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New Scientist – News

Last feed update: Thursday May 23rd, 2024 03:00:58 PM

Hungry deer may have driven tiny plant evolution on Japanese island

Friday May 24th, 2024 02:00:06 PM
On Yakushima island, sika deer might have forced flora to shrink as small as a tenth of the size of their mainland counterparts

AI can predict landmine areas from satellite images

Friday May 24th, 2024 01:00:31 PM
An AI model can identify landmine areas with up to 92 per cent accuracy, which could help to speed up the removal of the deadly devices

Tiny black holes hiding in the sun could trace out stunning patterns

Friday May 24th, 2024 12:00:20 PM
If our solar system and even our sun contain tiny black holes formed just after the big bang, they should be orbiting in elaborate patterns

Don’t forget birds and bats when renovating or building new homes

Friday May 24th, 2024 10:00:44 AM
As newer homes are built or older homes are renovated, empty attic spaces are disappearing – this eliminates a vital refuge for birds and bats during a biodiversity crisis

Three years of high temperatures will mean we have breached 1.5°C

Friday May 24th, 2024 08:00:22 AM
The aim to limit global warming to 1.5°C is based on long-term average temperatures, but analysis shows that if three years cross the threshold, it is almost certain that the target has been missed

Male birth control injection causes reversible infertility in mice

Thursday May 23rd, 2024 07:00:02 PM
Male mice injected with a molecule that affects sperm movement were temporarily unable to impregnate a female, showing promise for a new type of birth control drug for people

Ants learn faster on caffeine

Thursday May 23rd, 2024 04:00:34 PM
A dose of caffeine helped ants locate a sweet reward 30 per cent faster, suggesting the drug boosts learning in the insects

Hot Atlantic sets the stage for extreme hurricane season

Thursday May 23rd, 2024 07:51:27 PM
This year could bring up to 25 named tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean due to a shift to La Niña conditions, says the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Earth-like exoplanet found just 40 light years away – the closest yet

Thursday May 23rd, 2024 03:00:53 PM
A nearby planet named Gliese 12 b has an estimated surface temperature of 42°C (108°F), making it a promising candidate for liquid water and maybe life

Could we live in tree cities grown from giant sequoia in the future?

Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 06:00:00 PM
This week our new Future Chronicles column, which explores an imagined history of inventions of the future, visits carbon negative cities: forest homes grown from giant sequoia, genetically engineered for rapid growth. Rowan Hooper is our guide

Early humans took northern route to Australia, cave find suggests

Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 02:00:21 PM
An excavation on Timor reveals humans first settled on the island 44,000 years ago, long after the earliest occupation of Australia – suggesting migration to the latter took another route

El Niño is ending after a year of driving extreme weather

Thursday May 23rd, 2024 12:00:24 PM
The warm El Niño pattern in the Pacific Ocean combined with global warming and other factors to create the hottest year on record – and this year may not be any cooler

Amazing new images of galaxies and nebulae caught by Euclid telescope

Thursday May 23rd, 2024 11:00:16 AM
The European Space Agency’s Euclid space telescope has taken images of galaxies, galaxy clusters and newborn stars in unprecedented detail

Huge nose of male proboscis monkeys is key to mating success

Thursday May 23rd, 2024 10:00:11 AM
Male proboscis monkeys use their enormous noses to make loud trumpeting sounds, and the organ’s size advertises their health and status to prospective mates and rivals

To stay alive, try being more female

Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 06:00:00 PM
From infections to brain injuries, the female body is more resilient than the male. It is time to reassess the “weaker” sex, says Cat Bohannon

Mysterious element promethium finally reveals its chemical properties

Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 04:00:46 PM
The highly unstable radioactive element promethium is hard to study in the lab, but chemists have now coaxed it into forming a compound in water so they can observe its bonding behaviour

About 1 in 9 children in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD

Thursday May 23rd, 2024 05:01:57 AM
New survey data estimates that 7.1 million children in the US have been diagnosed with ADHD at some point, about 1 million more kids than had been diagnosed as of 2016

Modern soldiers test ancient Greek armour to show it worked for war

Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 07:00:11 PM
An experiment inspired by Homer’s description of combat in The Iliad tested the capabilities of the Dendra armour suit from Greece’s Bronze Age

Food, sex, drugs and more – are we addicted to addiction?

Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 06:00:00 PM
New proposals for addictions seem to keep cropping up, but the reality is we don’t truly understand the mechanisms behind our cravings in the first place

Ancient viruses in the human genome linked to mental health conditions

Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 05:31:56 PM
People with higher genetic risk for depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are more likely to have unusual activity levels of “fossil viruses” in their genomes

Source of the sun’s magnetic field may hide right under its surface

Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 04:00:49 PM
Scientists have long thought the source of the sun’s magnetic field sat deep within the star, but it may exist in a far more convenient spot for us to observe it

Could mental health conditions be ‘transmitted’ among teen classmates?

Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 04:00:34 PM
The largest study yet looking at whether conditions such as depression and anxiety could spread between teenagers finds that one person in a class being diagnosed is linked with a higher risk for their classmates

Some metals actually grow more resilient when hot

Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 04:00:31 PM
Pelting metals under high temperatures has revealed that some get even stronger when heated, which could help improve 3D printing and certain industrial processes

Zero-carbon cement process could slash emissions from construction

Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 04:00:19 PM
Cement production is a huge source of carbon emissions with no green alternative, but a new process that uses waste from demolished buildings could dramatically reduce its climate impact

Fungus lost to science for 42 years found again in Chilean mountains

Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 03:00:36 PM
The big puma fungus hasn’t been seen since it was discovered in 1982 in Chile’s Nahuelbuta mountains – now an expedition has finally rediscovered these tiny, elusive mushrooms

Cattle used for cuddling therapy may prefer women over men

Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 01:00:48 PM
Cattle seem to be more willing to lick and accept food from women, and are more likely to act aggressively around men

X-ray laser fires most powerful pulse ever recorded

Wednesday May 22nd, 2024 11:00:20 AM
The Linac Coherent Light Source in California fired an X-ray pulse that lasted only a few hundred billionths of a billionth of a second but carried nearly a terawatt of power

Why we still don’t know exactly how bird flu is spreading between cows

Tuesday May 21st, 2024 07:15:07 PM
Early evidence suggests that a bird flu virus called H5N1 may be infecting dairy cows through contaminated milking equipment – but poor surveillance has made it nearly impossible to rule out other possibilities

Snow and rising sea levels may have triggered Japan’s earthquake swarm

Tuesday May 21st, 2024 03:00:54 PM
In an ongoing swarm of earthquakes that began hitting Japan in 2020, the shifting weight of surface water may have spurred the shaking

Ships could store their CO2 emissions in the ocean

Tuesday May 21st, 2024 01:00:49 PM
Researchers have designed a new system to capture carbon dioxide from shipping exhaust after studying how limestone naturally dissolves in the ocean

OpenAI’s chatbot shows racial bias in advising home buyers and renters

Tuesday May 21st, 2024 12:00:42 PM
ChatGPT often suggests lower-income neighbourhoods to people who are Black, showing prejudices reflecting generations of housing discrimination in the US

Solar-powered floating islands could help to regrow coral reefs

Tuesday May 21st, 2024 10:00:29 AM
A trio of hexagonal islands could generate solar electricity to power a process that accelerates coral growth, with space for a research lab and a garden

Acne-causing bacteria can treat dandruff by resetting scalp microbiome

Tuesday May 21st, 2024 06:00:04 AM
An acid produced by an acne-causing bacterium reduced the severity of people’s dandruff by adjusting their scalp’s microbiome

Quantum diamond sensor measured heart signals from a living rat

Monday May 20th, 2024 05:00:34 PM
For the first time, a quantum sensor has been used to record magnetic signals from the heart of a living animal, opening the door for future uses of quantum technology in medical settings

World’s only lungless frog species actually does have lungs after all

Monday May 20th, 2024 04:00:36 PM
The rare Bornean flat-headed frog was thought to be the only frog with no lungs, but we now know it has very, very tiny ones

Zapping spinal cord injuries helps restore hand strength and movement

Monday May 20th, 2024 04:00:19 PM
Electrical stimulation on the back during rehabilitation exercises causes lasting improvements in people’s ability to use their hands.

