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Last feed update: Tuesday January 19th, 2021 08:41:44 PM

Covid-19 news: One in 10 people in the UK had antibodies in December

Tuesday January 19th, 2021 05:04:39 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

Can coronavirus variants reinfect people and evade the vaccines?

Tuesday January 19th, 2021 04:27:04 PM
It looks like some of the new coronavirus variants can evade parts of our immune response, but it's not yet clear if we need to update the vaccines

Stunning fossil suggests dinosaurs lured mates with smell and vision

Tuesday January 19th, 2021 04:00:25 PM
A reconstruction of the only fossilised dinosaur genital orifice in existence suggests the ancient animals attracted a mate using colour contrasts and musky smells

'UK ARPA' to launch as soon as possible despite Dominic Cummings exit

Monday January 18th, 2021 05:15:29 PM
The UK government has confirmed it still plans to create an independent £800 million “blue skies” research agency as soon as possible, despite the resignation of its key proponent

Warmed-up lithium-based batteries could make electric vehicles cheaper

Monday January 18th, 2021 04:00:52 PM
Lithium batteries that operate at a higher temperature could be cheaper and safer than other batteries for electric cars

Australian lungfish has largest genome of any animal sequenced so far

Monday January 18th, 2021 04:00:01 PM
The Australian lungfish’s genome is around 14 times larger than the human one, and its DNA confirms it is closely related to land-based animals with a backbone

To improve our response to crises like covid-19 we must think smarter

Wednesday January 13th, 2021 06:00:00 PM
Our narrow definition of intelligence has worsened social, economic and racial inequalities, and left us ill-equipped to come together to solve global problems

We must start publishing ethnicity data for covid-19 vaccinations

Friday January 15th, 2021 05:20:46 PM
The race to vaccinate as many people as possible against covid-19 is under way, but unless countries track who receives the vaccine we won’t be able to ensure the benefits are spread equitably, says Layal Liverpool

Dinosaur found in Argentina may be largest land animal ever

Friday January 15th, 2021 04:11:23 PM
Fossils of a gigantic dinosaur are emerging from the ground in Argentina after 98 million years – and the creature may be the largest land animal that scientists have ever found

Quantum internet signals beamed between drones a kilometre apart

Friday January 15th, 2021 12:38:18 PM
Entangled photons have been beamed between drones and to a ground station, creating technology that could form part of an unhackable quantum internet

NASA gives up trying to burrow under Mars surface with 'mole' probe

Friday January 15th, 2021 10:35:19 AM
For nearly two years, a heat probe attached to NASA’s InSight lander, nicknamed the mole, has been trying to burrow into the Martian surface – but now researchers have thrown in the towel

Embryos set to be implanted in the last two northern white rhinos

Thursday January 14th, 2021 04:40:58 PM
Fertilised eggs are set to be implanted in the two remaining northern white rhinos this year, with the hope of producing offspring

Lush meadows of underwater seagrass are removing plastic from the sea

Thursday January 14th, 2021 04:00:26 PM
A seagrass that forms lush underwater meadows can naturally trap plastic items in ball-shaped tangles and remove them from the seawater

Seabirds raise fewer chicks as the pandemic keeps tourists away

Thursday January 14th, 2021 04:00:05 PM
With fewer tourists flocking to see guillemot breeding sites in Sweden, white-tailed eagles have taken up residence nearby – spooking the seabirds so they raise fewer chicks

Here's why you should be hopeful about climate action in 2021

Wednesday January 13th, 2021 06:00:00 PM
We have been in many last chance saloons with climate change, but there are now reasons to believe we might finally go out and take action, writes Graham Lawton

Wind farm construction creates noise that may harm squid fisheries

Thursday January 14th, 2021 11:07:44 AM
The noisy construction of offshore wind turbines can discourage squid from hunting, which could lead to decreased squid populations and potentially decrease profits at fisheries

