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Octopus inspires new adaptive camouflage material

The octopus’s ability to camouflage itself has inspired a new kind of thin, flexible fabric that can automatically match patterns, US researchers said Tuesday. Creatures of the ocean known as cephalopods — including cuttlefish, squid and octopuses — are naturally equipped with sensors in their skin that help in some…

The psychology of comedy: Where humor and psychosis overlap

“Many people say that comics are psychopaths,” says the standup Jason Byrne, who should know what he’s talking about after almost two decades in the business. “We put this front on of being a normal person but in our shows we’re closer to our actual personality.” Which is? “Completely mental.” Byrne may sound…

‘Jaws of an earth monster’ among treasures discovered at newly unearthed Mayan cities

Archaeologists have unearthed two ancient Mayan cities hidden for centuries in thick vegetation in the heart of the Yucatan peninsula. Aerial photographs helped the researchers locate the sites in the southeastern part of Mexico’s Campeche state, near a large Mayan site discovered last year by the same team. No other…

Here’s how arctic sea ice could shrink even more

Originally published at Climate Central As the sea ice covering the Arctic continues to shrink under the influence of greenhouse gas-induced warming, it’s causing a host of other changes in the region, including the growth of large waves in the previously iced-over areas. Those waves could potentially reinforce and hasten the…

The science of mixing mind-blowing cocktails

A guide from 1948 still contains the best advice about cocktail-making – but modern mixologists use plenty of 21st-century science, too. Is all that effort worth it? David E Embury was a lawyer, cocktail enthusiast and all-round stickler. Incredulous that people thought they could serve “any haphazard conglomeration of spirituous…

Deadly 2010 polio outbreak in Congo linked to mutant virus

An unusually deadly outbreak of polio in 2010 in the Democratic Republic of Congo was linked Monday to a mutated form of the virus which common vaccines may not prevent. The outbreak of polio infected 445 people and killed 47 percent of them, a rate much higher than a six…

Love thy neighbor, it’s good for the heart: study

Ever felt like your neighbour’s antics could drive you to an early grave? Well, there may be reason for concern, said researchers who reported a link Tuesday between having good neighbours and a healthier heart. “Having good neighbours and feeling connected to others in the local community may help to…

Scientists hope to one day kill your cancer tumors with magnets

Surgery. Radiotherapy. Chemotherapy. Those are the cancer treatments most of us are familiar with, and in many cases, even all three combined are not enough to provide a complete cure. But a new and innovative approach may enable oncologists to add another option to the list.…

Alopecia cured? Drug for bone marrow condition completely reverses baldness, scientist say

Treatment with a drug normally used for a bone marrow condition has completely reversed baldness caused by alopecia in three patients, scientists in the US have announced. The sufferers had lost at least a third of the hair on their heads, and each regained total hair regrowth within five months…

How scanning the brains of the dead improves the lives of the living

For thousands of years, direct studies of the human brain required the dead. The main method of study was dissection, which needed, rather inconveniently for the owner, physical access to their brain. Despite occasional unfortunate cases where the living brain was exposed on the battlefield or the surgeon’s table, corpses…

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