Science


Lean-burn physiology gives Sherpas peak-performance

Image copyright Extreme Everest Image caption Science at the top of the world Nepalese Sherpas have a physiology that uses oxygen more efficiently than those used to the atmosphere at sea level.This is the finding of a new study that investigated high-altitude adaptation in mountain populations.The research involved taking muscle samples from mountaineers at 5,300m altitude and even putting them on an exercise bike at Mt Everest Base Camp.The Sherpas owe this ability to an advantageous genetic mutation that gives them a unique metabolism. Image copyright Extreme Everest Image caption Sherpas have thinner blood than those who live at low ... Read More

Two dead whales at Felixstowe and Orford

The discovery of a dead whale on the beach at Felixstowe is attracting visitors.A second whale, thought to be a minke, has also been found further up the coast, on a mudbank in the River Ore estuary near Orford.Experts say injuries to the Felixstowe whale indicate it may have been struck by a ship.A surgical examination of both mammals is expected to be carried out before a decision is made about their disposal.For more on this and other stories visit BBC Local Live: Suffolk ... Read More

All three chicks at Cairngorms osprey nest die

Image copyright RSPB Scotland Image caption An osprey with a fish at the nest on Monday morning All three chicks being raised by a well-known female osprey in the Cairngorms have died, RSPB Scotland has confirmed.EJ has weathered a snow storm and harassment from rival ospreys while incubating her clutch of three eggs. All hatched over the past few days.The RSPB suspects mate Odin, who was bringing fish to the chicks, was frightened off by another male.On Monday, an osprey was at the nest with a fish but the chicks were dead.The bird is thought to have been EJ.RSPB Scotland ... Read More

Microsoft’s true holographic display fits in your glasses

The tech giant has also tackled some problems with generating those holograms. Its team took advantage of eye-tracked rendering (that is, providing the most visual detail where you're looking) and GPU-boosted algorithms to generate high-detail holograms in real time, complete with realistic focus and vision correction. You wouldn't necessarily need a set of corrective eyewear to compensate for astigmatism or other eyesight issues. Microsoft is quick to point out that this doesn't necessarily hint at its hardware plans. It's just as well -- the tech still faces some serious limitations. Besides the necessity of external electronics, the glasses only produce ... Read More

Norway to boost protection of Arctic seed vault from climate change

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Svalbard Global Seed Vault took 12 months to build and opened in February 2008 Norway is boosting the flood defences of its Global Seed Vault on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard after water entered the entrance tunnel last year.The storage facility, deep inside a mountain, is designed to preserve the world's crops from future disasters.Unseasonably high temperatures last year caused the permafrost to melt, sending water into the access tunnel.No seeds were damaged but the facility is to have new waterproof walls in the tunnel and drainage ditches outside.The vault stores seeds from ... Read More

Greece battles locust plague on Agios Efstratios island

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionPesticide spraying has not solved the problem on Agios EfstratiosVillagers on a tiny Greek Aegean island, Agios Efstratios, are battling a plague of locusts and a state of emergency has been declared there.The island has about 200 residents who rely on agriculture and fishing. Locust infestation is a recurring problem.A member of the local administration, Stella Spanou, told the BBC that sheep were starving as so much vegetation was being devoured by the locust swarms.Students from Athens have sprayed the pesticides diflubenzuron and spinosad. Image copyright Stella Spanou Image caption Locusts swarming ... Read More

UN looks to protect birds from green energy threats

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Birds have long been a concern in relation to wind turbines but the expansion of green energy has increased the urgency The global boom in renewable energy is posing new threats to birds say experts.At the UN climate conference in Bonn, researchers said wind turbines and power lines were a particular problem for migratory soaring birds.Shutting down wind farms on demand is one of the methods being tested to protect these birds from collisions.Other ideas being tried include placing highly visible deflectors every 20m on power lines. The Rift Valley and Red Sea flyways ... Read More

China claims breakthrough in mining ‘flammable ice’

Image copyright Alamy Image caption Methane hydrate, or 'flammable ice', is a highly energy-intensive fuel source China has for the first time extracted gas from an ice-like substance under the South China Sea considered key to future global energy supply. Chinese authorities have described the success as a major breakthrough. Methane hydrates, also called "flammable ice", hold vast reserves of natural gas. Many countries including the US and Japan are working on how to tap those reserves, but mining and extracting are extremely difficult.What is 'flammable ice'?The catchy phrase describes a frozen mixture of water and gas. "It looks like ... Read More

Trump ‘can’t escape climate change’ impacts says Fiji PM

Image caption Fiji's Prime Minister outlined his vision for future climate talks at this meeting in Bonn Fiji's Prime Minister has issued a coded warning to Donald Trump about the dangers of climate change. The US leader is due to decide on future US participation in the Paris climate agreement after next week's G7 meeting in Italy.But Frank Bainimarama told delegates here that whether you lived in Miami or New York, you wouldn't be able to escape the rising seas.Fiji will lead the next key UN climate talks later this year.This normally low-profile May meeting of UN delegates has been ... Read More

