News

Although it might seem a fairly obvious observation, a new study from the University of Iowa has found not only that men, on average, have noses ten per cent larger than womens', they’ve also worked out why this might be.

Leading article: Bolt from the blue

Once upon a time there was the Big Bang theory of the origins of the universe. Now, you could say, we have another, more local, "big bang" – for the origin of life on Earth. According to scientists in Arizona, the crucial components necessary for life to start may not have been generated by our own planet in the first instance, but come from somewhere deep in outer space, carried by the barrage of meteorites that crashed into the earth four billion years ago. The key is the discovery that a meteorite was capable of providing nitrogen-containing ammonia.

Arctic Circle? No, Aberdeen

To many Scots, "The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen" is a popular traditional song by Mary Webb – the sort of thing your Uncle Jimmy might sing after too many wee drams at Hogmanay, writes Victoria Summerley.

Picture of the Day: Green sky at night, northern delight...

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, hangs like a fluorescent curtain over the village of Ersfjordbotn, near Tromso in northern Norway.

Two parts Hydrogen and one Oxygen; James Cameron’s recipe for disaster

The new 3D film to take the silver screen by storm is Sanctum, the cave-diving adventure produced by the man behind 2009’s biggest hit, Avatar. Laura Davis takes a look at what - other than the extra dimension - makes the film stand out.

David Flatman: I'm riding Tour de France to get fit but still have a mountain to climb

From the Front Row: As Bath's band of injury victims are flogged relentlessly in training, the motivation to return to action has never been greater

Inside the hospital that saves swine flu sufferers' lives

As the number of people with the virus grows, Jeremy Laurance visits one of just five units in Britain that can treat the worst afflicted

Can air pressure help healing?

Under the microscope

Science grapples with the concept that alien life may be among us

It is life, but not as we know it. The first life form on Earth to use deadly arsenic as one of its chemical building blocks has been discovered in a desert lake in California.

Into the abyss: The diving suit that turns men into fish

Humans have proven themselves remarkably adept at learning to do what other animals can do naturally. We have taught ourselves to fly like birds, climb like monkeys and burrow like moles. But the one animal that has always proven beyond our reach is the fish.

The secrets of evolution unearthed in Highlands

The key moment in the history of life on Earth – the tipping point at which there was enough oxygen in the atmosphere to support the evolution of complex animals and plants – occurred about 400 million years earlier than previously thought, a study has found.

Album: Anthony and the Johnsons, Swanlights (Rough Trade)

This can be bought as an album, or with a 144-page hardback book of Antony Hegarty's collages - takes its cue from the previous album's "One Dove", extending further the notions of fauna, flux and transformation that have driven Antony's music since I Am A Bird Now.

Steve Connor: The promise of an unlimited supply for transfusions

More than two million units of blood – some 250,000 gallons – are handled by the transfusion service each year. Yet shortages can and do happen, especially around holiday periods and special events, such as the recent World Cup, when many donors stayed at home.

There will be blood

The most precious liquid in the world is spilled every day on battlefields and in operating theatres. So creating a synthetic version in the lab is more vital than ever, says Roger Dobson

Gulf of Mexico spill has dissipated

The oil slick from the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which threatened beaches and wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, has largely vanished just two weeks after the crippled BP oil well was finally capped.

'Rotten-egg smell delayed the evolution of animals'

The smell of rotten eggs is off-putting at the best of times, but now scientists believe the same chemical responsible for the awful smell may have held back the evolution of life.

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War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

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Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
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BBC heads to the Californian coast

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