Amongst all of the depressing things going on in the news recently, including George Osborne’s decision to completely alienate anyone below the age of twenty-five in his budget, there have been some exciting new findings in science that have not been getting the air time they should.

So without much further ado, here is a list of some of the most interesting scientific developments/findings from the last week:

1) A supersonic jet could fly people from London to New York in just three hours. Spike Aerospace’s S-512 Supersonic Jet was first introduced two years ago but recently the plane’s design has been refined to make it safer and possibly even faster! The plane could reach speeds of up to 1370mph, which is nearly twice the speed of sound.

2) Your birth date may not reflect your body’s age. A new study has been conducted in which researchers looked at a group of people, all aged 38. By studying how well the participants’ body systems were functioning, the researchers were able to determine their biological ages – and the results were surprising; the biological ages ranged from 28 to 61!

3) Your eye colour may be linked to your risk of alcoholism. New research suggests that people with lighter-coloured eyes may be at a higher risk of alcoholism than their dark-eyed counterparts. The study consisted of 1,263 Americans of European ancestry, and it was found that alcohol dependence was 54 per cent more prevalent in those with light-coloured eyes than in those with dark brown eyes. In fact, the people with blue eyes were found to have a rate of dependency 80 per cent higher than people with other eye colours.

4) NASA’s New Horizons probe is about to reach the dwarf planet Pluto. On Tuesday, July 14th, the probe is to become the first spacecraft to reach Pluto, over nine years after leaving Earth. The probe has travelled over three billion miles and is set to come within 7,800 miles of the dwarf planet in a ‘fly-by’ (it will be taking pictures of Pluto whilst swinging around the dwarf planet in order to keep Pluto in its field of view). The images it will produce will be of features as small as 100 metres across.

5) Scientists have linked together the brains of three monkeys. In an experiment being referred to as the creation of a ‘brain net’, scientists linked together three monkeys allowing the animals to control an avatar arm. The research raises the prospect of direct brain-to-brain interfaces in humans that could allow paralysed people and amputees to control prosthetic limbs and even exoskeletons.

6) Astronomers have discovered a supermassive black hole at the centre of a galaxy that makes up 10 per cent of the galaxy’s mass. Most galaxies are thought to contain a supermassive black hole at their core, though previously it was thought they could only make up a maximum of 0.5 per cent of the galaxy’s total mass. The discovery of galaxy CID-947 means current theories of galaxy evolution will now need to be rethought.

7) Pandas are well known for eating bamboo, almost constantly. What may not be so well known is that bamboo is very low in nutritional value. Add in the fact that a panda’s gut is poorly adapted to digesting bamboo and it becomes hard to understand how they can survive. Recent studies have shown that in fact, pandas only expend around 38 per cent of the energy that other mammals their size do – so in fact, pandas are able to survive by being lazy!

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