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The Swiss cannabis farm aiming to supply 'legal weed' across Europe
With its low-THC and high-CBD products already on sale in Switzerland and France – and soon the UK – Swiss business CBD420 are keen to see clearer regulation around the supply of cannabisIn fields across Switzerland the harvest time for cannabis is coming to an end, and workers are distributing the crop to shops in France and Switzerland. Soon, the plants could be available across much of Europe.The man behind the operation is 31-year-old Jonas Duclos, a former banker, and what he is doing is legal. His business, CBD420, sells BlueDream, a strain of hemp cultivated to ensure the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (T...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 24, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Sarah Marsh Tags: Drugs Cannabis Science Europe World news Society Source Type: news

Is there a link between poultry and infertility? We deserve to know | Letters
I have been told that no research is being done in Britain to establish whether there is a causal factor between eating chicken and declining male sperm counts, writesBaroness Jean CorstonLetters and articles on the apparent decline in male fertility, and its probable causes, have been in our newspapers for years, with the cause variously ascribed to diet, exerciseor the environment. Nearly 20 years ago, as a member of the House of Commons select committee on agriculture, we held an inquiry into the poultry industry. Some of us were appalled by the industrialisation of poultry production, with birds crowded together and gi...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 24, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Letters Tags: Food science & drink industry Animal welfare Farming Farm animals Environment Biology Human biology Business UK news Politics World news Medical research Source Type: news

Lab notes: Aloha 'Oumuamua, welcome to our solar system and a fine week in science!
It was exciting whenfirst detected hurtling past the sun last month, and it ’s even more exciting now. Astronomers have named the visitor’Oumuamua and have confirmed that it hails from another star system. Even more intriguingly, its red colour suggests it carries organic molecules that are building blocks of life. Another big hit this week was research revealingwhy left-handers excel at certain elite sports but not others. Leaving a bitter taste in the mouth, however, was a paper claiming that 50 years ago, thesugar industry withheld research into the effects of sucrose. The paper ’s authors say the nega...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 24, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Tash Reith-Banks Tags: Science Source Type: news

Christmas loneliness is a problem – festive hats off to the pub with a plan | Dave Berry
A London pub ’s offer of a free dinner for anyone who’s alone at Christmas is a heartwarming reminder of a social ill that exists all year roundTo say that somebody is a “product of their environment” is to suggest that their actions or behaviour can be explained by where they’ve grown up, where they’ve worked and, in particular, who they’ve had around them.For example, a child isn ’t born with a certain view on race, gender or a favourite football team. I have a school friend who earned a work placement at a bank in the City and he wasn’t even a little bit of a tosser ...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 24, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Dave Berry Tags: Social exclusion Christmas Life and style Ageing Science Older people Society Twitter Blogging Internet Media Technology Mental health Source Type: news

Darwin's annotated copy of On the Origin of Species goes to auction
Christie ’s expects volume, which shows the author refining his theory in light of new research, to fetch between £300,000 and £500,000After eluding scholars for decades, a copy of On the Origin of Species with handwritten revisions by Charles Darwin has come to light and is due to be auctioned next month.Christie ’s has put an estimate of £300,000 to £500,000 on the annotated book, which it said will allow “for the first time a precise reading of Darwin’s exact revisions without the veil of reconstruction and translation … [it] provides an insight into his working met...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 24, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Alison Flood Tags: Manuscripts Charles Darwin Science and nature Books Culture Source Type: news

Kidney disease drug recommended by Nice 'may do more harm than good'
Exclusive: Little evidence that phosphate binders improve patient wellbeing, warn experts, while one type may contribute to increased risk of cardiovascular diseaseThe UK ’s drug guidelines body is recommending a type of medication to treat chronic kidney disease despite no firm evidence that it benefits patients – and some signs that the drugs may do more harm than good, experts have warned.Phosphate binders are commonly prescribed to lower blood phosphate levels in patients with advanced kidney disease, including those on dialysis. High phosphate has been linked to worse patient outcomes, including bone and m...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 24, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Nicola Davis Tags: Drugs The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) NHS Society Science Source Type: news

