By Jessica Hamzelou A mystery illness has broken out in Wuhan City, ChinaJake Wyman/Getty Images At least 59 people in China have become ill with a mysterious viral pneumonia – seven of whom are in a serious condition, according to a local health commission. Chinese authorities still don’t know what has caused the outbreak, but…
By Chris Stokel-Walker The change in year has caused a few issuesDmitrii_Guzhanin/Getty Parking meters, cash registers and a professional wrestling video game have fallen foul of a computer glitch related to the Y2K bug. The Y2020 bug, which has taken many payment and computer systems offline, is a long-lingering side effect of attempts to fix…
By Leah Crane A pair of stars in the constellation Sagitta will become almost as bright as a supernova when they collideLSU Department of Physics & Astronomy A pair of stars doing a cosmic dance are getting ready to explode. The two stars make up a binary called V Sagittae in the constellation Sagitta, and…
By Leah Crane An illustration of NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center One hundred light years away, there is a planet that might be just right for life. Called TOI 700 d, the planet is the first Earth-sized world with moderate temperatures found by NASA’s newest planet-hunting space telescope, the Transiting…
By Leah Crane Alfred Pasieka/Science Photo Library A strange set of gravitational waves have been sent across space by a mysterious object. It could be the smallest black hole ever found or the largest neutron star. Gravitational waves are ripples in space time that are caused by the motion of massive objects. The Laser Interferometer…
By Clare Wilson T-cells may “learn” to recognise cancer cells while in immune system “outposts”Location South / Alamy Stock Photo Sometimes our immune systems can destroy cancer. Now more light has been shed on how this happens with the discovery of tiny clumps of immune tissue that form within tumours. The structures, dubbed immune outposts,…
By Leah Crane The Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope is scanning the skiesSander Meertins/Getty Strange radio signals from space are still baffling astronomers with their odd behaviour. Fast radio bursts (FRBs) are powerful blasts of radio waves that last just a few milliseconds. Some of these bursts have been seen to repeat, flickering on and off…
By New Scientist staff and Press Association The Quadrantids have a short peak periodKazushi Inagaki/Getty Images Skygazers are set for some celestial fireworks as the first meteor shower of 2020 looks to light up the night skies. The Quadrantid meteor shower is expected to peak on the night of Friday 3 January and, weather permitting,…
By Adam Vaughan Air pollution can come from cooking indoors using solid biomass fuelsTowfiqu Photography/Getty Images The number of health effects linked to air pollution keeps growing. We already know dirty air is associated with problems in the lungs, heart, uterus and eyes and could potentially affect mental health – and now weaker bones can be…
Technology | Analysis 3 January 2020 By Adam Vaughan Dominic Cummings is enthusiastic about scienceChris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images Dominic Cummings, a senior adviser to UK prime minister Boris Johnson, has said he wants the UK government to hire “weirdos and misfits with odd skills” to apply science to the civil service. While primarily a quirky…
Technology 3 January 2020 New batteries could give us long-duration charges for phones and other gadgetsGetty Images A new lithium-sulphur battery with an ultra-high capacity could lead to drastically cheaper electric cars and grid energy storage. Mahdokht Shaibani at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and her colleagues have developed a battery with a capacity five…
Some skin creams trigger immune responses and we are closer to understanding whySimarik/Getty Images A protein in our skin may explain why cosmetic products cause rashes – and also potentially provides clues to prevent such reactions. Annemieke de Jong at Columbia University, New York, and her colleagues wanted to work out why allergens in perfumes,…
Brittlestars change their body colour to seeHeather Stewart Brittlestars, marine animals that look a little like starfish, may see without eyes by changing the colour of their bodies. While we already knew that brittlestars have photoreceptors all along their bodies, we didn’t know exactly how they worked until now. The discovery could help explain how…
Humans have been eating roasted vegetables for a very long timeGMVozd/Getty Images Charred fragments found in 170,000-year-old ashes in a cave in southern Africa are the earliest roasted root vegetables yet found. The finding suggest the real “paleo diet” included lots of roasted vegetables rich in carbohydrates, similar to modern potatoes. “I think people were…
Eastern California’s Mono Lake has no outflow, allowing salts to build up over time. The high salts in this carbonate-rich lake can grow into pillars. Credit: Matthew Dillon/Flickr Life Could Have Emerged From Lakes With High Phosphorus Life as we know it requires phosphorus. It’s one of the six main chemical elements of life, it…
SpaceX’s first Falcon 9 launch of 2020 – and the new decade – is just around the corner after drone ship Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) departed Port Canaveral on Monday to prepare for its 27th booster landing attempt. Known as Starlink-2, SpaceX’s first launch of the new year slipped a handful of…