New Scientist - News
Can we count on utopian dreamers to change the world?
June 27th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Offsetting social problems posed by financial overheating and tech disruption puts utopian ideas such as basic income centre stage, argue two new books
Why bird flu risk is like the Grenfell Tower tragedy
June 27th, 2017, 06:13 AM
We know the dangers, we know how to mitigate them, and it won't even cost that much – but nobody in power seems to care
Chimps are not as superhumanly strong as we thought they were
June 26th, 2017, 06:13 AM
We sacrificed strength for endurance after our split from other apes, but it turns out our muscles are only a third weaker than those of our ape cousins
SpaceX has launched and landed two used rockets in one weekend
June 26th, 2017, 06:13 AM
On 23 and 25 June, SpaceX launched two Falcon 9 rockets using boosters that had already been to space, the second and third time SpaceX has flown used boosters
Research on male animals prevents women from getting best drugs
June 26th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Male and female mice differ in many ways – a finding that suggests women could be missing out on the best medical treatments, as most are tested on male animals
More killer hail coming unless we curb global warming
June 26th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Extreme hail storms can be a threat to life and property. If we carry on polluting the planet we'll have to face more of them, warns physicist Raymond Pierrehumbert
Peruvian monkey avoids stomach trouble by adding mud to its diet
June 26th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Rylands’ saki seems to go out of its way to eat the muddy walls of treetop termite mounds – perhaps to prevent toxic side effects from its seed-rich diet
Birds use cigarette butts for chemical warfare against ticks
June 26th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Urban house finches incorporate more fibres from cigarette butts into their nests if they have live ticks in them, suggesting the toxic chemicals in the butts may deter the parasites
Cyberattack on UK parliament exploited weak email passwords
June 26th, 2017, 06:13 AM
A hack that locked MPs out of their parliamentary email accounts over the weekend could have been easily stopped by more following basic security practices
Special cells explain why cabbage and stress churn your guts
June 26th, 2017, 06:13 AM
When a type of cell in the intestine detects dietary irritants and stress hormones, it sends distress signals to the brain, telling it to move things along
Google on track for quantum computer breakthrough by end of 2017
June 26th, 2017, 06:13 AM
The search giant is testing a 20-qubit processor, its most powerful quantum chip yet, and says it will be able to outperform ordinary computers by the end of the year
The death of King Coal hints we are at a climate turning point
June 26th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Coal use is dying out and wind and solar energy are booming. This means the world is changing around you despite inaction by backward-looking politicians
Living near noisy roads could make it harder to get pregnant
June 26th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Women who live near noisy roads are more likely to take 6 to 12 months to get pregnant, even when factors like poverty and pollution are taken into account
Synthetic iris could let cameras react to light like our eyes do
June 23rd, 2017, 06:13 AM
The iris in our eyes shrinks the pupil in bright light and enlarges it in the dark, and now an artificial version could do the same for both eyes and cameras
Uranus’s crooked, messy magnetic field might open and shut daily
June 23rd, 2017, 06:13 AM
The off-kilter tumbling of the magnetic bubble around Uranus may regularly let a barrage of charged particles from the solar wind flow in
Amputees control avatar by imagining moving their missing limbs
June 23rd, 2017, 06:13 AM
Even after losing a limb, brain activity associated with imagined movements can be read by an fMRI brain scanner and used to control a computer character
Radio powered by your own sweat hints at future of wearables 
June 23rd, 2017, 06:13 AM
A small skin patch harnesses enough power from sweat to run a radio for 48 hours. The same technology could be used to power health sensors of the future
ESA approves gravitational-wave hunting spacecraft for 2034
June 23rd, 2017, 06:13 AM
The triplet LISA spacecraft, which will use powerful lasers to measure ripples in space-time from supermassive black holes, have been green-lit
Weird orbits hint ‘Planet Ten’ might lurk at solar system edge
June 23rd, 2017, 06:13 AM
Astronomers studying icy objects in a distant region called the Kuiper belt say an unconfirmed planet with similar mass to Mars could be responsible for tugging them out of alignment
Google’s multitasking neural net can juggle eight things at once
June 23rd, 2017, 06:13 AM
