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China’s two-child policy linked to 5 million extra babies in 18 months

A Chinese government policy allowing all couples to have two children led to an additional 5.4 million births in the first 18 months after it took effect

Sitting for nine and a half hours a day linked to early death

Sitting less and moving more often is associated with a lower risk of early death in middle aged and older people, suggests a review of data from 36,000 people

YouTube has become such a garbage fire it is time to dump it for good

To make the internet a better place we could start by switching off the world’s biggest video sharing site amid claims its algorithms magnify fringe views, says Annalee Newitz

LIGO may have seen its first black hole and neutron star collision

LIGO has probably seen the collision of a black hole and neutron star. That would mean it has spotted all three types of cosmic event it was designed to

Quantum weirdness isn't real – we've just got space and time all wrong

A radical new idea erases quantum theory's weird uncertainties – by ripping up all we thought we knew about how the universe works, says physicist Lee Smolin

New Scientist Live 2019: Everything you need to know

The world’s greatest science festival returns to ExCeL in London from 10 to 13 October 2019 – here’s what to expect

Quantum teleportation used to send 3D information for the first time

Quantum teleportation has only ever been performed with qubits, which have two dimensions. Now it’s been done with a 3D qutrit for the first time

Cookies and slime in orbit: What's the point of PR stunts in space?

Companies that run hotels, build cars and make TV are beginning to operate in space. This in-orbit economy could finance deeper space exploration

Giving koalas faecal transplants could help them adapt to a new diet

Faecal transplants could help koalas to change diet. The finding could be used to help the animals adapt to habitat loss

Volcano behind huge eruption that kick-started mini ice age identified

A mini ice age that lasted 125 years started in the 6th century. Now we may have identified the volcano that kicked it all off

Survey says scientists mistrust a large amount of published research

More than a third of researchers say they think half or fewer of all published studies are trustworthy, according to a survey of more than 3000 people

High blood pressure in your 40s linked to smaller brain size at 70

People with high blood pressure in their 40s seem to have smaller brains at age 70, suggesting that looking after your health may help prevent some forms of dementia

Is air pollution causing mental health conditions like depression?

Evidence is growing that air pollution is linked to mental health conditions. But it's not clear yet how - and if - pollution may be affecting our brains.

An inside look at the NHS's plans to revolutionise healthcare with AI

From spotting cancer and triaging patients to rearranging hospital appointments, artificial intelligence has a lot to offer the NHS, says Indra Joshi

A classic quantum theorem may prove there are many parallel universes

If we accept that information can’t travel faster than the speed of light, a quantum theorem seems to require many worlds that split when you make a measurement

We could find alien life on exoplanets by looking for its glow

Most of the closest exoplanets we’ve found orbit stars that can release flares of dangerous UV light, but those very flares might force life to evolve to glow

Cities are using walls of moss to tackle air pollution from traffic

Expensive moss walls are the latest trend to combat air pollution in major cities, but can a few square metres of plant matter really solve the problem?

Chemist Lee Cronin is building an alien to work out why life exists

Lee Cronin is making a vast chemical robot – and an alien – to find out why life exists and if we can detect it on other worlds

What if there was no big bang and we live in an ever-cycling universe?

There is no good evidence that our universe even had a beginning, a startling proposition that means the cosmos could collapse in about 100 billion years

Extinction Rebellion founder calls for mass psychedelic disobedience

Gail Bradbrook, a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion, has called for a mass ingestion of psychedelic substances in protest against the criminalisation of drugs

Climate change will drive longer extreme heatwaves in summer

If the world warms by more than 2°C, extreme summer heat and rain are likely to last longer and lead to flooding, with serious effects for farming and health

We have spotted 8 more mysterious repeating radio bursts from space

Fast radio bursts are unexplained blasts of radio waves from space. A haul of eight newly spotted ones that flash repeatedly may help us work out what they are

Netflix’s bizarre riff on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein oddly successful

Stranger Things’ David Harbour stars in Netflix’s Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein, which gives the first science fiction novel, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a run for its money

The UK has lost its World Health Organization ‘measles-free’ status

Three years after the measles virus was eliminated, the UK has lost its “measles-free” status, prompting the government to announce urgent action

Fossils of the earliest animals seen outside China for the first time

How did animal life begin? A must-see exhibition in Oxford brings together the world's best fossils from the Cambrian explosion to tell the story

Having kids makes you happier, but only when they move out

Parents with young children are less happy than non-parents, but the tables seem to turn when their children leave home and become more supportive than stressful

