Media blamed for loss of Dutch Brazil

Few people today know that from 1630 to 1654 Brazil was a Dutch colony, the presence of the Portuguese language and Latin culture leads most to assume the rainbow of indigenous peoples became part of Portugal after the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 made it possible for them to keep their coastal settlements created after Pedro Álvares Cabral began exploring in 1500.

To boldly go where no science has gone before

The Big Bang should have created equal amounts of matter and antimatter yet good luck finding that to be so. Antimatter is instead so scarce it can be the plot of terrible Dan Brown books (and then movies) but we know it is there; PET scans (positron emission tomography) for cancer diagnosis use positrons, the antimatter particle of the electron.

Consumption vortex and the terrifying mathematics of the Anthropocene

Consumption vortex and the terrifying mathematics of the Anthropocene

Here are some surprising facts about humans’ effect on planet Earth. We have made enough concrete to create an exact replica of Earth 2mm thick. We have produced enough plastic to wrap Earth in clingfilm. We are creating “technofossils”, a new term for congealed human-made materials – plastics and concretes – that will be around for tens of millions of years.

Can brain imaging predict soccer success?

A new study believes that football clubs which focus too much on physical attributes risk overlooking future stars. Does this mean that with the correct cognitive behavior you could outrun Usain Bolt? No, there are still physical realities to sports, no matter what a press release wants to claim, but intangibles like "eccentricity" and other psychological characteristics matter now, just as they always have.

Exotic binary identified as a white dwarf pulsar - except those don't exist

Exotic binary identified as a white dwarf pulsar - except those don't exist

An exotic binary star system 380 light-years away has been identified as a white dwarf pulsar – yet those were believed not to exist anywhere in the universe.

Which means we still don't even know what we don't know.

White pulsars were discovered in the 1960s and associated with neutron stars.

Nicotine vapor has a lot fewer genetic effects than cigarette smoke

As anti-smoking groups like the American Council on Science and Health have long contended, while nicotine may be addictive, so are lots of things, from video games to coffee. It's the toxins in cigarette smoke that will kill you.

A Science March Won't Fix Science In A Post-Truth World

A Science March Won't Fix Science In A Post-Truth World

Before Brexit and the US elections, Nature magazine columnist Colin Macilwain set out a challenge: “If Donald Trump were to trigger a crisis in Western democracy, scientists would need to look at their part in its downfall.”

Now that he has become president, the possibility of crisis is real, including the spectre of a “Twitter ban” for scientists. So what of scientific introspection?

We have a vaccine for six cancers, but anti-science and anti-business beliefs prevent uptake

We have a vaccine for six cancers, but anti-science and anti-business beliefs prevent uptake

Early in our careers, few of us imagined a vaccine could one day prevent cancer. Now there is a vaccine that keeps the risk of developing six Human Papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers at bay, but adoption of it has been slow and surprising low.

Should pregnant women avoid licorice?

Licorice is from the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra, prized for centuries because it is sweet and because of purported medical properties. Believers in traditional Chinese medicine consider it vital for the 12 regular meridians while Ayurveda claims it rejuvenates the body. Given that it is natural, and has been in use for hundreds of years across the world, it is odd that believers in organic food and other ancient practices are now being told this natural product will harm pregnant women. 

GIANT study finds 83 DNA changes related to height

The international Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT) Consortium has uncovered 83 new DNA changes that affect human height, some rare but some adjusting height by more than 2 centimeters. The 700,000-plus-person study also found several genes pointing to previously unknown biological pathways involved in skeletal growth.