Deep-learning systems can struggle to handle more than one task, but a fresh approach by Google Brain could turn neural networks into jacks of all trades
Bird eggs may be shaped by the way their mother flies
June 22nd, 2017, 06:13 AM
Huge survey reveals that bird species spending more time on the wing tend to have long or pointy eggs
If you want to be a mega philanthropist Jeff Bezos, take note
June 22nd, 2017, 06:13 AM
Amazon's founder, set to be the planet's richest person, wants to use his wealth for the greater good. It's harder than it sounds, warns David Auerbach
Trump’s wise monkey environment plan: See no evil, hear no evil
June 22nd, 2017, 06:13 AM
If you don't measure the bad stuff, you don't have to do anything about it. That looks like the Trump philosophy, say Gretchen Goldman and Andrew Rosenberg
Italy’s drying lakes imperil rare shrimp species found only here
June 22nd, 2017, 06:13 AM
The survival of ancient and unique species thriving in mountain lakes in central Italy have been threatened by a double whammy of a quake and climate change
Weird amphibians found at record depth in dark underground lake
June 22nd, 2017, 06:13 AM
A new sighting of the olm, an amphibious salamander, in a Croatian cave extends our knowledge of this mysterious and vulnerable animal
Oil-exploration airguns punch 2-kilometre-wide holes in plankton
June 22nd, 2017, 06:13 AM
The seismic airguns used to look for undersea oil don’t just disrupt marine mammals, their shock waves also kill and disperse the plankton population
Volunteers teach AI to spot slavery sites from satellite images
June 22nd, 2017, 06:13 AM
A crowdsourcing project is helping train a machine learning algorithm to identify possible sites of forced labour in South Asia from space
Private data of 198 million US voters accidentally leaked online
June 21st, 2017, 06:13 AM
The data, collected on behalf of the Republican National Committee, included people's phone numbers and addresses as well as assumptions about their religion and ethnicity
Don’t blame Instagram for the rise of botox and lip fillers
June 21st, 2017, 06:13 AM
A new report rightly suggests that non-surgical cosmetic procedures need tighter regulation, but stumbles by blaming selfies and social media for their popularity
Smoking is finally dying out among young people in the UK and US
June 21st, 2017, 06:13 AM
Now only 15.5 per cent of people in the UK are smokers. The largest declines have been seen in the first generation to grow up among anti-smoking laws
Best evidence yet that Parkinson’s could be autoimmune disease
June 21st, 2017, 06:13 AM
People with Parkinson's show an immune response to brain cell markers that suggests the condition could be caused by having an over-active immune system
This handy robot will iron your clothes so you don’t have to
June 21st, 2017, 06:13 AM
The TEO robot uses a camera to detect creases and can then "iteratively reduce the wrinkleness" of garments using a standard household iron
Buckyballs mysteriously show up in cold space and warp starlight
June 21st, 2017, 06:13 AM
These molecular carbon cages could be used as tracers to understand how prebiotic molecules form in space
LA’s endangered pumas to be saved by a $60m bridge over highway
June 21st, 2017, 06:13 AM
Pumas in Santa Monica are trapped in small areas bisected by big roads, on which many die – but an ambitious wildlife crossing promises to change that
Bizarre new deep-sea creatures discovered off Australian coast
June 21st, 2017, 06:13 AM
Faceless fish, giant sea spiders, and other strange species have been found 4-km-deep off the east coast of Australia
UK foxes thankfully spared the baying pack, unlike Theresa May
June 21st, 2017, 06:13 AM
One good outcome of the hung parliament chaos will be a Queen's speech devoid of an utterly unscientific vow to resume fox-hunting, says Stephen Harris
Walk really fast to stop a wobbly suitcase ruining your holiday
June 20th, 2017, 06:13 AM
When a suitcase in motion becomes unstable, it can rock back and forth from wheel to wheel. Researchers have determined why that happens and how to stop it
Talk radio puts pumas off their meals so they may kill more deer
June 20th, 2017, 06:13 AM
The sound of people’s voices reduces pumas’ feeding time and makes them kill more deer, showing the wide-reaching effect of human activity
Babies are dying during childbirth in the UK due to poor care
June 20th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Three-quarters of babies who die or are brain damaged during childbirth in the UK might have been saved with better medical care, an inquiry has concluded
Sweden commits to becoming carbon neutral by 2045 with new law
June 20th, 2017, 06:13 AM
A climate plan backed by an overwhelming majority in parliament makes Sweden the first country to significantly upgrade its target since the Paris agreement
Microdosers say tiny hits of LSD make your work and life better
June 20th, 2017, 06:13 AM
People are increasingly taking daily, low doses of illegal psychedelic drugs to up their game at work and improve their mood. Will we all be doing it one day?
