New Scientist - News
13 Nov 2016

New Scientist - News

  • ‘I’m more confident’: Paralysed woman’s life after brain implant
    Sat, 12 Nov 2016 21:00:19 +0000
    HB, who has ALS, is the first person to use a brain implant at home. Using electrodes placed under her skull, she is able to play games and communicate
  • First home brain implant lets ‘locked-in’ woman play games
    Sat, 12 Nov 2016 21:00:11 +0000
    After training on whack-a-mole and Pong, a woman paralysed by ALS has become the first person to use a brain implant at home, communicating by thought alone
  • Strict breastfeeding rules don’t work and can hurt young babies
    Mon, 07 Nov 2016 17:26:13 +0000
    Guidelines saying that mums should breastfeed exclusively for the first six months mean hospitals aren’t storing formula – which could be making babies ill
  • Huge lake discovered 15 kilometres under a volcano
    Fri, 04 Nov 2016 16:53:55 +0000
    The discovery of a vast reservoir of water – as big as the largest freshwater lakes – could help reveal how eruptions occur, and how continental crust forms
  • Robot surgeon can slice eyes finely enough to remove cataracts
    Fri, 04 Nov 2016 16:29:56 +0000
    The Axsis robot can manage the fine movements needed for cataract surgery. Its makers hope it will cut complications, and find uses in other parts of the body
  • Primal fear can blinker our decisions, even in elections
    Fri, 11 Nov 2016 17:32:08 +0000
    We evolved emotions like fear to keep us safe. But in today's world fear can lead us to rank small, personal risks over existential ones, say Dan Ariely and Vlad Chituc
  • Smallest sliver of time yet measured sees electrons fleeing atom
    Fri, 11 Nov 2016 17:06:57 +0000
    Ultrafast lasers have measured how long electrons take to be booted from a helium atom with zeptosecond precision – trillionths of a billionth of a second
  • Trump’s election stokes fears of future NSA surveillance abuses
    Fri, 11 Nov 2016 15:20:45 +0000
    When he takes office, Donald Trump will be handed the keys to the US – and a powerful suite of tools to spy on the people who live there
  • Here’s how Trump’s presidency could be good news for science
    Fri, 11 Nov 2016 12:55:23 +0000
    Donald Trump's campaign denied climate change and threatened healthcare, but his platform has a glimmer of hope when it comes to science and technology
  • Human rights squad detects abuse in warzone social media images
    Fri, 11 Nov 2016 10:56:14 +0000
    The internet is swamped with photos and videos from global conflicts. The Digital Verification Corps helps human rights investigators sift the evidence
  • Beagle Mars probe probably didn’t crash, new analysis shows
    Fri, 11 Nov 2016 10:55:18 +0000
    New research shows that the lander deployed at least three - perhaps all four - of its solar panels after touching down on the planet
  • Google DeepMind’s AI learns to play with physical objects
    Thu, 10 Nov 2016 18:09:25 +0000
    Experimenting with blocks is an important way for children to learn about the physical world. Now, artificial intelligence is doing the same
  • Sex and dentistry: I made a fellatio prosthetic for my mouth
    Mon, 07 Nov 2016 11:46:02 +0000
    Dentist-turned-artist Kuang-Yi Ku wants to change the way we think about medicine – and our mouths – with custom sex prosthetics. Frank Swain tried it out
  • Giggling rats reveal the most ticklish part of our brains
    Thu, 10 Nov 2016 19:00:57 +0000
    The neurons involved in the enjoyment of tickling have been discovered in rats, which emit ultrasonic squeals of delight when tickled on their belly or feet
  • UK red squirrels are carrying leprosy and have been for decades
    Thu, 10 Nov 2016 19:00:30 +0000
    A study of 110 squirrels found evidence of several strains of leprosy, including a type known to have infected people living in the same area 730 years ago
  • Trump wants to halt healthcare for 20 million poor US citizens
