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Science news from New Scientist

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New Scientist is a weekly science magazine which covers the latest developments in science and technology.

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New Scientist - News

New Scientist - News

Last feed update: Tuesday January 8th, 2019 07:07:18 PM

The best way to take down a drone is with another drone

Wednesday February 14th, 2018 03:18:00 PM
Illegal or unwanted drones put air travellers at risk, so a competition called DroneClash is calling for new ways to tackle them

Exclusive: Cuba failed to report thousands of Zika virus cases in 2017

Tuesday January 8th, 2019 05:38:30 PM
An analysis of travel logs has revealed an unreported outbreak of Zika in Cuba, which might have increased the risk of infection in other countries

A UK police force is dropping tricky cases on advice of an algorithm

Tuesday January 8th, 2019 05:19:22 PM
A UK police force uses an algorithm to choose which crimes to investigate. It has led to half as many assaults and public order offences being pursued

Flowers hear bees and make sweeter nectar when they’re buzzing nearby

Tuesday January 8th, 2019 02:44:56 PM
Evening primrose flowers appear to be sensitive to the sounds of bees, increasing the sugar level of their nectar by 20 per cent when exposed to their buzzing

IBM unveils its first commercial quantum computer

Tuesday January 8th, 2019 12:55:00 PM
IBM's sleek-looking Q System One is its first commercial quantum computer. It will be available for clients to access over the internet

Core set of genes explain why some animals stick to one mate at a time

Monday January 7th, 2019 08:00:04 PM
Across a wide range of species, from mice to fish, a common set of genetic changes appear to be linked to monogamous behaviour

A hormone released during exercise might protect against Alzheimer's

Monday January 7th, 2019 06:09:29 PM
Exercise improves mental performance and this may be due to a hormone called Irisin. The hormone may help protect against Alzheimer's disease too

Ditching Facebook could reduce stress but also make you less happy

Monday January 7th, 2019 05:19:09 PM
People who took a five-day break from Facebook had a decreased level in the stress hormone cortisol, but also reported a lower life satisfaction

Top geneticist calls for global rules for ethical human genome editing

Monday January 7th, 2019 04:51:26 PM
Following the shock announcement of the world's first genome-edited babies, geneticist Robin Lovell-Badge says the world must agree a set of safety protocols

AI can identify rare genetic disorders by the shape of someone’s face

Monday January 7th, 2019 04:00:09 PM
Doctors use facial features to diagnose common genetic disorders, but that’s tricky to do with some rare ones – artificial intelligence can help

We could drill water wells in Martian ice to survive on the Red Planet

Monday January 7th, 2019 11:26:06 AM
Future Martian explorers will need water if they are going to survive. They may be able to melt it out of underground ice sheets using a type of well already used in Antarctica

NHS 10-year-plan aims to expand digital healthcare and genetic testing

Monday January 7th, 2019 11:06:05 AM
A plan for the future of the National Health Service in England aims to improve mental health services and provide genome sequencing for all children with cancer

Hackers have leaked personal details of hundreds of German politicians

Friday January 4th, 2019 03:11:37 PM
A significant data breach has exposed the personal information of chancellor Angela Merkel along with hundreds of other German politicians

Self-cleaning spacesuits could help astronauts cope with Martian dust

Friday January 4th, 2019 03:48:19 PM
Mars and the Moon are covered in abrasive dust that will stick to and shred spacesuits – but not if those spacesuits are made using non-stick carbon nanotube-based materials

Japan’s plan to resume commercial whaling could actually help whales

Friday January 4th, 2019 12:37:48 PM
Japan’s move is bad news for whales within its waters, but spells the end of high seas whaling, says Matthew Collis

Why the UK using less electricity is weirdly bad news for the climate

Friday January 4th, 2019 02:15:53 PM
In some ways it is great news that electricity demand in the UK is falling, but paradoxically to meet climate goals it should be rising

Rabbits that don't eat their own faeces are small and weak

Friday January 4th, 2019 12:00:03 PM
We know that rabbits eat some of their own faeces - they may do so in order to better metabolise their food so they can grow larger

Fixing a flaw in photosynthesis could massively boost food production

Thursday January 3rd, 2019 07:00:25 PM
Compensating for a fundamental flaw in photosynthesis boosts biomass in tobacco by up to 40 per cent – next up are food crops

Don’t panic about children’s screen time, try these tips instead

Friday January 4th, 2019 09:57:15 AM
Alleged dangers of screen time have been exaggerated, worrying parents. Here are some guidelines to ensure screens are used positively, says paediatrician Max Davie

