Latest Science


The Check Up - CRISPR, networks, and electricity

The Check Up is a weekly feature highlighting some of the best, most fascinating, most important, or simply unmissable health, medical, and human stories from around the web. 86 people have already had CRISPR gene editing in China Um, so this is bonkers … there is evidence of 11 clinical trials involving gene editing in humans using CRISPR in China, with a total of 28 people having their DNA altered since 2015. CRISPR is an incredibly promising technology, […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Heart disease makes the ‘flu extra dangerous

People at risk of heart disease need to be extra careful about avoiding influenza, as the risk of a heart attack rises 600% in the week following diagnosis. Researchers from Canada studied nearly 20,000 cases of influenza infection in adults. They found that for the 332 subjects who were hospitalised for a heart attack within one year of their diagnoses, they were six times more likely to experience their incident within seven days after their […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Have we been looking for life on other planets the wrong way?

The search for oxygen may have been a red herring – after all many life forms have survived without it, even on Earth. Until now, one strategy scientists have used to look for life on other planets is trying to detect oxygen in their atmospheres. But a new paper has suggested a new recipe for providing evidence that a distant planet harbors life. It involves looking not for oxygen, but for the presence of two […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Humidity-powered “inchworming” robots are coming to get you… slowly

Scientists have created small robots which do not require any batteries or electricity. Instead, they’re powered solely by the humidity in the air. They’re inspired by plants, and just like plants, they’re… slow. One major challenge of robotic engineering is finding a power source that doesn’t require constant monitoring, as batteries and electricity do. Inspired by how certain plants expand in response to humidity, scientists have developed simple robots that are instead powered by an […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel

The chocolate chip cookie dough theory of Earth's mantle 

The Earth’s formative years may have been even more chaotic than previously thought. New evidence suggests that when the Earth’s core was extracted from the mantle, the mantle never fully mixed, leaving a number of dense pockets – not unlike chocolate chips in cookie dough. That is surprising given that the core formation happened in the immediate wake of large impacts from other early Solar System objects that the Earth experienced during its growth, similar […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel

Why speed alone can't save a zebra from a lion

In the predator-prey arms race between cheetah, impala, lion and zebra, the predators are more athletic, more powerful, faster and manoeuvrable. If you’re an impala, grazing on the African Savannah, your best bet on escaping being eaten by a cheetah is to be unpredictable. In a chase, it’s the prey which set the speed and timing of accelerations and turns, and it’s up to the predator to be able to predict their movements and keep […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Scientists develop a tractor beam that can levitate objects

We’ve seen it in sci-fi, but now scientists from the University of Bristol have developed a powerful acoustic tractor beam that can hold objects in mid-air. Researchers have made every kid’s dream come true by demonstrating the world’s most powerful acoustic tractor beam. All of a sudden, Star Wars and Doctor Who seem a lot more plausible. Until now, the size of objects that can be picked up by acoustic tractor beams has been limited […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel

Tracking bacteria to deliver better therapies

Californian researchers have cleared the way for ultrasound to become a tool to interact within the body at the micro-scale. By combining ultrasound imaging with genetic engineering of bacterial microbes, scientists have been able to track bacteria dispatched to deliver therapies deep inside the body. The potential, they say, is for doctors to use this approach to keep tabs on the effectiveness of treatments for everything from inflammatory disease to cancer. “Ultrasound has been around for […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel

Let Jupiter be the yardstick when defining new planets, physicist suggests

As scientific debate continues over what is and isn’t a planet, an American astrophysicist has decided it’s time to add one key parameter – size. Astrophysicist Kevin Schlaufman has weighed into the debate over how to define planets with a deceptively simple suggestion – set the upper boundary of planet mass at between four and 10 times the mass of the planet Jupiter. Bigger than that, he says, and it’s a brown dwarf. It’s an […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Nick Carne from Australia's Science Channel
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Four animals that can find their way around better than you

Forget Google Maps and GPS, some animals have humans beaten when it comes to navigation. They can find their way around far better than you can. Of the many amazing things animals can do, one of their party tricks is navigation. They could be out in the middle of nowhere, but they still know which direction to go to get home. While humans rely on technology, some animals don’t need anything other than their brain […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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Lack of diversity in gut microbiome linked to ovarian cysts

Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, affects between 7 and 10 per cent of women of childbearing age, and new research shows that they have less diverse bacteria populating their gut microbiome.   Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are likely to have less diverse gut bacteria than their condition-free peers, which could exacerbate or lead to other health conditions. Researchers compared the microbiomes of 73 PCOS-diagnosed women with 48 PCOS-free women and 42 women with polycystic […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Volcanic ‘time capsule’ crystals may help us predict eruptions

Small crystals found in lava may hold the key to understanding how volcanoes will behave in future. The changing composition and growth of crystals as they move upwards through a volcano are recorded in layers, which can be read like the growth rings on a tree. A new study suggests that the history from these layers, as they grow in magma and rise from depths of around 30 kilometres to the surface of the Earth, […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Bill Condie
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New catalyst could slash the cost of hydrogen fuel cells

By replacing platinum in fuel cells, hydrogen powered cars could become economically viable at last. Hydrogen fuel cells promise energy without the pollution. They are the cleanest and the most promising power source for our future cars and electronics. The problem is, they’re expensive. A large portion of a fuel cell’s cost comes from the platinum catalyst used to split hydrogen and turn it into electricity. Scientists have found a way around this prohibitive material […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Andy Stapleton from Australia's Science Channel

