Science: Learning more/ Early life/ Mine clearance

theoretically...

This is the start of National Science Week. It's the fifth year of the event, which aims to raise public awareness of scientific issues. It seems to be working: a survey last year found that, in its lifetime the percentage of people who knew what DNA was had almost doubled. The proportion who knew that antibiotics kill bacteria, rather than viruses, went up from 29 per cent to 45 per cent. However, there's a worrying one- third of people who still believe that the Sun goes round the Earth. Your task for this week: find out who they are and educate them. Or else attend the week's events, which are going on up and down the country.

Early humans enjoyed boating about 800,000 years ago, according to new studies by a team at the University of New England in New South Wales.

On the island of Flores, 500km east of Bali, they found stone tools apparently left by homo erectus which indicate that early humans must have made sea crossings to get there. "Homo erectus was not just a glorified chimp," said one of the researchers, commenting on the work reported in the latest Nature.

Scientists at the Defence Evaluation Research Agency (DERA) have developed a firework-like blowtorch that burns landmines' detonators and explosives without setting them off. Called FireAnt, it's like a very, very hot version of a Roman candle, producing a tightly-aimed fire beam at a temperature of 1,500C. That's hot enough to burn through at least a millimetre of steel and plenty of plastic.

According to a report in New Scientist magazine, bigger anti-tank mines would be dealt with by multiple FireAnts. Each unit could cost as little as pounds 10 each in mass production. With an estimated 110 million landmines still uncleared worldwide, it could be a big earner.

Soya beans and their plant oestrogens: maybe they're not so bad after all. A study by a team at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles has found that genistein, a plant oestrogen produced by soya beans, actually suppresses the growth of cancer cells because it prevents them signalling effectively for new blood vessels to grow towards them.

The effect: the would-be tumour starves. This, suggest the researchers, is why people in Asia, whose diets are soya-rich, have notably low risk of breast, colon and prostate cancers.

- Charles Arthur, Science Editor

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins wins the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Davidson performs his comedy show at Edinburgh Festival 2014
TV
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
News
(David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Planner

    £35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen withi...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

    Recruitment Genius: Existing Customer Telephone Consultants

    £13000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Every day they get another 1000...

    Recruitment Genius: Contract Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor