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Sounds like trouble

LINGUISTIC disorders of speech or of comprehension are awkward for anyone who suffers from them. For children, who are just beginning to make their way in society, they can be disastrous. Teasing, bullying, lack of friends and poor school performance may all follow from an inability to talk or listen Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago
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Summoned by screams

Come into my parlour THE botanical kingdom is rife with deceivers. Carrion flowers mimic the smell of rotten meat in order to attract scavenging beetles and flies and then cover them in pollen. Passion vines, beloved by some butterflies as food for their caterpillars, have yellow spots on their leaves Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago
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The 2016 Nobel prize for medicine goes to work on biological recycling

LONG before the green movement existed, evolution discovered the virtues of recycling. Cells cannot afford to waste materials, so they disassemble worn-out components for reuse. This happens in subcellular structures called lysosomes, which are bubble-like vesicles filled with digestive enzymes and surrounded by fatty membranes. Moreover, in an emergency, even Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago
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The world is not enough

“I’D LIKE to die on Mars. Just not on impact.” Elon Musk has never been shy about his reasons for founding SpaceX, a rocketry firm that has become the flag-carrier for a buccaneering “New Space” industry. Although two recent rocket explosions have dented its halo, its launch prices are among Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago
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Rehydration therapy

MAKING vaccines often involves growing bugs—and these days the bugs in question are frequently genetically modified. There are, with good reason, strict regulations about the use and transport of such modified organisms, for fear that something bad might escape and thrive in the wild. And this has led to vaccine-producing Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago