Elections 2014: The value of polls

2014-04-09 11:32

This election promises to be the most fascinating one to date in our democracy. Unfortunately, it could also be the most depressing, writes Butch Rice.

Computer tags human emotions

2014-04-01 08:29

Researchers have uncovered a way for computers to recognise complex facial expressions, in what is being hailed as a breakthrough in the field of cognitive analysis.

People are good smellers

2014-03-20 22:24

The human nose can discern far more than the 10 000 different odours long cited as the outer limit of our olfactory abilities.

Elephants on birth control

2014-03-05 14:41

A wetland park in KwaZulu-Natal has for the first time provided the elephants in its parks with a contraceptive vaccine according to a report by the Humane Society.

Health minister optimistic about HIV vaccine

2014-03-04 12:37

According to Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi sustained research programmes will lead scientists to develop a vaccine for the prevention and treatment of HIV.

Earth's crust 4.4 billion years old - study

2014-02-23 22:50

A microscopic grain of Earth's oldest known mineral has been dated to 4.4 billion years ago, shedding light on our planet's infancy and how it came to harbour life, researchers say.

It's not inside, it's ... on top!

2014-02-15 16:37

Most people entering crocodile territory keep a wary eye out on water and land, but research suggests they need to look up.

Robotic termites build without a boss

2014-02-13 22:28

US scientists have showed off tiny robots that can tackle tasks much like real-life termites, working collectively to build structures without following orders from a boss.

China opens 4th Antarctic research station

2014-02-10 13:02

China's fourth Antarctic research station - the flying saucer-shaped Taishan - has officially opened, in another step for the country's exploration ambitions.

Oust that tune: Study details cures for earworms

2014-02-01 19:59

It happens to nearly everyone: A song - let's say Abba's Waterloo - is stuck in your head and just won't go away. Now science has not one but three ways to dig that dreaded earworm out.

Yes, you're Neanderthal, studies find

2014-01-30 08:35

According to two studies, Neaderthal DNA may play a role in the appearance of hair and skin as well as the risk of certain diseases in modern humans.

Mollusc shells inspire super-glass

2014-01-28 21:05

Engineers intrigued by the toughness of mollusc shells, which are composed of brittle minerals, have found inspiration in their structure to make glass 200 times stronger than a standard pane.

Igniting Healthcare Innovation in Africa

2014-01-23 12:22

The UCT Graduate School of Business and the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences are looking for a needs-based approach to healthcare innovation in Africa.

Speech requires both sides of brain

2014-01-17 07:21

Humans need both sides of their brain for speech, according to a study that could rewrite therapy for people verbally impaired by a stroke.

Aussie scientists chip bees to map movements

2014-01-15 14:30

Australian scientists are gluing tiny sensors onto thousands of honey bees to track their movements in a trial aimed at halting the spread of diseases that have wiped out populations.

Train your brain to stay sharp

2014-01-13 21:20

A brief course of brain exercises has helped older adults hold on to improvements in reasoning skills and processing speed for 10 years after the course ended.

Scientists to create controlled nuclear meltdown

2014-01-09 13:15

A team of nuclear scientists in Japan plans to create a controlled reactor meltdown in a bid to learn how to deal with future disasters like that at Fukushima.

Icebreaker helps icebound ship

2013-12-27 17:32

A Chinese icebreaker is closing in on the frozen seas where a scientific mission ship is trapped off Antarctica, as those on-board welcomed the easing of blizzard conditions.

Python one of the most evolved creatures on earth: Study

2013-12-03 07:33

The first full study of a snake's genome has revealed the Burmese python to be one of the most evolutionarily advanced creatures on Earth.

Thousands of erection cases seen in ERs

2013-12-02 08:03

Priapism is an erection that lasts too long that can harm the penis permanently. Many men are showing up in emergency rooms in the US with this condition.

New world without passwords

2013-11-12 22:17

Researchers studying biometrics technology say passwords will be old hat soon.

Study shows snake-phobia in primates' brains

2013-11-05 13:11

Researchers from the United States, Japan and Brazil say they have found the first brain-based evidence backing a theory that we are destined from birth to be scared of snakes.

Search for dark matter fails

2013-10-30 21:49

A Physics experiment deep in old US gold mine has failed to find any sign of elusive dark matter.

Brain has specific radar for snakes

2013-10-28 22:58

Snakes tend to arouse sharp fear in monkeys, apes and humans, and scientists say they have found specific brain cells that fire off a rapid warning for slithery danger.

