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Blue Planet II comes to iPlayer in 4K HDR

Blue Planet II comes to iPlayer in 4K HDR

Technology
The BBC's Blue Planet II programme is to become its first TV series to be made available in 4K resolution and high dynamic range (HDR) colour via its iPlayer catch-up service.All seven episodes of the marine-themed show are being made available to UK-based owners of select TVs.Until now, the BBC had only released programmes in this format via ultra-high definition (UHD) Blu-ray discs.Netflix and Amazon already stream some of their shows in 4K and HDR.The BBC suggested that owners of compatible screens should enjoy "the spectacular animals, vibrant coral reefs and deep blue oceans" as never before.More vividThe term 4K refers to the fact an image has four times as many pixels as a 1080p HD one, meaning it should appear more detailed and crisp.However, to appreciate this, viewers need to be ...
Antarctic base comes out of deep freeze

Antarctic base comes out of deep freeze

Science
The advance party sent in to open up Britain’s mothballed Antarctic base have found no damage. Halley station was closed in March and staff withdrawn because of uncertainty over the behaviour of cracks in the Brunt Ice Shelf - the flowing, floating platform on which it sits. The base was secured and left to the elements, with temperatures dipping down to around -50C. But the first arrivals say Halley is none the worse for its shut-down. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) flew a party of 12 into the base to start switching all the utilities back on - the power and heating. One fear was that windows might have broken in a storm and that this could have allowed snow to get inside. But that has not been the case. Halley operations manager John Eager said: "The team was very pleased to find th
Size matters when it comes to extinction risk

Size matters when it comes to extinction risk

Science
The biggest and the smallest of the world's animals are most at risk of dying out, according to a new analysis.Size matters when it comes to extinction risk, with vertebrates in the so-called "Goldilocks zone" - not too big and not too small - winning out, say scientists.Action is needed to protect animals at both ends of the scale, they say.Heavyweights are threatened mainly by hunting, while featherweights are losing out to pollution and logging. "The largest vertebrates are mostly threatened by direct killing by humans," said a team led by Prof Bill Ripple of Oregon State University in Corvallis, US."Whereas the smallest species are more likely to have restricted geographic ranges - an important predictor of extinction risk - and be threatened by habitat degradation."The research adds t...
XFEL: Brilliant X-ray laser comes online

XFEL: Brilliant X-ray laser comes online

Science
One of the most powerful X-ray machines ever built has officially opened in the German city of Hamburg. The facility, which has cost more than a billion euros to build, will be used to study the detailed structure of matter, atom by atom. It is called the European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL). Scientists say the way it shines light on targets will permit, for example, chemical bonds to be filmed in the instant that they are made or broken. The researchers anticipate fundamental discoveries that lead to new medical treatments and novel materials, to name just two possibilities. The XFEL will begin operations with 11 nations as members of its consortium. Britain, which has supplied equipment to the facility, is expected to sign commitment papers to join the group before the end of the ye...