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Last feed update: Tuesday June 2nd, 2020 04:01:57 AM

Covid-19 news: Health experts say UK contact tracing not robust enough

Monday June 1st, 2020 05:40:39 PM
The latest coronavirus news updated every day including coronavirus cases, the latest news, features and interviews from New Scientist and essential information about the covid-19 pandemic

UK contact tracing plans criticised as lockdown begins to lift

Monday June 1st, 2020 04:34:45 PM
As coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted in England, critics say the UK government is moving too quickly and that contact tracing systems designed to slow the spread of the virus aren't yet ready

People sleep better when their office lets in more natural light

Monday June 1st, 2020 02:32:54 PM
When employees work in an office with more natural light they perform better in strategic thinking tests and sleep 37 minutes more per night on average

Coronavirus gives us a chance to transform our approach to the climate

Wednesday May 27th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
Covid-19 has given us a glimpse of a world in which ways of life can be radically altered – it can be a turning point in our approach to the climate, if we choose to make it happen

Parkinson’s disease may spread from brain to gut and vice versa

Monday June 1st, 2020 07:00:09 AM
Research in baboons suggests that misfolded proteins linked to Parkinson’s disease can travel from the brain to gut and vice versa – with both routes causing equal amounts of brain cell death

NASA and SpaceX launch astronauts into new era of private spaceflight

Saturday May 30th, 2020 09:21:22 PM
On 30 May, SpaceX and NASA pulled off a historic launch – the first private spacecraft to take astronauts into orbit, and the first crewed launch from US soil in 9 years

Simulating dead bodies could help calculate an accurate time of death

Friday May 29th, 2020 07:00:25 PM
Forensic scientists currently use basic temperature measurements to determine time of death, but a 3D simulation of the entire body could give much more accurate estimates

Grey hairs sometimes regain their colour when we feel less stressed

Friday May 29th, 2020 11:08:58 AM
Grey hairs sometimes naturally regain their old colour, typically when people experience reductions in stress. The finding hints that it may be possible to develop drugs to reverse greying

The Milky Way may have been shrunk down by ancient magnetic fields

Friday May 29th, 2020 08:00:38 AM
Magnetic fields from the early universe may have compressed the Milky Way and other galaxies like it, which could have helped feed black holes at their centres

Ventilators may not be the best treatment for severe covid-19

Friday May 29th, 2020 07:00:15 AM
Ventilators may not be the best treatment for covid-19 patients with severe breathing difficulties, as they can worsen lung damage in some cases

Cannabis was burned for religious rituals in Biblical-era Israel

Friday May 29th, 2020 12:01:43 AM
Residues of cannabis found on stone altars from a shrine in what was once the Biblical Kingdom of Judah suggest the plant was burned for its psychoactive effects

First map of tumour microbiomes finds bacteria live in many cancers

Thursday May 28th, 2020 07:00:46 PM
More than 500 strains of bacteria have been found living in seven types of tumour. Understanding their behaviour may lead to new kinds of treatments

Chimps have local culture differences when it comes to eating termites

Thursday May 28th, 2020 02:54:33 PM
Different groups of chimpanzees have their own distinct ways of fishing for termites, suggesting these techniques are passed on as a form of local culture

How a victory for a small bog could herald a new era for conservation

Wednesday May 27th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
Against the odds, a tiny wildlife retreat has won the day in a battle with developers. It is a sign that attitudes may finally be changing for the better, says Graham Lawton

People who compare themselves with others spend longer on Facebook

Thursday May 28th, 2020 11:29:52 AM
People who are prone to comparing themselves with others spend more time on Facebook, and the social network is considering changes that might remind people to avoid such comparisons

At work, school and seeing friends: How to lower your coronavirus risk

Wednesday May 27th, 2020 01:06:00 PM
Many countries are relaxing coronavirus restrictions. If you’ve been asked to return to work or school, how can you reduce the risk of infection to yourself and your family?

