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The 21st century has seen rapid urbanisation and the global population is now expected to grow to more than 8.3 billion by 2050. Currently, 800m hectares – 38% of the earth’s land surface – is farmed and we’ll soon need to give over another 100m hectares if we continue to use current agricultural methods. That’s not additional fertile land that actually exists though, so some are investigating the potential of vertical farming.
There are several reasons to give up meat, eggs and dairy. For starters, there’s the ethical argument: animals born into the livestock industry often spend their entire existence crammed into overcrowded cages, and they fall victim to mutilation and other forms of cruelty prior to being culled. There’s also the human health argument: Giving up meat—especially beef—can help lower cholesterol intake.
Late last week, Brazil’s Indian affairs department (FUNAI) publicly announced an event that many anthropologists and medical researchers had feared. In the remote Brazilian state of Acre, members of a long-isolated Amazon tribe have contracted influenza after making voluntary contact with the outside world. Some researchers now fear that the contacted individuals, who speak a Panoan language, will spread the potentially fatal virus to other nonimmunized members of their tribe.
Children as young as three are able to recognize the same ‘cute’ infantile facial features in humans and animals which encourage caregiving behavior in adults, new research has shown. A study investigating whether youngsters can identify baby-like characteristics – a set of traits known as the ‘baby schema’ – across different species has revealed for the first time that even pre-school children rate puppies, kittens and babies as cuter than their adult counterparts.
Some seals prefer to forage for food at offshore wind farms, a study suggests. Researchers found a proportion of GPS tagged harbour seals repeatedly visited wind turbines in the North Sea.
In the most advanced prosthetics--such as this crazy mind-controlled robotic arm--electronic hardware interfaces directly with nerves and muscles in the human body. But getting living tissue to play nice with a circuit board is anything but easy, for a number of reasons. One fundamental obstacle you may not have considered: electronics send signals via negatively charged electrons, whereas many of the communications carried out in living tissues take place through the movement of positively-charged particles, such as calcium and potassium ions.
Within the next five years, using mobile devices simply for communication will seem outdated. The Internet of Things (IoT) will allow consumers to interact with nearly every appliance and device they own. Your refrigerator will let you know when you're running low on milk, your dishwasher will inform you when it's ready to be emptied. It's possible that you will be getting more text messages from your devices than from human beings.
Sunswift, a team of engineering students from the University of New South Wales, designed and built a car that holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest solar-powered vehicle. In 2011, that car reached a top speed of 88 km/h (55 mph). The team hopes that its newest vehicle, eVe, will break a 20-year-old electric vehicle record for the highest average speed over a 500 km (310 mi) distance.
The discovery that many small galaxies throughout the universe do not 'swarm' around larger ones like bees do but 'dance' in orderly disc-shaped orbits is a challenge to our understanding of how the universe formed and evolved. The researchers believe the answer may be hidden in some currently unknown physical process that governs how gas flows in the universe, although, as yet, there is no obvious mechanism that can guide dwarf galaxies into narrow planes.
Protons have a constant spin that is an intrinsic particle property like mass or charge. Yet where this spin comes from is such a mystery it’s dubbed the “proton spin crisis.” Initially physicists thought a proton’s spin was the sum of the spins of its three constituent quarks. But a 1987 experiment showed that quarks can account for only a small portion of a proton’s spin, raising the question of where the rest arises. The quarks inside a proton are held together by gluons, so scientists suggested perhaps they contribute spin.
STICK an electrode in the ground, pump electrons down it, and they will come: living cells that eat electricity. We have known bacteria to survive on a variety of energy sources, but none as weird as this. Think of Frankenstein's monster, brought to life by galvanic energy, except these "electric bacteria" are very real and are popping up all over the place.
There are a whole lot of unsavory lifestyles in the animal kingdom. The pearlfish has to swim up sea cucumber butts to escape predation. All manner of birds must fly thousands and thousands of miles each year with the change of the seasons. And hyenas have to deal with giving birth through their six-inch-long clitorises.
Over a 150 years since it was first described by Darwin, scientists are finally uncovering the secrets behind the super strength of barnacle glue.
The fantastical arch shapes of sandstone formations have long been thought to be sculpted by wind and rain. But a team of researchers has now found that the shapes are inherent to the rock itself.
California businessman Russ George made headlines in 2012 when he, in cooperation with a group from a Native Canadian community, dumped more than 100 tons of iron sulfate into the Pacific, some 200 miles off shore. The iron then triggered a bloom of plankton. He apparently didn't ask anybody's permission, violated two United Nations conventions, and was widely condemned for taking on such a large project, a type of geoengineering, to alter the environment as he saw fit.
The Sea of Tranquility remains tranquil today, but it may not always be so. The site, where Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon 45 years ago this Sunday, has apparently been undisturbed since then. But a growing number of countries, including China and India, are planning moon missions, and new commercial space players may make lunar landings well. Some historians and archaeologists want the areas protected from visitors, both human and robotic, but there is no legal framework for safeguarding anything on the moon.
Black holes might end their lives by transforming into their exact opposite — 'white holes' that explosively pour all the material they ever swallowed into space, say two physicists. The suggestion, based on a speculative quantum theory of gravity, could solve a long-standing conundrum about whether black holes destroy information.
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