An Earth-like planet might orbit our closest single sun-like star

Thursday January 14th, 2021 07:00:30 AM
Tau Ceti is a star just 12 light years away – and it could host a planet called PXP-4 that sits as close to the star as Earth does to our sun with its year about as long as ours

World’s oldest painting of animals discovered in an Indonesian cave

Wednesday January 13th, 2021 07:00:49 PM
A painting showing three pigs has been discovered in an Indonesian cave. At more than 45,000 years old, it is the oldest known painting of animals anywhere in the world

Tropical rainforests may begin pumping out carbon dioxide by 2050

Wednesday January 13th, 2021 07:00:02 PM
Rising temperatures over the next 30 years could cause Earth’s tropical and temperate forests to switch from being carbon sinks to carbon sources that release greenhouse gases

Chemical that makes chilli peppers spicy boosts solar panel cells

Wednesday January 13th, 2021 04:29:59 PM
Solar cells treated with capsaicin, the compound that makes chilli peppers taste spicy, are more efficient at converting solar energy

You can boost a vaccine’s effect with good moods and good friends

Wednesday January 13th, 2021 06:00:00 PM
A positive outlook, even just on the day of receiving a vaccine, as well as strong social ties and a happy relationship can help increase antibodies made in response to a shot

Superhuman sight may be possible with lens that makes UV light visible

Wednesday January 13th, 2021 01:06:13 PM
A nanocrystal-coated lens can convert ultraviolet light into bright green, extending the range of people's vision

Artificial intelligence could train your dog how to sit

Wednesday January 13th, 2021 12:00:27 PM
A prototype device can issue basic dog commands, use image recognition algorithms to check if they are carried out and provide a treat if they are

Is the UK right to delay the second dose of the covid-19 vaccines?

Wednesday January 13th, 2021 11:30:00 AM
To vaccinate more people quickly, the UK is making people wait up to three months for a booster shot rather than the few weeks tested in trials. Here's what the evidence says about the situation

Houseflies have specialised wings that make them harder to swat

Wednesday January 13th, 2021 12:01:59 AM
Some flies, including houseflies and blowflies, have specialised hindwings to help them take-off faster, making them trickier to catch

Lying makes us mimic the body language of the people we are talking to

Wednesday January 13th, 2021 12:01:03 AM
When telling a lie, people may inadvertently imitate the body language of the person they are lying to – a finding that might eventually lead to a new lie detection test

Most distant quasar may help us solve how enormous black holes form

Tuesday January 12th, 2021 08:48:51 PM
Astronomers spotted a quasar containing a supermassive black hole about 13 million light years away, which may shed light on how these colossal black holes form

Warnings of huge new spike in US covid-19 cases as UK variant spreads

Tuesday January 12th, 2021 08:24:57 PM
The faster spreading coronavirus variant has officially reached nine US states and could soon cause a massive surge in covid-19 cases that makes the post-holiday spike look minimal, expert warns

White dwarfs seen eating the remnants of destroyed planets

Tuesday January 12th, 2021 07:04:04 PM
Signs of the metals that make up Earth’s crust have been seen in the light coming from four dead stars known as white dwarfs, which may have consumed distant planets similar to ours

UK government won’t say if it has ethnicity data for covid-19 shots

Tuesday January 12th, 2021 05:57:19 PM
Demographic data about vaccination programmes could reveal problems early on. So far, no figures about ethnicity have been released in England, even though people from BAME backgrounds are at greater risk from covid-19

We may have found hints of gravitational waves permeating the universe

Tuesday January 12th, 2021 05:44:34 PM
When supermassive black holes merge, they create a low thrum of gravitational waves that permeates the universe, and we may have just spotted it for the first time

Microplastics found across the Arctic may be fibres from laundry

Tuesday January 12th, 2021 04:00:48 PM
Polyester fibres, probably from textile manufacturing and laundry, make up the majority of microplastic pollution in the Arctic

Australia clamps down in response to cases of UK coronavirus variant

Tuesday January 12th, 2021 11:23:04 AM
Australian authorities have responded to the first case of the UK coronavirus variant escaping quarantine hotels with a swift lockdown and additional measures in a bid to prevent an outbreak

The Milky Way may have less dark matter than astronomers thought

Monday January 11th, 2021 11:16:50 PM
Our galaxy may have slightly less dark matter than expected from theoretical estimates, according to a measurement of the acceleration of rapidly spinning stars

Snakes make their bodies lassos in a strange new climbing technique

Monday January 11th, 2021 04:00:56 PM
In Guam, invasive brown tree snakes have been seen doing a previously undocumented kind of movement – they make their bodies into a lasso shape that helps them climb metal poles holding up bird boxes

CRISPR gene editing used to store data in DNA inside living cells

Monday January 11th, 2021 04:00:17 PM
Biologists have used CRISPR gene editing to store information inside DNA in living bacterial cells, which could become a storage medium of the future

The UK may struggle to hit its covid-19 vaccine target – here's why

Monday January 11th, 2021 11:30:54 AM
UK prime minister Boris Johnson has set a target of 15 February by which 13.9 million people in high-priority groups should be vaccinated against covid-19, but manufacturing, safety checks and distribution logistics will make that difficult

Pair of robot foresters could plant thousands of trees a day

Monday January 11th, 2021 11:10:31 AM
A team of two robots in development could plant a hectare of new forest in 5 to 6 hours. One of them will plant seedlings whilst the other removes vegetation

Covid-19’s many unknowns are what make it so tricky to beat

Wednesday January 6th, 2021 06:00:00 PM
The coronavirus is a riddle on many levels, but what we do know is that the time for underestimating it is over

Megalodon sharks grew 2 metres long in the uterus by eating eggs

Monday January 11th, 2021 12:01:51 AM
Ancient megalodon sharks may have been at least 2 metres long at birth – and they might have grown so large by eating unhatched eggs in the uterus

Origins of human music linked to our ancestors’ daredevil behaviour

Friday January 8th, 2021 05:55:54 PM
The roots of human music may go back to our primate ancestors developing elaborate calls to advertise that they were willing and able to perform death-defying leaps from tree to tree

Corals bleached from heat become less resilient to ocean acidification

Friday January 8th, 2021 07:00:33 PM
Corals are able to compensate for ocean acidification when in water of optimal temperature, but when exposed to heat stress, they are less resilient to acidification

Black holes leak energy when they eat plasma near the event horizon

Friday January 8th, 2021 04:38:12 PM
When magnetic fields around a black hole reconnect, they can slow down plasma particles near the event horizon, which cause the black hole to lose energy when it swallows them

UK may allow gene editing of crops and livestock following Brexit

Friday January 8th, 2021 02:37:54 PM
The UK government is exploring the use of gene editing to modify food crops because the technique can improve the nutrition of crops through tiny DNA changes

Groundwater that supports world food chain may become too salty to use

Friday January 8th, 2021 11:04:09 AM
The groundwater basins that provide water for much of the world's food production are in danger of becoming too salty due to human activity disrupting the flow of incoming freshwater

Climate change: 2020 was the joint hottest year on record

Friday January 8th, 2021 07:00:15 AM
Last year was the joint hottest globally and by far the warmest year ever recorded in Europe, making the years from 2015 onwards the warmest six on record

Meteorites may have brought water to Earth in the recent past

Thursday January 7th, 2021 07:00:28 PM
We thought meteorites stopped delivering liquid water to Earth billions of years ago – but they may have continued to do so in the past million years

Jumping into a wormhole might cause it to contract and disintegrate

Thursday January 7th, 2021 04:57:37 PM
Adding energy to a wormhole connecting two universes can push it out of equilibrium, which may cause this exotic tunnel to get shorter and then fall apart