Cannibal dinosaurs resorted to eating each other when food was scarce

Wednesday May 27th, 2020 07:00:46 PM
Bite marks on a collection of Jurassic dinosaur bones show that allosaurus, a carnivorous dinosaur, sometimes ate its own kind, possibly because environmental conditions made other food scarce

Ultrasonic speakers let people who are blind read Braille in mid-air

Wednesday May 27th, 2020 05:17:41 PM
People who are blind can read using a device that uses ultrasonic speakers to create points in mid-air similar to the dots that form Braille characters

We can see when your brain forms a memory by watching you move

Wednesday May 27th, 2020 05:44:17 PM
Subtle patterns can be seen in people’s reaction times as their memories are recalled, and boosting these brainwaves could help treat Alzheimer’s disease

Strange radio signals reveal the matter hiding between galaxies

Wednesday May 27th, 2020 04:00:18 PM
One space mystery has helped solve another, with the discovery that strange space signals called fast radio bursts can help pin down the universe’s missing matter

Neanderthal DNA linked to higher fertility in modern humans

Wednesday May 27th, 2020 12:00:07 PM
Some people carry a chunk of Neanderthal DNA that appears to reduce the chance of miscarriage and increase fertility

SpaceX to make history launching NASA astronauts on a private rocket

Wednesday May 27th, 2020 11:12:02 AM
On 27 May, NASA astronauts will launch to the International Space Station aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon, the first time a private company has flown humans into orbit

UK plans to further ease lockdown as new case rate remains high

Tuesday May 26th, 2020 04:09:49 PM
Despite the UK having far more new daily coronavirus cases than many other countries, further restrictions are expected to be lifted in England and Scotland

Asteroid that killed the dinosaurs hit just right for maximum damage

Tuesday May 26th, 2020 04:00:40 PM
The asteroid impact that formed Chicxulub crater and is linked to the extinction of the dinosaurs seems to have come in at the optimal angle to cause as much destruction as possible

The sun may have formed because a small galaxy passed by the Milky Way

Monday May 25th, 2020 04:00:05 PM
A small galaxy called Sagittarius passed close to the Milky Way four times in the past 6 billion years, which may have caused periods of intense star formation

Behavioural science advisers express concern over Cummings crisis

Monday May 25th, 2020 02:51:57 PM
Leading behavioural scientists have expressed concern that the Dominic Cummings scandal could encourage people to disregard the UK’s coronavirus restrictions

Our five appetites mean our hunger is far more complex than we thought

Wednesday May 20th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
It is crucial to understand your five-appetite system and how ultraprocessed foods have crashed this set-up – especially as they are so popular in lockdown

A blood test could reveal how quickly or slowly you are ageing

Monday May 25th, 2020 06:00:29 AM
A blood test that measures changes in gene expression to estimate a person's age can also help predict whether a person is more likely to develop a chronic disease

All five of Earth's largest mass extinctions linked to global warming

Friday May 22nd, 2020 06:04:18 PM
There have been five particularly large extinction events in Earth’s history, and for the first time all of them have been linked to global warming

Fake news gets shared more when it is angry and anxiety-inducing

Friday May 22nd, 2020 10:00:29 AM
An analysis of fake news shared on social media service Weibo has found that posts flagged as fake news were more like to contain words associated with anger than real news

Which animals are benefitting from coronavirus lockdowns?

Friday May 22nd, 2020 09:22:05 AM
It isn’t true that dolphins have returned to Venice, but bees are benefitting from lower air pollution, and a drop in ocean traffic could be good for whales

Coronavirus drugs: how well is the hunt for covid-19 treatments going?

