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Judith Woods: Where do we draw the line between playing Darwin and playing God?

The fact that Chinese geneticists have taken the first steps to creating designer babies should fill us with horror

TWO contrasting stories this week have thrown into sharp relief the complex relationship between humanity and science. The first was the harrowing yet inspirational story of how …

Drawing the Line

EU warns of 'point of no return' if internet firms are not regulated soon

The European Union is considering the creation of a new regulator with the explicit remit to oversee internet firms such as Google and Facebook, according to a leaked internal document prepared in February.

The plan, seen by the Wall Street Journal, was prepared for EU digital commissioner Günther …

Amazon

Bishop says Britain has a moral duty to accept refugees from its wars

One of the country’s most senior bishops has said that Britain has a moral imperative to accept refugees from conflicts in which it has participated.

After a week in which the death toll of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean into Europe grew to 1,700 so far this year, the bishop of …

Refugees

Paul McCartney Is Headlining Lollapalooza -- But Why Is The 72-Year-Old Everywhere Right Now?

Paul McCartney Is Headlining Lollapalooza — But Why Is The 72-Year-Old Everywhere Right Now?

We asked a musicologist.

The most ubiquitous name in pop …

John Lennon

Sabeen Mahmud describes her ‘challenging but exciting’ work founding PeaceNiche - video

Nawaz Sharif

Italian police say terror suspects 'planned Vatican attack'

Italian police dismantle a network of Islamist radicals that may have planned an attack on the Vatican

Italy dismantled an alleged Islamist terrorist network with links to al-Qaeda on Friday, claiming the extremists had planned to attack the Vatican.

Italian authorities said the network included two …

Italy

Stunning Early Entries in 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

One of our very favorite photo contests has just kicked off! The 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest brings out the most breathtaking shots in travel photography. This year, the prizes are really exciting! The grand prize winner will receive an eight day National Geographic Photo …

Travel Photography

Is This Weird 3-Story Solar Powered Jet The Airliner Of The Future?

Probably not, but check back in 30 years

The Progress Eagle is a gigantic concept airliner by designer Oscar Viñals. It's an amazing air transit behemoth, with solar panels and a giant wind turbine, all for a glorious future that may never come to pass.

By design the Progress Eagle is a plane that …

Renewable Energy

Traveling while black is never just tourism

It takes a while to blink the light out of my eyes.

I’m sitting in the back of a songthaew headed for a bus to Bangkok from Chiang Mai, Thailand, when suddenly the world goes white. This before returning, as an old Italian woman grins at me from across a pile of backpacks and admires the picture …

Africa

Yellowstone national park: scientists discover huge magma chamber

Deep beneath Yellowstone national park, one of the world’s most dynamic volcanic systems, lies an enormous, previously unknown reservoir of hot, partly molten rock big enough to fill up the Grand Canyon 11 times, scientists say.

Researchers on Thursday said they used a technique called seismic …

Magma

Search for Ancient Teotihuacan King's Tomb Takes Mercurial Twist

TEOTIHUACAN, Mexico -- A Mexican archaeologist hunting for a royal tomb in a deep, dark tunnel beneath a towering pre-Aztec pyramid has made a discovery that may have brought him a step closer: liquid mercury. In the bowels of Teotihuacan, a mysterious ancient city that was once the largest in the …

Ancient Civilization

The $5 Billion Race to Build a Better Battery

Professor Donald Sadoway remembers chuckling at an e-mail in August 2009 from a woman claiming to represent Bill Gates. The world’s richest man had …

Batteries

Education is a fundamental human right – which is why private schools must be resisted

At the beginning of the new millennium, the international community made a commitment to achieve universal primary education for all boys and girls. Today, 15 years later, we find huge gaps between these commitments and reality.

Across the world, 58 million children still don’t have access to …

Education

New deadly strikes in Yemen despite rebel demands

Sanaa (AFP) - Saudi-led warplanes launched more deadly strikes in Yemen despite a demand by Iran-backed rebels for a complete halt to the raids as a condition for UN-sponsored peace talks.

