Brain training leaves users as dumb as ever

Some very clever people with better things to do than fiddle about on a Nintendo DS have explained to the rest of us that brain training games are useless.

Beetles beat Avatar to circular polarization

Jewel scarab beetles can see using circularly polarised light - the same as is used in 3D movies such as Avatar. And they don't even need special glasses.

Sensor wraps itself round the brain

Scientists have developed a brain implant that melts into place, fitting to the brain's surface like shrink-wrap.

Moon's polar craters may be electrified

Lunar explorers may have another hazard to contend with - new calculations by NASA's Lunar Science Institute team indicate that the moon's polar craters may be charged to hundreds of volts.

Half of Earth's trapped heat can't be found

Half the heat believed to have built up on Earth in recent years can't be accounted for.

Comet McNaught was biggest yet

British scientists reckon they've identified the largest comet yet, using data from the ESA/NASA Ulysses spacecraft to measure the region of space disturbed by the its presence.

General Relativity fights off competing theory

Einstein famously said that no amount of experimentation would prove him right. But two new studies have backed up his General Theory of Relativity, and one significantly undermines a rival theory.

NASA trains humanoid robot for space station duty

NASA is preparing to launch the first human-like robot to space as part of the Discovery STS-133 mission planned for September. 

Researchers mimic magnetic monopoles

Researchers from Imperial College London have for the first time created a structure that acts like a single pole of a magnet at room temperature.

Huge natural particle accelerators observed during storms

Giant natural particle accelerators are forming 40 km above the surface of the Earth during thunderstorms, according to a lightning researcher at the University of Bath.

Newly-discovered exoplanets found going backwards

ESO astronomers have discovered nine new exoplanets - and found that several are going the wrong way.

MIT improves wireless power delivery system

MIT researchers have discovered that a wireless electricity delivery technique they invented three years ago works better when it's used to charge multiple devices at the same time.

New SETI program to scan for low-frequency messages

A new radio astronomy facility has started mapping the universe at very low wavelengths and looking for messages from other civilisations.

GE's LED lightbulb lasts 17 years

Eco-friendly lighting might actually start being some use, with the launch of an LED lightbulb from GE that's claimed to produce nearly as much light as a 40-watt incandescent bulb, while lasting more than 25 times as long.

Undersea volcanic vents discovered three miles down

A British expedition has discovered the world's deepest undersea volcanic vents, erupting water hot enough to melt lead.

Life on Titan? It stinks, says scientist

If there really is life on saturn's moon Titan, it's likely to be smelly and explosive, according to astrobiologist William Bains.

MIT uses viruses to split water for fuel

An MIT team has managed what amounts to artificial photosynthesis, using a modified virus and sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

Electronic license plate reader sends fines to wrong person

An electronic license plate reader designed to automatically send fines to people who skip through toll roads without paying, apparently can't tell the difference between an 8 and a 0.

NASA announces new programs - and budgets

NASA has announced its plans for the next few years. With the Constellation program for a manned moon landing axed, the focus will instead be on missions to the International Space Station and flight beyond Earth's orbit.

Self-powered robotic sub developed

NASA, the US Navy and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have successfully tested the first robotic underwater vehicle to be powered entirely by natural ocean thermal energy.