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150 years of mathematics in the UK – in pictures

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-05-15 14:48

As the London Mathematical Society celebrates its 150th anniversary, we look back at some of the key moments and players that helped shape and influence mathematics, including Mary Cartwright, the first female mathematician who founded the chaos theory, and twice president GH Hardy who aptly named his cricket team ‘Hardy’s Mathematicals’

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Facebook and the rise of social algorithms - podcast

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-05-15 13:58
How the filter bubble is shaping our lives Continue reading...







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Sex education for teenagers should include fertility, says doctor

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-05-15 13:51

Reproduction specialist Dr Geeta Nargund wants secondary school pupils to be taught about conception, not just contraception

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Beware Eurosceptic versions of history and science

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-05-15 13:28

Historians for Britain hope to shape the debate over Europe. We should question their narrative and our own assumptions about Britain’s place in history and the history of science

Readers of the Guardian Science pages may not have noticed the group called Historians for Britain, or a recent piece in History Today by David Abulafia asserting their belief “that Britain’s unique history sets it apart from the rest of Europe”. Since it is a pressure group, connected to Business for Britain, that aims to use history to steer the debate over the EU referendum, it will probably become increasingly vocal. It requires critical scrutiny from everyone with an interest in Britain’s relationship with the rest of the world, and in evidence-based political discussion.

Abilafia’s article is a classic example of an old-fashioned “Whiggish” narrative. It claims a uniquely moderate and progressive advance toward the development of British institutions, traced continuously from Magna Carta and isolated from the rages and radicalism of the Continent. There has been a strongly negative response from historians on Twitter, sometimes suggesting their opposition as #HistoriansforEurope or, given the scathing reception of Abulafia’s ‘island nation’ narrative, simply #HistoriansforHistory. A reply is being drafted for the pages of History Today and a piece by Neil Gregor has already appeared in The Huffington Post.

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Heir to UK throne should keep out of controversial health debate

New Scientist - news - Fri, 2015-05-15 12:06
Pleas in support of complementary medicine by Prince Charles to government ministers have finally been made public. About time, says Edzard Ernst







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Feedback: A song for a satellite gone

New Scientist - news - Fri, 2015-05-15 12:00
New dimensions in burglary, more numerology of cosmology, the naming of small things and more (full text available to subscribers)







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Discovered. A fish with a warm heart

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-05-15 11:42

New research demonstrates a remarkable adaptation in a fish. It has a warm heart

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Fighting bugs with bugs: this time it’s personal

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-05-15 11:23

A possible solution to one of the world’s most pressing problems might be lurking in my own back garden: my son and I see what we can do about it

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Warm-blooded opah fish flaps its fins – video

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-05-15 10:44
Footage from Science magazine, released on Thursday, shows the first warm-blooded fish to be discovered. The opah, found off the US, Australia and other countries, swims using its pectoral muscles to generate warmth. The fish's internal system has been compared to a car-radiator system, similar to endothermic mammals and birds that can maintain their body temperature, regardless of their environment Continue reading...







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Amanda Knox legal fight highlights fallibility of DNA forensics

New Scientist - news - Fri, 2015-05-15 10:00
In the wake of the Amanda Knox case, Greg Hampikian, DNA expert for the defence, says greater scrutiny of crime labs is needed to avoid further injustice







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Giant squid found on New Zealand coast – video report

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-05-15 09:58
Pictures released by Kaikoura Marine Centre and Aquarium shows a dead giant squid, found on Tuesday. The squid was nearly two metres long, with one tentacle reaching an additional five metres. it was found by a man walking his dog at South Bay in Kaikoura. The local marine centre has since moved the squid to a freezer with glass windows so it can be viewed by the public. The aquarium says some samples will go to Auckland and Otago Universities for research Continue reading...







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How conservatives lost the plot over the rejection of Bjorn Lomborg

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-05-15 08:21

Danish climate contrarian Bjorn Lomborg was rejected by the University of Western Australia. Was this really Australia’s own “Scopes Monkey Trial”?

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Robot cleaner can empty bins and sweep floors

New Scientist - news - Fri, 2015-05-15 07:00
Dussmann, one of the Germany's largest cleaning companies, has been testing an office cleaning robot in its Berlin headquarters







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Early men and women were equal, say scientists

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-05-14 22:58

Study shows that modern hunter-gatherer tribes operate on egalitarian basis, suggesting inequality was an aberration that came with the advent of agriculture

Our prehistoric forebears are often portrayed as spear-wielding savages, but the earliest human societies are likely to have been founded on enlightened egalitarian principles, according to scientists.

A study has shown that in contemporary hunter-gatherer tribes, men and women tend to have equal influence on where their group lives and who they live with. The findings challenge the idea that sexual equality is a recent invention, suggesting that it has been the norm for humans for most of our evolutionary history.

Related: How hunting with wolves helped humans outsmart the Neanderthals

Sexual equality is one of the important changes that distinguishes humans. It hasn’t really been highlighted before

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Bad memories drive lab rats to rescue drenched companions faster

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-05-14 21:00
Empathy motivates rats to free each other from an upsetting wet cage, and they do it more quickly if they have experienced the unpleasant situation themselves







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The fly's neural compass works just like a mammal's

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-05-14 20:40

Neurons in the fruit fly brain track orientation much like ‘head direction’ cells in the mammalian brain

Fruit flies have a neural compass that tracks orientation by combining visual and self-motion cues, according to a study published today in the journal Nature. The new research show that the compass in the fruit fly brain works in a similar way to that of mammals, suggesting that this tiny creature could teach us a few things about how our own compass works.

Most animals use landmarks to find their way around, but when navigating bare or unfamiliar terrain, they can estimate their position by tracking the direction and speed of their movements relative to a starting point, a process called path integration. The brains of rodents and other mammals contain at least four different types of nerve cells that are involved in this process, which co-operate to form a cognitive map of the surroundings.

Related: 3D compass cells found in the bat brain

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Panic, depression and stress: The case against meditation

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-05-14 20:00
Meditation and mindfulness have become the new aspirin, a Buddha pill without side effects – but not all their effects are positive, argue two psychologists (full text available to subscribers)







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Flies share basic elements of human fear - but is it emotion?

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-05-14 18:30
When fruit flies are threatened with overhead shadows, they delay returning to the danger area, even foregoing an easy meal







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#TheDress: have researchers solved the mystery of its colour?

Guardian Science - Thu, 2015-05-14 18:00

Gold and white or blue and black? Why did people see The Dress so differently? Researchers believe the key might lie in our exposure to artificial light

The image of The Dress that went viral this year and split friends and families over the colour of its stripes has sparked a fresh debate among scientists.

The close-cropped picture of the garment became an internet sensation when it appeared on Tumblr in late February. Its horizontal stripes were black and blue. Or were they white and gold?

Related: Is The Dress blue and black or white and gold? The answer lies in vision psychology | Marie Rogers

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Everyday drugs: Are we taking too many preventive pills?

New Scientist - news - Thu, 2015-05-14 18:00
As lifespans stretch, many of us are popping at least one pill a day. But all this medicine could be harming rather than helping your health (full text available to subscribers)







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