Australians care if politicians tell lies, but people in the US don't

Friday January 4th, 2019 08:00:03 AM
Fact-checking politicians' statements alters both the views and the voting intentions of people in Australia – but makes far less difference in the US

A cosmic collision may be coming for our galaxy sooner than we thought

Friday January 4th, 2019 12:01:30 AM
The nearby Large Magellanic Cloud may be on a collision course with the Milky Way - and it could make our galaxy less strange when they smash in 2 billion years

Genome sequencing reveals disease risk in otherwise healthy babies

Thursday January 3rd, 2019 04:00:55 PM
Sequencing the genomes of healthy newborns has helped identify genetic mutations that can result in childhood-onset diseases

Bereaved people unconsciously suppress thoughts of lost loved ones

Thursday January 3rd, 2019 02:00:39 PM
Brain scanning has revealed that grieving people can actively suppress thoughts of a dead relative without realising that they are doing it

First photo of Chinese Yutu-2 rover exploring far side of the moon

Thursday January 3rd, 2019 06:05:32 PM
On 3 January, the Chinese lander Chang’e 4 became the first spacecraft ever to land on the far side of the moon, and it has just rolled out its rover, Yutu-2

Fetal sharks may look for food by swimming around inside their mothers

Thursday January 3rd, 2019 11:00:49 AM
Tawny nurse shark fetuses have been discovered swimming from one uterus to another inside their mothers, likely looking for undeveloped eggs to eat

China’s Chang’e 4 makes historic first landing on the moon's far side

Thursday January 3rd, 2019 10:07:16 AM
A lander and rover have touched down on the side of the moon that never faces Earth. The Chang’e 4 mission marks the first time anyone has explored the far side

Ice from the Alps reveals Europeans ditched gold for silver in AD 660

Thursday January 3rd, 2019 08:00:36 AM
The people of north-west Europe embraced a silver currency instead of gold in the seventh century, and this may have fuelled a post-Roman economic boom

Ultima Thule is a snowman-shaped rock covered in weird ice

Wednesday January 2nd, 2019 08:50:51 PM
The New Horizons spacecraft just flew past a distant rock called MU69 or Ultima Thule that looks like a snowman - and it may have exotic ices on its surface

Green light implant relieves urinary incontinence in rats

Wednesday January 2nd, 2019 06:00:16 PM
A device that modulates nerve signals by shining green light on them has been found to restore bladder control in rats that urinate too often

AI could make it impossible for artists and novelists to make a living

Wednesday January 2nd, 2019 06:00:00 PM
Copyright protections were originally designed to incentivise creators and allow them to profit from their work, but what happens when the artist is a machine?

A New Year vow for our leaders? Start taking climate change seriously

Wednesday January 2nd, 2019 06:00:00 PM
Never has there been a more important time for politicians to move beyond paying lip service to the fight against global warming, says Owen Gaffney

Surrogacy should be a relationship, not a transaction

Wednesday January 2nd, 2019 06:00:00 PM
UK surrogates are speaking out against a move to pay women a fee for carrying someone else's child, says Natalie Smith

Crashing tidal waves may lurk beneath the surface of icy moons

Wednesday January 2nd, 2019 03:00:16 PM
Enceladus and Europa both have liquid oceans under their shells of ice, and they may be full of tidal waves bouncing energy between their cores and surfaces

Black-haired monkeys in Costa Rica are suddenly turning blonde

Wednesday January 2nd, 2019 12:00:44 PM
The howler monkeys of Costa Rica normally have black coats, but over the last 20 years some have turned yellow – a change too fast to be explained by evolution

How to make even your toughest new year's resolutions stick

Sunday January 1st, 2017 10:00:00 AM
Our annual vows to ditch bad habits rarely manage to change behaviour, but why? Frank Swain examines how to make a new you this year

Distant space rock Ultima Thule looks like a spinning bowling pin

Wednesday January 2nd, 2019 11:12:06 AM
NASA’s New Horizons probe has sent back the first blurry pictures of the most distant object we’ve ever visited

Massive space rock smash-up with Uranus recreated in a riot of colour

Wednesday January 2nd, 2019 10:00:39 AM
Uranus was probably tilted on its side by a giant impact when it was young, and a detailed new simulation of this process is a riot of swirling colours

Leafcutter ants have their own landfill sites that emit greenhouse gas

Wednesday January 2nd, 2019 12:01:28 AM
Ants that grow fungi inside their nests also make their own landfills – and these release significant amounts of nitrous oxide