    Thu, 10 Nov 2016 18:30:51 +0000
    Vast swathes of the population will lose their medical insurance If the next president proceeds with plans to repeal Obama’s healthcare scheme
  • President Trump’s defence deals may spark a nuclear arms race
    Thu, 10 Nov 2016 18:08:59 +0000
    What happens when a grandiose narcissist gets the nuclear codes? The president-elect’s attitude to nukes could see their rise around the world
  • Using egg leftovers could double the number collected in IVF
    Thu, 10 Nov 2016 17:00:58 +0000
    Combining an egg's genetic leftovers with donor cells may be a way to double the number of eggs available for IVF in women whose ovarian reserve is running low
  • Food made from natural gas will soon feed farm animals – and us
    Thu, 10 Nov 2016 16:17:51 +0000
    The first big factory for turning natural gas directly into “dark food” for the animals we eat is about be built – a technology that could ease demand for land and water, but boost carbon emissions
  • Abortion could be made illegal in parts of Trump’s America
    Thu, 10 Nov 2016 15:59:40 +0000
    The next US president plans to overturn the country's long-standing nationwide provision for abortions, and if states are allowed to decide, many will opt for a ban
  • The psychology that explains how Trump’s divisive rhetoric won
    Thu, 10 Nov 2016 13:09:12 +0000
    How did Donald Trump's nationalist mantra that the US was becoming second-rate take such a strong hold in the American psyche, wonders Chris Simms
  • NHS does have the power to give HIV PrEP drug, say judges
    Thu, 10 Nov 2016 11:50:29 +0000
    NHS England has lost its appeal over whether it can commission a drug that reduces the risk of high-risk people contracting HIV by more than 90 per cent
  • We must take the poison out of the ‘shaken baby syndrome’ debate
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 18:00:00 +0000
    Miscarriages of justice will continue to follow the deaths of babies unless courts are given the best scientific evidence
  • Scouts and Guides grow up to have better mental health at age 50
    Thu, 10 Nov 2016 00:01:54 +0000
    Want to protect your child against anxiety and mood disorders? Attending Scouts or Guides – but not other volunteer or Church groups – seems to help
  • The sweet scent of plastic lures seabirds to a dangerous snack
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 19:00:19 +0000
    Plastic beads left to marinate in the ocean develop the same smell that some birds seek out when foraging for food
  • Hundreds more species than we thought might be endangered
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 19:00:20 +0000
    A survey suggests that 210 bird species are more threatened than we knew and it could be true of other animals, too
  • Forget Trump and Brexit, let’s all go live in the internet
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 18:00:00 +0000
    What if you could opt-in to another country’s laws without having to actually go anywhere? Welcome to the world of e-residency
  • Implants hack reflexes to let paralysed monkeys move their legs
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 18:00:00 +0000
    We only need our brains to initiate walking – our spines can take care of the rest. Now researchers have found a way to use this to reverse paralysis in monkeys
  • Dark energy could force the universe to gradually unzip itself
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 18:00:00 +0000
    If dark energy is changing at different rates across the universe, that could force the universe to end in a “Little Rip” - eventually
  • I watched a rover search for ancient life on Mars – I mean, Utah
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 17:58:09 +0000
    The UK Space Agency is test-driving the hunt for life on Mars by remotely operating a rover in the US and beaming back data from its search
  • A new world order is defying the science of polling – what now?