We're living longer but in poorer health, warns thinktank
Life expectancy is increasing, but the number of years of healthy life in retirement is not keeping up, with dramatic variations seen across the countryAdults are spending an increasing number of their retirement years in poor health, a thinktank on ageing and population has warned.The report, which focuses on the situation facing those approaching retirement, also highlights the growing inequalities in life expectancy around the country.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 24, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Nicola Davis Tags: Ageing Life expectancy Science Society Health Older people Source Type: news

The Quantum Astrologer ’s Handbook by Michael Brooks review – maths contests and the nature of the universe
This superb book by Michael Brooks is in part a biography of the mathematician Jerome Cardano. But it delves into the most fundamental questionsWhat, you might ask, is a quantum astrologer? This beautifully written book is a kind of experimental scientific biography that mashes up science with what seems to be non ‑science, the better to explore the boundaries of what we still don’t know. If quantum astrology were a thing, after all, it wouldn’t be any more ridiculous than what modern physics asks us to believe.The book ’s hero, the alleged quantum astrologer, is one of those Renaissance men for whom th...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 24, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Steven Poole Tags: Science and nature Books Culture Physics Mathematics Source Type: news

'Indiana Joan': Perth woman, 95, accused of looting Egypt artefacts
Australia investigating allegations that Joan Howard would steal from archaeological sites during her husband ’s diplomatic tripsThe Australian government has confirmed it is looking into the case of a 95-year-old Perth woman accused of looting artefacts from countries including Egypt.Monica Hanna of Egypt ’s Heritage Taskforce posted an open letter to Australia’s ambassador to Egypt, Neil Hawkins, on Facebook this month, alleging Joan Howard spent most of her time during her husband’s diplomatic trips looting archaeological sites.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 24, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Australian Associated Press Tags: Archaeology Source Type: news

British Library project discovers two new words – thanks to Guardian readers
Our callout for dialectal words and phrases uncovered two words unknown to British Library researchers working on the Evolving English WordBankIt ’s not every day you discover a new word, or at least a new meaning for an old word. But when the Guardian asked its readers to contribute their favourite dialect words, it discovered not one, but two.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 24, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Pamela Duncan, Rachel Obordo and Guardian readers Tags: Language Science Source Type: news

Weatherwatch: rescuing weather records from Ben Nevis
More than 3,000 ‘citizen-scientists’ have transcribed into digital form the 1.5m observations made at the Ben Nevis weather observatory from 1883 to 1904In 1883 a weather observatory was opened on Britain ’s highest peak, Ben Nevis. For the next 21 years the summit observatory was manned continuously by three meteorologists, with detailed measurements taken every hour, day and night, throughout the year. This week around 3,600 “citizen-scientists” finished transcribing the 1.5m observations int o digital form. “We will be able to better examine particular storms and unusual weather event...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 23, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Kate Ravilious Tags: Meteorology Weather UK news Renewable energy Science Source Type: news

Welcome to the (possible) future: V & A shows tech's hottest ideas
Museum plans 2018 exhibition, called The Future Starts Here, exploring how groundbreaking technologies could change the worldNew technology could allow us to clean up devastating damage to the environment, charge a phone with our clothes and create vast factories in space. But it appears to have its limits: the tedium of laundry, a new exhibition suggests, will still be down to us.Anexhibition next year at the V&A on possibly revolutionary design will include some less successful ideas besides the triumphs – the robot, for instance, programmed to fold towels and taking 15 minutes to do each one. “The robots...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 23, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Mark Brown Arts correspondent Tags: V & A Exhibitions Design Robots Technology Tristram Hunt Internet Artificial intelligence (AI) Digital media Cryonics Museums Science UK news Source Type: news

