New Scientist - News
Steep decline of wasps and other flying nasties is a bad sign
October 19th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Aphids, midges and wasps are being added to the list of rapidly vanishing insects. It’s another alarming sign of a sixth mass extinction, says Olive Heffernan
Dogs really can smell your fear, and then they get scared too
October 19th, 2017, 07:40 PM
There is an urban myth that dogs can smell human emotions, now it seems to be true: dogs can sense a person’s emotional state just by sniffing a sample of their sweat
Why our ‘freakish’ galaxy has got cosmologists seriously worried
October 19th, 2017, 07:40 PM
In the grand club of galaxies, the Milky Way is increasingly looking like an outlier. This is a looming challenge for cosmology, says Geraint Lewis
The mass extinction that might never have happened
October 19th, 2017, 07:40 PM
An ecological catastrophe 201 million years ago supposedly paved the way for the rise of giant dinosaurs, but it may not have happened that way after all
Speaking up against sexual abuse is hard – #MeToo changes that
October 19th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Psychology makes us swift to blame those who experience sexual harassment, but the #MeToo movement could be making it easier to speak up, says Nichola Raihani
Self-harming has risen dramatically among UK teenage girls
October 18th, 2017, 07:40 PM
In every 10,000 teenage girls in the UK, more than 37 have self-harmed. The large rise in rates of self-harming may be due to stress or mental health problems
The 5 biggest discoveries from the hunt for gravitational waves
October 18th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Detecting gravitational waves has given us a new way to observe the universe by listening to ripples in space-time. Here are five of the biggest finds from LIGO
Hunger-blocking injection lets fat monkeys quickly lose weight
October 18th, 2017, 07:40 PM
A protein injection that decreases appetite has been found to help obese monkeys slim down fast, and to cut their risk of developing diabetes
A common herbal medicine may cause liver cancer mutations
October 18th, 2017, 07:40 PM
A compound found in some plants used in traditional medicine has been linked to a 78 per cent of cases of liver cancer in hospitals in Taiwan
Police body cams were meant to keep us safer. Are they working?
October 18th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Equipping police officers with body-worn cameras was intended to defuse tense situations, but footage of brutal incidents keeps going viral
Huge Piccadilly Circus screen will target ads at certain cars
October 18th, 2017, 07:40 PM
A vast electronic display in London's Piccadilly Circus will use cameras to watch nearby cars and target certain models with certain ads
AlphaGo’s AI upgrade gets round the need for human input
October 18th, 2017, 07:40 PM
AlphaGo Zero, Google DeepMind's artificially intelligent Go player, dominates humans and other AIs by learning itself – without any human training
Gravitational waves have let us see huge neutron stars colliding
October 18th, 2017, 07:40 PM
We’ve taken the first pictures of neutron stars colliding 130 million light years away. The resulting gravitational waves may solve some big cosmic mysteries
Online game will spot if you have hidden cybersecurity talents
October 18th, 2017, 07:40 PM
A music major or law student might have native cybersecurity skills a trained IT student doesn’t – and this online game will identify you
A tech-destroying solar flare could hit Earth within 100 years
October 18th, 2017, 07:40 PM
If the sun spews “superflares” as often as other stars, one could take down power systems, damage the ozone layer and destroy satellites in the next century
Google and Apple yet to fix Wi-Fi hole in a billion devices
October 18th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The KRACK vulnerability is bad news for Android and Apple now, but long-term consequences are in store for the internet of things
Astronaut wee could show us how the plumes on Enceladus work
October 17th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The way spaceships vent urine and water may be a good stand-in for studying how jets of vapour escape the hidden ocean on one of Saturn’s icy moons
A gaggle of 7 moons keep Saturn’s rings from breaking apart
October 17th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The gravity from seven of its moons stops Saturn’s bright outer ring from spreading out and dispersing into space, according to Cassini spacecraft measurements
Online dating may be breaking down society’s racial divisions
October 17th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Racial segregation has eased in the US over the past two decades. Could hooking up online be responsible?
