NewScientist : News (69)

'Alien megastructure' star may host Saturn-like exoplanet

Rather than being caused by extraterrestrial construction, the bizarre dimming of Tabby's star could instead be due to a closely orbiting, ringed planet

Why aren't we testing whether planes can survive a drone crash?

It is time to fire a drone into a jet engine to properly assess the safety threat they pose to airliners, says Paul Marks

Bacterial optical fibre helps shine lasers through murky waters

Normally lasers cannot penetrate very far through murky liquids. Bacteria can act as a lens to boost their range, which could be used to aid medical diagnoses

Newborn babies already have a sense of how numbers work

Do you think of smaller numbers being on the left of larger ones? Even two-day-old babies may think this way, suggesting we're born with mental number lines

I watched the eclipse with scientists hunting the sun's secrets

Leah Crane joined solar researchers to watch yesterday's eclipse, a rare chance to look at a scorching ring of space around the sun that we can almost never see

China's quantum submarine detector could seal South China Sea

A major advance in SQUIDs, quantum devices that measure magnetic fields, could allow China to detect submarines at longer range than anyone else

The push for UK fracking may be 55 million years too late

Cuadrilla is pressing ahead with a project to drill for shale gas in Lancashire, but a geologist thinks plans for industrial-scale fracking may be doomed

Scanning your brain can predict what will happen in the future

Can neuroforecasting predict the next election result or market crash? Analysing activity in a part of our brain can predict things that haven't happened yet

Atomic assembly lines are a small victory for chemists

Chemists are about to realise their ultimate goal – precise control of the building blocks of matter

Low-calorie pizza and burgers won't fix our child obesity crisis

The latest push to tackle growing waistlines among England's children is a call to cut calories in junk food. It won't work wonders, warns Tom Sanders

Antarctic mystery microbe could tell us where viruses came from

Viruses are not like other organisms and nobody is quite sure where they originated, but a newly discovered single-celled organism seems to offer a clue

It could be snowing on Mars right now

The Red Planet may have had intense snowstorms long ago when it was wetter, but a model shows it could still have violent snowfall at night when the clouds cool

Solving how fish swim so well may help design underwater robots

Trout, dolphins and killer whales swim in remarkably similar ways – and a model of how they use little energy to do so may help design better aquatic robots

Inside the fighter jet of the future where AI is the pilot

Next-gen planes won't have controls – or maybe even a cockpit. Timothy Revell got on board to find out whether pilots are getting the ejector seat

To tackle extremism, we need to know the enemy

We can't counter extremism without understanding it – and that means supporting those researching it, not suspecting their motives

Meet the turtles surviving an invasion of enormous tractors

The eastern painted turtles must now live among enormous, noisy machinery – and studying them is offering clues to how animals survive alongside heavy industry

Great American Eclipse: Everything you need to know to get ready

The stage is set for the first total solar eclipse in the continental US since 1979. Here's our guide to the best way to enjoy the spectacle

Can't stop procrastinating? Try cognitive behaviour therapy

Do you find yourself doing absolutely any task other than the one at the top of your to-do list? There might now be a way to treat procrastination

Grown-up chimps are less likely to help distressed friends

Chimpanzees of all ages will comfort upset companions, but adult chimps do it less – perhaps because they are more selective about who they help

Can a crowdsourced mega-forest offset Trump's climate chaos?

It's an appealing idea, a vast forest to soak up the extra carbon released due to Trump's policies, but it may not be so easy in reality, says Olive Heffernan

Genetic test helps people avoid statins that may cause them pain

Many people who take statins ditch them due to painful side effects. But genetic testing can help choose the right drug, minimising this risk

Solar eclipse will reveal the roiling fog of plasma we call home

The 21 August solar eclipse gives scientists and the public alike a chance to observe the sun's corona, a ring of plasma that stretches as far as Earth

Stem cell technique could reverse a major type of infertility

Men with extra sex chromosomes can have difficulty producing fertile sperm. Now researchers have got around this in mice by making stem cells from their skin

Speedy white dwarf may have survived a rare type of supernova

Type Iax supernovae are weak enough that part of the exploding star may be able to survive. Now, we may have spotted the first star that lived to tell the tale

Monkeys can be tricked into thinking all objects are familiar

There is a cluster of neurons in monkeys' brains that decides whether or not they have seen objects before, and stimulating it makes them see everything as familiar

Culture not biology is behind many differences between the sexes

It is becoming ever clearer that environment and culture may be determining traits we think are down to male or female biology, says neuroscientist Gina Rippon

Vitamin C helps genes to kill off cells that would cause cancer

Many blood cancers are caused by mutations in the protective TET2 gene, but vitamin C may enhance drug treatments by helping to tell out-of-control cells to stop dividing

Web firms shunning neo-Nazi site isn't necessarily good news

The neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer has been booted out by web services for crossing moral lines, but should tech firms decide what we see online?

