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Narwhal escape: Whales freeze and flee when frightened

Image copyright M P Heide Jorgensen Image caption These unicorns of the sea may face more human disturbance as sea ice declines in The Arctic Scientists who fitted heart rate-monitoring tags to Arctic narwhals have discovered a strange paradox in how the animals respond to threats. When these tusked whales are frightened, their hearts slow, […]

US firm picks UK for weather satellites

Media captionWilliam Hosack: “We benefit from the miniaturisation that’s come out of the cell phone industry” A miniaturised instrument to monitor the weather will be the first payload to fly on one of the UK’s new publicly funded demonstration satellites. US-based Orbital Micro Systems will launch their microwave radiometer aboard the 30cm-long spacecraft next year […]

Farthest monster black hole found

Image copyright Robin Dienel Image caption Quasars are some of the brightest objects in the Universe Astronomers have discovered the most distant “supermassive” black hole known to science. The matter-munching sinkhole is a whopping 13 billion light-years away, so far that we see it as it was a mere 690 million years after the Big […]

Researchers find ‘oldest ever eye’ in fossil

Image copyright Gennadi Baranov Image caption Side view of the fossil’s right eye An “exceptional” 530-million-year-old fossil contains what could be the oldest eye ever discovered, according to scientists. The remains of the extinct sea creature include an early form of the eye seen in many of today’s animals, including crabs, bees and dragonflies. Scientists […]

Google’s ‘superhuman’ DeepMind AI claims chess crown

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Alpha Go Zero was more successful at playing with white pieces than black Google says its AlphaGo Zero artificial intelligence program has triumphed at chess against world-leading specialist software within hours of teaching itself the game from scratch. The firm’s DeepMind division says that it played 100 games against […]

UN signals ‘end’ of throwaway plastic

UN signals ‘end’ of throwaway plastic

Image copyright Getty Images The end of the era of throwaway plastic has been signalled by UN environment ministers meeting in Kenya. They signed off a document stating that the flow of plastic into the ocean must be stopped. Scientists welcomed the statement, but were unhappy the agreement was only based in principle, with no […]

UN commits to stop ocean plastic waste

UN commits to stop ocean plastic waste

Image copyright Getty Images Nations have agreed that the world needs to completely stop plastic waste from entering the oceans. The UN resolution, which is set to be sealed tomorrow, has no timetable and is not legally binding. But ministers at an environment summit in Kenya believe it will set the course for much tougher […]

IUCN Red List: Wild crops listed as threatened

IUCN Red List: Wild crops listed as threatened

Image copyright The Crop Trust Image caption Wild wheat can be bred with modern crops to boost resilience Wild relatives of modern crops deemed crucial for food security are being pushed to the brink of extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. More than 20 rice, wheat and yam plants have been […]

How UK’s birds are being affected by a changing climate

How UK’s birds are being affected by a changing climate

Image copyright RSPB Image caption Migrating swallows cover 200 miles a day Migratory birds are arriving in the UK earlier each spring and leaving later each autumn, a report has confirmed. Some visitors are now appearing more than 20 days earlier than they did in the 1960s, according to the state of the UK’s birds […]

Hinkley Point’s Cardiff Bay toxic mud claim ‘alarmist’

Hinkley Point’s Cardiff Bay toxic mud claim ‘alarmist’

Image copyright Getty Images Claims that 300,000 tonnes of mud due to be dumped off Cardiff Bay is toxic are “wrong, alarmist and go against all internationally-accepted scientific evidence”. Controversial plans to dispose of mud from the Hinkley Point C nuclear project are being scrutinised by members of the Welsh assembly. Campaigners want further testing. […]