‘Online voting isn’t ready for high-stakes elections’

Image credit - Santeri Viinamäki, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Online voting is often considered a way to improve voter turnout and security. But according to Dr Steve Kremer of the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation, computer scientists have got a long way to go before they make it a viable alternative to pencils and paper. He is researching ways of making … Read more

Genetic diversity maps to help forests survive climate change

Image credit - Mehdi Pringarbe/INRA Avignon, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Forests have a special magic for many of us. Steeped in folklore and fantasy, they are places for enchantments, mythical creatures and outlaws. But if they are to survive into the future, they may also need a helping hand from science. Globally, forests are having a tough time. Industrial logging, wildfires and deforestation for agriculture … Read more

Bee diversity critical to world’s food supply

Image Credit - Curro Molina

by Jonathan O’Callaghan Ecosystems that contain only a few bee species underperform in terms of plant production whereas those with many different species thrive, according to research which highlights the importance of bee diversity to securing the world’s food supply. Wild bees are hugely important not only to natural environments, but also to our very way … Read more

How scientists are piecing together the history of the moon

ANDY SMITH ASTRONOMY

In the solar system’s early days, a first Earth is thought to have been pulverised by a planet that scientists call Theia. We don’t know what it was made of or where it came from, only that it may have been the size of Mars. The powerful collision destroyed both planets so completely that scientists … Read more

Bacteria keep us healthy – but could they keep us young?

Image Credit - Flickr/Pedro Simoes CC BY 2.0

By Gareth Willmer A study in mice has indicated that the make-up of bacteria in the gut is linked with learning abilities and memory, providing a potential avenue of research into how to maintain cognitive functioning as we age. It’s part of a field of research looking at the link between gut bacteria and ageing … Read more

Heartbeats and memory suppression – the new tools for controlling fear

Image Credit - Flickr/Franck Michel

Most of us feel afraid when faced with a threat or danger, but people with phobias and anxiety feel overwhelming levels of fear in situations that are relatively harmless. Scientists want to moderate this response by using drugs to wipe out scary memories or by harnessing the power of heartbeats to improve therapy. Usually, people … Read more