NewScientist : News (68)

Trump's U-turn may see Iran join North Korea as a nuclear state

In refusing to recertify the Iran nuclear deal, US president Donald Trump risks creating another North Korea – as another Republican president did before him

Gravitational waves have let us see huge neutron stars colliding

We've taken the first pictures of neutron stars colliding 130 million light years away. The resulting gravitational waves may solve some big cosmic mysteries

How to beat the bookies by turning their odds against them

Bookmakers use complex prediction models to set the odds of sporting outcomes in their favour – but a simple analysis of available odds can still give good returns

A tech-destroying solar flare could hit Earth within 100 years

If the sun spews superflares' as often as other stars, one could take down power systems, damage the ozone layer and destroy satellites in the next century

It looks like an oxymoron, but Earth optimism is worth a try

Decades of environmental doom-mongering have fallen on deaf ears. Maybe a new environmental campaign with a message of hope is just what we need

Horses bred to look like cartoons are part of a worrying trend

A colt with googly eyes and a very "dished" head is the latest example of a trend for animals with "cute" looks that raise health risks, says Danny Chambers

Driverless cars could let you choose who survives in a crash

The question of who a driverless car should save in an accident is a thorny one. Letting car owners choose for themselves could be an easy way out

Sex addiction isn't an illness, treating it as one is a bad idea

Harvey Weinstein is being treated for sex addiction, but many health professionals say it isn't a real illness and addiction-style therapy doesn't help

Magic mushroom extract changes brains of people with depression

Psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound found in magic mushrooms, may help re-set the activity of neural circuits in the brain that are involved in depression

Sperm age calculator tells men how decrepit their sperm are

An epigenetic calculator can assess a man's sperm, guessing how old he is, and revealing how badly smoking may have damaged his gonads

Online school wants to train arts students in cybersecurity

There aren't enough people with the skills to defend computer systems, so a training platform is looking beyond techies

Male chimpanzee seen snatching seconds-old chimp and eating it

A rare sighting of a chimpanzee birth ended in infanticide and cannibalism – and probably explains why new mothers often go into hiding for weeks or months

We've drawn iconic sail-wearing Dimetrodon wrong for 100 years

Dimetrodon, one of the most recognisable of the pre-dinosaur predators, might not actually have crawled across the ground as it's usually depicted

We can finally map the spiral arm on the far side of the galaxy

Using a jet of radio waves, astronomers have begun to map the other side of the Milky Way. Within 10 years we could have a complete map of the entire galaxy

Gene study shows human skin tone has varied for 900,000 years

An analysis of genetic variation and skin pigmentation suggests that some particularly dark skin tones evolved relatively recently from paler genetic variants

Skin-tight exoskeleton is worn like Spanx and lets you turn left

Suit that uses soft robotics to mimic muscle architecture and let wearers change direction could lead to take-home exoskeletons for people recovering after stroke

Did blind cavefish evolve by breaking the laws of evolution?

The discovery that a cavefish lost its sight because key eye genes were switched off via epigenetics, rather than mutation, will fuel an evolutionary debate

Perfectly preserved fossil salamander even has last meal in gut

A fossil salamander that lived at least 34 million years ago is in such good condition that the remains of a frog it ate are still in its digestive tract

Air pollution blamed for 500,000 early deaths in Europe in 2014

The biggest source of harm was particulate matter from domestic stoves, but nitrogen dioxide from cars is also linked to many premature deaths

Women don't need to 'switch off' to climax, orgasm study shows

The most detailed study yet of orgasm brain activity has discovered why climaxing makes women feel less pain, and shown that 'switching off' isn't necessary.

Caesarean sections cause obesity and microbiome changes in mice

For the first time, researchers have shown that being born by C-section can contribute to obesity in mice. The effect seems to be stronger in females

The stock market is run by wild robots we don't fully control

Most stock market trades are made by algorithms, not humans, and they've already caused crashes. We need to understand their group behaviour to avoid disaster

Google's new earbuds act as two-way translators in your ear

If you have a Google Pixel phone, you'll soon be able to speak 40 languages thanks to the new earbuds the firm announced last week

A house has been bought on the blockchain for the first time

The governments of Ukraine, Dubai and Vermont are all trying to move real estate using blockchain, but getting estate agents out of the equation won't be easy