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 17:16:00 +0000
    Pollsters who said a Trump victory and Brexit were unlikely need to start counting the voices of newly engaged voters
  • Tiny fingertip camera helps blind people read without braille
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 17:11:50 +0000
    Nicknamed HandSight, the wearable device uses a tiny camera worn on the fingertip to translate text to speech as users hover over words on a page
  • Evidence of ‘shaken baby’ questioned by controversial study
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 16:45:00 +0000
    A review has determined that a trio of head injuries that have played a crucial role in securing convictions in court aren’t always evidence of child abuse
  • Inside the weirdly calming world of farming and truck simulators
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 16:32:13 +0000
    Farming Simulator 17 is the latest game in a series that has an army of dedicated fans who play it to help them relax
  • President Trump means we can’t escape a dangerously warmer world
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 15:42:35 +0000
    Whatever other countries say, the tenuous Paris climate change agreement has been dealt a very serious blow
  • A pause in growth rate of atmospheric CO2 is over – here’s why
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 15:39:56 +0000
    Confused by headlines about a pause in carbon dioxide growth? This is what’s really going on
  • An excess of honour could help explain the appeal of Trump
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 14:00:00 +0000
    The same culture that drives honour killings in Pakistan and elsewhere could be a powerful but hidden factor in US politics
  • Trump could land fatal blow to the fight against climate change
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 12:18:21 +0000
    A Donald Trump presidency is poised to disrupt the fight against climate change in a way that threatens to snuff out all hope, warns Matthew Nisbet
  • Islands in the sky used as Noah’s ark for threatened plants
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 12:00:52 +0000
    An experiment in Melbourne, Australia, shows that the recent vogue for rooftop gardens could have real ecological benefits
  • Speedy bat flies at 160km/h, smashing bird speed record
    Wed, 09 Nov 2016 00:01:14 +0000
    Brazilian free-tailed bats may have snatched the title for the fastest muscle-powered flight, outpacing even the record-holding common swift
  • Humans have purged the bad genes from our Neanderthal hook-ups
    Tue, 08 Nov 2016 19:01:45 +0000
    Early modern humans interbred with Neanderthals, but thanks to our bigger population evolution has purged out many of the deleterious genes we acquired this way
  • Every 50 cigarettes smoked cause one DNA mutation per lung cell
    Thu, 03 Nov 2016 18:00:38 +0000
    We can now precisely count how many cancer-related DNA mutations accumulate in smokers’ organs over time
  • ExoMars crash must not mean abandoning next Red Planet rover
    Tue, 08 Nov 2016 18:09:03 +0000
    A critical point looms for Europe's life-hunting Mars rover after its test lander crashed. It must roll on, say astrobiologists Dirk Schulze-Makuch and Alberto Fairn
  • Face electrodes let you taste and chew in virtual reality
    Fri, 04 Nov 2016 10:56:52 +0000
    Electronics that stimulate your sense of taste and texture mean you can taste and chew without any food – or give real dishes more bite
  • Exoplanet hunters are missing 75 per cent of two-star worlds
    Tue, 08 Nov 2016 16:07:41 +0000
    Planets orbiting binary stars have a weird whirling geometry, meaning they don't pass in front of their stars once every orbit - but we're figuring out how to find them
  • A wind turbine’s swish may annoy, but it’s not hurting anyone
    Tue, 08 Nov 2016 14:21:36 +0000
    Fresh calls to shut “noisy” wind farms should be dismissed given the lack of evidence of harm to health and the need for renewable power, says James Randerson
  • Hundreds choked in Iraq as toxic smoke sweeps across Mosul
    Tue, 08 Nov 2016 13:16:31 +0000
    Fumes from oil wells and a sulphur plant set ablaze by retreating ISIS fighters pose serious threat to public health as battle for last militant stronghold rages