White nationalists are perverting environmentalism to smear migrants

Right-wing figures blame environmental destruction on immigration and overpopulation. The political mainstream needs to confront this threat before it’s too late, says Graham Lawton

How walking helped humans take over the planet

We are all fitter for a good walk – and we become smarter just by standing up. In fact, says a new book, the act of walking helped humans colonise a whole planet

Genetic studies hint alcohol isn’t linked to breast cancer after all

Genetic studies rebut current warnings from health officials that alcohol causes breast tumours, and that even light drinking causes throat cancer

How killer bees evolved into chiller bees in just one decade

While killer bees terrorised the US, in Puerto Rico, an extraordinary accident of evolution has transformed them into a beacon of hope against the threat of insectogeddon

15 studies retracted due to fears they used Chinese prisoners' organs

15 organ transplantation studies by researchers in China have been retracted due to concerns the work may have used organs from executed prisoners

Tiny magnets could help rid the ocean of harmful microplastics

Tiny magnetic coils can turn microplastics into carbon dioxide and water. The reaction could catch plastic in wastewater streams and stop it entering the ocean

Wildlife summit to consider global ban on saiga antelope trade

Protections for saiga antelope, mako sharks and even woolly mammoths will be considered at a conference of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

Super-deep diamonds contain traces of a pristine chunk of early Earth

Diamonds that formed twice as deep as normal contain evidence of a pristine hunk of original Earth rock hiding deep underground

Robotic shorts could help you run and walk more efficiently

A robotic exosuit cuts the energy required to walk and run, and could be used by firefighters or others who spend long periods of time on their feet

Sticky nets of DNA from immune cells may be to blame for gallstones

Immune cells may help painful gallstones grow by ejecting sticky nets of DNA around the crystals that form in bile – a finding that could lead to new treatments

Europe’s extinct cave bears went into decline just as humans arrived

The population of cave bears in Europe held steady for tens of thousands of years, then crashed after humans showed up – suggesting we helped wipe them out

Biologists have a problem with homosexuality – they should get over it

Studies that reduce human sexuality to two neat categories – gay and straight – are bad science and stoke societal prejudice, says neuroethologist Andrew Barron

Louisa Aldrich-Blake: a trailblazer for female surgeons and a war hero

The first woman to qualify as a surgeon in the UK, Louisa Aldrich-Blake also helped to establish hospitals for soldiers in the First World War

How to make a BBQ thermometer with a BBC micro:bit

With a BBC micro:bit and a temperature sensor, you can make a device that tells you when your food is perfectly cooked

Lyme disease in England and Wales is most common in older, white women

An analysis of hospital records has found that people with Lyme disease in hospitals in England and Wales tend to be white, female and relatively affluent

Ketogenic diet may stop migraines by changing the brain’s fuel

A low-carb diet cut the number of days people had migraines in half, possibly by forcing the brain to run on ketones instead of glucose

Plant growth has declined drastically around the world due to dry air

A lack of water in the air has resulted in a decline in growth rates in 59 per cent of global vegetated areas over the past twenty years

Microplastics in the Arctic and the Alps may have blown in on the wind

Microplastics have been found in the snow in remote areas, and they may have drifted in on the wind, raising questions about how much plastic we are inhaling

Neanderthals spent a surprising amount of time underwater

Neanderthals’ bony ear growths – similar to “surfer’s ear” in modern water-loving humans – suggest they spent lots of time foraging in aquatic environments

A massive collision may have made Jupiter's core so weird

A few years ago we learned Jupiter’s core is much messier than expected. Now simulations suggest a huge collision with a planetary embryo could explain why

Radioactive dust in Antarctic ice could help map interstellar clouds

Interstellar dust has been found in Antarctic snow samples. The discovery could provide a way of mapping the clouds of dust Earth has passed through in space

A variety of CBD health products are in the shops - do they work?

A component in cannabis called CBD is claimed to help everything from Alzheimer's to anxiety. Despite a boom in sales, there's little evidence supporting the claims

Fracking boom could explain the puzzling rise in global methane levels

The shale gas boom could be to blame for rising methane in the atmosphere. If the trend continues, it could put our climate goals in greater jeopardy

The US Army is developing AI missiles that find their own targets

The US Army wants to build smart missiles that will use AI to select their targets, raising concerns that the technology will be a form of lethal autonomous weapon

Military-grade jet fuel made cheaply from plant waste instead of coal

An expensive superfuel normally reserved for missiles and hypersonic jets can now be made from crop waste instead of fossil fuels - and more cheaply to boot

The misunderstood personality trait that is causing anxiety and stress

Perfectionism is a hidden epidemic, and its rise is damaging individuals and society. We investigate how to escape the cult of perfect

Lack of sleep is more of a problem for teen girls than social media

Parents shouldn’t worry about how much time teens are spending on social media as long as they are getting plenty of sleep and exercise and aren’t being bullied

Sperm sorting method could prevent girls being born, scientists warn

A new way of sorting sperm could lead to products that couples could use at home to make them less likely to conceive a girl, scientists have warned

Have we found the true cause of diabetes, stroke and Alzheimer's?

