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An innovative new process releases the energy in coal without burning, while capturing carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas that is the target of emissions reduction goals. How close is it to commercial use?  It has passed an important milestone - a successful 200-hour test on a sub-pilot scale version of the technology using two inexpensive but highly polluting forms of coal.   

Consumption of extra virgin olive oil has been linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and its benefit may lie in one component of olive oil that helps shuttle the abnormal AD proteins out of the brain.

A team of scientists has uncovered how some sea snakes have developed 'shrunken heads' - literally smaller physical features than their related species.

A large head would seem to be a welcome trait for sea snakes, which typically have to swallow large spiny fish. However, there are some circumstances where it wouldn't be very useful: sea snakes that feed by probing their front ends into narrow, sand eel burrows have evolved comically small heads. 

Hunting in Africa has halved the number of primates, according to estimates, but that is not the extend of the problem. Primates help with dispersal of seed and the reduction in primates has led to a reduction in the numbers of fruit trees, say biologists from Lund University in Sweden.

Felling and clear-cutting is not the only problem in Africa; the researchers studied rainforests in Nigeria, where the local population hunts for food, and found that the animals that are hunted include almost all mammals, including gorillas and chimpanzees and some small species of monkey.

Thanks to a supersensitive space telescope and some sophisticated supercomputing, scientists from the international Planck collaboration have made the closest reading yet of the most ancient story in our universe: the cosmic microwave background (CMB).

Today, the team released preliminary results based on the Planck observatory's first 15 months of data. They show that the universe is 100 million years older than we thought with more matter and less dark energy.  

Decoding the Cosmos

The mission of the ESA Planck satellite is to observe the Universe of the past, seeing back in time, right after the Big Bang.

The image that the Planck scientists revealed today is that of the Universe as a child, dating back to about 380,000 years after the Big Bang, when its temperature was similar to that of the most external layer of a star today.