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Don’t Look Up: Could we save Earth from a comet in just six months?

Astrophysicists calculate that we could use nuclear devices to stop a “planet killer” from colliding with Earth in a scenario like the one in the film

We 'click' better with others when conversations flow more quickly

The more quickly people respond to each other during a conversation, the more likely they are to feel in sync

Bacteria survive extremes that may have existed in ancient Mars lakes

Microorganisms have adapted to one of the harshest environments on Earth, a sulphurous and acidic lake that is considered an analogue to ancient lakes on Mars

Migrating birds may use slope of Earth’s magnetic field as ‘stop sign’

Eurasian reed warblers migrate to sub-Saharan Africa each year – and they seem to use the slope of Earth’s magnetic field to judge when they have reached their European breeding grounds

Hibernating ground squirrels recycle urine to maintain their muscles

Hibernating animals find it hard to get the nitrogen they need to maintain muscles – but ground squirrels have gut microbes that can break down urea to free up the nitrogen it contains

UK's rapid covid-19 drug delivery is helping protect vulnerable people

A network of clinics has been set up to give treatments to people who are extremely vulnerable to the coronavirus soon after they have a positive test

What does Google's new cookie replacement mean for online privacy?

Google has a new plan to replace cookies, the files that track us when we browse the internet, but it is controversial with advertisers and privacy campaigners

Covid-19 news: Third wave sees continued ethnic disparities in deaths

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

Fix the Planet newsletter: Why planes need a battery breakthrough

As people begin to return to flying, we look at one potential long-term fix for cutting aviation emissions: battery-powered planes

Whiteflies have acquired dozens of genes from plants they eat

A major crop pest has 50 genes that appear to originate from plants, and it might use them to detoxify plants’ chemical defences

Strange gravitational wave echoes may let us probe dark matter

When gravitational waves pass over massive objects, they should create an echo that could allow us to examine objects that we can’t otherwise see, including dark matter

Vitamin D supplements really do reduce risk of autoimmune disease

It has long been suspected that vitamin D could help reduce the risk of developing an autoimmune disease, and now we have evidence this is the case – at least for people over 50

Rare intergalactic supernova may have been seen outside the Milky Way

A ring-shaped object 160,000 light years away may be the first intergalactic supernova remnant ever observed

Cancer drug could one day help cure HIV by waking up dormant viruses

An existing cancer drug has been found to also wake up dormant HIV, and it could eventually work with an HIV medicine in a "kick and kill" strategy

Frogs regrow amputated legs after treatment with a chemical cocktail

Adult frogs can’t usually regrow a lost leg, but they can after treatment with a regenerative cocktail – and the new leg even contains functioning nerves

Electric wound dressing could help injuries heal faster

Electric fields have previously been shown to speed up wound healing, so researchers have created a dressing powered by static electricity

Robot performs keyhole surgery on pigs with little help from doctors

An autonomous surgical robot joined sections of intestine together inside the abdominal cavities of live pigs, with limited intervention from human surgeons

Control review: The troubling past, present and future of eugenics

In Control, Geneticist Adam Rutherford argues that eugenics isn’t just a horrific mistake from the past, but an ongoing threat and that we must stay alert to its dangers

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Lithium fields: Beautiful from the air, trouble on the ground

The vivid swathes of minerals in this lithium extraction field, photographed by Tom Hegen, make for a dazzling sight but also represent a worrying aspect of our electrifying world

The company that wants to fight covid-19 with vibrations

A company seeking alternative covid-19 treatments has a surprising backer, plus bad news on alcohol and more on falling toast, in Feedback’s weekly musings

David Chalmers interview: Virtual reality is as real as real reality

Philosopher David Chalmers explains how virtual worlds shed light on questions such as what is reality and are we living in a simulation, and explores what corporate metaverses mean for humanity

A Brief History of Timekeeping: A new book explores how we mark time

Physicist Chad Orzel’s new book is an enthusiastic romp through the history of our species’ love of clocks and calendars

Pollution is the forgotten global crisis and we need to tackle it now

The problem of pollution is on a par with climate change and biodiversity loss. We need an international body to help us deal with it, says Graham Lawton

How our environment is making us sick – and what we can do about it

From air pollutants to pesticides in food and cosmetic additives, modern life means constant exposure to environmental chemicals. Picking apart the effects will help us boost the health of humans and the planet

A strange object in space is blasting out radio waves every 18 minutes

Something extraordinarily bright in space is pulsing far slower than most similar cosmic objects, and it may be a strange type of neutron star that we have never seen before

