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If modern physics is to be believed, we shouldn’t be here. The meager dose of energy infusing empty space, which at higher levels would rip the cosmos apart, is a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion times tinier than theory predicts. And the minuscule mass of the Higgs boson, whose relative smallness allows big structures such as galaxies and humans to form, falls roughly 100 quadrillion times short of expectations. Dialing up either of these constants even a little would render the universe unlivable.
Related: Maybe it wasn't the Higgs particle after all
Despite decades of sending sounds and pictures into space no aliens have responded. Have we been doing it wrong? Tracey Logan investigates, and discovers some novel attempts to make contact – including the smells of our planet.
Related: Is your religion ready to meet ET?
In high school biology, we are taught that there are three types of life: eukaryotes (that's us, and most everything else we often think of as life), bacteria, and archaea (extremophiles and other very primitive life forms). But some scientists are pretty sure that there are entirely different, undiscovered lifeforms that could be prevalent on Earth, and they remain undescribed because we're not good at looking for them.
The Voynich Manuscript is one of the most obsessed-over historical enigmas. A medieval book dating from the late 15th or 16th century, its strange, flowing script has never been deciphered, its origins never determined. The 113 plant illustrations it contains seem to depict no flora found on Earth, and throughout its vellum pages are visuals of the cosmos, a small army of naked women cavorting through pools of water, and the arcane alphabet that has so frustrated linguists and cryptographers.
Related: Elephant Water Clock Among 25,000 Pages of Medieval Arabic Scientific Manuscripts
Related: A book 100 years older than the Magna Carta goes digital
There is something about ancient books and texts that holds a certain sense of mystery and allure. To hold something that was once handled by ancient hands long ago brings with it a fascination about the past, and the enigmatic knowledge held within the worn, dusty pages beckons from across the vast field of time separating us from the past. Ancient books are just naturally mysterious, often inscrutable, and sometimes spooky. Surely one of the weirdest and most bizarre books from the ancient era is the one known as the The Codex Gigas, a text dating from the 13th century AD that is also known as the Giant Book, or more ominously as The Devil’s Bible.
Many of the drugs that treat mental health problems are discovered by serendipity, and because new drugs are scarce, researchers may need to look more closely at the possible psychiatric effects of existing prescription and illegal drugs, one scientist argues.
Related: UK government’s drug laws survey was suppressed, Lib Dem minister says
The phrase “tears of joy” never made much sense to Yale psychologist Oriana Aragon. But after conducting a series of studies of such seemingly incongruous expressions, she now understands better why people cry when they are happy.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) should be re-conceptualized as an infectious disease, according to a professor. A new article suggests that major depression may result from parasitic, bacterial, or viral infection. The article presents examples that illustrate possible pathways by which these microorganisms could contribute to the etiology of MDD.
Related: Hip-hop could help with depression and mental illness, says Cambridge University
A new study shows for the first time that playing action video games improves not just the skills taught in the game, but learning capabilities more generally.
While feelings of disgust may lead people to behaviors like lying and cheating, cleanliness can help people return to ethical behavior, according to a recent study.
Stress can send your stomach into a painful tailspin, causing cramps, spasms and grumbling. But trouble in the gut can also affect the brain.
Related: Short men more likely to die from dementia, Edinburgh University finds
Seven years after the end of a trial in which young people at severe risk of developing psychotic disorders were given fish oil tablets, most remain mentally healthy, a new study has found.
Related: Mediterranean diet is best way to tackle obesity, say doctors
The brain has specialist neurons for each of the five taste categories - salty, bitter, sour, sweet and umami - US scientists have discovered.
Related: Learning How Little We Know About the Brain
Latest research shows the females of some mammal species will have many mates to ensure unclear paternity, so that males can’t resort to killing their rival’s offspring for fear of killing their own. This forces males to evolve to compete through sperm quantity, leading to ever-larger testicles. Scientists find that as testis size increases, infanticide disappears.
Alt: Male Sexual Aggression: What Chimps Can Reveal About People
Scientists are targeting a new set of recruits to test anti-ageing drugs: pet dogs. And according to their plans, not any old pooch will do. The researchers want to concentrate their trials on large canines.
Related: New natural supplement relieves canine arthritis
Related: Billions Have Been Spent on Technology to Find IEDs, but Dogs Still Do It Better
Will woolly mammoths stride the Siberian plains once again? DNA samples from an exceptionally well preserved extinct Mammuthus, found in the snowy wastes of Siberia, have raised the prospect of cloning.
Extinct reptile with 'toothy grin' found by fishermen as they rafted in remote area of the Yamal peninsula.
Related: Farmer Claims Skull Found in Chained Box is From a Werewolf
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