine studies because researchers are wary of causing unintended harm to the highly vulnerable developing fetus. But a new report from a group that represents many disciplines contends that ethics demand pregnant women be included in the trial of experimental Zika vaccines, which are designed to protect… Read More

Ground Control to Major Google: Space Station Street View Is Here

Forget views of side streets and poorly parked cars – why not explore the International Space Station (ISS) instead? Earlier this week Google Maps released its first-ever Street View in space, and now, Earthlings can virtually navigate through astronauts’ home away from home. Because no one could drive a van and camera around the ISS,… Read More

Gender discrimination lawsuit at Salk ignites controversy

Summary Two senior female scientists have sued the venerable Salk Institute for Biological Studies, alleging long-standing gender discrimination at the independent research center in San Diego, California. Biologists Vicki Lundblad, 64, and Katherine Jones, 62, said in a pair of lawsuits filed in California Superior Court in San Diego on 11 July that their employer… Read More

The Shark That Conquered the Whorl

Journalist and author Susan Ewing talks about her new book Resurrecting the Shark: A Scientific Obsession and the Mavericks Who Solved the Mystery of a 270-Million-Year-Old Fossil. (And we’ll discuss how Helicoprion is not technically a shark, but it’s really close!) Full Story Here Sciam July 24, 2017 12:25 pm Support Us

Scientists Spot Water-Rich Rocks on Moon

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — The vast deposits of water ice likely lurking at the moon’s poles could be tapped to help spur a sustainable economic and industrial expansion into space, researchers say. The lunar poles have a unique environment that can harbor water ice within permanently shadowed, super-cold craters. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has… Read More

Saving Europe's salamanders

Summary Nearly a third of amphibian species worldwide are in danger of extinction. Although the primary threats are loss of habitat and pollution, disease seems to be playing an increasing role. Over the past decades, the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been linked to many extinctions of frogs in the Americas. In 2013, Frank Pasmans… Read More

Soft Robot Moves by Mimicking Plants

Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at Scientific American maintains a strict policy of editorial independence in reporting developments in science to our readers. Full Story Here Sciam July 24, 2017 11:54 am Support Us

Unlocking a key to maize's amazing success

Summary Maize grows on every continent save Antarctica and provides food and biofuels for millions of people. Now, researchers studying ancient and modern maize have found a clue to its popularity over the millennia: maize’s easily adjustable flowering time, which enabled ancient peoples to get the plant to thrive in diverse climates, according to several… Read More

Mexico's basic science funding falls short

Letters Eugenio Frixione1,*, Juan P. Laclette2,* 1Department of Cell Biology, and Program on Science and Technology Development for Society, Center for Research and Advanced Studies (Cinvestav IPN), Mexico City. 2Department of Immunology, Institute of Biomedical Investigations, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City. ↵* Corresponding author. Email: frixione{at}; laclette{at} + See all authors and affiliations… Read More

Fringe on the brink: Intertidal reefs at risk

Letters Ryan Andrades1,*, Jean-Christophe Joyeux1, João Luiz Gasparini1, José Amorim Reis-Filho2, Raphael M. Macieira3, Tommaso Giarrizzo4 1Departamento de Oceanografia e Ecologia, Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Vitória, ES, Brazil. 2Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, BA, Brazil. 3Universidade Vila Velha, Vila Velha, ES, Brazil. 4Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém, PA, Brazil. ↵* Corresponding author. Email: ryanandrades{at}… Read More

Wasp venom evolution

Parasitoid wasps have evolved venoms for host control. PHOTO: HUTTON/TOM STACK ASSOC/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO Parasitoid wasps use venom to immobilize their hosts and manipulate them into providing a suitable environment for the growth of wasp larvae. In response to changes in host ranges and availability, venom genes need to evolve rapidly to maintain efficacy. Martinson… Read More

U.S. Called for New Marijuana Research Bids–but Granted No Approvals

Almost a year after the Drug Enforcement Administration announced it would consider granting additional licenses to cultivate cannabis for research purposes—and despite drawing 25 applicants so far—the agency has yet to greenlight a new grow operation. The DEA says it does not have a timeline to approve or deny applications and noted that it is dealing… Read More

U.S. Defense Agencies Grapple with Gene Drives

The JASONs, a group of elite scientists that advises the US government on national security, has weighed in on issues ranging from cyber security to renewing America’s nuclear arsenal. But at a meeting in June, the secretive group took stock of a new threat: gene drives, a genetic-engineering technology that can swiftly spread modifications through entire populations and could help vanquish malaria-spreading mosquitoes. That meeting forms part of a… Read More

A setback for immune checkpoint therapy?