A tiny change to an inner ear bone led bats to evolve into two groups

The two major groups of bats diverged tens of millions of years ago, and the main difference between them lies in a tiny inner ear bone

We are finally beginning to understand migraines and how to treat them

After 40 years of research, scientists have uncovered what happens in the brain during a migraine and developed promising new drugs to tackle the condition. Here’s what we now know – and what still remains unanswered

160,000-year-old fossil may be the first Denisovan skull we've found

A partial skull from China represents the earliest human with a “modern” brain size. It could represent an unknown group of ancient humans, or perhaps one of the enigmatic Denisovans

School teachers unsure of best way to ventilate rooms in cold weather

As school absences soar in England because of covid-19 – and classroom mask-wearing guidelines are lifted – many teachers aren't sure how best to improve ventilation amid winter temperatures

How much more contagious could the coronavirus get?

The coronavirus is evolving to become more transmissible, and eventually it could even overtake measles, the most contagious virus we know of

Some bee colonies have to kill thousands of ‘selfish’ wannabe queens

About one-fifth of all Melipona beecheii stingless bee larvae develop as queens, but the colony accepts only one – the rest are executed by worker guards

AI can spot wounded wild animals and poachers in camera trap footage

An AI designed to detect bed sores in digital images has been used to identify wounded animals in camera trap footage, and can also detect poachers

Microbes survive deep below the seafloor at temperatures up to 120°C

It was thought that microbes in sediments beneath the seafloor died above 80°C, but scientists have found some that can survive up to 120°C and possibly higher temperatures

Quantum computers are a million times too small to hack bitcoin

Bitcoin is theoretically vulnerable to being cracked by quantum computers, but calculations show they would need to be a million times larger than those that exist today

Health check newsletter: England lets covid-19 rip: What happens next?

As covid restrictions are relaxed in the UK, we look at how these new policies could play out

Geologists to pinpoint official birthplace of the Anthropocene in 2022

Whether we are in a new geological epoch is still up for debate, but geologists have almost decided where on Earth should be the official birthplace of the Anthropocene

The James Webb Space Telescope has arrived at its final destination

After a month of travelling through space, the James Webb Space Telescope has reached its parking spot 1.5 million kilometres from Earth

Giving low-income US families $4000 a year boosts child brain activity

Poverty has been linked with changes in child brain development, and a scheme to give $333 a month to low-income families improved brain activity in a child’s first year

Meta is building the world's largest AI-specific supercomputer

Facebook’s owner wants extraordinary computing power to develop AI models to recognise speech, translate languages and power 3D worlds

Mars 'lake' may actually be volcanic rocks buried beneath the ice cap

Radar images of Mars’s southern ice cap indicated that there could be a lake there – but a new set of simulations hints that it could be volcanic rock instead

Human and robot chemists work better together than alone

A new system helps labs determine the most efficient way to produce target molecules by utilising the strengths of humans and robots

Is it time for Western Australia to open up and let covid-19 in?

Western Australia, which has remained largely covid-free, has cancelled its border reopening due to omicron fears, but there may be little to gain by holding out longer

Infrared goggles and vibrating armband help people who are blind ‘see’

An array of vibrating pads can convey a low-resolution image of a location to help people who are blind navigate

The UK still won't say how much CO2 its Net Zero Strategy will save

For the third time, the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has refused a request to release key details about its Net Zero Strategy

Covid-19 brain fog: What we know about lingering neurological effects

Growing evidence suggests neurological symptoms of long covid, such as brain fog, are caused by an immune reaction – and should be reversible

Babies can tell who's closely related from whether they share saliva

Infants and toddlers seem to expect people who exchange saliva, for example by taking bites of the same food, to be close enough to comfort each other if one gets upset

Elephant’s trunk may be one of most sensitive body parts of any animal

The bundle of nerves that controls the elephant’s trunk contains 400,000 neurons – a lot more than we expected – suggesting the trunk is incredibly sensitive

It’s official – we don’t know how fast the universe is expanding

The Hubble constant describes how fast the universe is expanding, but our measurements won’t line up, which may mean our standard model of the universe is wrong

Fix the Planet newsletter: The weird and wonderful rivals to batteries

As Scotland announces the building of 17 enormous wind farms off its coast, we look at the novel solutions for storing the electricity they will produce

Genetically modified pig kidneys transplanted into a brain-dead person

In an experiment paving the way for clinical trials, two pig kidneys produced urine for 77 hours after transplantation into the body of a man who was brain dead

