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Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones

The average human's attention span is... oh look, a bird!<p>According to scientists, the age of smartphones has left humans with such a short attention span even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer.<p>Researchers surveyed 2,000 participants in Canada and studied the brain activity of 112 others …

Has the real Sherlock Holmes been deduced?

A new biography of a leading Victorian detective suggests he helped inspire Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation<p>He enthralled Victorian England with his unrivalled skill at cracking cases, based on astute logical reasoning and grasp of forensic science, not to mention a mastery of disguises and …

H2Whoa! Hubble Telescope Finds Geysers of Water on Jupiter’s Moon Europa

From the moment the Voyager probes beamed back the first high-resolution photos of Jupiter’s moon Europa back in 1979, planetary scientists began …

Environment: News & features

Cancer trial drug eliminates advanced leukaemia in 23% of patients

A cancer drug in a Melbourne-led trial eliminated advanced leukaemia in almost a quarter of patients who had run out of options, researchers say.<p>They say the cancer was cleared in 23 per cent of patients and a further 61 per cent achieved partial remission, despite having endured an average of four …

Make An LED Holiday Light Out Of Pennies

And a lemon, and some other stuff. But mostly pennies.<p>Skip the tangled strings of holiday lights this year and go wireless using a few copper-coated cents. U.S. pennies minted since 1982 conceal a zinc core. If exposed to acid, the zinc dissolves and frees electrons for use in a circuit. The …

cheer

Space probe Gaia searches for galaxy's dark energy

European scientists are preparing to launch a probe that will transform our understanding of our galaxy. The spacecraft, called Gaia, will carry the world's biggest, most accurate camera which it will use to pinpoint more than a billion stars with unprecedented precision and create a 3D map of the …

Shark Week bites: Discovery criticized for hugely misleading documentary

The megalodon was real, but the movie is fake<p>Viewers have rallied around the Discovery Channel's Shark Week for decades over its unabashed love of science and its glorification of violent sea creatures. But this year's event, which kicked off last night with the documentary <i>Megalodon: The Monster</i> …

Starwatch: What's the dark matter?

If we could look back at our Milky Way galaxy from deep space then we might view something very like this Hubble image of the galaxy NGC 5754. Both …

How To Turn Garden Beets Into A Drum Machine

Become a "beet-boxing" DJ in a weekend.<p>People conduct electric charges, and so do vegetables. This simple fact spurred designer Scott Garner to build the Beet Box: a machine that plays drum-kit sounds at the tap of a beet. The beets conduct body capacitance, or the electrical energy stored inside …

Mysterious Radio Bursts, Sent From Deep Space

FIDO Would Enable Dog-To-Human Communication

The device would benefit the military, the disabled, doctors, and maybe even you!<p>Three researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, including one of the co-creators of Google Glass, are working to develop a new piece of technology attire--for dogs. The project, FIDO (Facilitating …

Interplanetary Laser Could Send Messages To Mars Or Jupiter

Pew pew!<p>With the help of a new laser ranging system, we might soon be able to send a laser beam to Mars--and hit our target within a millimeter. Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology have developed a new kind of high-precision laser system that can …

Your cat isn't totally ignoring you -- really!

Cats may try to hide their true feelings, but a recent study found that cats do actually pay attention to their owners, distinguishing them from all other people.<p>The study, which will be published in the July issue of Animal Cognition, is one of the few to examine the cat/human social dynamic from …

Pets

How To Hack A Cockroach So You Can Control It With Kinect

Oh yes, there's a video.<p>We've already covered their DIY project to build your very own mind-controlled cyborg cockroach, but now the North Carolina State University researchers have taken roach control to a whole new level. The team created an interface that sends a cockroach scurrying in any …

Google’s other plan to connect the unconnected: satellites

There’s a lot of attention focused on Project Loon, Google’s ambitious and bureaucracy-defying plan to blanket the Earth with internet signals from …

FAQ: Everything You (Didn't) Want To Know About the Rat Meat You Might Be Eating

<b>What's all this about China and rat meat?</b><p>Earlier this month, the Ministry of Public Security for the People's Republic of China announced a three-month crackdown on food safety violators, some of it involving rat, fox and, mink flesh being sold as lamb meat. They reportedly uncovered 383 cases of …