Nivolumab, an immunotherapy drug, has shown unprecedented success at treating patients with certain types of advanced cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals for nivolumab, and other drugs like it, are for patients with advanced cancer that has progressed or relapsed while on chemotherapy. Carbone et al. tested whether nivolumab could be used as… Read More

U.S. Government Called for New Marijuana Research Bids–But Granted No Approvals

Almost a year after the Drug Enforcement Administration announced it would consider granting additional licenses to cultivate cannabis for research purposes—and despite drawing 25 applicants so far—the agency has yet to greenlight a new grow operation. The DEA says it does not have a timeline to approve or deny applications and noted that it is dealing… Read More

Making a quantum-classical hybrid

Predicting the dynamics of many-body quantum systems is a formidable computational task, in which quantum computers could come to the aid of classical ones. However, the corrections needed to keep errors in check as a quantum computer works require enormous quantum resources. Li and Benjamin propose a hybrid quantum-classical computer based on variational principles. In… Read More

Scientists Can See Zika Coming by Tracking the Climate

From the ashes of a devastating Zika virus outbreak last year, scientists are piecing together how it happened, and they’re using climate variables to get ahead of the next pandemic. The Zika virus rampaged through the Americas in 2015 and 2016, charging out of Brazil and into neighboring countries inside the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. Named for… Read More

Wandering in the Void, Billions of Rogue Planets Without a Home

Not all planets have a home. For decades, astronomers and science fiction authors alike have speculated about orphaned orbs cast adrift from their home stars, endlessly wandering the vast reaches of interstellar space. Most theorists hold that such ejections should be quite common during the chaotic tumult of a planetary system’s early days, when closely-packed… Read More

Get ready, get set, get wet

One of the expected consequences of anthropogenic climate change is the intensification of the hydrological cycle as a result of higher surface air temperatures. A commonly invoked description of how that will happen is “the dry will get drier and the wet will get wetter”—but exactly how much wetter the wet regions will get is… Read More

Babies favor facelike stimuli before birth

Unborn babies notice facelike images. PHOTO: NAJEEB LAYYOUS/SCIENCE SOURCE Babies at birth show a preference for facelike stimuli—for instance, a triad of dots configured in a top-heavy manner like a face. Reid et al. show that this predisposition does not require any postnatal experience. Visual stimuli were projected through the mothers’ abdomens to human fetuses… Read More

Evolutionarily, the beat goes on

Genetic variants affecting heart development and function, such as those associated with coronary artery disease (CAD), are subject to rapid removal from the gene pool. Thus, it is expected that inherited genes related to CAD should also have positive effects. Byars et al. looked for evidence of positive selection in genes previously associated with CAD… Read More

A rhodium catalyst hogs the spotlight

Photochemistry offers an efficient route to constructing four-membered carbon rings, but the product geometry is hard to control precisely. Even though catalysts can selectively orient the reacting partners, it is hard to outpace the unselective background reaction stimulated by catalyst-free light absorption. Huang et al. devised a chiral rhodium catalyst that enhanced the intrinsic blue… Read More

Sulfur injections for a cooler planet

Summary Achieving the Paris Agreement’s aim to limit the global temperature increase to at most 2°C above preindustrial levels will require rapid, substantial greenhouse gas emission reductions together with large-scale use of “negative emission” strategies for capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air (1). It remains unclear, however, how or indeed whether large net-negative emissions… Read More

A cirrus cloud climate dial?

Summary Climate engineering is a potential means to offset the climate warming caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases. Suggested methods broadly fall into two categories. Methods in the first category aim to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, whereas those in the second aim to alter Earth’s radiation balance. The most prominent and best researched… Read More

Sliding chains keep particles together

Summary Pulleys, first devised in the 3rd century BCE, make it easy to reverse the direction of a lifting force in a fixed axle or to mitigate the work required to lift an object with multiple wheels in a movable state. Pulleys distribute localized force to parallel chains, which greatly reduces the stress on any… Read More

