A vendor displays on a stall freshly caught local mullet fish on August 1, 2014 at the main fish market in Kuwait City. Photo: YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images
Ocean and fish mercury levels have soared as a result of human activity, study finds
By Fiona Rutherford - 08 August 12:08

According to scientists, some fish could contain at least three times more mercury than 150 years ago due to pollution caused by human activity – the researchers hope that these findings will increase awareness of the harmful effects of mercury pollution.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera. Image:  ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
Rosetta becomes the first spacecraft to ever go into orbit around a comet
By Fiona Rutherford - 07 August 12:28

After a ten year chase, Rosetta became the first ever spacecraft to intercept and go into orbit around a comet - and over the next 18 months will begin searching for clues left over from the earliest moments of our Solar System.

More than 70 per cent of MPs use Twitter.
To watch the political elite debate, head to Twitter, not Westminster
By Lucy Fisher - 06 August 15:55

Twitter, once the preserve of teens and techies, is now the medium of choice for the political establishment too. 

Your cool new phone is damaging the planet: it's time for some anti-design
By Bran Knowles - 06 August 15:33

The only genuinely sustainable approach to tech products is to design them in ways that decrease people's reliance on technology.

A child playing the trumpet at a public event. Photo: Getty Images
When it comes to expertise, 10,000 hours of practice isn’t enough
By Fiona Rutherford - 06 August 11:53

Contrary to popular opinion, practicing a musical instrument or a sport for thousands of hours isn’t enough to produce a Mozart or a Maradona – though it still helps.

A smartphone running Facebook. Photo: Johan Larsson / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Sex workers on Facebook are not a sexualised peep show available at all hours
By Margaret Corvid - 05 August 9:25

The default assumption when it comes to sex workers on Facebook is that their lives are an open book.

Water horses: a mother and baby hippo swim at a zoo in Mexico City. Photo: Getty
Michael Brooks: Hippo fossils offer clues about swimming
By Michael Brooks - 30 July 15:00

Fossilised guides to what the earth was like millions of years ago are rare, and understanding water tracks can make a difference.

A nurse with bottles of medicine. Photo: Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images
David Tredinnick's right that alternative medicine could work - but that's not reason to embrace it
By George Gillett - 29 July 16:08

Our understanding of placebo-based treatments suggests that alternative medicine could benefit patients. But the impact on medical ethics could lead to unintended consequences.

Uber is now integrated into Google Maps and the New York Subway
By Jonn Elledge - 28 July 13:17

It's easier than ever to experience surge pricing.

Charles Bell: Anatomy of the Brain c.1802. Photo: Shaheen Lakhan / Flickr
We don't really understand empathy, but we know business could do with a little more
By Ajit Niranjan - 28 July 9:50

Our understanding of empathy is pretty limited, but many figures are calling for change. Corporate culture is beginning to recognise the need to put yourself in someone else's shoes.

Neil Armstrong in the lunar module, 1969. Photo: Getty
Neil Armstrong’s life: Searching for rocket man
By Erica Wagner - 25 July 12:59

Erica Wagner on a new biography of the space pioneer.

The fastest supercomputer in the world - 2000. Your toaster probably has more computing power now. Photo: Getty
Reviewed: At the Edge of Uncertainty: 11 Discoveries Taking Science by Surprise
By Ian Steadman - 25 July 10:12

Ian Steadman reviews Michael Brooks’s book on scientific discovery.

Generation Ritalin: between 10 and 30% of students are estimated to have taken ADHD medication. Photo Getty
Revising on Ritalin: the students who use ADHD meds
By Ajit Niranjan - 24 July 13:00

Between 10 and 30 per cent of British university students have taken pills such as Modafinil and Ritalin to improve their memory and heighten their concentration.

Paternal instinct: a father and baby at the Rio carnival in March. Photo: Getty
In the brain of the father: why men can be just as good primary parents as women
By Michael Brooks - 24 July 10:00

Brain research shows that fathers who are secondary to a female caregiver are more engaged as thinkers and planners. But men raising a child without a female partner were found to have the same level of emotional response as a mother.

This panorama is a mosaic of images taken by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on the NASA Mars rover Curiosity while the rover was working at a site called "Rocknest" in October and November 2012. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems
The Emirates paves way for a Middle East space programme with its mission to Mars
By Jill Stuart - 23 July 15:09

The United Arab Emirates now has its own space agency, and plans to launch a mission to Mars by 2021.

A London Underground train enters Oxford Street station, below a realtime indicator giving passengers information about delays or cancellations. Photo: Getty Images
Public transport bodies: producing lots of data, not necessarily making the most of it
By Ian Steadman - 21 July 14:06

The trend over the last few years has been for public transport authorities to accept that their data should be made public - while at the same time letting the private sector absorb the cost of making use of it.

