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Leap second is added to atomic clock in Sydney – video

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-07-01 04:20
Bruce Warrington, a physical metrology general manager at the national measurement institute, speaks to the media as a leap second is added to the atomic clock in Sydney. A leap second is a one-second adjustment occasionally applied to coordinated universal time to keep it close to the mean solar time Continue reading...

Categories: Science news

Huge arching eruption on sun's surface captured by Nasa – video

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-07-01 03:20
Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught this vision of an arching eruption on the side of the sun over 18 June. The imagery is shown in the wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light which highlights material in the low parts of the sun's atmosphere and is typically colorised in red. This clip covers about four hours of the event Continue reading...

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Leap second: all the latest developments and reaction – live!

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-07-01 01:43

You just had one of the longest hours of your life. At midnight GMT, clocks added an extra second to allow atomic clocks to stay in sync with the Earth’s rotation. Will the internet fall apart? Follow all the latest developments on our live blog

10.41am AEST

Was it as good for you as it was for us? The longest day of the year is flying by here at the Guardian’s Sydney HQ. Here’s how the leap second went down, in real time:

10.31am AEST

The chaos we all feared is upon us:

Twitter is having problem estimating how long ago tweets were sent. Seeing tweets from a minute ago say they were sent a day ago #leapsecond

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The Guardian view on the Tim Hunt affair: an explosive combination of science, sexism and social media | Editorial

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-06-30 20:41
Cyberstorms are just another form of bullying, and the best answer is a measured response

It is three weeks since Sir Tim Hunt, a Nobel prize winner, shared his sexist opinion of female scientists – distractingly sexy, prone to weep when criticised and best segregated at work – with a room full of science writers. His remarks were relayed into the Twittersphere by several of those present, including British-based science writer Connie St Louis. At once, he came under global and sometimes viciously personal attack on social media. He delivered a non-apology on BBC radio. According to his wife, also a senior scientist at UCL, it was made clear to her that to protect UCL’s reputation, he had to resign.

Within 24 hours of his after-dinner speech, he had gone. By the weekend, he was complaining to sympathisers that he had been hung out to dry, unleashing a wave of support that included famous colleagues such as Richard Dawkins and Brian Cox. Today Jonathan Dimbleby joined the protest. Next week, UCL’s council meets and the Hunt affair will once again be on the agenda. This bitter mix of resentments amplified by the polarising environment of social media should have met a calmer official response. But the professor still had to go.

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The science of sustainability: what we've learned from artificial photosynthesis and synthetic meat

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-06-30 20:38

As our blog, The Science Behind Sustainability Solutions, wraps up, here’s a look back at some of the most innovative solutions to current world problems

Most sustainability efforts focus on fixing problems. Whether the solution involves installing air filtration systems on cruise ships, lobbying for safer meat production or restricting microbead usage, it usually comes after a problem has become a crisis.

But what if we could head off the problem at the beginning of the process, instead of at the end? What if, instead of trying to reduce the emissions from fossil fuels, we could skip the fossil fuels entirely? What if, instead of dealing with the environmental and health problems created by meat production, we could take cattle out of the process?

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Hope for Alzheimer's treatment as researchers find licensed drugs halt brain degeneration

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-06-30 18:56

Studies on mice show two existing medicines could help restore protein production in brain and prevent memory loss, speeding up search for cure

Two licensed drugs have been shown to halt brain degeneration in mice, raising the prospect of a rapid acceleration in the search for a medicine to beat Alzheimer’s disease.

The results, presented on Tuesday at the Alzheimer’s Society annual research conference in Manchester, have been hailed as “hugely promising” because they involve medicines that are already known to be safe and well-tolerated in people – potentially cutting years from the timeline for drugs to reach patients.

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Behind the scenes at Formula E - the future of motor racing?

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-06-30 18:12
This weekend, the inaugural season of the Formula E championship, the world’s first all-electric racing series, came to a close in London. David Stock was there

Categories: Science news

How same-sex marriage ruling skirts science of 'born this way'

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-06-30 17:57
The Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage, but didn't declare sexual orientation a "suspect class", which would give it the same protection as race

Categories: Science news

Weird cells in your semen? Don't panic, you might just have flu

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-06-30 17:30
Human semen contains mystery round cells - new research confirms most are immature sperm that fail to develop a tail, and links their formation to infections like flu

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The new regions at risk from mosquitoes carrying diseases

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-06-30 16:38
Cases of yellow fever, chikungunya and dengue fever might rise as the ideal conditions for the mosquitoes that can carry the viruses become more widespread

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Kirsty Hall obituary

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-06-30 16:36
Psychoanalyst who challenged traditional attitudes within her profession

My friend Kirsty Hall, who has died of cancer aged 67, was for years a well-known figure in London’s psychoanalytic community, practising as an analyst, teaching at Middlesex University, the Guild of Psychotherapists and the Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis, and writing several books, as well as founding her own publishing company, Rebus Press.