The military coalition has declared an end to the first phase of its operations against the Huthi Shiite rebels …

Middle East

Saudi-led airstrikes target Yemen rebels advancing on port of Aden

Saudi-led warplanes carried out an intensive bombardment of Yemen's Houthi rebels on Thursday after the Iranian-backed insurgents ignored a short-lived reprieve and pressed their advance toward the strategic port city of Aden.

Reports from the southern gateway cities targeted by at least 20 …

Middle East

Militants in Gaza Strip fire rocket at Israel on its independence day

Militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket at Israel as it celebrated its independence day on Thursday, the first such attack in months, causing no injuries or damage, Israeli authorities said.

Air raid sirens sounded in the late evening in the southern border town of Sderot and surrounding …

Middle East

EU leaders prepare for summit to tackle migrant deaths

European Union leaders were preparing to hold an extraordinary meeting in Brussels on Thursday to find ways to address the deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean.

It comes as 24 people who were among more than 800 believed to have died when their boat capsized off Libya late Saturday were to be …

Europe

Can a common cold virus lead to asthma?

Scientists have long suspected that respiratory viruses—the sort that cause common colds or bronchitis—play a critical role in chronic lung diseases …

Common Cold

Birds "Walk" on Water to Impress Mates—Here's How They Do It

Animals

'Flameproof' hawk is world's most polluted bird

‘Flameproof’ hawk is world’s most polluted bird

A Cooper’s hawk found in Canada may be the most polluted wild bird in the world.

Researchers made the …

Zoology

CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in human tripronuclear zygotes

Balakier H (1993) Tripronuclear human zygotes: the first cell cycle and subsequent development. Hum Reprod 8:1892–1897

Baltimore BD, Berg P, Botchan …

Genetics

Scientists genetically modify human embryos in controversial world first

Scientists in China have genetically modified human embryos in a world first that has re-ignited the debate over the ethics and safety of genetic therapies that have the potential to prevent inherited diseases.

The work raises fresh questions over whether restrictions should be placed on a new wave …

Life Sciences

Thoughts Can Fuel Some Deadly Brain Cancers

The simple act of thinking can accelerate the growth of many brain tumors.

That's the conclusion of a paper in Cell published Thursday that showed how activity in the cerebral cortex affected high-grade gliomas, which represent about 80 percent of all malignant brain tumors in people.

"This tumor is …

The Brain

3 ways to play with biotech from afar

Three special environments called biotic processing units let people interact with cells or even do simple experiments from afar.“Biotechnology today …

More earthquakes due to human activities, says USGS

View larger. | Blue dots 1960-2012. Green dots 2013. Red dots 2014. Note that an older methodology was used to count earthquakes from 1960-2012. Map …

Earthquakes

To Get Rid Of Mitochondrial Diseases, Just Edit Them Out Of DNA

A possible alternative to controversial three-parent babies

While mitochondrial DNA transfers, or “three-parent babies,” are now legal in the United Kingdom, the debate (largely an ethical one) is still ongoing in the United States. According to a study published today in Cell, researchers at the …

DNA

Hopes raised for new genetic therapy to prevent inherited diseases

Researchers in the US have raised hopes for a simple genetic therapy that could prevent devastating diseases being passed on from mothers to their children.

A team at the Salk Institute in California demonstrated in mice that a single injection into embryos could rewrite faults in the DNA of …

Genetics
Life Sciences

How hell shaped early American politics

Early Americans weren’t just concerned with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, according to a new book. They were obsessed with hell and …

Political History

Transparent findings? 'Invisible' people less anxious, say scientists

The possibilities open to a person rendered invisible have been well explored in the worlds of science fiction and philosophy, not to mention the minds of adolescents.

Now neuroscientists in Sweden have simulated the effect using virtual reality and found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that the sensation …

Virtual Reality