David E Smith

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New Theory Could Tell Us If Life Came From an Alien Planet — NOVA Next | PBS

Life is thought to have originated spontaneously on Earth about 3.5 billion years ago, but some scientists are think life may have come to Earth from …

New study shows how complex bonobo communication is similar to that of human infants

Researchers at the University of Birmingham, UK and the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland, have found that wild bonobos, our closest living …

Are plants intelligent? New book says yes

A new book, Brilliant Green, argues that not only are plants intelligent and sentient, but that we should consider their rights, especially in the midst of the Sixth Mass Extinction<p>Plants are intelligent. Plants deserve rights. Plants are like the Internet – or more accurately the Internet is like …

Chimpanzees

Study offers first genetic analysis of people with extremely high intelligence

The first ever genetic analysis of people with extremely high intelligence has revealed small but important genetic differences between some of the …

The autonomous killing systems of the future are already here, they’re just not weapons – yet

When the discussion of “autonomous weapons systems” inevitably prompts comparisons to Terminator-esque killer robots it’s perhaps little surprise …

Artificially evolved robots that efficiently self-organize tasks

Darwinian selection can be used to evolve robot controllers able to efficiently self-organize their tasks. Taking inspiration from the way in which …

GE's Neuro VR experience takes you inside a musician's brain

"Welcome to the complex universe inside Reuben's head." A mysterious voice boomed through the headphones. With an Oculus headset strapped on my face for GE's Neuro VR experience, I found myself moving through British musician Reuben Wu's mind. Bright pink globes and interlinked pipelines flashed …

Virtual Reality

Controversially, Physicist Argues Time Is Real

NEW YORK — Is time real, or the ultimate illusion?<p>Most physicists would say the latter, but Lee Smolin challenges this orthodoxy in his new book, …

Physics

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

How 16th Century observations paved the way for Darwin’s landmark study

Documents dating back to the 16th Century provide a unique insight into one of Darwin’s landmark studies – according to new research from the …

Infusion of young blood recharges brains of old mice

Something — or some things — in the blood of young mice has the ability to restore mental capabilities in old mice, a study by Stanford University …

The brain is not as cramped as we thought

Using an innovative method, EPFL scientists show that the brain is not as compact as we have thought all along.<p>To study the fine structure of the …

Einstein, Schrödinger, and the story you never heard

How “faith” in the Universe destroyed two brilliant men of genius.<p>“I don’t like it, and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it.” -<i>Schrödinger</i><p>The …

Physics

Researchers have built a mother robot that can independently build its own children

Researchers have observed the process of evolution by natural selection at work in robots, by constructing a ‘mother’ robot that can design, build …

Evolution: Why Are Most of Us Right-Handed?

5 min read<p>This story originally appeared on BBC Future<p>We humans don’t typically agree on all that much, but there is at least one thing that an impressive amount of us accept: which hand is easiest to control. If you use one hand for writing, you probably use the same one for eating as well, and …

Anthropology

Apes may be closer to speaking than many scientists think

Koko the gorilla is best known for a lifelong study to teach her a silent form of communication, American Sign Language. But some of the simple …

While you were sleeping, your brain was working overtime

Sleep has profound importance in our lives, such that we spend a considerable proportion of our time engaging in it. Sleep enables the body—including the brain—to recover metabolically, but contemporary research has been moving to focus on the active rather than recuperative role that sleep has on …

Sleep

Key genetic event underlying fin-to-limb evolution

A study of catsharks reveals how alterations in the expression and function of certain genes in limb buds underlie the evolution of fish fins to …

‘Magic’ sphere for information transfer

In several years – maybe in one or two decades, but maybe sooner or never – one of the existing problems will be solved in an original way: our …

Single Molecular Event Holds Key to How We Evolved to Become the Smartest Animals

<b>Benjamin Blencowe, a professor in the University of Toronto’s Donnelly Centre and Banbury Chair in Medical Research, and his team have uncovered how</b> …

Clinicians Play Catch-Up With the Genome Revolution

It's an increasingly common scene, playing out in clinics all over the country: A patient comes in with a worried look and a fat printout from …

The pronoun I is becoming obsolete

Don’t look now, but the pronoun “I” is becoming obsolete.<p>Recent microbiological research has shown that thinking of plants and animals, including …

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn’t seen in over three …

I Asked 12 Scientists: What Is The One Fact Humanity Needs To Know?

"If civilisation was destroyed, what scientific information would you pass on to the survivors?"<p>Richard Feynman, the physicist, was once asked: "If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generation of creatures, what …

Light-activated learning

A German-French team has developed a light-sensitive switch that regulates a protein implicated in the neurobiology of synaptic plasticity. The agent …

Brain cells 'burn out' in Parkinson's disease

<b>Brain cells in Parkinson's disease exhaust themselves and die prematurely, burning out like an "overheating motor", an early study suggests.</b><p>Canadian researchers say the findings might help explain why only small parts of the brain are affected in the disease.<p>Parkinson's is caused by a loss of nerve …

‘Brainbow’ reveals surprising data about visual connections in brain

Neuroscientists know that some connections in the brain are pruned through neural development. Function gives rise to structure, according to the …

Micro Robots Will Sense Toxins And Deliver Medicine

Straight out of a science fiction novel, nanoengineers from the Nanoengineering department at the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) have created 3D printed micro robots in the form of a small fish, called micro fish, as a proof-of-concept for detoxing and sensing toxins.<p>Researchers …

UC San Diego

3D Printed Animotus Is a Handheld Smart Cube That Guides the Visually Impaired through Touch

We’ve followed numerous 3D printed innovations that have been created for the purpose of helping the visually impaired, from navigational-oriented …

Chemists Solve Major Piece of Cellular Mystery

Not just anything is allowed to enter the nucleus, the heart of eukaryotic cells where, among other things, genetic information is stored. A double …