Intel’s quest to build the world’s first true quantum computer

Tuesday January 1st, 2019 07:00:28 PM
James Clarke, of Intel’s quantum computing research team, tells New Scientist about his ambitions to make the first device with a million qubits

Biggest archaeological dig in Europe will uncover UK's buried history

Tuesday January 1st, 2019 03:00:00 PM
The construction of a high-speed train line, HS2, is allowing archaeologists to search for Romans, plague victims and even mammoths

Baby chicks could be given faecal transplants to ward off infections

Tuesday January 1st, 2019 10:00:55 AM
Farmed chickens often carry diseases like Campylobacter, which can cause food poisoning, but faecal transplants dramatically slow the spread of the bacteria

Young people’s blood is being tested as a treatment for Parkinson’s

Monday December 31st, 2018 07:00:03 PM
The Californian firm Alkahest has begun a trial to see if injections of an extract of younger adults’ blood can improve Parkinson’s symptoms in older people

Ultracold atoms can make strange and beautiful quantum fireworks

Monday December 31st, 2018 03:00:03 PM
Feed enough energy into a gas of ultracold atoms and it will create waves that produce a burst of quantum fireworks

A skin test after a traumatic event may identify those at risk of PTSD

Monday December 31st, 2018 02:00:33 PM
A simple skin test appears to predict those most at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder - a finding that may help them get the support they need

2019 Preview: Experimental vaccine could let coeliacs eat gluten

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
A vaccine that teaches a person's immune system to see gluten as harmless could enable some people with coeliac disease to eat bread and pasta made from wheat

2019 Preview: Gravitational waves will be discovered every few weeks

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and other experiments will detect dozens more ripples in space time

2019 Preview: We will see the first ever picture of a black hole

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
We have never seen a picture of a black hole, but that will change when the Event Horizon Telescope reveals its first snap of the behemoth at the Milky Way's centre

Droplets don't have to be round - here's one squished into a square

Friday December 28th, 2018 03:00:25 PM
Drops of liquid are usually round, but now we’ve found out how to make square droplets by squashing liquid between two elastic films stretched in different directions

The most eye-catching science and tech news stories of 2018

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
From advances in mind reading and medical procedures to AI law enforcement and CRISPR controversy, 2018 was a year of highs and lows. Here are our highlights

2019 Preview: AI to best humans at one of world's most complex games

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
A team of AI bots were beaten at the video game Dota 2 by human players in June, but in 2019 they will return with a vengeance to become the world's best

UK army tests eagle-inspired paragliding drone for delivering supplies

Thursday December 27th, 2018 03:00:01 PM
An autonomous paraglider inspired by nature could help deliver military supplies, such as food or trucks, and airlift people to safety

2019 Preview: Teeth will reveal our species’ deep evolutionary past

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
We will start to learn what a host of ancient animal and early human remains really are, thanks to new techniques for analysing tiny fragments of fossil remains

Rich people give more to charity when you make them feel powerful

Wednesday December 26th, 2018 03:00:00 PM
Wealthy people donated 60 per cent more money when they received messages appealing to their personal power rather than their community-mindedness

2019 Preview: Electric cars of all shapes and sizes will hit the road

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
Various kinds of electric cars are on their way from manufacturers who have never made them before, such as Volkswagen, Volvo and Audi

Lost 'Darwinia' islands could be origin of species in the Galapagos

Tuesday December 25th, 2018 03:00:00 PM
Millions of years before the Galapagos existed, another island chain may have shaped the evolution of the unusual wildlife that later inspired Charles Darwin

2019 Preview: People will receive transfusions of artificial blood

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
Volunteers will be injected with red blood cells grown from stem cells in the lab. If it works it could mean blood donors are no longer required

Ski exoskeleton boosts leg power and reduces tiredness on the slopes

Monday December 24th, 2018 03:00:18 PM
When hurtling down a mountain an exoskeleton could absorb some of the impact for skiers and snowboarders and give them extra power in their turns

2019 Preview: DNA testing will lead to a decline in genetic disorders

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
A large trial of a pre-pregnancy DNA test could be the first step towards marked declines in inherited disorders being passed on to future generations

Cannibalistic African clawed frog eats tadpoles of its relatives

Sunday December 23rd, 2018 03:00:54 PM
The African clawed frog likes to dine on its own tadpoles – but it prefers those belonging to the endangered Cape platanna frog

Crayfish experience something like anxiety when they shed their armour

Saturday December 22nd, 2018 07:00:35 PM
Crayfish have to shed their armour to grow, leaving them temporarily undefended. During this time, they show signs of anxiety - but human anti-anxiety drugs change this

