Science & Health

Russia was banned from competing in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, a sweeping punishment for its brazen state-sponsored doping program, exposed in 2016. But even with the added scrutiny of athletes in 2018, the percentage of athletes using banned substances in Pyeongchang is probably lower than it was in Rio in 2016, and than it will be in Tokyo in 2020. Doping - throughout the history of the Olympics - tends to happens more in the Summer Games than in the Winter Games.

Kepler is the gift that keeps on giving. After suffering a major malfunction five years ago, the rejiggered space-based telescope continues to churn away, scanning the heavens for signs of distant worlds. An international team of astronomers has now released the results of its latest survey, confirming the existence of nearly 100 new exoplanets.

If a museum hosts a tacky holiday party, it should be aware that it could bring in the type of people that will vandalise and steal historic art. Case in point: Authorities say an attendee at an ugly sweater party at The Franklin Institute snuck into the museum's Terracotta Army exhibit last December, cracked off a statue's thumb, and went home with the illicit party favour.

OK, we get it. If you want to survive on Mars, just grow a bunch of potatoes out of your own, uh, fertiliser, like Matt Damon in The Martian and boil, smash and stew them to your stomach's content. Except potatoes don't grow anywhere near as well as on Mars as other vegetables, going by experiments conducted by Villanova University's Dr Edward Guinan and his "red thumb" students.

X-ray radiation can mutate cells and cause cancer, but that was a small risk for a commuter who didn't want to part with her handbag at a southern China train station during the Lunar New Year.

Billionaires are taking to space the way wistful young men take to the sea in 19th Century novels. Last week, Elon Musk launched his Tesla Roadster at the astroid belt using the world's most powerful rocket currently in operation. Not to be outdone, Microsoft's co-founder Paul Allen also has a big plan (and a big plane) for going to space.

Dramatic mood shifts while drinking alcohol are normal, but for some of us, booze takes us down a path toward nasty, belligerent and downright aggressive behaviour. By studying brain scans of drunk men, Australian scientists have pinpointed the parts of our brain that go weak when we drink, making us meaner than usual. But like so many aspects of human psychology, it's a lot more complicated than that.

Time travel as we see it in movies - using DeLoreans, phone booths, hot tubs and the like - obviously doesn't exist. But throughout history, people have insisted that they somehow managed to do it. Though most of their wild tales were eventually disproven, the stories are still incredible. Here are five of the most memorable.

Australian Scientists studying at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research just found out something pretty cool. Turns out the Andromeda galaxy, which is our Milky Way's closest neighbour, is around the same size.

See we used to think Andromeda was up to three times larger than the Milky Way, and that one day it would engulf us entirely. Fun times! But we now have fodder for a rivalry that can continue for another few billion years or so.

Sub-Saharan Matabele ants are ruthless killers, raiding termite mounds two to four times each day. But every once in a while, an ant gets hurt and is hauled back home to recuperate - an astonishing insectoid behaviour unto itself. New research suggests there's even more to it than that - these ants also administer medical care to those wounded in battle.

There are few living things on earth that can set our nerves more on edge than the aptly named bed bug (Cimex lectularius). Even if you've never had the displeasure of being their unwilling blood bank, you probably know someone who has. Since at least the 1990s, bed bugs have started to resist the pesticides we've long used against them and stormed back from near-extinction to once again become a common household pest.