Could octopus DNA reveal the secrets of west Antarctica ’s ice sheet collapse?
Understanding what happened to the ice sheet will be key to knowing what the future holds for global sea levelsThere are a lot of scientific eyes on west Antarctica right now, for some pretty obvious reasons.The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) holds a lot of water – enough to push up sea levels around the world by 3m or so.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 23, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Graham Readfearn Tags: Environment Climate change Science Antarctica Source Type: news

Alan Dickinson obituary
Geneticist who carried out groundbreaking research into the behaviour of diseases including scrapie and CJDThe geneticist Alan Dickinson, who has died aged 87, was aware even as a young man that he might not live to answer the question that dominated his career: what causes mind-rotting diseases such as scrapie in sheep and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in people? Such was the risk faced by a scientist who in the 1950s chose to specialise in a field then known as “slow viruses”.As these disorders, joined in the 1980s by mad cow disease, were reclassified over the years as transmissible spongiform encephalopat...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 23, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Emily Green Tags: Genetics Health BSE Society Rural affairs Source Type: news

Gove says UK law will specifically recognise animal sentience
Environment secretary moves to end social media campaign against Conservative MPs who voted against EU withdrawal bill amendmentMichael Gove has promised to make “any necessary changes” to UK law to recognise that animals can feel pain, aftera social media campaign accused Conservative MPs of voting down proposals to accept they are sentient beings.The environment secretary issued a statement to the House of Commons insisting that it was a misconception to say Tory MPs voted against the idea that animals are sentient and feel pain.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 23, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Rowena Mason Deputy political editor Tags: Animal welfare Michael Gove UK news Conservatives Brexit Animals Animal behaviour European Union Foreign policy Politics Science World news Source Type: news

What's the difference between explorers, anthropologists and tourists?
Criticism of explorer Benedict Allen, rescued in Papua New Guinea, raises an important question: when is it legitimate to travel to remote communities?An anthropologist, an explorer and a tourist walk into a bar. They ’re each clutching a spear. The anthropologist describes how it was presented to her on her seventh fieldwork season by the elders of the tribe. The explorer regales them with the tale of how he won the spear upon completing an initiation challenge the tribe had set for him, filmed for a documenta ry. The tourist explains that he paid $10 for his at the market, and needs to get back now otherwise the cr...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 23, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Mary-Ann Ochota Tags: Science Anthropology Colonialism Travel Research Source Type: news

How soon will the 'ice apocalypse' come?
An emotive article on the ‘ice apocalypse’ by Eric Holthaus describes a terrifying vision of catastrophic sea level rise this century caused by climate change and the collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet. But how likely is this – and how soon could such a future be here?I ’ve been gripped by the story of Antarctic ‘ice cliff instability’ever since Rob DeConto and Dave Pollard published theircontroversial predictions last year. They suggesteddisintegration of ice shelves caused by global warming could leave behind coastal ice cliffs so tall they would be unstable, crumbling endlessly into ...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 23, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Tamsin Edwards Tags: Science Climate change Antarctica Source Type: news

Why the nights are getting brighter – but not in a good way
Spread of light pollution is bad for the environment, animal life and humans, five-year study concludes The world ’s nights are getting alarmingly brighter – bad news for all sorts of creatures, humans included – as light pollution encroaches on darkness almost everywhere.Satellite observations made by researchers during five consecutive Octobers show Earth ’s artificially lit outdoor area grew by 2% a year from 2012 to 2016. So did nighttime brightness.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 23, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Associated Press Tags: Pollution Science Environment Source Type: news

Grenfell Tower death toll of 71 unlikely to rise as last inquests open
All bereaved families have had loved ones released back to them and most funerals have taken place, says coronerThe last two of the 70 inquests forvictims of the Grenfell Tower fire were opened and adjourned on Wednesday with the coroner paying tribute to bereaved families and the “unrelenting work of dedicated professionals” who recovered and identified remains.The Westminster coroner, Fiona Wilcox, who has presided over 19 hearings in the past five months, said the final inquests marked an important milestone.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Harriet Sherwood Tags: Grenfell Tower fire UK news London Society Firefighters Police Forensic science Metropolitan police Emergency services Source Type: news