Humans may have domesticated dogs by accident by sharing excess meat

Thursday January 7th, 2021 04:00:59 PM
Hunter-gatherers may have had more meat than they could eat, which they shared with wolves – inadvertently beginning the domestication of dogs

Electric cars' best ever year is a tipping point for green transport

Thursday January 7th, 2021 03:21:51 PM
More electric cars were sold last year than in the previous decade. Fossil fuel-powered cars are not yet consigned to the scrapheap, but they are travelling fast down a one-way road towards it, says Adam Vaughan

How every galaxy comes from quantum fluctuations billions of years ago

Wednesday January 6th, 2021 06:00:00 PM
All the galaxies in the universe started out in a similar way, but the forms they now take are incredibly diverse, writes Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Over 100 cities have made public transport free – others should follow

Wednesday January 6th, 2021 06:00:00 PM
Dozens of cities around the world already provide free public transport for their residents. Many other places should get on board, says Richard Webb

Two children with cancer may have acquired tumour cells before birth

Wednesday January 6th, 2021 10:00:28 PM
Two boys with lung cancer in Japan acquired the tumour cells from their mothers during or shortly before birth – an incredibly rare way of developing the disease

Huntsman spiders stitch leaves together to trap tree frogs

Wednesday January 6th, 2021 05:24:17 PM
In Madagascar, huntsman spiders have been seen making traps out of overlapping leaves where tree frogs tend to hide, and then eating the frogs

New coronavirus variants: What are they and how worried should we be?

Wednesday January 6th, 2021 06:00:19 AM
Mutated variants of the coronavirus making their way around the world are causing covid-19 to spread faster, and one may be able to partially evade current vaccines

CRISPR doubles lifespan of mice with rapid ageing disease progeria

Wednesday January 6th, 2021 04:00:39 PM
CRISPR gene editing in mice has been used to correct a mutation that can cause rapid ageing, dramatically improving the animals' health and lifespan

Uber and Lyft operating in US cities linked to rises in car ownership

Wednesday January 6th, 2021 04:00:09 PM
When ride-sharing companies including Uber and Lyft begin operating in a city, there is a slight increase in car ownership on average, a study of US urban areas suggests

Is digging a tunnel under Stonehenge good or bad for archaeology?

Wednesday January 6th, 2021 12:10:00 PM
The new tunnel is intended to replace a congested road that disrupts the landscape around the prehistoric monument Stonehenge, but some argue it will cause irreparable damage to archaeological deposits

What does smell loss reveal about covid-19, and how long will it last?

Wednesday January 6th, 2021 11:20:00 AM
Loss of smell and taste is one of the most consistent symptoms of covid-19, and this anosmia reveals important details about how the coronavirus works

Air pollution from chemical plants made Hurricane Harvey worse

Wednesday January 6th, 2021 08:00:30 AM
Much of the devastating flooding caused by 2017’s Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas may have been triggered by aerosol pollution released from nearby petrochemical plants

Jellyfish push off a pocket of water under their bell to swim faster

Wednesday January 6th, 2021 12:01:26 AM
As they swim, jellyfish make a pocket of high-pressure water under their bell, which serves as a kind of wall to push off to help them swim faster

Coronavirus crisis worsens with global surges and fresh outbreaks

Tuesday January 5th, 2021 11:54:01 PM
Coronavirus vaccine roll-out cannot happen fast enough as second and third waves of covid-19 continue to grow around the world, and countries that had coronavirus under control are now losing their grip

AI illustrator draws imaginative pictures to go with text captions

Tuesday January 5th, 2021 07:00:15 PM
An OpenAI neural network creates outlandish images – armchairs shaped like avocados or dinosaurs in tuxedos – from a few words of text

Fossilised nest shows some dinosaurs sat on their eggs like birds do

Tuesday January 5th, 2021 04:01:04 PM
A fossil of a small dinosaur has been found on top of eggs containing late-stage embryos that developed at body temperature, confirming that some dinosaurs brooded eggs like birds

