‘It eats everything’ – the new breed of wildfire that’s impossible to predict

Image credit - Pablo Trincado, licensed under CC BY 2.0

By Annette Ekin We’re fighting a different kind of wildfire whose behaviour experts are struggling to predict. Climate change and negligent forest management are causing higher-intensity, faster-moving fires that can generate enough energy to evolve into erratic firestorms, known as pyroCbs, in the face of which first responders can do little. ‘Traditionally we could predict the fire behaviour and the … Read more

Studying ant cooperation is revealing how brains work together

Image Credit - Antoine Wystrach

By Jonathan O’Callaghan As a child, you almost certainly at one stage spent hours watching ants move about from their nest. Maybe you dropped a piece of food and watched as a group of ants came and picked it up, carrying it home in an impressive display of cooperation. What you probably didn’t realise, however, … Read more

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

Preparing for extreme weather

Image credit - FADA CATEC

By Jonathan O’Callaghan  From high winds and heavy rainfall to droughts and plummeting temperatures, people in Europe have already begun to feel the effects of extreme weather. As we get used to this new reality, scientists are investigating how it will affect how we get around and whether our infrastructure can cope. Most scientists predict … Read more