Roadside barrier that folds like origami blocks traffic noise
October 17th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Traffic noise has many frequencies, making it hard to suppress. A new barrier with movable folds can change its acoustic properties in response to traffic patterns
Four brain genes help explain obsessive compulsive disorder
October 17th, 2017, 07:40 PM
OCD has been linked to genes active in a brain circuit involved in learning and decisions. The finding may help explain why the condition can run in families
Sex addiction isn’t an illness, treating it as one is a bad idea
October 17th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Harvey Weinstein is being treated for sex addiction, but many health professionals say it isn't a real illness and addiction-style therapy doesn't help
How to clean up the dirty water Puerto Ricans are drinking
October 17th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Nearly a month after Hurricane Maria, many people on Puerto Rico are still without clean drinking water and have resorted to wells on a contaminated site
Horses bred to look like cartoons are part of a worrying trend
October 17th, 2017, 07:40 PM
A colt with googly eyes and a very "dished" head is the latest example of a trend for animals with "cute" looks that raise health risks, says Danny Chambers
Ophelia shows many hurricanes could reach Europe in the future
October 17th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Tropical cyclones often get to Europe but normally they have weakened by the time they get there. Not any more, thanks to climate change
Sleeping too little is no badge of honour – it harms our brains
October 17th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Skipping sleep to get more done can have a profound effect. We need to prioritise rest before we sleepwalk into a public health disaster
Trump’s U-turn may see Iran join North Korea as a nuclear state
October 16th, 2017, 07:40 PM
In refusing to recertify the Iran nuclear deal, US president Donald Trump risks creating another North Korea – as another Republican president did before him
Male chimpanzee seen snatching seconds-old chimp and eating it
October 16th, 2017, 07:40 PM
A rare sighting of a chimpanzee birth ended in infanticide and cannibalism – and probably explains why new mothers often go into hiding for weeks or months
How to beat the bookies by turning their odds against them
October 16th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Bookmakers use complex prediction models to set the odds of sporting outcomes in their favour – but a simple analysis of available odds can still give good returns
It looks like an oxymoron, but Earth optimism is worth a try
October 16th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Decades of environmental doom-mongering have fallen on deaf ears. Maybe a new environmental campaign with a message of hope is just what we need
Driverless cars could let you choose who survives in a crash
October 13th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The question of who a driverless car should save in an accident is a thorny one. Letting car owners choose for themselves could be an easy way out
Magic mushroom extract changes brains of people with depression
October 13th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound found in magic mushrooms, may help re-set the activity of neural circuits in the brain that are involved in depression
Sperm age calculator tells men how decrepit their sperm are
October 13th, 2017, 07:40 PM
An epigenetic calculator can assess a man’s sperm, guessing how old he is, and revealing how badly smoking may have damaged his gonads
Women don’t need to ‘switch off’ to climax, orgasm study shows
October 13th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The most detailed study yet of orgasm brain activity has discovered why climaxing makes women feel less pain, and shown that ‘switching off’ isn’t necessary.
