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Somalia Focus

Craig Venter reclines in his chair, puts his feet up on his desk and – gently stroking his milk chocolate-coloured miniature poodle, Darwin, asleep in his arms – shares his vision of the household appliance of the future. It is a box attached to a computer that would receive DNA sequences over the internet to synthesise proteins, viruses and even living cells. After...

Fuel cell technology used to power Nasa’s space shuttle will provide light and heat for Al Gore’s new London headquarters. The fuel cell, which converts gas into heat and electricity without producing carbon emissions, has been installed in a major crown estatedevelopment in Regent Street in the capital. “The fuel cell is a real flag in the sand,...

The decline of large predators and other “apex consumers” at the top of the food chain has disrupted ecosystems all over the planet, according to a review of recent findings conducted by an international team of scientists and published in the July 15 issue of Science. The study looked at research on a wide range of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems...

A new study combining data from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton X-ray space observatory has turned up a surprise. Most of the huge black holes in the centres of galaxies in the past 11 billion years were not turned on by mergers between galaxies, as had been previously thought. At the heart...

Social studies of Facebook and Twitter have been adapted to gain a greater understanding of the swarming behaviour of locusts. The enormous success of social networking sites has vividly illustrated the importance of networking for humans; however for some animals, keeping informed about others of their kind is even more important. In a study published on July 15, 2011,...

The majority of ‘elliptical’ galaxies are not spherical but disc-shaped, resembling spiral galaxies such as our own Milky Way with the gas and dust removed, new observations suggest. The results come from Atlas3D, a survey of all 260 early-type (‘elliptical’ and ‘lenticular’) galaxies in a well-defined volume of the nearby universe....

Tropical lizards may be slow. But they aren’t dumb. They can do problem-solving tasks just as well as birds and mammals, a new study shows. A Duke University experiment tested Puerto Rican anoles on several cognitive tasks and found they can learn and remember to solve a problem they’ve never faced before. The results challenge the scientific stereotype that...

I study menus every night, so I should be immune to their literary charms. However, a few well chosen words can hook me like a fish going after a brightly colored lure. Menus that merely list ingredients, and that seems to be a growing trend, are missing out on prime marketing opportunities. The right adjectives can create positive enticements for diners to order a particular...

WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest food companies say they will cut back on marketing unhealthier foods to children, proposing their own set of advertising standards after rejecting similar guidelines proposed by the federal government. A coalition of food companies – including General Mills, ConAgra and Kellogg – plan to announce the guidelines Thursday....

Starbucks keeps pushing further and further afield from its core coffee business in search of the big bucks. They’ve tried publishing books, serving alcohol and installing small convection ovens to heat up breakfast wraps. Success outside the coffee arena has been mixed. But that hasn’t dissuaded its executives from trying new things. Their latest foray...