Water divining is bunk. So why do myths continue to trump science? | Philip Ball
The use of dowsing by major water companies shows that the appeal of natural magic needs to be understood – and, where needed, confrontedThe news that manywater companies use dowsing to locate underground water has prompted outraged demands from scientists that they desist at once from wasting time and money on “medieval witchcraft”. They are right to call this practice deluded. But it reveals how complicated the relationship is between scientific evidence and public belief.When thescience blogger Sally Le Page highlighted the issue after her parents spotted an engineer dowsing for Severn Trent Water, the...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Philip Ball Tags: Science Utilities Severn Trent Physics Business UK news Water bills Consumer affairs Source Type: news

On the Iraq border archaeological digs are a minefield – in every sense
At the ancient site of Charax Spasinou, military activity has left an indelible mark. Should it be viewed as modern damage – or as an important record of historical events?Modern conflict archaeology, the study of 20th and 21st century conflicts, is a new and slightly uncomfortable discipline in the world of archaeology. It ’s problematic in a number of ways. Firstly, very little of it involves what most people would recognise as archaeology – digging up cultural material from the ground for study. Most of the material legacies of modern conflicts remain above ground and embedded in current society, neces...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Mary Shepperson Tags: Science Archaeology Iraq Iran Middle East and North Africa Heritage Source Type: news

Divine intervention: yes, water companies using dowsing really is that bad
It turns outthat water companies have been using dowsing to find damaged pipes, andthis is an extremely common practice. But is it a big deal? Yes, it is.OK, somost UK water companies have people who use divining rods to find leaks and burst pipes, although many havesince back-pedalled on these admissions since the story broke, thanks to the sterling work ofscience writer Sally Le Page, who deserves all credit for it. Understandable perhaps; if you were a major utility provider earning millions by providing an essential resource to large populations, you ’d probably be a bit embarrassed if people found out your highl...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Dean Burnett Tags: Science Science and scepticism Psychology Environment Source Type: news

The media has a problem with alcoholism – and it's stopping people getting help
Alcoholism as a term has long expired, so why do common narratives around alcohol problems still rely on it so much?The term alcoholism has long been retired from official alcoholclinical andpolicy guidance, abandoned as a reductionist and stigmatising label for problem drinking. Instead,alcohol use disorders, some including varying degrees of dependency, reflect the wider continuum nature of alcohol problems. Despite this, inappropriate references to “alcoholics” are ubiquitous in everyday narratives including mainstream media, undermining opportunities to reduce alcohol harms in a number of subtle ways.One re...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: James Morris Tags: Science Alcohol Alcoholism Health Society Source Type: news

Self-taught rocket scientist plans launch to test flat Earth theory
‘Mad’ Mike Hughes, 61, plans to reach an altitude of 1,800ft over California in his home-made steam-powered rocketScience is littered with tales of visionaries who paid for pioneering research to prove their theories, and this weekend “Mad” Mike Hughes is hoping to join them. He plans to launch a homemade rocket in California as part of a bid to eventually prove that the Earth is flat.Hughes has spent $20,000 ( £15,000) building the steam-powered rocket in his spare time, and will belivestreaming the launch over the internet. The self-described daredevil says he switched his focus to rockets a...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Martin Belam Tags: California US news Space World news Science Source Type: news

Why do left-handers excel at certain elite sports but not others?
Data suggests being left-handed is a particular advantage in sports where time pressures are particularly severe, such as baseball, crickets and table tennisFrom cricketer Wasim Akram to baseball pitcher Clayton Kershaw and table tennis star Ding Ning, the world of sport has no shortage of left-handed players. But now researchers say they ’ve worked out why lefties are overrepresented in some elite sports but not others.The study suggests that being left-handed is a particular advantage in interactive sports where time pressures are particularly severe, such as table tennis and cricket – possibly because their ...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Nicola Davis Tags: Science Sport Psychology Sports science Source Type: news

