Science news

The hunt is on for new antibiotics – but we have to start looking outside the lab

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-02-19 06:59

Global antibiotic resistance is imperilling our existence. We need clever ways to find new bug-beating drugs

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Buying pricey drugs harms more UK lives than it saves

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-02-19 00:01
High drug prices in the US is hurting healthcare across the Atlantic, as resources get diverted to meet high costs – just look at the UK's Cancer Drugs Fund






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$1 billion bank hack: stopping the next cyber heist

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-02-18 23:00
A hacking gang is suspected of stealing vast sums from banks worldwide for two years with apparent ease. How can a repeat be averted, asks David Auerbach






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Brain boosting: It's not just grey matter that matters

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-02-18 20:00
Inside your head, another brain is hiding in plain sight – one that responds to your cognitive needs and self-heals. It's time to make the most of your myelin (full text available to subscribers)






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Darkleaks lets anyone sell secrets for bitcoin

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-02-18 19:14
A new site that lets people sell secret documents online will make life easier for whistleblowers – and blackmailers






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Mutation order reveals what cancer will do next

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-02-18 18:00
A blood disorder study shows for the first time that the order in which mutations occur affects how a disease develops, and the best way to treat it






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How to predict what height meteors explode at

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-02-18 18:00
Incoming space rocks break up and burn in the atmosphere, and their danger depends on how low they can go – now we can predict their flame-out height






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Reefer research: cannabis 'munchies' explained by new study

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-02-18 17:46

Scientists have shown the urge to eat after smoking is caused by cannabinoids hijacking brain cells that normally suppress appetite

Besides making a bongo drum sound inexplicably magical and enhancing a person’s ability to talk nonsense for extended periods of time, generations of cannabis smokers will recognise the “munchies” as one of the drug’s most reliable side-effects.

Now scientists have shown that the insatiable urge to eat after smoking is caused by cannabinoids hijacking brain cells that normally suppress appetite. The study suggests that cannabis causes the brain to produce a different set of chemicals that transform the feeling of fullness into a hunger that is never quite satisfied.

Related: Smoking skunk cannabis triples risk of serious psychotic episode, says research

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Super-strong limpet teeth: let’s hang on to their place in nature

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-02-18 17:41
Engineers have discovered that these molluscs’ teeth are made of the strongest biological material in the world. But instead of trying to exploit them, we should leave the limpets to cling to their rocky homes Continue reading...






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Today on New Scientist

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-02-18 17:30
All the latest on newscientist.com: nature's strongest material, drone maps Christ, work in the robot age and more






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Drone reproduces Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-02-18 16:07
Thanks to thousands of photos snapped from the air, Rio de Janeiro's famous landmark can now be experienced on your screen in 3D






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Zoologger: Oral sex may be a life saver for spider

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-02-18 16:01
Male Darwin's bark spider use genital lubrication and binding to stop their mates from eating them after copulation






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Stretchy limpet teeth are nature's strongest material

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-02-18 14:13
Spider silk has lost its record for being the strongest natural material – these limpet teeth are six times as strong






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What pushes scientists to lie? The disturbing but familiar story of Haruko Obokata

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-02-18 13:30

The spectacular fall of the Japanese scientist who claimed to have triggered stem cell abilities in regular body cells is not uncommon in the scientific community. The culprit: carelessness and hubris in the drive to make a historic discovery

The year 2014 was one of extremes for Haruko Obokata. A year of high highs and even lower lows. Barely 30 years old, she was head of her own laboratory at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) in Kobe, Japan, and was taking the male-dominated world of stem cell research by storm. She was hailed as a bright new star in the scientific firmament and a national hero. But her glory was short-lived and her fall from grace spectacular, completed in several humiliating stages.

Obokata shot to prominence in January 2014 when she published two breakthrough articles in Nature, one of the world’s top science journals. She and her colleagues had demonstrated a surprisingly simple way of turning ordinary body cells – she used mouse blood cells – into something very much like embryonic stem cells. All you need to do is drop them into a weak bath of citric acid, let them soak for half an hour and – presto! – you have washed away their developmental past. They emerge like cellular infants, able to multiply abundantly and grow into any type of cell in the body, a superpower known as pluripotency. This was a much faster and easier way to reprogram cells than the one pioneered, back in 2006, by another Japanese scientist, Shinya Yamanaka. Moreover, Obokata’s method seemed much less likely to damage the cells or, worse still, make them cancerous.

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Huge epigenomic map examines life's impact on our genes

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-02-18 12:00
Analysing the DNA tags that affect how genes behave shows us how nurture interacts with nature to shape who we are and the diseases we develop






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Alessandro Volta: a welcome but misleading Google doodle

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-02-18 11:56

Today’s Google doodle might lead you to think that Alessandro Volta invented the light bulb. Charlotte Connelly sets the record straight

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Ebola outbreak still has things to teach us

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-02-18 11:33
Lessons from the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa last year are still being learned in preparation for future outbreaks






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The UK needs common sense about ketamine

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-02-18 11:19
Ketamine is a vital medicine, and restricting it has harmed patients without cutting recreational use. Britain should stand up to the UN’s failed ‘war on drugs’ Continue reading...






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Limpet teeth found to be strongest natural material

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-02-18 11:09

Scientists say structure of teeth could be reproduced in high-performance engineering to make Formula One cars, boats and planes

Scientists believe they may have found the strongest natural material known to man – the teeth of the humble limpet, which could be copied to make the cars, boats and planes of the future.

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth examined the mechanics of limpet teeth by pulling them apart all the way down to the level of the atom.

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Raspberry Pi becomes best selling British computer

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-02-18 11:09

Sales of cheap, credit card-sized units top 5m says company, eclipsing the Sinclair ZX Spectrum in the 1980s

Over 5m Raspberry Pis have been sold since its inception in 2012, making it the best selling British computer ever, according to the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

The cheap, credit-card sized computer sold 2m units by the end of November 2013, 3m by the summer of 2014 and over 4m by the end of 2014.

Just confirmed the big news we’ve all been waiting for: we’ve now sold more than 5 million Raspberry Pis.

Related: The Raspberry Pi computer – how a bright British idea took flight

We think that this means that in just under 3 years, we’ve gone from zero to being the biggest selling UK computer manufacturer ever. Yowza.

Related: Raspberry Pi 2 is camera shy: flash causes mini-computer to switch off

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