A twist on the Majorana fermion

Summary All superconductors are characterized by an energy gap, a range of energies in which excitations are forbidden. However, the recently discovered class of topological superconductors (TSs) has a unique distinguishing feature: The boundary of a TS hosts gapless states called Majorana modes. The term Majorana stems from similarities with the unusual particles proposed by… Read More

Promote scientific integrity via journal peer review data

Summary There is an increasing push by journals to ensure that data and products related to published papers are shared as part of a cultural move to promote transparency, reproducibility, and trust in the scientific literature. Yet few journals commit to evaluating their effectiveness in implementing reporting standards aimed at meeting those goals (1, 2).… Read More

Tuna fin hydraulics inspire aquatic robotics

Summary The shape-changing fins of fish are of great interest to engineers developing the locomotion and maneuvering capabilities of underwater and aerial systems. On page 310 of this issue, Pavlov et al. (1) find that the lymphatic circulatory system in tuna and other members of the Scombridae family of fish serves as a hydraulic system… Read More

Acknowledging Africa

Gloria Emeagwali What Do Science, Technology, and Innovation Mean From Africa?: Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, Ed. MIT Press, 2017. 255 pp. The reviewer is at the Department of History, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT 06050, USA. Email: emeagwali{at} Full Story Here Science Mag July 24, 2017 3:39 am Support Us

Can immunotherapy treat neurodegeneration?

Summary Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a devastating age-related neurodegenerative disorder and the most frequent cause of senile dementia. The appearance of cognitive decline in this disease is associated with synaptic and neuronal loss, intracellular neurofibrillary tangles, the accumulation of intracellular and extracellular plaques of misfolded amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide, and local neuroinflammation. The major focus in… Read More

Ratchet-like polypeptide translocation mechanism of the AAA+ disaggregase Hsp104

Stephanie N. Gates Department of Biological Chemistry, Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.Graduate Program in Chemical Biology, Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. Adam L. Yokom Department of Biological Chemistry, Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.Graduate Program in Chemical Biology,… Read More

Flawed environmental justice analyses

Letters Ryan E. Emanuel Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA. Email: ryan_emanuel{at} + See all authors and affiliations Science  21 Jul 2017:Vol. 357, Issue 6348, pp. 260DOI: 10.1126/science.aao2684 Full Story Here Science Mag July 24, 2017 1:53 am Support Us

Remobilization of crustal carbon may dominate volcanic arc emissions

Volcanoes find a new carbon platform The geological carbon cycle assumes that carbon is emitted by volcanic eruptions and removed through various forms of burial. Mason et al. found that not all volcanic eruptions have the same source for carbon in their volcanic gas. Arc volcanic activity appears to harvest carbon from old carbonate platforms,… Read More

Photoinduced decarboxylative borylation of carboxylic acids

Lighting the way to carbon borylation Boron substituents provide versatile reactivity, and their utility has been emerging in pharmaceutical contexts. Fawcett et al. show that visible light can induce replacement of carboxylic acid groups with boronate esters, which will ease their introduction into a wide variety of compounds. Once the acids are activated with phthalimide… Read More

About face

John Antonakis Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions Alexander Todorov Princeton University Press, 2017. 333 pp. The reviewer is at the Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland. Email: john.antonakis{at} Full Story Here Science Mag July 24, 2017 12:59 am Support Us

Robo Cops: Dubai Adding Mini Robot Cars to Police Force

Police in Dubai are adding tiny robot patrol cars to carry out the massive work of catching criminals. The child-sized bot cars will be dispatched to neighborhoods to boost security as well as hunt for unusual activity, “potential persons of interest to police” and known criminals, Gulf News reported. They will roll out at the… Read More

Aug. 21's Total Solar Eclipse Will Paralyze, Mesmerize US

Forget debates on repealing Obamacare, tax reform, the mainstream media’s obsession with anti-Trump administration stories, or investigations into Russian meddling, Aug. 21 is going to mesmerize and draw a dividing line through America like never before. A coast-to-coast total solar eclipse — a line from Oregon to South Carolina, which crosses 14 states and impacts 12.2… Read More

Lyme Disease Drug Nears Human Trials

A revolutionary drug that could prevent Lyme disease — the tick-spread illness whose victims have included Alec Baldwin, Kris Kristofferson and Avril Lavigne — may be ready for human trials next year. Researchers from MassBiologics, a non-profit division of University of Massachusetts Medical School which makes vaccines and biologics, say the drug, Lyme PrEP, has already worked… Read More

