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Following trends and easy answers isn’t the way to a good life

Vegan clothes, biofuel and wood-burning stoves have all been offered up as ethical, environmental choices – but the evidence behind them is much more murky

Changing our minds about psychedelics takes a great guide

A book on learning to open our minds to psychedelics as they find a new, more scientific place in our society makes for a fantastic personal story

How Charles Dickens became a man of science

We think we know Charles Dickens, but his writings on chemistry and energy at a new London exhibition cast him in a very different light

Get food on the go with this roaming robot table

Make sure nobody goes hungry during your next Netflix binge with a snack-laden room rover

Westworld: a complex tale of robot awakening has us riveted

As TV hit Westworld's robots come to some awkward conclusions about their true nature in time for the season finale, we're still hooked by the show's sheer smartness

Knowing your DNA can help you stick to a healthier lifestyle

When people are advised to live more healthily, they usually give up quickly. Now a study suggests that genetic data can persuade people to make lasting changes

Nano-infused black goo is incredibly stretchy and self-repairs

An accordion-shaped nanomaterial is the key ingredient in a sticky, self-healing gel that might one day help people with paralysis to communicate

How can you tell if a video is a deepfake? Just look at the eyes

Fake videos created by AI are often so good it’s hard to tell if they are real or not, so a new fakery fighting tool tracks eyes to identify the real deal

Mediterranean diet is still good for you but only if you’re rich

A landmark study that touted the benefits of the Mediterranean diet has been retracted, but eating more fresh fish and veg is still good for you, if you can afford it

Bacteria may survive temperatures hot enough to melt lead

Few living things can cope with temperatures above 100°C, but a controversial study suggests some bacterial spores can withstand 420°C heat for over 30 minutes

We have hints of a theory beyond quantum physics

If you think our best theory of reality is weird you ain't seen nothing yet, says physicist Ciarán Lee – it could be a fuzzy version of something bigger

The epic hunt for the place on Earth where life started

Darwin's warm little pond, the deep ocean and icy shores – all have been suggested as the birthplace of life. Now one location could have it all

Being a feminist may subconsciously protect you from stereotypes

Negative stereotypes can detrimentally change your behaviour. But a study suggests that feminists may be protected from the idea that women are worse at maths

Underwater robot finds second world war bomber plane on seabed

A Fairey Swordfish, a type of second world war bomber, was found off the coast of Malta using autonomous underwater robots that search the sea floor

AI can detect early signs of Parkinson’s from brain scans alone

An AI could identify signs of Parkinson’s from brain scans alone. One day it could be used to spot the disease before physical symptoms show

Feedback: Humming this Spanish pop song might save a life

Dance moves not needed. Plus: the case for ecstasy fuelled diplomacy, how politics is killing Thanksgiving, the door mistaken for a penis bone, and more...

Why video-assisted referees won’t stop World Cup errors

The football tournament kicking off this week is introducing video replays for key calls. Human psychology means some decisions will improve – but some won't

DeepMind’s AI can ‘imagine’ a world based on a single picture

A neural network has taught itself to ‘imagine’ a scene from different viewpoints, including how shadows move and textures vary, based on just a single image

Wild animals are turning nocturnal to keep away from humans

Dozens of species all around the world are abandoning the day and becoming more active at night, to avoid contact with humans

Spiders can ‘fly’ because they make near-invisible paragliders

We’ve finally solved the mystery of how even fairly big spiders can take to the skies, and it turns out it’s because they make flying machines that can barely be seen with the naked eye

We’ve seen a gigantic black hole tear a star in half and eat it

We’ve gotten one of our best looks yet at a star being devoured by a black hole, thanks to astronomers who watched a decade-long meal

Your brain absolutely cannot resist doughnuts – here’s why

Foods that are high in both carbohydrates and fats super-charge the activity in our brain’s reward centre, explaining why we find them so appealing

Alarm as ice loss from Antarctica triples in the past five years

The loss of Antarctica’s ice has been accelerating ominously since 2012, and could lead to big rises in sea level if the rate of loss keeps increasing

EU will limit the use of palm oil as car fuel but won’t stop it

The European Union will make only minor tweaks to “renewable” energy policies that are actually increasing greenhouse gas emissions and driving deforestation

The truth about spices: Is it time to ditch the turmeric latte?

Spices are causing a stir as cheap and easy cure-alls for everything from diabetes to dementia, but not all the claims live up to the hype

Is research in jails the way to end wars over dietary guidance?

