Christian Kramer

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Someone Will Eventually Use CRISPR to Try to Make a Dragon or Unicorn

So much emphasis has been placed on human genome editing that other types of genetic editing are falling through the cracks.<p>The world's top geneticists decided to spend the vast majority of last week discussing how to keep new genetic editing tools from ultimately destroying the human race. A noble …

Is another human living inside you?

You may think your body and mind are your own. In fact, you are a fusion of many organisms - including, potentially, another person. Words by David Robson, photography by Ariko Inaoka.<p><i>This story is part of BBC Future’s “Best of 2015” list, our greatest hits of the year.</i> <i>Browse the full list.</i><p><i>-</i><p>Once …

The Oldest Galaxies in the Universe

Peering through a wrinkle in spacetime, astronomers have just seen the first galaxies.<p>More than 12 billion years ago, a sea of stars fell into orbit around a baby black hole, and became a galaxy, one of the first.<p>The formation of this galaxy, and others like it, was a momentous event in cosmic …

Universe

White fat in mice can be forced to burn energy like brown fat by flipping a molecular switch

The technique could be used to help prevent weight gain in humans<p>Scientists say they have figured out a way to make white fat cells in mice burn energy — just by flipping a molecular switch. If this mechanism works similarly in humans, it could open up new ways to help combat obesity.<p>There are two …

Robot Buses Are Coming To America, To Pave The Way For Driverless Cars

First, a quiet business park. Next, the world.<p>Self-driving buses are coming to America. The Bishop Ranch business park in San Ramon, California will be the first place in the U.S. to use French robo-buses to ferry passengers around.<p>Perhaps the best place for autonomous vehicles to start out is in …

If you’re being chased in a dream, does your body produce adrenaline?

If you’re dreaming that a fierce beast is chasing you, thus potentially triggering the fight or flight reaction, does your body produce adrenaline even if you’re asleep?<p><i>Angela Brassley, Ilsington, Newton Abbot, Devon</i><p>• Post your answers – and new questions – below or email them to …

Self-improvement

A blueprint of the emerging mind

Even before you took your first breath, your brain was already learning, exploring and adapting. Now a new project in London is charting its journey in astonishing detail.<p>The small room feels a little like a spaceship cockpit. In front of me, a group of scientists are sitting in front of a series …

Pilot is building a glider to ride winds to the stratosphere — with no engine

Talk about serendipity.<p>Einar Enevoldson was strolling past a scientist's office in 1991 when he noticed a freshly printed image tacked to the wall.<p>He was thunderstruck; it showed faint particles in the sky that proved something he had long believed: The winds that rise off mountains travel far, far …

To find aliens, we need to build a giant space parasol

Could the light from stars be hiding evidence of extraterrestrial life? A giant “Starshade” could soon reveal answers.<p>Alien hunting isn’t just tabloid fodder anymore. Over the last few years, astronomers have discovered thousands of planets outside the Solar System, suggesting that the galaxy is …

Universe

The brain’s miracle superpowers of self-improvement

We used to believe our brains were hardwired at birth. Now we believe we can will them to change. Is that true? Will Storr analyses the truth and hokum about 'neuroplasticity'.<p>For years she had tried to be the perfect wife and mother but now, divorced, with two sons, having gone through another …

The Brain

My weekend with Pepper, the world's first humanoid robot with emotions

An ambitious first step towards a new generation of household robots, Pepper talks, dances and feels. Danielle Demetriou took him home for a stay with her family<p>My house guest is not happy. This may be because my three-year-old is looping purple plastic necklaces around his neck while ordering him …

Robotics

Loneliness May Warp Our Genes, And Our Immune Systems

Loneliness has been linked to everything from heart disease to Alzheimer's disease. Depression is common among the lonely. Cancers tear through their bodies more rapidly, and viruses hit them harder and more frequently. In the short term, it feels like the loneliness will kill you. A study suggests …

Psychology

Forget Wi-Fi: You may soon access the internet via ordinary light bulbs

Light-speed internet may be upon us. A technology called “Li-Fi” uses light waves from ordinary LED light bulbs to deliver internet connectivity that that is cheaper, more secure and 100 times faster that broadband internet.<p>Velmini—a tech company in Tallinn, Estonia—is the first to test visible …

Wi-Fi

You Can Give A Robot A Paintbrush, But Does It Create Art?

Whether you play an instrument, sing or sculpt, "everyone does some kind of art," Pindar Van Arman says.<p>Van Arman is a painter, but he's also a software designer. He has built a handful of machines and worked on a DARPA challenge team in California to build a self-driving car.<p>His latest project? A …