It’s become something of a national meme in the UK that 97-year-old Prince Philip might say something culturally insensitive when he’s out in public. Similarly, people may find their grandparents say more unpalatable things as they get older. These remarks are brushed off because older people “are from a different time,” and “it’s a different
It turns out that our galaxy looks the way it does today thanks to a run-in with something called the ‘Gaia Sausage’. As greasy as space is, we’re not talking cosmic processed foods here. Rather, astronomers have found signs that a small galaxy smashed into the Milky Way billions of years ago, leaving behind a
We will likely never know how life on Earth started. Perhaps in a shallow sunlit pool. Or in the crushing ocean depths miles beneath the surface near fissures in the Earth’s crust that spewed out hot mineral-rich soup. While there is good evidence for life at least 3.7 billion years ago, we don’t know precisely
A 28-year-old rhinoceros named Najin and her daughter, Fatu, are the only northern white rhinos on the planet. They live at Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya under constant armed guard. Both animals are infertile. In March, veterinarians euthanized Sudan, Najin’s father and the last male rhino of their kind. Once Najin and Fatu die, so
Einstein was sure that all objects fall in the same way in a gravitational field, irrespective of their own gravity. It’s called the equivalence principle, and scientists just showed it holds firm using a distant triple-star system discovered in 2012. This system contains a closely orbiting neutron star and a white dwarf, along with a
Find your passion, they say. As if it were easy. As if, just by looking around the place, you might stumble into what you love – a glimmering spark hidden, just out of sight, until that very moment. It doesn’t work that way, psychologists say in a new paper examining the basis of people’s interests.
For the first time, scientists have measured what actually happens with face-to-face interactions when employees start to work at an open-plan office – and their results show these modern workspaces are not as collaborative as you’d think. Two researchers from Harvard Business School and Harvard University wanted to empirically test whether removing walls at a
A giant Pacific octopus named Rabio caught off the coast of Obira, Japan, last month became something of a national sensation when its snack selections ‘predicted’ Japan’s 2018 World Cup victories. Now the fisherman who found the celebrated cephalopod has declared Rabio’s fifteen minutes of fame is up and given him the chop. Literally. For
It may be Independence Day, but there’s nothing revolutionary about the way your 4th of July fireworks are made. Fireworks have been built from a mix of explosive powder, chemicals, and glue for ages. The earliest fireworks shows date back more than a thousand years. But not all fireworks are built the same. You can’t
Three passengers had been thrown from the car and lay immobile in the middle of the road, almost impossible to spot in the hours before dawn. A fourth crash victim was conscious and walking around the battered vehicle, which had come to a stop in the middle of the road from Johannesburg to Carletonville early
One of the areas where artificial intelligence really excels is in working out scenarios with a huge number of complex variables – like how radiation might spread after an accident at a nuclear power plant. This is the focus of a new AI system developed in Japan, and it’s showing us more accurately than ever
You are in a room. There is a marshmallow in front of you. An adult says if you don’t eat it, there’ll be more. The adult leaves. What do you do? This torturous predicament is the famous marshmallow test: an experiment designed by psychologists in the 1960s to gauge how successfully children can control their
News is out today that the entire genome of the koala has been sequenced. This means we now have a complete read-out of the genes and other DNA sequences of this iconic marsupial mammal. Knowing the full set of koala genes deepens our knowledge of koalas (and other Australian mammals) in many ways. Now we
The emergence of life on Earth was obviously a time of great change for our wee blue marble. Plants and algae had evolved some time before, helping convert the atmosphere from carbon dioxide to oxygen, which paved the way for fauna. But the change did not stop there: when animals did turn up around 520-540
If you’re looking for inspiration for your Fourth of July party, look no further than this incredible firework ladder that blazes its way into the sky. This fiery art installation was created by renowned Chinese-born artist Cai Guo-Qiang in June 2015 and, as you can see, it’s pretty damn breathtaking. It begins like a pretty
It would be amazing and terrifying if true – a ‘laser AK-47’ that can set fire to targets and clothing from 800 metres (half a mile) away. According to South China Morning Post, that’s exactly what researchers at a Chinese company called ZKZM Laser have developed. The newspaper claims that the rifle beam cannot be
All the planets in the Solar System are more or less oriented the same as the Sun, with North and South pointed in the same direction. Not Uranus though. The blue planet’s north-south axis is tilted 98 degrees from the Sun’s orbital plane – it’s practically orbiting lying down. It’s so weird that there’s no
In one fell sip, Seattle on Sunday became the first major US city to ban drinking straws, an environmentally friendly move that leaders hope will spark a nationwide conversation about small, everyday changes that people can make to protect the planet. A decade ago, the city adopted an ordinance requiring that all one-time-use food-service items
Twelve members of a boys’ soccer team in Thailand and their coach have been found alive nine days after the group was trapped in a cave in the northern part of the country. The governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osatanakorn, said that all 13 were found safe at about 10:30 pm local time Monday.
