Beyond good vibrations: new insights into metamaterial magic

Beyond good vibrations: new insights into metamaterial magic

Top Story From invisibility cloaks and perfect lenses to immensely powerful batteries, the potential super-power applications of metamaterials tantalize the imagination. These designer materials work by bending the paths of electromagnetic radiation — from radio waves to visible light to high-energy gamma rays — in new and different ways. How metamaterials bend those paths — […]

The unseen puppet masters that control life in the oceans

The unseen puppet masters that control life in the oceans

Simon Pemberton By Andy Ridgway Seawater is a cocktail of elements. Some – like the sodium and chloride that make it salty – are abundant. Others exist in vanishingly small quantities but pack a powerful punch. Iron controls where life can thrive; mercury has the power to snuff it out; and a delicate balance in […]

'Zombie ant' brains left intact by fungal parasite

'Zombie ant' brains left intact by fungal parasite

A fungal parasite that infects ants and manipulates their behavior to benefit the fungus’ reproduction accomplishes this feat without infecting the ants’ brains. Instead, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis sensu lato — a complex of species sometimes called “zombie ant fungus” — surrounds and invades muscle fibers throughout the ant’s body, and fungal cells form a 3-D network […]

What we’re doing now will make the ocean completely unliveable

What we’re doing now will make the ocean completely unliveable

The impact will be breathtakingGetty By Chris Baraniuk OUR actions today will change the world’s oceans for thousands of years. That is the conclusion of a study simulating a little-discussed consequence of climate change: it could choke entire ecosystems by cutting oxygen levels in the ocean. In the most extreme scenarios, with the planet warming […]

When it comes to climate, Donald Trump is in a club by himself

When it comes to climate, Donald Trump is in a club by himself

On his ownSaul Loeb/AFP/Getty With Syria’s announcement it will join the Paris Agreement on climate change, the US now stands alone. Until yesterday, it was one of the final two nations either rejecting or refusing to sign the UN agreement. In September, a third holdout – Nicaragua – announced it was in after two years […]

Planting trees could mop up ten years’ worth of greenhouse gases

Planting trees could mop up ten years’ worth of greenhouse gases

Giuseppe Lami/EPA/REX/Shutterstock By Fred Pearce Only statistical numbskulls would call it good news, but 2017 is set to be slightly less warm than the record-breaking 2016. Instead, it will merely be one of the three warmest years on record, and the hottest ever without an El Niño to boost temperatures. However, a massive programme of […]

What we’re doing now will make the ocean completely unlivable

What we’re doing now will make the ocean completely unlivable

The impact will be breathtakingGetty By Chris Baraniuk OUR actions today will change the world’s oceans for thousands of years. That is the conclusion of a study simulating a little-discussed consequence of climate change: it could choke entire ecosystems by cutting oxygen levels in the ocean. In the most extreme scenarios, with the planet warming […]

China’s dreadful air pollution seems to have got a bit better

China’s dreadful air pollution seems to have got a bit better

Air pollution strikes Beijing on 6 November 2017Wu Hong/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock By Andy Coghlan China has taken some baby steps towards cleaning up its horrendous air pollution – but there is a long way still to go. Eastern China, especially Beijing, is notorious for its smogs, driven by the country’s rapid industrialisation. On Friday Beijing issued an […]

Study shows need for adaptive powered knee prosthesis to assist amputees

Study shows need for adaptive powered knee prosthesis to assist amputees

Top Story Research into wearable robotics shows how amputees wearing such devices adapted when presented with a real-world challenge: carrying a weighted backpack. “The device we tested was a powered knee prosthesis — it has a motor to actuate the knee and a fixed ankle joint,” said researcher Andrea Brandt. Five people of varied ages […]

Old Scientist: Why aren’t there more British Nobels?

Old Scientist: Why aren’t there more British Nobels?

By Mick O’Hare “DOES epidemic disease come from space?” In the relatively sober 1970s, this headline must have been even more alarming than it would be in our present era of fake news. Especially atop an article by famous astronomer Fred Hoyle and astrobiologist Chandra Wickramasinghe, arguing that infamous epidemics like the deadly Spanish flu […]

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