Fighting unfairness at a tender age

A study by researchers at Harvard University found that children from a tender age have an advanced idea of fairness and are willing to step forward and pay a personal price to intervene a situation they perceive as an unfair. This decision is group-biased dominant in children aged six or less, but those aged eight or more were found to intervene in unfair situation and stop any selfish behavior, whether or not the victim was a member of their group.

The most detailed topography of a comet

Ten years ago, the European Space Agency launched the Rosetta probe tasked to orbit a comet for the very first time and study it up close with unprecedented detail. Six billion miles later, the probe reached its target, the four-kilometer wide 67P comet, and has beamed back some of the most breathtaking images of a comet science has witnessed. The

One single scrap car battery could be turned into solar cells that power 30 homes

Lead-acid car batteries used to be the norm, but luckily we’re seeing a massive shift towards more efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives like lithium-ion. Still, there are fleets of hundreds of millions of cars that still employ these archaic and toxic batteries. Typically, manufacturers try to have car owners bring their old lead-acid batteries, which are then converted into more

Resetting the immune system back 500 million years

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics (MPI-IE)  re-activated the expression of an ancient gene in mice. To their surprise, the gene in question which is dormant in all mammalian species caused the mice to develop  fish-like thymus. The thymus is an organ of paramount importance to the adaptive immune system, but in this particular instance, the thymus produced

Chemists uncover powerful reactivity, paving the way for a new class of molecules

Chemists led by Nobel laureate K. Barry Sharpless have used what is called click chemistry to uncover unprecedented, powerful reactivity. This opens a new “chemical galaxy” of molecules, potentially paving the way for making drugs, plastics and unprecedented smart materials. Click chemistry is a term applied to chemical synthesis tailored to generate substances quickly and reliably by joining small units together. It is

Hallucigenia revealed: the most surreal creature from the Cambrian

It looks like a painting from Salvador Dali – but Hallucigenia was very much real. Truly one of the most surreal creatures to ever walk the face of the planet, it was finally deciphered and understood (at least partially) by paleontologists, after 4 decades of study. The process discovered not only its position in the tree of life, but also

Why Australia’s biggest oil discovery in 30 years doesn’t matter

I was reading this morning how excited some journalists were in reporting “the biggest oil discovery in decades”, and I got a little curios: how big is it? According to US oil company Apache, the field could have potentially up to 300 million barrels of oil in place – Australia gets a lot of oil, stock prices for Apache surge,

Vampire parasitic plants ‘sweet talk’ victims via DNA communication

A parasitic plant called the dodder, which essentially acts like a ‘vampire’ upon its unsuspecting prey. A new research found the dodder actually communicates using DNA with its host in order to lower its defenses. A true vampire to the end – it needs an invitation to step in.

Big asteroid will hit Eart in 2880 … or will it?

New research has shown that a big asteroid is well on its way to hitting Earth in 2880 – and by that I mean it has a 1 in 300 chance of actually hitting our planet, but it’s still the likeliest celestial body to hit the Earth in the foreseeable future.

Early modern humans were culturally diverse before leaving Africa

Early modern human populations were culturally diverse and sometimes exchanged tools helped by river networks in a then savanna rich Sahara, according to the biggest ever comparative study of stone tools dating to between 130,000 and 75,000 years ago. At least fourdistinct populations, each relatively isolated from each other, have been identified as possessing distinct cultural practices.

Older, more compact cities are better for your health

A first of its kind study conducted at the University of Colorado Denver looked at how city design affects populace health. Older cities, initially built for pedestrian traffic in mind were found to harbor less cases of diabetes and other diseases than those with broader streets and fewer intersections. While some people can stay healthy and stick to exercising habits no matter where they live in, the study suggests that in general cities which are optimized for vehicle traffic discourage walking and other healthy activities.

Swarm of 1,000 robots self-assemble in complex shapes

In a breakthrough in robotics, researchers have programmed a swarm consisting of a whooping 1,024 members which can assemble in programmable 2-D shapes. The demonstration might provide insights in how natural self-assembling swarms operate, like ants who join up to form bridges for the good of the colony.

The most exotic material on the planet: researchers find dust from beyond the solar system

Researchers believe they have found seven dust specs from outside the solar system. This is the first time we have the chance to directly analyze interstellar matter. The material was probably ejected from a supernova.

Evidence suggests that Ebola outbreak may have been underestimated (WHO)

Ebola is starting to get more and more worrying. Now, a team of WHO researchers has announced that the outbreak may have been underestimating, as it spreads much faster and affects more people than previously thought.

Germany gets record 31% of its energy from renewables in first half of 2014

Even though coal is still Germany’s number one energy source, renewable energy is developing incredibly fast, with wind and solar energy catching up fast. If the trend continues, they will soon become the dominant energy source.

Worm glue can help seal tissue

If you’re working in a biology lab, you may want to consider firing some of your assistants and hiring some sandcastle worms; they’re pretty good chemists, able to, among others, biosynthesize glue components they use to build the underwater tubular shelters they call home. Now, researchers are creating adhesives inspired from these chemicals that might make surgeries safer or even

Severe drought threatens Chinese food security

China is experiencing the worst drought in over 50 years, threatening the country’s foo security for the first time in a long time.

Cancer tumors destroyed by fecal bacteria

Scientists introduced Clostridium novyi, a bacteria that causes mild illnesses in humans that typically lurks inside the soil and feces, in cancer tumors and found that these shrank and some cases were destroyed completely. The research suggests that bacteria, when engineered to reduce toxicity, can be a viable fighting tool against cancer, one with less destructive side effects than chemotherapy. Killing

People fake it to look “real” on social media

How you act on the internet and how you act in real life are not the same thing – and people often “fake it to make it” online according to a new study conducted by Finnish researchers. According to them, using social network sites (SNSs) almost always includes an element of fakery. They focused on two social media sites, Facebook

Workaholism – a new dangerous addiction?

A recent study conducted by Norwegian researchers found that 8.3 per cent of the Norwegian work force is addicted to work to the point where it becomes a health issue. They show that workaholism is on the rise, and the odds are this phenomenon isn’t limited to Norway. The term workaholic has two connotations attached to it – it’s either