If you’re going to slather on sunscreen before jumping in the water, you might want to check the label first. The state of Hawaii is moving forward with a groundbreaking plan to ban the sale of all sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate by the beginning of 2021. The Hawaii senate just sent the
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 left a landscape that was highly toxic, but in the 30 years since we’ve seen small signs of nature recovering. The latest is evidence of a young wild wolf boldly making its way far out of the designated Chernobyl Exclusion Zone or CEZ. Covering some 4,300 square kilometres (1,660
A picture is worth a thousand words. Unfortunately, those words sometimes speak lies. A new analysis of almost 1,000 scientific papers has revealed a shocking number contained inappropriately duplicated images – and while many of these resulted from honest mistakes, about one in ten of the papers caught out ended up being retracted. That’s a
For the very first time, astronomers have captured an image of a baby planet as it carves a path through the disc of dust that surrounds its star, an orange dwarf 113.4 parsecs (370 light-years) away from Earth. The star is called PDS 70, and astronomers have long suspected the existence of the planet in
Stress is great. It makes us faster, stronger, more agile and our brains have better recall and flexibility. That’s why people are willing to put themselves in stressful work situations or engage in extreme sports. The problem is that uncontrolled, stress can leave us frozen to the spot and unable to think – something all
Although rocket launches can look effortless and even glamorous, launching things into space is a risky business. And occasionally, it all can go very, very wrong. A Japanese start-up company learnt this the hard way on June 30, when its rocket MOMO-2 spectacularly crashed back to Earth after spending only a few moments off the launch
Some may remember the deadly book of Aristotle that plays a vital part in the plot of Umberto Eco’s 1980 novel The Name of the Rose. Poisoned by a mad Benedictine monk, the book wreaks havoc in a 14th-century Italian monastery, killing all readers who happen to lick their fingers when turning the toxic pages.
According to an American study, people spend around 1.6 billion hours each year standing idly at the roadside, at the cost of US$2.6 billion to the American economy. With all this waiting around, it’s only natural to question whether pushing the “walk” button will help us get to our destination sooner. To answer this question,
Researchers from Montreal’s National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS) just published a study in Optica detailing a new approach to invisibility cloaking. Their device, called a spectral invisibility cloak, is the first to manipulate the color (or frequency) of the light waves that interact with an object, rendering it invisible. “Our work represents a breakthrough in the quest
Two exoplanets thought to be similar to Earth apparently are, at least when it comes to climate, researc†Kepler-186f is the first identified Earth-sized planet outside the solar system orbiting a star in the habitable zone. This means it’s the proper distance from its host star for liquid water to pool on the surface. The study,
Consider this: right now, you are not where you think you are. In fact, you happen to be the subject of a science experiment being conducted by an evil genius. Your brain has been expertly removed from your body and is being kept alive in a vat of nutrients that sits on a laboratory bench.
Our atmosphere, proximity to the Sun, and countless other beautiful coincidences not only permit living things to survive and evolve but also thrive. And yet, here we are, sitting at desks and in coffee shops and walking down the street like it isn’t some kind of extraordinary miracle. But all good things must come to an