The stock market is run by wild robots we don’t fully control
October 13th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Most stock market trades are made by algorithms, not humans, and they've already caused crashes. We need to understand their group behaviour to avoid disaster
We’ve drawn iconic sail-wearing Dimetrodon wrong for 100 years
October 13th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Dimetrodon, one of the most recognisable of the pre-dinosaur predators, might not actually have crawled across the ground as it’s usually depicted
We can finally map the spiral arm on the far side of the galaxy
October 12th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Using a jet of radio waves, astronomers have begun to map the other side of the Milky Way. Within 10 years we could have a complete map of the entire galaxy
Gene study shows human skin tone has varied for 900,000 years
October 12th, 2017, 07:40 PM
An analysis of genetic variation and skin pigmentation suggests that some particularly dark skin tones evolved relatively recently from paler genetic variants
Skin-tight exoskeleton is worn like Spanx and lets you turn left
October 12th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Suit that uses soft robotics to mimic muscle architecture and let wearers change direction could lead to take-home exoskeletons for people recovering after stroke
Blind cave fish lost eyes by unexpected evolutionary process
October 12th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The discovery that a cavefish might have lost its sight because key eye genes were switched off via epigenetics, rather than mutation, will fuel an evolutionary debate
Perfectly preserved fossil salamander even has last meal in gut
October 12th, 2017, 07:40 PM
A fossil salamander that lived at least 34 million years ago is in such good condition that the remains of a frog it ate are still in its digestive tract
Air pollution blamed for 500,000 early deaths in Europe in 2014
October 12th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The biggest source of harm was particulate matter from domestic stoves, but nitrogen dioxide from cars is also linked to many premature deaths
Caesarean sections cause obesity and microbiome changes in mice
October 11th, 2017, 07:40 PM
For the first time, researchers have shown that being born by C-section can contribute to obesity in mice. The effect seems to be stronger in females
Google’s new earbuds act as two-way translators in your ear
October 11th, 2017, 07:40 PM
If you have a Google Pixel phone, you’ll soon be able to speak 40 languages thanks to the new earbuds the firm announced last week
A house has been bought on the blockchain for the first time
October 11th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The governments of Ukraine, Dubai and Vermont are all trying to move real estate using blockchain, but getting estate agents out of the equation won’t be easy
Most versatile stem cell ever may help us understand miscarriage
October 11th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The first stem cells capable of making placenta could enable researchers to better understand the biological mechanisms behind many failed early pregnancies
Distant dwarf planet near Pluto has a ring that no one expected
October 11th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The tiny world Haumea has a ring, the most distant we’ve found in our solar system. This may mean rings encircle other far-off worlds in the solar system
California’s wildfires powered by perfect storm of fire hazards
October 11th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Low humidity, parched vegetation and warm winds have led to fires that have killed at least 17, left over 150 people missing and destroyed over 2000 homes
Giant black hole seen flickering on and off after galaxy snack
October 11th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Active Galactic Nuclei occur when a black hole devours a cloud of gas and dust and shines really brightly. Now one has been seen doing it twice
Female dolphins have weaponised their vaginas to fend off males
October 10th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Bottlenose dolphins have evolved complicated, folded vaginas that make it difficult for unwanted males to fertilise their eggs
It was always crazy to shoot for Mars before colonising the moon
October 10th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Common sense is prevailing in human space exploration, and the moon is back as the place we need to colonise before a riskier trip to Mars, says Paul Marks
The dearth of women in tech is nothing to do with testosterone
October 10th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Arguments over the causes of the gender gap in STEM jobs rage on. It's not due to hormones or innate brain differences, says Lise Eliot on Ada Lovelace Day
Will Alphabet’s internet balloons really help Puerto Rico?
October 10th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Google’s parent company wants to use its Project Loon tech to help restore the island’s hurricane-damaged mobile networks. But is it charity or business strategy?
Drone designers accidentally explain colour of albatross wings
October 10th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Why are some birds' wings darker on top? Engineers may have found the answer while trying to design a biomimetic drone that goes further on less fuel
Human hearts kept ‘asleep’ in a box can survive outside the body
October 10th, 2017, 07:40 PM
A new way of storing hearts outside the body for a day or more could bring an end to people dying while awaiting an organ for a heart transplant
Exploding stars could have kick-started our ancestors’ evolution
October 10th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The savannahs early hominins occupied might have appeared thanks to a spate of wildfires 8 million years ago – which might in turn be linked to a nearby supernova
Half the universe’s missing matter has just been finally found
October 10th, 2017, 07:40 PM
About half the normal matter in our universe had never been observed – until now. Two teams have finally seen it by combining millions of faint images into one
Buyer beware: Should genomic firms resell your data?