  • Controversial India-Japan nuclear deal to be signed this week
    Tue, 08 Nov 2016 11:52:42 +0000
    Under a deal expected to be signed on Friday, Japan can supply nuclear technology to India, which is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty
  • Classic quantum experiment could conceal theory of everything
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 18:00:00 +0000
    A tweak to the iconic double-slit experiment could reveal if quantum mechanics is incomplete, and maybe lead to a theory of quantum gravity
  • The perfect cybercrime: selling fake followers to fake people
    Mon, 07 Nov 2016 17:52:26 +0000
    A new botnet hacks the internet of things for a novel end: making social media accounts to sell as followers to people desperate for online popularity
  • Pirate Party: We want our reputation to be more like Robin Hood
    Mon, 07 Nov 2016 17:42:02 +0000
    Birgitta Jnsdttir, leader of the Icelandic Pirate Party, says privacy is more important than we realise, and wants to give more power to the people
  • Middle-aged bonobos need reading glasses to groom their friends
    Mon, 07 Nov 2016 17:00:38 +0000
    The eyesight of older bonobos appears to deteriorate at almost the same rate as in humans, implying that it’s a natural process, not lifestyle-related
  • Massive sea lizards once hunted plesiosaurs in Antarctica
    Mon, 07 Nov 2016 14:39:41 +0000
    The mosasaur, a huge marine lizard with fearsome jaws and paddle-like limbs, lived 66 million years ago when Antarctica was much warmer than it is today
  • Laser probe lets brain surgeons identify cancer cells with sound
    Mon, 07 Nov 2016 12:58:41 +0000
    It can be hard to see which cells are malignant and which are healthy during an operation – it may be easier to hear the difference
  • Plants ‘see’ underground by channelling light to their roots
    Tue, 01 Nov 2016 18:00:54 +0000
    Roots of many plants have light receptors, and now we may have discovered why. They seem to channel light underground using stems as fibre-optic cables
  • Make America whole again: how the US can heal its political rift
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 18:00:00 +0000
    The US presidential election is almost over, but the divide between conservatives and liberals will remain after the vote. Whoever wins, can the country make up?
  • Carbon nanotubes turn spinach plants into a living bomb detector
    Mon, 31 Oct 2016 16:00:39 +0000
    Spinach plants with added nanotubes can detect explosive molecules in the soil around them and raise the alarm
  • Time to end the damaging battle over chronic fatigue syndrome
    Fri, 04 Nov 2016 15:12:25 +0000
    All those interested in progress on helping those with CFS should unite in the push to find therapies, be they behavioural or biomedical, says Esther Crawley
  • Trials planned for GM superwheat that boosts harvest by 20%
    Fri, 04 Nov 2016 11:30:54 +0000
    Biologists are applying to carry out UK field trials of a genetically modified wheat that has performed stunningly well in greenhouse trials
  • Mickey Mouse ears may explain universe’s biggest explosions
    Fri, 04 Nov 2016 11:24:33 +0000
    About a third of supernova remnants have bulging protuberances called "ears" - and these cute features could be key to understanding how supernovae are detonated
  • A huge problem still lurks at the heart of Paris climate deal
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 18:00:00 +0000
    As the Paris climate deal becomes legally binding, the world must stop pinning hopes on negative emissions technology, say Kevin Anderson and Glen Peters
  • If you value science, there’s only one way to vote on 8 November
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 18:00:00 +0000
    Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump really deserves to win the White House, but one really deserves to lose
  • Binge-watching videos teaches computers to recognise sounds
    Thu, 03 Nov 2016 17:27:10 +0000
    A computer model watched over two million internet videos and can now accurately identifynoises such as door knocks, dog barks, snoring and toilet flushes
  • China’s Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket takes first flight
