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Famous theory of the living Earth upgraded to ‘Gaia 2.0’

A time-honoured theory into why conditions on Earth have remained stable enough for life to evolve over billions of years has been given a new, innovative twist. For around half a century, the ‘Gaia’ hypothesis has provided a unique way of understanding how life has persisted on Earth. It champions ... Read More »

Novel flying robot mimics rapid insect flight

A novel insect-inspired flying robot, developed by TU Delft researchers from the Micro Air Vehicle Laboratory (MAVLab), is presented in Science (14 September 2018). Experiments with this first autonomous, free-flying and agile flapping-wing robot — carried out in collaboration with Wageningen University & Research — improved our understanding of how ... Read More »

Eyes have a natural version of night vision

To see under starlight and moonlight, the retina of the eye changes both the software and hardware of its light-sensing cells to create a kind of night vision. Retinal circuits that were thought to be unchanging and programmed for specific tasks are adaptable to different light conditions, say the Duke ... Read More »

New means to fight ‘un-killable’ bacteria in healthcare settings

Scientists at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) have identified new means of fighting drug-tolerant bacteria, a growing global threat as menacing as drug-resistant microbes. Little is known about the mechanisms leading to tolerance, a strategy that makes bacteria “indifferent” to antibiotics and almost “un-killable,” which ... Read More »

Appetite for shark fin soup serious risk to threatened sharks

Fishing pressure on threatened shark populations has increased dramatically in recent years and it is urgent that consumers reject shark fin products altogether — a study in Marine Policy by researchers from the Swire Institute of Marine Science (SWIMS), School of Biological Sciences, University of Hong Kong (HKU), the Sea ... Read More »

Wild animals were routinely captured and traded in ancient Mesoamerica

New evidence from the Maya city of Copan, in Honduras, reveals that ancient Mesoamericans routinely captured and traded wild animals for symbolic and ritual purposes, according to a study published September 12, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Nawa Sugiyama from George Mason University, Virginia, USA, and colleagues. ... Read More »

Sugar pills relieve pain for chronic pain patients

Someday doctors may prescribe sugar pills for certain chronic pain patients based on their brain anatomy and psychology. And the pills will reduce their pain as effectively as any powerful drug on the market, according to new research. Northwestern Medicine scientists have shown they can reliably predict which chronic pain ... Read More »

Breast cancer screening does not reduce mortality

Fewer and fewer women die from breast cancer in recent years but, surprisingly, the decline is just as large in the age groups that are not screened. The decline is therefore due to better treatment and not screening for breast cancer. This is shown by a major Danish-Norwegian study, Effect ... Read More »

Quantum-level control of an exotic topological quantum magnet

Quantum particles can be difficult to characterize, and almost impossible to control if they strongly interact with each other — until now. An international team of researchers led by Princeton physicist Zahid Hasan has discovered a quantum state of matter that can be “tuned” at will — and it’s 10 ... Read More »

Discovery of the earliest drawing

What is a symbol? This is a tough question to answer when tasked with analyzing the earliest graphic productions. What we might today interpret as figurative representations might just be an ancient doodle that had no special purpose. For a long time, archaeologists were convinced the first symbols appeared when ... Read More »

We may hear others’ footsteps, but how do we ignore our own?

A team of scientists has uncovered the neural processes mice use to ignore their own footsteps, a discovery that offers new insights into how we learn to speak and play music. The research is reported in the journal Nature. “The ability to ignore one’s own footsteps requires the brain to ... Read More »

Thousands of breast cancer gene variants engineered and analyzed

A new scientific analysis of nearly 4,000 mutations deliberately engineered into the BRCA1 gene will immediately benefit people undergoing genetic testing for breast or ovarian cancer risk. The study will be published in the Sept. 12 edition of the scientific journal, Nature. Additional data from the research has been made ... Read More »

Gut bacteria’s shocking secret: They produce electricity

While bacteria that produce electricity have been found in exotic environments like mines and the bottoms of lakes, scientists have missed a source closer to home: the human gut. University of California, Berkeley, scientists discovered that a common diarrhea-causing bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes, produces electricity using an entirely different technique from ... Read More »

Turtle species in serious decline: Broad ecological impacts

Approximately 61 percent of the world’s 356 turtle species are threatened or already extinct, and the decline could have ecological consequences. These findings are according to a paper in the journal BioScience synthesizing the global status of turtles and their ecological roles by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Tennessee ... Read More »