News Stories

November 2013

Weekender - The Science of Thanksgiving

TheThanksgiving holiday is a time to reflect upon all of the good things in our lives, and to give thanks for them. Some would argue, however, that our world would be a much better place if 'thanksgiving' became a daily practice rather than a once yearly pursuit, and it appears that science has now found proof to substantiate this viewpoint....
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Scientists Discover Viable Alternative Fuel

As the US undergoes its busiest travel week of the year, it is timely to reflect on the future of our fuel supplies. The modern world relies so heavily on the need for mobility, but, with our current reliance on fossil fuels, travel has a precarious future.
Oil reserves are not limitless, and the by-products of the internal combustion...
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Will Comet ISON Survive its Sweep Past the Sun?

The universe is putting on its own Thanksgiving Day light show in the form of Comet ISON, which is set to graze the sun tomorrow.

Assuming that the comet does not disintegrate under the pressure of strong gravitational forces or solar energy, it is set to be one of the most brilliant comets of this century.

The shining...
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Scientists build a flying jellyfish!

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it’s a . . . jellyfish?

Researchers have built a small vehicle that is able to fly through the air using graceful, undulating movements similar to those of a jellyfish swimming through water.

The work, which will be presented at the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid...
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Another fatal storm hits the US

It seems as though wild weather events have rarely been out of the headlines recently. It has been a bleak weekend in some parts of America after yet another fatal storm blasted its way through five US states.
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An eternal flame on the grave of JFK keeps his memory alive

Weekender: JFK: 50 Years On Will The Truth Be Revealed?

It seems almost irreverent to sully the memory of this fine man by debating yet another conspiracy-style theory, yet 50 years after his death controversy still surrounds the president's murder.

It has been difficult to lay the case to rest when so many questions remain unanswered, and there have been calls to exhume President Kennedy'...
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Quantum Physicist States:'Death' is All in the Mind

 Most scientists dismiss the idea of 'life after death' as a fanciful notion which is impossible to prove. In fact, new research indicates that it is actually the idea of 'death' which is becoming less likely and harder to prove, as everything we learn about quantum physics suggests that space and time do not actually exist in our perceived...
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Ancient History Reveals More Secrets

It seems that the past is still an evolving mystery with many secrets yet to reveal. Just when archaeologists think that they have our ancient history nailed, new discoveries occur which undermine all previously-held theories and leave researchers scratching their heads once more.

A new paper, published in the latest PLoS ONE,...
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Unusual weather worldwide - Cyclone Cleopatra kills 16 people in Europe

The weird weather continues worldwide: Cyclone Cleopatra devastated the Italian island of Sardinia on Monday leaving at least 16 people dead and more still missing. Flash floods - in some areas up to 3 metres (10ft) high - swept away cars and bridges and surged into people's homes without warning.

The worst-hit area was Olbia in the...
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Study Predicted Increase in Severe Storms

 The assault on the Mid-West by a total of 81 tornadoes has left 8 people dead, and more may be still buried amongst wreckage.

Indiana saw 23 tornadoes and Kentucky 13, but Illinois suffered the brunt of the storm when it was struck by an incredible 43 tornadoes, leaving at least six people dead and seven counties declared...
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Surprise Late Season Storms Slam US Midwest

A powerful and dangerous late season storm system has generated more than 50 tornadoes and killed at least 3 people across the US midwest, and will continue to develop over the evening hours. The town of Washington, Illinois has been effectively flattened, and the National Weather Service is warning that millions remain at risk as the...
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Weekender - Animal Consciousness Could Surpass Our Own

Do animals possess the same level of consciousness as humans? Unknown Country explores the possibility that "dumb animals" may be as sentient - or even more so - than humans. Because we are unable to communicate directly with animal species, the common human perception is that animal intelligence is somehow inferior to our own. Yet...
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Invisibility Cloaks are now Science Fact

Invisibility Cloaks are now Science Fact

Invisibility cloaking is no longer the stuff of science fiction: two researchers in The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering have demonstrated an effective invisibility cloak that is thin, scalable and adaptive to different types and sizes of objects.

Professor George Eleftheriades and PhD student...
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Fracking Now Linked to High Levels of Radiation

A recent study investigating the side effects of hydraulic fracturing has found higher than normal levels of radioactivity, along with other contaminants such as salts and metals, in the waters of Blacklick Creek in Western Pennsylvania.

The report, which was published recently in the journal Environmental Science and Technology,...
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Mysteries of Autism Revealed

Autism is a mysterious and complex disorder, the causes of which are, as yet, unknown. A new study published recently in the journal Nature may have found clues for early diagnosis which could allow doctors to halt or slow down progress of the condition.
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Doctors May Soon be able to Turn Back Time

Scientists from Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) have made ground-breaking discoveries that could help to reverse the ageing process.
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Haiyan Deadliest Storm to Hit Philippines. 10,000 Killed.

Along with Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, Supertyphoon Haiyan has entered history as a great and vastly destructive storm. In terms of its power, it was the strongest storm every recorded. It crossed the central Philippines, leaving in its wake catastrophic damage and at least 10,000 people dead. The destruction of homes, buildings and...
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Weekender: Earth-like planets may be common and populated by "designer humans"

Scientists now confirm that there is a high probability that the universe harbours an abundance of habitable planets.

NASA's Kepler telescope has provided information to indicate that one in every five sun-like stars is orbited by planets comparable to Earth. In broad terms, this means that there could be billions of planets capable...
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Strongest Storm Ever Recorded Strikes Philippines

Jeff Masters, founder of Weather Underground has announced that Super Typhoon Haiyan has made landfall in the Philippines as the most powerful storm in recorded history. It contains sustained winds of 196 miles per hour, far more than the 145 miles per hour expected at landfall. On his...
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Minority Report: Is Pre-Crime Now a Legal Reality?

Can criminals really be convicted of crimes that they 'might' commit, but haven't actually perpetrated? This sounds like a scenario snatched straight from science-fiction; certainly when Philip K. Dick wrote "The Minority Report" back in 1956 the concept seemed fanciful, but advances in technology and data analysis are turning this...
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Your Stress Response can become a Genetic Legacy

Scientists are discovering that chronic stress can alter gene expression, and consequently "stress", or our body's response to it, can be passed down through generations as an unwanted legacy from our predecessors.
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Teen homicides on the increase - could diet be the key?

Teen homicides on the increase - could diet be the key?

In the wake of the most recent school shootings in the US, the question left hanging in the air is why these type of incidents - and teenage violent crimes in general - are on the increase.

A recent publication from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the national public health institute of the United States, stated...
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More new species found including dolphins and a "purring monkey"

More new species found including dolphins and a "purring monkey"

 Following the discovery of a 'Lost world' full of unknown species in an unexplored Australian rainforest last week, a team of researchers working for the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History, and numerous other groups have found a species of humpback dolphin previously unknown to science swimming in the...
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Lethal Threat May Cause Whale Extinction

One of the most beautiful and haunting sounds on the planet, whale song is thought to have healing powers and is widely used for meditation and relaxation. Whales use sound to locate food and companions, and rely on their songs and hearing for navigation, orientation and communication. Marine mammal scientists from Vancouver Aquarium have...
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All-Hallows Day Special: the Argument for Angels

All-Hallows Day Special: the Argument for Angels

As we leave the darkness of All Hallow's Eve behind and wake to the sanctity of All Hallows Day, or All Souls Day as it is also known, Unknowncountry looks at the presence of angels in modern-day life.

The word "angel" derives from the Greek "angelos", meaning "messenger, and angels are generally accepted to...
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