October 10th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Think carefully before you get your DNA tested: you’re selling as well as buying
Smartphone lets you see round corners by light flicker on floor
October 9th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Tracking tiny variations in light reflected at the base of a wall can let you count people in a room and see where they are moving
Father of ‘nudge’ psychology wins economics Nobel
October 9th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Richard Thaler has won this year's Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on the limits to human rationality and how to subtly influence people's behaviour
Cold climate may have driven ancient humans’ move out of Africa
October 9th, 2017, 07:40 PM
East Africa became colder and drier around 75,000 years ago, just when modern humans were apparently migrating out of Africa
Most science papers turn out to be wrong. It’s time to fix that
October 9th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Research findings often crumble under the microscope. Rows over the best way to fix this must end so we can stop trust in science crumbling too, says Robert Matthews
Evolution’s rules mean life on Earth isn’t that varied after all
October 9th, 2017, 07:40 PM
While there are millions of species on Earth, many of them have almost identical lifestyles, suggesting nature is more regular and rule-based than we thought
Kuwait’s plans for mandatory DNA database have been cancelled
October 9th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Kuwait has revoked the world’s first law requiring everyone to submit samples of their DNA, after a court found it would violate personal liberty
Nanoflares in the sun’s plasma may cause its scalding atmosphere
October 9th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Tiny explosions in the atmosphere may explain why the solar corona is a million degrees hotter than the sun’s surface
Anti-doping agency to ban all gene editing in sport from 2018
October 9th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The World Anti-Doping Agency has extended its ban on “gene doping” to include all forms of gene editing – but it’s not clear if WADA will be able to enforce it
Light-filtering paint cools your home when exposed to hot sun
October 9th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Laser cooling has been applied to paint, which could mitigate urban heat islands and solve the problem of how to cool objects in space
Nobel prizes would be better without all the fame and fortune
October 9th, 2017, 07:40 PM
A Nobel prize brings big money and celebrity status for a few, but that's at odds with modern, collaborative science done for the greater good, says Geraint Lewis
We urgently need to broaden the conversation on AI
October 9th, 2017, 07:40 PM
It’s time to get past the scare stories and start discussing the real uses and abuses of machine learning
The US will not ban guns so must learn how to live with them
October 8th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The political reality is that the US will never be rid of its weapons. The country must realise its gun epidemic is a public health crisis, and treat it as such
DNA testing firms are cashing in our genes. Should we get a cut?
October 8th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Companies like 23andMe that offer to reveal your genetic secrets from a spit test can also sell your data to drug developers for big sums
Phone calls can be beamed right into your central nervous system
October 7th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Apple has upgraded next-generation cochlear implants to work with iPhones, allowing users to stream audio directly into the device
Seal pups get separated from their mums by icebreaker ships
October 6th, 2017, 07:40 PM
When icebreakers push through the sea ice on which Caspian seals nurse their young, mothers and pups flee and often get separated in the confusion
Lunar volcanoes and lava lakes gave the early moon an atmosphere
October 6th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The same volcanic eruptions that made the dark patches we can see on the moon spewed out enough hot gas to create an atmosphere billions of years ago
Little-known drug keeps climbers’ minds sharp at high altitude
October 6th, 2017, 07:40 PM
An obscure drug, oxiracetam, seems to boost the brain's blood supply and reduce cognitive deficits caused by altitude, according to a study at 4000 metres
Different meditation types train distinct parts of your brain
October 6th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Just like physical exercise, the kind of improvements you get with meditation depend on exactly how you train
We can’t ever know whether or not our universe is a simulation
October 6th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Despite recent headlines saying we don’t live in a simulation, the answer to a question that’s more science fiction than science remains far out of reach
Your ‘risk intelligence’ decides how much of a daredevil you are
October 6th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The most comprehensive study yet into how people respond to risk has found that there is a common factor that drives all types of risk-taking
Protein injection could prevent hair loss during chemotherapy
October 6th, 2017, 07:40 PM