Thursday May 21st, 2020 10:56:24 PM
Hundreds of trials are testing known antiviral drugs, as well as those that block immune responses to coronavirus, but we may need to build a covid-19 treatment from scratch

Bees force plants to flower early by cutting holes in their leaves

Thursday May 21st, 2020 07:00:31 PM
Hungry bumblebees can make plants flower up to a month earlier than usual by cutting holes in their leaves, which may help them adapt to climate change

Population of world’s strangest plant threatened by climate change

Thursday May 21st, 2020 06:10:36 PM
Hardy and resilient welwitschia is unlike anything else on Earth, but climate change appears to be pushing these plants past their limits

How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting wildlife and conservation

Thursday May 21st, 2020 05:59:57 PM
Poaching is up, zoos are running out of money and conservation funding has been slashed. But there’s hope the pandemic could make biodiversity a higher priority

HPV vaccine linked to fewer premature births in Australia

Thursday May 21st, 2020 05:49:20 PM
An estimated 2000 premature births seem to have been prevented by widespread HPV vaccination in Australia, possibly by protecting against damage to the cervix

The strange physics of why blue jays look blue even though they aren't

Wednesday May 20th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
Watching birds is great entertainment, and there's fascinating physics behind how some get their colours, says Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

A large moon might be hugging an object in the outer solar system

Thursday May 21st, 2020 01:25:34 PM
A trans-Neptunian object known as 2002 TC302 appears to have a large moon at an unusually close orbit

Tiny robots can travel through rushing blood to deliver drugs

Wednesday May 20th, 2020 07:00:14 PM
Robots smaller than a red blood cell can move against the flow of blood when directed by magnets, which could help deliver drugs directly to cancer cells

NASA's Artemis Accords aim to lay down the law of the land on the moon

Wednesday May 20th, 2020 05:19:00 PM
The US has announced the Artemis Accords, a set of agreements that aim to facilitate diplomacy and cooperation on the moon while encouraging mining and exploration

Earliest known man with Native American DNA ancestry lived in Siberia

Wednesday May 20th, 2020 04:00:58 PM
A man who lived in Siberia about 14,000 years ago is the earliest known person in the world to have the specific mix of genes seen in people with Native American ancestry, analysis of DNA from a fossilised tooth has revealed

We've found the oldest ever galaxy that looks like our own

Wednesday May 20th, 2020 04:00:46 PM
A galaxy made up of a rotating disc of dust and stars has been spotted just 1.5 billion years after the big bang, which changes our view of how these vast objects form

Human-like cyborg eye could power itself using sunlight

Wednesday May 20th, 2020 04:00:02 PM
A spherical, solar-powered artificial eye is able to distinguish between different letters and could eventually be used as a visual aid for people who cannot see

Coronavirus and covid-19: Your questions answered

Wednesday May 20th, 2020 02:54:20 PM
Why do some healthy people develop severe symptoms? Do people who recover from covid-19 become immune to the coronavirus? Our answers to readers’ questions

How can countries know when it’s safe to ease coronavirus lockdowns?

Wednesday May 20th, 2020 11:02:46 AM
To safely lift lockdown restrictions, countries need to have a low number of daily new cases and the capacity to conduct extensive testing and contact tracing

Algae is now growing on melting Antarctic snow due to climate change

Wednesday May 20th, 2020 10:00:51 AM
The first study to look for algae growing in Antarctica has found there are blooms dotted across the continent that may spread as the climate warms

EU plans to plant 3 billion trees and massively expand organic farming

Wednesday May 20th, 2020 04:40:53 PM
By 2030, a plan by the European Commission aims to reverse the loss of biodiversity by planting 3 billion extra trees and dramatically expanding organic farming

Cold war spy satellite images reveal long-term decline in biodiversity

Wednesday May 20th, 2020 12:01:36 AM
Analysis of cold war spy satellite images has revealed a long-term decline in biodiversity in Kazakhstan due to the expansion of agriculture over the past 50 years

Smoking probably puts you at greater risk of coronavirus, not less

Tuesday May 19th, 2020 05:05:57 PM
Early data indicated that smokers may be less likely to be hospitalised with coronavirus, but broader analyses suggest smokers are actually at higher risk

Coronavirus set to cause biggest emissions fall since second world war

Tuesday May 19th, 2020 04:00:07 PM
The coronavirus lockdown will see global carbon emissions fall by a fifth compared with last year, but this dramatic drop won't slow climate change

