Rowan Hooper on Muck Rack

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As seen in:  New Scientist, Wired, Slate

News editor, @NewScientist. Former Tokyoite & entomologist. Columnist for @japantimes.

Japanese are quick to embrace robots

japantimes.co.jp — "H ello and welcome. I can tell you about money exchange, ATMs, opening a bank account or overseas remittance. Which one would you like?" This greeting is not uttered by a human employee but, instead, a diminutive robot named Nao.

Polonium, peacocks -- and a dead spy

japantimes.co.jp — It's one of the biggest stories of the year - and certainly the most unusual. I'm talking about the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian spy living in London who was poisoned with a radioactive isotope last month. Nothing like this has been seen for nearly 20 years, back when the Cold War was raging.

Longevity, genetics and the whale

japantimes.co.jp — The oldest person in the world - and the oldest ever Japanese person - is Misao Okawa. She lives in Osaka and is 116. She'll be 117 in March. Okawa is the last living Japanese person to have experienced the 19th century. Not that she can remember much about it: She was born in 1898.

Love of robots may pave way for better treatment of animals

japantimes.co.jp — If chimps had history books, a few individuals would have important chapters devoted to them. One would be David Greybeard, the chimp who in 1960 was observed by Jane Goodall using a piece of grass as a tool. Another would be Ai, the female chimp currently living at the Primate Research Institute in Kyoto.

Eels face the slippery slope to extinction

japantimes.co.jp — Last week I was crossing the River Thames on the way to work in London, and I happened to see a cormorant emerge from the water with a thrashing eel in its mouth. The bird juggled the fish, skillfully managing to position it so it could swallow the wriggling animal headfirst.

Avast! It's a gas-filled blob with a sting in the tail

newscientist.com — APART from its wondrously alien look, the coolest thing about the Portuguese man-of-war is that it is not an individual animal at all. Nor is it a jellyfish. It is a siphonophore - an entity formed of a colony of tiny animals called zooids.

What kind of life could live in the clouds?

japantimes.co.jp — Do you remember seeing clouds from an airplane for the first time? Even if that first time was as an adult, you were probably struck by the appearance of solidity. Seen from above, a cloudscape looks like a landscape - it looks like a place where things might live.

Cycling is a drag act in virtual wind tunnel

newscientist.com — IF YOU'RE a keen cyclist, chances are your helmet and bike have been designed to reduce drag. If you're a professional racer, you - or your team - will want to know the aerodynamic impact of everything, from the frame to the quick-release nuts on the front wheel.

World's most endangered seal seen wrestling octopus

newscientist.com — In the Odyssey, Homer tells of huge herds of monk seals on the beaches of ancient Greece. But these days they are hardly ever seen - their total population is less than 500, making them the world's most endangered seal.

The common crane and its violin cry

newscientist.com — THIS common crane, preening itself at Lake Ganzen in Germany, has an extraordinary adaptation. Its windpipe, or trachea, is three or more times as long as would be expected for a bird of this size - even one with a long neck.
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Mar 06, 2015

World's oldest person is turning 117. Her husband died in 1931 - she has never remarried ow.ly/3vMQFg pic.twitter.com/f4DHaaCYbK

Mar 06, 2015

RT @R_Trotta: UK finals of the Space Design Competition on @imperialcollege this weekend! Winners to represent UK at a NASA final uksdc.org

Mar 06, 2015

#fossilfriday my lovely 3D-printed skull of Homo habilis, scanned from the one found by the Leakeys in Kenya pic.twitter.com/S2ItFkpD9M

Mar 06, 2015

@lenoretaylor Hi Lenore - New Scientist also turned down the GBR trip

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