A hair-promoting protein can stop mice from losing fur when given chemo, raising the hope that cancer patients will be able to avoid this side effect
Side effects are worse when we think medication looks expensive
October 5th, 2017, 07:40 PM
People have been found to experience stronger side effects when a treatment looks more expensive, according to a study of the nocebo effect
The most precise atomic clock ever made is a cube of quantum gas
October 5th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The best atomic clock will only be out of sync 3.5 times in every 10 quintillion ticks. It could help test general relativity and hunt for gravitational waves
Neonicotinoid pesticides found in honey from every continent
October 5th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The discovery of neonicotinoid pesticides in honey means pollinating insects like bees regularly eat dangerous amounts of the pesticides
We just found nineteen new species of gecko in one tiny area
October 5th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The discovery of so many closely-related vertebrate species within such a small area is unprecedented
This AI can tell true hate speech from harmless banter
October 5th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The algorithm can figure out when the word “moron” is used in good fun, and when a seemingly innocuous word like "animal" is being used to demonise people
This snake knows how toxic it is and fights only when armed
October 5th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Tiger keelback snakes get toxins from their food and always know how much poison they’re carrying – if they don’t have much, they opt for flight instead of fighting
The sun’s energy could speed up dark matter so we can detect it
October 5th, 2017, 07:40 PM
If dark matter is made of ultra-light particles with very little energy, one way to find them is to catch them after they ricochet off the sun
Artificial organs used in operations without approval for humans
October 5th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Several artificial tissues manufactured at University College London were not produced to accepted quality standards but were transplanted into people
Grass-fed beef is bad for the planet and causes climate change
October 5th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Supporters like Prince Charles say raising cattle on pastures can be good for the environment, but the sums have been done and their claims don’t add up
New York City mice may be evolving to eat fast food like pizza
October 5th, 2017, 07:40 PM
White-footed mice from New York City are genetically distinct from their country-dwelling cousins, and their urban diets may be responsible
Hoovering up immigrants’ social media data won’t make US safer
October 4th, 2017, 07:40 PM
A plan to grab immigrants' digital profiles in the US is just another case of the misguided idea that mass surveillance is effective, says Ray Corrigan
Early farmers may have polluted the sea 4000 years ago
October 4th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Heavy metals including cadmium and lead are unusually common in sediments from the South China Sea, hinting that run-off from farms was spilling into the ocean 4000 years ago
Our braininess may have evolved thanks to less sticky neurons
October 4th, 2017, 07:40 PM
We don’t know much about the genetic evolution of the human brain. Now experiments suggest genes involved in cell stickiness may have given our brain its folds
We’ve finally seen how the sleeping brain stores memories
October 4th, 2017, 07:40 PM
For the first time, scans of sleeping people have shown how memories are moved in the brain, and suggest that the first hours of shut-eye are key for memory
Life may have begun millions of years earlier than we thought
October 4th, 2017, 07:40 PM
Two major studies argue that life arose on Earth very soon after it formed, but both have already come in for heavy criticism
WHO launches bold plan to slash cholera deaths by 90 per cent
October 4th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The global health agency pledged to reduce the death toll – now running at 95,000 a year – by improving sanitation and strategically deploying an oral vaccine
Chemistry Nobel for ice microscopes that show molecules of life
October 4th, 2017, 07:40 PM
The award has gone to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for developing cryo-electron microscopy, which brings down substances to liquid nitrogen temperatures.
Life extension may prove to be a double-edged sword
October 3rd, 2017, 07:40 PM
Today's middle aged people could routinely live to 120 or more. That means we have time to prepare
Build an AI god? Beware the downsides of this weird tech plan
October 3rd, 2017, 07:40 PM
What pitfalls or rewards might await the Silicon Valley whiz kid apparently intent on creating a benign superintelligent digital deity, wonders Jamais Cascio
We’re nearly ready to use CRISPR to target far more diseases
October 3rd, 2017, 07:40 PM
Forget editing embryos. We’re nearly ready to use CRISPR to change DNA inside our own bodies to treat many disorders, from hepatitis B to muscular dystrophy
How a wave of your coffee cup or spoon could switch TV channels
October 3rd, 2017, 07:40 PM
Everyday objects could soon be used to control your television thanks to a new technique that uses a webcam to recognise movements