Articles about science

Health quango: Booze 'evidence' not Puritan enough, do us another

Updated Academics at the UK's leading alcohol research centre tweaked their model to help the government introduce more Puritanical booze advice. The tweaks emerged after FoI requests uncovered correspondence between the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group (SARG) and the quango Public Health England, which had commissioned the …
Andrew Orlowski, 31 Oct 2017
People looking sceptical

MoD: Sci-tech strategy? Er, here's a bunch of words and diagrams

The UK Ministry of Defence has unveiled latest its science and technology strategy by writing a jargon-ridden report full of incomprehensible diagrams – but it contains good news for startups. In the Science and Technology Strategy 2017, which is supposed to underpin the £80m/year Defence Innovation Fund, the ministry’s chief …
Gareth Corfield, 30 Oct 2017
Dragonfly sits on a yellow flower

The case of the disappearing insect. Boffin tells Reg: We don't know why... but we must act

"Insects are at the bottom of the ecosystem," the lead author of a study into a massive decrease in collected insects told The Reg. Their loss, he added, is "likely to collapse the entire pyramid". Between 1989 and 2016, boffins used nets to fill about 1,500 one-litre bottles with flying insects from 63 conservation sites in …
Andrew Silver, 20 Oct 2017
Pumpkin spice ingredients

SCARY SPICE: Pumpkin air freshener sparks school evacuation

A high school in Baltimore, USA, was evacuated this week after a pumpkin spice air freshener made four people ill and triggered a hazardous materials scare. Cristo Rey Jesuit High School was emptied out Thursday and searched by police after they got a call that two students and two adults had gotten sick after inhaling strong …
Shaun Nichols, 7 Oct 2017
Scientist says nope. Photo by SHutterstock

Boffins fear we might be running out of ideas

Innovation, fetishized by Silicon Valley companies and celebrated by business boosters, no longer provides the economic jolt it once did. In order to maintain Moore's Law – by which transistor density doubles every two years or so – it now takes 18 times as many scientists as it did in the 1970s. That means each researcher's …
Thomas Claburn, 11 Sep 2017
Fruit fly in nature - drosophila melanogaster

Fruit flies' brains at work: Decision-making? They use their eyes

Scientists hunting for the secret of how boffin scalpel-fodder favourite Drosophila melanogaster (aka the fruit fly) makes decisions have found that some of the brain circuitry active when it makes choices can be linked to what it has already seen. The research is being undertaken in order to some day help better understand …
Andrew Silver, 6 Sep 2017

Comp sci world shock: Bonn boffin proposes P≠NP proof, preps for prestige, plump prize

Norbert Blum, a computer science professor at the University of Bonn, has proposed a solution to an unsolved math problem that could win him $1m, not to mention professional accolades, if his approach withstands scrutiny. The problem is known as P ≠ NP. It's one of The Clay Mathematics Institute's seven Millennium Prize …
Thomas Claburn, 16 Aug 2017

UK waves £45m cheque, charges scientists with battery tech boffinry

The UK has launched a £45m competition to support research in electric vehicle battery materials, technologies and manufacturing processes. Although the now-commonplace lithium ion battery was developed based on research by Oxford University in the 1980s, there are conspicuously no battery manufacturers in the UK today – …
Andrew Silver, 28 Jul 2017
Arto Nurmikko, Brown University

DARPA cracks wallet to open heads: Brain interface projects get Uncle Sam's backing

The US military's research nerve center DARPA on Monday awarded contracts to five organizations and one company to develop brain interface technology. By funding projects at Brown University, Columbia University, Fondation Voir et Entendre (The Seeing and Hearing Foundation), John B Pierce Laboratory, Paradromics, and the …
Thomas Claburn, 10 Jul 2017

Researchers solve screen glare nightmare with 'moth-eye' antireflective film

A new anti-glare film could help us see our phones a little bit better on a bright day. "Ambient light is everywhere," says Jiun-Haw Lee, an electrical engineer at National Taiwan University in Taipei. Natural light lowers the contrast of display screens, making them appear much darker. That's because when light from the sun …
Andrew Silver, 26 Jun 2017
Galaxies stretching back into time across billions of light-years of space. The image covers a portion of a large galaxy census called the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS).

Scientists are counting atoms to figure out when Mars last had volcanoes

Astroboffins have figured out a new way of dating planets and meteorites by counting individual atoms in rock samples snatched from the depths of space. The atomic-scale imaging technique developed by University of Portsmouth scientists involves locating and counting individual atoms in planetary materials. "Directly linking …
Gareth Corfield, 26 May 2017
Kepler

'Tabby's Star' intrigues astro-boffins with brief 'dimming event'

Astronomers worldwide are scrambling a worldwide effort to capture as many images of the famous “Tabby's Star” (also known as Boyajian's Star), which has abruptly entered a dimming phase. The mysterious KIC 8462852 has intrigued astro-boffins ever since Tabetha Boyajian worked out the dimming signature in Kepler observations …
Meantime Bespoke beer

DNA-bothering eggheads brew beer you were literally born to like

London-based Meantime Brewing Company, acquired a year ago by Belgian beverage multinational Anheuser-Busch InBev, wants to sell you beer tuned to your taste. To do so, the company plans to direct willing customers to genetic testing service 23andMe – the Silicon Valley personal genomics biz that's slowly emerging from its …
Thomas Claburn, 25 Mar 2017
Desk beer - pint at a keyboard. Photo by shutterstock

Good news, everyone! Two pints a day keep heart problems at bay

Moderate drinking is good for you, a BMJ-published study has found, directly contradicting the advice of the UK government's "Chief Medical Officer", who advised last year there was "no safe level" of drinking. A daily pint reduces risk of a heart attack and angina by a third, a big data study of Brit adults has found, while …
Andrew Orlowski, 23 Mar 2017

Shine on, you crazy Eind minds: Boffins fire out 43Gbps infrared 'Wi-Fi'

In five years or so, Wi-Fi access points could carry data at rates 100 times faster than today using infrared light rather than other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands have developed a way to use fiber optic cables, mounted with networking …
Thomas Claburn, 18 Mar 2017
Graduate student Seongjun Park holds an example of a new flexible fiber

MIT goes down to the wire: Brain cable pipes electricity, chemicals, light straight into minds

MIT brain boffins have developed a tiny fiber that can carry chemical, electrical, and optical signals back and forth between the brain and an external device, offering an improved path for testing brain functions and interactions. The fiber is 200 micrometers wide, comparable to the width of a human hair. Described in a paper …
Thomas Claburn, 23 Feb 2017

From drugs to galaxy hunting, AI is elbowing its way into boffins' labs

Feature Powerful artificially intelligent algorithms and models are all the rage. They're knocking it out of the park in language translation and image recognition, but autonomous cars and chatbots? Not so much. One area machine learning could do surprisingly well in is science research. As AI advances, its potential is being seized …
Katyanna Quach, 23 Feb 2017

Dead cockroaches make excellent magnets – now what are we supposed to do with this info?

Fun Fact: Dead cockroaches stay magnetized far longer than their live brethren, according to real actual science. In a bizarre experiment, a team of international physicists gassed a group of roaches to death with nitrogen before rinsing them in an ultrasonic bath. The luckier ones were kept alive and fed an unlimited diet of …
Katyanna Quach, 17 Feb 2017

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