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Science

Biology

Small-brained elephantnose fish can think big like humans

Fish may be smarter than we thought. Not only can some recognize human faces, but others can use their senses in a way that it was believed only humans and other mammals could manage. A team of zoologists at the University of Bonn has discovered that, despite lacking a complex brain, the African elephantnose fish can swap between its electrical and visual senses in the same way a person can switch between sight and touch.Read More

Space

Hubble investigates dark spot on Neptune

If Neptune seems a bit blemished of late, it's because NASA has confirmed that a dark spot has shown up in its bluish atmosphere. Observations by the Hubble Space Telescope taken in May show that a dark vortex has appeared in the southern hemisphere. This high-pressure system is accompanied by brighter "companion clouds" and is the first such dark spot to be seen this century.Read More

Energy

Flower power: Transparent rose-petal skin enhances solar cells

We humans tend to pat ourselves on the back when we make strides in converting the sun's light into energy through solar technology, but plants have been doing much the same thing on Earth for thousands of years. Realizing this, a team of scientists lifted an imprint off rose petals and created a film that significantly boosted the efficiency of solar cells.Read More

Medical

Secret behind success of breakaway cancer cells uncovered

A team of researchers, led by scientists at the Queen Mary University of London, has made a breakthrough in our understanding of how cancer cells are able to spread around the body and form deadly new tumors. The team found that two proteins work together, exhibiting an unusual behavior that helps keep the cells alive.Read More

Science

Volcanoes: The prophetic silence before the violence

We often think of volcanoes as sleeping giants that could erupt in a rain of fire with little notice. But it turns out that restless volcanoes do, in fact, give us some notice about when they're going to blow – and it's not quite the kind of warning you'd expect. Scientists from around the world intensively monitored an active volcano in central America and say they've begun to crack the code.Read More

Space Feature

Surprise package: Juno nears rendezvous with Jupiter

On July 4, Americans usually celebrate Independence Day with parades, fireworks and picnics, but this year NASA is adding its own contribution to festivities as the Juno deep space probe becomes just the second spacecraft in history to orbit Jupiter. After a five-year journey, the solar-powered unmanned explorer will autonomously fire its main engine for 35 minutes as it starts a 20-month mission to study the gas giant. What will be found remains to be seen, but if history is any indicator, it's likely to be very unexpected.Read More

Environment

Venice's water taxis may be going green

Although most people likely associate Venice with gondoliers quietly poling their boats along the canals, the city is also home to approximately 550 motorized water taxis. These watercraft are all equipped with diesel engines that spew exhaust and make a racket, creating both air and noise pollution. With this situation in mind, engineers from University of Southampton spin-off company REAPsystems are developing hybrid engines that could be swapped in.Read More

Physics

Layer of strange "dark hydrogen" believed to exist on Jupiter-like planets

As the most abundant element around and the basis for a full three-quarters the mass of the universe, you'd think scientists would have uncovered all there is to know about hydrogen. Apparently, they haven't, as researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science have just produced a third version of the element in a lab, that they believe is found on gas giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn. They're calling it dark hydrogen. Read More

Medical

3D printing heart parts at 30,000 feet

If you live anywhere near the Gulf of Mexico, earlier this month, while you were sipping your coffee or surfing the web, a plane was zooming 30,000 feet overhead, simulating weightlessness while a 3D bioprinter spit out heart and vascular structures created with human stem cells. The project was a joint effort between several companies experimenting with bioprinting in zero gravity environments – an initiative that could one day lead to better and more plentiful human organs.Read More

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