Nasa seeks experiment ideas for Europa lander

Image copyright NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute Image caption Europa holds a vast, salty ocean beneath its fractured ice shell Nasa is seeking the best ideas for experiments to fly on a mission that will land on Jupiter's moon Europa.The jovian satellite has a deep subsurface ocean beneath its ice crust and is considered one of the top targets in the search for alien life.After decades of work, a pair of missions to the moon have been taking shape - and have secured crucial support in Congress.Scientists hope the lander could be launched some time in the 2020s.Although Nasa has yet to approve ... Read More

Soft-legged robot is designed for rescue missions

The robot moves by pumping air into its legs, which are inflatable chambers that are hollow on the inside. When one leg is inflated and the others aren't, for instance, the inflated leg bends. The machine can also easily transition from a crawling to a walking position, and vice versa. At this point in time, the current model still has to be tethered to an open source board and an air pump, but the team is working on making a smaller version that can move freely. You can check out the robot walk on sand and rockets in the video ... Read More

Treasure trove of new plant discoveries revealed

Image copyright Laura Jennings Image caption One of 22 new species of Eugenia and Myrcia - trees and shrubs from the coastal Atlantic Rainforest Almost 2,000 new species of plant have been discovered in the past year, according to a report by The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.Many have potential as food crops, medicines or sources of timber. However, scientists say some of the newly-discovered plants are already at risk of extinction. They are developing new ways to speed up the discovery and classification of plants to help safeguard them for future generations.The second annual assessment of the State of ... Read More

Florida man tries to kiss rattlesnake; gets bitten

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The rattlesnake later escaped (picture posed by a model) A Florida man who tried to kiss a rattlesnake, only for it to snub his advances and bite him, is recovering in hospital.The snake was found by Charles Goff, a resident of Putnam County, in the north-east of the state, on Monday.A day later, a neighbour, named by a local CBS channel as Ron Reinold, started playing with the snake and made his ill-judged move.Mr Reinold was airlifted to hospital and is now recovering."One boy said, 'I'm going to kiss it in the mouth,' and ... Read More

Paris climate deal is ‘lifeline’ for world’s poorest countries

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A drought in Guatemala that has drained this lake is being linked to climate change in the region The world's poorest nations say the Paris climate agreement is their "lifeline" and must be strengthened.The Climate Vulnerable Forum, (CVF) representing 48 countries, said the deal was crucial to their survival.In a swipe at President Trump's oft-used phrase, they said that "no country would be great again" without swift action.Thousands of delegates are meeting here in Bonn to develop the rule book for the Paris deal.Around one billion people live in countries that are part of ... Read More

ICYMI: Skydiving from drones while Lowe’s exoskeleton does heavy lifting

Today on In Case You Missed It: Latvian UAV company, Aerones, which specializes in heavy-lift drones, has made publicity stunts an annual tradition and this year is no different. They perched a man atop a 330 meter electrical tower, then sent their 28-rotor drone up to pick him up, then release him to gently parachute back to the ground. It's the future of commuting. We also take a look at a new, unpowered exoskeleton that Lowe's home improvement and Virginia Tech have developed. It utilizes carbon fiber rods situated around the wearer's legs that flex as the user bends over ... Read More

Rare ‘lefty’ snail left on the shelf

When the BBC asked for help in finding a mate for rare left coiled snail, Jeremy, it was hoped he would eventually produce 'lefty' offspring. Jeremy's shell coiled to the left instead of the right - making him one very rare gastropod. At first things looked promising and after a successful appeal by the Today programme, mates were uncovered by a snail enthusiast in Ipswich and a snail farmer in Majorca and sent off to the University of Nottingham. But, instead of mating with Jeremy, the two 'lefty' snails decided to mate with each other and all 170 of their ... Read More

Snail’s DNA secrets unlocked in fight against river disease

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The parasite thrives in ponds and streams Scientists have decoded the genome of a snail involved in the spread of a deadly parasitic disease.They say the information will help in the fight against schistosomiasis, an infection caused by a parasitic worm that lives in streams and ponds.The disease affects millions of people a year in sub-tropical and tropical regions.More than 100 researchers from around the world have unlocked the DNA secrets of a snail that transmits the parasite.They say it will help in the understanding of the snail's biology, including new ways to stop ... Read More

Blow-up dolls, vibrators and the sex robot’s uninspired origins

The lab is staffed by a small group of artists who meticulously craft individual body parts en masse. There's a man painting erect penises, another carving the contours of a cheekbone, and in the far right corner sits an empty workstation for the lab's dedicated eye technician. Just across from a makeshift collage of immediately recognizable celebrity eyes are rows of upright canisters capped with muffin-top-shaped silicone mounds and bright red glossy lips. I'm immediately reminded of my night with the Autoblow 2+, and for good reason: McMullen tells me he's manufacturing high-end inserts for that lackluster coitus can. Throughout ... Read More

Sesame project opens in Jordan

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Inmarsat rides SpaceX Falcon into orbit

Image copyright SpaceX Image caption An evening launch for the Falcon rocket and its Inmarsat passenger Inmarsat, the UK's biggest space company, has boosted its global broadband network with the launch of a fourth high-frequency satellite.The I-5 F4, which will service the voice, video and data needs of remote and on-the-move customers, was taken into orbit by a SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket.It is the first time the London company has used the American launch provider.The rocket and its payload lifted away from Florida's Kennedy Space Center at 19:21 local time (00:21 BST, Tuesday).The I-5 F4 was ejected from the upper-stage of ... Read More
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