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Lucy Sherriff

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Nano cancer-bombs and mini organs from MIT

Scientists at MIT have developed remote-controlled nano particles that, with the push of a button, can deliver drugs directly to a tumour. The same research director has also found a way to build tiny human "livers" just 500 micrometres across. This work should lead to more reliable toxicity testing for new drugs. According to …
Lucy Sherriff, 19 Nov 2007
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IPCC's final report on climate change due tomorrow

The final part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report is due to be published tomorrow. The IPCC scientists are expected to warn that the effects of climate change will be "abrupt and irreversible", according to reports. The report is, as you might expect, a distillation of the IPCC's publications during …
Lucy Sherriff, 16 Nov 2007
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UK patent rules put firms at disadvantage

Until recently InRotis, a small company spun out of Newcastle University, was part of a High Court action aimed at forcing the UK Intellectual Property Office to ensure the patent protection offered to UK patent holders matches that available in Europe. However, the firm was granted a European patent for its work, and as a …
Lucy Sherriff, 16 Nov 2007
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Aussie-Irish boozer ejects 'terrorist' drinker

In a story replete with irony, a man has been booted out of an Irish pub in Cairns after his fellow drinkers, disturbed by his choice of reading material, reported him to the pub management. He was reading The Unknown Terrorist, a fictional thriller that tells the story of a ballet dancer who has a dodgy one-night stand with …
Lucy Sherriff, 16 Nov 2007
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Museum archive turns up new dinosaur family

A PhD student has uncovered a new family of dinosaur, not in a cliff face, or in a desert, but tucked away in a dusty archive in the Natural History Museum in London since 1890. Mike Taylor said that the specimen leapt out at him as being totally unfamiliar. "I've spent the last five years doing nothing but looking at sauropod …
Lucy Sherriff, 16 Nov 2007
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Europe eyes six Martian landing sites

The European Space Agency (ESA) has compiled a shortlist of places it would like to look for life (past or present) on Mars. Artists impression of the rover. Credit: ESA Artist's impression of the Rover. Credit: ESA The agency says its ExoMars mission, planned for a 2013 launch, will touch down on some of the red planet's …
Lucy Sherriff, 16 Nov 2007
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Rosetta spies nightlife on our sleeping planet

What better way to start a Friday than with a stupendously glorious picture of our planet? Well, we couldn't think of many better ways that are legal, so we've gone for the picture option. The Earth's night side, as seen by Rosetta. Credit: ESA The Earth's night side, as seen by Rosetta. Credit: ESA This is a composite …
Lucy Sherriff, 16 Nov 2007
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Neuroboffins develop mind-reading computers

A man who has been paralysed for the last eight years might be able to "speak" again, by having his thoughts read by a computer. Eric Ramsey was in a car accident that left him aware of his surroundings, but unable to move or speak. The only way he can communicate is through eye movements. No surprise, then, that he volunteered …
Lucy Sherriff, 15 Nov 2007
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Watching the Earthrise over the moon

Video: From the department of very cool videos come two real corkers. Japan's space agency (JAXA) has released two high definition videos of Earthrise and Earthset, as witnessed by its lunar explorer SELENE, which is now orbiting our largest natural satellite. The mission arrived at the Moon on 18 October, when it was inserted into …
Lucy Sherriff, 15 Nov 2007
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Global warming not to blame for warmer North Pole?

Recent dramatic changes in the Arctic climate - melting sea ice, warmer ocean, green fields in place of icy wilderness, etc - might not all be directly related to global warming. The more clement Arctic climate of recent years could have been triggered by shorter term circulation changes in the oceans and atmosphere. According …
Lucy Sherriff, 15 Nov 2007
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Will bird flu stuff our Happy Christmas?

Will the latest outbreak of bird flu (the nasty, H5N1 strain) in the UK do for Christmas this year what Farepak did last year? Are we all due to sit down to a table of trimmings, without the turkey*? On Sunday, the highly pathogenic strain of the virus was discovered on Redgrave Park farm in Suffolk. The authorities swung into …
Lucy Sherriff, 15 Nov 2007
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Tutankhamun: the boy king comes to London

No IT angle There has been much fanfare in the press about the unveiling of King Tutankhamun's mummified face. The boy king has recently been installed in a clear, climate controlled chamber, confronting visitors to the Valley of the Kings with his mortality, and his humanity. A statue of Queen Nefertiti, Tutankhamun's stepmother The …
Lucy Sherriff, 14 Nov 2007
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Court date for challenge to 'new' patent rules