As the pandemic fades, the climate crisis must take centre stage again

Wednesday December 30th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
We're all hoping 2021 will see the end of the pandemic. How we reboot the world after covid-19 will help shape our fate as an even bigger emergency looms – dangerous climate change

Home baking frenzy inspires tissue scaffold for growing muscle

Monday January 4th, 2021 08:00:09 AM
Irish soda bread appears to work as a scaffold for growing muscle and bone cells, and could eventually help in producing factory-grown meat

2020 in review: Calls for universal basic income on the rise

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
The idea of universal basic income, which would see everyone receive a regular sum of money from the government regardless of status, has become more popular following successful trials and the coronavirus pandemic

Koalas are being given birth control to fight overpopulation

Friday January 1st, 2021 10:00:14 AM
Koala populations in parts of Australia are being controlled to prevent them eating their main food source – manna gum trees – to extinction

Large parts of Africa may not get covid-19 vaccines for several years

Thursday December 31st, 2020 06:04:22 PM
Many African countries applied for covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX initiative, but lack of funding could leave them without enough vaccines to reach herd immunity until 2024

Treasure trove of ancient human remains hints at undiscovered species

Thursday December 31st, 2020 05:32:22 PM
A haul of more than 100 ancient human bones found in a cave in South Africa may belong to a previously undiscovered human species

Are there benefits to following a raw food diet?

Wednesday December 30th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
Eating predominantly uncooked food is a fad that goes back hundreds of years, but not one we need to follow, writes James Wong

2020 in review: What happened to all the tree-planting plans?

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
Enthusiasm for trees as a way to mitigate climate change seems to have waned, as pledges to plant millions have fallen short this year

Adult fish sizes have shrunk over 50 years of sea temperature rises

Thursday December 31st, 2020 10:00:18 AM
Fish in the North Sea are growing faster as juveniles but ending up smaller as adults. The pattern seems to be linked to rising sea temperatures

How to avoid using your devices too much during the pandemic

Wednesday December 30th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
The coronavirus pandemic has had us glued to our screens, but there are easy ways to reach a better balance, says Becca Caddy

2021 preview: We will find out if microplastics are harming our cells

Wednesday December 30th, 2020 03:45:00 PM
Despite mounting evidence that we eat, drink and breathe microplastics it still isn't clear if they enter our bodies and cause harm, but in 2021 we should get some answers

2021 preview: How soon will a covid-19 vaccine return life to normal?

Thursday December 24th, 2020 03:00:00 PM
We have a coronavirus vaccine, but normal life is still some way off. In the meantime, here are the big issues facing us in the months ahead

2021 preview: Three missions will make February 2021 the month of Mars

Wednesday December 30th, 2020 03:00:00 PM
February 2021 will see three missions arriving at Mars: the Hope orbiter from the United Arab Emirates, the Chinese Tianwen-1 mission and NASA's Perseverance rover

2021 preview: A crucial year for action on climate change

Monday December 28th, 2020 03:00:00 PM
Major climate summits delayed in 2020 are back on in 2021, offering several big opportunities to confront the climate emergency

2020 in review: Earth acquired a minimoon the size of a 6-year-old

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
An object spotted near Earth in January has since been confirmed as a temporary moon around 1.2 metres long that has now drifted away

2020 in review: Nuclear fusion power is slowly getting closer

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
While progress has been made on nuclear fusion, efforts to harness the process that powers the sun were delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, so the energy source remains decades away

2020 in review: Revenge of the Y2K bug as lazy fix takes down software

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
A lazy fix to the Y2K bug caused software issues when the date rolled over to 2020. Later this year, programmers also avoided a Y2038 bug, pushing the problem back to 2486

To recreate delicious meals, don’t treat recipes simply as algorithms

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
Recreating the delicious meals of my youth involves balancing the algorithms of online recipes against my recollection of watching my father cook, says Annalee Newitz

Does being around plants truly improve your happiness and well-being?

