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Materials: Graphene layers give colourful warning

A material made of overlapping layers of graphene (atom-thick sheets of carbon) changes colour according to the level of stress applied. This could be used in structures to provide early warning of damage. Getty A team led by Shanglin Gao of the Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research in Dresden, Germany, designed the coating so that it changes colour more dramatically ...

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Nasa 'smallsats' open up new planetary frontier

Nasa is planning a series of small satellite missions that could open up new ways of exploring the Solar System.James Green, head of planetary science at Nasa, told BBC News that the agency was investing in the technology and looking at how best it could be used.Scientists studying these “smallsats” believe they have now proven their utility for cutting edge ...

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Sea otters ahead of dolphins in using tools

Sea otters may have been using stone tools for thousands or even millions of years, according to scientists.It appears otters learned how to use tools long before other marine mammals. Sea otters are often seen floating on their backs, using rocks to break open shellfish for food. A genetic study of more than 100 wild sea otters living off the ...

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Fossil named after Sir David Attenborough

A 430-million-year-old fossil discovered “frozen in time” in ancient volcanic rock has been named after Sir David Attenborough.The tiny crustacean, measuring less than 1cm long, was found by researchers in Herefordshire.It has been named Cascolus Ravitis, the first word a Latin rendering of the Old English equivalent to Attenborough.Ravitis is is a reference to Roman name for Leicester, where Sir ...

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Plans for coal-fired power plants drop by almost half in 2016

Twenty-sixteen saw a “dramatic” decline in the number of coal-fired power stations in pre-construction globally.The authors of a new study say there was a 48% fall in planned coal units, with a 62% drop in construction starts.The report, from several green campaign groups, claims changing policies and economic conditions in China and India were behind the decline.However, the coal industry ...

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Genetically-modified crops have benefits – Princess Anne

Princess Anne has said genetically-modified crops have important benefits for providing food and she would be open to growing them on her own land.She told BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today “we have to accept” the process could help production and livestock health.Her brother, the Prince of Wales, has previously warned GM crops could cause an environmental disaster.But Princess Anne said: ...

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UK schoolboy corrects Nasa data error

A British teenager has contacted scientists at Nasa to point out an error in a set of their own data.A-level student Miles Soloman found that radiation sensors on the International Space Station (ISS) were recording false data.The 17-year-old from Tapton school in Sheffield said it was “pretty cool” to email the space agency.The correction was said to be “appreciated” by ...

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Major shake-up suggests dinosaurs may have 'UK origin'

The first dinosaurs may have originated in the Northern Hemisphere, possibly in an area that is now Britain.This is one of the conclusions of the first detailed re-evaluation of the relationships between dinosaurs for 130 years.It shows that the current theory of how dinosaurs evolved and where they came from may well be wrong. This major shake-up of dinosaur theory ...

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A NASA Spacecraft Might Bounce, Crunch or Sink on Europa

Sometime in the early 2030s, NASA hopes to attempt a landing on Jupiter’s moon Europa. A four-legged spacecraft would descend towards the icy surface, ready to hunt for signs of alien life in a buried ocean. But Europa could be a treacherous place to land. Its surface may be unexpectedly hard — or so porous that the probe might sink ...

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Good Relationships Are All in the Family

A lot can happen during a life—career changes, marriages, divorces, births, deaths, not to mention all the small stuff in between—but childhood lays an important foundation that can last a lifetime. A long-running study published in September 2016 in Psychological Science found that men who grew up in warmer, more nurturing family environments had stronger relationships as older adults. The ...

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