Science: Theoretically ... - Science - News - The Independent

Science: Theoretically ...

Faces aren't enough to recognise a person, according to researchers at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, who report in Nature. Countering the long-standing thinking that we remember a face by storing data about relative positions of eyes, nose and mouth, they say that you also need to know about shape and position of their head. They demonstrated the effect using digitally manipulated pictures of Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Where they found people who could remember what Mr Gore looks like isn't recorded.

Why don't models of ozone depletion in the Arctic match reality? Because, say a team in Paris in the latest Nature, the computer models can't reproduce the tiny variations in spatial distribution of the ozone-eating chemicals. These could account for big discrepancies between forecast and observed ozone depletion around the North Pole, they say. While models work well with the Antarctic, the polar air circulation is less uniform in our hemisphere. To back up their suggestion, the researchers used an ultra high-resolution model to show that ozone depletion really is sensitive to small-scale differences. For the winter of 1994-95, the effect is large enough to account for the Arctic ozone depletion being 40 per cent greater than models predicted.

The River Nile's great bend, where it zigzags from its northerly path to head southwest for almost 200 miles before heading north again, is probably due to tectonic forces. A report in Science based on radar-sensing data from the Nasa space shuttle suggests that the southwesterly movement is comparatively recent, caused by geological uplift from faults in younger rock beneath it. The northwards flow dates from Precambrian strata. So it's not civil engineering to make the cruises longer.

Family-linked cases of Alzheimer's disease tend to occur at an earlier age than the "spontaneous" forms. The role of the genetic link - a gene known as PS2 - is becoming clearer. New US research has found that PS2 mutation produces a molecule which makes neurons more likely to commit "cell suicide" (apoptosis). Perhaps, say the team at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, the molecule makes neurons more sensitive to the "normal insults" of ageing, adding to the toxic burden in the patients' brains.

Massively fat, diabetic and infertile: it's no fun being a mouse deficient in leptin. That's the hormone encoded by the "Ob" (for obese) gene which helps you lose weight by suppressing appetite and stimulating your metabolism. But as dieters will have suspected, leptin isn't the only player in the weight charades. A neuropeptide called NPY, known to regulate energy balance, reaches high levels in leptin-deficient mice. But mice that don't produce leptin or NPY are less obese than their leptin-deficient mates and suffer less from diabetes or sterility. Gene therapy for weight loss? The day might not be far off. It's just that you would have to mediate a lot of genes.

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week