Culture

Even though forgetting is such a common occurrence, scientists have not reached a consensus as to how it happens. One theory is that information simply decays from our memory—we forget things because too much time has passed. Another idea states is that forgetfulness occurs when we confuse an item with other items that we have previously encountered (also known as temporal confusability).

A newly hatched sea turtle's first swim is the most critical of its life. Having run the gauntlet of air and land predators to make it to the sea, the tiny voyager must also evade hungry fish patrolling the beaches in its bid for freedom. For youngsters hatching on the Great Barrier Reef's coral cays the risks are high: as many as 30% perish as they head for safe deep waters. But how much does this headlong dash through the waves cost the intrepid hatchlings?

Where natural disasters strike, political corruption is soon to follow, say the authors of a study in the Journal of Law and Economics. But it's not the wind and rain that turns good folks bad; it's the money that floods in afterwards from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Researchers at MIT recently found an elegant solution to a sticky scientific problem in basic fluid mechanics: why water doesn't soak into soil at an even rate, but instead forms what look like fingers of fluid flowing downward.

Elephants in Zakouma National Park, the last stronghold for the savanna elephants of Central Africa's Sahel region, now hover at about 1,000 animals, down from an estimated 3,000 in 2006. Ivory poachers using automatic weapons have decimated elephant populations – particularly when herds venture seasonally outside of the park.

Data and images from Mars Express suggest that several Light Toned Deposits, some of the least understood features on Mars, were formed when large amounts of groundwater burst on to the surface. Scientists propose that groundwater had a greater role in shaping the martian surface than previously believed, and may have sheltered primitive life forms as the planet started drying up.

A revolutionary container-less chemical reactor, pioneered by the space research team at Guigné International Ltd (GIL) in Canada with scientists at the University of Bath, has been installed on the International Space Station. The reactor, named Space-DRUMS, uses beams of sound to position chemicals in mid-air so they don't come into contact with the walls of the container.

More than five million people die every year from infectious diseases, despite the availability of numerous antibiotics and vaccines. The discovery of penicillin to treat bacterial infections, along with the development of vaccines for previously incurable virus diseases such as polio and smallpox, achieved great reductions in mortality during the mid-20th century.

The world has gone digital in just about everything we do. Almost every iota of information we access these days is stored in some kind of digital form and accessed electronically -- text, charts, images, video, music, you name it. The key questions are: Will your data be there when you need it? And who's going to preserve it?

Homeowners have drawn on their biggest asset, the roof over their heads, not to fund 'champagne moments' but to get through hard times; that's the finding of a preliminary study by Durham University.

Mortgage equity withdrawal is a much more popular and frequent event than previously thought. New figures show that borrowers haven't just used their housing equity to splash out on holidays or cars; struggling households have borrowed against their homes to meet their basic needs like bringing up the kids.