Incredible maths proof is so complex that almost no one can explain it

Monday May 20th, 2024 10:38:57 AM
Mathematicians are celebrating a 1000-page proof of the geometric Langlands conjecture, a problem so complicated that even other mathematicians struggle to understand it. Despite that, it is hoped the proof can provide key insights across maths and physics

Physicists are grappling with their own reproducibility crisis

Friday May 17th, 2024 08:58:32 PM
A contentious meeting of physicists highlighted concerns, failures and possible fixes for a crisis in condensed matter physics

VR headset can give you 360-degree vision like an owl

Monday May 20th, 2024 06:00:02 AM
A virtual reality system and a head-mounted 360-degree camera make it possible to look directly behind you without twisting your entire body

Heatwaves seem to be driving severe asthma flare-ups in children

Sunday May 19th, 2024 10:15:41 PM
Children are more likely to be hospitalised for asthma complications during a heatwave, a problem that is expected to get worse with climate change

Keto diet may accelerate organ ageing

Friday May 17th, 2024 07:00:34 PM
In mice, a ketogenic diet increases the build-up of zombie-like cells in the heart, kidney, lungs and brain, which can accelerate organ ageing and lead to health problems

Einstein was right about the way matter plunges into black holes

Thursday May 16th, 2024 12:01:29 AM
For the first time, astronomers have observed the area right at the edge of a black hole where matter stops orbiting and plunges straight in at near light speed

Orchids feed their young through underground fungal connections

Friday May 17th, 2024 04:00:37 PM
A common species of orchid seems to pass food packages to nearby seedlings, in a kind of plant parental care

Food ‘addiction’ should be treated like drug abuse, claim doctors

Friday May 17th, 2024 03:20:32 PM
A group of doctors and scientists is getting behind the controversial idea that people can be addicted to certain trigger foods, in the same way as drugs and alcohol. The team says this addiction should be treated with abstinence, which goes against mainstream medical advice

Nomads thrived in Greece after the collapse of the Roman Empire

Friday May 17th, 2024 06:00:30 AM
Analysis of pollen in sediment cores from a large lake in Greece shows that nomadic livestock herders took over the region after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire

Tech firms claim nuclear will solve AI’s power needs – they’re wrong

Thursday May 16th, 2024 10:00:02 PM
Some AI firms think nuclear power can help meet the electricity demand from Silicon Valley’s data centres, but building new nuclear power stations takes too long to plug the gap in the short term

Fragile quantum entanglement may survive chaos of chemical reactions

Thursday May 16th, 2024 07:00:55 PM
Strange quantum characteristics of molecules can weather the chaos of chemical reactions, which may benefit quantum technologies or unveil hidden natural phenomena

AI noise-cancelling headphones let you focus on just one voice

Thursday May 16th, 2024 06:20:03 PM
You can blank out certain types of background noise and focus on just one conversation using prototype noise-cancelling headphones

Some brain injury patients would recover if life support weren’t ended

Thursday May 16th, 2024 05:51:22 PM
After comparing people with brain injuries whose life support was continued with those who had it turned off, scientists calculated that around 40 per cent in the latter group may have made some recovery

A lost branch of the river Nile flowed past the pyramids of Egypt

Thursday May 16th, 2024 04:00:12 PM
Soil core samples show an ancient riverbed under the desert near many Egyptian pyramids, revealing an ancient waterway that dried up thousands of years ago

How the US used science to wage psychological war

Wednesday May 15th, 2024 06:00:00 PM
The US has been honing its psychological warfare skills since the 19th century, when it started sending anthropologists onto battlefields, says Annalee Newitz

