Couples more likely to get healthy together

People are more successful in taking up healthy habits if their partner makes positive changes too.

Scientists at UCL funded by Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, and the National Institute on Aging looked at how likely people were to quit smoking, start being active, or lose weight in relation to what their partner did.

They found that people were more successful in swapping bad habits for good ones if their partner made a change as well.

1000 Years of Arabic Optics to be a Focus of the International Year of Light in 2015

The International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies (IYL 2015) will be launched in 2015. Aimed at raising global awareness of how light-based technologies can provide solutions to global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health, this UNESCO-led initiative will also be an opportunity to celebrate the work of the 10th century scientist Ibn Al-Haytham. 

Ibn Al-Haytham was a pioneering polymath from Basra (in modern-day Iraq) who lived in the 10th century and is often referred to as the ‘father of modern optics’. He made significant advancements in optics, mathematics and astronomy, and helped lay the foundations of the present day scientific experimental method.

Being social: Learning from the behavior of birds

Science has learned a great deal about complex social behavior by studying nonhuman mammals and primates, but parrots might have something to teach too.

With their unusually large brains relative to their body size and advanced cognition, parrots live in a complex social environment -- not merely in a large population of cooperating creatures, such as bees or ants, but in a dynamic setting of alliances and competitors. The same is true of the most intelligent mammals: dolphins, whales, primates, and social carnivores, like hyenas and lions.

SpaceX’s Dragon blast off with Falcon rocket, reland attempt fails

After a setback earlier this week, SpaceX has successfully launched a Falcon9 rocket bound for the International Space Station (ISS) on a restocking mission. An attempt to land the potentially reusable rocket on a barge, however, failed.

The launch was conducted from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida at (9:50 GMT) early Saturday.

The rocket has a Dragon cargo ship on board, which is carrying some 5,000 pounds of science experiments, technology demonstrations and supplies to replace those lost following the explosion of an Antares rocket seconds after liftoff in October.

Bats are a possible source of Ebola epidemic in West Africa

The outbreak of the Ebola virus disease occurring in West Africa may have originated from contact between humans and virus-infected bats, suggests a study led by researchers from the Robert Koch-Institute in Berlin, Germany. The report, published in EMBO Molecular Medicine, identifies insectivorous free-tailed bats as plausible reservoirs and expands the range of possible Ebola virus sources to this type of bats. The results also reveal that larger wildlife are not the source of infection.