Friday, December 18, 2015

And Science’s Breakthrough of the Year is

Every December, the staff of Science singles out a significant development or achievement as the Breakthrough of the Year. This year, visitors to Science’s website could pick their own favorite from the short list of candidates. Below are descriptions of Science’s Breakthrough—the powerful genome-editing technique known as CRISPR—along with nine Runners-up and the results of the “People’s Choice” poll. Rounding out the package are a few “Areas to Watch” likely to make news in the 2016; 

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The top 10 science news stories of 2015

We here at Science write and edit hundreds of stories every year for our online news site. We think they’re all great, but some rise above the pack—either because tons of our readers like them, or because they’re fun, strange, or amazing enough to become our personal favorites. If you’re looking for the most important scientific discoveries of 2015, check out our Breakthrough of the Year. But if you want to see some of 2015’s quirkiest offerings, read on.

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Monday, December 7, 2015


DUBLIN - 2nd December 2015 - Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD officially launched the newly established Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre, iCRAG today. The Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (iCRAG) at University College Dublin (UCD) will focus on the discovery, de-risking and sourcing of raw materials, water and energy resources that are critical to our economy.
The centre will receive funding of €18 million from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Research Centres Programme, with an additional €8 million from 55 industry partners that include Geoscience Ireland, Tullow Oil and Petroleum Infrastructure Programme.

COP21: Ministers in final push for Paris climate deal

Ministers from all over the world gather in Paris on Monday in a final push for a new global climate compact.
The politicians will attempt to craft a deal from a draft negotiating text signed off by delegates here on Saturday.
Poor countries warned the talks would fail if the rich tried to limit their right to grow to protect the climate.One delegate said the poor could not accept starvation as the price of a successful deal in Paris.Negotiators have taken four years to produce the draft text of a long-term agreement. The ministers will have just five days to turn that text into a deal acceptable to all 195 parties here.

High-potency pot smokers show brain-fiber damage

People who use especially potent pot show signs ofdamage in a key part of their brain. The results, reported online November 27 in Psychological Medicine, are limited, though: The small brain scanning study doesn’t show that marijuana caused the brain abnormality — only that the two go hand-in-hand. But the findings suggest that potency matters, says study coauthor Tiago Reis Marques, a psychiatrist at King’s College London.
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A striking shoreline emerges in best images from Pluto mission

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has returned the best pictures of Pluto the world may ever see. The new images, at resolutions of about 80 meters per pixel, show a striking shoreline, where smooth plains of nitrogen ice from Pluto’s “heart” rub up against water ice mountains several kilometers high. The jumbled-up rubble at the base of the ice mountains helps confirm team members’ theories that the mountains are, in fact, giant icebergs that have moved around on more plastic layers of nitrogen ice below. The spacecraft made its closest approach to the dwarf planet in July. But because of the great distances and the spacecraft’s low-power antenna, some of the best data are reaching Earth only now.

The brains of men and women aren’t really that different, study finds

In the mid-19th century, researchers claimed they could tell the sex of an individual just by looking at their disembodied brain. But a new study finds that human brains do not fit neatly into “male” and “female” categories. Indeed, all of our brains seem to share a patchwork of forms; some that are more common in males, others that are more common in females, and some that are common to both. The findings could change how scientists study the brain and even how society defines gender.

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