Charles Townes, Who Won Nobel for Lasers, Dies at 99

Charles Townes with wife, Frances after his sculpture was unveiled in his hometown, Greenville, SC (The Greenville News/Heidi Heilbrunn, via AP)

NYT – Charles H. Townes, a visionary physicist whose research led to the development of the laser, making it possible to play CDs, scan prices at the supermarket, measure time precisely, survey […]

2014 officially the hottest year on record

NASA and NOAA scientists report 2014 was 0.07F (0.04C) higher than previous records and the 38th consecutive year of above-average temperatures

The numbers are in. The year 2014 – after shattering temperature records that had stood for hundreds of years across virtually all of Europe, and roasting parts of South America, China and Russia – […]

Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says

New York Times, By Carl Zimmer, January 15

A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them.

“We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” […]

Republican senator Ted Cruz to oversee Nasa in Congress

The Guardian, By Alan Yuhas, January 12

New York – Senator Ted Cruz will chair the committee that oversees science and Nasa in the new Republican-controlled Congress, raising fears that the conservative Texan will cut funding to the space agency and science programs.

Cruz’s appointment to the space, science and competitiveness subcommittee comes amid a […]

Men who take a lot of selfies ‘show strong links to psychopathic tendencies’

Sydney Morning Herald, By Eamonn Warner, January 9

As if we needed another reason to put a stop to selfies.

A new study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences has revealed that men who take a lot of selfies will score much higher on tests looking for signs of psychopathy.

Conducted by Ohio […]

From a Pile of Dirt, Researchers Discover New Antibiotic

A new microfluidic device lets scientists identify a powerful drug from nature.

Technology Review, By Karen Weintraub, January 7

A plastic storage crate filled with backyard dirt might have yielded the most powerful antibiotic discovered in decades.

Employing a novel microfluidic device to grow soil bacteria, researchers in Boston and Bonn, Germany, say they have […]

Johann Hari: ‘I failed badly. When you harm people, you should shut up, go away and reflect on what happened’

He was the Independent’s star columnist whose lying and cheating destroyed his career. Now Johann Hari is back, with a book about drug-taking – including his own. But will anyone believe a word of it?

The Guardian, Decca Aitkenhead, January 2

When I heard that Johann Hari had written a book about the war on […]

India Takes First Step to Sending Astronaut to Space

The Wall Street Journal, December 18

It’s been a pretty amazing year for India’s space agency: reaching Mars orbit at first attempt and on a tight budget then clubbing together with the United States for future explorations of the Red planet. On Thursday morning the Indian Space Research Organization wrapped up 2014 with the successful […]

Rosetta results: Comets ‘did not bring water to Earth’

BBC, By Rebecca Morelle, December 10

Scientists have dealt a blow to the theory that most water on Earth came from comets.

Results from Europe’s Rosetta mission, which made history by landing on Comet 67P in November, shows the water on the icy mass is unlike that on our planet. The results are published in […]

‘Superbugs’ Kill India’s Babies and Pose an Overseas Threat

New York Times, By Gardiner Harris, December 3

Amravati, India — A deadly epidemic that could have global implications is quietly sweeping India, and among its many victims are tens of thousands of newborns dying because once-miraculous cures no longer work.

These infants are born with bacterial infections that are resistant to most known antibiotics, […]

No Language Instinct?

For decades, the idea of a language instinct has dominated linguistics. It is simple, powerful and completely wrong.

Aeon Magazine, by Vyvyan Evans, December 4

Imagine you’re a traveller in a strange land. A local approaches you and starts jabbering away in an unfamiliar language. He seems earnest, and is pointing off somewhere. But you […]

Crew Capsule Set to Launch to Apollo-Era Distances for First Time in 42 Years

The Orion spacecraft could eventually take astronauts to an asteroid or Mars.

Scientific American, By Clara Moskowitz, December 3

Cape Canaveral, FL – NASA’s Kennedy Space Center here has been relatively quiet since the space shuttles retired three years ago. But now the site is bustling with media, top NASA officials are traveling to Florida, […]

CSIRO to lose ‘one-fifth of staff’

THE national science agency will have lost over one-fifth of its workforce by June, staff claim, following two years of cost-cutting by both political parties.

The Australian, November 26

A new analysis has found that CSIRO will lose almost 800 jobs this financial year, roughly doubling the cuts announced this week by the ABC.

The […]

Densovirus named top suspect in devastating sea star wasting disease

EurekAlert, November 17

Ithaca, NY – Since 2013, millions of sea stars native to the Pacific coast of North America from Baja California to southern Alaska have succumbed to a mysterious wasting disease in which their limbs pull away from their bodies and their organs exude through their skin; a disease researchers say could trigger […]

Study: Male chimps who bully females are more likely to father offspring

Science Recorder, November 15

When it comes to chimpanzees, it doesn’t pay to be a gentleman, a new study has found.

The study, published in Current Biology, finds that chimpanzee males who violently attack females, often leaving serious wounds, are usually more successful in breeding, according to an Arizona State University report.

The researchers noticed […]

Users