    Thu, 03 Nov 2016 16:15:13 +0000
    The Long March 5 heavy-lift rocket blasted off from China's southern coast at 8:43 pm Beijing time, marking another milestone on the nation's road to building its own space station
  • Ebola rapidly evolves to be more transmissible and deadlier
    Thu, 03 Nov 2016 16:00:46 +0000
    The last Ebola epidemic was the worst ever. But it seems the virusquickly learns to spread more readily, which may make the next outbreak even harder to stop
  • Could Facebook posts skew your life? It’s already happening
    Thu, 03 Nov 2016 15:47:43 +0000
    An insurance firm has pulled plans to set premiums based on customers' Facebook activity, but the basic idea is not going away, says Aviva Rutkin
  • As US election looms, time is ripe for a new science of polling
    Thu, 03 Nov 2016 14:39:35 +0000
    Growing scepticism about traditional methods for predicting election outcomes is fuelling a search for a more scientific approach to polling, says Vuk Vukovic
  • Pasta spirals link neutron stars and the machinery of your cells
    Thu, 03 Nov 2016 14:07:34 +0000
    A balancing act between forces forms similar structures inside cells and dense stellar corpses, suggesting links between astrophysics and life on Earth
  • World is set to warm 3.4C by 2100 even with Paris climate deal
    Thu, 03 Nov 2016 11:31:00 +0000
    Without swift reductions in emissions we’re set to warm the planet much more than safe levels and way beyond what nations have agreed through UN’s climate deal
  • Bees collect honeydew from bugs before spring blossoms arrive
    Thu, 03 Nov 2016 08:00:06 +0000
    In the absence of nectar, bees get by on the sweet secretions of other insects — but they still need flowers for their protein-laden pollen
  • We must do more to stop air strikes on Aleppo’s hospitals
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 18:00:00 +0000
    The bombing of hospitals in rebel-held parts of the Syrian city is deepening a desperate health crisis, warns aid worker Pablo Marco
  • How lack of oxygen makes bacteria cause acne and how to stop it
    Fri, 28 Oct 2016 18:00:29 +0000
    When deprived of oxygen, harmless bacteria on the skin can turn nasty, triggering inflammation and pimples – a discovery that makes a new treatment look likely
  • Desert lizard can sip water from sand through its feet and back
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 22:00:09 +0000
    No water in sight? No worries, if you're a thorny devil: you just cover yourself in soggy sand and water starts flowing to your mouth
  • First Australians ate megafauna and used nets for hunting
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 18:00:00 +0000
    Evidence of advanced tools and art found 200km away from the coast shows first humans conquered inner Australia 10,000 years earlier than thought
  • Drug that stops brain plaques may show if they cause Alzheimer’s
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 18:00:56 +0000
    A drug has been shown to switch off plaque production in the brain harmlessly, but trial results due next summer might revealif this halts disease
  • A bit of disgust can change how confident you feel
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 17:00:00 +0000
    Your heart speeds up after seeing a face of disgust and can make you more – or less – confident, a discovery that could lead to treatments for anxiety
  • What is it like to be a bot? The strange world of telerobotics
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 16:16:14 +0000
    Telepresence technology may soon give us new insight into one of philosophy's most intriguing questions
  • Don’t let sugary science skew the battle to regulate junk food
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 14:12:57 +0000
    Upbeat, industry-backed research that casts doubt on the health impact of sugary drinks should be treated as lobbying against regulation, says David Miller
  • Court orders UK to take urgent action to reduce air pollution
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 11:21:43 +0000
    The government must clean up Britain’s air as soon as possible as its current plan fails to comply with the relevant laws, the High Court in London ruled today.