Genetic mutation gives cats a ‘salty liquorice’ coat colour

Thursday May 16th, 2024 11:56:50 AM
Researchers have discovered the gene variant responsible for a distinctive colour pattern seen in cats in Finland, named salmiak after a variety of liquorice

Virtual power plants could ease growing strain on US electric grid

Thursday May 16th, 2024 11:00:42 AM
Energy-saving networks that link smart devices, solar panels and batteries could regulate power demand and help avoid fossil fuel use at peak times

Why a new literary prize for climate fiction will make a difference

Wednesday May 15th, 2024 06:00:00 PM
The new Climate Fiction prize aims to reward the best novels about climate change, because books can shift the narrative on global warming, says Tori Tsui

Surgeons can use AI chatbot to tell robots to help with suturing

Thursday May 16th, 2024 06:00:37 AM
A virtual assistant for surgeons translates text prompts into commands for a robot, offering a simple way to instruct machines to carry out small tasks in operations

Cameras inspired by insect eyes could give robots a wider view

Wednesday May 15th, 2024 07:00:23 PM
Artificial compound eyes made without the need for expensive and precise lenses could provide cheap visual sensors for robots and driverless cars

Why it’s vital we fight prejudices about the elderly once and for all

Wednesday May 15th, 2024 06:00:00 PM
Ageism is a widespread global prejudice. It’s about time we started acknowledging our unconscious bias towards old age – not least because our own future health depends on it

OpenAI overtakes Google in race to build the future, but who wants it?

Wednesday May 15th, 2024 04:27:11 PM
With big announcements about the latest artificial intelligence models this week, tech firms are competing to have the most exciting products – but generative AI remains hampered by issues

Quantum internet draws near thanks to entangled memory breakthroughs

Wednesday May 15th, 2024 04:00:54 PM
Researchers aiming to create a secure quantum version of the internet need a device called a quantum repeater, which doesn’t yet exist – but now two teams say they are well on the way to building one

Sunlight-trapping device can generate temperatures over 1000°C

Wednesday May 15th, 2024 04:00:48 PM
A solar energy absorber that uses quartz to trap heat reached 1050°C in tests and could offer a way to decarbonise the production of steel and cement

Buildings that include weak points on purpose withstand more damage

Wednesday May 15th, 2024 04:00:23 PM
If a building is hit with an earthquake or explosives, the entire thing can collapse – but a design balancing strong and weak structural connections lets part of it fall while preserving the rest

Will sucking carbon from air ever really help tackle climate change?

Wednesday May 15th, 2024 01:02:40 PM
The direct air capture industry got a boost last week with the opening of Mammoth, the largest plant yet for sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, but questions remain about whether the technology can scale up

Around half the world could lose easily accessible groundwater by 2050

Wednesday May 15th, 2024 12:00:45 PM
In coming decades, major groundwater sources may become economically unfeasible — this could raise food prices and shift diets, among other impacts

Frozen human brain tissue can now be revived without damage

Wednesday May 15th, 2024 11:07:59 AM
Using a new approach, scientists have successfully frozen and thawed brain organoids and cubes of brain tissue from someone with epilepsy, which could enable better research into neurological conditions

Why did hominins like us evolve at all?

Wednesday May 15th, 2024 09:00:36 AM
Animal life on Earth existed for over half a billion years before hominins hit the scene – a complex combination of environmental changes, innovations in technology and competition may have led to us

Huge jellyfish invasion could disrupt Arctic ecosystems as waters warm

Wednesday May 15th, 2024 08:01:01 AM
The Arctic could see a surge of jellyfish as climate change leads to warmer waters and less ice – a process known as “jellification”

One-day mental health workshop improves teenagers’ mood for six months

Tuesday May 14th, 2024 11:30:32 PM
The one-day courses were particularly beneficial to those pupils with worse mental health problems initially

Everything you need to know about semaglutide weight loss drugs

Tuesday May 14th, 2024 04:15:35 PM
From how well they work to side effects such as hair loss, here’s the skinny on new weight loss injections that work by blocking a hormone that normally reduces appetite

Flu vaccine for children linked to pneumonia risk for their relatives

Tuesday May 14th, 2024 04:00:57 PM
The nasal flu vaccine may reduce cases of pneumonia illness in population over the whole flu season because flu infections are likely to lead to even higher boost in bacteria

How could we give boring blobby galaxies a new, exciting shape?