Horse-eating birds and Demon Ducks of Doom: untangling the fowl family tree
Chickens and ducks may not fill you with awe. But their early cousins were the largest birds on Earth – and a new study reveals how the bird groups are linkedWe don ’t generally think of chickens and ducks as particularly awe-inspiring birds. Kept across the world as pets or as a food source, chickens (Galliformes) and ducks and geese (Anseriformes) are ubiquitous and seen as docile and unintimidating. The comparative anatomist Thomas Huxley noted in1867 that Galliformes and Anseriformes shared a number of anatomical features, suggesting that the two groups of birds must be related. Later morphological and mole...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Hanneke Meijer Tags: Birds Fossils Palaeontology Science Evolution Source Type: news

Pitch perfect: the experts' guide to selling an idea
Don Draper turned it into an art form, but, for the rest of us, pitching can be a terrifying prospect. An ad man, a Dragons ’ Den investor and a TV producer give their top tipsA pitch is often all there is between an individual and their film getting made or their business receiving funding. Having a good idea can be the easy part – selling it to strangers requires nerves of steel and more than a working knowledge of the art of persuasion.Related:Petrified of public speaking? Let your body do the talkingContinue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Josephine Moulds Tags: Business Business to business Guardian Small Business Network Media Life and style Culture Psychology Entrepreneurs Society Careers Source Type: news

Poor sperm quality linked to air pollution
Study finds ‘strong association’ between high levels of fine particulate matter and abnormal sperm shape - but impact on wider fertility remains unclearHigh levels of air pollution are associated with poor sperm quality and could be partly responsible for the sharp drop in male fertility, according to a new study.A team of scientists, led by researchers from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, studied the sperm of nearly 6,500 men and found a “strong association” between high levels of fine particulate air pollution and “abnormal sperm shape.”Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Matthew Taylor Tags: Air pollution Health Reproduction Biology Environment Science Society Source Type: news

Healthy body, healthy mind: a new approach for mental disorders - Science Weekly podcast
What role might the immune system play in mental illness? And how might this challenge long-held beliefs about the divide between body and brain?Subscribe& Review oniTunes,Soundcloud,Audioboom,Mixcloud&Acast, and join the discussion onFacebook andTwitterEarlier this month, a clinical trial began to test aradical new approach for treating schizophrenia. The trial comes from a team of scientists based in London who have discovered intriguing evidence that schizophrenia could be a disease of the immune system. But how could disruptions in the immune system lead to the kind of symptoms seen in schizophrenia? And might ...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Presented by Hannah Devlin and produced by Max Sanderson Tags: Science Schizophrenia Mental health Psychiatry Medicine Alzheimer's Society Source Type: news

Type of alcohol determines whether you become merry or maudlin – study
Spirits are associated with confidence and red wine is linked to relaxation – and researchers hope findings will help people consider alcohol’s emotional effectsWhile indulging in booze can inspire cheerful merrymaking in some, for others it can lead to a tearful journey to the bottom of the glass. Now researchers say the emotions people feel when drinking could be linked to their tipple of choice.An international survey has revealed that spirits are often associated with feelings of energy, confidence and sexiness – but on the flip-side anger and tearfulness – while red wine is the drink most commo...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 22, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Nicola Davis Tags: Alcohol Society Psychology Science Health Source Type: news

Sugar industry withheld research into effects of sucrose 50 years ago, study claims
Researchers say negative health impacts of sucrose could have been combated sooner had research been released – but industry bodies dispute the findingsSugar ’s demise from childhood staple to public enemy can be seen everywhere. Chocolate bars are shrinking,sugary drinks are set to be taxed and our recommended daily sugar intake hasbeen slashed in half. But the battle against sugar might have begun sooner if the industry hadn ’t kept secrets to protect its commercial interests, according to new findings. In 1967, when scientists were arguing overthe link between sugar consumption and increased risk of he...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Jessica Brown Tags: Sugar Society Business Health Science Medical research Cancer Heart disease Source Type: news

