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Science

‘Rediscovered’ toad was known to Colombian locals for decades

‘Rediscovered’ toad was known to Colombian locals for decades

By Brian Owens Biologists thought the starry night toad was extinct in ColombiaPhoto courtesy of Fundación AtelopusA critically endangered harlequin toad, known as the starry night toad, has been documented by biologists for the first time since 1991 in the mountains of Colombia. But unlike other such stories of “rediscovered” species, this one was never…

AI genome scanner says Denisovans could live until 38 years old

AI genome scanner says Denisovans could live until 38 years old

By Gege Li AI has taken a guess at the lifespan of DenisovansUPI/Alamy Artificial intelligence may be able to estimate the maximum lifespans of extinct species and early humans. The technique relies on analysing specific regions of DNA that are linked to ageing. Benjamin Mayne at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in…

Turkey is getting military drones armed with machine guns

Turkey is getting military drones armed with machine guns

Technology 12 December 2019 By David Hambling The Songar drone can accurately hit targets from hundreds of metres away, according to its manufacturerASISGUARDA drone with a machine gun attached can hit targets with high precision, according to its makers. Turkey is set to become the first country to have the drone, when it gets a…

Google has performed the biggest quantum chemistry simulation ever

Google has performed the biggest quantum chemistry simulation ever

By Leah Crane Google’s Sycamore quantum processorErik Lucero/GoogleGoogle has used its record-breaking quantum computer to complete the biggest quantum chemistry simulation ever, modelling the behaviour of a long chain of hydrogen atoms. The simulation of large molecules is one of the main expected applications of quantum computers in the near future. Such molecules are difficult…

Scientists analysed the best and worst cities to travel around

Scientists analysed the best and worst cities to travel around

Environment 12 December 2019 By Alice Klein Bangkok in Thailand is a poorly connected city according to the analysisMongkol Chuewong/Getty ImagesStreet layouts have a major influence on people’s decisions to drive or travel by foot, according to the first global analysis of street connectivity. The findings could be used by urban planners to design cities…

Smart doorbells may be fun, but we don’t know who is using your face

Smart doorbells may be fun, but we don’t know who is using your face

This changes everything | Training facial recognition algorithms requires masses of data, and big tech companies can go to extreme lengths to get that, says Annalee Newitz Humans | Comment 11 December 2019 Nest Hello Smart DoorbellEllie Reed/Alamy Stock PhotoI AM one of millions of people around the globe who have a smart doorbell with…

Arctic sea ice may vanish sooner than we thought – it happened before

Arctic sea ice may vanish sooner than we thought – it happened before

Environment 11 December 2019 By Adam Vaughan Ice off Greenland in the ArcticAll Canada Photos/AlamySummer sea ice could vanish from the Arctic sooner than we thought. That is according to climate models that explain an unexpectedly warm period in Earth’s history. Our planet’s climate 6000 to 8000 years ago is a bit of a mystery.…

Mystery illness that causes fever every few weeks finally identified

Mystery illness that causes fever every few weeks finally identified

By Jessica Hamzelou BSIP SA/AlamySeven people with a mysterious disorder that triggers a fever every few weeks have finally been given a diagnosis. A genetic analysis has revealed that all of them have a previously unknown disorder now called CRIA syndrome. The individuals, who were aged between 10 and 82 when they were first assessed,…

Heat can quantum leap across a totally empty vacuum

Heat can quantum leap across a totally empty vacuum

By Leah Crane Quantum fluctuations can transfer heat across a vacuumsakkmesterke/GettyIn a strange sort of quantum leap, heat can move across an area of complete vacuum without being carried by any particles at all. Instead, minuscule quantum fluctuations in the vacuum allow heat to leap between two objects that aren’t touching each other or emitting…

44,000-year-old hunting scene is earliest painted ‘story’ ever found

44,000-year-old hunting scene is earliest painted ‘story’ ever found

Cave paintings discovered in Indonesia reveal ancient artists were conjuring imagined scenes 20,000 years earlier than we thought – but who painted them? Humans 11 December 2019 Small figures attacking an anoa, a buffalo native to Sulawesi, IndonesiaRatno SardiA STUNNING cave painting discovered in Indonesia may be the earliest evidence of storytelling. The artwork is…