US researchers say studies in prisons could firm up evidence on salt intake and health. The doubters will still doubt, say Mike Lean and Alastair Campbell

How authors are gaming Amazon’s algorithms with 3000-page books

Amazon pays authors in its Kindle Unlimited programme based on the number of pages people read, which is causing some writers to publish incredibly long books

When a daddy longlegs is attacked by a flatworm things get messy

In the forests of Brazil, pitched gladiatorial contests are being fought between flatworms armed with slime and spider-like arachnids with body-chopping spikes

Vegan-friendly fashion is actually bad for the environment

Animal-free alternatives to fur and leather are on the rise, but many use plastic materials that end up harming ocean creatures. Is there any way to dress ethically?

Psychedelics may help your brain cells form new connections

LSD and other members of the psychedelic family make neurons grow more branches, potentially explaining how they might treat depression

Watch a 3D-printed magnetic critter fold and move all by itself

By embedding magnetic particles into rubber, we can 3D print little shapes that fold, morph, and move around on their own in the presence of a magnetic field

The brain has a special clock that tracks sleepiness

A chemical clock has been found in the brains of mice that keeps track of how long it’s been since an animal last slept, and how sleepy it should feel

Why tidal power won’t solve the world’s renewable energy needs

There are widespread calls for the UK government not to abandon a trailblazing tidal power project, but this energy source is no green panacea, says Hans van Haren

Stop the reckless video-assisted refereeing experiment now

The football World Cup is about to deploy a flawed technology that risks destroying what makes the beautiful game so great, says fan Chris Nee

Finally we can power the planet on renewables alone – here’s how

Ditching fossil fuels to go 100 per cent renewable is a dream within reach – thanks to new tech that keep things humming even when wind and sun aren’t there

Net neutrality officially ended this week – now what?

After months of public outcry and legal wrangling, a US law about how internet access can be sold has been repealed

The US wants to build an X-ray bomb to destroy chemical weapons

Regular explosives risk spilling chemical or biological weapons when aimed at storage sites. So the US is experimenting with using massive X-ray bursts instead

Magnets can make wine taste better by sucking out bad flavours

Tiny magnetic beads can be stirred through wine to capture unwanted chemicals, then pulled out with a magnet to improve the flavour

Parkinson’s disease may be caused by virus that kills gut bugs

People with Parkinson's seem to have some differences in their gut microbiome - but is this cause or consequence?

Britain’s hedgehog population has fallen 66 per cent in 20 years

Britain only has 58 wild mammal species to start with, and many have declined sharply in number since 1995 – with hedgehogs suffering a particularly severe fall

Game on: Picks from the latest video games at E3

From cyberpunk and hypnotic patterns to warfare in ancient Greece, here’s the highlights from the latest crop of video games released at this year’s E3

The LHC has found the Higgs works perfectly – which is a problem

The Higgs boson has been seen acting just as the standard model of physics predicts – which leaves us without clues to dark matter and other mysteries

Antimatter neutrinos caught shape-shifting between flavours

We’ve seen antineutrinos morphing from one ‘flavour’ to another, and it could help us figure out why the universe is full of normal matter and not antimatter

Gene editing embryonic stem cells might increase risk of cancer

Genome editing with CRISPR may select for cells with mutations in a key anti-cancer gene, but now we know of this risk it should be possible to ensure treatments are still safe

To combat white nationalist extremism, first understand it

There are many assumptions underlying our ideas about why someone becomes a terrorist. The evidence does not always back them up

CERN-inspired artwork HALO will make the invisible, visible

Conveying the quantum world is the ultimate challenge for artist duo Semiconductor, who turn the most abstruse scientific observations into captivating sensory experiences

Bees aren’t just smart, they’re sensitive too

Far from being mindless pollen-collecting drones, bees can solve problems, make choices and have reactions that look suspiciously like human emotions

NASA’s Opportunity rover is stuck in a huge dust storm on Mars

A dust storm bigger than North America has blown up on Mars, and it’s blocking out the sunlight that powers NASA’s ageing Opportunity rover. Is this its last gasp?

