Published scoops - Science & Nature

17

Autism Diagnosed With a Fifteen Minute Brain Scan

A new technique developed at King’s College London uses a fifteen minute MRI scan to diagnose autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The scan is used to analyze the structure of grey matter in the brain, and tests have shown that it can identify individuals already diagnosed with autism with 90% accuracy. The research could change the way that autism is diagnosed – including screening children for the disorder at a young age.

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17

Urban Farming - The Answer to Both Economists and Environmentalists

Otherwise known as ‘Vertical farms’, this agricultural method is on its way to taking the world by storm. The idea of urban farming is not a new one. In fact, it had been proposed in 1984 to convert abandoned warehouses into modern, hydroponic farms.

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16

Copenhagen 2009: How Good Is An Agreement That Destroys The World?

December 9, 2009 - The spokesman of the G77, Sudanese Lumumba Stanislaus Kaw Di Aping, has attacked the Copenhagen draft agreement prepared by the Danish Presidency.

"The Danish prime minister is desperate but should not confuse his political career with a deal at any price. There must be a compromise between the will of the rich and poor countries," said the spokesman of the G77 plus China, representing developing countries.

He complained that the draft is designed by and for rich countries and accused Denmark of siding with the developed countries instead of seeking points of agreement between the two blocs: "Developed countries have an historical responsibility for having damaged the atmosphere during the last 200 years. "

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15

Bacteria From Beer Lasts 553 Days In Space

A small English fishing village has produced an out-of-this-world discovery.

Bacteria taken from cliffs at Beer on the South Coast have shown themselves to be hardy space travellers.

The bugs were put on the exterior of the space station to see how they would cope in the hostile conditions that exist above the Earth's atmosphere.

And when scientists inspected the microbes a year and a half later, they found many were still alive.

These survivors are now thriving in a laboratory at the Open University (OU) in Milton Keynes.

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15

Why the World Is Running Out of Helium

It is the second-lightest element in the Universe, has the lowest boiling-point of any gas and is commonly used through the world to inflate party balloons.

But helium is also a non-renewable resource and the world's reserves of the precious gas are about to run out, a shortage that is likely to have far-reaching repercussions.

Scientists have warned that the world's most commonly used inert gas is being depleted at an astonishing rate because of a law passed in the United States in 1996 which has effectively made helium too cheap to recycle.

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15

Copenhagen 2009: Does It Really Matters?

November 30, 2009 - The future of mankind depends on the issue of the United Nation Climate Change Conference that will be held in Copenhagen from December 7 to December 18, affirms writer and environmentalist Bill McKibben, and many see this 12 days summit as a more important event than the 1945 Yalta conference.

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14

Synthia is Alive … and Breeding: Panacea or Pandora's Box?

May 20, 2010 - In a paper published today in the journal Science, the J Craig Venter Institute and Synthetic Genomics Inc announced the laboratory creation of the world's first self-reproducing organism whose entire genome was built from scratch by a machine.(1) The construction of this synthetic organism, anticipated and dubbed "Synthia" by the ETC Group three years ago, will sti

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13

Copenhagen 2009: Chronicle Of A Failure Foretold

December 19, 2009 - The COP15 final declaration is an agreement to save face rather an agreement to save the planet.

All developed countries have reaffirmed their willingness to limit global temperature increase to not more than 2° Celsius but nothing has been said about the measures to achieve this goal, apart from vague promises: no legal constraints, targets for greenhouse gases reduction far under IPCC's recommendations, no independent monitoring of actual progress made in each country.

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11

Zombie Ants and Killer Fungus

The oldest evidence of a fungus that turns ants into zombies and makes them stagger to their death has been uncovered by scientists.

The gruesome hallmark of the fungus's handiwork was found on the leaves of plants that grew in Messel, near Darmstadt in Germany, 48m years ago.

The finding shows that parasitic fungi evolved the ability to control the creatures they infect in the distant past, even before the rise of the Himalayas.

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11

Is Bloom Box the Future of Energy?

The first time I heard about Bloom Energy was in October 2008, when the New York Times published an article about investments made by the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers speculative fund in the fuel cell technology.

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