Science

  • Protecting nature is vital to ‘escaping era of pandemics’ – report
    Halting destruction of wild places could slow frequency of deadly outbreaks, report saysCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe world is in an “era of pandemics” and unless the destruction of the natural world is halted they will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, kill more people and affect the global economy with more … Read More
  • Here’s what bats ‘see’ when they probe the world with sound
    Night falls on Barro Colorado Island in Panama. A golden glow bathes the tropical forest’s countless shades of green. At this enchanted hour, the residents of the forest grow raucous. Howler monkeys growl. Birds chatter. Insects trumpet their presence to potential mates. Other sounds join the fray — calls too high-pitched for human ears to … Read More
  • Plans to dredge notorious ‘ship swallower' sandbank condemned
    Removal of millions of tonnes of material from Goodwin Sands, the watery grave of hundreds of ships in the English Channel, would make a mockery of marine protection pledges, critics saySix miles off the coast of Deal, in Kent, lies Goodwin Sands, a 10-mile sandbank known as the “ship swallower”. Seals bask there at low … Read More
  • Coronavirus live news: India becomes second country to pass 8m cases; France braces for lockdown
    France reimposes national lockdown; Iran suffers record deaths; China reports highest cases in two months. Follow latest updates India passes 8m cases as Germany sees record infections Germany to bring in new rules after record surge in cases EU leaders urged to aid transfer of patients between countries See all our coronavirus coverage 6.39am GMT … Read More
  • Global heating threatens UK wildlife’s ability to adapt and survive
    Restoring and connecting habitat across Britain could save a fifth of species by 2030, says report by Rewilding BritainGlobal heating is shifting Britain’s climatic zones by up to 5km each year, outpacing wildlife’s ability to adapt and survive, according to a new report by Rewilding Britain.If species cannot adapt to higher temperatures or relocate elsewhere, … Read More
  • Here’s how giant pumpkins get so big
    Cinderella has to get to the ball. How to reach the palace on time? Her fairy godmother waves a wand, and poof! A nearby pumpkin morphs into a beautiful carriage. The fairy godmother is a magical stretch, but massive pumpkins are very real. The huge ones you might see at your local fall fair are … Read More
  • ‘Frozen smoke’ could protect electronics from annoying static
    Motors can cause static on radios. Some can keep electronic circuits from working as they were meant to. These motors create disruptive electromagnetic fields. And those fields might even fry really fragile circuits. That’s why engineers generally shield circuitry inside relatively clunky metal screening. These are known as Faraday cages. But jacketing those circuits in … Read More
  • Explainer: How photosynthesis works
    Take a deep breath. Then thank a plant. If you eat fruit, vegetables, grains or potatoes, thank a plant too.  Plants and algae provide us with the oxygen we need to survive, as well as the carbohydrates we use for energy. They do it all through photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process of creating sugar and … Read More
  • COVID-19 risk linked to vaping, but addicted kids find it hard to stop
    A large and growing share of adolescents and young adults vape. A new study now offers a potent reason not to: It links vaping with a heightened risk of becoming infected with the new coronavirus. As of last year, more than one in every four U.S. high school students reported they were currently vaping. More … Read More
  • Let’s learn about solar power
    Humans want to get around quickly, stay warm, light up the night and watch Netflix. But the energy to drive cars, heat houses, turn on lights and stream shows has to come from somewhere. In many cases, it comes from fossil fuels. Gasoline and coal, however, create greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Other … Read More
  • These free programs can help teens seeking to quit vaping
    Most kids and teens know that cigarettes are addictive. But they might not think the same is true for e-cigarettes. “When kids start vaping, most have the impression it won’t be hard to stop,” says Tracy Smith. “They may not think it’s as addictive as other tobacco products.” In fact, they soon learn, vaping can … Read More
  • What Victorian-era seaweed pressings reveal about our changing seas
    A ‘women’s pastime’ practised by Queen Victoria, ‘seaweeding’ spread from the UK to California – now the samples are providing a glimpse into historyOn his first day as the new science director for the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California in 2016, a giant blue storage locker caught Kyle Van Houtan’s eye. The locker was obscured … Read More
  • Coronavirus live news: 'We cannot give up' warns WHO chief; protests flare in Italy
