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  • Viewpoint: Human evolution, from tree to braid

    December 31, 2013 11:56 AM 22

    If one human evolution paper published in 2013 sticks in my mind above all others, it has to be the wonderful report in the 18 October issue of the journal Science. The article in question described the beautiful fifth skull from Dmanisi in Georgia. Most commentators and colleagues were full of praise, but controversy soon reared its ugly head. What was, in my view, a logical

  • Ichthyosaur skeleton found at base of Dorset cliff

    December 30, 2013 5:14 PM 14

    Storms in Dorset over the Christmas period have uncovered a 1.5m (5ft) ichthyosaur skeleton at the base of Black Ven near Charmouth. Stormy seas have eroded away parts of the Jurassic Coast, making it a "prime time" to find fossils, according to earth science manager Richard Edmonds. It will take hundreds of hours to piece together the ichthyosaur skeleton

  • Climate change by the numbers: The worst is yet to come

    December 30, 2013 11:33 AM 13

    CO2 levels went through the roof in 2013, as the world tried — and mostly failed — to slow down warming 1,100: Amount by which EPA regulations proposed in September would limit emissions from new coal-fired power plants, in pounds of CO2 per hour. The average plant currently emits CO2 at a rate of 1,800 pounds per hour. 1,000: Air pollution levels in the Chinese

  • Religious Accommodation, European Controversy, and Posthumous Pardons – the Human Rights Roundup

    December 30, 2013 9:51 AM 45

    Welcome back to the UK Human Rights Roundup, your regular fluttering confetti of human rights news and views. The full list of links can be found here. You can find previous roundups here. Links compiled by Adam Wagner, post by Celia Rooney. This week, amidst the festive cheer, controversy over European human rights rages on, in relation to both the Charter

  • NASA’s experimental tensegrity ball robot could be the future of rover design

    December 29, 2013 3:38 PM 9

    NASA has developed all sorts of innovative ways to land probes and rovers on alien worlds including Curiosity’s rocket sled and the impact-absorbing airbags of Mars Pathfinder. However, once the landing is over, the vehicle itself usually has a conventional wheeled rover design. NASA is investigating a way to explore other planets that doesn’t rely on the same old technology

  • Cycling code of conduct launched in New Forest following row over mass rides (From Bournemouth Echo)

    December 28, 2013 9:35 AM 8

    News Send your news, pictures & videos A NEW Forest Cycling Code has been created following a bitter row questioning the future of mass cycle rides in the New Forest. Controversial events such as the Wiggle rides have sparked fierce debates between organisers and Hampshire residents trying to protect the forest's rural way of life. But cycling groups

  • Gaga for guga: Ten things on Scottish island delicacy

    December 28, 2013 12:33 AM 5

    The first World Guga Eating Championship is to be held later but, for those not in the know, what is it all about? 1. Guga are gannet chicks. About 2,000 of the young seabirds are taken from the tiny island of Sula Sgeir, about 40 miles (64km) north of Ness on Lewis, to be eaten as a delicacy. Done in August, the harvest is Scotland's last surviving

  • Deep sea creatures found off Rockall 'new to science'

    December 28, 2013 12:29 AM 5

    Four animals previously unknown to science have been discovered in deep water off Scotland, the Scottish government has said. New species of large sea snail, clam and marine worm were found during surveys by Marine Scotland. The clams and worm were at a suspected cold seep, an area where hydrocarbons are released from the seabed. All were discovered

  • Religion as a Product of Psychotropic Drug Use

    December 27, 2013 3:02 PM 32

    How much of religion was realized under the influence of mind-altering substances? The notion that hallucinogenic drugs played a significant part in the development of religion has been extensively discussed, particularly since the middle of the twentieth century. Various ideas of this type have been collected into what has become known as the entheogen

  • The rover that will BOUNCE across Titan: Nasa’s collapsible Super Ball Bot could help explore Saturn’s hazy moon

    December 26, 2013 4:44 AM 14

    The Super Ball Bot’s spherical structure can land without any help, absorbing most of the shock of impact and saving weight needed for more complex landing gear. It can use this same ball-like structure to roll around without wheels, propelling itself forward by shortening and lengthening the cables that connect its rigid components.