Tuesday May 14th, 2024 03:00:56 PM
Galaxies could do with a few more arms or some decorative designs – on this episode of Dead Planets Society, our hosts are using collisions, black holes and dark matter to reshape our galaxy

Did humans evolve to chase down prey over long distances?

Monday May 13th, 2024 04:00:17 PM
Outrunning prey over long distances is an efficient method of hunting for humans, and it was widely used until recently, according to an analysis of ethnographic accounts

Oldest known human viruses found hidden within Neanderthal bones

Tuesday May 14th, 2024 06:00:17 AM
Genetic analysis of 50,000-year-old Neanderthal skeletons has uncovered the remnants of three viruses related to modern human pathogens, and the researchers think they could be recreated

Underwater data centres could be destroyed by loud noises

Tuesday May 14th, 2024 12:00:30 PM
Underwater data centres being installed off the coasts of China, the US and Europe could be disrupted by sounds from military-grade sonar on ships and submarines, or even whales

Mystery of ‘impossible’ star resolved by three-body solution

Tuesday May 14th, 2024 09:00:17 AM
A white dwarf star orbiting a sun-like star was thought to be impossibly small, but now astronomers have found another star in the system that solves the puzzle

ChatGPT got an upgrade to make it seem more human

Monday May 13th, 2024 10:45:51 PM
OpenAI’s new ChatGPT model, called GPT-4o, provides more human-like interactions through a voice mode, and it is capable of conversations that incorporate text, audio and video in real time

Ultrasound therapy could treat lung condition linked to heart failure

Monday May 13th, 2024 09:06:22 PM
Mice benefitted from ultrasound therapy for a rare lung condition – the treatment might work for common forms of high blood pressure, too

Sticky oil sprayed onto plants offers alternative to pesticides

Monday May 13th, 2024 08:00:41 PM
A sticky liquid made from vegetable oil could be sprayed onto plants to catch small pests such as thrips without affecting larger insects such as bees

Edible gel prevents and treats alcohol intoxication in mice

Monday May 13th, 2024 04:02:37 PM
Mice given unlimited access to alcohol recovered faster after consuming a gel based on a milk protein, with the same treatment also preventing intoxication in another group of mice. If proved safe and effective in humans, it could offer a quick way to sober up

Having more children protects parents’ brains from age-related decline

Monday May 13th, 2024 01:00:46 PM
The brains of adults who have raised children appear younger later in life. Child-rearing seemed to have this effect on both mothers and fathers, and it was stronger the more children they had

Dozens of stars show signs of hosting advanced alien civilisations

Friday May 10th, 2024 02:43:28 PM
Sufficiently advanced aliens would be able to capture vast quantities of energy from their star using a massive structure called a Dyson sphere. Such a device would give off an infrared heat signature – and astronomers have just spotted 60 stars that seem to match

Watch a Möbius strip robot move and climb when hit by light

Monday May 13th, 2024 12:00:49 PM
When light strikes a soft robot made from a twisted strip of hydrogel sheets, it moves in a predictable way and can climb a vertical rod or haul up a load

500-year-old maths problem turns out to apply to coffee and clocks

Friday May 10th, 2024 12:00:42 PM
A centuries-old maths problem asks what shape a circle traces out as it rolls along a line. The answer, dubbed a “cycloid”, turns out to have applications in a variety of scientific fields

Pigs seem less stressed if their barn is scented with lavender

Monday May 13th, 2024 10:00:46 AM
If a lavender scent is sprayed into pig pens three times a day, the animals show less aggressive behaviour and appear more relaxed

Does using the internet make us happier or sadder?

