Cocktail umbrellas can save Earth from the Anthropocene

Cocktail umbrellas can save Earth from the Anthropocene

Liz Foster Light Painting Photography/Alamy Stock Photo By Jonathon Keats When naturalist William Bartram explored the south-east of what’s now the US in the early 1770s, he discovered gopher tortoises, sandhill cranes and rivers overflowing with trout and bream. Retracing Bartram’s path in 2007, artist Mark Dion found golfers, retirees and highways jammed with SUVs. […]

Best of 2017: LIGO and Virgo observatories jointly detect black hole collision

Best of 2017: LIGO and Virgo observatories jointly detect black hole collision

Top Story In August, detectors on two continents recorded gravitational wave signals from a pair of black holes colliding. This discovery, announced today, is the first observation of gravitational waves by three different detectors, marking a new era of greater insight and improved localization of cosmic events now available through globally networked gravitational-wave observatories. The […]

Plants use sand armour to break teeth of attacking caterpillars

Plants use sand armour to break teeth of attacking caterpillars

A white-lined sphinx caterpillar (Hyles lineata) devours a sand verbenaEric LoPresti By Jake Buehler Some plants may use an odd, yet simple defensive tactic against insect herbivores: sand. New research suggests that some plants use sand grains as an unappetizing and abrasive armour. Psammophorous (“sand-carrying”) plants have sticky surfaces to which sand adheres. The coating […]

Best of 2017: Creating a digital cure for epilepsy

Best of 2017: Creating a digital cure for epilepsy

Top Story Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by unpredictable, recurrent seizures that can pose a risk to a patient’s safety. A team of Rice University engineering students created a machine-learning algorithm that was “very good” at predicting seizures: It predicted all seizures in their dataset at least two minutes before their onset with 3.9 […]

Best of 2017: The virus in the cupboard

Best of 2017: The virus in the cupboard

Top Story Each of us is host to hundreds or thousands of kinds of viruses, which come in an almost infinite variety of shapes. Some of your viruses are just visiting and will be gone in a week, but most are permanent tenants. Your virome, the full list of all the viruses in your body, […]

Our lust for tastier chocolate has transformed the cocoa tree

Our lust for tastier chocolate has transformed the cocoa tree

We’ve changed cocoaIngo Arndt / NaturePL By Chris Baraniuk The world loves chocolate, but thousands of years of selective breeding have drastically changed the genome of the trees from which chocolate is made. The plants now produce tastier chocolate, but they also make less due to harmful mutations. The key ingredient in chocolate is cocoa […]

Best of 2017: Targeting cancer's 'Achilles heel'

Best of 2017: Targeting cancer's 'Achilles heel'

Top Story Researchers have developed an effective new strategy for treating cancer, which has wiped out the disease to near completion in cellular cultures in the laboratory. The treatment works by controlling chromatin, a group of macromolecules — including DNA, RNA and proteins — that houses genetic information within cells and determines which genes get […]

China tackles climate change with world’s largest carbon market

China tackles climate change with world’s largest carbon market

Christian Petersen-Clausen/Getty By Timothy Revell China has upped the ante in its efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and slow the progress of climate change. The Chinese government is launching a nationwide carbon market that should encourage power companies to cut their emissions. China is the world’s largest polluter, responsible for more than a quarter […]

’Sno substitute: The ecological cost of fake flakes on the piste

’Sno substitute: The ecological cost of fake flakes on the piste

It’s downhill all the wayPhilip and Karen Smith/TFA/Aurora Photos By Catherine Brahic FORGET Christmas; I’m dreaming of a white February. Seven days of natural snowfall, that’s all I’m asking for while I’m on holiday. Call me a snob if you like, but artificial snow just doesn’t cut it on the slopes. It feels like tiny […]

England’s soggy place names could predict the climate future

England’s soggy place names could predict the climate future

Island story: Muchelney in January 2014SWNS/Alamy Stock Photo By Richard Webb IT’S blowy on the B4380 to Buildwas. A keen wind whipping across the floodplain from Shrewsbury flaps a misarranged saddle bag strap against my back wheel. As I cross the river Severn at Atcham, and bend right down the back road past Wroxeter, a […]

1 22 23 24 25 26 36