New Scientist - News
6 technology pledges that should be in every political manifesto
May 24th, 2017, 07:22 PM
From a digital Geneva Convention to taking down big data firms, these proposals should be required by any political party that wants your vote on 8 June
The three major UK parties respond to our technology manifesto
May 24th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Proposals suggest liberals will again be drowned out by the drafters of the most extreme digital policy yet made by any democratic government
Why doesn’t the UK government understand technology?
May 24th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The UK needs more than a chief technology officer - we need to change the whole anti-technological culture
Google’s AlphaGo beats world’s best player in latest Go match
May 24th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The Go-playing artificial intelligence from DeepMind defeated Ke Jie in the first of three matches taking place this week in Wuzhen, China
Learning to read and write rewires adult brain in six months
May 24th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Illiterate adults who have learned to read and write over half a year show brain changes – even in regions not obviously linked to reading, writing or learning
Waltzing robot teaches beginners how to dance like a pro
May 24th, 2017, 07:22 PM
A robotic dance teacher can gently guide human novices through routines while adapting to their skill level
Robotic turtles can be used to detect landmines in the desert
May 24th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The artificially intelligent turtles can be printed out of cardboard and folded into shape, making them a cheaper alternative to existing minesweeping robots
Think the UK has a social care crisis now? Just wait until 2025
May 24th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The demographic crystal ball shows elderly care is a crisis set to deepen, fast. No wonder UK politicians are grasping for solutions, says James Bloodworth
East Africa’s drought threatens iconic wildebeest migration
May 24th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Fewer rains and dried-out riverbeds could mean more conflict with humans and livestock, and have a devastating impact on Africa’s wildlife, reports Adam Popescu
Diabetes drug may work by changing gut bacteria makeup
May 24th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Metformin dramatically shifts the gut microbiome – and bacteria seem to play a key role in controlling blood sugar levels
App lets stadium crowds display giant messages with their phones
May 24th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The new app from IBM will let crowds automatically coordinates mass displays at big sporting events or protests using their smartphone cameras
Weird energy beam seems to travel five times the speed of light
May 24th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The galaxy M87 emits a jet of plasma that looks like it’s breaking the cosmic speed limit – here’s how it manages the trick
Traumatic beetle sex causes rapid evolutionary arms race
May 23rd, 2017, 07:22 PM
Male seed beetles use sharp spikes on their penises to damage females during sex, but females are evolving thicker tissue to resist them
The brain starts to eat itself after chronic sleep deprivation
May 23rd, 2017, 07:22 PM
Sleep loss in mice sends the brain’s immune cells into overdrive. This might be helpful in the short term, but could increase the risk of dementia in the long run
Three amazing nature areas shortlisted for World Heritage status
May 23rd, 2017, 07:22 PM
Newly proposed world heritage sites in Argentina, China and West Africa could safeguard threatened and endemic species such as elephants and snow leopards
Trump’s 2018 budget slashes funding from healthcare and science
May 23rd, 2017, 07:22 PM
Medicaid is slated to lose billions of dollars in funding, as are many medical, humanitarian and scientific organisations
Bioelectric tweak makes flatworms grow a head instead of a tail
May 23rd, 2017, 07:22 PM
Flatworms regenerate lost body parts, but change the current in their cells and they can regrow the wrong thing, hinting at electricity’s role in body plans
Tangoing pairs of hungry supermassive black holes grow in number
May 23rd, 2017, 07:22 PM
The discovery of more of these deadly duos through a fresh data-sifting technique raises the hope that their secret recipe might soon be unlocked
