Siphesihle Ndlovu

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The man who studies the spread of ignorance

How do people or companies with vested interests spread ignorance and obfuscate knowledge? Georgina Kenyon finds there is a term which defines this phenomenon.<p><i>This story is featured in BBC Future’s “Best of 2016” collection. Discover more of our picks.</i><p>In 1979, a secret memo from the tobacco …

UC Berkeley

Scientists Have Discovered a Bacteria That's Evolved to Eat Plastic

A team of Japanese scientists has discovered a bacteria that’s evolved to break down and consume PET—one of the world’s most environmentally damaging …

How Neurosurgeons Can Now Look at Your Brain Through Your Eyes

For many years scientists have been trying to find a way to measure the pressure in a patient’s brain without having to drill a hole in the person’s …

Why elephants could hold the cure for cancer

Elephants carry 20 copies of a tumour suppressing gene called TP53 which stops damaged DNA reproducing and causing tumours, scientists have found<p>Elephants may hold the key to fighting cancer after scientists found that they carry a large number of genes which suppress tumours.<p>Researchers have long …

How Gaming Can Remind Us What Our Brains Are Capable Of

I conducted a not-very-scientific experiment on myself to test hypotheses on how games affect attention span.<p>"Long-term focus erodes with increased digital consumption, social media usage, and tech savviness…." A study released by Microsoft last month spelled doom for the average tech user's brain, …

Gas-Propelled Microparticles Could Stop Bleeding in Wounds

On the battlefield, severe blood loss is a leading cause of death. So in the last decade or so, the military has pushed solution after solution to …

Brains of Introverts Reveal Why They Prefer Being Alone

Human faces may hold more meaning for socially outgoing individuals than for their more introverted counterparts, a new study suggests.<p>The results …

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 …

Genetics

The disturbing consequences of seeing your doppelganger

One morning, a man discovered his double staring him in the eyes. Anil Ananthaswamy explores a dangerous hallucination that reveals how the brain constructs our sense of self.<p>More than two decades ago, Peter Brugger, as a PhD student in neuropsychology at the University Hospital Zurich in …

Consciousness

Why do we intuitively believe we have free will?

Free will experiments may not explain whether we are in charge of our destinies – but they can nevertheless reveal just how little we know about our own minds, says Tom Stafford.<p>It is perhaps the most famous experiment in neuroscience. In 1983, Benjamin Libet sparked controversy with his …

Consciousness

Want to calm down? Listen to Judas Priest or Slipknot, study finds

An Australian study of fans of “extreme” bands such as Judas Priest, Megadeth and Fleshgod Apocalypse found the music had a calming effect<p>An Australian study has found that listening to heavy metal and “extreme music” such as punk and death core has a calming influence on fans and does not make …

How to supercharge the way you learn

What is the easiest way to learn? David Robson meets a group of scientists and memory champions competing to find techniques that make facts stick... fast.<p>Face to face with the world’s leading memory experts, my mind is beginning to feel very humble. Ben Whately, for instance, tells me about the …

The Brain

The hidden tricks of powerful persuasion

Are we always in control of our minds? As David Robson discovers, it’s surprisingly easy to plant ideas in peoples’ heads without them realising.<p>Are we all just puppets on a string? Most people would like to assume that they are free agents – their fate lies in their own hands. But they’d be wrong. …

Psychology

Scientists Can Now Read Your Memories

Researchers have mapped rats’ memories, and humans could be next.<p>Scientists may have cracked the code of memories by successfully tracing how they …

5 Thought-Provoking Quantum Experiments Showing That Reality Is an Illusion

Anna LeMind, <i>In5D Guest</i> <b><br>Waking Times</b><p>No one in the world can fathom what quantum mechanics is, this is perhaps the most important thing you need to know …

6 Important Things To Know About How Your Brain Learns

<i>This post originally appeared on the Crew blog.</i><p>Whether you want to learn a new language, learn to cook, take up a musical instrument, or just get more out of the books you read, it helps to know how your brain learns.<p>While everyone learns slightly differently, we do have similarities in the way our …

Brain scans could help doctors better predict your behavior

<b>(CNN) —</b> Forget horoscopes or fortune tellers. There's a new way to tell your future, and it involves a much more reliable medium: human neuroscience.<p>A new study looks at over 70 scientific publications about brain scans such as functional magnetic resonance imaging or electroencephalography, …

The Brain

Could you be a ‘super-forecaster’?

