Online observatory aims to combat energy poverty

The Disease Cold Winter Blanket Frost Hands

If you have ever run up arrears on your bills or shivered without turning on the heat at home during winter because you are concerned about the cost, then you may be experiencing energy poverty. Household energy poverty has been described as a lack of adequate energy services for warmth, cooling, lighting and to power … Read more

Your phone may soon know when you’re stressed – and help you cope

A sleep tracker uses smartphone acceleration sensors to monitor body movement and sleep stages - good predictors for stress and wellbeing.

by Ethan Bilby European businesses lose hundreds of work hours each year to stress-related absences, but an app that monitors stress levels and a device to teach relaxation exercises could help provide an answer. Christopher Lorenz is the co-founder of Soma Analytics, a UK-based start-up company that has made a smartphone app that detects people’s … Read more

Arsenic and permafrost microbes help hunt for life on Mars

Bacteria survive in the harsh conditions of the Andean lakes of Argentina among high concentrations of arsenic.

Studying environments that are similar to Mars, and their microbial ecosystems, could help prepare biologists to identify traces of life in outer space. In some of the most remote areas of our planet, scientists are examining how life can persist in the form of tiny microbes that inhabit a niche that would be fatal to … Read more

Map of brain cell activity may help us control when we sleep

Scientists still have much to learn about the underlying circuitry that triggers the onset of sleep.

For many people who struggle to get a good night’s rest, being able to switch on and off the brain circuits that control sleep would be a life-changer. The good news is that’s exactly what scientists hope to do, but first they need to get a better understanding of what’s going on. It’s easy to … Read more

Marine scientists steer trawlers away from sensitive sea floors

Newly developed trawling gear can lower the impact of fishing on the sea floor.

Bottom trawling, where fishing boats drag a heavy net along the seafloor, can devastate marine habitats and cause fish stocks to plummet, but scientists have developed new eco-friendly techniques to support the sustainability of an industry employing tens of thousands of people. Bottom (benthic) trawling indiscriminately catches bottom-feeder fish and seafood like plaice, cod, shrimp, … Read more

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