The diseases most people die of have been attributed to unhealthy lifestyles. But evidence now suggests bacteria are to blame, heralding a revolution in medicine

Graphene inventor Andre Geim: No-deal Brexit would destroy UK science

Fanatics who want no-deal Brexit and remainers who refuse to compromise are risking science and the UK’s future in the process, says Nobel prizewinning physicist Andre Geim

We could put enough wind turbines on European land to power the world

An analysis has found there is enough land in Europe to host 11.6 million wind turbines, with a capacity three times that of estimates made a decade ago

The hardest thing about robots? Teaching them to cope with us

Humans are spectacularly weird and unpredictable. Computer scientist Anca Dragan is working on helpful robots that understand how we get things wrong

Ebola breakthrough: two drugs could treat up to 90 per cent of cases

A drug trial has found two experimental drugs for Ebola to be so effective that scientists have stopped the trial early so that more people can receive these drugs

Chlamydia vaccine shown to be safe in first ever human trial

First ever clinical trial of chlamydia vaccine shows the drug is safe for women and triggers an immune response against the bacteria that causes the infection

No sign radiation from a missile explosion has spread beyond Russia

An explosion at a Russian missile testing range led to local spikes in radiation, but it doesn’t seem to have spread to Europe as it did during the Chernobyl incident

Google's hate speech-detecting AI appears to be racially biased

AIs that spot abusive online content are up to twice as likely to identify tweets as offensive when by people who identify as African American

A company has used trees to find gold deep underground in Australia

A technique that uses trees to spot minerals in the ground has had one of its first major successes, after a company struck gold in South Australia

Hackers could use Wi-Fi to install ransomware on DSLR cameras

Digital cameras with built-in Wi-Fi let people quickly send images to other devices. But a vulnerability in the process could leave people’s cameras exposed

Mosquitoes may have killed half the people who ever lived

A book full of fascinating facts about mosquitoes shows the powerful ways they shaped our history – and the huge toll they've taken on human life

Ibuprofen and other common drugs may help antibiotic resistance spread

We’ve long known that bacteria can evolve resistance to antibiotics but now it looks like other drugs, including ibuprofen, may help this resistance spread

UK's biggest moon exhibition captures centuries of lunar love

From Japanese painting of the harvest moon to Buzz Aldrin's "Snoopy cap", the UK's biggest moon exhibition at London's National Maritime Museum is bound to please

I tried to eat myself smarter at a brain-boosting supper club

Nutrients like omega-3 are claimed to support healthy brain function, but there is little good evidence that they really improve cognition

Deep-sea microbe could answer one of evolution's biggest mysteries

At last, scientists have managed to grow, study and photograph a mysterious deep-sea microbe that could explain the evolutionary origin of our complex cells

Inside the race to find the first billion-digit prime number

Discovering giant prime numbers involves laborious trial and error, and they are of little use when they are found. For certain devotees, that's beside the point

Milky Way's black hole has got 75 times brighter and we don't know why

Astronomers were shocked to find the area around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way growing 75 times brighter in just two hours

World’s largest frog builds its own ponds using heavy rocks

To build nests, goliath frogs move heavy rocks to create little ponds in the middle of streams, which may explain how these frogs have evolved to be so enormous

Mysterious signals from space could teach us how dark energy works

Weird bursts of radio waves from space could be used to measure cosmic distances, which would help us learn about dark energy and the universe’s expansion

Sharks use a special kind of protein to glow green in deep water

Chain catsharks and swell sharks have evolved a special way to glow-in-the-dark skin that is completely different from other biofluorescent marine animals

AI learns to predict the outcomes of human rights court cases

AI is going into law. It can now predict the outcomes of human rights cases and next year Estonia is planning to use the technology to moderate disputes in small claims courts

Outshining fossil fuel: Your guide to the revolution in solar energy

Solar power is getting so cheap it is overtaking fossil fuels – and that’s without next-generation photovoltaic technology and artificial photosynthesis

