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In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) has helped numerous couples have children who otherwise would not have been able to, but a British study of a non-invasive, drug-free alternative to IVF could save them (and the taxpayers who fund the NHS) a lot of money.

A new study (European Obstetrics&Gynaecology, 2011;6(2):92-4) shows that the DuoFertility monitor and service used for six months gives the same chance of pregnancy as a cycle of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) for many infertile couples.

Can music lead to better CPR? Yes and no.  Any mnemonic hook that helps rescue personnel deliver a good number of chest compressions to heart attack victims is likely good but one song, "Disco Science" by Mirwais, does well yet can only achieve half the CPR goal.

If you are a fan of Guy Ritchie's film "Snatch" you have heard "Disco Science" but may not know that it has 100 beats per minute, around the optimal range for CPR. However, it does not help at all in  improving the depth of compression, which may mean it's time to give up on trying to find the best musical gimmick to aid in CPR and just teach it the old fashioned way.

What is nothingness? It's a philosophical question, to be sure, but in physics the ground state of the universe can't be described by the absence of all matter, contend some theoretical physicists. There must be a 'quantum vacuum'.

The first theoretical consideration of the spontaneous decay of the quantum vacuum, believed to be a complex state of constantly fluctuating quantum fields with physical properties, dates back to the year 1931, but understanding is still in its infancy.

But it could soon happen that experimentalists are able to witness the spontaneous decay of the vacuum into pairs of particles of matter and antimatter in super strong electric fields. 

Statistical tests and economic forecasting are something of a joke; Paul Krugman is fun because he rants about Republicans in the New York Times but no one would ever actually let him manage money. 

252 million years ago there was a watershed moment in the history of life on Earth - namely that there was almost no life left on Earth. As much as 90 percent of ocean organisms were extinguished, ushering in a new order of marine species, some of which we still see today and land dwellers also sustained major losses.

A new paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B undertook an exhaustive specimen-by-specimen analysis  of surviving land-based vertebrates. The survivors, a handful of genera labeled "disaster taxa," were free to roam more or less unimpeded, with few competitors in their respective ecological niches.

An underwater ridge may be the only thing holding back the retreat of Antarctica's fast-flowing Thwaites Glacier, which drains into west Antarctica's Amundsen Sea, and it could speed up within 20 years, says a new study in Geophysical Research Letters.

Thwaites Glacier is being closely watched for its potential to raise global sea levels as the planet warms but neighboring glaciers in the Amundsen region are also thinning rapidly, including Pine Island Glacier and the much larger Getz Ice Shelf. The study highlights the importance of seafloor topography in predicting how these glaciers will behave in the near future.