Most intelligence agencies rely on the informed hunches of trained specialists. But there are people from ordinary walks of life who routinely do far better at predicting events than the experts. Tara Isabella Burton meets some of them.<p>Political forecasting is among the most vital roles played by …

Google Search

Broken bones and torn cartilage could be regrown in simple operation

The new discovery offers hope of a new treatment for skeletal disorders such as bone fractures, brittle bones, osteosarcoma or damaged cartilage<p>Broken bones and torn cartilage could be fixed in a simple operation which injects skeleton stem cells into damaged areas, scientists believe.<p>Researchers …

Why can’t you tickle yourself?

It’s almost impossible to get a laugh by self-tickling, says David Robson, and the reason why tells us surprising things about the brain and consciousness.<p>If you want to probe some of the great mysteries of the human mind, all you need is a duster and your feet. Sit back, take your shoes and socks …

University of Maryland

Sleep: How to nap like a pro

We’ve all heard of the merits of power naps, says Tiffanie Wen, but are there good and bad ways to sleep during the day?<p>Growing up, sleep was considered paramount in my family home. My siblings and I didn’t have many house rules – bedtimes were flexible, we had free reign over microwaved TV dinners …

Six lessons we can learn from geniuses

Whether it’s designing a supersonic vehicle, helping the blind to see or creating space history, what can we learn from the great minds behind these feats?<p>Our series The Genius Behind has taken you inside the minds of people who are making the impossible possible. Whether it is designing the …

Will religion ever disappear?

Atheism is on the rise around the world, so does that mean spirituality will soon be a thing of the past? Rachel Nuwer discovers that the answer is far from simple.<p>A growing number of people, millions worldwide, say they believe that life definitively ends at death – that there is no God, no …

Religion

Brain's 'internal compass' found

<b>The precise part of the brain that gives people a sense of direction has been pinpointed by scientists.</b><p>People with stronger nerve signals in their "internal compass" tended to be better navigators.<p>The study, published in the journal Current Biology, suggested people get lost when their compass …

The amazing brains of the real-time interpreters

The world’s most powerful computers can’t perform accurate real-time interpreting of one language to another. Yet human interpreters do it with ease. Geoff Watts meets the neuroscientists who are starting to explain this remarkable ability.<p>One morning this summer I paid a visit to the sole United …

Do dreams occur in slow motion?

When we dream, does time pass at a different pace? David Robson investigates.<p>When my alarm wakes me up, I’ll often hit the snooze button before returning to the warmth and safety of my duvet for another quick doze. But although what follows can seem like a short dream – perhaps a single …

City of the future sinks into the ocean

Japanese firm devises plan for an Ocean Spiral community that descends nine miles to the seabed<p>With dry land increasingly at a premium, a Japanese construction company has come up with a plan to sink a spiralling city into the depths of our oceans.<p>Each Ocean Spiral will be home to about 5,000 …

Scientists Rediscover A Part Of The Brain That Was Forgotten For 100 Years

In 2012, researchers made note of a pathway in a region of the brain associated with reading, but "we couldn't find it in any atlas," said Jason Yeatman, a research scientist at the University of Washington's Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. "We'd thought we had discovered a new pathway …

Psychology: How many senses do we have?

We often talk of having five senses as a universal truth. In reality, there may be more – or fewer – depending on the way you look at the question. Christian Jarrett explains the controversy.<p>Some myths about the brain, such as the idea we only use 10% of our grey matter, are notorious, especially …