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Hope or despair? The highs and lows of saving seabirds

New Scientist - news - Mon, 2015-06-29 07:00
From saving the migratory paths of endangered knots to establishing new colonies of puffins, two new books show the tough challenges bird conservationists face









Categories: Science news

Famous baby giant armadillo found dead

Guardian Science - Mon, 2015-06-29 06:28

After two years of recording the surprising relationship between a baby giant armadillo and its mother, scientists have found the juvenile dead in the Brazilian Pantanal.

For almost two years, Alex the giant armadillo has been the most famous of his little-known and cryptic species. Born in June of 2013, photos and videos of Alex appeared across the global media, including the BBC, National Geographic and Mongabay. From Alex and his mother, Isabelle, researchers learned that giant armadillos are far more parental and familial than long believed.

Two weeks ago, researchers found Alex dead.

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Categories: Science news

Starwatch: The July night sky

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-06-28 21:30

Britain’s night-long summer twilight begins to subside in July so that lucky starwatchers under a dark sky may be able to glimpse the Milky Way as it arches high across the E at our map times from the Scorpius-Sagittarius region in the S towards Cassiopeia and Auriga in the NNE. On the way, it flows through the familiar Summer Triangle formed by Deneb, Altair and (brightest of all) Vega.

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Nasa SpaceX mission to International Space Station ends in explosion

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-06-28 18:55
  • Administrator: ‘We will work with SpaceX to understand what happened’
  • Dragon spacecraft was carrying supplies and station docking adaptor

Nasa and the International Space station suffered a “big loss” on Sunday, when the launch of a SpaceX supply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) ended in an explosion that destroyed an unmanned Dragon spacecraft and the Falcon 9 rocket propelling it.

A video posted to Instagram showed the explosion. Reports said pieces of the spacecraft and rocket could be seen falling into the Atlantic Ocean.

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Categories: Science news

Medical marijuana arrives next week in Minnesota – but smoking it is banned

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-06-28 17:34

Under new rules that set the state apart from others, patients will have to stick with pills and oils, and the drug will only be sold in eight locations

There will be no baggies of pot awaiting patients next week, when Minnesota joins 21 other states in offering medical marijuana. No glass pipes, no plants to tend at home. Instead, the nation’s latest medical marijuana programme is a world of pill bottles and vials of marijuana-infused oil.

For the qualifying patients seeking relief from pain, medical marijuana advocates and some lawmakers, Wednesday isn’t the finish line, but the first step. The state’s restrictive approach, unseen in the industry, is likely to mean high costs, long drives and reluctant doctors.

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Categories: Science news

Nasa SpaceX rocket explodes moments after launch – video

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-06-28 16:34
A SpaceX supply mission rocket explodes shortly after lift off from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Sunday. The spacecraft, which was powered by a Falcon 9 rocket, was carrying food and hardware bound for the International Space Station, including a docking adaptor intended to facilitate future commercial space missions. The craft was unmanned and broke up over the Atlantic ocean Continue reading...









Categories: Science news

Country air could be good for us because it's slightly poisonous

New Scientist - news - Sun, 2015-06-28 11:00
Forest and seaside walks may benefit us by exposing us to low doses of natural toxins that our ancient ancestors once breathed in, says toxicologist Mike Moore (full text available to subscribers)









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Violent videos show apes may have sense of right and wrong

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-06-28 08:06

Apes paid more attention to film clips of an infant chimp being killed by its own kind than other acts of violence

Chimpanzees may have a sense of right and wrong that echoes human concepts of morality, a study has found.

Two groups of the apes paid more attention to film clips of an infant chimp being killed by its own kind than clips showing other acts of violence.

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Categories: Science news

Marketing has discovered neuroscience, but the results are more glitter than gold

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-06-28 07:00
The idea behind neuromarketing is that the brain can reveal hidden and profitable truths, but this is misleading

Marketing has discovered neuroscience and the shiny new product has plenty of style but very little substance. “Neuromarketing” is lighting up the eyes of advertising executives and lightening the wallets of public relations companies. It promises to target the unconscious desires of consumers, which are supposedly revealed by measuring the brain. The more successful agencies have some of the world’s biggest brands on their books and these mega-corporations are happy to trumpet their use of brain science in targeting their key markets. The holy grail of neuromarketing is to predict which ads will lead to most sales before they’ve been released but the reality is a mixture of bad science, bullshit and hope.

First, it’s important to realise that the concept of neuroscience is used in different ways in marketing. Sometimes, it’s just an empty ploy aimed at consumers – the equivalent of putting a bikini-clad body next to your product for people who believe they’re above the bikini ploy. A recent Porsche advert apparently showed a neuroscience experiment suggesting that the brain reacts in a similar way to driving their car and flying a fighter jet, but it was all glitter and no gold. The images were computer-generated, the measurements impossible, and the scientist an actor.

