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The word ‘nice’ has an unusual history in the English language. Originally a term for ‘foolish’, its meaning over the centuries has morphed from ‘wanton’ to ‘reserved’ to ‘fastidious’. These days, it has become a somewhat bland and opaque description of personality: “she’s really nice.” But its common usage hints at the characteristics that matter
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Scientists have developed a thin flexible battery suited to implantable devices that does away with dangerous chemicals and replaces them with biologically compatible liquids. The bendy batteries use sodium-based liquids – one a saline solution and another using cell cultures – and this innovation could change how we power wearable devices and even medical implants.
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A sleeping brain can form fresh memories, according to a team of neuroscientists. The researchers played complex sounds to people while they were sleeping, and afterward the sleepers could recognise those sounds when they were awake. The idea that humans can learn while asleep, a concept sometimes called hypnopaedia, has a long and odd history.