Simon Reidy

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Fossilized whale skull shows sonar existed 32 million years ago

In a study published in <i>Nature</i> this week, researchers now say that a fossilized whale skull discovered outside Charleston, SC presents all the tell-tales signs related to echolocation in present-day toothed whales, dolphins, and porpoises. The skull is approximately 28 million years old, belonged to …

Left for dead: the mysterious disease killing thousands in Central America

A strange kidney ailment leaves scientists searching for answers<p><i>A sugarcane worker receives treatment for chronic kidney disease at his home in Nicaragua.</i><p>Ed Kashi arrived in Nicaragua last January to shoot some photos for a local nonprofit organization. At the time, it seemed like just another …

First monkeys with custom genetic mutations could revolutionize human disease research

Mice could slowly be replaced with monkeys as the prime animal subjects for human illness research. Scientists in China have successfully bred the first monkeys with targeted genetic mutations, which could lead to primates modeling sicknesses found in humans.<p>The team from Model Animal Research …

In groundbreaking procedure, doctors transplant wombs into nine women

Temporary transplants will test potential for pregnancy<p><i>Lead researcher Mats Brannstrom during an operation in 2012.</i><p>Researchers in Sweden have begun the first major attempt to see if women with transplanted wombs are capable of giving birth. The Associated Press reports that nine women in Sweden …

The pill that might give you perfect pitch by altering your brain

Takao Hensch, professor of molecular and cellular biology at Harvard University, believes that absolute pitch — the ability to identify or sing a specific note without any reference points — is a learned ability, normally only acquirable by humans in a "critical period" early in our lives. In the …

Is DNA analysis stuck in the past?

New tech could free innocent people from prison — but no one's rushing to test it.<p>A few weeks ago, the Innocence Project of New York (IP) announced that it had helped to release another innocent person from prison. This time it was Gerard Richardson. As <i>The Verge</i> outlined in September, Richardson …

The bitter truth about making a natural sugar substitute

Sugar in soft drinks and other processed foods may be bad for us, but cheating our taste buds has proved difficult — and the substitutes we do have (like the coal derivative found in Sweet'n Low) can sound even worse. A more "natural" solution is sweetener derived from plants like stevia, which has …

Study suggests we're all susceptible to false memories

Researchers from UC Irvine have found that people with extraordinarily accurate memory are as vulnerable to the inception of fake memories as others, indicating that perhaps nobody is protected from memory distortion. The study, published last month in <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of …

Madagascar battles the Black Death

Plague leaves dozens dead after one of the worst outbreaks in years<p><i>The village of Mandritsara, where 20 people recently died from bubonic plague. (Flickr /</i> <i>Peter Stephens</i><i>)</i><p>To most, the plague is a thing of the past — a relic from the Middle Ages, when the disease known as the Black Death wiped out a …

Stem cell warning: experts fear experimental treatments will lead to serious injury

Patients who undergo experimental stem cell treatments run the risk of serious injury, Australian experts have warned.<p>A team of leading stem cell …

Google and SpaceX revive the search for impractical inventions

LA's Art + Tech Lab matches artists with engineers and big tech companies<p>The 1960s were a time of experimentation. Whether you’re talking lifestyles or hairstyles, California was at the leading edge of an adventurous spirit that embraced the unconventional and the new. One of the unappreciated …

Shake Shack price target raised to $45 from $30 at CFRA, maintains sell rating

May 5, 2018<br>7:09 PM<p>Justify won the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby Saturday, breaking the 136-year-old Curse of Apollo as he became the first 3-year old who did not run as a 2-year-old to win America’s most famous race since 1882.<p>May 5, 2018<br>6:01 PM<p>With the Federal Reserve meeting, monthly jobs …

Investing

British Library uploads over a million historical images onto Flickr to research and remix

The British Library announced yesterday that it has uploaded more than one million public domain photos from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries to Flickr. The move comes as part of an ambitious project that will crowdsource inventive ways to navigate the massive store of photos, foster research, …

The shadow genome: why DNA isn't destiny

Epigenetics is changing the way scientists look at genetic inheritance<p>How does a mother’s weight-loss surgery affect her child’s risk of obesity? It’s a question scientists have been struggling with since a Laval University study published in April, which looked at children born to mothers who’d …