Artificial Venus flytrap grabs things over 100 times its weight
May 23rd, 2017, 07:22 PM
Less than a centimetre in size, the soft robotic device can detect items based on how they reflect light and grasp them with impressive force
Unimpeachable logic says Trump shouldn’t quit Paris climate pact
May 23rd, 2017, 07:22 PM
President Donald Trump should keep the US in the Paris Agreement on climate and embrace it as a great deal for his nation's economy, says Owen Gaffney
A classic quantum test could reveal the limits of the human mind
May 23rd, 2017, 07:22 PM
Using human consciousness as the trigger in a test of ‘spooky action at a distance’ could tell us whether mind is made of different stuff than matter
DeepMind’s AI beats world’s best Go player in latest face-off
May 23rd, 2017, 07:22 PM
The Go-playing artificial intelligence from DeepMind defeated Ke Jie in the first of three matches taking place this week in Wuzhen, China
Unprecedented cholera outbreak tears through war-torn Yemen
May 23rd, 2017, 07:22 PM
Cholera has killed 332 people and left more than 32,000 ill over the past four weeks, spreading faster than any previous known outbreak in the country
Astronomers scramble as ‘alien megastructure’ star dims again
May 23rd, 2017, 07:22 PM
Tabby’s star’s weird behaviour has been blamed on everything from asteroids to aliens. Now astronomers are racing to watch its dimming in action
EU nations set to wipe out forests and not account for emissions
May 22nd, 2017, 07:22 PM
The drive for biofuels that international treaties wrongly consider to be emissions-free is driving plans to boost tree harvests in Europe, forgetting about associated emissions
Mouse sperm sent into space produces healthy IVF babies
May 22nd, 2017, 07:22 PM
The first experiment to test how space travel could affect mammals’ reproduction shows that pregnancy can smooth over DNA damage from cosmic radiation
Our common ancestor with chimps may be from Europe, not Africa
May 22nd, 2017, 07:22 PM
The last common ancestor of chimps and humans was an eastern European, claims team that analysed fossils of a 7-million-year-old ape from Bulgaria and Greece
Flushing fallopian tubes with poppy seed oil boosts fertility
May 22nd, 2017, 07:22 PM
A 100-year-old treatment in which women have their fallopian tubes flushed with oil makes them more likely to get pregnant without IVF treatments
Bacteria engineered to produce living, full-colour photographs
May 22nd, 2017, 07:22 PM
Gut bugs have been modified to turn red, green or blue when bathed in light of the corresponding colour so they create bacterial photocopies
Citizens give up data in blockchain project to improve cities
May 22nd, 2017, 07:22 PM
The DECODE project will give residents of Barcelona and Amsterdam more control over how their personal data is harnessed by local government and businesses
AI can doctor videos to put words in the mouths of speakers
May 22nd, 2017, 07:22 PM
Realistically faked video will soon be a single click away thanks to new technology that might render video evidence meaningless in court
Weak defences leave us wide open to ransom attacks
May 22nd, 2017, 07:22 PM
Last week’s cyberattacks were small beer. The UK government must invest in NHS upgrades before a bigger threat brings it to its knees
Our brains prefer invented visual information to the real thing
May 19th, 2017, 07:22 PM
When making sense of a visual blind spot, our brains fill in the gaps. We’re more likely to believe its version of what’s in front of us than a real image
Hopping miniature parrots suggest how birds first got airborne
May 19th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Parrotlets save energy when foraging by jumping from perch to perch with a few wingbeats, a technique that might have predated true flight
Call obesity a disease and food a pathological agent? No thanks
May 19th, 2017, 07:22 PM
There is a rising trend to label obesity as a disease and even to liken tempting food to a pathogen. That's very unhelpful, says Lara Williams
LIGO could detect gravitational waves’ permanent space-time warp
May 19th, 2017, 07:22 PM
When gravitational waves permanently distort space-time, it causes a “memory” signal – which may help LIGO find some of the universe’s most exotic objects
Brain stent to let five paralysed people control exoskeleton
May 19th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The implant travels to the brain via the blood and could provide a permanent way of recording signals used to direct an exoskeleton that helps paralysed people walk
