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Science and Technology

Video: Slowing deforestation is the key to preventing the next pandemic – but what does that cost?

Reducing deforestation of tropical forests and supporting the communities that live there can reduce the risk of future pandemics. AFP via Getty Images

Reducing deforestation of tropical forests and supporting the communities that live there can reduce the risk of future pandemics. AFP via Getty Images Les Kaufman, Boston University In a recent journal article, a team of biologists, medical scientists, environmental scientists and conservationists proposed a number of measures to reduce the likelihood of future pandemics, many of which originate with wild …

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Here’s why soil smells so good after it rains

New Africa/Shutterstock

New Africa/Shutterstock Klas Flärdh, Lund University and Paul Becher, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Did you ever wonder what causes that earthy smell that rises after a light summer rain? That mysterious scent has been called “petrichor”, and a main component of it is an organic compound called geosmin, which lingers around moist soil. Geosmin comes from the ancient Greek …

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Humans aren’t inherently selfish – we’re actually hardwired to work together

Franzi/Shutterstock

Franzi/Shutterstock Steve Taylor, Leeds Beckett University There has long been a general assumption that human beings are essentially selfish. We’re apparently ruthless, with strong impulses to compete against each other for resources and to accumulate power and possessions. If we are kind to one another, it’s usually because we have ulterior motives. If we are good, it’s only because we …

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What primates can teach us about managing arguments during lockdown

Grooming is the key to positive relationships. tratong/Shutterstock

Grooming is the key to positive relationships. tratong/Shutterstock Nicola F. Koyama, Liverpool John Moores University The world may be reopening in some places, with people looking forward to pubs, restaurants and haircuts. Many of us will no doubt also be looking forward to some time away from home – alone – once more. Spending such prolonged time in close quarters …

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Coronavirus: the pandemic is changing our brains – here are the remedies

The novel coronavirus is affecting our brains, whether we’ve caught it or not. Teo Tarras/Shutterstock

The novel coronavirus is affecting our brains, whether we’ve caught it or not. Teo Tarras/Shutterstock Barbara Jacquelyn Sahakian, University of Cambridge; Christelle Langley, University of Cambridge, and Deniz Vatansever, Fudan University Whether you have contracted COVID-19 or not, your brain is likely to have changed over the past few months. The virus itself can cause a number of neurological problems, …

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Brain scientists haven’t been able to find major differences between women’s and men’s brains, despite over a century of searching

Are there innate differences between female and male brains? SebastianKaulitzki/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

Are there innate differences between female and male brains? SebastianKaulitzki/Science Photo Library via Getty Images Ari Berkowitz, University of Oklahoma People have searched for sex differences in human brains since at least the 19th century, when scientist Samuel George Morton poured seeds and lead shot into human skulls to measure their volumes. Gustave Le Bon found men’s brains are usually …

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Why it’s so critical to continuously monitor and manage plant diseases

Hands-on monitoring is key to fighting many plant diseases. Edwin Remsberg/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Hands-on monitoring is key to fighting many plant diseases. Edwin Remsberg/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images Bernard Slippers, University of Pretoria; Jolanda Roux, University of Pretoria, and Marinda Visser, University of Pretoria Most of us understand the critical importance of monitoring the spread of diseases. And it is as important for plant diseases as it is for humans. Plant disease …

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KAUST Research: New research into 6G aims to bridge the digital divide

By the end of 2018, there were nearly 4 billion people without internet connectivity in the world. Almost 75 percent of the unconnected population is located in 20 countries and is concentrated in rural, low-income and low-literacy areas. Acknowledging its paramount importance, the United Nations now recognizes internet connectivity as an important and basic human need and includes “universal and …

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