Antibacterials in soap should be regulated globally, say experts
June 20th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Two common compounds, triclosan and triclocarban, can no longer be added to some personal care products in the US, but some say this rule doesn’t go far enough
DNA variants that are bad for health may also make you stupid
June 20th, 2017, 06:13 AM
A study of Scottish families hints that DNA mutations that damage health also impair intelligence. CRISPR gene-editing may be a way to boost brain and body
A bird flu pandemic looms but the US is holding back the fight
June 20th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Just two mutations could turn H7N9 flu into a deadly airborne strain, but restrictions meant to protect us from a possible pandemic are making it harder to combat the next one
Private data of 198 million US voters accidentally leaked online
June 20th, 2017, 06:13 AM
The data, collected on behalf of the Republicans, included phone numbers and addresses as well as assumptions about religion and ethnicity
Smart doll fitted with AI chip can read your child’s emotions
June 20th, 2017, 06:13 AM
A battery-powered chip inside a doll can run AI algorithms without needing to pass information to the cloud and so will help keep data private
Kepler finds 219 new exoplanets and 10 are rocky and Earth-like
June 20th, 2017, 06:13 AM
NASA’s Kepler team has released its latest batch of planet candidates and they fall into two kinds: ones like Earth and those like mini-Neptunes
Tripping up: The real danger of microdosing with LSD
June 20th, 2017, 06:13 AM
It may or may not improve your work performance, but a criminal record isn't worth the gamble. LSD should be downgraded
World’s largest annual wildlife drowning boosts river ecosystem
June 19th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Thousands of wildebeest drown as they cross the Mara river in Kenya on their yearly migration – creating a boon for the river’s ecosystem
The bandwidth black hole that will kill Elon Musk’s Mars dream
June 19th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Without a new interplanetary internet to support the imminent boom in Martian probes, those with hopes of walking on the Red Planet will be stuck on Earth
Anxiety drug may prevent common virus that causes birth defects
June 19th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Cytomegalovirus is a common cause of seizures, deafness and Zika-like symptoms in infants. An anxiety drug available in France protects mice from the virus
5 kilograms of broccoli in a pill slashes diabetics’ blood sugar
June 19th, 2017, 06:13 AM
A concentrated broccoli extract taken daily helps people with type-2 diabetes reduce blood glucose by 10 per cent – lowering their risk of other complications
Footballers move around pitch like chaotic particles in a fluid
June 19th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Over long periods of time, footballers playing a match change direction by the same amount as particles in churning fluid
Mindfulness and meditation dampen down inflammation genes
June 19th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Mind-body practices like yoga relieve stress, but do they also make you healthier? An analysis of 18 trials suggest they might, through changes in gene activity
Wise elk learn to outsmart hunters and tell apart their weapons
June 19th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Elk get wiser as they age, learning how to adapt their behaviour to different hunting methods to avoid getting shot
Science might emerge a winner from UK election chaos
June 19th, 2017, 06:13 AM
On the back of Conservative humiliation, a hard Brexit is unlikely to win Theresa May political allies. Now is the time to push for pro-science policies
To steal an advantage in the Brexit talks try a Superman pose
June 19th, 2017, 06:13 AM
In Brexit negotiations, tricks of body and mind may boost the chances of David Davis and his team. They need all the help they can get, says William Lee Adams
Strange ice lolly icicles seen floating in clouds above the UK
June 16th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Tiny icicles shaped like lollipops can form and exist in clouds – and may even affect the weather
Maths website stops you being ripped off by your flatmates
June 16th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Who pays what in a flat-share is a tricky problem. Results from website Spliddit show the maths of fair division gives the solutions people think are best
My patrol with armed guards to protect Burmese star tortoises
June 16th, 2017, 06:13 AM
The magnificent reptiles were on the verge of extinction in Myanmar, but are now being reintroduced to the wild. Alice Klein joins the effort to save them
NASA eyes Neptune and Uranus for missions in the 2030s
June 16th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Four possible missions to the ice giants are being proposed, including orbiters and a fly-by, to tell us what they’re made of and how such planets form
Time to embrace our odd place in the cosmos, inside a huge void?