Plasma jet engines that could take you from the ground to space
May 19th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Jet engines that compress gas into a plasma have been successfully tested at ground level for the first time
Human blood stem cells grown in the lab for the first time
May 19th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Two labs have found a way to create cells that can form new blood – paving the way for donor-free blood transfusions and bone marrow transplants
Mussel gloop can be used to make wounds knit without any scars
May 19th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Secretions from mussels together with a synthesised skin protein create the ultimate glue – one that seamlessly meshes together skin wounds in rats
Titan’s riverbeds show a terrain built more like Mars than Earth
May 18th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Saturn’s largest moon resembles Earth with its rivers and mountains, but it came by its topography very differently - and could still be active today
UK government watchdog examining political use of data analytics
May 18th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The Information Commissioner has started a formal investigation into the use of data by political parties, including the use of Facebook and Twitter
Rising seas could double the number of severe coastal floods
May 18th, 2017, 07:22 PM
An increase in sea level of between just 5 and 10 centimetres could make devastating weather events come every 25 years rather than every 50 years
Narwhals could help us measure melting glaciers underwater
May 18th, 2017, 07:22 PM
A project off Greenland will tag whales with sensors to measure sea temperatures and ice melt in hard-to-reach places, improving predictions of sea-level rise
Mass landfills are saving endangered vultures from extinction
May 18th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Endangered Egyptian vultures thrive near open garbage sites, which have helped some bounce back – but EU regulations threaten to shut the sites down
Remote Pacific island found buried under tonnes of plastic waste
May 18th, 2017, 07:22 PM
A tiny, otherwise pristine island is smothered by our blast from the past: vast amounts of decades-old plastic from around the world
Unshackled, big auto will keep choking the world on diesel fumes
May 18th, 2017, 07:22 PM
We now know diesel vehicles pollute more than they should to deadly effect everywhere, but the real scandal is government foot-dragging, says Olive Heffernan
Driest ten months in 100 years recorded in southern England
May 18th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The last 10 months were the driest July to April for southern England in records stretching back more than 100 years, figures reveal  
Vultures smear their faces in red mud which they use as makeup
May 18th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The endangered Egyptian vultures have taken to mud baths and painting their faces at their stronghold in the Canaries. But why do they care about cosmetics?
Hundreds of newly-discovered plants may yield new crops or drugs
May 17th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Even as we discover promising new wild relatives of key crops and medicinal plants, some of them are already endangered by pests and climate change  
Frog skeleton allows them to jump horizontally or vertically
May 17th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Astonishingly complex bone movements visualised in lab experiments allow some frogs to take off upwards or forwards, propelled by knees or hips  
Fish boost photosynthesis by wafting water around corals
May 17th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Call it a fin fan. The action of damselfish swimming between coral branches helps the algae inside corals to increase their photosynthesis
Beaver dams keeps streams cool and protect sensitive fish
May 17th, 2017, 07:22 PM
We used to think that beaver dams warmed up stream waters as felling trees to build them reduces shade. Now it seems the opposite might be true
What the end of the atomic renaissance means for nuclear power
May 17th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The next generation of nuclear reactors was meant to bring cheaper, safer power. Where are they, and can they save the industry from bankruptcy and closure?