  • Sword-slashing sailfish hint at origins of cooperative hunting
    Wed, 02 Nov 2016 00:01:10 +0000
    A simple form of group hunting which sees sailfish seemingly cooperate to injure prey that others then finish off and eat is more rewarding than going it alone
  • Male contraceptive injection works – but side effects halt trial
    Thu, 27 Oct 2016 18:00:00 +0000
    The injection was effective in nearly 96 per cent of couples, but researchers have voiced concerns overside effects including depression, muscle pain, acne and increased libido
  • Glasses make face recognition tech think you’re Milla Jovovich
    Tue, 01 Nov 2016 16:06:57 +0000
    Printing bespoke tortoiseshell designs onto a pair of glasses tricks a face recognition system into identifying the wearer as a celeb
  • Google’s neural networks invent their own encryption
    Wed, 26 Oct 2016 15:16:44 +0000
    Using machine learning, computers have come up with codes that let them send secret messages to each other – but they’re still a long way off humans
  • Physics tweak solves five of the biggest problems in one go
    Thu, 27 Oct 2016 08:00:06 +0000
    Adding six particles to the standard model of particle physics explains dark matter, neutrino oscillations, baryogenesis, inflation and the strong CP problem
  • Man or mouse? Why drug research has taken the wrong turning
    Wed, 26 Oct 2016 18:00:00 +0000
    Drug research has got so hooked on working with genetically modified animals that it has lost touch with human disease
  • Knowing doctors’ death rates can’t help you avoid a bad surgeon
    Mon, 31 Oct 2016 23:30:44 +0000
    You might think publishing surgeons’ death rates helps you pick the best one, but the data isn’t statistically powerful enough to reveal which doctors are bad
  • Extreme weather is behind record lows in butterfly populations
    Mon, 31 Oct 2016 12:13:19 +0000
    Heat waves, cold snaps, and heavy rain may be behind a collapse in many butterfly populations in the UK
  • Space telescope duo will showcase the solar system in 3D
    Mon, 31 Oct 2016 10:31:28 +0000
    From 2019 to 2021, the Hubble and James Webb telescopes will share the sky, enabling us to see the best 3D images and movies of our celestial neighbourhood ever
  • Lightbulb made of modified E. coli fuses biology and electronics
    Fri, 28 Oct 2016 17:08:08 +0000
    A team from the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition has made an electronic circuit with biological components using modified bacteria
  • Honeycomb-shaped streets would stop traffic from getting sticky
    Fri, 28 Oct 2016 15:21:26 +0000
    A mathematical model suggests that designing cities with three-pronged intersections could cut congestion – but might increase the risk of getting lost
  • Pirate party prepares for first major win in Iceland elections
    Fri, 28 Oct 2016 13:39:54 +0000
    Polls show that the anti-establishment Pirate Party, which calls for direct democracy and greater transparency, could sweep to power in elections on Saturday
  • Uber loses tribunal as court rules drivers are ‘workers’
    Fri, 28 Oct 2016 13:45:16 +0000
    The outcome of the case brought by two drivers could have huge implications for more than 30,000 drivers across England and Wales
  • Climate campaigners should have the right to sue governments
    Fri, 28 Oct 2016 13:13:51 +0000
    The Australian government wants to stop environmental groups using the courts to halt carbon-belching projects, but we all deserve to be heard, says Alice Klein
  • Last-ditch effort to save the world’s smallest porpoise agreed
    Fri, 28 Oct 2016 12:56:38 +0000
    Critically endangered vaquitas are set for greater protection and Japan’s “scientific” whaling faces scrutiny thanks to international agreements  
  • Fruity or fermented? Algorithm predicts how molecules smell
    Fri, 28 Oct 2016 12:00:15 +0000
    A centuries-old challenge has been solved: using a molecule's structure to predict its odour. The discovery could ease the way we create perfumes and flavours
  • Video games become political as US election looms
    Fri, 28 Oct 2016 12:00:32 +0000
    From Donald Trump-based indie games to mainstream titles that challenge political views, video games are more politically charged than ever
  • Your home’s online gadgets could be hacked by ultrasound
    Fri, 28 Oct 2016 10:30:15 +0000
    Devices can now communicate with each other via ultrasound, as the Internet of Things reaches the next level – but experts warn of security risks
  • World’s largest marine reserve agreed for Antarctica’s Ross Sea
    Fri, 28 Oct 2016 09:56:08 +0000
    The reserve will kick in at the end of 2017 and ban fishing in most of its area, protecting a host of species living in Antarctic waters
  • Fish swims to the same nest each year just like migrating birds
    Fri, 28 Oct 2016 07:00:25 +0000
    Is it a bird? No, it’s a fish. The shanny returns home to the same nest every year, where it tends to its eggs before they hatch
  • Bump hiding in 20-year-old data could be undiscovered particle
    Thu, 27 Oct 2016 16:24:26 +0000
    After re-analysing millions of particle decays in an old physics experiment, one physicist has found a tantalising bump that could signal a new particle