Smoking. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Doom-laden ads put healthy people in a panic – but some need to worry a bit more
By Phil Whitaker - 05 March 10:02

It's hard to draw the line between inciting fear, and giving a fair warning - as Colin and Mary's story proves.

Scientists undertake Gamma Knife surgery, one treatment for ocular melanoma. Photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images
Spare a thought for “orphan” drugs: the rare disease medicines that prove health is a numbers game
By Michael Brooks - 05 March 9:09

Oliver Sacks wrote of his imminent death with remarkable dignity, knowing science cannot help him. But what about the cases where it might?

The infamous dress. Photo: swiked/Tumblr
The dress of many colours: is it blue and black or white and gold?
By Tosin Thompson - 27 February 12:30

A recent debate on the colour of a dress has broken the internet. But is it all just a visual illusion? 

Why not? Robots dancing in Madrid's robot museum. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images
Nuclear armaments? Global warming? All hail our robot overlords!
By Michael Brooks - 26 February 11:09

I, for one, accept our new robot politicians.

The relentless cheerleading of the internet dulls our wits.
The happiness conspiracy: against optimism and the cult of positive thinking
By Bryan Appleyard - 26 February 10:20

Pessimism gets a bad press, but compulsory positive thinking can be brutally enforced.

Less than fortnight from Ceres, the two strange bright spots on its surface are now clearly visible in the latest image from Dawn. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Bright lights and the possibility of life add mystery to Nasa's Ceres mission
By Tosin Thompson - 25 February 16:01

With only days to go before the first probe goes into orbit around this surprisingly interesting dwarf planet, further mysteries - including two strange bright spots in a crater - are coming into focus.

Whispering plays a big part in ASMR. Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Welcome to the world of autonomous sensory meridian response videos, the internet’s soft play area
By Eleanor Margolis - 19 February 16:50

For some people, videos of people performing intricate tasks or crinkling paper can produce a satisfying tingling feeling. If you can suspend your cyncism, it’s one of the nicest places on the internet to be.

People, please don’t go to Mars - you’ll die
By Tosin Thompson - 19 February 14:58

The Red Planet is bad for humans in all kinds of ways, and being first there may be little consolation if you die before you even reach the surface.

Realistic-colour image of Europa. Photo: NASA / Jet Propulsion Lab-Caltech / SETI Institute
Is there life on Jupiter’s ice moon?
By Michael Brooks - 18 February 10:25

If only politics worked half as well as space exploration.

God’s houses: arboretums recall the architectural grandeur of churches. Photo: Mike Vardy/Science Photo Library
Botanical gardens are the cathedrals of our times
By John Burnside - 18 February 10:20

In the bleak midwinter, there are few walks more energising.

More pancake is better pancake. Photo: Getty Images
Using bad science to create the perfect Pancake Day recipe
By Ian Steadman - 17 February 10:41

Lots of places claim to have the “perfect” pancake recipe – but here’s how to guarantee the best results. Maybe.

Rain check: Dave King eschews technology and favours ancient sayings. Nick Ray/The Times/News Syndication
Watching with the weatherman: the self-taught meteorologist
By Xan Rice - 17 February 10:03

“Dave the Weather” may seem comical - but many take his predictions seriously.

All alone. Photo: Getty Images
Feeling blue on Valentine's Day? Fixing heartbreak with science is possible - but risky
By Tosin Thompson - 14 February 15:00

Can science cure a broken heart? In theory, yes - but the side effects can be rather unpleasant.

A health worker administers the polio vaccine to children in Yemen. Photo: Reuters
How immunity became a political issue: Eula Bliss’s timely study of disease and vaccination
By Steven Poole - 13 February 9:49

With "anti-vaxxers" dominating the headlines, Biss's new book is a thoughtful examination of how people feel about vaccines.

Dawkins with the band in the studio.
Richard Dawkins to feature on Finnish metal band Nightwish's new album
By Stephanie Boland - 13 February 9:43

The biologist-turned-atheist campaigner is sampled on the band's forthcoming Endless Forms Most Beautiful.

