The thinking has always been that one giant volcanic eruption created the Yellowstone Caldera or volcanic crater in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming – but new research suggests we might have been thinking too small. By studying layers of ash and sediment off the California coast, scientists have been able to find evidence of not one,
Scientists have revealed new atomic-level images of the finger-like growths called dendrites that can breach battery compartment barriers, and go on to cause short circuits or even fires. Understanding more about these tiny protrusions is not only going to lead to safer smartphones, it’s going to help us develop stable batteries for our cars, our
A heated discussion over how humans treat their reptilian companions has flared up in a series of articles published this week in the journal Veterinary Record. As reptiles and amphibians are becoming increasingly popular pets, animal experts are calling for renewed attention to the trade to ensure we’re not hurting our slithery and scaly friends.
Bacteria may not have a central or sensory nervous system as we know it, but they can still physically “feel” the world around them, according to a new study. It turns out the tiny microorganisms don’t just respond to chemical signals – they also have a sense of touch, and can recognise surfaces and respond
Consciousness is a slippery concept to pin down, but a small group of neuroscientists just made a solid attempt at doing just that. Their goal was to determine if we’re anywhere near the holy grail of AI – artificial self-awareness. Now, the short answer is no. Sorry. But before you weep for a bleak
Models used to estimate past ocean temperatures might be based on a flawed assumption, according to new research. If true, it would mean our ancient seas were far cooler than previously calculated, and our planet’s current warming trend is even more extraordinary than we thought. A team of scientists from some of Europe’s leading
An empty-eyed humanoid named Sophia has become the first robot in the world to be granted a citizenship. Saudi Arabia bestowed citizenship on Sophia ahead of the Future Investment Initiative, held in the kingdom’s capital city of Riyadh on Wednesday. “I am very honoured and proud of this unique distinction,” Sophia told the audience, speaking
What has six legs, two antennae, four furry appendages sprouting from its backside – and a big chunk of the Internet freaked out? The world’s most viral and terrifying moth. A man in Indonesia posted a picture and video of the insect on Facebook last week, drawing more than 40,000 comments, many from people
The first feathered dinosaur ever found is still spilling its secrets. Sinosauropteryx was uncovered two decades ago, when a farmer in northeastern China unearthed a remarkable fossil while digging a well. The dinosaur’s ancient feathery fluff stunned experts and helped cement the idea that birds are living, avian dinosaurs. Paleontologists continue to wring new
Up until now, all asteroids and comets we’ve seen have originated in our own Solar System. But a few days ago astronomers spotted our first visitor from outer space. Preliminary observations suggested it to be a comet with a velocity that indicated – it was flung out from a nearby star rather than getting caught
An ancient sea dragon buried for 150 million years has been discovered by Indian researchers, and it’s thought to be the first time an ichthyosaur (Greek for “fish lizard”) from the Jurassic period has ever been found in India. Ichthyosaurs were ocean-dwelling predators that lived alongside dinosaurs in the Mesozoic Era from around 250 million
From the seedy underbelly of the natural world where invertebrates prey on anything they can get their fangs on, we have brand new nightmare fuel – giant centipedes crunching away on snakes. A team of biologists in Thailand has reported the “fortuitous observation” of a centipede attacking a snake, made all the more disturbing by
Quantum physics’ two-faced nature has been put to the test over and over again, and every time it’s still damn weird. This time physicists have gone to some lengths – literally – by splitting and merging light and then bouncing it from a satellite before testing its odd-ball properties. And, yeah, even over a stupidly
When hunting for potentially habitable exoplanets, one of the most important things astronomers look for is whether or not exoplanet candidates orbit within their star’s habitable zone. This is necessary for liquid water to exist on a planet’s surface, which in turn is a prerequisite for life as we know it. However, in the course
We learn about some awesome science in high school – like Einstein’s theory of relativity, the Periodic table, and DNA replication. The knowledge we pick up there sets the foundations for all the other amazing things we go on to study. But science definitely doesn’t end at high school, and it’s once you take your
A 6,000-year-old skull fragment from the town of Aitape in Papua New Guinea probably belonged to the victim of a tsunami – a massive, devastating ocean wave. Researchers have analysed the geological sediment from the area where the mid-Holocene skull was found in 1929, and found strong evidence that it was swept by a tsunami
Now that the United States is officially getting back into space exploration, the Moon now seems to be the focus – or at least the starting point – of a lot of plans involving space travel. The Trump administration has redirected NASA’s priorities to settling on our lunar neighbor before Mars, and SpaceX CEO Elon
He is known as one of the great minds in 20th-century science. But this week, Albert Einstein is making headlines for his advice on how to live a happy life – and a tip that paid off. In November 1922, Einstein was traveling from Europe to Japan for a lecture series for which he was
A chemical scent contained in the spilt blood of mammals is irresistible to predator species craving fresh kill, but provokes a very different reaction in animals that are hunted. Researchers have found that E2D, a molecular component of animal blood, is as effective as actual blood in luring wolves, tigers, and wild dogs, but produces
A rescued moon bear in Myanmar had to have surgery after its tongue got so big it was dragging along the floor. By the time vets managed to finally remove the growth, it had swollen to over 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) of tissue – long past the point of fitting in the bear’s head.
