Science

Terrorists’ moral judgment probed in psychology test

Image copyright Thinkstock A project aiming to “scientifically understand the mindset of terrorists” has published insights that the scientists say could have implications for terror prevention. Researchers worked with a group of 66 incarcerated ex-combatants from a paramilitary terrorist group in Colombia, a country with one of the greatest insurgency rates in the world. This unique experiment revealed what the team described as an “abnormal pattern of moral judgment” in

Britain’s great explorations now online

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionThe first flight over Mount Everest captured by Major Stewart Blacker in 1933 The Royal Geographical Society is releasing the films of the scientific explorations it sponsored in the early 20th Century. The priceless footage, some of which has not been seen for nearly 100 years, is being digitised and put online. The films are also helping scientists today learn more about

Juno probe peers below Jupiter’s clouds

Image copyright NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervas Image caption South Pole: The polar cloud structure at Jupiter is very different from that at Saturn Scientists working on the American space agency’s new Juno mission say its initial observations at Jupiter have taken their breath away. In particular, they have been amazed by the storms seen at the planet’s poles. “Think of a bunch of hurricanes, every one the size of the Earth,

Rocket Lab: New Zealand space launch is first from a private site

Image copyright Twitter/@RocketLabUSA Image caption The launch had been delayed by several days due to poor weather An American company has launched a rocket into space from New Zealand, the first from a private launch facility. Rocket Lab’s 17m (56ft) Electron rocket took off from the Mahia peninsula, in North Island, the firm said on Twitter. The test flight is a major first step in an emerging market; launching cheap

Schiaparelli: Crashed lander was ill-prepared for Mars

Image copyright ESA Image caption Artwork: The retrorockets should have fired for about 30 seconds The crashed European spacecraft Schiaparelli was ill-prepared for its attempt at landing on the surface of Mars. That’s the conclusion of an inquiry into the failure on 16 October 2016. The report outlines failings during the development process and makes several recommendations ahead of an attempt to land a rover on Mars in 2020. That

Flamingo balancing act saves energy

Image copyright Science Photo Library Image caption The one-legged posture is passive, requiring no active muscular force Flamingos expend less energy standing on one leg than in a two-legged stance, scientists have confirmed. It may be their signature pose, but how and why the birds perch on one limb has been a longstanding puzzle. Now, a team from the US has shown that flamingos employ no active muscular effort when

The DNA detective

Image copyright MARTIN SPAVEN Image caption Julie Bell has no genetics background but has an extensive knowledge of how to analyse data A man left abandoned as a baby in a cinema toilet 61 years ago has tracked down his siblings with the help of a so-called “DNA detective”. But what do they do? “There’s an analogy I like to use: I can crack any safe, some will just take

Herd knowledge

As a warming climate threatens traditional food supplies in the Arctic, one rural Alaskan village is flying in hundreds of reindeer by cargo plane. James Cook went to find out why. Only 12,000 years late, on an experimental farm outside Fairbanks in central Alaska, Greg Finstad is proposing an agricultural revolution. For the indigenous communities of the north, he is advocating a move from hunting to farming, in particular to

Frozen ‘space sperm’ passes fertility test

Image copyright RobinOlimb/Getty Healthy baby mice have been born using freeze-dried sperm stored in the near-weightless environment of space. The Japanese team behind the gravity-breaking experiment on the International Space Station (ISS) say it shows that transporting the seeds of life away from Earth is feasible. Sperm banks could even be made on the Moon as a back-up for Earth disasters, they told a leading science journal. It is unclear

Lean-burn physiology gives Sherpas peak-performance

Image copyright Extreme Everest Image caption Science at the top of the world Nepalese Sherpas have a physiology that uses oxygen more efficiently than those used to the atmosphere at sea level. This is the finding of a new study that investigated high-altitude adaptation in mountain populations. The research involved taking muscle samples from mountaineers at 5,300m altitude and even putting them on an exercise bike at Mt Everest Base