World’s oldest living tree found in Sweden

This tree is 9,550 years old, plus or minus a few decades. Found on Fulufjället in the Dalarna province of south-central Sweden, this spruce has survived by growing between erect trees and smaller bushes, and has seen some dramatic climate changes over the millenia of its existence. Trees such as this regenerate by pushing out […]

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Gene therapy reduces cocaine use in rats

Narcotic abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the US, and even humble rodents have taken to imbibing the notorious Colombian marching powder. Or so say scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York. Actually, what the researchers have shown is that rats induced to become cocaine addicts lessen […]

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Scientists divided over Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth”

Writing in the latest issue of GeoJournal, a number of climate change experts have expressed their opinions on former next president of the United States Al Gore‘s controversial documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth. All are said to agree that the film does a good job in raising public awareness of global warming. They also agree […]

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Mirrors help microscope track nanoparticles in 3-D

A new microscope design by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, US, allows the motion of nanoparticles in solution to be tracked in three dimensions. A better understanding of the dynamics of nanoparticles in fluids could lead to improved process control techniques to optimise the assembly of nanotech devices. […]

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Semiconductor wire built into an optical fibre

Optoelectronics specialists at Penn State University in the US and the University of Southampton, UK, have developed a process for growing single-crystal semiconductor wires inside a hollow-core optical fibres. Optical fibres, which now form the backbone of high-speed terrestrial communications networks, are idea media for transmitting many types of signals. It therefore makes sense to […]

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Self-assembly and top-down approaches combined for organic electronics fabrication

Researchers in the US have developed a surface treatment technique that may lead to a low-cost method for producing large arrays of organic transistors on polymer sheets. Potential applications include flexible displays, ‘intelligent paper’ and biosensor arrays for field diagnostics. The process developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the University of […]

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Trekkie calls for physics sanity

Lawrence Krauss – author of the excellent The Physics of Star Trek – has a regular column in New Scientist in which he ruminates about anything that takes his fancy. Is there more than one Boltzmann brain? In a recent issue of the magazine Krauss used his column to express frustration with what he perceives […]

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