Science & Technology

We’re a step closer to figuring out why mosquitoes bite some people and not others

Samimfocus/Shutterstock Madelien Wooding, University of Pretoria and Yvette Naudé, University of Pretoria Mosquitoes contribute to the transmission of life-threatening diseases that include Zika, dengue, chikungunya, Rift Valley fever and malaria. Of these, malaria carries the most risk accounting for 229 million cases and more than 400,000 deaths in 2019. Africa accounted for 67% (274 000) of all malaria deaths worldwide. …

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Is there a happiness equation? Here’s how we’re trying to find out

What if your happy is different from my happy? Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock Robb Rutledge, UCL Most people would like to be happier. But it isn’t always easy to know how to achieve that goal. Is there an equation for happiness? Many formulas have been suggested. Get enough sleep. Exercise. Meditate. Help others. Spend time with friends and family. On average, …

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Tesla’s Bitcoin about-face is a warning for cryptocurrencies that ignore climate change

Shutterstock John Hawkins, University of Canberra Over the weekend, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk suggested his company could sell off its Bitcoin holdings, sending the cryptocurrency plummeting. It followed Musk’s announcement earlier this month that his company would no longer accept Bitcoin in payment for its electric cars, due to the fossil fuels needed to create the digital currency. Bitcoin …

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Tiangong: China may gain a monopoly on space stations – here’s what to expect

Artist’s impression of Tiangong, Alejo Miranda/Shutterstock Steffi Paladini, Birmingham City University China launched Tianhe-1, the first and main module of a permanent orbiting space station called Tiangong (Heavenly Palace 天 宫), on April 29. Two additional science modules (Wentian and Mengtian) will follow in 2022 in a series of missions that will complete the station and allow it to start …

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A new era of spaceflight? Promising advances in rocket propulsion

SpaceX concept of Starship. AleksandrMorrisovich/Shutterstock Gareth Dorrian, University of Birmingham y Ian Whittaker, Nottingham Trent University The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) has recently commissioned three private companies, Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin and General Atomics, to develop nuclear fission thermal rockets for use in lunar orbit. Such a development, if flown, could usher in a new era of …

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Space tourism is here – 20 years after the first stellar tourist, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin plans to send civilians to space

Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson on the International Space Station with a view many more are likely to see soon. NASA/Tracy Caldwell Dyson/WIkimediaCommons Wendy Whitman Cobb, US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies For most people, getting to the stars is nothing more than a dream. But on May 5, 2021, the 60th anniversary of the first suborbital …

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A new understanding of how the human brain controls our hands – new research

Shutterstock/PopTika Stephanie Rossit, University of East Anglia Understanding how the brain controls certain actions – such picking up a knife in the correct way – is important for many reasons. One of these is working towards the development of brain-computer interfaces that may help people with artificial limbs control them, using their minds. Yet how the human brain controls our …

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Four ways to make sure your passwords are safe and easy to remember

Four ways to make sure your passwords are safe and easy to remember Many still make their passwords too simple. Shutterstock/Vitalii Vodolazskyi Steven Furnell, University of Nottingham For more than 15 years, there have been various predictions from tech leaders about the death of passwords. Bill Gates predicted it back in 2004 and Microsoft has predicted it for 2021. There …

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How we discovered the oldest human burial in Africa – and what it tells us about our ancestors

Virtual ideal reconstruction of Mtoto’s position in the burial pit. Jorge González/Elena Santos Simon Armitage, Royal Holloway How did human uniqueness first evolve among our ancestors, setting us apart from other animals? That is a question many archaeologists are grappling with by investigating early records of art, language, food preparation, ornaments and symbols. How our ancestors treated and mourned the …

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