She was a powerful figure, with a fierce determination when she was set on a course of action, shaking up an often cautious and moribund profession. At the same time, she was a patient and committed teacher and supervisor, a generous colleague, and a dynamic organiser whose initiatives bore vigorous fruit.

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Dopamine boost restores libido in ageing male fruit flies

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-06-30 16:00
Exposing elderly male Drosophila to dopamine increased the time they spent courting females - something that could help us understand sex drive in people

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New blow to UK fracking is a delay but not the end of the road

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-06-30 14:11
Opencast coal mines were once routinely delayed by local councils amid unfounded health concerns. The same is happening with fracking, warns Paul Younger

Categories: Science news

Asteroid strikes are a threat, but space-based telescopes would reduce risk

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-06-30 13:41

Asteroids could potentially cause substantial damage to the planet. Better observational data and analysis could help us to avert disastrous strikes

The aim of Asteroid Day is to inform the public and raise awareness about the possibility that asteroids can collide with the Earth in the future. Today was chosen to highlight the risk because on the same day in 1908, a 30m object entered the atmosphere over a forested region in Siberia and exploded in mid­-air. The resulting shockwave and heat levelled the forest over an area larger than greater London.

Related: Brian May: Asteroid Day can help protect the planet

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How being poor can lead to a negative spiral of fear and self-loathing

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-06-30 13:00
A new report shows how the ‘scarcity mindset’ affects those living in poverty – they focus on the short term, internalise negative images and have feelings of failure

Commenting on the actions and choices of those in poverty seems to have become a national sport. It’s rare to ever have a discussion about economic hardship in Britain without a bystander or internet commenter leaning forward and opining “But they’ve all got flatscreen TVs and smoke cigarettes.” The economic choices of the very poorest are seen as ripe for public dissection.

But the psychological consequences of poverty are discussed far less. Oxford University and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have released a study that goes some way to silencing those who would argue poverty is simply a moral failing. The newly released Household Below Average Income figures for 2013/14 show no progress whatsoever on poverty rates, and a slim increase in child poverty and working families earning less than they need: so poverty is here to stay.

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US Supreme Court backs controversial execution drug

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-06-30 12:11
Death penalty states can continue to use midazolam, a drug that was involved in several botched executions in the US over the past year

Categories: Science news

Brian May: Asteroid Day can help protect the planet

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-06-30 11:56

Astrophysicist Dr Brian May has spoken to the Guardian about Asteroid Day, and saving the planet from the threat of incoming space rocks

Before Queen, Brian May was an astrophysicist. He has held a life-long fascination with space and is now devoting more time promoting the study of the cosmos to others. He is a key figure behind Asteroid Day, a series of almost 100 events around the world.

Related: Search for deadly asteroids must be accelerated to protect Earth, say experts

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'Leap second': how are you planning to spend it?

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-06-30 11:00

Just before midnight tonight the earth gains an extra second, as atomic clocks recalibrate with the turning of the earth. How will you take advantage of it?

Each moment of human existence is precious, and we’ll all be getting an extra one at midnight on Tuesday (GMT). The “leap second” is to allow extremely precise devices to keep in sync with the Earth’s rotation, which is gradually slowing. The extra second added by atomic clocks at 23:59:60 will keep official time in tune with when night and day are supposed to happen.

A second can be an age: time enough to fall in love, spot a shooting star, or click ‘send’ on a massively misguided email.

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One flasher you wouldn't mind being startled by

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-06-30 11:00
That would be a northern flicker woodpecker, displaying a stunning arc of yellow plumage as it erupts from its nest in Alaska

Categories: Science news

Brian May warns of catastrophic threat to Earth from asteroids – video

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-06-30 09:18
Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May warns of the threat to Earth from a meteor strike. He's among a group of experts calling for more effort to find and track potentially dangerous asteroids. 'We are under threat from a meteor strike. This is a catastrophe that could be averted,' he says to mark the first ever 'asteroid day' Continue reading...

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