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Indians lose billions of life years to air pollution

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-02-25 15:15
Over half of India's population lives in areas with dangerous levels of air pollution. Now that has been translated into years of life lost overall






Categories: Science news

Rats may be disgusting, but it’s people who have made the world they thrive in

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-02-25 14:32
People and rats are mutually dependent as a result of disease cycles and medical advances made possible by animal testing, among many other things Continue reading...
Categories: Science news

Bionic reconstruction gives men first prosthetic hands controlled by mind

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-02-25 13:19

Austrians have injured limbs amputated, then nerves and muscles transplanted from leg to arm are used to control prosthetic hands

Three Austrians have had their injured hands replaced with bionic ones that they can control using nerves and muscles transplanted into their arms from their legs.

The three men are the first to undergo what doctors refer to as “bionic reconstruction”, which involves a voluntary amputation, the transplantof nerves and muscles and learning to use faint signals from them to command the hand.

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Categories: Science news

Birth of a Theorem: A Mathematical Adventure by Cédric Villani – review

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-02-25 12:00
The compelling and uncompromising diary of a prizewinning French enthusiast and eccentric

To really appreciate mathematics, you have to see it evolve, to work through the twists and turns yourself; it’s almost never enough for someone to just tell you about it. These wise words from my secondary school maths teacher have stuck with me ever since. Cédric Villani knows this, too. To put it in his words: “Appreciating a theorem in mathematics is like watching an episode of Columbo: the line of reasoning by which the detective solves the mystery is more important than the identity of the murderer.” Villani should know. He is widely regarded as one of the most talented mathematicians of his generation. His work has won him almost every prize going: the Fermat prize (a big deal) the Poincaré prize (a very big deal) and even the Fields medal (off-the-chart big deal). For those who aren’t familiar, the Fields medal is often referred to as the Nobel prize of mathematics but, as it is only awarded once every four years, and even then only to mathematicians under 40, it is much, much harder to win. Villani’s medal was awarded in 2010 for his work in mathematical physics describing the behaviour of particles in gases and plasmas.

The Birth of a Theorem is written as a diary, taking us through the early evolution of the idea in Lyon in 2008, through six months of frustration trying to wrestle the beast of a theorem to the ground at Princeton (his words, not mine) and culminating in the news that he has won the most coveted prize.

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Categories: Science news

The anatomy of a 'mind blank'

Guardian Science - Wed, 2015-02-25 09:07

Natalie Bennett has ascribed her car-crash interview on LBC to a ‘mind blank’. So what’s going on when the brain refuses to cooperate?

It makes for “excruciating” listening – not my words, but those of Green leader Natalie Bennett, who was forced to admit she’d given a disastrous radio interview on the very morning of her party’s campaign launch.

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Men have hands amputated and replaced with bionic ones

New Scientist - news - Wed, 2015-02-25 00:01
Three people with paralysed arms had their hands amputated and replaced by prosthetic ones that they control with their mind






Categories: Science news

Britain's House of Lords approves conception of three-person babies

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-02-24 20:56

Clinics in UK will be able to apply for licenses from this autumn after MPs approved new rules earlier this month

Britain has become the first country in the world to permit the use of “three-person IVF” to prevent incurable genetic diseases.

The House of Lords voted by 280 votes to 48 on Tuesday evening to approve changes to the law allowing fertility clinics to carry out mitochondrial donation. Babies conceived through this IVF technique would have biological material from three different people – a mother, father and a female donor.

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Categories: Science news

Daily pill Truvada cuts spread of HIV by 86%, study shows

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-02-24 20:20

Study looking at transmission among men who have sex with men recruited 545 participants at high risk of contracting HIV

A daily pill can effectively protect gay men against infection with HIV, a UK trial has shown, which experts say now offers hope of reversing the virus’s spread.

Taking the drug, called Truvada, could become a daily routine for men who have sex with men in the same way that the contraceptive pill is for women, some believe. NHS England will now study the results to determine whether it is cost effective to provide it for men at risk of infection.

