Duard Louw

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Hubble telescope finds evidence of clouds on a distant planet

40 light-years away lies the exoplanet GJ 1214b, a searingly hot "super-Earth" orbiting a red dwarf star. And thanks to the Hubble telescope, researchers believe they've found what lies in the planet's upper atmosphere: thick clouds. A paper, published in the January 2nd issue of <i>Nature</i>, relies on …

Why it's time for brain science to ditch the 'Venus and Mars' cliche

As hardy perennials go, there is little to beat that science hacks' favourite: the hard-wiring of male and female brains. For more than 30 years, I have seen a stream of tales about gender differences in brain structure under headlines that assure me that from birth men are innately more rational …

Cassini reveals Saturn's true colours

"There is not perhaps another object in the heavens that presents us with such a variety of extraordinary phenomena as the planet Saturn," William Herschel once remarked. "It is a magnificent globe, encompassed by a stupendous double ring; attended by seven satellites; ornamented with equatorial …

7 Reasons Why Coffee Is Good For You

Coffee isn't just warm and energizing, it may also be extremely good for you.<p>In recent years and decades, scientists have studied the effects of coffee on various aspects of health and their results have been nothing short of amazing.<p>Here are 7 reasons why coffee may actually be one of the …

The 20 big questions in science

1 What is the universe made of?<p>Astronomers face an embarrassing conundrum: they don’t know what 95% of the universe is made of. Atoms, which form everything we see around us, only account for a measly 5%. Over the past 80 years it has become clear that the substantial remainder is comprised of two …

Scientists grow miniature human brain in a lab

'Cerebral organoids' model development of the mind in human embryo<p>Scientists have long been taunted by the human brain. After all, the very organ that gives us knowledge remains largely unmastered — something President Obama has set to rectify, in part, with an ambitious effort to map the brain. An …

Tons Of Molten Glass Go Into Making Mirror For Giant Telescope

Technicians on Saturday are set to cast 20 tons of glass for the third of seven ultra-precise primary mirrors that will make up the 72-foot Giant Magellan Telescope, scheduled for completion in northern Chile's arid Atacama Desert in 2020.<p>The parabolic mirror will be cast at the University of …

Researchers debunk myth of right-brain and left-brain personality traits

Are “right-brained” people creative, thoughtful and subjective? Are “left-brained” people logical, detail-oriented and analytical? Research suggests …

New form of carbon said to be strongest material ever found

The strongest known material in the world may have just been dethroned. Researchers from Rice University have calculated the properties of a little-studied form of carbon known as carbyne, and they've determined that it should have a "specific strength surpassing that of any other known material." …

In regenerative medicine breakthrough, lab-grown human heart tissue beats on its own

Progress in regenerative medicine has been coming fast and furious in recent months: scientists are now using far-out tissue engineering techniques to restore liver function in mice, regrow human muscle, and even implant bioengineered blood vessels into ailing patients. Now, a team at the …

In 165-Million-Year-Old Fossil, Evidence That Fur Predates Mammals

Meet Megaconus mammaliaformis, a furry proto-mammal and, in the words of one researcher, "your great-great-grand uncle 165 million years removed."<p>Meet <i>Megaconus mammaliaformis</i>, a 165-million-year-old proto-mammal recently discovered in Inner Mongolia, China. This squirrel-sized dude evolved long …

Stem cells: what happened to the radical breakthroughs?

It's 1998 and science is taking big strides. The first cloned mammal, Dolly the Sheep, has just had her first lamb; the first robotically assisted heart surgery has been completed; Furbys have hit the shelves. In a bold announcement, biomedical engineer Professor Michael Sefton declared that within …

Swinging CO2 Levels Show The Earth Is 'Breathing' More Deeply

Plant life on our planet soaks up a fair amount of the carbon dioxide that pours out of our tailpipes and smokestacks. Plants take it up during the summer and return some of it to the air in the winter. And a new study shows that those "breaths" have gotten deeper over the past 50 years.<p>This isn't …

7 Quiet Career Truths That Speak Volumes

Lately, I have been writing less. With the economy picking up, our marketing and sales recruiters are busier.<p>I’ve also come to learn that in business sometimes it’s strategically (and monetarily) beneficial to remain under the radar.<p>As I sat down to write, I began looking over interviewing and …

Light lives for at least a billion billion years

Light can theoretically zip around the universe forever without breaking down. That's because it's long been believed that the photon — the elementary particle that makes up light and other electromagnetic radiation — has no mass. But physicist Julian Heeck wondered what would happen if it turned …

Goggles Block Facial Recognition Algorithms

Facial recognition-prevention goggles have arrived.<p>Don a pair of these near-infrared LED-studded goggles and any facial-recognition algorithms that work on infrared cameras will be blocked by the lights, says its inventor. But the lights will be invisible to the human eye.<p>The idea comes from …

Associated Press News

The Irrationality of Giving Up This Much Liberty to Fight Terror

When confronted by far deadlier threats, Americans are much less willing to cede freedom and privacy.<p>Reuters<p>The image is still powerful, isn't it?<p>So are the anger, and the memories.<p>Most Americans don't just remember where they were on September 11, 2001 -- they remember feeling frightened. Along …

Cheap credit has inflated the markets, and we could be in for a crash landing

During the past four centuries, there have been five occasions when major credit bubbles have led to stonking crashes. Tulip mania in 17th-century …

Photographs capture the moment atoms bond for the first time

Your chemistry textbook diagrams were more literal than you thought<p>Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have captured the moment when atoms form a covalent bond. The team happened upon the discovery by accident: they set out to build graphene …