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Representation of disability in science fiction versus real life

From space travel to superpowers, science fiction has always presented fantastical possibilities. But when it comes to disability, it doesn’t have the best track record. Does the idealism of sci-fi have a place for representing disability? More importantly, can it be done well? Oliver Bagley, a programmer and geologist based in Norway, compares Unbreakable’s Elijah […]

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Science festivals are a creative opportunity to engage with science

Across the city, colourful posters and decorations line windows. Stages are set up for performances, and university and public buildings ring with the sound of laughter and mini-explosions. The excitement in the air is so thick you can almost taste it. It is festival season. No, it is not the Fringe: it is the annual […]

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Do indigenous groups need rules for researchers?

The San people are one of the most studied indigenous groups on earth. Their click languages and hunter-gatherer lifestyles have fascinated researchers for decades. Now, the !Xun, Khwe, and !Khomani group leaders, who represent around 8,000 people in South Africa, have come up with a set of ethical guidelines for researchers to follow. What does […]

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The mutation that made Ebola so deadly

Two new studies reveal that a single mutation in the Ebola virus may have been responsible for its devastating effects during the recent epidemic. The mutation, known as A82V, appeared in early 2014 and has been found in over 90 per cent of the viruses sequenced during the epidemic. Some viruses, including Ebola viruses, are […]

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Measles strongly linked to fatal illness, SSPE: vaccination is key

A new US study has shown that a fatal complication affecting non-vaccinated infants who get measles may be more common than we thought. Researchers from the University of California and the California Department of Public Health have found that up to one in 600 infants with measles may be affected. The condition, called Subacute sclerosing […]

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Frequent cannabis use linked to low bone density and more fractures

Regularly smoking large amounts of cannabis can lead to lower bone density and higher risk of fractures, say researchers from the University of Edinburgh. Their study, which is the first to link bone health to cannabis use, found that heavy cannabis smokers tend to have five per cent less bone density than cigarette-smoking non-users. High […]

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A new tool in the fight against antibiotic resistance?

Scientists from the London Centre for Nanotechnology and the National Physics Laboratory have discovered a potential new way of killing harmful bacteria: by peeling them. Their innovative method can kill bacteria within minutes, making it an exciting discovery in the race to find new antibiotics. However, the underlying principle is not anything new. The body […]