By Donna Lu It’s alive!College of Engineering and Applied Science at Colorado University Boulder A type of living concrete made from bacteria could one day help to reduce the environmental impact of the construction industry. Wil Srubar at the University of Colorado Boulder and his colleagues have used a type of bacteria, Synechococcus, to create…
By Donna Lu Ooh, a rewardTetra Images/Getty Images Developments in artificial intelligence often draw inspiration from how humans think, but now AI has turned the tables to teach us about how brains learn. Will Dabney at tech firm DeepMind in London and his colleagues have found that a recent development in machine learning called distributional…
By Leah Crane The black hole at the heart of our galaxy has some strange neighboursScience History Images / Alamy At the centre of our galaxy, less than 0.2 light years from Sagittarius A*, the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, six strange objects are defying gravity. They look like clouds of gas and dust, but…
Environment 14 January 2020 By Donna Lu Smoke billows from wildfires on Australia’s Kangaroo Island Climate change has already increased the risk of wildfire globally, according to a new review of research that suggests the weather conditions that led to the Australian wildfires will become more common in future. In light of the ongoing wildfire…
Environment 13 January 2020 By Adam Vaughan Accidental deaths in the US from drowning and car crashes may rise as the climate warmsSeastock/iStockphoto/Getty Images The US is likely to see more than 2000 extra deaths a year from car accidents, suicide, drowning and other fatal injuries because of climate change, even if the world manages…
By Leah Crane The Milky Way collided with another galaxy billions of years agoNASA/JPL-Caltech We now know when our galaxy had its last meal. The Milky Way devoured another galaxy, called Gaia-Enceladus, in what may have been the biggest galactic merger in its history, and now astronomers have used a single star to get a…
Technology 13 January 2020 By Michael Marshall Recycling old batteries could be an environmental boostBEHROUZ MEHRI/Getty Captured carbon dioxide could be used to extract useful metals from recycled technology such as smartphone batteries rather than just being buried underground. The technique could help make it more economical to capture the greenhouse gas before it enters…
By Jessica Hamzelou A surgeon connects a liver to the machineUSZ Donated human livers can be kept alive for seven days in a new machine. The device also appears to improve the quality of the livers, say the researchers behind the work. They hope their device will allow more people to get transplants. Human livers…
By Clare Wilson Many US states restrict abortion accessRawpixel/Getty Images The majority of women who have an abortion don’t regret their decision. The finding rebuts the idea that mental distress is commonplace, which is often the basis of laws that require women to have cooling off periods after requesting an abortion, says Corinne Rocca at…
Environment 10 January 2020 By Michael Marshall Mountains in the Himalayas are becoming greenerKaren Anderson More plants are living higher on the slopes of Mount Everest and surrounding mountains than 25 years ago, according to a study of satellite data. The extra growth may have wider impacts, particularly on the flow of water into the…
By Michael Marshall Cooler than you thinkTom Merton/Getty Images Everybody knows that the average human body temperature is 37°C, but everybody is wrong. It turns out the bodies of people in the US have been cooling since the 1860s. Physicians who have studied body temperature have known for decades that 37°C was too high, says…
By Donna Lu WoahHenry Segerman A trippy maths program that visualises the inside of strange 3D spaces could help us figure out the shape of the universe. Henry Segerman at Oklahoma State University and his colleagues have working to interactively map the inside of mathematical spaces known as a 3-manifolds using a program called SnapPy.…
Environment | Analysis 10 January 2020 By Michael Le Page Could solar farms provide our food?Blickwinkel/Alamy Stock Photo It is being claimed we could save the planet by turning renewable energy directly into food and rewilding all the farmland that is no longer needed. Could it really work? In a Guardian column and a TV…
Environment 10 January 2020 By Layal Liverpool Amazon deforestation officially hit its highest level in a decade in NovemberGustavo Basso/NurPhoto via Getty Images Amazon wildfires are predicted to worsen, doubling the amount of an important region of forest affected by 2050. The result could be to convert the Amazon from a carbon sink into a…
By Clare Wilson An illusion that makes people see a rubber hand as their own could help people with OCDSergey Ryzhov / Alamy A bizarre illusion where fake faeces is put on a rubber hand has been tested on people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – and may one day become a new treatment. Therapies…
By Michael Le Page What a helpful birdAnette Mertens African grey parrots are not only really smart, they are helpful too. They are the first bird species to pass a test that requires them both to understand when another animal needs help and to actually give assistance. Besides humans, only bonobos and orangutans have passed…