Science/Nature

Ants show 'lazy' approach may be best for digging

Image copyright Getty/vnarong A new study on ants and robots has shown that having more workers is not necessarily better when working in confined spaces. If there are too many bodies then the workspace can get clogged. A less busy approach in which some workers are purposely idle can avoid jams. The findings might help […]

Science/Nature

Plastic pollution: 'Stop flushing contact lenses down the loo'

Image copyright Getty Images Researchers in the US have been investigating the final journeys taken by disposable contact lenses. They found 15-20% of US users simply flick these fiddly lenses down the drain via the bathroom sink or toilet. The Arizona State University study suggests that much of the plastic material then ends up in […]

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Public 'back' taxes to tackle single-use plastic waste

Image copyright PA There is high public support for using the tax system to reduce waste from single-use plastics, the Treasury says. A consultation on how taxes could tackle the rising problem and promote recycling attracted 162,000 responses. Treasury Minister Robert Jenrick said the government was looking at “smart, intelligent incentives” to get plastic producers […]

Science/Nature

When flying to Mars is your day job

Image copyright Farah Alibay Image caption “As a kid… I never really thought there was a job where you worked on spacecraft.” Sending missions to Mars for a living sounds like a dream job. But not every day can be launch day – so what do Nasa’s spacecraft engineers get up to the rest of […]

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Earliest galaxies found 'on our cosmic doorstep'

Image copyright AURIGA PROJECT Image caption A computer-simulated galaxy. Blue circles denote the brighter satellite galaxies orbiting the bigger one; the white circles show the faint galaxies, which are some of the most ancient in the Universe. Some of the oldest galaxies to form in the Universe are sitting on our cosmic doorstep, according to […]

Science/Nature

Wheat gene map to help 'feed the world'

Image copyright IGOR STEVANOVIC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY The starting pistol has been fired in a race to develop “climate change resistant” wheat with the publication of a map of the crop’s genes. An international team of scientists has identified the location of more than 100,000 wheat genes. The researchers say the map will accelerate […]

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Ancient Egyptian mummification 'recipe' revealed

Image copyright Dr Stephen Buckley/ University of York Examination of a mummy has revealed the original ancient Egyptian embalming recipe – first used to preserve bodies. A battery of forensic chemical tests carried out on a mummy that dated from 3,700-3,500 BC revealed the recipe and confirmed that it was developed far earlier and used […]

Science/Nature

New pesticides 'may have risks for bees'

Image copyright Getty Images Attempts to find a new generation of pesticides to replace neonicotinoids have been dealt a potential blow. Neonicotinoids are the most commonly used insecticide in the world. Studies suggest a new type of pesticide seen as an alternative to the chemicals, which have been banned in many countries, may have similar […]

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Footage suggests basking sharks use Scottish seas for courtship

Image copyright SNH?University of Exeter Image caption The footage was captured on camera tags Scientists have gathered new footage they believe offers evidence that basking sharks gather in Scotland’s seas to mate. The video shows sharks being “sociable”, including gathering in groups on the seabed. Basking sharks are the second largest fish in the world, […]

Science/Nature

Study suggests drastic decline in mountain hares

The number of mountain hares on moorland in the eastern Highlands is at less than 1% of their levels in the 1950s, according to new research. The study draws on data from one of Scotland’s most renowned ecologists, Dr Adam Watson. Conservation groups have called for an end to the “indiscriminate and ruthless” mountain hare […]