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Go to about any public square, and you see pigeons pecking at the ground, always in search of crumbs dropped by a passerby. While the pigeons' scavenging may seem random, new research by psychologists at the University of Iowa suggest the birds are capable of making highly intelligent choices, sometimes with problem-solving skills to match.
Plants have developed a number of strategies to capture the maximum amount of sunlight through their leaves. As we know from looking at plants on a windowsill, they grow toward the sunlight to be able to generate energy by photosynthesis. Now an international team of scientists has provided definitive insights into the driving force behind this movement—the plant hormone auxin.
Cassava has huge potential and could turn from "a poor people's food into a 21st century crop" if grown according to a new environmentally-friendly farming model, the UN food agency said on Tuesday.
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are to blame for global warming since the 1970s and not carbon dioxide, according to a researcher from the University of Waterloo in a controversial new study published in the International Journal of Modern Physics B this week.
Scientists now have definitive proof that many of the landscapes seen on Mars were indeed cut by flowing water.
Astronauts travelling to Mars on any of the current space-flight vehicles would receive a dose of radiation higher than NASA standards permit, according to a study of the radiation environment inside the craft that carried the Curiosity rover to the planet.
10) A Volcanic Elephant
What a spring clean. Vials of moon dust collected by the first men to walk on the moon have been discovered in storage in California after being missing for more than 40 years.
Scientists at The University of Nottingham have found that a genetic rogue element produced by sequences until recently considered 'junk DNA' could promote cancer progression.
The researchers, led by Dr Cristina Tufarelli, in the School of Graduate Entry Medicine and Health Sciences, discovered that the presence of this faulty genetic element -- known as chimeric transcript LCT13 -- is associated with the switching off of a known tumour suppressor gene (known as TFPI-2) whose expression is required to prevent cancer invasion and metastasis.
If you've had to fight though plastic packaging to get to your food you won't be surprised to hear it can raise your blood pressure – but it's the phthalate chemicals used in the packaging rather than the effort involved, that's to blame. These chemicals are generally used to make plastic soft, for example in credit cards or plastic shower curtains. A study of nearly 3,000 children in the Journal of Pediatrics found that children between the ages of six and 19 who had been exposed to phthalates (measured by levels of breakdown products of the chemicals in their urine) had higher levels of blood pressure than those who didn't.
Micro-plastic pollution is now prevalent throughout much of the the world’s oceans, as a result of discarded partially- broken-down garbage. These microscopic bits of plastic are present in large enough quantities to cause significant problems for many ocean animals, as well as potentially having more significant effects on the ecosystem, or even human health. The full extent of the damage that this pollution causes is as of now unknown though, as there hasn’t been much research done on the subject. And now, new research from EPFL has found that it isn’t just the oceans that are filled with this micro-plastic pollution, lakes and other waterways are accumulating it as well.
Algae are an interesting natural resource because they proliferate quickly. They are not impinging on food production. And they need nothing but sunlight and a bit of waste water to grow on. Scientists working for theSPLASH research project, funded by the EU, are now addressing the challenge of making high-quality, affordable plastics from algae. They need to demonstrate that this new type of bioplastic —namely used to produce polyesters and polyolefins— can be of the same quality as traditional plastic. And they need to show whether it can be produced in an economically viable way.
We urgently need to know how far and how fast the sea will rise, but the latest attempt to put figures on it is dangerously misleading
Giant turbines churning in the wind are a rare sight in Africa—but that will not be the case for long. Until now the meagre amounts of investment in African wind energy have predominantly come from governments and foreign donors.
But this is changing fast, say experts.
Private investors smell profit in beefing-up the continent's over-stretched power grids and swarms of new wind turbines are soon expected to emerge.
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a dimmable LED street light that consumes significantly less energy than current lighting systems, while improving the lighting characteristics. The street lights were tested in Helsinki with user experiences collected.
Traditional street lights work on full power when turned on, and the amount of light is not usually adjusted.
A group of graduate students in NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program have developed an open-source API that can allows you to move someone else's arm remotely using a keyboard, a joystick or even an iPhone.
Open Limbs, "a platform for controlling human arms over the internet," uses electric pulses to fire the nerves connected to muscles, making them contract, in conjunction with the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX), an orthopedic device designed to help people with weak muscles move their arms.
The brain's perception of the body may seem set in stone, but a new study shows the mind can be tricked into taking an entire virtual body for its own.
The internet might be a historic boon for kitten-fanciers and steaming-eared trolls, but it's not all good news. Online writing, you see, is destroying the purity of English as we know it and threatening to dumb us all down into a herd of screen-jabbing illiterates. Or so runs one regular technophobic complaint, the latest version of which has been offered by Robert McCrum. He is worried about what he describes as "the abuse and impoverishment of English online (notably, in blogs and emails)" and what he perceives as "the overall crassness of English prose in the age of global communications".
Most people who grew up in the 70s, 80s and the 90s – and even those who took drugs during that time – have no idea what is going on in today's drugs market. Forget the acid flare and dope fug of the 70s, the twitchy glamour of coke, the grim arrival of crack and the cheap smack era of the 80s – even the benign ecstatic burst of acid house: today's ever-changing drug culture is different: digital and massively distributed.
For 20 years Joan* quietly suffered from an unrelenting desire to commit suicide. She held down a job as a special-education teacher and helped care for her family in the northeastern U.S. Yet day after day she struggled through a crushing depression and felt neither joy nor pleasure. Except for the stream of psychiatrists recommending different antidepression treatments—all of which failed to provide relief—Joan kept her condition private. She says it was the fear of hurting her students or abandoning her father that kept her alive. “I really don't know how I survived,” she says.
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