Economic hardship is characterised by loss of jobs and homes, a big influence on mental health. Photo: Getty
Study finds Great Recession linked with more than 10,000 extra suicides in the EU and US
By Ajit Niranjan - 16 June 16:22

Thousands of "potentially avoidable" suicides occurred during the first two years of the recession in Europe and North America, according to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Good cause for worry... Photo: Michelle Walz / Flickr
Crayfish may be smarter than we thought, as a study finds they can experience "anxiety"
By Ajit Niranjan - 13 June 18:13

Crustaceans really are spineless, according to a recent study in the journal Science.

A desert ant with its abdomen raised. Photo: neekoh.fi / Flickr
Study finds ant sperm get ahead through synchronised swimming
By Ajit Niranjan - 13 June 12:18

Spermatozoa in desert ants bind together to increase their speed, according to researchers in Belgium.

Low's caricature of Keynes for the New Statesman, 1933
Paul Mason: what would Keynes do?
By Paul Mason - 12 June 10:00

The revolution in IT and how it is transforming our world in ways that even economists are struggling to understand.

Memorial mural to recently-deceased actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Photo: Garrett Ziegler / Flickr
The international mood on drug use and addiction is shifting from punishment to treatment
By Ajit Niranjan - 11 June 12:35

The UN has added its voice to the growing cry to rebrand substance abuse disorders as an issue of public health – a matter for doctors, not police.

Are textbooks really worth the money anymore? Photo: John Beauchamp / Flickr
Hyped language-learning apps like Duolingo may truly be useful in the classroom
By Ajit Niranjan - 10 June 11:46

The British are infamous for struggling with languages. At every level above primary school, dwindling numbers of students are choosing to study foreign languages. Innovative new apps may be set to change all that.

A sculpture of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park by Stephen Kettle. Photo: Steve Parker / Flickr
Supercomputer passes Turing Test by convincing judges it’s a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy
By Ajit Niranjan - 09 June 14:43

A computer programme has succeeded in passing the Turing Test, 65 years after it was first conceived of by the father of artificial intelligence, Alan Turing.

Acres of oilseed rape in flower amid the limestone hills of Yunnan, southern China. Photo: George Steinmetz/Corbis
There is nothing very lovely about oilseed rape
By John Burnside - 05 June 12:32

Don’t be fooled by its seas of scented acid-yellow blooms, the plant otherwise known as canola is one of the world’s most unethical crops.

Dynamite with a laser beam: artist Yvette Mattern's Global Rainbow in Whitley Bay, 2012. Photo: Getty
Firing lasers into a box made of gold – the race to turn light particles into matter
By Michael Brooks - 05 June 10:00

This could prove a neater way to investigate the fundamental building blocks of nature than examining the debris created by high-energy particle collisions.

Hash sign being drawn. Photo: Lenore Edman/Flickr
#History: the journey and many faces of the hash symbol
By Anoosh Chakelian - 04 June 15:48

From the Romans to Twitter, the hash sign – or octothorpe – has had a rich history, and now this innocuous little character has found a mighty resurgence as the hashtag. What happened along the way?

An artist's impression of SN 2006gyM, one of the brightest supernovas ever recorded. Photo: Weiss/NASA/CXC/Getty
“Supernova in a bottle” will help create matter from light
By Akshat Rathi - 02 June 10:43

The new process could provide a clean way of doing particle physics experiments.

Nothing like this one: a humanoid robot at a robotics fair in Lyon, 19 March. Photo: Getty
Should scientists be prosecuted for killings carried out by their armed robots?
By Michael Brooks - 29 May 10:00

Using technology about to be approved for medical use, we can now program computers to identify a possible target and decide whether to fire weapons at it.

Tweeting on a smartphone. Photo: Getty
Why fake Twitter accounts are a political problem
By Emma Woollacott - 28 May 10:37

The rise in the use of Twitter bots and automated accounts, particularly by politicians and campaigns, is skewing what we see as trends.

Colin Pillinger in 2004. Photo: Getty
Never forget Colin Pillinger – and all he did for the UK space industry
By Michael Brooks - 23 May 13:14

Hopefully, we'll soon be launching a mission to Mars from the UK.