Biomedical Tech Project Works to Bring Brain Dead Back to Life

The age-reversal work of a doctor haunted by the death of a young neighbor will be used by a Philadelphia-based company aiming to start human trials on brain-dead patients in Latin America, the Daily Mail reports. Bioquark, the company of Dr. Sergei Paylian, works with biological extracts that incorporate material from regenerative species like frogs,… Read More

Biomedical Tech Project Works to Bring Brain Dead Back to Life

The age-reversal work of a doctor haunted by the death of a young neighbor will be used by a Philadelphia-based company aiming to start human trials on brain-dead patients in Latin America, the Daily Mail reports. Bioquark, the company of Dr. Sergei Paylian, works with biological extracts that incorporate material from regenerative species like frogs,… Read More

Study: Almost Half of US Jobs at Risk of Automation

Approximately half of American jobs could be replaced by automation in the coming years, and roughly one in four are at risk of being lost to foreign competition, according to a study recently published by Ball State University. Researchers combined recent studies on employment trends in their paper, “How Vulnerable are American Communities to Automation,… Read More

Apple Files Patent to Allow Discreet 911 Calls

Apple has filed a patent that would create a “panic alarm” to be used to discreetly call 911 using an iPhone’s fingerprint sensor in case of an emergency. CNBC cites the patent, which describes how iPhone users could set up parameters for calling 911 by simply touching their phone. That would be useful if a… Read More

NASA Marks Start of Summer With Solar Eclipse Hype

NASA prepared Americans for the upcoming total solar eclipse with a series of webcasts on the first day of summer. The space agency broadcasted two webinars on Wednesday: one about traffic and logistics around driving to sites across the United States that will experience the total solar eclipse, and another that shared the science behind… Read More

LinkedIn Poll: Bankers Worry About Jobs Lost to Automation

A quarter of banking’s “front line” professionals are worried about losing their jobs to robots and artificial intelligence-boosted mobile apps, according to a LinkedIn survey. In the poll of 1,012 pros from financial technology, investment banking, retail and corporate banking, financial and hedge fund management, accounting, insurance, and private equity, 25 percent said they are concerned… Read More

NASA Psychologist: US Minds Wander as Accidental Deaths on the Rise

Accidental deaths are on the rise, according to a NASA psychologist who wrote a book about the injury-prone mind. Steve Casner, according to USAToday, reported in his book Careful: A User’s Guide to Our Injury-Prone Minds, kitchen-knife related injuries are the cause of about 330,000 emergency room visits per year in the U.S. and about… Read More

Report: Rising Sea Levels Will Flood 100s of Coastal Cities

Sea level rise will flood hundreds of coastal cities in the near future, according to a report published Wednesday by the Union of Concerned Scientists. More than 90 coastal communities, mostly in Louisiana and Maryland, are already battling chronic flooding and that number is expected to rise to 170 in less than 20 years. Nearly… Read More

Astronomer Predicts Alien Life Discovery 10-15 Years Away

Scientists might find forms of alien life on another planet within 10 or 15 years, a British astronomer revealed. During an interview with Futurism, Chris Impey said microbes could be discovered on a celestial body such as Jupiter’s moon Europa. “I put my money on detecting microbial life in 10 to 15 years, but not… Read More

Math, Science, Computers Spur 'Extreme Weather Forecasting' 'Revolution'

A “quiet revolution” in meteorology is underway to predict major weather events a year, even decades ahead of time — combining science, math and computers, an Australian news outlet reported. If successful, “extreme weather forecasting” could even save lives, reported. Currently, weather forecasts of any detail stretch out to about a month; after 28… Read More

Why the Mortar of the Ancient Romans Has Lasted Millennia

Scientists have unlocked the secret of what’s allowed the Roman Empire’s mortar to endure 2,000 years of earthquakes and floods while modern concrete can begin to crumble in as few as 50 years. An ingredient makes Roman marine concrete actually grow stronger, a team of researchers has found, Science Magazine reported. Writing in the journal… Read More

Experts: Frogs Evolved From Asteroid That Killed Dinosaurs

A new study links the thousands of frog species with an asteroid strike 66 million years ago that killed the dinosaurs. The BBC cites a report that appeared in the journal PNAS, which claims Earth’s frog population increased dramatically after the apparent asteroid hit. The team of U.S. and Chinese researchers examined the three major… Read More