Blood test for pancreatic cancer shows promise

2013-10-27 10:00

A researcher says she is optimistic that a study she is involved with may show that a simple blood test could spot pancreatic cancer sooner.


Methane-spewing microbe blamed for mass extinctions

2014-04-01 19:28

A microbe triggered a global catastrophe 252 million years ago that wiped out upwards of 90% of marine species and 70% of land vertebrates.

Human nose can detect 1 trillion smells: study

2014-03-22 18:57

The human nose can distinguish at least one trillion different odours, millions more than previously estimated, US researchers have found.

Craig Venter takes on human ageing

2014-03-04 21:12

Craig Venter, the US scientist who raced the US government to map the human genome over a decade ago and created synthetic life in 2010, is now on a quest to treat age-related disease.

It's a solid... it's a liquid... it's a dropleton

2014-02-26 22:29

Scientists have discovered a new type of microscopic particle cluster that is found in solid materials but strangely behaves like a liquid.

100 people commit their live bodies to science

2014-02-15 18:11

One hundred people are about to share their live bodies for science as part of an unprecedented new study that will examine how to improve personal health.

Racism in science research rising

2014-02-15 11:40

Advances in genetic sequencing are giving rise to a new era of scientific racism, despite decades of efforts to reverse attitudes used to justify the slave trade and Nazi theology.

Jane Goodall, primatologist and frequent flyer

2014-02-10 19:25

British primatologist Jane Goodall, who documented the relationships and other behavioural patterns of chimpanzees, never stays in one place for long.

Biotech firm to tap blindness gene therapy

2014-01-30 20:51

Oxford scientists have set up a biotechnology company to develop the use of gene therapy in treating blindness.

Brain scans help predict learning problems - study

2014-01-30 05:30

Brain scans may help identify children with learning difficulties much earlier by measuring their short-term memory capacity, according to a Swedish study.

UK bans e-cigarettes for under-18s

2014-01-27 15:57

Britain says it would ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to children under the age of 18, citing possible adverse health effects and outlining a need for further medical research.

Turkeys enlisted in terror fight

2014-01-21 22:07

The flappy skin on the turkey's face and throat could help save human lives in a terror attack or a chemical spill - or maybe even from cancer.

'Jellyfish aircraft' takes flight

2014-01-15 21:33

Inspired by nature and by the aviation pioneers of the early 20th century, scientists in the United States have built the world's first jellyfish aircraft.

Scientist: This is how to survive a nuclear blast

2014-01-15 09:32

A scientist has published a guide to help authorities limit deaths from fallout after a city is hit by a nuclear bomb.

Study: Caffeine stirs memory

2014-01-13 05:30

A jolt of caffeine can boost memory, according to a study that provides a scientific motive for students slurping coffee, tea or energy drinks when cramming for exams.

Doggy-do points to 'inner compass'

2014-01-03 20:22

German and Czech researchers studying squatting dogs doing their business have found the pooches have an "inner compass" that may help explain how they find their way home over great distances.

The strange tale of the lizard's breath

2013-12-11 23:02

Air flows through lizard lungs in one direction, a finding that may prompt a rethink about how some species evolved following Earth's biggest mass extinction.

Thousands of erection cases seen in ERs

2013-12-02 12:00

American researchers say men with sickle cell disease are at greater risk for the painful condition known as priapism.

Dragonfly inspires germ-slaying nanosurface

2013-11-27 13:13

A recent study has described how a dragonfly led researchers to a nano-tech surface that physically slays bacteria including the notorious Staphylococcus aureus.

New 'Cradle of Humankind' excavation underway

2013-11-07 10:56

A new excavation for fossils will begin in the next few days at the Cradle of Humankind, north-west of Johannesburg, the University of the Witwatersrand says.

Scientists 'silence' aggressive brain cancer gene

2013-10-31 13:00

Brain cancer, which kills about 13 000 Americans a year, may be stopped by using an experimental drug that could switch off the cancer gene.

Pandor announces plan to promote research

2013-10-30 09:02

The government will continue to promote excellence in research at universities, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor says.

Kids with head injury may be depression prone

2013-10-27 17:00

A study in the US has found that children who have suffered a concussion may have a much higher than average rate of depression.

Possible test for IBS developed

2013-10-25 15:02

Researchers say a blood test could be used to determine if a condition is related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

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