2019 Preview: 30 cold cases to be solved using DNA ancestry websites

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
Arrests will finally be made in connection to dozens of decades-old murder and rape cases, as thousands more people upload their DNA to family tree websites

NASA probe will hurtle past the most distant object we’ve ever visited

Saturday December 22nd, 2018 03:00:21 PM
In 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft whizzed past Pluto. Now it is about to arrive at Ultima Thule, a tiny space rock 6.6 billion kilometres away from Earth

2019 Preview: Renewable energy race to ramp up as oil use skyrockets

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
As global demand for energy grows, we will need to switch to renewables even faster to avoid climate catastrophe

Gel made from birch bark reduces skin scarring from cuts and burns

Friday December 21st, 2018 12:04:49 PM
A dressing made from birch bark – which has long been used in traditional medicine to wrap wounds – allows cuts and burns to heal faster with less scarring

Hominin v monkey deathmatch ended in a draw when they fell down a hole

Friday December 21st, 2018 12:07:40 PM
Fossils suggest that a 3.6-million-year-old early human ancestor called "Little Foot" may have died in a violent encounter with a primitive baboon

Women are finally getting equal access to the Hubble Space Telescope

Friday December 21st, 2018 11:56:09 AM
For years, women were not receiving a fair share of access to the Hubble Space Telescope, but making requests anonymous has led to parity with men for the first time

Scuba-diving lizard can stay underwater for at least 16 minutes

Friday December 21st, 2018 11:27:33 AM
The water anole of Costa Rica dives underwater to escape from predators such as birds by blowing out and re-inhaling a large bubble of air

There’ll be a domino effect as we trigger ecosystem tipping points

Thursday December 20th, 2018 07:00:41 PM
There are lots of interconnected tipping points linking the climate and environment, so drastic changes to the planet will have many unexpected consequences

Starchy food may reduce autoimmune reactions in people with lupus

Thursday December 20th, 2018 05:00:33 PM
A study in mice shows that certain gut bacteria may exacerbate lupus, but eating starch can halt their growth, hinting at a possible treatment

Device that works like a lung makes clean fuel from water

Thursday December 20th, 2018 04:00:25 PM
A device inspired by human lungs can split water into oxygen and hydrogen. If successfully scaled up it could help make clean fuel for hydrogen cars

There may be a link between erectile dysfunction and type 2 diabetes

Thursday December 20th, 2018 04:00:07 PM
A DNA analysis links type 2 diabetes with erectile dysfunction, hinting that having a healthier lifestyle may reduce the chances of getting erectile problems

Ice-filled Martian crater is a permanent winter wonderland

Thursday December 20th, 2018 12:36:15 PM
The European Space Agency's Mars Express probe captured this striking view of ice-filled Korolev Crater, near the north pole of the Red Planet

Rogue drones have brought Gatwick airport to a standstill

Thursday December 20th, 2018 11:49:56 AM
Tens of thousands of passengers are unable to travel as drones were spotted flying near Gatwick Airport, UK. Police have yet to find the perpetrators

2018’s weirdest stories: Friendly horses, toddler robots and moonmoons

Thursday December 20th, 2018 07:30:13 AM
New Scientist has covered some strange scientific findings this year. Here is our round-up of the weirdest and wackiest

The more pets you meet as a baby, the lower your risk of allergies

Wednesday December 19th, 2018 07:00:25 PM
Children that are exposed to multiple cats and dogs in their first year of life go on to have lower rates of asthma, hay fever and eczema later in life

Robot hand that plays Jingle Bells could help us make better limbs

Wednesday December 19th, 2018 07:00:11 PM
A 3D-printed rigid replica of a human hand can play classic tunes on the piano like Jingle Bells without ever moving individual fingers

DNA from 6000-year-old chewing gum reveals how an ancient woman lived

Wednesday December 19th, 2018 05:31:45 PM
Lola lived 6000 years ago and made glue by chewing birch bark pitch. By analysing DNA left on the pitch we know about her diet, appearance, and ancestry

House plants don’t clean your air that much - but this GM pothos might

Wednesday December 19th, 2018 01:00:24 PM
The air-cleaning properties of house plants have been over-hyped. A GM house plant that breaks down indoor pollutants linked to cancer may do a better job

Exercise may lower high blood pressure as much as medication

Wednesday December 19th, 2018 10:46:34 AM
An analysis of nearly 400 trials suggests that exercise might be as effective for people with high blood pressure as taking the most commonly-used drugs

The very first dinosaurs probably evolved in South America

Wednesday December 19th, 2018 09:00:27 AM
Dinosaurs conquered every major landmass, making it difficult to work out where they originally came from – but two studies both conclude they were southerners