Most versatile stem cell ever may help us understand miscarriage

The first stem cells capable of making placenta could enable researchers to better understand the biological mechanisms behind many failed early pregnancies

Distant dwarf planet near Pluto has a ring that no one expected

The tiny world Haumea has a ring, the most distant we've found in our solar system. This may mean rings encircle other far-off worlds in the solar system

California's wildfires powered by perfect storm of fire hazards

Low humidity, parched vegetation and warm winds have led to fires that have killed at least 17, left over 150 people missing and destroyed over 2000 homes

Female dolphins have weaponised their vaginas to fend off males

Bottlenose dolphins have evolved complicated, folded vaginas that make it difficult for unwanted males to fertilise their eggs

It was always crazy to shoot for Mars before colonising the moon

Common sense is prevailing in human space exploration, and the moon is back as the place we need to colonise before a riskier trip to Mars, says Paul Marks

The dearth of women in tech is nothing to do with testosterone

Arguments over the causes of the gender gap in STEM jobs rage on. It's not due to hormones or innate brain differences, says Lise Eliot on Ada Lovelace Day

Will Alphabet's internet balloons really help Puerto Rico?

Google's parent company wants to use its Project Loon tech to help restore the island's hurricane-damaged mobile networks. But is it charity or business strategy?

Drone designers accidentally explain colour of albatross wings

Why are some birds' wings darker on top? Engineers may have found the answer while trying to design a biomimetic drone that goes further on less fuel

Human hearts kept 'asleep' in a box can survive outside the body

A new way of storing hearts outside the body for a day or more could bring an end to people dying while awaiting an organ for a heart transplant

Buyer beware: Should genomic firms resell your data?

Think carefully before you get your DNA tested: you're selling as well as buying

Giant black hole seen flickering on and off after galaxy snack

Active Galactic Nuclei occur when a black hole devours a cloud of gas and dust and shines really brightly. Now one has been seen doing it twice

Smartphone lets you see round corners by light flicker on floor

Tracking tiny variations in light reflected at the base of a wall can let you count people in a room and see where they are moving

Father of 'nudge' psychology wins economics Nobel

Richard Thaler has won this year's Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on the limits to human rationality and how to subtly influence people's behaviour

Cold climate may have driven ancient humans' move out of Africa

East Africa became colder and drier around 75,000 years ago, just when modern humans were apparently migrating out of Africa

Most science papers turn out to be wrong. It's time to fix that

Research findings often crumble under the microscope. Rows over the best way to fix this must end so we can stop trust in science crumbling too, says Robert Matthews

Evolution's rules mean life on Earth isn't that varied after all

While there are millions of species on Earth, many of them have almost identical lifestyles, suggesting nature is more regular and rule-based than we thought

Kuwait's plans for mandatory DNA database have been cancelled

Kuwait has revoked the world's first law requiring everyone to submit samples of their DNA, after a court found it would violate personal liberty

Nanoflares in the sun's plasma may cause its scalding atmosphere

Tiny explosions in the atmosphere may explain why the solar corona is a million degrees hotter than the sun's surface

Anti-doping agency to ban all gene editing in sport from 2018

The World Anti-Doping Agency has extended its ban on gene doping' to include all forms of gene editing – but it's not clear if WADA will be able to enforce it

Exploding stars could have kick-started our ancestors' evolution

The savannahs early hominins occupied might have appeared thanks to a spate of wildfires 8 million years ago – which might in turn be linked to a nearby supernova

Half the universe's missing matter has just been finally found

About half the normal matter in our universe had never been observed – until now. Two teams have finally seen it by combining millions of faint images into one

Light-filtering paint cools your home when exposed to hot sun

Laser cooling has been applied to paint, which could mitigate urban heat islands and solve the problem of how to cool objects in space

Nobel prizes would be better without all the fame and fortune

A Nobel prize brings big money and celebrity status for a few, but that's at odds with modern, collaborative science done for the greater good, says Geraint Lewis

We urgently need to broaden the conversation on AI

It's time to get past the scare stories and start discussing the real uses and abuses of machine learning

Seal pups get separated from their mums by icebreaker ships

When icebreakers push through the sea ice on which Caspian seals nurse their young, mothers and pups flee and often get separated in the confusion

Lunar volcanoes and lava lakes gave the early moon an atmosphere

The same volcanic eruptions that made the dark patches we can see on the moon spewed out enough hot gas to create an atmosphere billions of years ago