Tech

Let’s just try that again

THE Journal of Irreproducible Results is a long-running satirical magazine, designed for the amusement of scientists. If the title were not already taken, though, it would be a good one for another, more serious publication that is being launched on February 4th. The Preclinical Reproducibility and Robustness Channel, an electronic rather than a paper journal, is dedicated to the task, ...

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Wait not in vain

OVER the course of an average winter North American wood frogs, Rana sylvatica, may freeze solid several times. They are able to get away with this by replacing most of the water in their bodies with glucose mobilised from stores in their livers. That stops ice forming in their tissues as temperatures drop. When things warm up again, the frogsicles thaw ...

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Good vibrations

Ring my chimes IMPLANTED devices, such as heart pacemakers, are a valuable part of modern medicine’s armamentarium. Their use, however, is limited by the need to renew their batteries—and this is a particular problem for those, such as cochlear implants (which improve hearing), that are inside the wearer’s head. For obvious reasons, surgeons do not like opening heads up unless ...

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Convergent evolution

The fossil on the right-hand side of this picture is not, as comparison with the modern insect on the left might suggest, a butterfly. It is a lacewing called Oregramma illecebrosa. It and its relatives, the kalligrammatids, flew in the forests of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods between 165m and 125m years ago, dying out 69m years before the first-known ...

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No more horsing around

THE murky world of sports doping has been in the news recently, as accusations fly concerning the use, on a scale previously unacknowledged, of performance-enhancing drugs in athletics. But human beings are not the only animals doped to enhance their performance. Racehorses are similarly afflicted. Catching cheats in the world of horse-racing has, however, proved hard. Human and equestrian biology ...

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