Our culture has changed immensely as a result of the smartphone. We can get reassurance for every doubt just by texting our friends. We can feel approval by getting “likes” on our Instagram post or Facebook status. But heavy reliance on devices is responsible for a shift in how we regulate our emotions. A by-product
Unable to stay focused? Frequently going away with the fairies? It may be because you have so much brain capacity that it needs to find ways to keep itself occupied, according to new research. A team of psychologists has found a positive correlation between a person’s tendency to daydream and their levels of intelligence and
It’s obnoxious enough when strangers tell you to smile, but now a smart mirror is doing the same thing – specifically designed for cancer patients, it won’t reflect unless it detects that the person is smiling. It’s called the Smile Mirror, and it’s a screen with a camera in the frame. Facial recognition software gauges
The first of Elon Musk’s solar energy-Powerwall projects has successfully restored power to a local hospital in Puerto Rico, according to a tweet from Tesla earlier today. Hospital del Niño, a children’s hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is among those working with Musk. The Tesla CEO and founder offered to provide a few
Scientists just confirmed the problem at the centre of the Universe: it shouldn’t really exist at all. That’s because at the very beginning of existence, the equal amounts of matter and antimatter present should have annihilated each other, meaning you wouldn’t be reading this article around 13.8 billion years later. One explanation is that
If dealing with the ravages of Alzheimer’s in humans wasn’t enough, the neural disease has now shown up in dolphins, marking the first time it’s been spotted in a wild animal. A new study found protein plaques and tangles, usually the tell-tale signs of Alzheimer’s in humans, in the brains of dolphins that had died
Solar energy is off the charts. Not only is uptake skyrocketing, but solar is now the cheapest form of new energy in dozens of countries, with record-setting solar farms being built all around the world. One even looks like a giant panda. But amidst the surge in all things solar, there’s something we’ve been missing.
Has the Higgs boson been rediscovered? Perhaps technically, with the creative application of a computer capable of sorting through massive quantities of data. By making computation faster, researchers are hoping that quantum computers might aid in the exploration of our natural world and expand our knowledge of the known universe. In a proof-of-principle study,
If you want to freeze your water faster, heat it up first. This counter-intuitive piece of advice comes courtesy of the Mpemba effect, an odd phenomenon in physics that still has theorists scratching their heads. If it exists at all – and not everybody is convinced – the observation still lacks a convincing explanation and
China is in the midst of an all-out blitz on polluters flouting emissions standards, closing tens of thousands of factories in a massive effort to address the nation’s catastrophic pollution problems. Estimates of the crackdown suggest as much as 40 percent of China’s factories have been temporarily closed by safety inspectors, with officials from more
The original version of Stephen Hawking’s PhD thesis has been made freely available online for the first time. The 119-page document was submitted by Hawking, then a 24-year-old graduate student at Trinity Hall college, part of the University of Cambridge. Its title is “Properties of an Expanding Universe”, and in the abstract Hawking promises
When a mass extinction event hits, it can be disastrous for life on the planet by not just wiping out species, but transforming ecosystems forever. But new research shows there are places on Earth where creatures are remarkably resilient against these events – marine ecosystems under the sea. And this surprising discovery could help us predict
To a conspiracy theorist, the world is not what it seems. Invisible threads link seemingly unrelated concepts, and there’s no such thing as a random coincidence. Researchers have been scratching their heads for years over what makes some people more conspiratorially inclined. Now a recent study has finally tracked down one of the faulty thinking
What is it about spiders and their eight arched legs – sometimes fat and furry, or thin like dark needles – crawling close, ever closer to our skin, that provokes such fear and outright revulsion? It’s long been debated whether arachnophobia is something that’s embedded into us as a species – or whether we learn
