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We must start publishing ethnicity data for covid-19 vaccinations

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

Covid-19 news: UK bans travel from South America over new variant

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

Dinosaur found in Argentina may be largest land animal ever

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

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

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

Fertilised eggs are set to be implanted in the two remaining northern white rhinos this year, with the hope of producing offspring

A Perfect Planet review: Attenborough's new show is one of his best

David Attenborough documentary A Perfect Planet blends earth science with dazzling images of flamingos, finches and frogs to reveal how natural forces have nurtured life

Lush meadows of underwater seagrass are removing plastic from the sea

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

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

Wind farm construction creates noise that may harm squid fisheries

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

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

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

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

CRISPR gene-editing urgently needs an off-switch – now we have one

Making changes to genes with CRISPR has the potential to cure diseases and feed the world, if we can learn to control it. Now it looks like viruses hold the solution

Second Spring review: A brave film about agency and cognitive decline

In Second Spring, an archaeologist who has developed a lesser-known form of dementia that alters her personality, unmasks her new life – to the dismay of friends and family

The superconductor breakthrough that could mean an energy revolution

We’ve finally made a room-temperature superconductor, so materials that transport electricity without wasting any of it are within our grasp

A series of jokes that work best out of order

Reading magazines back to front, plus where do all the teaspoons go and whether pyjamas affect productivity, in Feedback’s weird weekly round-up

Don’t Miss: CERN’s ALICE detector online ahead of V&A Alice show

New Scientist's weekly round-up of the best books, films, TV series, games and more that you shouldn’t miss

Stunning photo shows Virgo upgrade ready to hunt gravitational waves

This dazzling image shows the upgraded and more sensitive Advanced Virgo+ detector, which hunts for clues about the universe that are contained in gravitational waves

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

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

Podcast goes behind the scenes in the battle to mitigate wildfires

The podcast Life with Fire explores the wildfires a warming world will create – and why we need to involve everyone if we are going to learn how best to live with them

Assassin's Creed Valhalla review: Vikings marauders become nice

Vikings are rarely portrayed as a civilized people, but new game Assassin's Creed Valhalla has it both ways with people playing nice while still overrunning everything in sight, says Jacob Aron

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

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

Chemical that makes chilli peppers spicy boosts solar panel cells

Solar cells treated with capsaicin, the compound that makes chilli peppers taste spicy, are more efficient at converting solar energy

We’ve got intelligence all wrong – and that’s endangering our future

A narrow focus on IQ to determine success is depriving us of key decision-making smarts, as our faltering response to problems such as covid-19 and climate change shows

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Corals bleached from heat become less resilient to ocean acidification

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

Origins of human music linked to our ancestors’ daredevil behaviour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two children with cancer may have acquired tumour cells before birth

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

Why you should trust reindeer to pick stocks over politicians

Reindeers that invest in the stock market, plus belly buttons on the moon and the word game that hates you, in Feedback’s weird weekly round-up

Inside the fight to save the Great Barrier Reef from climate change

Our reporter, Donna Lu, joined the researchers who are attempting to regrow damaged parts of the Great Barrier Reef by collecting and incubating coral larvae

How every galaxy comes from quantum fluctuations billions of years ago

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

Five reasons the covid-19 pandemic has been such a nightmare

Humans have faced pandemics before, but some unusual features of covid-19 and modern society have conspired to create the perfect storm this time

iHuman review: Should we be afraid of a world run by AI?

Documentary iHuman is thoroughly committed to an apocalyptic view of society in which we are in thrall to artificially intelligent machines. That is its strength – and its weakness, says Simon Ings

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

The coronavirus is a riddle on many levels, but what we do know is that the time for underestimating it is over

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

Dozens of cities around the world already provide free public transport for their residents. Many other places should get on board, says Richard Webb

Don’t Miss: Sci-fi writer Adrian Tchaikovsky returns with Bear Head

New Scientist's weekly round-up of the best books, films, TV series, games and more that you shouldn’t miss

Brave New Planet review: A guide to future tech’s moral dilemmas

Emerging technology comes with both upsides and downsides that we need to understand. Podcast Brave New Planet is a great place to start

Plants that suck metals from the soil can be farmed to make our tech

Farms that grow metal-rich plants are cropping up around the world and promise a greener, less destructive alternative to mining for rare minerals

Huntsman spiders stitch leaves together to trap tree frogs

In Madagascar, huntsman spiders have been seen making traps out of overlapping leaves where tree frogs tend to hide, and then eating the frogs

CRISPR doubles lifespan of mice with rapid ageing disease progeria

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

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?

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

Low-carb diets: An easy way to lose weight or recipe for heart attack?

More people are cutting carbs and filling up on fat and protein to lose weight or get healthier – despite warnings about this boosting cholesterol. New Scientist investigates the true risks of low-carb life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Home baking frenzy inspires tissue scaffold for growing muscle

Irish soda bread appears to work as a scaffold for growing muscle and bone cells, and could eventually help in producing factory-grown meat

Koalas are being given birth control to fight overpopulation

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

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

A haul of more than 100 ancient human bones found in a cave in South Africa may belong to a previously undiscovered human species

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

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

Demis Hassabis interview: Our AI will unlock secrets of how life works

DeepMind's co-founder says artificial intelligence is set to crack many of the toughest problems in science, from the nature of life to nuclear fusion

The other superbugs: Killer fungi are the threat we need to act on now

We know too well the dangers of pandemic-causing viruses and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but deadly fungal infections that can shrug off our best treatments are on the rise too

Are there benefits to following a raw food diet?

Eating predominantly uncooked food is a fad that goes back hundreds of years, but not one we need to follow, writes James Wong

10 of the best sci-fi books that you should read in 2021

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor, The Expert System’s Champion by Adrian Tchaikovsky and The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers are exciting sci-fi books we're looking forward to in 2021

The best science books to read in 2021

From Bill Gates's How to Avoid a Climate Disaster to Chiara Marletto's revolutionary recasting of physics, The Science of Can and Can't, 2021 is a blockbuster year for popular science books

The best sci-fi films and science documentaries to watch in 2021

Films Top Gun: Maverick, Dune and Babylon, as well as TV documentaries about Greta Thunberg and Stephen Hawking are all due to be released in 2021

Everything we know about the universe – and a few things we don't

How big is the universe? What shape is it? How fast is it expanding? And when will it end? We answer these questions and more in our essential guide to the current state of cosmological knowledge

Mathematicians finally discover when your elevator will arrive

The maths of waiting for an elevator, plus the strange plan to melt the Arctic in Feedback’s weekly weird round-up

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

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: Three missions will make February 2021 the month of Mars

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

Major climate summits delayed in 2020 are back on in 2021, offering several big opportunities to confront the climate emergency

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

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

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

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

Scat scans: How lasers are teasing secrets from ancient poo

Coprolites, or fossilised faeces, have always been slippery customers. But now we can use X-rays to see inside them, they are yielding fresh insights into ancient ecosystems

Dr Dolittle machines: How AI is helping us talk to the animals

Pattern-seeking artificial intelligence promises a new way to decode animal languages from dog to whale. Our relationship with our furry and flippered friends may never be the same

2020 in review: Nuclear fusion power is slowly getting closer

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

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: Calls for universal basic income on the rise

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

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

Enthusiasm for trees as a way to mitigate climate change seems to have waned, as pledges to plant millions have fallen short this year