The Best of New Scientist
20+ most popular New Scientist articles, as voted by our community.
The best place to find out what’s new in science – and why it matters.
These are currently making the rounds on Refind.
Google robot learns to sort the recyclables left in office waste bins
Robots have been roaming Google offices for two years, attempting to separate recyclable items from waste in bins and can now do it with 84 per cent accuracy
Cryptocurrency Ethereum has slashed its energy use by 99.99 per cent
An experimental update to Ethereum, the world’s second-biggest cryptocurrency, has led to a dramatic reduction in the energy used to secure the currency and verify transactions
Chemists are teaching GPT-4 to do chemistry and control lab robots
Augmenting the artificial intelligence GPT-4 with extra chemistry knowledge made it much better at planning chemistry experiments, but it refused to make heroin or sarin gas
Why we shouldn't fill our minds with endless tales of dystopia
Unrealistic fantasies of the apocalypse are everywhere, but focusing on a potentially disastrous future stops us from making solid plans, says Annalee Newitz
Why use of AI is a major sticking point in the ongoing writers' strike
The writers' strike was initially about compensation in an era of streaming services. Now the role of AI has also become a major point of contention in negotiations between the Writers Guild of…
New Scientist on Biology
Recordings reveal that plants make ultrasonic squeals when stressed
For the first time plants have been recorded making sounds when stressed. The sounds differed when they were injured or thirsty, a finding that could help farmers
Rescue plan for nature: How to fix the biodiversity crisis
We’ve been ravaging the planet’s ecosystems for too long, but crucial decisions this year could be the turning point that help us restore our relationship with nature
New Scientist on Brain
Newly found brain pathway could be key to reducing opioid addiction
Researchers have identified a brain pathway in mice that governs the development of opioid tolerance. If the same exists in humans, treatments that inhibit it could prevent opioid addiction
Human brain cells used as living AIs to solve mathematical equations
Brain organoids grown in a lab can be used to perform basic computation tasks, but there are big unanswered questions about how far this approach should be taken
New Scientist on Health
Your microbiome reveals more about your health than your genes do
The microbes that live inside you say more than your genes do about your likelihood of developing health conditions ranging from asthma to cancer and schizophrenia
How postbiotics could boost your health and even help reverse ageing
Postbiotics are the newest gut health trend promising to improve our skin, boost our strength and even reverse signs of ageing. But what are they and do they live up to the hype?
New Scientist on Longevity
How long can humans live? We may not have hit the limit yet
[tbc] The record for the maximum human lifespan has stayed unbroken since the 1990s but that might change, according to a new way of analysing mortality records
115 might be as old as we can get thanks to our bodies' limits
Maximum lifespan is not rising in step with average lifespan. It could be that the human body has innate limits that prevent most getting any older than 115
New Scientist on Nutrition
Why everything you know about nutrition is wrong
Are carbs good for you? Or eggs? Every week seems to bring contradictory new diet advice. New Scientist unpicks the surprising flaws in nutritional science
New Scientist on Physics
Why the laws of physics don't actually exist
What we call laws of physics are often just mathematical descriptions of some part of nature. Ultimate physical laws probably don't exist and physics is all the better for it, says theoretical…
General relativity is one of two pillars of modern physics – our working theory of gravity and of the very large, of planets, galaxies and the universe as a whole
New Scientist on Self Discovery
Your true self: How your personality changes throughout life
You are not the person you were as a child, or even last year. The discovery that our characters change is unnerving, but embrace it and it can be empowering
New Scientist on Space
Aluminium alloy could boost spacecraft radiation shielding 100-fold
A new metal alloy keeps its flexibility and strength after high doses of radiation, making it potentially useful for building spacecraft or Mars colonies
Launching a huge dust cloud from the moon could ease global warming
Launching a million tonnes of moon dust around Earth could dim sunlight across our planet by 1.8 per cent. This would reduce the global temperature, but whether it would be worth the resources, and…
New Scientist on Weight Loss
Weight loss advice isn't based on good evidence
The orthodoxy in most high income countries is that anyone with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more is overweight, but evidence suggests the cut-off point should be a fair bit higher, writes Clare…
These are some all-time favorites with Refind users.
Can a tech billionaire squash Australia’s coal industry by buying it?
Frustrated with the Australian government’s inaction on climate change, software king Mike Cannon-Brookes is trying to buy several big coal plants so he can shut them down in favour of renewables
Heatwave in China is the most severe ever recorded in the world
A long spell of extreme hot and dry weather is affecting energy, water supplies and food production across China
Why rethinking time in quantum mechanics could help us unite physics
Inspired by experiments showing entanglement over time, not just space, physicist Vlatko Vedral is reconsidering the way we think of time in quantum mechanics. The new approach treats space and time…
James Lovelock at 100: The creator of Gaia theory on humanity's future
The influential scientist talks about his Earth-as-superorganism hypothesis and predicts a new era for humanity, unfettered by the constraints of our bodies
Chip can transmit all of the internet's traffic every second
Splitting data into a spectrum of colour packets has enabled a single computer chip to transmit a record 1.84 petabits of data per second via a fibre-optic cable
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