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Categories: Science news

Psychosis isn't catching but burnout is a risk for many caring professionals

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-06-28 07:00

Staff regularly dealing with traumatic situations are at risk of mental health issues, employers must ensure they are well supported

“Is it catching?” asked a member of staff at music therapy charity Key Changes after several months of working with people diagnosed with psychosis.

“Of course psychosis isn’t catching,” says Pete Leigh, founder of the charity, “but those of us working in such environments have to look after ourselves and each other to avoid being deeply affected.”

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Great Barrier Reef government panel to include climate change experts

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-06-28 03:07

Australia’s environment minister Greg Hunt names scientists tasked to advise the government on Great Barrier Reef health priorities

Scientists with expertise in climate change and marine science are among a panel of 16 experts announced to advise the federal government on priorities and actions relating to the Great Barrier Reef.

The panel, who come from academia and institutes including the CSIRO, will be chaired by Australian chief scientist Prof Ian Chubb, environment minister Greg Hunt said in a statement on Saturday.

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Categories: Science news

Lab-grown blood, artificial organs – the science transforming our health

Guardian Science - Sun, 2015-06-28 00:04
After the news that scientists have developed blood that can be grown in a laboratory, here are more discoveries that are redefining medicine

The news that scientists have developed blood that can be grown in the laboratory raised hope last week that a powerful weapon had been created to tackle disease. Ensuring that sufficient blood is donated to hospitals is a constant problem for medical services and any new source is to be welcomed, doctors acknowledged. In addition, the prospect that blood could be grown artificially from stem cells suggests a promising new approach could be taken in helping patients with thalassaemia and sickle cell anaemia and other blood disorders.

As Liverpool University’s Professor John Hunt – one of the developers of lab-grown blood – put it: “This will make a difference to an essential piece of healthcare in our lifetime.”

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Something to watch for in the new data from the Large Hadron Collider

Guardian Science - Sat, 2015-06-27 14:53

A new result released by the ATLAS experiment at CERN shows an intriguing anomaly, which could be evidence for a new particle with a mass of about two thousand times the mass of a proton. How excited should be we be?

I’m going to try to walk a line here, between hyping a result and being overly conservative. Let’s see how it goes.

As has been widely reported, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN is in operation again, colliding particles at a higher energy of 13 tera-electron-Volts (TeV), compared to 8 TeV in 2012. Having discovered the Higgs boson - the last particle predicted by the “Standard Model” of particle physics, hope and fears abound as to what might be revealed by the data now being collected.

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Categories: Science news

Unfair: The justice system is broken, can science fix it?

New Scientist - news - Sat, 2015-06-27 14:00
From false confessions to expert testimony that juries are ill-equipped to understand, our criminal justice system needs a radical refit, says a new book









Categories: Science news

Baby sugar glider takes flying lessons | @GrrlScientist

Guardian Science - Sat, 2015-06-27 12:18

Today’s “Caturday” video features an adorable young sugar glider (known as a “joey”) practicing her gliding skills in front of a fan

I couldn’t resist sharing this video with you: today’s “Caturday” video features an adorable young sugar glider (known as a “joey”) practicing her gliding skills in front of a fan:

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Categories: Science news

Feedback: A mind-bending law looms

New Scientist - news - Sat, 2015-06-27 12:00
Lengthening list of the bans, make mine a superposed shandy, moan over Alabama and more (full text available to subscribers)









Categories: Science news

Planting coral could save Great Barrier Reef from climate change, say scientists

Guardian Science - Sat, 2015-06-27 00:13

Humans could save the Great Barrier Reef from global warming by transplanting corals that survive heat stress, say scientists

Humans could save the Great Barrier Reef from global warming by transplanting corals that survive heat stress, say scientists.

A new joint study by the Australian institute of marine science (AIMS) in Townsville and the University of Texas has found a genetic basis for tolerance of higher temperatures in coral.

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Categories: Science news

How Our Days Became Numbered: Great data, wrong results

New Scientist - news - Fri, 2015-06-26 20:00
As the US industrialised in the early 1900s, life insurers hunted data on everyday citizens as never before – with unintended consequences, says a new book









Categories: Science news

AI: will the machines ever rise up?

Guardian Science - Fri, 2015-06-26 18:05

From Ex Machina to Terminator Genisys, ‘synths’ and robots have invaded our popular culture. But how real is the reel depiction of artificial intelligence?

The harried parents in one family in the Channel 4 drama Humans are divided about having a robot called Anita.

The father is delighted with the extra help; the mother unnerved and threatened. The teenage daughter, bright and hardworking, gives up at school after wondering why she would spend seven years to become a doctor, when a “Synth” could upload the skills in as many seconds. The teenage son, of course, is preoccupied with the sexual possibilities.

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Categories: Science news

Galaxy's supermassive black hole is a cool neighbourhood for ice

New Scientist - news - Fri, 2015-06-26 17:13
Despite searing radiation at the Milky Way's core, water and hydrocarbon ice are clinging on – probably thanks to sheltering dust grains









Categories: Science news
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