Pristine coral reef discovered in deep water off the coast of Tahiti

A spectacular coral reef has been found between 35 and 70 metres below sea level near Tahiti, and it seems to be in good health despite the global biodiversity crisis

Antibiotic resistance killed more people than malaria or AIDS in 2019

About 1.3 million deaths were directly caused by drug-resistant bacterial infections in 2019, a global study estimates

Gene-edited food is 5 years away in England, says government scientist

The UK parliament passed a law to help researchers do trials of gene-edited crops in England, and the chief scientist at the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says it would take at least five years for a product to go from research trials to market

Artificial pancreas is 'life-changing' for children with diabetes

An app that wirelessly links to an implanted glucose sensor and insulin pump can automatically regulate blood sugar levels in children better than the current standard therapy

Antibody imaging technique could make it faster to develop vaccines

A new imaging approach monitors antibody responses to vaccines more quickly than current techniques, which could accelerate vaccine design

Yutu-2 lunar rover finds sticky soil on the far side of the moon

We haven’t been able to take a close-up look at the far side of the moon until now, and the discoveries being made by the Yutu-2 rover might prove important for future missions

Station Eleven review: An uplifting vision of a post-pandemic world

A TV adaptation of the hit 2014 novel by Emily St John Mandel shows that culture and humanity can survive even the collapse of civilisation

Toxic chemicals are everywhere in our daily lives – can we avoid them?

Food and household goods are covered in jargon about the chemicals they do or don't contain, but seeing through the labelling is harder than you might think, says Anna Turns

Is Pluto a planet? The Spanish government's tax portal says it is

An online security test stumbles upon a fierce debate, plus loud and inebriated birds, in Feedback’s weekly round-up

How to perfectly pickle your cucumbers

Pickling is a delicious way to beat the microbes that would otherwise spoil your food, says Sam Wong

Leigh Fletcher interview: Why we urgently need a mission to Neptune

To understand the secrets of the most common type of planet in our galaxy, we need to explore ice giants Neptune and Uranus. But we must act now or wait decades for another launch window, says planetary scientist Leigh Fletcher

What really makes people happy – and can you learn to be happier?

Our life satisfaction is shaped by many things including our genes and relative wealth, but there is now good evidence that you can boost your basic happiness with these key psychological strategies

How does the sun shine? Here's why we are still a little in the dark

The basics of how fusion works inside stars like the sun is more complicated than it is sometimes portrayed. We shouldn't be surprised that the details are imperfectly understood, writes Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

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Hard to Be a God: An 80s classic shows modern sci-fi how it’s done

An upbeat yet moving tale shows how hardship shapes us for the better, and how even utopia has its drawbacks, says Simon Ings

Science is increasingly revealing how we can boost our happiness

We now have a good idea what can make individuals and society happier – countries should use this information to emerge from coronavirus lockdowns and build back not just better, but happier

Otherlands review: A fascinating journey through Earth's history

In Otherlands, palaeobiologist Thomas Halliday uses a mix of science and imagination to show us the weird and wonderful landscapes and life forms of the early Earth

Fascinating objects illuminate the European Space Agency's history

From synthetic bone to quick-change spacesuits, the diverse fruits of ESA's space exploration make for a fabulous online photographic collection, ESA ESTEC in 99 Objects

Svalbard glacier ice loss projected to roughly double by 2100

Unearthing archive photos of the Norwegian archipelago's glaciers enabled researchers to reconstruct past melting and project ice mass loss under future climate change

Weird black hole spewed star-forming jets 500 light years long

Black holes located in dwarf galaxies usually stop star formation, but now one has been seen seeding new stars through a huge plume of ionised gas

UK companies could face fines for failing to patch Log4j vulnerability

A security flaw discovered in December 2021 makes private data vulnerable to hackers – and the UK government could take action against firms that fail to fix it

The happiness revolution: How to boost the well-being of society

We now know that economic growth doesn’t necessarily translate into greater well-being. A closer look at Nordic countries such as Finland reveals surprising truths about what really makes a happy society and how other governments can emulate their success

Climate change made the past 7 years the warmest on record

The World Meteorological Organization finds 2021 was the seventh hottest to date, at 1.11°C above pre-industrial levels  

Dinosaur ancestor of long-necked Diplodocus ran swiftly on two legs

The gigantic and slow sauropod dinosaurs like Diplodocus had small two-legged ancestors – and one, Thecodontosaurus, was quick and nimble

Air pollution makes it harder for pollinators to find plants

Levels of nitrogen oxides and ozone on a par with average concentrations next to major UK roads led to a reduction in the number of pollinators counted on the crops by up to 70 per cent

New-to-science tarantula that lives inside bamboo found by YouTuber

A species of tarantula seems to live exclusively inside hollow bamboo stems, which no other tarantula is known to do

Will 5G mobile networks in the US really interfere with aircraft?

