Latest News

New Data Kicks Up ’Snowball Earth’ Fight

In 1998, Paul F. Hoffman and Daniel P. Schrag at Harvard University put forth a chilling description of earth’s climate some 650 million years ago. Their theory, dubbed snowball earth, held that between 750 million and 580 million years ago, ice repeatedly enveloped our planet, coating the seas from pole to pole and killing off early life almost completely. During the past few years, the idea has stirred up a great deal of debate. And new data published in the December issue of Geology only furt

The littlest lizard

World’s smallest reptile is discovered in the Caribbean forest.

At just 16 mm from nose to tail, the Jaragua lizard is the world’s smallest. In fact, it’s the smallest vertebrate that can reproduce on dry land 1 .

The newly discovered lizard lives on Isla Beata, a small, forest-covered island in the Caribbean off the Dominican Republic. Blair Hedges, an evolutionary biologist at Pennsylvania State University, together with Richard Thomas of the

Quantum computers spread the risk

A balanced portfolio of programs could mean a faster quantum computer.

Strategies from the world of finance could help get the best out of quantum computers, say US researchers 1 . The right portfolio of programs could solve a problem many times faster than a single strategem.

Quantum computers – purely hypothetical as yet – would be fast, but you could never be sure whether a program was going to work or not. You would have to keep running the program until

Radiation zaps bystanders

Radon may pose a greater cancer threat than has been thought.

Radon damage from irradiated cells spreads to their neighbours, a new study finds 1 . The result suggests that small amounts of this radioactive gas could cause widespread harm.

The study “is a reason for concern but not panic”, says Gerhard Randers-Pehrson of Columbia University, New York, a member of the team that performed the study. “We’re talking about the acceptable level of radon changing pe

Study Suggests Predators Are Vital to Health of Ecosystems

The question of which forces control terrestrial ecosystems lies at the heart of a long-standing debate among ecologists. One theory, the so-called bottom-up theory, suggests that plant defense mechanisms exert control by limiting food availability for herbivores. Top-down theorists, however, suggest that predators limit the numbers of herbivores and hence their impact on the vegetation. Now new findings in the current issue of the journal Science that describe animal communities isolated for 15 year

Transgenic Tobacco Detoxifies TNT

For more than 150 years, people around the world have made ample use of the explosive trinitrotoluene, otherwise known as TNT. Its use has had unintended consequences, however: the manufacture, storage and disposal of TNT—which ranks among the most toxic explosives employed by the military—have left large areas of land contaminated and polluted. So far, effective and affordable cleanup technologies have remained out of reach. But new research suggests that help may come from what might seem an unlike

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Physics and Astronomy

Photon upconversion: Steering light with supercritical coupling

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have unveiled a novel concept termed “supercritical coupling” that enables several folds increase in photon upconversion efficiency. This discovery not only challenges…

Webb finds evidence for neutron star at heart of young supernova remnant

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has found the best evidence yet for emission from a neutron star at the site of a recently observed supernova. The supernova, known as SN…

MeerKAT+: the MeerKAT Extension

The first MeerKAT+ antenna was today handed over in a festive ceremony in the Karoo region in South Africa. This marks another important step towards the SKA Observatory’s(SKAO) mid-frequency telescope,…

Life Sciences and Chemistry

New technique can quickly detect fentanyl and other opioids

Testing method can analyze blood samples twice as quickly as other techniques. University of Waterloo researchers have developed a new blood testing method that can detect potent opioids much faster…

Developing novel strategies against tuberculosis and malaria

Saarbrücken-based research project on new drugs against infectious diseases receives support from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Tuberculosis and malaria are among the deadliest infectious diseases worldwide and are increasingly…

TB vaccine shrinks liver cancer tumors in mice

Century-old tuberculosis vaccine extends survival of mice with hard-to-treat liver cancer. A UC Davis Health study found that a single dose of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), the vaccine for tuberculosis (TB),…

Materials Sciences

Researchers harness 2D magnetic materials for energy-efficient computing

An MIT team precisely controlled an ultrathin magnet at room temperature, which could enable faster, more efficient processors and computer memories. Experimental computer memories and processors built from magnetic materials…

Sodium-ion batteries: How doping works

Sodium-ion batteries still have a number of weaknesses that could be remedied by optimising the battery materials. One possibility is to dope the cathode material with foreign elements. A team…

Environmentally friendly alternative to PFAS-based coatings

The Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology (INP) in Greifswald, Germany has developed a new method for the production of ultra-hydrophobic organosilicon polymer coatings. These coatings are an alternative…

Information Technology

Human-AI coworking

New system combines human, artificial intelligence to improve experimentation. Though artificial intelligence decreases human error in experimentation, human experts outperform AI when identifying causation or working with small data sets….

Security vulnerabilities of browser extensions in the Chrome Web Store

Millions of users use browser extensions on a daily basis, for example, to block advertisements on websites. But is the use of extensions from third-party providers at all secure? CISPA…

1,000 atomic qubits and rising

A new record for atom-based quantum computers. Making quantum systems more scalable is one of the key requirements for the further development of quantum computers because the advantages they offer…