Africa’s 2000-year-old trees of life are suddenly dying off

In the past decade most of the oldest baobabs, many of them sprouted over two millennia ago, have died unexpectedly and few new ones are sprouting

Clouds of spinning diamonds around stars solve an old mystery

Tiny diamonds in clouds circling bright young stars may be the source of unexplained microwave radiation from space that has baffled astronomers since 1996

A self-balancing exoskeleton lets wheelchair users walk again

An exoskeleton is being tested that helped a wheelchair user to walk for several hours without pain. It supports its own weight and mimics the wearer’s natural gait

A renewables revolution is afoot – but who will benefit?

Donald Trump's commitment to coal is short-sighted and wrong-headed. A 100 per cent renewable future is coming – and other countries will reap the rewards

We can tweak immune cells to be much better at wiping out HIV

Studying the immune cells of people who can keep HIV under control in their bodies has yielded new insights that might enable all people with HIV to do the same

Trump v Kim: The mind games that led to the Korea summit

The road to the Singapore summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un has been marked by nuclear bluffs. Let's hope the talks are for real, says Christopher Boehm

Your personal cloud of microbes can be used to identify you

When a person enters a house, they leave behind a unique set of microorganisms that could serve as a fingerprint – and it seems to be accurate enough to spot individual people

Sperm whales are tracking fishing boats and stealing their fish

Fishing boats in the Gulf of Alaska are being stalked by enormous sperm whales, which charge in and rip huge volumes of fish from the lines

Watch real football matches in miniature played on your desk

Augmented reality headsets, like Hololens, can recreate a football match on any flat surface. The viewer sees tiny 3D versions of real-life players running around on a virtual pitch

Feedback: The 40-cm-long hammerhead flatworm has landed

We offer the French some tips on pest control. Plus: CSI:Loch Ness, Floridian zombies, the stockbrokers of Atlantis and more...

What makes a white nationalist?

Race-based ideologies are gaining ground across the West. Our special report delves into the white supremacist scene in the US to ask why

Mars has complex organic material that may be from ancient life

The Curiosity rover has found methane in Mars’s atmosphere and complex organic molecules preserved for 3.5 billion years. Both could have come from life

Nipah: the unknown virus that could be the next pandemic threat

A virus most people have never heard of has killed 17 people in India, and disease experts are getting concerned

Seals only sleep with half their brain when they’re out at sea

Northern fur seals mostly sleep with half their brain while they’re at sea, but sleep with all their brain while on land – unlike any other animal studied

Why Richard Branson’s promises about space tourism are empty

The billionaire businessman says he'll ride into space within months, paving the way to routine suborbital passenger trips. Don't get too excited, says Paul Marks

Sour tastes may make you more adventurous and take bigger risks

A gambling experiment has found that the taste of umami seems to make us more conservative in our choices, while sour flavours may promote risk-taking

Surveillance drones can now spot violent attacks as they happen

A drone surveillance system can spot violence in a crowd, including stabbing and strangling, but some worry the consequences have not been thought through

Video: Ending the HIV epidemic

We've come a long way in treating HIV but there is still much work to be done

Kidney cancer spreads by pretending to be white blood cells

Many people with cancer die from secondary tumours, and now we know how some cancer cells are able to spread around the body and move into other organs

Party drugs are here to stay, but they don’t have to be killers

Crack downs on psychedelic substances are failing to protect people from harm. Drug tests at festivals and nightclubs to check they are legit could be a better way

Lightning reveals where Jupiter stores its ‘missing’ water

Decades ago a space probe found less water on Jupiter than expected, and now astronomers have tracked some of that water down by mapping lightning storms

Why are there so many devastating volcanic eruptions right now?

High-profile volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and Guatemala are grabbing the headlines, but geophysics isn't responsible for connecting the two disasters

Who was the Somerton Man? Solving Australia’s coldest case

An amateur sleuth has spent years tracing the identity of a mysterious body found on a beach 70 years ago. Finally, he is finding answers close to home

Apple’s new app is designed to help you use their tech less

A new app called Screen Time will show iPhone and iPad users how many notifications they receive, how often they pick up their device and how much time they spend on different apps

Anti-acne cream clears up skin without any nasty side effects

A new anti-acne cream that blocks inflammation is more effective and has fewer side effects than existing lotions, a clinical trial has found

AI construction worker plans the fastest way to put up buildings

By considering hundreds of millions of potential schedules, an AI construction manager works out the best and fastest way for builders to put up a new building

4-year-olds care more about plants and animals than sick people

When we’re young, we care less about people – so much so that 4-year-olds care less about teachers and police than they do about dogs, monkeys and rosebushes

Europeans now burn more palm oil in their cars than they eat

Palm oil consumption in the EU jumped by 7 per cent in 2017 because it is increasingly used as a biofuel – driving the destruction of orangutans’ habitat

Have humans been sailors for a million years?

