Science

First Virgin Births in the Wild are No Miracle

First Virgin Births in the Wild are No Miracle

The endangered small tooth sawfish is discovered to have produced the world's first "virgin births" in the wild. When we first broke news of this wild parthenogenesis yesterday, we received a number of replies on Twitter and Facebook which suggested there was some confusion about how the process occurred. "If this really happened, it's nothing short of a miracle," said one [Name Redacted]. "This is just like those West African Frogs in Jurassic Park," said another commenter, "I can't honestly believe it." In fact while the circumstances might seem positively Hollywood, the reality of the situation is entirely scientific - proven and factual.

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ESA Mars Explorer images shows effects of wind on Mars

ESA Mars Explorer images shows effects of wind on Mars

We all see the effect of the wind here on Earth every day. Winds can be mild breezes that shake the leaves up to gales that can topple trees and destroy homes. On Mars, the winds can be much the same as they are here on Earth and the ESA has released a new image that shows a bit of what the wind on Mars does to the surface of the red planet.

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Japanese robot could replace your moving company, shoves like a human

Japanese robot could replace your moving company, shoves like a human

In a robot, strength is important, but sometimes it's more important how the strength is directed. If you've ever had to move a refrigerator, you know that the best course of action involves pushing or pulling the object instead of lifting up, directly. The latest human-like robot developed by the University of Tokyo's JSK Laboratory takes that logic and expands on it, pushing, pulling, and scooting washing machine and large objects. The robot uses impressive posture and crouches, bracing itself so well that if it were human, it would be protecting its back from lifting strain.

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Researchers restore memories in amnesiac mice using light

Researchers restore memories in amnesiac mice using light

MIT researchers have managed to recover so-called lost memories in mice with amnesia using light, and in doing so have raised questions about amnesia and memory storage. The method used to reactivate the memories was optogenetics, and involved adding proteins to neurons so that they can be activated using light. The experiment was conducted on mice, and the results indicate that “lost” memories do still exist, but access to them is essentially blocked and things like emotional triggers can't reactivate them.

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Endangered sawfish enact Jurassic Park prophesy

Endangered sawfish enact Jurassic Park prophesy

Researchers find free-living parthenogenesis in the wild for the first time in history. Parthenogenesis is one type of asexual reproduction which, in this case, has a creature developing from an unfertilized egg. A female sawfish will give birth to a baby sawfish without the aid of a male sawfish. It's been observed that this type of reproduction is taking place in the wild in an area where this particular species of sawfish is endangered. In other words: "Life finds a way."

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Half of this antelope population may have been killed by rocket fuel

Half of this antelope population may have been killed by rocket fuel

A mysterious loss of life suddenly grips the remaining population of an endangered species throughout Asia. The Saiga Antelope is experiencing major loss over the past several weeks, and all in Kazakhstan. "This loss is a huge blow for saga conservation in Kazakhstan and in the world," said Kazakhstan's vice agriculture minister Erlan Nysynbaev. Scientists suggest that this scale of death in a single species is absolutely unprecedented. Why is it that in a place where more than 90% of this creature's population exists, is it dying so rapidly?

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Tiny self-folding origami robot walks, swims, and then dissolves

Tiny self-folding origami robot walks, swims, and then dissolves

MIT researchers are at it again. This time, a joint research team with TU Munich has developed a self-folding origami robot capable of a range of tasks. The robot can even self-destruct after it completes its mission. The tiny device starts completely flat, and is made from ultra-thin laser-cut polystyrene layers that sandwich a magnet and PVC. The self-folding process is instigated by placing the tiny machine over a heating element. The PVC then contracts along the laser-cut lines, creating folds. The robot weighs only 0.31g and is 1.7cm long, laid flat. It can "walk" at a top speed of 4 cm per second.

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Solar Impulse plane forced to land in Japan, ending flight across Pacific

Solar Impulse plane forced to land in Japan, ending flight across Pacific

The Solar Impulse 2 plane, a project that aims to have an aircraft powered only by solar energy fly around the world, was forced to cut short the Pacific Ocean leg of its journey due to bad weather. 36 hours after taking off from Nanjing, China, the aircraft, with only Swiss pilot André Borschberg on board, made an unexpected landing in the city of Nagoya, in central Japan. The Solar Impulse was supposed to go all the way to Hawaii, flying 120 hours non-stop, and in turn set a new world record for the longest flight of a solo aircraft.

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California faces new-found tsunami risk

California faces new-found tsunami risk

A newly-identified fault zone off the coast of Southern California could spell tsunami disaster for Los Angeles and San Diego, researchers have warned. While the region is already known for its earthquake instability, further perils could come from the sea according to a recent exploration of underwater fault lines: if active, the geological fractures could lead to 7.9 to 8.0 earthquakes, sending huge and destructive waves crashing to shore.

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LightSail test mission plagued by software glitch

LightSail test mission plagued by software glitch

Earlier this month, we talked a bit about the LightSail spacecraft that was going to be launched into space for its first official test. The actual launch of the spacecraft fitted with the SolarSail went off without a hitch and the test craft is now in orbit. That is where things began to go wrong for the team of scientists behind the project. Right now, the LightSail test mission is on hold after a software glitch has left the craft frozen and unresponsive.

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