June 16th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Evidence is growing that our neck of the universe is a whole lot of nothing. This alluring idea could settle a cosmological bun fight, says Geraint Lewis
UK’s hunger for prawns is killing thousands of turtles a year  
June 15th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Up to 29,000 marine turtles are being killed by nets used to catch tropical prawns for sale in the EU, predominantly in the UK, a report suggests  
Chinese satellite beats distance record for quantum entanglement
June 15th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Entangled photons survived transmission to locations 1200 kilometres apart on Earth, a feat that could kick off the use of quantum satellites for secure communications
How did London tower block fire spread so fast and kill so many?
June 15th, 2017, 06:13 AM
London's high-rise blaze was the worst such tragedy for many years. What can we glean so far about why it spiralled into a disaster, asks engineer Feng Fu
Fish recognise friends and foes through their unique faces
June 15th, 2017, 06:13 AM
A cichlid in Africa’s Lake Tanganyika uses patterns of facial stripes to distinguish individuals and keep tabs on them
Two-headed porpoise caught in fishing net is first ever found
June 15th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Fishers caught more than they bargained for when they pulled out the first known two-headed porpoise, one of only 10 recorded cases of cetacean conjoined twins
Billion-dollar dams are making water shortages, not solving them
June 15th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Dams are mitigating climate change impacts for certain populations, but the overall effect of such interventions may be increased drought
Watch how spiders use sticky silk to win deadly wrestling match
June 15th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Instead of building webs, ground spiders ambush other spiders or insects that may be bigger than themselves, by tying them in super-sticky threads
DeepMind now learns from human preferences – just like a toddler
June 15th, 2017, 06:13 AM
A new AI system can learn how to perform complex tasks with a little nudge here and there from a human onlooker  
WHO classes HIV drug as an essential medicine
June 14th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP has been added to the WHO's list of essential medicines, highlighting England's failure to provide the drug to those most at risk
Chatbots learn how to negotiate and drive a hard bargain
June 14th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Bots may soon be able to book a holiday for you or help you buy or sell your house
What it’s like to take psychedelics in small doses at breakfast
June 14th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Janet Lai Chang is one of many people experimenting with taking small amounts of psychedelic drugs to improve her mood and performance. She told us about her experience
Wireless charger uses quantum trick to power gadgets on the move
June 14th, 2017, 06:13 AM
A self-adjusting system uses a concept called parity-time symmetry to still charge your gadget even when it’s moving around
Mistaken brown dwarf is actually two planets orbiting each other
June 14th, 2017, 06:13 AM
New observations reveal a rare binary planet system made of two gas giants four times as massive as Jupiter that likely formed in the breakup of a protostar 10 million years ago
Phone metadata reveals where city migrants go and who they call
June 14th, 2017, 06:13 AM
An analysis of a month’s worth of telecoms metadata from Shanghai has given insights into how people adjust when they first arrive in a new city
Crumb-free bread will mean ISS astronauts can now bake in space
June 14th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Bread has been banned in space for 50 years thanks to the dangers of free-floating crumbs – but specially designed ovens mean astronauts could soon ditch tortillas
Cool retreats are needed to save giant panda from warmer weather
June 14th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Chinese mountains where pandas live are become too warm for these animals to live in happily, and a network of new chill-out zones may be their only chance
Eating a low carb breakfast may make you a more tolerant person
June 14th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Diets low in carbohydrates may change your behaviour, making you less likely to punish people who split money unfairly
Police warned of drug so powerful it can kill in one breath
June 13th, 2017, 06:13 AM
US law enforcement officials have been warned of the dangers of encountering fentanyl, following the collapse of a police officer who brushed some off his shirt
Defibrillator drones could save lives before ambulance arrives
June 13th, 2017, 06:13 AM