Why adding a drop of water can make whisky taste even better

Scotch aficionados know that adding a little water to their dram can bring out the flavours – now we have glimpsed more of the chemistry behind it

Self-healing jelly bot regenerates when stabbed – just add heat

Soft robots are perfect for delicate tasks, but their softness makes them too fragile to use. Now a regenerating robotic material could solve the problem

Weird creatures are spreading polluting plastic through the sea

Plastic particles sink to the seabed after being eaten and excreted by animals called larvaceans, which could be why we see less floating plastic than expected

Speedy test for Lyme disease could help us treat it in time

Lyme disease needs to be treated quickly, but it can be hard to tell it apart from other conditions. Now a test could help diagnose the infection

Banking a baby's cord blood may save their life. Is it worth it?

Parents are paying huge sums to save umbilical cord blood for future medical treatments, but they may have to wait decades for the investment to pay off

I paid £2000 to bank my son's cord blood, but couldn't use it

An anonymous father says after storing the expensive cells, his son developed a condition that the blood could not treat

We can program robots not to get all up in our personal space

Predictive programming lets robots navigate tight hallways or wait at doorways without jostling passers-by or bumping into obstacles in their way

Jellyfish galaxies may feed black holes with their long tendrils

Cosmic winds that form the long tentacles of jellyfish galaxies may also create the perfect conditions to sustain highly active supermassive black holes

Can smart tech really solve Brexit's UK-Ireland border problem?

The UK government has called for "technology-based solutions" to manage the Irish border, but the means to track the flow of goods and people may not exist

Google-sponsored private moon race delayed for the fourth time

Competitors in the Google Lunar X Prize now have until 31 March 2018 to land a spacecraft on the moon

Netflix vegan hit What the Health serves up lots of bad science

Campaigning vegans will change nothing if they embrace bad science and conspiracy theories when making the health case for their diet, says Anthony Warner

Tiny robots crawl through mouse's stomach to heal ulcers

Bacterial infections in mice have been cleared up by bubble-propelled micromotors that swim through the stomach and release antibiotic payloads - and then dissolve in stomach acid

Fish eat bits of plastic because they think they smell good

Hungry fish are gulping down mouthfuls of plastic, perhaps because it smells like their favourite foods

England will need over 71,000 extra care home places by 2025

The number of older people who will need substantial care is set to rise by 85.7 per cent, as increases in healthspan' continue to lag behind longer lifespans

Twitch gamers live-stream their vital signs to keep fans hooked

In the fight for audiences in online gaming, displaying a player's heart rate and mood alongside the game could well be a winning strategy

Ice at Mars's equator hints the planet was once much more tilted

Most of the water on Mars is at its poles, but ice near the equator may mean that the way the red planet is tilted has changed over the last few million years

How US diplomats may have been attacked by sonic weapons in Cuba

Acoustic weapons are shrouded in mystery - now, US and Canadian diplomats seem to be suffering from the symptoms of an attack. Here's what could have happened

There are almost 100 new volcanoes hiding under Antarctic ice

The 91 newly found volcanoes lurk beneath the vulnerable West Antarctic ice sheet and could accelerate its demise

This year may be one of the worst ever for Atlantic hurricanes

Between 14 and 19 storms are predicted to sweep across the Atlantic from June to November this year, threatening the US and other countries

Ancient warriors killed and ate their dogs as rite of passage

4000 years ago in Eurasia, young warriors killed large numbers of dogs, ate their flesh, and chopped their skulls into small pieces as part of a bizarre initiation into war bands

Even 'healthy' overweight people have a higher cardiac risk

Being overweight or obese is linked to coronary heart disease and heart attacks even when a person has healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol

Childhood exercise may protect against memory loss in old age

Rats that run during their youth are better able to remember new things when they are older - a finding that suggests exercise may help prevent dementia