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Scientists solve Darwin’s Falkland Islands wolf mystery

PARIS — It was an animal that puzzled Charles Darwin, who wondered how on Earth a large mammal that looked a bit like a wolf and a bit like a fox had arrived on barren islands nearly 500 kilometres (300 miles) from the mainland. Now, say biologists, the mystery of…

Doctors develop protocol to detect patient consciousness during surgery

Waking up during surgery and yet still being too anesthetized to signal doctors that you’re awake sounds like a nightmare, and for some people is a genuine phobia. According to New Scientist, a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has identified a “consciousness signature” in brain activity that…

European deep-space telescope will soon go out of service

The deep-space Herschel telescope, launched four years ago to observe the creation of stars, will soon be going out of service as its supply of instrument coolant runs out, the European Space Agency said on Tuesday. When it was launched in May 2009, Herschel became the largest and most powerful…

Report: ‘Designer drug’ use, abuse and production surging

Designer drugs are multiplying at a worrying rate and increasingly sending users to hospital, a UN-affiliated report said Tuesday, calling for international efforts to stem the spread of these substances. “In recent years, there has been an unprecedented surge in the abuse of new psychoactive substances,” often called “legal highs”…

Ice-strengthened ships will sail directly over the north pole by 2050: scientists

Ships should be able to sail directly over the north pole by the middle of this century, considerably reducing the costs of trade between Europe and China but posing new economic, strategic and environmental challenges for governments, according to scientists. The dramatic reduction in the thickness and extent of late…

The human brain is not as simple as we think

Neuroscience has entered the public consciousness, and changed the way we talk about ourselves. But much of what passes as knowledge is inaccurate I never used to discuss neuroscience on the bus but it’s happened twice in the last month. On one occasion a fellow passenger mentioned that her “brain…

Stunned doctors find ‘functional cure’ for child born with HIV

Doctors in the US have made medical history by effectively curing a child born with HIV, the first time such a case has been documented. The infant, who is now two and a half, needs no medication for HIV, has a normal life expectancy and is highly unlikely to be…

‘Junk’ DNA clue boosts hope for Parkinson’s treatment

AFP – A flawed gene implicated in Parkinson’s disease lets proteins build up dangerously in key brain cells, according to a study on Sunday that throws open new paths for tackling the tragic disorder. Parkinson’s patients suffer from progressive stiffness, slowing of movement and problems in coordination resulting from the…

Mission to Mars will use feces as radiation shield

Astronauts in a privately-funded expedition to Mars in 2018 will use their own feces to protect themselves against cosmic radiation. New Scientist reported on Friday that the Inspiration Mars project, funded by multimillionaire Dennis Tito, will develop a radiation shield for the 1166-cubic-foot spacecraft by lining its walls with, among…

Curiosity rover on standby as NASA addresses computer glitch

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has been temporarily put into “safe mode,” as scientists monitoring from Earth try to fix a computer glitch, the US space agency said. Scientists switched to a backup computer Thursday so that they could troubleshoot the problem, said to be linked to a glitch in the…

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