Monday May 13th, 2024 12:01:14 AM
A study of more than 2 million people in 168 countries suggests that having access to the internet is linked to higher life satisfaction, but many questions remain unanswered

Extreme exercise may help you live longer without stressing your heart

Thursday May 9th, 2024 11:30:17 PM
People who can run a mile in less than 4 minutes generally live almost five years longer than would otherwise be expected, challenging the idea that too much strenuous exercise is bad for the heart

Longest-living cat breeds revealed by life expectancy study

Wednesday May 8th, 2024 01:00:33 AM
Birman and Burmese cats typically live for more than 14 years while sphynxes live less than half as long on average, finds a study of pet cats in the UK

Lack of US bird flu tracking in cows may raise risk of human infection

Tuesday May 7th, 2024 12:00:32 PM
The strategy for tracking bird flu in US dairy cattle falls worryingly short of what is needed to prevent the outbreak from widening and potentially spreading to humans

Invisible ‘dark radiation’ may explain a big problem with dark energy

Thursday May 9th, 2024 07:00:47 PM
Surprising recent measurements hint that the universe isn’t expanding in the way we had thought, and it could be explained by still-theoretical dark radiation

Doughnut-shaped swirls of laser light can be used to transmit images

Friday May 10th, 2024 07:00:21 PM
Ultra-fast pulses of laser light can be shaped into vortices similar to smoke rings – when chained together, they can carry enough information to transmit a simple image

Global capacity to directly suck CO2 from air has just quadrupled

Wednesday May 8th, 2024 04:00:36 PM
A new plant in Iceland operated by the firm Climeworks can remove up to 36,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the air per year, more than quadrupling existing global capabilities

How to see tonight’s northern lights – the strongest in 20 years

Friday May 10th, 2024 06:42:18 PM
A rare geomagnetic storm not seen for nearly 20 years could cause a stunning aurora borealis on 10 and 11 May

Heavy or painful menstrual periods are linked to worse exam results

Friday May 10th, 2024 01:00:32 PM
Heavy, prolonged or painful menstrual periods are associated with more days off school and scoring worse on compulsory exams in a UK study

Monkeys can learn to tap to the beat of the Backstreet Boys

Friday May 10th, 2024 09:00:10 AM
With a bit of training, macaques can make rhythmic movements in time with music, an ability only shown before by a handful of animals

Game theory shows we can never learn perfectly from our mistakes

Thursday May 9th, 2024 04:10:07 PM
An analysis of a mathematical economic game suggests that even learning from past mistakes will almost never help us optimise our decision-making – with implications for our ability to make the biggest financial gains

Mars is blasting plasma out of its atmosphere into space

Thursday May 9th, 2024 03:00:27 PM
The Red Planet launches large bursts of plasma into space from its upper atmosphere, much like the sun’s coronal mass ejections, despite not having a global magnetic field

Why carbon offsetting your flight isn’t the answer

Wednesday May 8th, 2024 06:00:00 PM
I always add the carbon offset option when buying a flight, but I had a sneaking suspicion I was being greenwashed. Turns out I was right, says Graham Lawton

Has the biggest problem in cosmology finally been solved?

Thursday May 9th, 2024 01:00:08 PM
For decades, cosmologists have been fighting over the Hubble constant, a number that represents the expansion rate of the universe – it may have finally been pinned down

How to reconnect with long-lost friends, according to science

Thursday May 9th, 2024 10:00:22 AM
We are generally as reluctant to contact a long-lost friend as we are to talk to a stranger, but scientists have come up with an approach so it’s easier to make the first move

Why criticisms of the proposed Anthropocene epoch miss the point

Wednesday May 8th, 2024 06:00:00 PM
A proposal to define the Anthropocene as a geological epoch was rejected this March, but humanity’s impact on Earth is real, whether formalised or not, says Jan Zalasiewicz

DeepMind is experimenting with a nearly indestructible robot hand

Thursday May 9th, 2024 12:00:20 AM
A new robotic hand can withstand being smashed by pistons or walloped with a hammer. It was designed to survive the trial-and-error interactions required to train AI robots






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