Quick test finds signs of sepsis in a single drop of blood

A new portable device can quickly find markers of deadly, unpredictable sepsis infection from a single drop of blood. A team of researchers from the University of Illinois and Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Illinois, completed a clinical study of the device, which is the first to provide rapid, point-of-care measurement of the immune system’s… Read More

Improved representation of solar variability in climate models

How much do solar cycle variations influence our climate system? Could the rising Earth temperatures due to anthropogenic effects partly be compensated by a reduction of solar forcing in the future? These questions have been in the focus of climate research for a long time. In order to answer these questions as precisely as possible,… Read More

New technique 'sees' radioactive material even after it's gone

A new technique allows researchers to characterize nuclear material that was in a location even after the nuclear material has been removed — a finding that has significant implications for nuclear nonproliferation and security applications. “Basically, we can see nuclear material that is no longer there,” says Robert Hayes, lead author of paper describing the… Read More

Wearable electronics: Superstretchable, supercompressible supercapacitors

Flexible, wearable electronics require equally flexible, wearable power sources. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Chinese scientists have introduced an extraordinarily stretchable and compressible polyelectrolyte which, in combination with carbon nanotube composite paper electrodes, forms a supercapacitor that can be stretched to 1000 percent in length and compressed to 50 percent in thickness with even gaining,… Read More

'Perfect storm' led to 2016 Great Barrier Reef bleaching

Researchers from James Cook University and the Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium say unprecedented oceanographic conditions in 2016 produced the perfect storm of factors that lead to a mass coral bleaching. JCU’s Professor Eric Wolanski said even in very warm years with a summer el Nino event, such as 1998, there was no massive… Read More

To buzz or to scrabble? To foraging bees, that's the question

Imagine going to the supermarket to stock up on groceries but coming home empty-handed because you just couldn’t figure out how to work the shopping cart or figure out how to get to the ice cream tubs in the freezer aisle. Welcome to the life of a bumblebee. Gathering sweet nectar from flowers, it turns… Read More

Ancient concrete: Learning to do as the Romans did

A new look inside 2,000-year-old concrete — made from volcanic ash, lime (the product of baked limestone), and seawater — has provided new clues to the evolving chemistry and mineral cements that allow ancient harbor structures to withstand the test of time. The research has also inspired a hunt for the original recipe so that… Read More

Jupiter: Atmosphere and aurora in unprecedented detail

Subaru Telescope images reveal weather in Jupiter’s atmosphere in the mid-infrared. High-resolution thermal imaging of Jupiter by the COoled Mid-Infrared Camera and Spectrometer (COMICS) mounted on the Subaru Telescope on Maunakea is providing information that extends and enhances the information that the Juno mission is gathering in its unprecedented mission to probe that planet’s interior… Read More

Milking it: A new robot to extract scorpion venom

A new scorpion-milking robot designed to extract venom could replace the traditional manual method. Scorpion venom is used in medical applications such as immunosuppressants, anti-malarial drugs and cancer research, but the extraction process can be potentially life-threatening. “This robot makes venom recovery fast and safe,” says Mr Mouad Mkamel who designed the robot with a… Read More

Two knees or not two knees: The curious case of the ostrich's double kneecap

Ostriches are the only animals in the world to have a double-kneecap, but its purpose remains an evolutionary mystery. PhD student, Ms Sophie Regnault, from the Royal Veterinary College, UK says “understanding more about different kneecap configurations in different animals could help to inform prosthesis design, surgical interventions, and even robots with better joints.” “In… Read More

Molecular electronics scientists shatter 'impossible' record of rectification rate

An international research team that includes University of Central Florida Professor Enrique del Barco, Damien Thompson of the University of Limerick and Christian A. Nijhuis of the National University of Singapore has cracked an important limitation that for nearly 20 years has prevented the practical use of molecular diodes. Electrical circuits are the basic building… Read More

Dragonflies reveal how biodiversity changes in time and space

An ecological filter in a pond, such as voracious fish that feed on dragonflies and damselflies, can help ecologists predict how biodiversity loss may impact specific habitats, according to Rice University researchers who spent four years studying seasonal changes in ponds across East Texas. In one of the first studies of its kind, the scientists… Read More

New measurement will help redefine international unit of mass

Using a state-of-the-art device for measuring mass, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have made their most precise determination yet of Planck’s constant, an important value in science that will help to redefine the kilogram, the official unit of mass in the SI, or international system of units. Accepted for publication… Read More