A swarming asexual midge is island hopping towards Antarctica

Wednesday December 19th, 2018 05:15:06 AM
Biologists say biosecurity measures need to be stepped up to prevent a non-biting midge reaching Antarctica, because it could radically change the continent

How best to talk to your science-denying relatives this Christmas

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
Trying to change someone's mind is no easy task, but researchers have studied the various pitfalls when it comes to correcting scientific myths

Snake-oil sellers must no longer be able to hide behind charity status

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
UK regulators are cracking down on charities that promote bogus treatments. But will it be enough, asks Tom Chivers

Who do we trust when human and machine intelligence disagree

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 06:00:00 PM
A faulty sensor – and the automated action it led to – are being blamed for the loss of Lion Air flight JT 610. Is it time for AI to take a back seat, asks Peter Lemme

Dolphins have best friends but also shun those outside their clique

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 02:02:25 PM
In a group of dolphins in the Adriatic sea, long-term friendships blossomed, but so did exclusive cliques where some dolphins shun each other

Computer chip will sniff your armpits and tell you when you have BO

Tuesday December 18th, 2018 12:30:00 PM
Technology firm Arm is building computer chips that will smell their surroundings. It wants to use them to spot gone-off food and to tell people if they have BO

Stem cells implanted into the brain stop epilepsy seizures in rats

Monday December 17th, 2018 08:00:31 PM
A radical approach of implanting stem cells into the brain could stop epilepsy seizures at their source, but the treatment has only been tested in rats so far

A new dwarf planet called Farout is the most distant we’ve ever seen

Monday December 17th, 2018 05:32:53 PM
Astronomers have spotted a tiny world 18 billion kilometres away, the most distant dwarf planet we’ve ever seen, and it may help us find the elusive Planet X

Our primate ancestors may have originated in Europe or North America

Monday December 17th, 2018 04:00:54 PM
It was thought that the ancestor we share with lemurs, monkeys and apes evolved in Asia, but fossil analysis suggests this may not have been the case

Stunning fossils show pterosaurs had primitive feathers like dinosaurs

Monday December 17th, 2018 01:49:48 PM
When dinosaurs ruled the land, pterosaurs occupied the skies. Now we know they had feathers, suggesting plumage has a much deeper history than we had thought

The secret site in England where beavers control the landscape

Saturday December 15th, 2018 08:00:25 AM
Two beavers were released at a secret location in Devon, UK in 2011. Now they've completely transformed the landscape including improving flood management in the area

Coal power emissions in the US are even higher than we thought

Friday December 14th, 2018 12:22:41 PM
The carbon emissions from lugging coal around can be much higher than thought - up to a third as much as is emitted when the stuff is burned

Breathing in moon dust could release toxins in astronauts' lungs

Friday December 14th, 2018 10:00:03 AM
We already knew that lunar dust is highly abrasive, but now it seems minerals in the dust can easily react with human cells and release large amount of toxins

Incredible shrinking 3D printer can make really tiny objects

Thursday December 13th, 2018 07:00:05 PM
A method for 3D printing minuscule objects produces them at a larger size and then shrinks them to one thousandth of the original volume

Can a Green New Deal boost the US economy and save the planet?

Thursday December 13th, 2018 04:57:33 PM
Politicians like the newly-elected Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are now taking climate change seriously, but even an ambitious plan to remake the economy may not be enough

Virgin Galactic claims its first successful flight to edge of space

Thursday December 13th, 2018 04:51:05 PM
Richard Branson's space tourism firm says it has finally made a flight to the edge of space - though the craft did not reach the currently accepted definition of 100 kilometres up

Childhood hormone treatments may have spread Alzheimer’s proteins

Thursday December 13th, 2018 04:00:58 PM
Last century, tens of thousands of children were given growth hormone from dead bodies. Evidence is building that this may have raised their risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Some people have slightly squashed heads thanks to Neanderthal DNA

Thursday December 13th, 2018 04:00:21 PM
Many people carry Neanderthal DNA that can affect brain cell growth and the insulation around neurons – and that may have a small impact on brain performance

We've been using CRISPR for years - now we know how it really works

Thursday December 13th, 2018 04:00:19 PM
We can now predict what changes the CRISPR gene editing technique will make to targeted DNA - a finding that will make the tool more powerful than ever before

Bizarre fossil that baffled us for years is early starfish ancestor

Thursday December 13th, 2018 02:11:43 PM
Extinct animals called stylophorans have caused confusion for decades, but fossils with preserved soft tissue reveal that they were relatives of starfish

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