Automation will have a bigger impact on jobs in smaller cities
May 17th, 2017, 07:22 PM
More migration to megacities is expected in the next few decades, because they have more jobs that are resilient to automation than smaller urban areas
Stars can start shining at a smaller mass than we thought
May 17th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Objects with only 6.7 per cent of the sun’s mass can be stars, according to a fresh measurement of how massive an object must be to achieve nuclear fusion
Ebola once again on the prowl as emergency teams stand ready
May 17th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Three deaths and 19 suspected cases of Ebola in the DR Congo have health officials worried – but the chances of another deadly rampage are thankfully slim
Hear the roar of the lionfish recorded for the first time
May 17th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The vocalisations of the voracious lionfish could help us keep tabs on this invasive species as it works its way up the US east coast
Corals that grow faster in warm water could beat climate change
May 17th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The unique history of the Red Sea means that reefs in its northern part may be able to adapt to higher water temperatures, at least for a while
Pregnant rays tangled in trawler nets have small, sickly babies
May 16th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Rays, and possibly sharks, could suffer reproductive loss from being dragged around by fishing nets before being released
Google DeepMind NHS data deal was ‘legally inappropriate’
May 16th, 2017, 07:22 PM
DeepMind’s 2015 data-sharing agreement with the Royal Free NHS trust has an “inappropriate legal basis”, according to a letter from the UK’s National Data Guardian
UK may force charities to prove complementary therapies work
May 16th, 2017, 07:22 PM
UK charity commission is considering putting in place measures that will force providers of complementary medicine to offer stronger evidence of benefits
Brain zaps let minimally conscious people communicate for a week
May 16th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Daily brain stimulation has “awakened” people with brain damage, allowing them to communicate for a week. The tech could eventually be used at home
Memo to whoever lands the world’s top health job – do this first
May 16th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The World Health Organization is picking its next leader to ease sickness and suffering. Here's what the new chief should prioritise, says Bjorn Lomborg
Neptune-like exoplanet spotted that has a watery atmosphere
May 16th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Signs of water in a gas giant exoplanet’s atmosphere suggest the world formed much closer to its star than gas giants in our solar system did
Microbes might thrive after crash-landing on board a meteorite
May 16th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Some extremophile bacteria could survive the a crash-landing of a meteorite or spacecraft, helping them travel between worlds
AI detective analyses police data to learn how to crack cases
May 16th, 2017, 07:22 PM
A system called VALCRI should do the laborious parts of a crime analyst's job in seconds, while also suggesting new lines of enquiry and possible motives
When it comes to work, we should value quality over quantity
May 16th, 2017, 07:22 PM
As we discover that working shorter hours doesn't have to mean less productivity, a future of lifelong learning could be on its way
Ladybird’s transparent shell reveals how it folds its wings
May 15th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The unusual way ladybird wings fold and unfold could help us design solar array paddles that unfold in space and even pave the way to better umbrellas
What vision of doom made Hawking seek a faster Earth exit plan?
May 15th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Stephen Hawking now says humanity must colonise other worlds within a century, rather than 1000 years, to ensure survival. Why the rush, asks Dirk Schulze-Makuch
Diesel fumes lead to thousands more deaths than thought
May 15th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Cars, lorries and buses that drive on diesel churn out far more air pollution than standard testing procedures suggest, even without any emissions cheating devices
Tiny invasive sea creatures hitch a ride in rabbitfish guts
May 15th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Rabbitfish ingest microscopic marine creatures while grazing on algae. Some of them may survive long trips and wreak havoc far from home when the fish defecate
Ransomware attack hits 200,000 computers across the globe
May 15th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The ransomware software, which hit hospitals in the UK particularly severely, is thought to be based upon a spying tool stolen from the US National Security earlier this year
First timeline of a cancer tracks tumours from origin to spread
May 15th, 2017, 07:22 PM
One man’s bowel cancer has been tracked from the very start to the very end, revealing some of the surprising ways in which the disease spreads through the body
Thieves in online games can be caught by watching how they play
May 15th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Online video games are easy targets for hackers who steal virtual goods with real value – but monitoring their behaviour could catch them in the act
What is it like to be a robot for a day? Weird and wonderful
May 15th, 2017, 07:22 PM
After steering a telepresence robot around a conference thousands of kilometres from his desk, Paul Marks delivers his verdict on life as a machine
You bet – an intellectual wager can focus our attention
May 15th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Gambling and science don't seem to mesh, but a playful bet can focus attention on the detail and force us to hone our arguments