Sugar industry withheld research effects of sucrose 50 years ago, study claims
Researchers say negative health impacts of sucrose could have been combated sooner had research been released – but industry bodies dispute the findingsSugar ’s demise from childhood staple to public enemy can be seen everywhere. Chocolate bars are shrinking,sugary drinks are set to be taxed and our recommended daily sugar intake hasbeen slashed in half. But the battle against sugar might have begun sooner if the industry hadn ’t kept secrets to protect its commercial interests, according to new findings. In 1967, when scientists were arguing overthe link between sugar consumption and increased risk of he...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Jessica Brown Tags: Sugar Society Business Health Science Medical research Cancer Heart disease Source Type: news

Francis Crick Institute's £700m building 'too noisy to concentrate'
Some of the 1,250 people working at the year-old laboratory say its open plan layout, designed to produce collaboration, makes it hard to focus on workIt is a£700m cathedral to biomedical science, where scientists work together to make breakthroughs in cancer, neuroscience, pandemics and genetics. But the Francis Crick Institute is not proving to be the easiest place to concentrate.A year after opening, some of the 1,250 people working at the Crick Institute, in its central London laboratory, have complained that the open plan design, intended to assist informal collaboration, means some areas set aside for thinking ...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Robert Booth Tags: Science Architecture Medical research UK news Source Type: news

Nasa to be hit by CSIRO engineers' stop-work action over pay
CSIRO is limiting pay rises for Australians whose work supports Nasa despite the fact they are paid out of Nasa ’s budget​A group of Australian engineers whose work supports the Nasa deep space network are targeting the space agency with industrial action at a communication centre in Canberra.The employees of the Canberra deep space communication complex in Tidbinbilla are employed by Australia ’s science agency the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), which is limiting their pay rises despite the fact they are paid out of Nasa’s budget.Continue reading... (Source: Guard...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Paul Karp Tags: Industrial relations Nasa CSIRO Australia news Science Space Canberra Source Type: news

No more middots: French PM clamps down on gender-neutral language
Édouard Philippe issues ban on inclusive writing in official texts after outcry by traditionalists over punctuated ‘aberration’The French prime minister, Édouard Philippe, has clamped down on attempts to make the French language more female-friendly, issuing a ban on “inclusive writing” in official texts.Moves to end the linguistic dominance of the masculine over the feminine have sparked impassioned debate in France, coming as a flurry of revelations about sexual harassment and assault continue to dominate global headlines.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Agence France-Presse in Paris Tags: France Language Gender Europe World news Science Source Type: news

Mysterious object confirmed to be from another solar system
Astronomers have named interstellar object ’Oumuamua and its red colour suggests it carries organic molecules that are building blocks of lifeAstronomers are now certain that the mysterious object detected hurtling past our sun last month is indeed from another solar system. They have named it 1I/2017 U1( ’Oumuamua) and believe it could be one of 10,000 others lurking undetected in our cosmic neighbourhood.The certainty of its interstellar origin comes froman analysis that shows its orbit is almost impossible to achieve from within our solar system.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Stuart Clark Tags: Science Asteroids Space Astronomy Source Type: news

Russian radiation leak: everything you need to know
‘Extremely high’ levels of a radioactive isotope were discovered in parts of Russia in September. But where did it come from? And is it dangerous?Russia reports radioactivity 986 times the norm after nuclear accident claimRussia ’s meteorological service has confirmed that “extremely high” concentrations of a radioactive isotope, ruthenium-106, were found in several parts of the country in late September. Ru-106 is a decay product from nuclear reactions: the initial fuel is typically uranium or plutonium, and this spl its into smaller nucleii, which decay through a series of different radioact...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Hannah Devlin Science correspondent Tags: Russia Nuclear power Nuclear waste Energy Environment Europe Science Physics Source Type: news