'Brain training' app found to improve memory in people with mild cognitive impairment

A ‘brain training’ game developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge could help improve the memory of patients in the very earliest stages of dementia, suggests a study published today in The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) has been described as the transitional stage between ‘healthy ageing’ and dementia. It… Read More

Antibiotic resistance linked to common household disinfectant triclosan

Scientists from the University of Birmingham and Norwich Research Park have discovered a link between a major mechanism of antibiotic resistance and resistance to the disinfectant triclosan which is commonly found in domestic products. Researchers made the unexpected finding that bacteria that mutated to become resistant to quinolone antibiotics also became more resistant to triclosan.… Read More

Record laser on chip created

Working in collaboration with the Lionix company, researchers from the University of Twente’s MESA+ research institute have developed the world’s most narrowband diode laser on a chip. This laser represents a breakthrough in the fast-growing field of photonics, and will bring applications like 5G internet and accurate GPS closer. Research leader Professor Klaus Boller presented… Read More

Tiny 'motors' are driven by light

Science fiction is full of fanciful devices that allow light to interact forcefully with matter, from light sabers to photon-drive rockets. In recent years, science has begun to catch up; some results hint at interesting real-world interactions between light and matter at atomic scales, and researchers have produced devices such as optical tractor beams, tweezers,… Read More

The secret connection between anxiety, sleep

You may have experienced sleepless nights when you were anxious, stressed or too excited. Such emotions are well-known to affect wakefulness and can even cause insomnia, though the underlying mechanisms in our brain have still been unclear. Scientists in the Sleep Institute in Japan spotted neurons that play crucial roles in connecting emotions and sleep,… Read More

British smokers down by 1. 9 million since smoking ban

Ten years after cigarettes were banished from all UK pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants, new figures from Cancer Research UK today (Saturday) reveal there are 1.9 million fewer smokers in Britain compared to when the smoking ban was introduced in 2007, with smoking rates now the lowest ever recorded. Smokefree laws have had one of… Read More

How insect outbreaks affect forests and bats

New research indicates that bark beetle outbreaks in forests create several new roosting and foraging possibilities for the protected bat species Barbastella barbastellus. For example, maternity colonies of B. barbastellus were found beneath bark of beetle-killed spruces. Also, hunting activity of B. barbastellus increased with more extensive canopy opening due to bark beetles. The findings… Read More

New way to tackle cancer cells

In-situ assembly of amphiphilic peptides with accompanying cellular functions inside a living cell (i.e., intracellular assembly) and their interaction with cellular components have been emerging as a versatile strategy in controlling cellular fate. However, achieving spatiotemporal control (i.e., inside cellular organelles or other sub-compartments) over the self-assembly of synthetic molecules inside the cell is challenging… Read More

Quantum probes dramatically improve detection of nuclear spins

Researchers at the University of Melbourne have demonstrated a way to detect nuclear spins in molecules non-invasively, providing a new tool for biotechnology and materials science. Important research in medicine and biology relies on nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, but until now, it has been limited in spatial resolution and typically requires powerful microwave fields.… Read More

The more eggs the better in IVF?

A higher number of eggs retrieved in an IVF treatment cycle is independently associated with more chromosomally normal embryos available for transfer, according to a new Australian study. However, the benefit of a greater oocyte yield decreases significantly with advancing female age. The results of the study, which are presented as a poster here at… Read More

Greening the city: A measurement for a mindful environment

Scientists at the University of Bradford have developed the world’s first Tranquillity Rating Prediction Tool (TRAPT), a scientific process for measuring how relaxing urban environments and public spaces are. In a new paper published in the Urban Forestry and Urban Greening journal, lead researcher Professor Greg Watts believes that the tool could help planners, architects… Read More

Protecting astronauts from radiation in space

Scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) have designed a new nano material that can reflect or transmit light on demand with temperature control, opening the door to technology that protects astronauts in space from harmful radiation. Lead researcher Dr Mohsen Rahmani from ANU said the material was so thin that hundreds of layers could… Read More

Drug discovery: Alzheimer's and Parkinson's spurred by same enzyme

Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are not the same. They affect different regions of the brain and have distinct genetic and environmental risk factors. But at the biochemical level, these two neurodegenerative diseases start to look similar. That’s how Emory scientists led by Keqiang Ye, PhD, landed on a potential drug target for Parkinson’s. In… Read More