Meet ‘Neo’, the most complete skeleton of Homo naledi ever found
May 14th, 2017, 07:22 PM
This is one of the greatest fossil finds of the 21st century say its discoverers, who also provide a date for when this enigmatic species lived
Test combo could distinguish Alzheimer’s earlier than ever
May 12th, 2017, 07:22 PM
A variety of tests can predict at an early stage who might develop Alzheimer’s and who might develop dementia with Lewy bodies – which could improve intervention
Massive cyberattack hits several hospitals across England
May 12th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Hackers are demanding a ransom for hospitals to regain access to their computer systems. Patients are being diverted and staff are locked out of computers
Ultrasonic speaker lets you whisper to people 30 metres away
May 12th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Wearable device beams words using targeted sound waves to prevent anyone overhearing and could eventually be used by soldiers and divers
Polar bears shift from seals to bird eggs as Arctic ice melts
May 12th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The habitat overlap of polar bears and their main prey, ringed seals, is disappearing and the bears are instead getting closer to nesting birds
Parasitic robot controls turtle it’s riding by giving it snacks
May 12th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Natural selection has created amazingly effective ways to move around. Robots could harness this by hitching a ride on biology’s back
Earth may have been born in a huge flare-up of the young sun
May 12th, 2017, 07:22 PM
A sudden brightening of the infant sun – called an FU Orionis outburst – could have melted dust grains and made them stick together, building our world
Early Earth was covered in a global ocean and had no mountains
May 12th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Some 4.4 billion years ago, soon after its formation, Earth was a much quieter and duller place than it is today, according to analysis of minerals from that time
Hanging on: In search of the bat that returned from the dead
May 11th, 2017, 07:22 PM
The Cuban greater funnel-eared bat was thought extinct until a small population was spotted in a forgotten corner of the island – surviving, but only just
What politicians can learn from the French election hack
May 11th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Politically motivated hacking and fake news campaigns are the new normal, but France’s president-elect Emmanuel Macron has shown how to fend off attacks
We are on track to pass 1.5°C warming in less than 10 years
May 11th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Business as usual would cause the planet to warm above the aspirational 1.5°C limit agreed at the UN Paris meeting as early as 2026
Wish you had a shorter workday? Here’s why that’s a bad idea
May 11th, 2017, 07:22 PM
There’s nothing like a bank holiday to make you wish you worked less, and productivity researchers are starting to agree. But reduced hours might add to your stress
3.5-billion-year-old fossils hint life evolved in pond, not sea
May 11th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Fossils discovered in rocks in a hot, arid region of Australia raise hopes that we could find evidence of past life on Mars - if it ever existed
Robot inspector helps check bridges for dangerous defects
May 11th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Performing safety checks on bridges is slow and expensive work. A new autonomous robot can do the job quickly and cheaply
Increased cancer rate in US linked to bad environment
May 11th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Around 39 in 100,000 cancer deaths could be avoided if US counties improved environment quality – a target that could be hampered by Trump's new legislation
Augmented reality goggles give surgeons X-ray vision
May 10th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Surgeons could soon peer inside a patient’s body without making an incision, thanks to augmented reality glasses
A small class-action lawsuit could stop the US opioid epidemic
May 10th, 2017, 07:22 PM
A lawsuit settlement in Canada against Purdue, the pharmaceutical giant behind Oxycontin, offers a legal strategy for felling a giant with a thousand cuts
Minnesota measles outbreak follows anti-vaccination campaign
May 10th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Anti-vaccination activists have been targeting Minnesota's Somali-American community, among whom the MMR vaccination rate has halved in a decade
Wiggling atom probes buddy molecule without disturbing it
May 10th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Physicists can observe complex molecules without disrupting them by linking them up to a charged atom, giving a new way to probe fundamental physics
Waves surge in opposite directions around Io’s largest lava lake
May 10th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Best ever images of a lava lake on Jupiter’s innermost large moon reveal its surface regenerating itself, sometimes clockwise and sometimes anticlockwise
A little cannabis every day might keep brain ageing at bay
May 10th, 2017, 07:22 PM
A mouse study suggests marijuana may have the opposite effect on older people than it has on the young, boosting learning and memory instead of impairing it
Menopause-causing bait is curbing rat populations in New York
May 10th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Generations of childless rats are living to ripe old age as their overall numbers plummet thanks to new contraceptive baits
Spray-on touch controls give an interactive twist to any surface
May 10th, 2017, 07:22 PM
Armed with a can of conductive paint, you can now give walls, guitars, steering wheels and even jellies an interactive surface