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
As a botanist, one of my closest-held beliefs is that plants improve the quality of my life, says James Wong. But does science back me up?

2020 in review: The year governments slapped down big tech

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
Around the world, governments are starting to push back against the power of big tech companies, forcing break ups and threatening fines

2020 in review: The countries that got covid-19 under control

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
While the coronavirus continues to rampage in many parts of the world, countries including China, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea are returning to normality

UK's official statisticians had concerns over covid-19 survey bias

Wednesday December 23rd, 2020 03:55:34 PM
The UK’s Office for National Statistics privately discussed concerns about the risk of its flagship covid-19 infection survey offering a biased picture of the country’s epidemic, documents show

Test caught just 3 per cent of students with covid-19 at UK university

Wednesday December 23rd, 2020 12:47:11 PM
Only 3 per cent of students infected with the coronavirus got a positive result from lateral flow tests offered at the University of Birmingham this month

2020 in review: How the coronavirus crisis unfolded month by month

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
What began as a handful of infections in China swiftly became a global pandemic that the world failed to contain

2020 in review: Extreme weather seen around the world as climate warms

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
Climate change is having a clear impact on the weather, as storms, floods and fires are all becoming more likely and records keep tumbling

NASA probe on Mars may feel the ground shake as rovers land in 2021

Tuesday December 22nd, 2020 07:00:31 AM
The landings of NASA’s Perseverance rover and China’s Tianwen-1 rover on Mars could be detected by seismometers already on the planet as part of the InSight mission

Together scientists can back Black Lives Matter and boost race justice

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
This year, scientists took action to support Black Lives Matter. Let 2021 be your year to advance race justice, says Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Weird radio beam probably isn’t aliens but it’s the best candidate yet

Monday December 21st, 2020 11:31:13 PM
The Breakthrough Listen project has found a strange beam of radio waves from Proxima Centauri, which is the team’s best candidate yet for an alien signal

People in the Mediterranean ate foods from Asia 3700 years ago

Monday December 21st, 2020 08:00:31 PM
People living in the Mediterranean may have been sampling South and East Asian cuisines as much as thousands of years earlier than previously thought

Nearly all land animal species could lose part of habitat by 2050

Monday December 21st, 2020 04:00:50 PM
If current agriculture growth continues, nearly 90 per cent of land animal species could lose some habitat by 2050. However, steps such as changing our eating habits could prevent almost all of the projected loss

57,000-year-old mummified wolf pup discovered in Canadian permafrost

Monday December 21st, 2020 04:00:10 PM
An incredibly well-preserved wolf pup thought to have lived 57,000 years ago was pulled out of the melting permafrost by a gold miner in Yukon, Canada

2020 in review: Coronavirus vaccines made in record time

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
It normally takes years to develop a new vaccine, but people are already being vaccinated against the coronavirus less than 12 months since covid-19 first emerged

As 2020 ends, vaccines give us a shot at returning to normal life

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
Hard yards still lie ahead when it comes to the coronavirus, but we can allow ourselves a rousing cheer for the tide of science that has brought us a vaccine

This year could come to be regarded as a turning point in history

Wednesday December 16th, 2020 06:00:00 PM
This momentous year could mark one of those rare moments when the old world order is swept away and something new, and hopefully better, emerges, says Graham Lawton

What you need to know about the new variant of coronavirus in the UK

Tuesday December 15th, 2020 05:59:15 PM
Christmas plans have been scrapped and borders closed amid fears of a faster spreading variant of the coronavirus in the UK. Here's what you need to know

Rosamund Kissi-Debrah: Clean air 'Ella's law' would honour her memory

Friday December 18th, 2020 02:41:24 PM
New Scientist spoke with Rosamund Kissi-Debrah to hear what she thought of the inquest that found air pollution had contributed to her daughter Ella's death, and what should happen next

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