Science and technology

Chilling time for cars

AFTER seven years of frustrated effort, climate negotiators from the 197 countries that signed the 1987 Montreal Protocol—an international treaty designed to end the use of chemicals that deplete the ozone layer—have agreed to phase out the global-warming chemicals known as hydrofluorocarbons. HFCs are the fastest-growing sector of greenhouse gases. Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago
Approved

Missile tracking

MANY anti-cancer drugs are packaged for delivery into tiny fatty envelopes called liposomes. Because tumour cells are bound more loosely than healthy cells, liposomes squeeze between them more easily. They thus tend to accumulate in cancerous tissue and so, when they degrade, release their payloads there rather than in healthy Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago
Approved

Depths of imagination

WIND farms and solar-energy plants have the advantage that their fuel is free, but the disadvantage that the availability of that fuel may change from minute to minute. If they are to become the large-scale contributors to power generation that their boosters suggest, then cheap and reliable means of smoothing Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago
Approved

Tested, and found wanting

HALF of clinical trials do not have their results published. Those behind the TrialsTracker, a web tool created by the Evidence-Based Medicine Data Lab, at Oxford University, hope to change this. Using clinicaltrials.gov, an American database that covers 193 countries, Ben Goldacre and Anna Powell-Smith can track automatically whether results Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago
Approved

Having no truck with it

“AMATEURS talk strategy, but professionals talk logistics.” That military maxim’s latest consequence is the adoption by the world’s armed forces of three-dimensional (3D) printing on the front line. It will be a while before weapons robust enough for military use can be printed on demand (though civilian ones can be, Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago
Approved

Sexual cannibalism in spiders

Gone fishin’ ANIMAL mating can be a cruel and unusual process. Male bedbugs inseminate females by piercing their bellies and depositing sperm inside their paramours’ body cavities. Male chimpanzees and lions kill the suckling infants of females before mating with them, as this brings those females more rapidly into oestrus. Read more…

By Brian Poncelet, ago