    Protests against Covid restrictions turn violent in Milan and Turin; US deaths up 10%; Pope to celebrate Christmas without congregation. Follow the latest updates Global coronavirus report: Italian police use tear gas to disperse anti-lockdown rally Pope Francis criticised for rarely wearing face masks Survey uncovers widespread belief in ‘dangerous’ Covid claims See all our … Read More
  • We're so nature-deprived that even footage of wilderness lifts our spirits | Adrienne Matei
    Around 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050. Simulated nature is better than none – but it’s not natureA recent study has determined that watching nature programming on TV or via a virtual-reality headset reduces feelings of sadness and boredom. According to researchers from the University of Exeter, scenes of … Read More
  • One hummingbird survives cold nights by nearly freezing stiff
    The high Andes of Peru are a hummingbird’s paradise. There are few predators. And wildflowers cover the mountain slopes. Their blooms are full of the sugary nectar these birds need for energy. But there’s one problem. At night, temperatures dip below freezing. Now scientists have uncovered the strategy these birds use to make it through … Read More
  • Scientists Say: Narcotic
    Narcotic (noun, “Nar-COT-ick”) In medicine, the word narcotic refers to a drug that reduces pain, makes someone sleepy and gives them a feeling of euphoria. Narcotics include drugs such as codeine or heroin. They are also called opioids. While these drugs work well and are very important for medical care, they can also be addictive.  … Read More
  • Coronavirus live news: China confirms 137 local cases as Spain enters state of emergency
    Restrictions eased in Australian state of Victoria; WHO warns against ‘vaccine nationalism’; Israel to begin first vaccine clinical trials next month. Follow the latest updates US comes close to new daily case record China: new coronavirus outbreak detected in Xinjiang city of Kashgar Dread of history repeating itself grows in Italy as infections rise again … Read More
  • US Covid cases surge to new highs but White House focuses on vaccine hopes
    83,718 new cases on Saturday, nearly matching 83,757 on Friday Meadows plays down turmoil as Pence staffers test positive US politics – live coverage A day after the US set a daily record for new coronavirus infections, it came very close to doing it again. Related: ‘Sue if you must’: Lincoln Project rejects threat over … Read More
  • Hopes rise for approval of coronavirus vaccine by end of this year
    US expert Dr Anthony Fauci says it should be known by early December if vaccine is safe to roll out Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Hopes are rising that a coronavirus vaccine will be approved by the end of the year, with healthcare workers receiving their first dose in early 2021. … Read More
  • Frustration is rising as clampdowns spread across UK: are we in grip of Covid fatigue?
    A sense of unfairness has dented public confidence and compliance with fast-changing restrictions As the people of Sheffield prepared to join Greater Manchester and the Liverpool city region in the premier league of Covid-19 restrictions – tier 3 – there were widely differing views on whether the tough new rules about to be imposed from … Read More
  • Rush for results could lead to inferior Covid vaccine, say scientists
    Push to roll out injections may see elderly miss out on effective coronavirus inoculations Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Scientists have warned that early adoption of a Covid vaccine with only moderate effectiveness could disrupt efforts to test and create improved versions. Immunising against the disease is not going to be … Read More
  • Coronavirus live news: South Yorkshire goes into tier 3 restrictions, Polish president tests positive
    Tory MP Ben Bradley agrees with tweet saying free school meals money goes to ‘crack den and brothel’; EU fights second wave. Follow updates 7.44am BST Polish President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for coronavirus but is feeling good, presidential minister Blazej Spychalski announced on Saturday. “The president yesterday was tested for the presence of … Read More
  • Gene editing can alter body fat and may fight diabetes
    People are among mammals that have “bad” fat and “good” fat. Too much of the bad type, which stores energy, makes us obese. The brown type burns energy, helping us stay lean. Scientists have now created human brown fat cells in the lab and tranferred it into mice. These rodents gained less weight from a … Read More
  • Your polyester sweater is destroying the environment. Here's why | Adrienne Matei
    Boycotting polyester would reduce microfiber pollution. But the larger problem is the sheer volume of clothing we buy and discardLast week, an exclusive Guardian report revealed that a mind-boggling 13.3 quadrillion microfibers (infinitesimal strands of fabric) were released into the California environment in 2019. Related: Bottle-fed babies swallow millions of microplastics a day, study finds … Read More