Tech

Taking DNA sequencing into the field

DEVICES for analysing DNA used to be big, clunky and not very good. Hundreds were required for the initial sequencing of the human genome, a project that started in the late 1990s and took over a decade to complete at a cost of at least $500m. Since then, sequencing a human genome has become a routine process; prices have fallen ...

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Women ask fewer questions than men at seminars

ONE theory to explain the low share of women in senior academic jobs is that they have less self-confidence than men. This hypothesis is supported by data in a new working paper, by a team of researchers from five universities in America and Europe. In this study, observers counted the attendees, and the questions they asked, at 247 departmental talks ...

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A breathalyser for disease

HIPPOCRATES, the father of medicine, was known to have used smell as an aid to his work. Generations of doctors followed suit. Syphilis, for instance, is thought to have a characteristic odour; the smell of rotting apples suggests diabetes. Today, things are more sophisticated. All sorts of volatile organic compounds (gases, known as VOCs, that are given off by living ...

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Small hybrid-electric airliners ready for take off

ELECTRIC cars are clean, quiet and, it seems, the way of the future. Tesla, an American firm that has done much to help electric cars shed their museli-munching image, is struggling to meet demand for its mid-market Model 3 (though that has not stopped it announcing plans to build electric lorries as well). Volvo, a Swedish carmaker, has said that, ...

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Why shrinking glaciers could mean more volcanic eruptions

Hot to trot AT THE end of the last ice age, around 11,700 years ago, Earth’s climate began warming rapidly. As the planet heated up, its vast glaciers fell back. Almost immediately afterwards (in geological terms, at least) volcanic activity surged. That was nothing new. The geological record has plenty of evidence of big glacial retreats that are followed by ...

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After years of success, progress against malaria is slowing

MALARIA has been a scourge for most of history. In recent years, a good deal of progress has been made against the disease. But, as the World Malaria Report 2017, published on November 29th by the World Health Organisation, explains, that progress seems to be tailing off. The reason is unclear. Fingers are, however, being pointed at a decline in ...

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