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This year’s Ig Nobel awards: Researchers monitor a dead salmon’s ‘brain activity’

When a team of scientists decided to work out the complex mathematics that control the shape and movement of a human ponytail, they had not set their sights on fame or glory. On Thursday, however, the British-American team behind the work were celebrated as this year’s laureates for the Ig…

Scientists: Psychopaths have a poor sense of smell

Psychopaths have a remarkably poor sense of smell, according to a study published on Thursday. Researchers in Australia tested a theory that psychopathy — a severe personality disorder characterised by lack of empathy, antisocial behaviour and callousness — may be linked to impaired smell ability. Both phenomena have been independently…

Australian research team reaches breakthrough in quantum supercomputing

SYDNEY – An Australian-led research team said Thursday they had made a technological breakthrough in the race for a quantum supercomputer that could revolutionise data encryption and medicine. Engineers from Sydney’s University of New South Wales said they had created the first working quantum bit or qubit — the fundamental…

Space shuttle Endeavour makes its final flight to retire in California

US space shuttle Endeavour took off Thursday morning for the second leg of its voyage into retirement in California, riding piggyback on a specially fitted Boeing 747. The shuttle left Houston early in the morning, after spending the previous day on display at Ellington Air Field. Endeavour left Cape Canaveral,…

Scientists create atlas of human brain to shed light on psychiatric conditions

A comprehensive atlas of the adult human brain that reveals the activity of genes across the entire organ has been created by scientists. The map was created from genetic analyses of about 900 specific parts of two “clinically unremarkable” brains donated by a 24-year-old and 39-year-old man, and half a…

Mini-Great Pyramid of Giza on Mars intrigues Curiosity rover team

Mini-Great Pyramid of Giza on Mars intrigues Curiosity rover team NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is eying a target for the first tandem test of two instruments crucial to the rover’s mission of determining whether its new home, Gale Crater, as well as the crater’s central Mt. Sharp, could have hosted…

‘Planetary emergency’ due to Arctic melt, experts warn

Experts warned of a “planetary emergency” due to the unforeseen global consequences of Arctic ice melt, including methane gas released from permafrost regions currently under ice. Columbia University and the environmental activist group Greenpeace held separate events Wednesday to discuss US government data showing that the Arctic sea ice has…

Mars rover to launch first rock study

WASHINGTON — NASA’s Curiosity Rover will study its first martial rock Friday, more than a month after landing on the Red Planet, mission officials said. Mars Science Laboratory project scientist John Grotzinger said the rover drove for another 100 feet (30 meters) last night, for a total travel distance of…

Arctic sea ice shrinks to lowest level on record

WASHINGTON — Arctic sea ice has shrunk to its smallest surface area since record-keeping began, taking the world into “uncharted territory” as climate change intensifies, US scientists warned Wednesday. Satellite images show the ice cap had melted to 1.32 million square miles (3.4 million square kilometers) as of September 16,…

France orders probe after study links genetically-modified corn to cancer

PARIS — France’s government on Wednesday asked a health watchdog to carry out a probe, possibly leading to EU suspension of a genetically-modified corn, after a study in rats linked the grain to cancer. Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll, Ecology Minister Delphine Batho and Health and Social Affairs Minister Marisol…

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