Robert Winston wins fourth Royal Society young people's book prize
TV academic ’s Home Lab, a collection of scientific experiments that can be carried out at home, won over jury of young readersTV professor Robert Winston has proved he has the winning formula as a science writer for children by scooping the prestigious Royal Society young people ’s book prize for the fourth time with Home Lab, a collection of scientific experiments that can be done at home.Voted for by young readers, the book was described as “really cool” by six-year-old judge Mohammed, and “brilliant” by eight-year-old judge Faith. It was given the ultimate stamp of approval by 10-yea...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Alison Flood Tags: Royal Society prizes for science books Culture Robert Winston Source Type: news

The vinyl frontier: why do we keep sending music to outer space?
S ónar festival is beaming cutting-edge dance music to an exoplanet 12 light years from Earth. But can such experiments ever be more than hubris?What item would you choose to sum up humanity if you were, like Captain James T Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, seeking out new life and new civilisations? A “five items or less” sign from a supermarket, with a note explaining why it should be “fewer”? Maybe a selection of press cuttings about theGreggs sausage roll Jesus controversy, summing up both humanity ’s silliness and its capacity for overreaction?Of course you wouldn ’t. You&rsq...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Michael Hann Tags: Pop and rock Electronic music Space Culture Science Music festivals Chris Hadfield Source Type: news

Finance trumps patients at every level – UK healthcare needs an inquiry | Aseem Malhotra
The healthcare system faces a crisis of trust; ill-informed doctors and poor research are harming patientsThe healthcare system is facing failure, rooted in an epidemic of misinformed doctors and patients.During a recent keynote lecture at theBritish Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation annual conference, I gave the example of a man who had had a heart attack and been given statins and whose months of disabling muscle pain resolved within a week of stopping taking them. His elation was cut short when his GP told him he must never stop his statin or he could die. When the audience was asked to guess ...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Aseem Malhotra Tags: Healthcare Network Work practices Workforce GPs and primary care Public health Drugs Science Society NHS Source Type: news

Megafauna mega-find: the extraordinary discoveries at Diamond Valley Lake
Construction of a huge Californian reservoir had just begun when bones started to emerge – and turned out to be a vast treasure trove of Pleistocene fossilsIn the early 1990s,the Eastside Reservoir project– eventually simply referred to as Diamond Valley Lake – was announced. Planners intended to create an enormous reservoir to act as Southern California’s emergency water supply. It would require a huge excavation, and accordingly, an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), a requisite before constr uction could commence, was commissioned.When complete, the EIR indicated there would be few fossils of any...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Jeanne Timmons Tags: Palaeontology Science Fossils Evolution Source Type: news

The consensus is clear: there is no upside to a nuclear Brexit | Clare Moody
This government must heed the warnings – leaving the treaty on nuclear energy, safety and research is complicated and the potential consequences disastrousCabinet resignations, a government with no majority in the Commons, a make-or break-budget for the chancellor and a fast-approaching Brexit negotiating deadline means it is easy for issues to slip out of the public consciousness. Against this backdrop, Euratom and the UK ’s future nuclear safeguarding regime risk being forgotten.As the nuclear safeguards bill - one of the “Brexit bills” announced in the Queen’s speech – makes its way t...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Clare Moody Tags: Nuclear power Science Energy Energy industry Environment Business Source Type: news

Trade in Dead Sea Scrolls awash with suspected forgeries, experts warn
Two experts say a significant number of fragments bought in multimillion-dollar trade are suspected fakesA multimillion-dollar trade in fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls fuelled by a surge in interest from wealthy evangelicals in the US includes a significant number of suspected forgeries, two prominent experts have said.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem and Oliver Laughland in New York Tags: Christianity Religion World news Middle East and North Africa Source Type: news

