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Super-earth 'most likely' candidate for alien life

Super-earth 'most likely' candidate for alien life

Technology
A planet one-and-a-half times the size of Earth has emerged as the most likely planet outside our solar system to support alien life. Kepler 452b, which is 1,400 light years away, is in the middle of a zone which scientists say possesses the right conditions for life to be created.Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology found it is in the centre of the so-called abiogenesis zone.This is a region of a solar system where the level of ultraviolet light is right to kickstart the chemical reactions that can lead to early life.But it is also in a habitable region, a ring of space that is a sufficient distance from a planet's host star so that it is not too hot or too cold to support life - the so-called Goldilo...
Climate change driven by humans made heatwave 'twice as likely'

Climate change driven by humans made heatwave 'twice as likely'

Science
Climate change resulting from human activities made the current Europe-wide heatwave more than twice as likely to occur, say scientistsResearchers compared the current high temperatures with historical records from seven weather stations, in different parts of Europe.Their preliminary report found that the "signal of climate change is unambiguous," in this summer's heat.They also say the scale of the heatwave in the Arctic is unprecedented.The scale and breadth of the current heat being experienced across Europe has prompted many questions about the influence of global warming on extreme events. To try and see if there is a connection, researchers looked at data from seven weather stations, in Finland, Denmark, Ireland, the Nethe...
Red cards 'more likely' when referees use slo-mo

Red cards 'more likely' when referees use slo-mo

Technology
Football referees are more likely to hand out harsher penalties when replaying situations in slow motion, a new study has found. Cognitive scientists in Belgium researching VAR (video assistant referee) technology found that while replays did not significantly affect the accuracy of a decision on whether a foul had taken place or not, they did affect judgement on intention.The study was conducted by Dr Jochim Spitz and colleagues at the University of Leuven on the response of 88 elite football referees to videos of yellow-card fouls.Referees were 63% accurate when using slow-motion replays to make a technical decision on whether or not a foul was committed, compared with 61% accurate in real time.However, 20% of the referees gave a red after watching the video in slow motio...
EU leaders agree Russia 'highly likely' to blame

EU leaders agree Russia 'highly likely' to blame

World
EU leaders have agreed it is "highly likely" that Russia is responsible for the Salisbury nerve agent attack.Following a working dinner at a Brussels summit on Thursday night, European Council President Donald Tusk revealed the bloc's member states have backed the UK Government's assessment there is "no other plausible explanation" than Moscow's culpability.He posted on Twitter: "#EUCO agrees with UK government that highly likely Russia is responsible for #SalisburyAttack and that there is no other plausible explanation."The comment is likely to satisfy Theresa May's hopes of a strong statement from EU leaders over the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.The UK Government has directly blamed Moscow for the attack in Wiltshire, with traces of nerve a...
2017 'very likely' in top three warmest years on record

2017 'very likely' in top three warmest years on record

Science
The year 2017 is "very likely" to be in the top three warmest years on record, according to provisional figures from the World Meteorological Organization.The WMO says it will likely be the hottest year in the absence of the El NiƱo phenomenon.The scientists argue that the long-term trend of warming driven by human activities continues unabated.They say many of the "extraordinary" weather events seen this year bear the hallmarks of climate change.On the opening day of this year's key UN climate talks, researchers from the WMO have presented their annual State of the Global Climate report.It follows hot on the heels of their greenhouse gases study from last week which found that concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere were the highest on record. While the new study only covers January to Se