research

This 45,000-year-old leg bone will change how old you think we are

This 45,000-year-old leg bone will change how old you think we are

A paper has been published by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig which shows the results of their decoding of a set of genes from a 45,000-year-old modern human male from Sibera. It'd be enough to noteworthy that this man was nearly twice the age of the otherwise eldest modern human whose genome was sorted, but there's another point to be had, as well. This leg bone not only has modern human genes, but Neanderthal as well.

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Gogoro teases big battery plans for smarter city travel

Gogoro teases big battery plans for smarter city travel

Power: it's something none of us can do without, both the enabling and limiting factor of everything from smartphones through to electric vehicles, and it's ripe for a revolution. Hoping to lead just that is Gogoro, startup brainchild of former HTC innovation chief Horace Luke and Matt Taylor, and coming out from the shadows today to share a few early hints about its plans "to transform energy distribution" within smart cities. I caught up with Luke to find out more, curious at indications that some new power system potentially for EVs could be on the cards.

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Fizzing apples are now a thing thanks to science

Fizzing apples are now a thing thanks to science

3D printed food. Space-aged whiskey. And now, apples that fizz in your mouth straight from the tree. Such is the marvelous world we live in, where scientists dedicate their brilliance to making things once dreamed of in books. Thanks to Lubera, a Swiss fruit company, you'll soon be able to get your hands on a new variety of apple called the "Paradis Sparkling", which feels like a carbonated juice beverage when eaten. The fruit took years to get perfect, says the makers, who are now selling saplings to interested gardeners.

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Ardbeg space-aged whiskey returns to Earth

Ardbeg space-aged whiskey returns to Earth

Back in 2011, a most unusual experiment was started, one that would appeal to both the connoisseurs and the imbibers among us: whiskey aged in space. The experiment was the brainchild of NanoRacks LLC, a US-based space research firm that approached Scotland-based Ardbeg Distillery about sending some vials of terpenes into space, something they agreed to. Fast forward to early 2012, and it was announced that the vials of materials were shipped to the International Space Station via a Russian cargo flight, where they'd been sitting until just recently.

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New microscope rapidly captures molecules, cells in high-def

New microscope rapidly captures molecules, cells in high-def

When Eric Betzig shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry a few weeks ago, little did the world know that he was already in the middle of cooking up yet another award-worthy development. After his PALM microscope, Betzig is now taking the biology world by storm again with a new lattice light microscope. This microscope is not only able to capture high resolution images of molecules and cells, it can do so rapidly and in complete three dimensions. And all these while minimizing damage to the cells being photographed.

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NASA wants to drift two satellites for awesome space pics

NASA wants to drift two satellites for awesome space pics

A "virtual telescope" which owes its precision not to complex, high-strength optics but to precisely flying a pair of satellites in tandem and combining the data from each could help the hunt for Earth-like planets in the galaxy and even picture the event horizon of a black hole, NASA scientists suggest. Although space telescopes like Hubble have been operating for several decades, the new virtual telescope project will take a distinctively different approach, initially using two CubeSats - tiny satellites far cheaper and easier to launch, thanks to their compact and standardized design - that would each contribute a part of the overall vision process.

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Google DeepMind partners with Oxford for AI push

Google DeepMind partners with Oxford for AI push

Back in January of this year, Google bought DeepMind, a startup focused on artificial intelligence and its possible future uses. Though the company has been relatively quiet on its efforts since then, work has been underway and will soon get a boost from Oxford University professors, among others. Google announced a partnership with the university today, saying that under the collaboration its artificial intelligence research will "accelerate" and, in turn, Oxford will benefit by way of a "substantial contribution" from Google.

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DARPA turns its attention to atom-wide brain sensors

DARPA turns its attention to atom-wide brain sensors

DARPA, known half-jokingly as the Department of Mad Scientists, has again turned its attention to the human brain, this time hoping to expand our insight into it and its structure through the use of incredibly tiny (read: atom-sized) graphene sensors. It detailed its latest effort on Monday, explaining its work in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin at Madison to create a new form of technology for peering into how the brain functions. This is done as part of President Obama's brain initiative, says the research agency.

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Forget the needle pill: researchers focus on vibrating syringes

Forget the needle pill: researchers focus on vibrating syringes

Many people have an intense fear of being jabbed with needles, a phobia that compels some to avoid vaccinations and other necessary injections. A lot of research has been underway on this seemingly simple problem, with the goal being a future where injections are no longer painful. The most interesting solution so far is the needle pill developed by MIT researchers -- a capsule adorned with micro-needles that jabs one's internals painlessly. The idea of swallowing a cluster of needles might form its own phobia for some, however, and so enters the vibrating syringe.

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Government halts funding for research that creates superbugs

Government halts funding for research that creates superbugs

Concern about so-called super bugs -- mutated viruses and bacteria resistant to treatment -- is exceptionally high. The Centers for Disease Control issued a report last year, for example, warning about the threat superbugs pose and potential ramifications if certain actions aren't taken. It is for these reasons the deliberate creation of mutated viruses for research purposes (gain of function research) has been highly controversial, a controversy the US government has stoked by announcing a temporary halt to its funding of such studies.

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