Why are children so good at learning languages?

Image Credit - Pixabay License

When it comes to learning languages small children beat machines hands down, even though they are exposed to only a fraction of the vocabulary fed into algorithms. So what exactly makes them so good? In 2003, an influential study showed that children from rich families were exposed to around 30 million more words before the age of … Read more

Under-road heating system to keep Europe’s highways ice-free

Image credit - picture is in the public domain

Under-road heating that melts ice and snow within 15 minutes and real-time information about icy road conditions could help prevent wintertime accidents. Snow and ice can dramatically change the conditions of a road, where slippery surfaces make it harder to keep control of a vehicle, particularly when braking or turning. ‘Once you have cars driving, … Read more

Chick-inspired autism test for newborn babies to help early intervention

Image Credit - Flickr/Alex Starr,CC BY-SA 2.0

Giorgio Vallortigara didn’t set out to develop software that could detect whether babies have autism. A neuroscience professor at the University of Trento in Italy, his areas of expertise include animal cognition – he’s into the brains of honeybees, zebrafish and newly-hatched chicks. ‘I’m not a clinician or an autism expert,’ he confessed. ‘But my … Read more

Could hacking the immune system cure allergies?

Image Credit - Andrew Goloida, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Scientists are redesigning natural allergens to help the immune system defend against them, in a move that could eliminate the side effects and lifelong medication of treating allergies – the most common chronic condition in Europe. More than 150 million Europeans suffer from allergies and this number is on the rise due to triggers such … Read more

Extreme space weather can wreak havoc on Earth. These tools help warn of the dangers ahead

Image Credit - NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.

By Ethan Bilby On a hot day in August 1972 toward the end of the Vietnam War, dozens of naval mines off the coast of Hai Phong in North Vietnam began to explode without warning. In March 1989, a magnetic surge tripped circuits, knocking out power in the entire Canadian province of Quebec. While in 1859, an event … Read more

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