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Study finds no evidence wind turbines make you sick – again

By Simon Chapman, University of Sydney

An NHMRC review finds no evidence for wind turbine syndrome.

There is no reliable or consistent evidence that proximity to wind farms or wind farm noise directly causes health effects. That’s the finding of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) much-anticipated draft systematic review of the evidence on wind farms and human health, released yesterday.

In the eye of a chicken, a new state of matter comes into view

By Morgan Kelly

The unusual arrangement of cells in a chicken's eye constitutes the first known biological occurrence of a potentially new state of matter.

Along with eggs, soup and rubber toys, the list of the chicken's most lasting legacies may eventually include advanced materials such as self-organizing colloids, or optics that can transmit light with the efficiency of a crystal and the flexibility of a liquid.

An insider's story of the global attack on climate science

By Jim Salinger

The conclusion of a 4-year saga has cast light on the tactics employed by the climate denial lobby.

A recent headline – Failed doubters trust leaves taxpayers six-figure loss – marked the end of a four-year epic saga of secretly-funded climate denial, harassment of scientists and tying-up of valuable government resources in New Zealand.

It’s likely to be a familiar story to my scientist colleagues in Australia, the UK, USA and elsewhere around the world.

The exclusive on exclusion diets

By Margaret Allman-Farinelli

What is the evidence for diets that focus on food exclusion?

As a dietitian, I’ve often wondered what makes Australians embrace fad diets with such zeal.

Of course, the lure of instant success and the so-called “science” behind such diets can sound very convincing. And with a growing number of people overweight, it’s little wonder record numbers have attempted some kind of diet at some stage.

The simplest way to lose weight is to eat less and move more. But that’s not a very exciting message and we don’t tend to hear Hollywood stars claiming it to be the secret of their triumph.

Sweet enough? Separating fact from fiction in the sugar debate

By Chris Forbes-Ewan

What is the scientific evidence for reducing the WHO's recommended maximum sugar intake?

Forget lemon detox diets and soup fasts, sugar-free was the fad diet choice of 2013. But while it’s wise to limit the foods and drinks you consume that contain added sugars, this doesn’t mean you need to eliminate sugars from your diet altogether.

In 2003 the World Health Organisation (WHO) considered recommending limiting intake of “free sugars” to 10% of total energy intake. Free sugars are sugars added to the food by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices.

Can We Turn Unwanted Carbon Dioxide Into Electricity?

By Pam Frost Gorder

Researchers are developing a new kind of geothermal power plant that will lock away unwanted carbon dioxide (CO2) underground – and use it as a tool to boost electric power generation by at least 10 times compared to existing geothermal energy approaches.

The technology to implement this design already exists in different industries, so the researchers are optimistic that their new approach could expand the use of geothermal energy in the U.S. far beyond the handful of states that can take advantage of it now.

At the American Geophysical Union meeting on Friday, Dec. 13, the research team debuted an expanded version of the design, along with a computer animated movie that merges advances in science with design and cognitive learning techniques to explain the role that energy technologies can have in addressing climate change.

New results from inside the ozone hole

NASA scientists have revealed the inner workings of the ozone hole that forms annually over Antarctica and found that declining chlorine in the stratosphere has not yet caused a recovery of the ozone hole.

More than 20 years after the Montreal Protocol agreement limited human emissions of ozone-depleting substances, satellites have monitored the area of the annual ozone hole and watched it essentially stabilize, ceasing to grow substantially larger. However, two new studies show that signs of recovery are not yet present, and that temperature and winds are still driving any annual changes in ozone hole size.

Scientists discover quick recipe for producing hydrogen

New formula for fast, abundant H2 production may help power fuel cells and helps explain expansive chemical-eating microbial communities of the deep

Scientists in Lyon have discovered a quick-cook recipe for copious volumes of hydrogen (H2).

The breakthrough suggests a better way of producing the hydrogen that propels rockets and energizes battery-like fuel cells. In a few decades, it could even help the world meet key energy needs — without carbon emissions contributing to the greenhouse effect and climate change.

Surprising diversity in ageing revealed in nature

Not all species weaken and become more likely to die as they age.

In our youth we are strong and healthy and then we weaken and die - that's probably how most would describe what ageing is all about. But, in nature, the phenomenon of ageing shows an unexpected diversity of patterns and is altogether rather strange, conclude researchers from The University of Southern Denmark.

Not all species weaken and become more likely to die as they age. Some species get stronger and less likely to die with age, while others are not affected by age at all. Increasing weakness with age is not a law of nature.

Peer-reviewed science takes off on Twitter

But who is tweeting what and why?

The most tweeted peer-reviewed articles published between 2010 and 2012, and the trends associated with their social media success, have been identified by Stefanie Haustein at the University of Montreal's School of Library and Information Science.

Haustein and colleagues from the US, UK and Germany took 1.4 million articles held in the PubMed and Web of Science databases and determined how many times they appeared on Twitter. "Being based on 1.4 million documents, this is the largest Twitter study of scholarly articles so far," Haustein said.