Illegal building 'played central role' in floods that killed 20 in Athens
Uncontrolled construction in Greek capital has led to many streams being concreted over, leaving rivers no outlet to the seaChaotic urban planning and illegal construction in Athens played a central role in thedeadly flash floods that killed 20 people last week, experts in Greece have claimed as authorities pledged emergency funding for victimsmade homeless by the disaster.About 1,000 owners of homes and businesses are eligible for the assistance, according to government engineers dispatched to inspect the buildings.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Helena Smith in Athens Tags: Greece Flooding Europe Natural disasters and extreme weather World news Environment Geology Science Urbanisation Cities Source Type: news

Vitamin D may help prevent rheumatoid arthritis, suggests study
Higher doses may be needed, or possibly new treatment that bypasses or corrects vitamin D insensitivity, authors sayMaintaining sufficient vitamin D levels may help to prevent rheumatoid arthritis, according to researchers.A study led by the University of Birmingham compared the ability of immune cells in blood from inflamed joints in people with rheumatoid arthritis to respond to the so-called sunshine vitamin.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 21, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Haroon Siddique Tags: Nutrition Science Health Society Source Type: news

Babies may be able to link certain words and concepts, research suggests
Study indicates infants as young as six months old may realise certain words are related – and that interaction with adults boosts understandingBabies as young as six months old may have an inkling that certain words and concepts are related to each other, say scientists in research that sheds new light on how infants learn.The study also found that babies who weremore often exposed to adults talking to them about items in their vicinity did better at identifying a picture of an object when the item was said out loud.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 20, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Nicola Davis Tags: Language Parents and parenting Children Science Society Family Source Type: news

Interstellar object confirmed to be from another solar system
Astronomers have named interstellar asteroid ’Oumuamua and found it to be rich in organic moleculesAstronomers are now certain that the mysterious object detected hurtling past our sun last month is indeed from another solar system. They have named it 1I/2017 U1( ’Oumuamua) and believe it could be one of 10,000 others lurking undetected in our cosmic neighbourhood.The certainty of its extraterrestrial origin comes froman analysis that shows its orbit is almost impossible to achieve from within our Solar System.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 20, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Stuart Clark Tags: Science Asteroids Space Astronomy Source Type: news

Did you solve it? This apple teaser is hard core!
The solution to today ’s puzzleOn my puzzle blog earlier today I set you the following puzzle:You and your two friends Pip and Blossom are captured by an evil gang of logicians. In order to gain your freedom, the gang ’s chief, Kurt, sets you this fearsome challenge. The three of you are put in adjacent cells. In each cell is a quantity of apples. Each of you can count the number of apples in your own cell, but not in anyone else’s. You are told that each cell has at least one apple, and at most nine apples, and no two cells have the same number of apples.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 20, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Alex Bellos Tags: Science Mathematics Education Source Type: news

Joseph Banks: botanical work on Cook's voyage finally makes it to print
Life-size prints of hundreds of plant specimens collected by the British naturalist come together in FlorilegiumThe publishing deadline was missed by more than 200 years, but finally the work of one of the great men of the Enlightenment has been printed and distributed, sharing with the world the detailed botanical work of Joseph Banks on his journey aboard James Cook ’s Endeavour.Cook ’s mission when he left England in 1768 was ostensibly to chart the transit of Venus – a measurement that would allow the estimation of the distance from the Earth to the sun, which would aid navigation. However, Cook had b...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 20, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Michael Slezak Tags: Books Australia news UK news Plants Environment Source Type: news

On a roll: blue whales switch 'handedness' when rolling to scoop food
Blue whales show ‘lateralisation’ – like handedness in humans – when rolling, choosing left or right depending on depth and type of rollThey are the largest animals on Earth, can live to around 90 years old and have a tongue that weighs as much as an elephant. Now scientists have revealed another insight into blue whales: how they roll.A study has found that blue whales have a tendency to roll to one side or the other when lunging for prey, with the preference apparently down to the depth of the water and the type of roll they execute.Continue reading... (Source: Guardian Unlimited Science)
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - November 20, 2017 Category: Science Authors: Nicola Davis Tags: Animal behaviour Whales Cetaceans Marine life Environment Biology Science Source Type: news