David Cameron unveils this year's campaign poster. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Instant messaging: looking back on the golden age of political advertising
By Bryan Appleyard - 13 February 9:00

Sam Delaney’s Mad Men and Bad Men: What Happened when British Politics Met Advertising captures forty years of politics – through posters.

The coal-burning Clinch River Power Plant, one of the largest air polluters in Virginia. Photo: Matt Wasson/Flickr
Hacking the climate instead of reducing emissions is “irrational and irresponsible”, report finds
By Tosin Thompson - 12 February 17:42

A major new study of geoengineering techniques finds them an unrealistic distraction from more immediate action to tackle climate change.

A cloud of dust and gas in space. Photo: Nasa/Getty Images
A handful of cosmic dust: revealing the roots of our existence
By Michael Brooks - 12 February 11:19

It's time to appreciate space dust.

Samsung's 4K TV sets on show at CES. Photo: Getty Images
Before we give doors and toasters sentience, we should decide what we're comfortable with first
By Ian Steadman - 10 February 13:51

It's becoming more and more common for everyday appliances to have features we don't expect, and the implications for privacy and freedom can be surprisingly profound. We should be sure we know what we're buying into.

Google's motto is "don't be evil" - but with so much power over our lives, can we trust it and other tech companies to be? Photo: Getty Images
How to stop the tech giants turning us into techo-serfs
By Martin Moore - 09 February 17:21

We need to learn to live with the big companies which dominate the internet - but right now our only policy responses are state control or free market monopoly.

White mice in a lab. Photo: China Photos/Getty Images
New research in blood sharing forces us to ask: how far will we go to beat ageing?
By Michael Brooks - 05 February 11:36

In mice, young blood can rejuvinate the arteries and even neurones of the old. But humans may be wary.

Glastonbury, 2013. Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images
Ketamine users, beware: your trip might end on an operating table
By Phil Whitaker - 05 February 11:01

The drug can cause symptoms akin to a UTI – recurrant use may lead to severe bladdar damage.

Unlike: at Facebook, 85 per cent of the tech staff are men. Photo: Getty
Silicon Valley sexism: why it matters that the internet is made by men, for men
By Soraya Chemaly - 04 February 10:46

From revenge porn to online harassment, online spaces are recreating the misogyny of the wider world.

Is there any way out? Time to take a step back. Photo: Getty
The dark side of digital work: how technology is making us less productive
By Monideepa Tarafdar - 03 February 18:01

The more time and effort we spend keeping on top of ever-changing applications and struggling to swim through gluts of information, the less productive they are at work.

A healthcare worker, recently returned from Sierra Leone to Glasgow, is loaded onto a plane for London for treatment for the UK's first case of Ebola. These resources are not available in the developing world. Photo: Getty Images
Does Western medical research still have #firstworldproblems?
By Fiona Rutherford - 02 February 13:50

When more money in Britain is spent on researching cures for baldness than for malaria, then there's a problem.

Capsules containing ketamine. Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP
Could ketamine stop suicide?
By Michael Brooks - 29 January 8:00

The drug has been proven as a reliever of suicidal thoughts. With some doctors reluctant to prescribe SSRIs, it could provide the answer.

A doctor at work. Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images
Osteoporosis is medicine’s Cinderella diagnosis. It rarely gets a look-in
By Phil Whitaker - 22 January 10:29

Osteoporosis gets less attention than the "big, ugly stepsisters' -- yet roughly three million in the UK are affected.

A light bulb. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
How harnessing the strangeness of light allows science to shine
By Michael Brooks - 22 January 10:10

From eyecare to creating the coldest thing in the universe, lasers show science at its most illuminating.

Hawking in 1991. Photo: Rex/Tom Pilston/The Independent
Stephen Hawking’s life is a triumph of intellect over adversity
By Martin Rees - 21 January 11:19

Stephen Hawking received his "death sentence" more than 50 years ago. The Astronomer Royal pays tribute to him.