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Element of the week: thorium | video

This week, we meet thorium, a chemical element with the symbol <b>Th</b> and atomic number <b>90</b>. This element is a bit unusual since it is the first element …

Whispering light hears liquids talk

Researchers are developing optomechanical sensors that will help unlock vibrational secrets of chemical and biological samples at the nanoscale.<p>Ever …

Nature Communications

Sea birds ‘do math’ to divvy up turf

<b>U. LEEDS (UK) —</b> Colonies of northern gannets, which fly far out to sea to feed, are reshaping our understanding of how animals forage.<p>Gannets …

Soy Sauce Overdose: Man Almost Dies, Goes Into Coma

A man who drank a quart of soy sauce nearly died from too much salt in his body, it was reported.<p>The 19-year-old, who was not named, drank the soy …

Soysauce

Brain brew: can coffee stave off maladies of the mind?

Sure, a cup of coffee in the morning can add a little pep to your step. But it might very well do much more than that, according to a growing body of research into the potential health benefits of moderate java consumption. Most intriguing? The prospect that coffee could help stave off …

Promising Results In Early Trial of Novel MS Treatment

Reporting in the journal <i>Science Translational Medicine</i> researchers say a new method for essentially resetting the immune systems of patients with multiple sclerosis appears to be safe. Study co-author Stephen D. Miller of Northwestern University, describes the novel approach tested in this small, …

Whole Genome Scans Could Reveal Too Much

When doctors run out of clues on how to treat a cancer patient, they sometimes order a scan of all the patient's genes. But such a test can turn up unexpected results, such as greater risk of another disease. When are doctors obligated to tell the patient what they know? And do patients have the …

Do Adults Keep Making New Brain Cells? Cold War-Era Radiation Reveals Answer

A different kind of carbon-14 dating<p>When the U.S. and Soviet Union tested nuclear weapons aboveground in the 1950s and 1960s, they left their mark on everyone alive at that time. The tests released unusual amounts of carbon-14 into the atmosphere, which people's cells would sometimes incorporate …

The Week In Numbers: World's Oldest Primate, Big Bang Mystery Solved, And More

<b>55 million years</b>: the age of the sedimentary rock strata in which scientists discovered this skeleton of a <i>Archicebus achilles</i>, the oldest-known primate fossil<p><b>90 days</b>: the record-breaking time in which a Chinese firm plans to build the world's next tallest building, the 2,750-foot, 220-story Sky City<p>…

NASA Mars Curiosity Rover Report -- June 7, 2013

How much do oceans add to world’s oxygen?

Most of Earth’s oxygen comes from tiny ocean plants – called phytoplankton – that live near the water’s surface and drift with the …

Earth Science

My own genome project

In the almost year-long lead-up to having my whole genome sequenced, I have no fears about it. Or at least just a couple of tiny wobbles that I …

Everyday risks: when statistics can't predict the future

We love data. For the past two years we have crunched numbers about dangers of every kind. And there are plenty of dangers about.<p>But – a big but – …

Sticky questions about role of Alzheimer’s gene

<b>WASHINGTON U. – ST. LOUIS (US) —</b> Scientists’ picture of how a gene strongly linked to Alzheimer’s disease harms the brain may need to be …

Dogs to get their iPaws as scientists build computers for animals

It would certainly have made life easier for Lassie. Scientists are designing computers that can be used by dogs so they can play, operate household appliances and even communicate with their owners.<p>It would certainly have made life easier for Lassie.<p>Scientists are designing computers that can be …

Evolutionary theory gone wrong

Evolution? It is only a theory, many creationists will tell you.<p>"Only a theory" is meant to be dismissive, yet much of science is based on things …

Richard Feynman: Life, the universe and everything

Flowers, music, strip clubs...Richard Feynman's scientific curiosity knew no bounds. Christopher Riley pays tribute to an eccentric genius<p>In these days of frivolous entertainments and frayed attention spans, the people who become famous are not necessarily the brightest stars. One of the biggest …