A trial in Sweden has found that drones carrying defibrillators can shave minutes off emergency response time, which could save hundreds of lives a year
Messages from fake aliens decoded quickly in online SETI contest
June 13th, 2017, 06:13 AM
The general public were challenged to decrypt a pretend message from outer space consisting of nearly 2 million binary digits. They took less than a month to solve it
NASA revives 50-year-old idea to recycle space stations in orbit
June 13th, 2017, 06:13 AM
The space agency will work with three private companies to test whether spent fuel cells can be turned into fully functioning space stations while in orbit
Science and climate face uncertain future in post-election UK
June 13th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Michael Gove's promotion and the need to rely on the DUP could make tackling global warming and listening to scientific advice low priorities for the UK’s new government
Cub photo raises hope for Europe’s rarest and largest wild cat
June 13th, 2017, 06:13 AM
A rare subspecies of Eurasian lynx, the Balkan lynx, numbers less than 50 individuals – but a newborn has just been found in the wild, raising hopes for the species' survival
‘Devil weeds’ threaten wildebeest migrations in Serengeti
June 13th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Exotic plants have escaped from tourist lodges, invading and displacing the grasses on which millions of large, wild animals depend for food in East Africa
Pig brain cells implanted into brains of people with Parkinson’s
June 13th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Four people with Parkinson’s disease who received implants of around 1000 pig cells have shown improvements, and a larger trial of the technique is under way
The quiet battle over science in the UK general election
June 13th, 2017, 06:13 AM
The big political parties have different pledges on R&D funding, but a bigger issue is what changes in free movement will mean for science in the UK
Orbiting ‘space nation’ data centre could avoid all Earthly laws
June 13th, 2017, 06:13 AM
The self-styled Asgardia space nation plans to launch a data-filled satellite this year. Could international space law stop them if they decided to go rogue?
How Jupiter split the asteroid belt in two shows its great age
June 12th, 2017, 06:13 AM
An analysis of meteorites shows that Jupiter divided the rocks of the asteroid belt into two families within the first million years of the solar system
Ocean plastics from Haiti’s beaches turned into laptop packaging
June 12th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Laptop packaging is an unlikely new destination for plastic otherwise destined for oceans – but will it make a difference to the clean-up efforts?
Fungus creates zombie beetles that crave flowers before death
June 12th, 2017, 06:13 AM
The infected beetles seek out flowers, stick their heads in and bite for their life. Then, hours after dying, their wings mysteriously spring into action
Five things you need to know about DUP politicians and science
June 12th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Democratic Unionist Party politicians have voiced controversial views on climate change, HIV and creationism. Here’s what they’ve said on some key issues  
Smart jacket and VR headset let you pilot a drone with your body
June 12th, 2017, 06:13 AM
By converting body movements into commands, a pimped-up jacket could give people a more intuitive and fun way to pilot aerial drones
DeepMind’s neural network teaches AI to reason about the world
June 12th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Understanding the relationship between previously unseen objects is a key part of human intelligence, but a new system from DeepMind attempts to give AI the skill
Rubber algae help create first artificial reef in Mediterranean
June 12th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Ocean acidification could dissolve natural algal reefs in the Mediterranean Sea – but artificial replacements may keep these ecosystems going
Don’t forget the lessons of deadly lead
June 12th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Politicians who say environmental regulations are an unnecessary burden are ignorant of history and contemptuous of future generations
Drinking small amounts while pregnant may affect the baby’s face
June 11th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Consuming even low levels of alcohol while pregnant seems to affect the shape of a baby’s eyes and nose, although there is no evidence that this is harmful
Extreme plants thrive at 72°C in New Zealand’s hot volcanic soil
June 9th, 2017, 06:13 AM
Mosses and liverworts have been found growing in hot geothermal fields in the highly active Taupo Volcanic Zone in New Zealand
Feeling uncertain? It’s the new normal in Theresa May’s Britain
June 9th, 2017, 06:13 AM
The UK election has ushered in unpredictable times. Uncertainty was both cause and effect, says writer James Bloodworth