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Vital antibiotics research needs radical new incentives

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-05-19 16:14
Pharmaceutical companies aren't developing antibiotics because there is little profit to be had – cue a radical solution to the problem







Categories: Science news

Hard to bear: pandas poorly adapted for digesting bamboo, scientists find

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-05-19 15:40

Adding to their extinction woes, study finds pandas have a carnivorous digestive system and lack the gut flora for extracting maximum energy from plants

The panda’s woes are well-documented. Their habitat is shrinking, they are incredibly fussy eaters and they have an unusually lacklustre approach to sex.

Now scientists have discovered that the bears are also poorly adapted for digesting bamboo, despite the plant being almost the only thing they eat. The research shows that two million years after shifting to a herbivore lifestyle, the giant panda still has carnivore-like gut bacteria, which is better at breaking down protein.

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Categories: Science news

Secret US X-37B plane takes to the skies to experiment in space

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-05-19 13:00
Officials have lifted the lid on two experiments slated to fly aboard the X-37B this Wednesday







Categories: Science news

Science on stage: should playwrights respect history and truth? - The Guardian

Marcus du Sautoy news - Tue, 2015-05-19 12:58

The Guardian

Science on stage: should playwrights respect history and truth?
The Guardian
In a recent panel at the Royal Society discussing theatre and science, Marcus du Sautoy noted that too often science plays actually shy away from the science they are supposed to be presenting, or else get the science wrong. These are the kinds of ...

Categories: Marcus du Sautoy

Science on stage: should playwrights respect history and truth?

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-05-19 12:58

Critics of science plays cannot accept that playwrights are free to depict real historical events and people as they like

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Categories: Science news

Ice hunters lasso an iceberg to turn it into vodka

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-05-19 12:00
Floating off the coast of Newfoundland, this massive chunk of ice is big business and will be sold to prestige mineral water and high-end vodka makers







Categories: Science news

Are we products of nature or nurture? Science answers age-old question

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-05-19 08:38

Twin studies collated over the past 50 years reveal human traits and disease are almost equally determined by genetic and environmental factors

The age-old question of whether human traits are determined by nature or nurture has been answered, a team of researchers say. Their conclusion? It’s a draw.

By collating almost every twin study across the world from the past 50 years, researchers determined that the average variation for human traits and disease is 49% due to genetic factors and 51% due to environmental factors.

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Categories: Science news

Health and data: can digital fitness monitors revolutionise our lives?

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-05-19 08:37
From granular microchips to voice analysis, health-tracking technology offers medical benefits but doubt persist about the quality and security of data gathered

From the instant he wakes up each morning, through his workday and into the night, the essence of Larry Smarr is captured by a series of numbers: a resting heart rate of 40 beats per minute, a blood pressure of 130/70, a stress level of 2%, weight of 87kg, 8,000 steps taken, 15 floors climbed, eight hours of sleep.

Smarr, an astrophysicist and computer scientist, could be the world’s most self-measured man. For nearly 15 years, the professor at the University of California at San Diego has been obsessed with what he describes as the most complicated subject he has ever experimented on: his own body.

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Categories: Science news

Case of the Rickety Cossack reveals unease about our fossil past

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-05-19 08:00
We are the sole evolutionary remnant of a big family: in a new book, Ian Tattersall wonders why thinking about our dead cousins makes us so uncomfortable







Categories: Science news

Equality and polyamory: why early humans weren't The Flintstones

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-05-19 07:15

A study released last week presented evidence that prehistoric men and women lived in relative equality. But is the truth even further from the nuclear narrative?

Last week, scientists from University College London released a paper presenting evidence that men and women in early society lived in relative equality. The paper challenges much of our understanding of human history, a fact not lost on the scientists. Mark Dyble, the study’s lead author, stated “sexual equality is one of the important changes that distinguishes humans. It hasn’t really been highlighted before.”

Despite Dyble’s comments, however, this paper isn’t the first foray into the issue. In fact, it represents another shot fired in a debate between scientific and anthropological communities that has been raging for centuries. It’s a debate that asks some fundamental questions: who are we, and how did we become the society we are today?

Related: Early men and women were equal, say scientists

Related: Being polyamorous shows there's no 'traditional' way to live | Laurie Penny

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Categories: Science news

Abel Prize 2015: John Nash, Louis Nirenberg and the maths of ice cream

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-05-19 07:00

Today King Harald of Norway will present John Nash and Louis Nirenberg with the £500,000 Abel Prize, one of the top honours in mathematics. Here Norwegian mathematician and TV presenter Jo Røislien explains their groundbreaking work

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Categories: Science news

Climate change: Americans crowding into future heatwave zones, study says

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-05-19 03:10

Houston-Dallas-San Antonio and Atlanta-Charlotte-Raleigh areas most affected by ‘double whammy’ of population shift and temperature rises, scientists argue

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Categories: Science news

Geologists use jelly, lasers and water to unravel mystery of volcanic eruption

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-05-19 00:25

An experiment to work out why magma travels along vertical and horizontal fractures reveals a previously unrecognised potential trigger for eruptions

Scientists have discovered a previously unrecognised potential trigger for volcanic eruptions during an experiment involving jelly, lasers and coloured water.

Sandy Cruden, a geologist at Monash University in Melbourne, said the scientists came to the finding by accident during a study of how magma moves through layers of rock in the earth’s crust.

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Categories: Science news

Chainsaw sharks: The plight of the world's weirdest fish

New Scientist - news - Mon, 2015-05-18 20:00
Sawfishes – shark-like creatures with a lethal snout – are the most endangered of all sea fish, but can we get to know them before they go under? (full text available to subscribers)







Categories: Science news

Russian Proton-M rocket fails on launch in Kazakhstan

New Scientist - news - Mon, 2015-05-18 18:39
The country's troubled space programme experiences another launch failure – the latest in a string of blunders







Categories: Science news

New Zealand's worst earthquake fear confirmed by sediment survey

New Scientist - news - Mon, 2015-05-18 18:11
Separate sections of one of New Zealand's biggest faults appear to have ruptured simultaneously in the past, suggesting a huge quake there is possible in the future







Categories: Science news

Step into this van Gogh painting recreated with virtual reality

New Scientist - news - Mon, 2015-05-18 18:00
A virtual version of a famous painting lets you wander round the artwork and explore the scene in 3D – with a few added extras







Categories: Science news

Why I choose to have less choice

Guardian Science - Mon, 2015-05-18 17:45
Shopping around is the mantra of the modern era. But who really benefits from our befuddlement? Continue reading...







Categories: Science news

Home-brewed heroin? Scientists create yeast that can make sugar into opiates

Guardian Science - Mon, 2015-05-18 17:19

Researchers have managed to reproduce the way poppies create morphine in the wild, but warn that the technology needs urgent regulation

Home-brewed heroin could become a reality, scientists have warned, following the creation of yeast strains designed to convert sugar into opiates.

The advance marks the first time that scientists have artificially reproduced the entire chemical pathway that takes place in poppy plants to produce morphine in the wild.

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Categories: Science news

Home-brew heroin: soon anyone will be able to make illegal drugs

New Scientist - news - Mon, 2015-05-18 17:03
In a few years, people could be using modified yeast to make drugs such as heroin and cocaine as easily as brewing beer. The impact on drug traffickers could be huge







Categories: Science news
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