Illuminating idea: volunteers light 5,000 candles in the shape of planet earth, during Earth Hour 2012, Berlin. Photo: Getty
The Gaia guy: how James Lovelock struggled to be taken seriously
By Steven Poole - 16 May 11:24

Nowadays, the area of study called “earth systems science” uses many ideas originally championed by Lovelock, though people are still allergic to the name Gaia.

Good chemistry: a display of cupcakes iced with chemical element symbols. Photo: Flickr
The Periodic table versus the Apocalypse
By Michael Brooks - 15 May 13:22

Not just a faded poster on a lab wall, but “as impressive as the Pyramids or any of the other wonders of the world”. The table also holds the key to finding replacements for antibiotics. 

Hang on a second: clocks at a Hong Kong clock and watch fair. Photo: Getty
The pros and cons of leap seconds
By Michael Brooks - 08 May 10:00

The slowing pace of the earth’s spin means that occasionally we have to add on a second – but should this practice continue?

Honda's Asimo robot at the 2014 New York International Auto Show in New York. Photo: Getty Images
We may never teach robots about love, but what about ethics?
By Emma Woollacott - 06 May 14:30

Do androids dream of electric Kant?

Having a flutter: a lack of food for butterfly larvae has eaten into numbers. Photo: Getty
Butterflies are beautiful but we need to love their larvae too
By Michael Brooks - 30 April 10:00

The numbers of monarch butterflies are at a record low and a large part of this is because of the disappearance of the milkweed plant, eaten by caterpillars.

An expanding colony of Clostridium difficile bacteria. Image: CC-BY: David Goulding, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute/Wellcome Images
We need to talk about poo (and how it could save your life)
By Bryn Nelson - 29 April 17:29

Bryn Nelson gets to the bottom of an emerging – and often shocking – therapy.

The clock is ticking. Photo: Getty
Men don’t last very long in bed – and it bothers them more than it bothers women
By Alice Robb - 25 April 12:42

Reports suggest that “an astonishing 45 per cent of men finish the sex act too quickly”.

Soon, you won't even need a liquid to get drunk. Photo: Getty
Powdered alcohol will appeal to young drinkers, despite what the makers say
By Jane Binakonsky - 25 April 9:44

Alcohol in powdered sachet form: what could possibly go wrong?

 A visitor views a digital representation of the human genomeat the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Photo: Getty
Life itself is encrypted – but can you find the Easter eggs?
By Adam Rutherford - 22 April 13:03

Art and science both had a long history of secret codes hidden in plain sight. Adam Rutherford goes on the hunt.

Antonio Meno Ortega (R) is cared for by his parents Juana (L) and Antonio (C) in November 2010. He has been in a persistent vegetative state since a botched nose operation in 1989. Photo: Getty Images
Reading the minds of those trapped in their own bodies, unable to ask for help
By Roger Highfield - 22 April 12:35

Thousands remain trapped between life and death. Three scientists are working to free them. Roger Highfield reports.

The City Toastmaster using a megaphone at the 1908 London Olympics. Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
How capital letters became internet code for shouting
By Alice Robb - 17 April 16:04

And why we should lay off the caps-lock key.

The cultural riches online are seemingly infinite - will they be there forever? Photogragh: Erik Söderström on Flickr via Creative Commons
What’s the rush? Why the internet means we never get round to doing anything
By Oliver Farry - 17 April 12:53

Speed is of the essence in the online world but faced with the Aladdin’s cave of cultural riches, one’s response is invariably one of sluggishness, of planning for a putative future that will never come.

That sox: Samsung got into water for using David Ortiz of Boston Red Sox's selfie with the Prez. Photo: Getty
Who actually owns your selfies?
By Ian Steadman - 17 April 11:30

Barack Obama is the president of the United States of America and neither he (nor his image) is supposed to be used to endorse a product.

Welcome to the age of synthetic biology – it’s all about yeast
By Michael Brooks - 17 April 10:00

We don’t need evolution any more – we've outsourced the processes to ourselves.

Hungary’s cold war with polio
By Penny Bailey - 15 April 10:17

Trapped by the Cold War and scarred after a failed revolution, Hungary fought one of its greatest battles against polio.

Teenagers at an Alicia Keys concert wave their phones in the air. Photo:Getty
Stop worrying: teenagers are not internet-addled cyborgs with overdeveloped thumbs
By Helen Lewis - 15 April 9:15

. . .  in fact, they are probably better at navigating a world of smartphones and social networks than we crusties aged 20 and over.

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