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Is it right to retire Dippy, the Natural History Museum's famous diplodocus?

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-01-29 14:28

Dippy the famous Diplodocus skeleton at the Natural History Museum in London is to be replaced by a blue whale. Is this right?

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Mismatched ants show size doesn't matter to friends

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-01-29 14:13
These two ants seem to get along even though one is more than three times the size of the other. Turns out it's ants of the same stature that end up as rivals






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Multibillion-dollar race to put internet into orbit

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-01-29 14:00
The next-generation internet could come from above, with fleets of satellites delivering broadband to under-served areas of the world






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In to Africa: Brad Pitt in talks for Angelina Jolie elephant epic

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-01-29 10:17

Jolie set to direct her husband as fossil hunter and conservationist Richard Leakey in script by Forrest Gump’s Eric Roth

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Twinkle telescope to check out exoplanet climate

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-01-29 08:00
If all goes to plan, the UK will launch a telescope to find out more about known exoplanets' atmospheres in four years






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The Bletchley Girls and The Debs of Bletchley Park – review

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-01-29 07:30

The dashed hopes and the (sometimes) awful men … an insight into the lives and loves of the female codebreakers – and those with less glamorous jobs

‘Sometimes it’s the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one imagines,” Alan Turing says to Joan Clarke in The Imitation Game. This is the appeal of the Bletchley Park war. It’s a particularly British story, whose eccentric heroes are more likely to be found solving crossword puzzles than flying aeroplanes. They can sometimes be observed throwing cups of tea into the lake or stuffing their pipes with sandwiches instead of tobacco. And it is especially satisfying to think of this gaggle of dishevelled boffins defeating the disciplined pomposity of nazism. They were certainly not the kind of men to be given much shrift by Hitler.

But supporting the tweedy heroes was a cast of less unusual people, many of them women. Although there were just 186 staff at Bletchley in August 1939, by 1942 there were 1,600 and by the end of 1944 this had risen to 8,743. Three-quarters of them were women, made available by the introduction of female conscription in 1941. Their stories have been neglected, largely because the exploits of the leading Bletchley code-breakers are more exciting. The women who have found their way into the histories have tended to be the handful of female cryptanalysts. Joan Clarke has now been given spirited if pouting form by Keira Knightley.

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Dippy the Diplodocus is displaced from Natural History Museum by blue whale

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-01-29 06:00
Dinosaur cast that starred in films and featured at parties will surrender its spot in central hall to even bigger whale skeleton

Dippy is leaving the building. After decades of dominating the central hall of the Natural History Museum, starring in movies right up to the recent Paddington, and enthralling generations of schoolchildren who imagined that with one swish of its tail it could take out an entire class and teacher too, the Diplodocus skeleton cast is making way for a whale.

Dippy was cast from original fossil bones discovered in the US in 1898, and has been the first enthralling object most visitors saw at the museum, in South Kensington, London, for the past 35 years, having moved to the central hall in 1979. However, the museum announces today that it will be replaced by a real and even more vast specimen: the skeleton of a blue whale, the largest animal ever known to have lived on earth, brought to the brink of extinction by human hunting.

Related: Natural History Museum main hall displays – in pictures

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Natural History Museum main hall displays – in pictures

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-01-29 06:00

With news that a blue whale skeleton will replaced the diplodocus as part of a completely new display at of the main Hintze Hall (formerly the central hall), we look at some other displays from a year after it was opened in 1881

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Australian fish moving south as climate changes, say researchers

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-01-29 05:54

University of Tasmania finds 35 species face shifts in their ranges and egg-laying patterns as the waters off south-east Australia warm faster than average

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Laser inventor Charles Townes dies

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-01-29 02:47

Scientist was sitting on a park bench in 1951 when he came up with Nobel prizewinning and world-changing idea for a pure beam of light

Charles Townes, who shared the 1964 Nobel prize in physics for inventing the laser – a feat that revolutionised science, medicine, telecommunications and entertainment – has died aged 99, the University of California at Berkeley has announced.

Townes, a native of South Carolina, recalled that the idea for how to create a pure beam of short-wavelength, high-frequency light first dawned on him as he sat on a Washington DC park bench among blooming azaleas in the spring of 1951.

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The Hard Problem review – Tom Stoppard tackles momentous ideas

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-01-29 00:50

Dorfman Theatre, London
Playwright explores consciousness, morality and human behaviour in stimulating work that occasionally suffers from information overload

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Cells from stressed-out mice act as an antidepressant

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-01-28 22:00
Lethargic mice unexpectedly perk up when injected with immune cells from bullied mice, a discovery which could point to new depression treatments






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Blood bank data turns donations into a numbers game

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-01-28 20:30
An initiative in New York is using machine learning to figure out who's most likely to donate blood - and what's best to say to encourage them






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Plastic Age: How it's reshaping rocks, oceans and life

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-01-28 20:00
The ultimate fate of waste plastic is hazy – but we know future geologists will find traces of a fleeting era written in the stones. Welcome to the Plasticene (full text available to subscribers)






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Pay pregnant smokers to quit, and soon it will be vouchers for burglars to behave

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-01-28 19:34
Cash incentives may affect behaviour, but what about the moral implications of being rewarded for misbehaving? Continue reading...






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India eyes ambitious renewables targets - with US help

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-01-28 19:30
Months before the UN climate summit in Paris, India has set ambitious new targets for renewable energy, and will now have access to US know-how






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Brazil hit hard by worst drought since 1930

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-01-28 19:00
Four million people in Brazil's south-east powerhouse have been hit by water rationing and blackouts in the country's worst drought on record






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It's OK to soak up the sun, just don't get burned

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-01-28 18:30
Sunshine police take note, the latest guidelines from the UK's health advisory body NICE suggest we should actively seek out some rays






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Skull discovery suggests location where humans first had sex with Neanderthals

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-01-28 18:18
Skull found in northern Israeli cave in western Galilee, thought to be female and 55,000 years old, connects interbreeding and move from Africa to Europe

An ancient skull found in a cave in northern Israel has cast light on the migration of modern humans out of Africa and the dawn of humanity’s colonisation of the world.

For most palaeontologists that might be enough for a single fossil, but the braincase has offered much more: a likely location where the first prehistoric trysts resulted in modern humans having sex with their heavy-browed Neanderthal cousins.

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