Here’s how to make the Hajj safer – by better understanding crowd psychology
The crowd crush at the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia has claimed the lives of more than 700 people and injured at least 850 more. Sadly this is not the first such tragedy to affect the event. The Hajj attracts millions of pilgrims from across the world every year and involves several complex rituals, which means it is always a potentially dangerous event.
Which species will survive the Earth’s sixth mass extinction?
Being big – larger than a dog – increases the risk of being wiped out in a mass extinction.
The theory of parallel universes is not just maths – it is science that can be tested
The existence of parallel universes may seem like something cooked up by science fiction writers, with little relevance to modern theoretical physics. But the idea that we live in a “multiverse” made up of an infinite number of parallel universes has long been considered a scientific possibility – although it is still a matter of vigorous debate among physicists. The race is now on to find a way to test the theory, including searching the sky for signs of collisions with other universes.
Could ‘balanced harvesting’ really feed the world and save the oceans?
Scientists and policymakers are simultaneously looking for new ways to feed the world and save the oceans. Global seafood demands are increasing, and fisheries and aquaculture already have large impacts on marine ecosystems. The concept of “balanced harvesting” aims to address both of these issues.
Celebrity selfies helped us to uncover how memories are formed in the brain
In the science fiction movie Inception, Leonardo Di Caprio and his gang set out to implant specific memories into individuals’ brains in order to pull off the perfect crime. But in the real world of science implanting memories is actually quite easy – the challenge is tracking the brain cells involved in the process. Our research has now started to unveil some of the basic mechanisms of how new memories are encoded in the brain, simply using selfies to implant the memories.
Early humans had to become more feminine before they could dominate the planet
Two recent papers throw some light on how the revolutionary development of smaller and more fine-boned humans influenced the growth of cooperative culture, the birth of agriculture and human dominance of the planet.
Revealed: the great geologist behind the Origin of Species
To understand how Darwin arrived at these conclusions it is necessary to turn to the manuscripts from the first half of his life. They reveal something that is not nearly so well known about Darwin: he was also a great geologist. Not only that, his geological work was essential to developing his great insight into evolution.
How frogs and fish can help us learn to freeze humans
From Star Wars to Futurama to Alien, the idea that humans can be frozen in time in order to be awoken later is a well-established sci-fi trope. While stopping biological time or inducing long-term hibernation is still as far off as the long-distance space travel that it’s associated with in fiction, we can freeze and store cells, tissues and organs, and this is of huge scientific and medical importance.
Here’s what baboons can teach us about social media
“Birds of a feather flock together” is a saying that exists in a number of different languages. “Gambá cheira gambá” (opossums smell other opossums) in Brazilian Portuguese is a particularly colourful example. The reason is that like-minded people like to hang out together across many cultures. And it seems the same is true of baboons.
Sex offending may be in the genes but knowing that won’t prevent it
The research, which analysed DNA from 21,566 men convicted of sex offences in Sweden between 1973 and 2009, found that sons and brothers of convicted sex offenders were four to five times more likely to be convicted of sex crimes than men in the general population.