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How viable is nuclear fusion as an energy source? - podcast

Guardian Science - Mon, 2015-01-26 11:16
Are scientific and industrial ideas about commercial nuclear fusion reactors in the near future just wishful thinking? Continue reading...

Categories: Science news

Social failure, not lifestyle, has made Scots sick

New Scientist - news - Mon, 2015-01-26 08:00
Job loss and social breakdown, not smoking and bad diet, lie at the roots of Scotland's infamously high rate of premature death, says a public health expert

Categories: Science news

The official and unofficial stories of Google in space

Guardian Science - Mon, 2015-01-26 07:30

Google have invested in SpaceX, a company founded on the idea of private space flights to Mars. But there are alternative narratives for the tech giant’s race into space

A week ago, Elon Musk launched his new SpaceX satellite lab in Seattle. He plans to provide satellite internet access via a constellation of 4,000 satellites flying at 750km above the earth, each weighing hundreds of kgs. The announcement came two days after Richard Branson and Qualcomm invested in the OneWeb satellite internet initiative, which is building almost 700 fridge-sized satellites.

Along with Branson, Musk is a billionaire that usually talks about democratising space by turning us all into astronauts. The serial entrepreneur has concentrated his efforts on rockets, winning a NASA contract to take humans into space in 2017. His dream is to set up a colony on Mars. The turn towards satellites marks a departure from this – a more mundane democratisation of space, offering more of us the chance to use satellite communication technology.

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Is MSG a silent killer or useful flavour booster?

New Scientist - news - Mon, 2015-01-26 01:00
MSG could help elderly people regain their appetite, but it has a bad reputation. Here are the facts about this much-maligned additive

Categories: Science news

Let GM mosquitoes loose to bite and help cure tropical diseases - researchers

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-01-25 19:29
  • British biotech firm awaiting FDA approval to release bugs in the Florida Keys
  • Change.org petition gets more than 130,000 signatures to stop experiment

Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases. Never before have insects with modified DNA come so close to being set loose in a residential US neighbourhood.

“This is essentially using a mosquito as a drug to cure disease,” said Michael Doyle, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, which is waiting to hear if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will allow the experiment.

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When you wish upon a star: nuclear fusion and the promise of a brighter tomorrow

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-01-25 10:00
Decades in the making, Iter, a huge experimental nuclear fusion reactor in rural France, could be the site of breakthroughs that will provide limitless, clean energy and secure the planet’s future Continue reading...

Categories: Science news

The secrets of the shelf seas – one of Earth’s most important ecosystems

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-01-25 07:30

The sea off our coasts teems with microscopic life that breaks down the carbon dioxide we pump into the air. Now a series of expeditions aims to find out more

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New to Nature No 138: Gastrodia flexistyloides

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-01-25 07:00
This new orchid fertilises itself… but don’t go eating it as an aphrodisiac Continue reading...

Categories: Science news

Chin-chin: US company toasts anti-fat drug to make double chins history

Guardian Science - Sat, 2015-01-24 21:51
  • Experimental ATX-101 seeks to end curse of the double chin
  • Company claims more than 90% success, non-serious side effects
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Categories: Science news

Bill Gates predicts HIV vaccine by 2030

Guardian Science - Sat, 2015-01-24 13:36
Microsoft founder tells Davos that vaccine and new intense drug treatments could end most new cases of deadly virus Continue reading...

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Life & Physics in pictures - No. 3

Guardian Science - Sat, 2015-01-24 12:48

Not much time to write this weekend, but here are some more Life-and-Physics-related snaps, at least some of which may be “quite interesting”, as Stephen Fry might put it

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Cat genes could hold vital clues to treatments for human diseases

Guardian Science - Sat, 2015-01-24 12:08
Researchers aim to sequence feline genomes to help in fight against diabetes and asthma Continue reading...

Categories: Science news

Beautiful blood clot could reveal deadly detail

New Scientist - news - Sat, 2015-01-24 00:01
An award-winning extreme close-up of a blood clot could give insight into the causes of heart disease and stroke

Categories: Science news

Finding ET – we're gonna need a bigger dish

New Scientist - news - Fri, 2015-01-23 17:17
We need to widen the way we listen for broadcasts from alien civilisations – looking for short pulses packed with information as well as simpler radio signals

Categories: Science news

Robot jazz band showcases its freestyling skills

New Scientist - news - Fri, 2015-01-23 16:56
Watch as four robots accompany a human musician and show how artificial intelligence lets them improvise and play complex music

Categories: Science news

Videos reveal rich upside-down world under polar ice

New Scientist - news - Fri, 2015-01-23 15:57
A secret underwater world thrives on algal meadows that hang under the polar sea ice – now we get some of the first glimpses of it

Categories: Science news

GlaxoSmithKline boss optimistic about Ebola vaccine – video

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-01-23 15:31
Sir Andrew Witty, the CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, says he has high hopes for the potential Ebola vaccine that is now being shipped to west Africa. Witty says the vaccine has been developed quickly, with the company running parallel trials, commissioning new production lines, and bringing in more people to speed up the process Continue reading...

Categories: Science news

Mice evolve better, not bigger, balls in sperm race

New Scientist - news - Fri, 2015-01-23 15:29
Size isn't everything. When many male mice mate with the same females, their descendants evolve testes that can produce more sperm

Categories: Science news

How mathematicians are storytellers and numbers are the characters - The Guardian

Marcus du Sautoy news - Fri, 2015-01-23 14:47

The Guardian

How mathematicians are storytellers and numbers are the characters
The Guardian
Marcus du Sautoy explains how mathematical proofs are like narratives, with plots, thrills and 'whodunnit' reveals. Marcus du Sautoy. Journeying from from the Shire to Mordor … Marcus du Sautoy. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian. Marcus du ...

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Oppenheimer five-star review – father of atomic bomb becomes tragic hero at RSC

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-01-23 13:01
The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon
Tom Morton-Smith’s massively impressive play explores the moral chain reactions before and after the bombing of Hiroshima

“Oppenheimer’s stature is not in question, but do we have a playwright big enough to depict him?” That was the question posed by critic Eric Bentley in 1969. The answer has been found in the shape of Tom Morton-Smith, a 34-year-old dramatist with a handful of fringe credits, who has come up with this massively impressive three-hour play for the RSC: one that shows the father of the atomic bomb and leader of America’s Manhattan project to be a genuinely tragic hero.

Oppenheimer’s tragedy, in Morton-Smith’s version, takes many forms. The most obvious is that this visionary scientist, who led the team that created the bombs released on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, had to live with the moral consequences of his discoveries: “I feel,” he says, “like I’ve dropped a loaded gun in a playground.”

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