Technology 

Could these balls help reduce plastic pollution?

Image copyright Luke McSweeney Image caption Rachael Miller believes the Cora Ball could hugely reduce microfibre pollution Concern is mounting over the volume of plastics in our oceans and, in particular, how tiny particles of plastic and other synthetic materials are infiltrating every part of our ecosystem. Can technology help address the problem? In October 2009, windsurfing teacher Rachael Miller went to help clean up an island off the coast of Maine in the north-east of the US. There had been a heavy storm and “we found the beach covered…

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Self-lubricating condom designed to reduce infections

Image copyright Getty Images Scientists say they have found a way to make self-lubricating latex condoms that become slippery on contact. It is thanks to a special, durable coating that should last throughout intercourse, says the team, backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They hope it will make condoms more appealing to use and thereby prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as unwanted pregnancies. Without enough lubrication, sex can be painful and condoms may split or slip. When used correctly, condoms are a highly effective contraceptive, but…

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Coaching parents may reduce child’s obesity

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Parents were advised food wasn’t always what a baby needed Changing the way that parents interact with their infants could help combat child obesity, a US study suggests. New mothers were offered ways of responding to babies’ needs, including avoiding comforting with food. By the age of three, children exposed to so-called “responsive parenting” had lower body mass index (BMI). A UK child health expert said the study showed a small, early intervention could have long-term benefit. ‘Tough nut’ Eating and sleeping behaviours are…

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