Science, Technology and Innovation

If you’re going to ridicule research, do your homework

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Sydney’s Daily Telegraph is suffering one of their frequent relapses into frothy-mouthed panic about government wastage on research grants. Poking at layabout academics for ‘wasting’ tax dollars on seemingly frivolous projects reminds me of nothing more than the schoolyard bully who secretly knows he peaked in year 9. Today, the Tele flattered me by holding up one of my… Source: If you’re going to ridicule research, do your homework Read More »

Atauro Island: scientists discover the most biodiverse waters in the world

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Conservation International finds 643 species around Timor-Leste island, some of which are believed to be entirely new A small island, a short boat trip from Timor-Leste’s capital, Dili, appears to have the most biodiverse waters anywhere in the world. There is a push for the site to… Source: Atauro Island: scientists discover the most biodiverse waters in the world | World news | The Guardian Read More »

Our planet is heating – the empirical evidence

In an entertaining and somewhat chaotic episode of ABC’s Q&A (Monday 15th August) pitting science superstar Brian Cox against climate contrarian and global conspiracy theorist and now senator Malcolm Roberts, the question of cause and effect and empirical data was raised repeatedly in regard to climate change. Watching I pondered the question – what would I need to change my… Source: Our planet is heating – the empirical evidence Read More »

China launches world first quantum satellite

China launched the world s first quantum satellite on Aug. 16, state media reported, in an effort to harness the power of particle physics to build an “unhackable” system of encrypted communications. The launch took place at 1:40 am in the southwestern Gobi Desert, the official Xinhua news service said, and comes as the US, Japan and others also seek to develop applications for the burgeoning technology… Source: China launches world first quantum satellite – ASIA Read More »

Signs of Pure Altruism Converge in the Brain And Increase with Age

EUGENE, Ore. — Aug. 15, 2016 – Combining insights from psychology, behavioral economics and neuroscience, University of Oregon researchers have found converging signs of pure altruism and behavior that increase with age in the brain. People give to charity for numerous non-altruistic reasons, such as showing off their generosity to others. To isolate pure altruism from other motivations, researchers triangulated methods from the… Source: Signs of Pure Altruism Converge in the Brain And Increase with Age – ScienceNewsline Read More »

Elephants are the end of a 60m-year lineage – last of the megaherbivores

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Four-tuskers, hoe-tuskers, shovel-tuskers are all wiped out – now only a fragment of this keystone species remains Large ivory seizures in Singapore make it a smuggling hub of ‘primary concern’ If, just 800 generations ago, we took a summer holiday to Crete, Cyprus or Malta, we would have found familiar-looking islands, filled with the flowers and… Source: Elephants are the end of a 60m-year lineage – last of the megaherbivores | Environment | The Guardian Read More »

Harvard Bioscience spends $1.7M on embezzlement investigation

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SAM BONACCI Harvard Biosceince has so far put $1.66 million into a forensic investigation, according to the company’s financial report in which a loss of $700,000 was reported for the first two quarters of the year. The company had undertaken an investigation of a possible embezzlement of less than $50,000 from a subsidiary company in March… Source: Harvard Bioscience spends $1.7M on embezzlement investigation | WBJournal.com Read More »

Spec Ops Troops Are Getting Their Own Mini-Subs

U.S. Special Operations Command has inked a $166 million contract with Lockheed Martin to provide dry combat submersibles designed to transport operators to their mission sites underwater. The surface-launched mini-subs will be used in “harsh maritime environments by leveraging commercial submersible technologies and international classing safety certification,” according to the… Source: Spec Ops Troops Are Getting Their Own Mini-Subs | Read More »

The FBI has collected 430,000 iris scans in a so-called ‘pilot program’

Critics say the agency project includes few privacy protections.. By Colin Lecher and Russell Brandom As a modestly sized department — policing 2 million citizens with just over 1,800 sworn officers — the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department doesn’t seem like it would be on the cutting edge of surveillance technology. But the department has quietly become one of the most productive nodes in a nationwide iris-scanning project, collecting iris data from at… Source: The FBI has collected 430,000 iris scans ... Read More »

HD 131399Ab: Scientists discover strange planet with three suns

An international team of astronomers announce the discovery of a strange planet in a faraway solar system that contains not just one sun, but three.. The distant planet, named HD 131399Ab, appears even more unusual than the home planet of Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga, Tatooine, which orbited around two suns, according to the findings published in the US journal Science… Source: HD 131399Ab: Scientists discover strange planet with three suns – Science News – ABC News (Australian ... Read More »

A rational nation ruled by science would be a terrible idea

Neil deGrasse Tyson imagines a country called Rationalia, a society where policy is based on the weight of evidence. That’s a bad idea, says Jeffrey Guhin.. By Jeffrey Guhin Imagine a future society in which everything is perfectly logical. What could go wrong? “Scientism” is the belief that all we need to solve the world’s problems is – you guessed it – science. People sometimes use the phrase “rational thinking”, but it amounts to the same thing. If only people ... Read More »

UN condemns internet access disruption as a human rights violation

The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a non-binding resolutioncondemning countries that intentionally disrupt citizens’ internet access. The resolution builds on the UN’s previous statements on digital rights, reaffirming the organization’s stance that “the same rights people have offline must also be protected online,” in particular the freedom of expression covered under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights… Source: UN condemns internet access disruption as a human rights violation | The Verge Read More »

Hole in ozone layer over Antarctica is shrinking

Scientists predict the hole could close permanently by the middle of the century.. The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica appears to be healing, say scientists. Recovery of the hole has varied from year to year, partly because of the effects of volcanic eruptions… Source: Hole in ozone layer over Antarctica is shrinking Read More »

Escape tunnel dug by Jewish prisoners to escape Nazis found in Lithuania

A tunnel dug with spoons by Jewish prisoners to escape their Nazi captors during World War II has been discovered in a Lithuanian forest. An international team of archaeologists, geophysicists and historians made the discovery in Lithuania’s Ponar forest, known today as Paneriai, outside the country’s capital Vilnius. The site is where an estimated 100,000 people, including 70,000 Jews, were killed and thrown into pits during the Nazi occupation… Source: Escape tunnel dug by Jewish prisoners to escape Nazis found ... Read More »

Is There Life on Other Planets? First, Look For Evidence of Refrigerators

Could Freon in the atmosphere of a distant planet be the thing that finally confirms humankind is not alone? For decades, if not centuries, stargazers of every stripe have wondered how we could possibly spot intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. After all, it’s not easy to see the telltale signs of a technological civilization from cosmic distances. Until very recently, this was a speculative question, mostly entertained by astronomers over drinks, or in their spare time after other more “serious” ... Read More »

Creationism Banned From UK Schools

The United Kingdom government has banned the teaching of creationism as a scientific theory in free schools and academies, which are the equivalent of a ‘public’ school in the United State. The move was done in the interests of having a “broad and balanced curriculum,” according to UPI. The remarkable decision was part of a document published on June 9th that laid out new clauses for church academies and stated that creationism is not widely accepted as a scientific theory. ... Read More »