Science & Technology

Evil Rays

Fertile women 'have sexier voice'

Fertility & voice

A woman's voice becomes more alluring when she is at her most fertile, according to US research. Recordings of women taken at different points in their menstrual cycle were played to people of both sexes.

New Scientist magazine reports that the voices rated as most attractive belonged to women at peak fertility.


Scientists to capture DNA of trees worldwide for database

New York - The New York Botanical Garden may be best known for its orchid shows and colorful blossoms, but its researchers are about to lead a global effort to capture DNA from thousands of tree species from around the world.


Why male pharaoh had feminine physique

Despite genetic mutation, Akhenaten fathered at least six children


Study suggests link between comet bombardment and movement through the galaxy, causing mass extinctions on earth

The sun's movement through the Milky Way regularly sends comets hurtling into the inner solar system -- coinciding with mass life extinctions on earth, a new study claims. The study suggests a link between comet bombardment and the movement through the galaxy.

©Artby Don Davis / Courtesy of NASA
A large body of scientific evidence now exists that support the hypothesis that a major asteroid or comet impact occurred in the Caribbean region at the boundary of the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods in Earth's geologic history. Such an impact is suspected to be responsible for the mass extinction of many floral and faunal species, including the large dinosaurs, that marked the end of the Cretaceous period.


UK computing Grid warming up for world's largest experiment

UK scientists building a computing Grid for particle physics have launched the next phase of their project, in advance of the start of the world's largest experiment. Over the last six years, the GridPP collaboration has successfully built a distributed computer system for scientists working on the world's biggest experiment, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN near Geneva. The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), has extended the project for another three years which ensures that the expertise built up in the UK will be there for the start of the LHC later this year and for the crucial first years of data taking. The data crunching and storage capabilities of the Grid are essential to the LHC's science mission of exploring the fundamental particles and forces of nature.

Cluster and racks at Queen Mary, University of London


Graphene Gazing Gives Glimpse of Foundations of Universe

Researchers at The University of Manchester have used graphene to measure an important and mysterious fundamental constant - and glimpse the foundations of the universe.

Magnified image of research samples with small holes covered by graphene. One can see light passing through them by the naked eye.


Researchers find gene defect that boosts glucose

LONDON - An international research team has pinpointed a genetic mutation that can raise a healthy person's blood sugar to harmful levels, putting them at higher risk of serious problems like heart disease.

The defect could cause an increase of around 5 percent that can prove dangerous even for people without diabetes, the researchers reported in the journal Science said on Thursday.

Too much glucose in the blood can damage the eyes, kidneys and nerves, and also lead to heart disease, stroke and limb amputations. It is also a sign of diabetes, though the findings did not link the gene directly to the disease.


Astronomers Discover New Type of Pulsating White Dwarf Star

University of Texas at Austin astronomers Michael H. Montgomery and Kurtis A. Williams, along with graduate student Steven DeGennaro, have predicted and confirmed the existence of a new type of variable star, with the help of the 2.1-meter Otto Struve Telescope at McDonald Observatory. The discovery is announced in today's issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.

This research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Delaware Asteroseismic Research Center.

Called a "pulsating carbon white dwarf," this is the first new class of variable white dwarf star discovered in more than 25 years. Because the overwhelming majority of stars in the universe--including the sun--will end their lives as white dwarfs, studying the pulsations (i.e., variations in light output) of these newly discovered examples gives astronomers a window on an important end point in the lives of most stars.

Changes in light output over time of the first-discovered pulsating carbon white dwarf star.


Google diving into 3D mapping of oceans

We've got Google Earth and Google Sky. Next up will be a map of the world below sea level--Google Ocean.

The company has assembled an advisory group of oceanography experts, and in December invited researchers from institutions around the world to the Mountain View, Calif., Googleplex. There, they discussed plans for creating a 3D oceanographic map, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The tool--for now called Google Ocean, the sources say, though that name could change--is expected to be similar to other 3D online mapping applications. People will be able to see the underwater topography, called bathymetry; search for particular spots or attractions; and navigate through the digital environment by zooming and panning. (The tool, however, is not to be confused with the "Google Ocean" project by France-based Magic Instinct Software that uses Google Earth as a visualization tool for marine data.)

Magic Wand

Namibia: 500-year-old shipwreck found by diamond firm

A shipwreck, believed to be 500 years old, containing a treasure trove of coins and ivory has been discovered off the southern African coast.

A Namibian diamond company, Namdeb, said on Wednesday that it found the wreck during mining operations in the Atlantic.

"The site yielded a wealth of objects including six bronze cannon, several tons of copper, more than 50 elephant tusks, pewter tableware, navigational instruments, weapons and thousands of Spanish and Portuguese gold coins, minted in the late 1400s and early 1500s," said Hilifa Mbako, a company spokesman.

Dieter Noli, an archaeologist, identified the cannon as Spanish, dating from about 1500.

The site yielded a wealth of objects including thousands of Spanish and Portuguese gold coins