Tropical cyclones really are growing stronger as the world warms

Monday May 18th, 2020 08:00:43 PM
Theory and models forecast stronger storms in a warmer world, and now this trend has been seen in the real world using satellite data stretching back 40 years

Beach water quality testing stops in England due to coronavirus crisis

Monday May 18th, 2020 04:46:49 PM
People swimming at beaches and lakes across England this summer will probably never know if the water was dirty because routine sampling to test quality has stopped

Fidget spinner device can diagnose UTIs in under an hour without a lab

Monday May 18th, 2020 04:00:51 PM
A device inspired by fidget spinner toys can be used to diagnose urinary tract infections quickly and easily outside of the laboratory

Mars may be covered in mud volcanoes disguised as lava flows

Monday May 18th, 2020 04:00:16 PM
Mud on the surface of Mars probably flows like lava does on Earth, which makes it difficult to tell whether Martian volcanoes are spewing lava or just mud

Seven new coronaviruses have been found lurking in bats in Africa

Monday May 18th, 2020 01:27:37 PM
By testing bats in Gabon, researchers found seven coronaviruses that are new to science, but we don’t yet know if they could jump to people and cause illness

Strange 'space cow' explosion may have been the birth of a black hole

Monday May 18th, 2020 10:00:02 AM
A mysterious space explosion nicknamed “the Cow” was probably caused by the explosion of a massive star which may have resulted in the birth of a small black hole

The focus on coronavirus is essential, but we can’t forget the climate

Wednesday May 13th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
The coronavirus pandemic may be the biggest crisis most of us have faced, but we can’t afford to tackle our crises one at a time and let politicians off the hook on climate change

Covid-19 pandemic risks worst global food crisis in decades

Monday May 18th, 2020 08:00:16 AM
The covid-19 pandemic’s impact on hunger around the world could be worse than when food prices spiked calamitously in 2007 and 2008, a leading food security expert warns

Wound-healing patch of blue-green algae mends skin quickly

Friday May 15th, 2020 07:00:21 PM
A skin patch made of living blue-green algae speeds up wound healing in mice, and may help to treat chronic wounds in people with diabetes

We may have missed half the microplastics in the ocean

Friday May 15th, 2020 05:35:48 PM
Collecting microplastics on the ocean’s surface with three kinds of net has revealed far more stringy fibres of plastic than previous studies found

'Zombie' fires are burning the Arctic after smouldering under snow

Friday May 15th, 2020 03:34:37 PM
Unprecedented Arctic fires from last summer appear to have smouldered in the underground peat of the tundra through winter and reignited this month as snow melted

No evidence 'Madagascar cure' for covid-19 works, says WHO

Friday May 15th, 2020 02:47:37 PM
There is no evidence a herbal drink promoted by the president of Madagascar as a cure for covid-19 is effective, according to the head of the World Health Organization in Africa

Two tiny outcrops in Hawaii are the top of the world’s largest volcano

Friday May 15th, 2020 12:02:32 PM
An extinct Hawaiian volcano called Pūhāhonu is the largest on Earth, with a volume twice that of Mauna Loa, the next largest contender

Planes and offices must improve ventilation to reduce coronavirus risk

Thursday May 14th, 2020 05:09:59 PM
Ventilation must be improved in buildings and aeroplanes to reduce the risk of covid-19 spreading via the air, according to scientists and safety experts

People ‘see’ letters traced on their brain’s surface by an implant

Thursday May 14th, 2020 04:00:55 PM
Tracing the shape of letters on the surface of the brain using an implant that electrically stimulates neurons enabled people who have lost their sight to “see” the letters

Can higher CO2 levels boost plant life enough to dent global warming?