A growing collection of bones and tools suggest early humans built boats too, which would transform our view on how smart they were

The New Horizons probe is awake and ready for its next flyby

For the last 6 months, the New Horizons spacecraft that flew past Pluto in 2015 has been in hibernation, hurtling towards a distant rock – it has just woken up

Bizarre state of matter to treat wounds instead of antibiotics

Plasma is a state of matter, like liquid or gas, that is fatal to bacteria, so a new wearable plasma patch is being tested to dress wounds

The most elusive whales reveal their secrets in their wakes

We know almost nothing about the enormous beaked whales because they spend so much time deep underwater, but a new DNA technique could unmask them

What can game theory tell us about Trump’s threats of trade war?

Theories of conflict and cooperation say the US risks self-harm if it sparks a big trade war. So what is Trump's real aim, wonders Petros Sekeris

Quantum computers are weirder and more powerful than we thought

A theoretical breakthrough has shown that quantum computers are not just faster versions of ordinary computers, but something much stranger

Cosmic cooperation is just what space exploration needs

Questions such as whether Mars ever hosted life are too big to be left to any one nation – efforts to join forces on space missions are the future

Fighting with a fifth of your body weight on your head

European stag beetles live for only a few months in adult form, and males spend much of that time rutting, jousting and wrestling – all for access to females

Two meteors in two days lit up the sky in China and Botswana

On 1 and 2 June, two meteors streaked across the sky, one in China and one in southern Africa. One of them was the third we’ve ever detected before it hit Earth

A day used to be less than 19 hours long 1.4 billion years ago

The moon is making days on Earth last longer and longer, and we can track the changes through climate effects seen in the geological record

Mystery of why Stone Age villagers spent so much time underwater

Half of the adults at a Stone Age village in Turkey had a strange ear condition most common today in keen surfers – but why did they spend so much time in water?

Woman survives metastatic breast cancer thanks to new treatment

A therapy that targets the immune system has had dramatic results in people with four types of cancer in advanced stages that were previously untreatable

Zambia to kill 2000 hippos because they might spread anthrax

Over the next five years 2000 hippos are to be culled in Zambia, supposedly to stop them giving people anthrax, but the cull may inadvertently fuel the trade in hippo ivory

How a frog’s eye robbed us of a genius’s AI masterwork

Walter Pitts would have become one of the most famous names in computer science - if it hadn’t been for the frogs

Guatemala volcano kills 75 as ash buries entire villages

The Fuego volcano in Guatemala has exploded and spewed out molten rock and ash, killing at least 75 people in the country's most violent eruption for over a century

A whole new type of cancer therapy helps treat liver cancer

By making a gene in the liver work harder, a completely new type of drug has shown promise for treating cases of advanced liver cancer in a small trial

Anti-swearing AI takes the edge off abuse on Reddit and Twitter

Artificial intelligence created by IBM converts offensive abuse on sites like Reddit and Twitter into more polite patter

It’s time we stopped dismissing women’s health problems

Controversy about cervical smear tests is just the latest in a series concerning women’s health. It’s time to talk about inequality in the doctor’s surgery

Model Behaviour: How a sceptic was won over by life in the lab

A new book about shadowing a team of behavioural geneticists shows them at great pains to capture the vagaries and complexities of their tricky research

Old Scientist: Communication on Earth – and beyond

Putting metallic needles in lunar orbit was once thought the ideal way to keep moon explorers in the loop, a dip in the June archives of New Scientist shows

Censored: Why China’s online oversight is anything but crude

The three pillars of Chinese online censorship create a sophisticated, invisible system that democracies would do well to take seriously, a new book argues

Ultrahot planets bust up molecules then rebuild them into clouds

The hottest planets in the universe are half star, half cloudy oasis. In the light, it’s too hot for molecules to hold together, but they reform into clouds on the dark side

We’re beginning to understand how some people can control HIV

A few people are able to keep the HIV virus in check for decades without getting ill. At last we’re beginning to understand what’s special about their bodies

Ripples in Saturn’s rings unravel mystery of how fast it spins

Saturn’s rotating magnetic field should reveal how fast the gas giant spins, but it has led to conflicting results. The planet’s rings may hold the true answer