The NHS is setting up a lab for medical artificial intelligence

The National Health Service in England is setting up a research lab to build artificial intelligence that could help treat conditions including cancer, dementia and heart disease

How to build your own intruder alarm with basic electronics

Worried about unwanted visitors in your garden? Here's how to build a simple alarm system with basic electronics, a plastic folder, kitchen foil and a sponge

UN warns most plans for limiting climate change would wreck the planet

Almost every plan for limiting warming to 2°C or less relies heavily on bioenergy, but the latest UN report says we don’t have enough land to spare

Earth's magnetic poles probably won't flip within our lifetime

Contrary to recent reports, new research suggests the next reversal of Earth’s magnetic pole won’t happen in a human lifetime and could take tens of thousands of years

Personalised breast cancer test could tell when to stop treatment

A blood test for a person’s specific breast cancer mutations – which is 100 times more sensitive than existing tests – seems to tell when treatment is working and when more is needed

We just found dozens of missing galaxies from the early universe

A group of 39 previously unseen galaxies could be the ancestors of the massive galaxies we see in the universe today  

Plate tectonics began nearly 2 billion years before we thought

Earth’s continents may have been shifting for 2.5 billion years, according to a study of ancient rocks that finds plate tectonics evolved far earlier than we thought

How the coolest, smallest stars could help us discover new exoplanets

Exoplanets are abundant near the galaxy's smallest stars. Observing M dwarfs could teach us more about the worlds beyond our solar system, writes Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Why the news on dementia deaths is not as bad as it sounds

Dementia has been named the leading cause of death in England and Wales, but individual risk for the condition is falling, and cancer actually kills more people

Enormous ‘cannonballs’ of plasma spotted hurtling around the sun

Huge blobs of hot plasma are flying around at high speeds on the sun, and they may help us figure out why the sun's outermost layers are so surprisingly hot

Your guide to the carbon sucking tech we need to save the planet

Humans have emitted so much carbon dioxide that we must find ways of sucking it from the air. Can that be done without wrecking the environment in other ways?

Snowglow can cause the night sky to be twice as bright as a full moon

A combination of snow and cloud cover can make light pollution in the sky over 180 times brighter, potentially affecting the sleep cycles of nocturnal animals

Staring down seagulls can stop them stealing your chips

In experiments conducted in UK seaside towns, only 26 per cent of herring gulls tried to steal chips when they were being watched

World’s largest parrot was a metre tall and lived 19 million years ago

Palaeontologists working in New Zealand have discovered the first evidence of giant parrots, which they believe weighed 7 kilograms and lived 19 million years ago

We could use Earth's atmosphere as a giant lens for a space telescope

A space telescope could use the whole Earth as a lens by capturing light deflected off the atmosphere to help us search for signs of life on exoplanets

Physicists who came up with supergravity win $3m Breakthrough Prize

Supergravity is an idea that could unite general relativity with quantum mechanics, and the three physicists who formulated it have now won a $3 million prize for their work

Physicist Jim Al-Khalili on Leeds United, Einstein and quantum biology

Quantum physicist and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili talks footballing ambitions, dream chats with Einstein and the incredible connection between gravity and space-time

Artificial tongue could taste whisky to make sure it isn't counterfeit

An artificial tongue can taste subtle differences between drams of whisky and could one day help tackle the counterfeit alcohol trade

Most people would rather lose their job to a robot than another human

Most people would prefer a robot to take their job if they had to lose it, but they would prefer to see another human step in if a co-worker was going to lose theirs

Space agency chief fired after revealing recent Amazon deforestation

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has fired the director of the agency that monitors deforestation in the Amazon after it revealed a big increase in deforestation

Two planets orbiting a nearby star could have oceans and maybe life

Teegarden’s star, 12.5 light years away, is orbited by two planets, and even if they have very thin atmospheres they may be able to maintain liquid oceans

Neuroscientist Ed Boyden is decoding the brain with the power of light

Understanding the workings of our minds is one of science's greatest challenges. With the help of flashing lights and materials used in diapers, we could find out what thoughts are made of

How to suck water from desert air and quench the planet's thirst

The global water supply is limited, and shortages will affect over 1.8 billion people by 2025. Fortunately, we've discovered a way to pull water from thin air - even in the desert

What if you could erase your political opponents? Sci-fi has answers

Empty Hearts is an exciting thriller with a disturbing way of dealing with people you disagree with politically, says Helen Marshall in her latest sci-fi column