Science news

North pole of spinning dwarf planet Ceres glows in the sunlight

New Scientist - news - Fri, 2015-04-17 13:30
The first high-resolution images of a dwarf planet have captured the sun-lit north pole of Ceres







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SpaceXpresso: long-suffering astronaut finally gets her coffee machine

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-04-17 13:26
  • Italian Samantha Cristoforetti welcomes arrival of Dragon supply capsule
  • Much-needed groceries and experiments delayed by launch explosion last year

Going into space is one thing. But, for an Italian, going months without a proper coffee is quite another.

On Friday morning the SpaceX supply ship arrived at the International Space Station, delivering the world’s first espresso machine designed exclusively for astronauts.

Related: Rocket explosion: Orbital Sciences moves to drop Russian-made engines

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New Books Party: books that arrived recently

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-04-17 13:10

Before heading out to a tropical island for your summer holidays, you might be interested to learn more about the critical role that islands play in the evolution of new species. Today, I share two important books with you, both of which explore the importance of islands as “natural laboratories” of evolution and ecology

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Feedback: Striving to name polyfailure

New Scientist - news - Fri, 2015-04-17 12:00
Portmanteau names proliferate, Pratchett's postulate perhaps, swiss-cheesology and more (full text available to subscribers)







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Let's talk about sex – podcast

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-04-17 11:22
The team discuss the ins and outs of sex surveys, plus the secrets of knuckle-cracking are revealed at last Continue reading...







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How JFK and the Cold War space race inspired an album

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-04-17 11:00

Interview: Public Service Broadcasting’s frontman J. Willgoose Esq explores the history behind the band’s Cold War era-inspired album The Race For Space

Public Service Broadcasting are as much a science project as they are a band. The duo create musical pieces exploring science, history and discovery using samples from vintage documentaries alongside more traditional instruments. Their latest album, The Race For Space, scavenges from the original Apollo transmissions, vintage Soviet documentaries and the actual signal broadcast by Sputnik 1 to tell the story of the 1960’s Cold War-driven mania for space travel.

On the eve of the album’s launch at Leicester’s National Space Centre, we sat down with frontman J. Willgoose Esq to go through the historic and scientific inspirations behind each track.

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Giant badgers, baby-biting foxes – these are monsters of the mind

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-04-17 10:10
What a curious beast we are, reducing the natural world to a petting zoo, then ceaselessly reinventing its threats Continue reading...
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Alzheimer’s: what the mice are really telling us

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-04-17 06:00
The latest reports of a dementia breakthrough illustrate the dangers of overhyping cutting-edge research into drugs and disease Continue reading...







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Abbott government gives $4m to help climate contrarian set up Australian centre

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-04-16 21:34

Bjørn Lomborg has been given money from the hard-pressed federal budget to set up a ‘consensus centre’ at the University of Western Australia

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Nasa spacecraft that found water on Mercury prepares to crash into planet

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-04-16 21:01
  • Messenger’s 11-year voyage of discovery to end on 30 April
  • Mission has forced rethink about origin of planet closest to sun

Related: Mercury's 'dynamic and complex world' revealed by Nasa's Messenger

Preparing for the Messenger probe’s final days before it smashes into Mercury, Nasa presented its accomplishments on Thursday, including the discovery of water on the planet closest to the sun.

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Parasitic populations solve algorithm problems in half the time

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-04-16 21:00
Mathematicians draw inspiration from nature to work out complicated problems – and now a new technique is using virtual parasites to find the best solutions







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Eye of the beholder: How colour vision made us human

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-04-16 20:00
Most of us can distinguish a million or more hues. A winding evolutionary path led to this amazing ability – and perhaps to our explosion of brainpower (full text available to subscribers)







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Top Nasa official defends asteroid mission and Earth research to Congress

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-04-16 19:55

Charles Bolden countered criticism from House on agency’s ‘partisan environmental agenda’ and ‘uninspiring’ space work at budget hearing

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Dogs are man's best friend thanks to bonding hormone, research shows

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-04-16 19:00

Scientists have found that dogs and owners experience surges in oxytocin, a hormone responsible for maternal caring, when they look into each other’s eyes

A rush of hormone that helps people bond could explain why humans and dogs have been best friends for thousands of years, say researchers in Japan.

The scientists found that dog owners experienced a surge of oxytocin when their pets gazed into their eyes, a dramatic effect that was mirrored in the animals themselves.

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Dogs tap into human bonding system to get close to our hearts

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-04-16 19:00
Exchanging gazes with dogs boosts levels of a bonding hormone in both them and us, suggesting they evolved to hijack a uniquely human way of bonding







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Plane creates vibrant landscape painting by firing laser pulses

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-04-16 18:30
Europe's nature reserves can now be monitored from above using lasers to build up intricate watercolour-like maps







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Margaret Rule obituary

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-04-16 17:56

Archaeologist responsible for raising the wreck of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s flagship, from the seabed

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Fundraising? Find a generous male friend and smile, says study

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-04-16 17:19

Analysis of fundraising pages shows men are competitively generous: a big donation early on, helped by an attractive picture, can be key to success

When fundraising for charity, picking a cause close to people’s hearts and subjecting yourself to a sufficiently gruelling physical ordeal might help, but scientists suggest there could be an even easier way to swell the coffers. Picking a flattering photo and persuading a male friend or relative to make a hefty donation to your fundraising page early was found to significantly boost donations - for women at least.

A study of fundraising pages from the 2014 London Marathon showed that men become competitively generous when they see another man has already given a large sum of money. The effect was especially striking when men stood to impress an attractive female, the study revealed. In these circumstances, men quadrupled their average donations from £10 to £40 when another man had already pledged a large sum.

Related: Sex and the successful fundraiser | Richard P Grant

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Paper microphone may help charge your cellphone

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-04-16 17:11
A new way to harvest acoustic energy turns sound waves into electric charge, all with a postage-stamp-sized piece of paper







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Sex and the successful fundraiser

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-04-16 17:00

A real-world study shows that in the art – and science – of fundraising, some of us have a natural advantage...

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