Element Essential for Life Found in Supernova Remains

Phosphorous — one of the essential elements for life — has been discovered in the cosmic leftovers from a star explosion for the first time, …

Universe

Researchers discover greenhouse gas 7,000 times more powerful than fossil fuels

Scientists in Toronto have discovered a manmade gas that is 7,100 times more powerful at trapping the Earth's warmth than carbon dioxide, according to a new study. The gas, perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA), is a byproduct of the electrical industry.<p>PFTBA was measured at low concentrations in the …

Australian Handheld 3D Printer Could Let Doctors 'Draw' New Bones

Waving a magic wand over an injured bone to create a custom, living repair patch sounds like something out of <i>I, Robot</i>. But researchers have created a …

NASA spacecraft captures color video of 20,000 mile-wide jetstream at Saturn's north pole

NASA announced this week that its Cassini spacecraft has managed to capture a first-of-its-kind film of the monstrous jet stream roiling at Saturn's north pole. The short GIF, using color filters, shows currents of air moving at 200 miles per hour in what's known as "the hexagon," a system unique …

New research maps the secret structure of the sun

A discovery that could help explain everything from solar storms to sunspots<p><i>The phenomenon of solar flares, as seen above, might be better understood thanks to the discovery of giant cells.</i><p>Nearly half a century ago, scientists started to unravel the structure of the sun and determine how solar …

Experts ask the US for more help finding extraterrestrial life

Representatives from NASA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Library of Congress testified before a House committee in Washington today to discuss the possibility of life in our solar system and neighboring galaxies, and the message was clear: more money needs to spent in the …

Oldest ever human DNA found in Spain, raises new questions about evolution

<i>Artist's interpretation of the human ancestors who lived near Sima de los Huesos.</i><p>A fossil discovered in a Spanish cave has given researchers the oldest human DNA found to date. According to <i>The New York Times</i>, the DNA comes from a femur bone and is believed to be around 400,000 years old. But while …

New lawsuit seeks 'legal personhood' for a chimpanzee

An animal rights group is taking to the courts in an effort to seek personhood for a chimpanzee. In a lawsuit filed today in Fulton County, New York, the Nonhuman Rights Project demands that "Tommy" — a privately owned chimp who lives on a reindeer farm in the state — be freed from his owners and …

Drug detectives: scientists want to crowdsource the discovery of new antibiotics

The ILIAD project looks to amass an army of citizen scientists<p>The last time we caught up with Josiah Zayner, he was busy devising a musical instrument that produces melodies based on the reactions of plant proteins to light. Now Zayner, a biophysicist and incoming synthetic biology fellow at NASA, …

Reverse-Engineering a Genius (Has a Vermeer Mystery Been Solved?)

David Hockney and others have speculated—controversially—that a camera obscura could have helped the Dutch painter Vermeer achieve his photo-realistic effects in the 1600s. But no one understood exactly how such a device might actually have been used to paint masterpieces. An inventor in Texas—the …

Vaccinations have prevented at least 103 million cases of contagious disease since 1924

Vaccinations have been credited with some of humanity's greatest technological triumphs over disease, including drastically reducing polio around the globe and almost eliminating smallpox entirely. But how many people have been spared life-threatening infections thanks to the introduction of …

The Fluid Dynamics of Spitting: How Archerfish Use Physics to Hunt With Their Spit

Archerfish are incredible creatures. They lurk under the surface of the water in rivers and seas, waiting for an insect to land on the plants above. …

How Radioactive Poison Became the Assassin’s Weapon of Choice

The mysterious life and brutal death of a Russian dissident.<p><b>TUCKED INTO THE</b> Millennium Hotel on London’s Grosvenor Square, the Pine Bar is a place of …

Tracking the radioactive poison that killed a Russian secret service defector

In 2006, Russian FSB (formerly KGB) defector Alexander Litvinenko was the victim of a rare and frightening poison: a tiny speck of polonium-210, delivered in a cup of tea, was enough to destroy his body from the inside out. On Medium, Will Storr follows the story of Litvinenko's death, from his …

A New And Aggressive Strain Of HIV Is Spreading Across West Africa

A newly discovered strain of HIV is spreading across West Africa. What's worse is that it's particularly aggressive -- and causes significantly …