Wednesday May 13th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
Increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere may be boosting vegetation for now, but climate change is set to more than wipe out any gains, says James Wong

Virtual reality game lets you play with hypercubes in four dimensions

Thursday May 14th, 2020 11:41:14 AM
Imagining how four-dimensional objects would behave in our 3D world is hard, but an interactive simulation of how those objects move and interact could help

Shock therapy temporarily improves woman’s colour blindness

Thursday May 14th, 2020 10:00:37 AM
A woman who is colour-blind says she could see red berries in a green bush for the first time after receiving electroconvulsive therapy for depression

Mouse embryos that are 4 per cent human are step towards spare organs

Wednesday May 13th, 2020 07:00:23 PM
Mouse embryos injected with human stem cells grew for 17 days, creating chimeras with up to 4 per cent human cells, a step towards growing human organs for transplant

Algae transplant could protect coral reefs threatened by warming seas

Wednesday May 13th, 2020 07:00:05 PM
Heat-resistant algae made in a lab seem to protect coral from bleaching. They could help to save reefs if we fail to tackle global warming fast enough

What the latest research suggests about the coronavirus in pregnancy

Wednesday May 13th, 2020 12:45:00 PM
A growing number of case studies suggest that covid-19 is linked to a higher rate of preterm births, and the virus may be able to cross the placenta to a fetus

ESA spacecraft might accidentally fly through the tail of a comet

Wednesday May 13th, 2020 04:44:00 PM
The European Space Agency's Solar Orbiter spacecraft was launched earlier this year to study the sun, but it could soon be flying through the tail of comet ATLAS and may be able to study the icy object

Cheap and easy $1 coronavirus test to undergo trials in Senegal

Wednesday May 13th, 2020 12:45:00 PM
Trials of a $1 covid-19 testing kit that produces results in under 10 minutes are under way in Senegal. If it works, it could be a vital tool in the surrounding region

How accurate are the results from self-testing for covid-19 at home?

Wednesday May 13th, 2020 12:20:00 PM
Countries are increasingly sending out home coronavirus self-testing kits. But can the results from swabbing your own nose and throat be trusted?

Cold war nuclear bomb tests changed rainfall patterns over the UK

Wednesday May 13th, 2020 10:00:57 AM
Radiation from nuclear bomb test detonations in the cold war may have affected rainclouds, causing increases in rainfall thousands of kilometres away

Ancient anchovies were huge and used sabre teeth to eat other fish

Wednesday May 13th, 2020 12:01:06 AM
Fossils have revealed that after the extinction of the dinosaurs, anchovies evolved into metre-long predators with sharp sabre-like teeth to devour other fish

Coronavirus: Developing countries are ‘on a ledge with no safety net’

Tuesday May 12th, 2020 10:42:46 PM
David Miliband, head of the International Rescue Committee, says the world's richest countries still have time to help protect the most fragile countries from the spread of covid-19

Independent scientists criticise UK government's covid-19 approach

Tuesday May 12th, 2020 04:20:56 PM
The UK government's "stay alert" messaging, use of statistics and outsourcing of coronavirus contact tracing have been criticised by an independent science committee

An AI trained to spot hidden objects can see through camouflage

Tuesday May 12th, 2020 03:57:25 PM
An AI trained to spot objects hidden against a background is able to see through camouflage and outperforms existing algorithms at the task

Bluetooth may not work well enough to trace coronavirus contacts

Tuesday May 12th, 2020 02:18:32 PM
An experiment reveals how difficult it is to use Bluetooth on phones to determine if people have been in close enough contact to spread the coronavirus

Stars in the Milky Way's centre often get dangerously close together

Friday May 8th, 2020 07:00:30 AM
About 80 per cent of stars in the Milky Way’s central bulge have relatively close encounters with another star, which can fling off any planets orbiting them

Neanderthals may have learned jewellery-making from us

Monday May 11th, 2020 04:00:59 PM
The first modern humans to settle in Europe made pendants out of bear teeth – and a few thousand years later, Neanderthals started doing it too

US start-up is testing drones in India to enforce social distancing

Monday May 11th, 2020 12:20:15 PM
Police are using surveillance drones to enforce social distancing rules worldwide during the covid-19 pandemic, raising concerns about privacy violations