Flattened mountains, poisoned rivers: China's engineers face off against engineer-created problems
By Ajit Niranjan - 18 July 16:29

China's rapid industrialisation has not been accompanied by a respect for the natural environment - but, as pollution problems become so severe that they can no longer be ignored, engineers are beginning to dream up ambitious solutions to problems created by ambitious modernity.

All-seeing: new legislation could entrench and extend the ablility of the state to monitor us. Image: Herbert Bayer/Private Collection/Christie's Images/Bridgeman Images
The deep state: data surveillance is about power, not safety
By Anthony Barnett - 17 July 11:15

All three of Britain’s main parties insist that data surveillance is for our protection – but this “emergency” is about power and control.

French electricity pylons. Photo: Getty
Shock horror: people will take serious pain over phoneless boredom
By Michael Brooks - 17 July 10:00

Left alone in a sparsely furnished room for 15 minutes, stripped of all electronic distractions but one, boredom made the electric-shock machine irresistible.

Medaupload founder Kim Dotcom, who has compared his arrest and prosecution for facilitating filesharing as similar to the civil rights struggle. Photo: Getty Images
“Fifteen years of utter bollocks”: how a generation’s freeloading has starved creativity
By Chris Ruen - 16 July 12:14

Arguments for digital piracy are drivel – it's high time we steered away from this cultural cliff, argues author Chris Ruen.

America is demanding enhanced security checks at international airports. Photo: Daniel Lobo / Flickr
Light scanners are set to get rid of that annoying ban on liquids on planes
By Ajit Niranjan - 09 July 10:37

An Oxfordshire-based company has developed hi-tech scanners which can rapidly analyse the chemical make-up of liquids inside containers.

Participants at the Wellcome Trust and New Statesman round table.
Antibiotic resistance: the greatest public health threat of our time?
By Charlotte Simmonds - 08 July 18:02

A world without antimicrobials would be a world without modern medicine, so why is there not more urgency in addressing the global rise of drug resistance? The New Statesman brought leading health experts together to discuss the problem.

 Bottles of antibiotics line a shelf at a Publix Supermarket pharmacy August 7, 2007 in Miami, Florida. Photo: Getty Images
What next, when the drugs won’t work?
By Zac Goldsmith - 08 July 17:06

The government has made progress on the urgent crisis of antimicrobial resistance, but sustained public pressure is still needed, says Zac Goldsmith.

No, it's not the same. Photo: Ken Piorkowski / Flickr
Study shows people prefer pain to their own thoughts – except it doesn’t
By Ajit Niranjan - 04 July 13:16

"A few bored students gave themselves an unpleasant tingle, but most preferred to sit around instead." Snappy or what?

Founders Gal Sont and Dan Russ. Photo: SwiftKey
Innovative eye-tracking technology could transform communication for those paralysed
By Ajit Niranjan - 02 July 18:04

An Israeli start-up backed by predictive-keyboard-pioneer SwiftKey is offering hope for severely disabled individuals.

Not the best way to banish gender stereotypes from engineering. Photo: Poster from the Women's Engineering Society
Fixing the gender divide in engineering is slow, incremental work
By Ajit Niranjan - 02 July 13:34

Women are vastly under-represented in engineering and little has been done about it. National Women in Engineering Day is one of many initiatives to counter this imbalance.

Tee time: at some point the universe blew up in size from subatomic to golf ball size. Photo: Getty
Making ripples: another Big Bang theory bites the dust
By Michael Brooks - 30 June 15:00

In March, the team of astronomers working on the Bicep2 telescope announced that they had seen ripples caused by the universe’s inflation. 

Residents stand near a giant rubber duck on a lake at the newly developped town of Phu My Hung in Ho Chi Minh city on April 28, 2014. Photo: Getty Images
Our plastic waste is changing the geology of the Earth's rocks
By Emma Woollacott - 27 June 15:28

The tiny pieces of plastic that we throw away every year are forming a new layer of sedentary rock across the planet - just another sign of our careless attitude to waste.

"Sky cars" are coming to Tel Aviv
By Barbara Speed - 27 June 13:59

Flying cars! Sort of.

Neanderthals were omnivores. Photo: Erich Ferdinand / Flickr
Further evidence emerges suggesting Neanderthals weren't so different to us
By Ajit Niranjan - 27 June 13:36

The extinction of any species makes for headline news, but none more so than the Neanderthals. The death of our hominid relatives tens of thousands of years ago instils a particularly morbid fear that we're about to share their fate.