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Bees can learn higher numbers than we thought – if we train them the right way

Honeybees: nature's maths whizzes. SR Howard, Author provided

Bees are pretty good at maths – as far as insects go, at least.

Originally published in The Conversation.

A virus is attacking koalas' genes. But their DNA is fighting back

A virus that infects koalas is steadily integrating itself into their DNA, ensuring that it is passed down from generation to generation. But the koala genome is defending itself, revealing that DNA has its own immune system to shut down invaders.

The virus, called koala retrovirus (KoRV), is linked to weakened immunity, cancer, and chlamydia infection in koalas. All retroviruses hijack the DNA in some cells of their host’s body, but not all of them manage to be transmitted to the host’s offspring.

Originally published in The Conversation.

'Highly charged story': chemistry Nobel goes to inventors of lithium-ion batteries

This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to three chemists who collectively developed something that has become an absolute necessity in our daily lives – the lithium ion battery. From mobile phones to portable tools to electric cars, in less than four decades this invention has become a staple of modern society and could be instrumental in providing the energy storage needed to help power a renewable energy future.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Saturn has more moons than Jupiter – but why are we only finding out about them now?

This Hubble Space Telescope image of Saturn and a few of its moons shows how hard it can be to spot the gas giant's tiny orbiting companions. NASA / ESA / Hubble

With the discovery of 20 more moons orbiting Saturn, the

Originally published in The Conversation.

Cosmic theorist and planet-hunters share physics prize as Nobels reward otherworldly discoveries

This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to three researchers for their contributions to two unique fields.

Half of the 9 million Swedish krona (A$1.34 million) award goes to James Peebles, a Canadian cosmologist at Princeton University, “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology”.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Can hiding likes make Facebook fairer and rein in fake news? The science says maybe

On Facebook, we like what other people have already liked before us. Shutterstock

This is the first article in a series looking at the attention economy and how online content gets in front of your eyeballs.

Originally published in The Conversation.

A dormant volcano: the black hole at the heart of our galaxy is more explosive than we thought

Conical jets of radiation burst from the black hole at the centre of the Milky Way Joss Bland-Hawthorn, Author provided

The supermassive black hole at the heart of our Galaxy spat out an enormous flare of radiation 3.5 million years ago that wo

Originally published in The Conversation.

Aerial threat: why drone hacking could be bad news for the military

Are military drones a security threat to their own operators? Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock

Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly called drones, are now a The Conversation.

Trust Me, I'm An Expert: forensic entomology, or what bugs can tell police about when someone died

Maggots are a major part of the puzzle when it comes to collecting forensic evidence.

Originally published in The Conversation.

Red planet rumbles: NASA's recordings of 'marsquakes' let us listen to the martian heartbeat

The red planet. It may hold no life, but is it dead? NASA/JPL

Thanks to the audio recordings of distant rumblings on Mars released this week by NASA, we finally know what the red planet sounds like.

Originally published in The Conversation.