UK plan for green heating will take 1500 years to hit 2050 target

Monday May 11th, 2020 10:48:21 AM
Details of a UK plan to reduce carbon emissions by switching to green heating sources falls a long way short of a 2050 target set by government climate advisers – at the proposed funding rate, it will take 1500 years

How some African countries are beginning to ease coronavirus lockdowns

Monday May 11th, 2020 10:07:43 AM
Ghana and South Africa are among the African countries now loosening coronavirus restrictions, but the two nations are taking very different approaches

Climate change has already made parts of the world too hot for humans

Friday May 8th, 2020 07:00:52 PM
Global warming has already made parts of the world – including cities in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates – hotter than the human body can withstand

New Zealand is close to wiping out covid-19 - can it return to normal?

Friday May 8th, 2020 06:00:42 AM
New Zealand is on track to eliminate covid-19 altogether, but keeping the virus out for good will be a challenge, and the economic impacts are likely to hurt

Brain cells reach out to each other through miniature cages

Thursday May 7th, 2020 02:17:06 PM
Mouse neurons trapped inside cages grow long appendages to connect to each other. Trapping the cells allows us to precisely control their growth

It's time to retreat from the tyranny of lockdown tech

Wednesday May 6th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
People in lockdown are no longer trying to use technology to get their old lives back and that's a good thing, says Annalee Newitz

A large chunk of Mercury may have been blown away by the sun

Thursday May 7th, 2020 10:00:04 AM
Mercury is much denser than the other rocky planets in the solar system, and that may be because a collision vaporised its surface and the debris was blown away by the sun

Egyptian pyramids really were aligned with the compass points

Thursday May 7th, 2020 06:00:12 AM
Many ancient monuments are claimed to be aligned to celestial phenomena, but we now have the first statistical evidence this is the case for the Egyptian pyramids

Universal basic income seems to improve employment and well-being

Wednesday May 6th, 2020 08:59:04 PM
Finland’s two-year test of universal basic income has concluded that it doesn't seem to disincentivise working, and improves recipients’ mental and financial well-being

The moon is emitting carbon, raising questions about how it was formed

Wednesday May 6th, 2020 07:00:48 PM
The leading hypothesis for how the moon formed involves a collision between a Mars-sized object and Earth that would have boiled away elements like carbon, making its discovery on the moon a mystery

BCG vaccine helps fight infections by boosting immune cell production

Wednesday May 6th, 2020 07:00:41 PM
The BCG tuberculosis vaccine boosts the production of immune cells and this may explain how it protects newborns from dying of sepsis

Common herpes virus causes signs of Alzheimer's disease in brain cells

Wednesday May 6th, 2020 07:00:03 PM
A study of brain cells in a dish adds to growing evidence that Alzheimer’s disease can be caused by herpes viruses, but antiviral treatment may help stop it

A Japanese nuclear power plant created a habitat for tropical fish

Wednesday May 6th, 2020 07:00:03 PM
A small increase in water temperature near a Japanese nuclear power plant allowed tropical fish to colonise the area, suggesting global warming will drastically alter some marine ecosystems

How to sniff out the good coronavirus studies from the bad

Wednesday May 6th, 2020 03:35:41 PM
With social media, newspapers and politicians all espousing unverified covid-19 findings, use these seven signs to tell if a study should be treated with caution

How the covid-19 pandemic has led to a flood of misleading science

Wednesday May 6th, 2020 02:25:00 PM
Amid the global coronavirus outbreak, a second epidemic of preliminary, unverified and misinterpreted research has broken out. Can it be fixed?

Why countries should start weekly covid-19 testing for key workers

Wednesday May 6th, 2020 01:50:00 PM
Many countries are focusing coronavirus testing on people who have covid-19 symptoms. But regularly testing all essential workers would have more of an impact

You can 'see' the closest known black hole to Earth with the naked eye

Wednesday May 6th, 2020 01:00:38 PM
Astronomers found a star that appeared to be orbiting nothing at all – but it’s actually the closest black hole ever at just 1000 light years away

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