US telecoms companies plan to turn on 5G networks across the US, but airline bosses warn that potential interference with planes could cause a "catastrophic" crisis

Phage therapies for superbug infections are being tested in Belgium

Bacteria-killing viruses can be used to treat antibiotic-resistant superbugs, and the approach has been tried in more than 100 people in Belgium since a 2019 change in regulations

Living with covid: How can the pandemic end and what will it be like?

For some, the phrase “living with covid” means removing all restrictions - and this could soon happen in England. But the actions countries take now will determine how many more people die of covid and whether we’re doomed to keep chasing new variants

First fully programmable quantum computer based on neutral atoms

Most quantum computers are based on superconductors or trapped ions, but an alternative approach using ordinary atoms may have advantages

AI learns to create images from text descriptions by destroying data

A fresh approach to generating images based on text descriptions with AI, called a diffusion model, effectively un-destroys new images into existence

Ancient Mars may have had a liquid ocean despite freezing temperatures

A model based on Earth’s oceans and atmosphere explains how Mars could have been cold and wet 3 billion years ago

Unknown voices spark more brain activity in sleep than familiar ones

Unfamiliar voices seem to put the sleeping brain on alert in a way that familiar voices don’t

Ozone pollution causes $63 billion damage per year to East Asian crops

Rising levels of ground-level ozone in China and nearby countries are having a big effect on the yields of staple crops such as wheat, rice and maize

Edible straws made by bacteria are better than paper or plastic ones

Plastic straws are increasingly being avoided for both health and environmental reasons, but the alternatives all have their downsides – until now

Volcano eruption in Tonga was a once-in-a-millennium event

The underwater Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai eruption has already triggered a tsunami, a sonic boom and thousands of lightning bolts, and could now lead to acid rain

Hybrid animal in 4500-year-old tomb is earliest known bred by humans

Early Bronze Age people in Syria crossed donkeys with wild asses to make prized horse-like hybrids, demonstrating advanced understanding of animal breeding

Flu vaccines during pregnancy protect babies for 6 months after birth

Evidence shows that getting a flu jab during pregnancy provides substantial protection to young babies, but uptake in many countries is still concerningly low

UK energy crisis: Why renewable subsidies will help avoid price shocks

A new milestone this week points to how these environmental levies are more likely the solution, not the problem, when it comes to avoiding energy price shocks

Why omicron isn't more severe in kids despite rise in hospitalisations

Reassuring findings from the UK and South Africa suggest that omicron isn't more severe in kids. Record numbers of hospitalisations probably reflect sheer number of cases and lack of vaccination

Robot piloted by a ball of algae is powered by photosynthesis

By placing a marimo, a naturally forming ball of algae, inside a plastic shell, researchers have created a robot that can move through water powered only by photosynthesis

What endemic means - and why covid-19 is nowhere near it yet

The term "endemic" usually means that an infection is stable, not that it is less deadly or that protective measures are no longer required. With the omicron variant surging, covid-19 is unlikely to become endemic soon

How to alter your personality: why your character isn't fixed in stone

Traits like conscientiousness or extroversion might seem to define your character, but these aren't set in stone and new research reveals how anyone can change their personality - if they really want to

Goliath review: Tourism to a ruined Earth explores the idea of home

Space colonies offer rich people a way off a broken Earth in Tochi Onyebuchi's latest sci-fi novel, but the pull of home is a powerful force, says Sally Adee

Advances in physics may seem abstract at first but tech often follows

Hints of a fifth force of nature may only interest researchers and science lovers for now, but physics breakthroughs have a habit of delivering technological leaps

Help discover the origins of meteor showers by spotting shooting stars

Meteor showers leave clues to their origin in their wake and you can help astronomers unravel the mystery by taking part in the Radio Meteor Zoo project, says Layal Liverpool

Why everyone should learn some sign language

Sign languages are flourishing in many parts of the world. This could bring cognitive benefits for all who learn them, says Bencie Woll

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Marie Paulze Lavoisier

French chemist and noblewoman