Latest research news

November 17, 2004

Excessive computer use 'threat to eyesight'
Watching a computer screen for nine or more hours a day might be linked to a progressive eye disease that can blind without treatment, researchers warned on Monday. The risk of developing glaucoma this way was highest for those with short sight, they said.
The Guardian

Atlantis discovered! This time it's under the sea off Cyprus
In the child’s imagination or in the whimsical plots of the cult 1970s television series, Atlantis exists, variously, on the tip of a Bolivian volcano, beneath the sands of the Arabian desert or in the Fourth Dimension somewhere off the coast of Bermuda. Now the Utopian civilisation described in 400BC by Plato and supposedly submerged in a deluge 11,600 years ago, has been “definitively located”, for the 47th time in recent years. Robert Sarmast, an American researcher, is “absolutely convinced” that he has discovered the lost city after finding what he claims is evidence of man-made structures submerged in the sea between Cyprus and Syria.

Welsh shipwreck linked to French folly
The discovery of a Napoleonic wreck off the windswept coast of West Wales is expected to rewrite the history of the last invasion of Britain. Divers who found the previously undocumented warship off Strumble Head in Pembrokeshire believe that it carried part of a rag-tag French force that advanced on Fishguard 207 years ago.

Spectacular colours may be due to global warming
The colourful leaf displays that herald the arrival of autumn and have inspired legions of poets could be portents of something far more sinister, a nature charity has warned. According to the Tree Council, some areas of southern England have seen the most spectacular leaf displays in their history in recent years as a result of global warming.
The Guardian

Garbage betrays date of earliest village life
It is amazing what you can find rifling through someone’s rubbish. You can even work out that people didn’t settle into permanent village life as early as once thought. The first permanent human settlements are found in the Levant region which borders the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea. But precisely when and why people made this transition is the subject of fierce debate. “Virtually every possible explanation has been advanced,” says archaeologist Philip Edwards of La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.
New Scientist

Steps the brain takes to leave body wrong-footed
It is a sensation familiar to commuters and office-workers everywhere: step on to an escalator that is not moving, and you will briefly experience a loss of balance. The mystery of “broken escalator syndrome” has now been solved by British scientists: it occurs because the brain expects the stairway to move, even though it knows perfectly well that it will not. The phenomenon continues to strike whenever people walk on to a stationary escalator because past experience tells the brain that the steps are meant to be moving, and adjust the legs and body accordingly.

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