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.

Dazzling stripes are a way of deterring flies. Photo: Getty
How the zebra got its stripes
By Akshat Rathi and Angela White - 11 April 16:34

A method for dodging predators? A means of social interaction? Or a way of getting rid of flies?

Home of code: Old Street roundabout in London, AKA Silicon Roundabout. Photo: Getty
Learn a foreign language - code
By Ian Steadman - 10 April 17:09

The governent's Year of Code campaign has caused come confusion, but they could be missing a trick.

South Australian outback. There is very poor network coverage in much of the country. Photo: Getty
Australia’s grand vision for a national broadband network has shrunk
By Mary Hamilton - 10 April 16:27

Big coastal cities do not always get good coverage, let alone the outback.

Moving image: filmmaker Anthony Powell has yet to find cold-beating tech solutions on his feet. Image: Anthony Powell for his film "Antarctica: A Year on Ice"
What happens when your dishwasher breaks down in Antarctica?
By Caroline Crampton - 10 April 15:12

When you're living at the bottom of the world, you can’t just pop out to a hardware shop when something breaks, so your appliances are like part of the family.

The Large Hadron Collider, on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. Photo: Getty Images
The Large Hadron Collider has made another exciting quantum discovery
By Harry Cliff - 10 April 11:48

Scientists working on one of the four experiments at the LHC have gathered enough evidence to confirm the existence of a four-quark particle.

Why futurologists are always wrong – and why we should be sceptical of techno-utopians
By Bryan Appleyard - 10 April 10:00

From predicting AI within 20 years to mass-starvation in the 1970s, those who foretell the future often come close to doomsday preachers.

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