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The Alpha Centauri system and hypothetical planet (Image: European Southern Observatory)

Since Earth is the only known inhabited planet and we happen to live here, it’s only natural to regard it as the ideal place for life to exist, and to assume that another life-bearing planet would be fairly similar. However, that is not the opinion of scientists René Heller and John Armstrong who contend that there might be a planet even more suitable for life than Earth 4.3 light years away orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B.  Read More

New paper strips detect Escherichia coli simply, cheaply and quickly

Nothing can put a dampener on a summer holiday like a coliform bacteria outbreak. But even worse than being told to keep out of the water in the event of an outbreak is not being told to keep out of the water in the event of an outbreak and ending up paying the price. Researchers at McMaster University have now developed a paper strip test that is cheap to produce, extremely portable, simple to use, and detects E. coli in water in 30 minutes.  Read More

Anitbiotic-resistant bacteria have been discovered in the Carlsbad Caverns National Park (...

Research into the growing emergence of drug-resistant bacteria, could be greatly assisted by the discovery of bacteria from deep within Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico. The previously unknown strains of bacteria, which have never before been exposed to humans, were found to possess a naturally occurring resistance to multiple types of antibiotics that doctors currently use to treat patients. This means that new forms of bacteria may have been exposed to undiscovered antibiotics which, in turn could be used against currently untreatable infections in the future.  Read More

Five skeletal remains from the East Smithfield site (Photo: Museum of London)

It's hard to comprehend the impact of the Black Death. The "Great Pestilence" is believed to have originated somewhere in Northern Asia in the 1330s before hitting Europe in 1347. It killed an estimated 75 million people worldwide - that's around 25 per cent of all humans in existence at the time. Now in an effort to better understand modern infectious diseases, scientist have sequenced the entire genome of the Black Death.  Read More

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