Plenty of misconceptions and conspiracy theories surround this topic. Internet searches for ‘iPhone slow’ spike after the release of a new-generation model, but there’s no evidence to suggest that manufacturers deliberately degrade the performance of older devices with software updates. Computer hardware does not typically slow down over its useful life. Instead, there are several other reasons
Scientists have spent the past 30 years carefully tracking evolution across more than 68,000 generations of E. coli bacteria – the equivalent of more than 1 million years of human evolution. The latest results suggest we might have been wrong about one of the fundamental aspects of how species evolve. Traditionally, researchers predicted that the
Scientists have announced the shock discovery in Germany of ancient teeth fossils that are nearly 10 million years old, and which they say don’t fit in with our established timeline of human history. What’s causing a commotion is the researchers say one of these fossils is similar to that of humanity’s primitive ancestors, hominins –
Intelligence is a fickle thing. If you give a crow a puzzle, it could try to solve it. If you give a puzzle to a raccoon, a new study has found that it might just tip it over. Many scientists have used a test paradigm in which the creature under investigation has to figure out
The most remote location on Earth has many names: It’s called Point Nemo (Latin for ‘no one’) and the Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility. Most precisely, its exact coordinates are 48 degrees 52.6 minutes south latitude and 123 degrees 23.6 minutes west longitude. The spot is about 2,250 km (1,400 miles) from any spot of land
Beyond Earth’s orbit, there are innumerable comets and asteroids that are collectively known as near-Earth objects. On occasion, some of these objects will cross Earth’s orbit; and every so often, one will pass too close to Earth and impact on its surface. While most of these objects have been too small to cause serious damage,
A little bird common in the United Kingdom is identical in almost every way to its counterparts across the North Sea in the Netherlands: Black and yellow feathers, splotches of white across the cheeks. But the British ones have slightly longer beaks, scientists say, and the reason might be British humans’ embrace of bird feeders.
When it comes to searching for worlds that could support extra-terrestrial life, scientists currently rely on the “low-hanging fruit” approach. Since we only know of one set of conditions under which life can thrive – i.e. what we have here on Earth – it makes sense to look for worlds that have these same conditions.
At any given moment, thousands of satellites swarm over our heads at altitudes ranging between a few hundred miles and tens of thousands of miles. But, of the manmade items in space that are larger than your fist, orbiting satellites are a minority. About 95 percent of what’s out there is space junk: out-of-control space
Some people see happiness as the feeling in a small moment – a chat between old friends, a warm meal. Some see it as deeply profound, a kind of enlightenment. Scientists tend to view it another way, namely, as an ongoing state of being that ebbs and flows – but can be controlled based on
NASA has found an invisible, twisted magnetic tail trailing behind Mars as it orbits the Sun, caused by the effects of rushing solar winds, and perhaps explaining more about how the Martian atmosphere escapes into space. This unique insight was revealed by readings from the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN) spacecraft, which showed
For as long as humans have been around we’ve been fascinated by the world hiding underneath the surface of the Earth, and now scientists are systematically mapping the positions of the tectonic plates that have been pushed deeper into the planet’s core. It’s called the Atlas of the Underworld and you can view it online
If you’ve never heard of Juan Valderrama y Aguilar, you’re not alone. As it turns out, this amateur astronomer from Spain made history when he was just 17 years old. Back in 1886, Valderrama observed the third-ever recorded instance of an exceptionally bright solar flare, and even got his results published in an academic journal.
When monogamous male monkeys see their mates with other males, it activates regions of the brain associated with social pain and pair bonding, a new study has found. In an experiment involving eight captive male titi monkeys, researchers monitored brain activity for the first research into the neurobiology of monogamous primate “jealousy.” Jealousy is