Geoengineering could lead to extinctions and disaster

Controlling the temperature of the earth using geoengineering might cause three times more ecological problems than it solves, and rapidly shutting it down could lead to mass extinctions. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to achieve the climate goals the world has set for itself in the Paris agreement through emissions reduction alone. It’s tempting to think that humans could come up with technical solutions to tweak the global thermostat. Is there a technical fix for climate […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Lisa Bailey from Australia's Science Channel
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Exercise boost for heart health in breast cancer survivors

A mix of aerobic and resistance training boosts heart health for breast cancer survivors after treatment. Nine out of 10 women diagnosed with breast cancer are sill alive five years after diagnosis.  Yet breast cancer survivors have on average lower life expectancy, with death not necessarily caused by the cancer. “Many people don’t know the number one cause of death for breast cancer survivors is heart disease, not cancer,” said Christina Dieli-Conwright, researcher from the University […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Lisa Bailey
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New method for isolating mitochondria reveals genetic patterns

New methods allow scientists to explore untapped territory. In this latest discovery, researchers have developed a method to isolate and distinguish different DNA from different tissues. Researchers have found that the rate of genetic mutation in mitochondrial DNA vary across different tissue types, with the highest rate occurring in reproductive cells. Until now, researchers have not been able to isolate mitochondrial DNA from whole organisms in a way that is cell-specific. That is, they have […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Kelly Wong from Australia's Science Channel
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What gives feeding black holes a bad case of wind?

Scientists still do not fully understand the accretion process around black holes, but a new study that shows how much material is expelled outwards with enormous force, gives us some more clues. Black holes are not the all devouring bottomless pits Hollywood would have us believe. For one thing they’re messy eaters, with barely a fifth of what falls towards them actually making it in. The rest is blasted across space in a truly staggering display of […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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Crows make their own hooked tools for a quick and easy meal

New Caledonian crows craft delicate hooked tools from twigs to dig for prey like beetle grubs. Research just out compared the use of straight twigs with hooked twigs on a range of naturalistic tasks, and found that the bird-made tools were up to ten times more efficient. This study was published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Rocket Lab shows that small is beautiful with historic launch

Innovative space company provides a cost-effective solution to get tiny cubesats into orbit on time and on budget. Rocket Lab has achieved the near impossible – a successful launch of three satellites into orbit with its 3D-printed Electron rocket on just its second test launch. Superpowers would be proud of this achievement, far less a small start-up company with around 200 employees. The new launch provider joins a crowded marketplace with dominant players such as […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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Can scientists break quantum physics?

An ambitious experiment is set to test why the quantum world plays by different rules. Scientists from across Europe are gearing up for an ambitious test of one of the fundamental laws of quantum physics. Together, they’ll test the limits of one of the core principles of quantum mechanics – the mind-boggling physical law that allows particles such as atoms and electrons to be in two places at once. Newton vs Quantum The vast majority […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel

A blue blood supermoon is coming

Blue moons are not quite as rare as the old idiom would have it, but blue, super and blood all at the same time? That’s quite a different story, as Alan Duffy explains. At the end of January our closest celestial neighbour will sport a bizarre name. As the second Full Moon in a month, it becomes known as a Blue Moon (hence the expression of a rare event as once in a Blue Moon, […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Alan Duffy from Australia's Science Channel
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Titan's secrets unveiled in unprecedented detail in new topographic map

Astronomers have created a topographic map of the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan using the now-complete data set from NASA’s Cassini mission. The map of Titan, and what we can learn from it, is described in two recent papers published in Geophysical Review Letters. It shows several new features on Titan, including new low mountains, each less than 700 metres high, and two depressions in the moon’s equatorial region that scientists believe are either ancient, […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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A sneeze doesn’t make the ‘flu fly

There’s no escape – sneezing and coughing isn’t needed to spread influenza. Australia might be in the midst of a heatwave, but the “Australian Flu” is going strong in Europe. The H3N2 strain of flu that swept through Australia during our winter has hit Europe in a big way, with deaths in the UK triple that of last year. But one of the big assumptions about how the flu spreads from person to person has […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Ben Lewis from Australia's Science Channel
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New algorithm could diagnose multiple cancers with a single blood test

CancerSEEK uses machine learning in what could be a breakthrough in early diagnosis of certain cancers. Breaking down the facts and figures With the CancerSEEK blood test: Patients with cancer are successfully diagnosed in 70% of cases Healthy patients are successfully diagnosed in more than 99% of cases; that is, there is less than one per cent occurrence of false positives This study examine eight cancers; ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophagus, colorectum, lung, and breast. […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Casey Harrigan from Australia's Science Channel
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Thigh bone connected to the hip bone... new mathematical model treats the body as a networked system

A new way of looking at things shows how an injury impacts overall health and helps test therapeutic responses. A US study  is the first to convert the entire body’s network of bones and muscles into a comprehensive mathematical model. The authors say it could help clinicians and physical therapists predict compensatory injuries and suggest ways of avoiding them. The networks research was led by Danielle Bassett at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and […] See more

Published 1 year ago. Author: Bill Condie from Australia's Science Channel
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