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Categories: Science news

I'll fly around the world using only solar power

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-02-24 20:00
Adventurer and aeronaut Bertrand Piccard is poised to take to the skies in a sun-powered plane that's wider than a 747 but only as heavy as a family car






Categories: Science news

Blind man sees wife for first time in 10 years - video

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-02-24 19:49
A blind man from Minnesota is able to see his wife for the first time in 10 years, after receiving a bionic eye. Allen Zderad, 68, was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease around 20 years ago, which eventually left him blind. Minnesota's Mayo Clinic gave Zderad a prototype eye device, known as Second Sight, allowing him to see shapes and human forms Continue reading...






Categories: Science news

Great gerbils – not black rats – were chief cause of the great plague, study says

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-02-24 19:24

Researchers claim Black Death was imported from Asia over 400 years of the pandemic via native rodents such as great gerbils and marmots which harboured the plague bacteria

The gruesome waves of bubonic plague that began with the Black Death in medieval Europe and ended with the Great Plague of London may have been driven more by great gerbils than black rats, researchers claim.

In a study that threatens to overturn the popular history of one of the world’s greatest health disasters, scientists suggest that the disease had little to do with pest-ridden rats lurking in European cities, but was instead imported from Asia time and again over the four hundred years of the pandemic.

Related: You dirty rat! Turns out giant gerbils were responsible for the Black Death

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Categories: Science news

The plan to find alien life in Europa's icy seas

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-02-24 19:11
We're getting ready to send a probe to Jupiter's icy moon – but how will we know if anything lives there?






Categories: Science news

Stunning fossils: Fish catches fish-catching pterosaur

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-02-24 18:00
The swooping pterosaur snatched a fish from the water, only to be caught by a much bigger fish leaping into the air (full text available to subscribers)






Categories: Science news

Today on New Scientist

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-02-24 17:45
All the latest on newscientist.com: gerbils blamed for plague, moon race, rats that can't get drunk, a bat that lives in a carnivorous plant, and more.






Categories: Science news

Renewable energy poised to overtake nuclear in the UK

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-02-24 16:13
Surge in wind power sees share of electricity from renewable sources double between 2010 and 2013, driving down carbon emissions






Categories: Science news

Wellcome Collection exhibition tracks murder from crime scene to courtroom

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-02-24 16:10

Glass jars of blow flies, dissecting table and doll’s house-size models on show in Forensics, at newly expanded museum

Standing beside the liver of a Victorian girl and the six-inch knife with which her brother fatally stabbed her four times, Ken Arnold, head of exhibitions at the Wellcome Collection, says cheerfully: “No, I don’t think we’re going to have any fainters this time.”

The more full-on exhibitions at Wellcome, including footage of open-heart surgery and vividly realistic wax models of appalling diseases, have acquired a reputation for causing sensitive visitors to be carried out feet first. Forensics, an exhibition that follows the course of murder and violent assault from crime scene to courtroom, may yet continue that trend.

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Categories: Science news

Speeding up the battle against slowing minds

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-02-24 15:11

New research from UCL brings us closer to finding out what’s behind one of our biggest killers

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Categories: Science news

You dirty rat! Turns out giant gerbils were responsible for the Black Death

Guardian Science - Tue, 2015-02-24 13:00
For years, black rats have been blamed for spreading bubonic plague, but now scientists in Norway believe it was giant gerbils

Name: Variable.

Age: Immaterial. Just keep replacing them until your child is old enough to contemplate pet-death with equanimity.

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Categories: Science news

Stunning fossils: The seven most amazing ever found

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-02-24 12:31
Dinosaurs in mortal combat, an ichthyosaur birth, a fish catching a fish-catching pterosaur: these seven fossils show prehistoric beasts living and dying






Categories: Science news

Tiny bat makes home in a carnivorous plant

New Scientist - news - Tue, 2015-02-24 12:00
No bat cave for the Hardwicke's woolly bat – a pitcher plant in the swamps of Borneo is a perfect roost for this tiny animal






Categories: Science news
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