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Tag Archives: Nature.com

Pulsars still dazzle after 50 years

Hencoup Enterprises Ltd/SPL Astronomers Jocelyn Bell and Anthony Hewish saw the first pulsars fifty years ago. As scientists know only too well, nature often delivers a scruffier, more inconvenient version of reality than the one they wished for. But there are rare occasions when the Universe presents a real treat. One arrived 50 years ago, with the discovery of pulsars. ...

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Ebola outbreak in Africa ends — but gaps in public health leave region vulnerable

John Wessels/Getty Images A health worker at an Ebola quarantine unit in Muma, a village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on 11 June. Epidemiologist Anne Rimoin boarded a flight to Kinshasa on 19 May with a precious cargo in her luggage: the components of a diagnostic test for Ebola. Rimoin hoped that the test, the GeneXpert Ebola Assay, ...

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Has Harry Potter mania cursed Indonesia's owls?

Peter Langer/Design Pics Inc/Alamy Wild-caught owls are increasingly being sold in Indonesia’s bird markets. The number of owls traded illegally on Indonesian markets has risen sharply in the past two decades — and researchers think the popularity of the Harry Potter books and films may be fuelling the trend. Anecdotal evidence from countries including India have previously suggested that demand ...

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Helium should be recycled

The blockade of Qatar by its neighbours is a reminder of how the fragile geopolitics of the world’s helium supply leaves researchers vulnerable. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Qatar is the second-largest supplier of liquefied helium, which scientists rely on to cool superconducting magnets inside nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers, magnetic resonance imaging scanners, particle accelerators, and much ...

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Qatar blockade hits helium supply

Jock Fistick/Bloomberg via Getty Magnetic resonance imaging scanners rely on liquid helium to cool their superconducting magnets. Scientists fear they may be forced to halt experiments or shut down laboratory instruments because the ongoing blockade of Qatar is threatening their helium supplies. The Gulf state supplies hospitals and laboratories around the world, but had to close its two helium plants ...

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Google spin-off deploys wearable electronics for huge health study

Mike Stobe/Getty Researchers are testing whether smart watches and similar devices, currently popular among runners, can be integrated into medicine. On the morning of Tuesday 27 June, a young man walked into an office in northern California, signed a consent form and picked up two devices that will monitor his heartbeat, sleep patterns and a range of other bodily functions. ...

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Our obsession with eminence warps research

We can quantify exactly how much faster Usain Bolt is than the next-fastest sprinter. It’s much harder to say who is the best scientist, let alone how much better they are than the next-best scientist. Deciding who deserves recognition is, at least in part, a judgement call. On my optimistic days, I can believe that, despite all the noise, there’s ...

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Biology of single cells shines a light on collaboration

Roy Kaltschmidt/LBNL (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Research on single cells could help to explain disease progression. The street-light effect is often used as a criticism in science, because it introduces an observation bias. The concept is based on the old joke about the night-time drunk who looks for his house keys under the light, even though he lost them somewhere else, ...

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Europe’s next big science-funding programme urged to double its budget

Julien Warnand/EPA Pascal Lamy. Midway through the European Union’s sprawling 7-year, €75-billion (US$85-billion) research-funding programme known as Horizon 2020 (H2020), scientists are already angling for more money and less red tape in its successor. So researchers are delighted with an influential 3 July report that urges the EU to double the budget of its next funding scheme, called Framework Programme ...

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Chinese rocket failure, Fukushima trial and discarded fish

Climate change | Conservation | Research | People | Facilities | Events | Policy | Trend watch | Publishing CLIMATE CHANGE Antarctic ice-shelf break-up accelerates The Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica is cracking up, and the process has caused ice flow to accelerate in some places. Between 24 and 27 June, the region of Larsen C that is breaking off tripled ...

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