A date has been set for a hearing in the High Court to determine the legality of a patent office review of the level of protection it offers to software patents in the UK. On November 19, the High Court will hear four small UK companies argue that the patent office's refusal to accept patent claims covering disks and downloads …
Lucy Sherriff, 13 Nov 2007
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Boffins refine mind-to-prosthetic link

Scientists in the US have developed a technique that could massively improve the control amputees have over their prosthetic limbs. The technique, known as targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR) allows a motorised prosthesis to respond directly to the brain's signals. The research has been led by Dr Todd Kuiken, a physiatrist at …
Lucy Sherriff, 13 Nov 2007
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21st century travel: building your own warp drive

There is to be a gathering of boffins in London next Thursday (15 November), at which the future of intergalactic spaceflight will be discussed. Not content with merely watching Star Trek re-runs, the good folk of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) have organised a conference to discuss how to make faster-than-light …
Lucy Sherriff, 12 Nov 2007
New York flag

New York State takes on the DOJ over e-voting

The US Department of Justice is going to the courts in a bid to force New York State to buy its preferred voting machines in time for the 2008 election. New York State's Board of Elections has declined to hold an open discussion on how to respond. New York State has so far refused to buy the voting machines approved as part of …
Lucy Sherriff, 12 Nov 2007
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ESO spies warped, star-forming spiral galaxy

The European Southern Observatory has released a new image of nearby spiral galaxy NCG-134, revealing a place very similar to our own galaxy, but with a significant difference: the galaxy's spiral disk is twisted. ESO picture of galaxy NGC-134 ESO picture of galaxy NGC-134. Our own galaxy does have a small warp in it, but …
Lucy Sherriff, 12 Nov 2007
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Filtering starlight to probe new worlds

Interview European star gazers have been filtering stellar light through the atmospheres of the three inner planets to find out what they are made of. Venus, Earth and Mars (not to scale) Venus Express, the European Space Agency's (ESA) mission to our twin planet, is watching starlight as it passes through Venus' thick swirling …
Lucy Sherriff, 11 Nov 2007
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Christmas Doctor Who exhibition at UK Space Centre

Diary marker The Tardis is set to land at the National Space Centre in Leicester next week for a Doctor Who exhibition that will run from November 13 to January 6. The Tardis: Oooo-eee-ooooo © BBC 1963, Courtesy of BBC Worldwide Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see characters and props from the series, including the truly …
Lucy Sherriff, 09 Nov 2007
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Black holes blamed for super-charged cosmic rays

You've always suspected it*, and now some properly clever boffins think they've found the data to prove it. Yes, a rare breed of supermassive black hole, otherwise known as active galactic nuclei, are the most likely source of the super-charged cosmic rays that batter our tiny planet from time to time. The particles zip through …
Lucy Sherriff, 09 Nov 2007
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Only the iPhone can save mankind

Identify yourself, on the cheap The cost of the UK government's planned ID card scheme has dropped to a bargain £5.6bn the government's latest six monthly report into the project's progress reveals. The newly slashed figure covers the total cost of providing ID cards and biometric passports to UK and resident Irish citizens, …
Lucy Sherriff, 09 Nov 2007
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Bacteria to blame for global warming?

Researchers from the University of Arizona's Department of Climatology, and the Department of Atmospheric Physics at Gothenburg University have published research they believe will overturn the consensus view that man's activities are causing global warming. They also make some rather astonishing claims that they had been …
Lucy Sherriff, 09 Nov 2007
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Clinton calls for Kyoto successor

Bill Clinton has called on the international community to draw up and sign up to a successor to the Kyoto Protocol to tackle climate change. Speaking at the Greenbuild Conference in Chicago on Wednesday, Clinton was clear on the need for action: "The sale's been made, otherwise Al Gore wouldn't have gotten the Nobel Prize," he …
Lucy Sherriff, 08 Nov 2007
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Aussie boffins translate whale chat

Aussie boffins have been eavesdropping on our underwater cousin the humpback whale, and think they've managed to decode a bit of what the swimming mammals are saying to each other. According to Reuters, the researchers have clearly identified the sounds of a mother issuing a warning to her calf, and of a male trying his luck …
Lucy Sherriff, 08 Nov 2007
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UK gov greenlights 450MW wind farm

UK energy minister Malcolm Wicks (who did a brief turn as science minister just before Mr. Blair got his eviction notice from No. 11 stepped down) has given his blessing for a 450MW wind farm to be built off the coast of Cumbria, 14km from Walney Island. Wicks also gave the nod to the overhead connection line that will link a …
Lucy Sherriff, 08 Nov 2007