New Scientist Weekly

New Scientist Weekly

By New Scientist

Keep up with the latest scientific developments and breakthroughs in this award winning weekly podcast from the team at New Scientist, the world’s most popular weekly science and technology magazine. Each discussion centers around three of the most fascinating stories to hit the headlines each week. From technology, to space, health and the environment, we share all the information you need to keep pace.

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Episodes

#151 COP15: the meeting to save life on Earth; anti-ageing properties of urine

Following repeated delays, the COP15 biodiversity conference is finally going ahead. On December 7th representatives from most of the countries in the world will meet to reach an agreement on how to address the global biodiversity crisis. There’s already a draft agreement in place, and the team explains the ambitions it lays out. But is this event likely to move the needle?A species of rat which should have gone extinct has somehow managed to keep going - and now we know why. In a story worthy of Margaret Atwood, the team finds out how the Amami spiny rat continues to survive despite losing its Y chromosome, the one which makes males. There’s a genuine space race going on, with multiple companies hoping to become the first private firm to land on the Moon. The Japanese mission ispace has hit a delay, but the team explains how a viable lunar economy is now a serious prospect.Newborn female mice who sniff the urine of other female mice live longer - considerably so in fact. The team finds out what’s going on, and whether the finding applies to humans too…And Rowan chats with Henry Gee, senior editor at the journal Nature, who has won the 2022 Royal Society science book Prize. He describes his book, ‘A Very Short History of Life on Earth: 4.6 billion years in 12 chapters’, as a bedtime story for adults, that tells the greatest story ever - the whole saga of life on Earth.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, James Dinneen, Michael Le Page and Leah Crane. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com.Events and discount codes:Cyber Monday deal: www.newscientist.com/cybermonday Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/12/22·25m 59s

#150 Megadrought in the US; how to move an elephant

The southwestern US is currently in the midst of a megadrought - the worst in 1200 years. And it has put the Colorado River in crisis, an essential source of water for more than 40 million people. Can it be saved? Chelsea Whyte investigates.The team unveils the fun new names that have been chosen to define incomprehensibly massive and incredibly tiny numbers. These prefixes describe measurements that have more than 27 zeroes, created as part of the International System of Units.Like mac and cheese but hate the faff of making a roux? You’re in luck. Sam Wong shares a science-based one-pot mac hack, that’ll save you time and up the flavour too.Was COP27 in Egypt a success or a flop? Madeleine Cuff describes it as a mixed bag. After returning from the climate summit in Sharm El-Sheik, she reports on the progress that was made, and the vital issues that must be addressed over the next 12 months.Have you ever wondered how to move an elephant? Well, Ugandan wildlife vet Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka has done it, andit’s a struggle. She was given the task early on in her career, working at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, and she shares her experience.On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Chelsea Whyte, Alex Wilkins, Madeleine Cuff, Graham Lawton and Sam Wong. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. For New Scientist’s in depth series on the US megadrought, visit newscientist.com/megadrought.Events and discount codes:Black Friday deal: www.newscientist.com/blackfridayNew Scientist Business: newscientist.com/b2bsurvey Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
24/11/22·26m 27s

#149 COP27 treaty emerges; a method to discover wormholes

Cheering greeted Brazil’s president-elect, Lula da Silva, when he appeared at COP27 this week. Madeleine Cuff brings us a report from the climate conference in Egypt, where Lula has made bold promises to protect the Amazon. She also tells us what we can expect from this year’s draft treaty - and why the text has been causing quite a stir.There’s plenty going on in Space, with NASA’s Artemis mission now finally launching to the Moon. And the news that we may be able to look for wormholes (if they exist). These are different to black holes because they are traversable - handy if you happen to be an interstellar traveller looking for a fast route across the universe.Our ancestors may have begun using sophisticated cooking methods as long as 780,000 years ago. The team explains how fish teeth have been discovered near hearths at an ancient settlement in Israel. And X-ray analysis suggests they may have been cooked in some sort of earthen oven.Rowan visits a colony of leaf-cutter ants, who use an incredible method of farming fungi that evolved between 45 and 65 million years ago. David Labonte at Imperial College London explains how this complex and decentralised society operates.And have you ever wondered why some poos float and others sink? Too much fat in your diet? Fibre maybe? Or is it gas? Well, new research has lifted the toilet lid on this age-old question, and the team shares the results.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Madeleine Cuff, Leah Crane, Alice Klein and Sam Wong. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com.Events and discount codes:New Scientist Discovery Tours: www.newscientist.com/toursAmazon Future Engineer: www.amazonfutureengineer.co.uk/ayicBlack Friday deal: www.newscientist.com/blackfriday Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
17/11/22·31m 45s

#148 Climate action from COP27; world population reaches 8 billion

Warnings over the world’s mad dash to create new supplies of fossil fuels, discussions about climate loss and damage, and talk about nature-based solutions. COP27 in Egypt is in full swing. Our reporter Madeleine Cuff brings us the latest, direct from Sharm el Sheikh.This week’s Sci-fi alert is the unusual discovery of a star with a solid surface. The team explains how on this magnetar (the dense corpse of an exploded star), gravity would be immense and time would behave really weirdly - that’s if you’d be able to land on the thing. They also discuss how the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica has been able to plot the course of cosmic neutrinos back to their home galaxy.The 15th of November has been chosen by the UN to mark the point that the number of people on the planet passes 8 billion. Despite this, the team explains how the world’s population isn’t accelerating, and is expected to peak sometime this century - sharing surprising statistics from Japan and China.Birds that migrate long distances are more likely to break up with their partners. Usually bird species are pretty much monogamous, so the team finds out why travelling species find it harder to stay together.“May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.” The team shares news of the discovery of the oldest readable sentence written using the first alphabet.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Madeleine Cuff, Leah Crane and Michael Le Page. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Events and discount codes:Half price offer: www.newscientist.com/halfpricedigitalThe Perception Census: www.perceptioncensus.dreamachine.worldWild Wild Life newsletter: newscientist.com/wildwildlife Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/11/22·28m 11s

#147 The oldest yew trees in Europe – and how to save them

In a special episode of the podcast, host Rowan Hooper visits Newlands Corner in the North Downs in southern England, the site of one of the oldest and most significant populations of wild yews growing anywhere in the world.Yew trees are familiar from churchyards and are also revered by pagans and shamans. They can live for many hundreds of years. The grove at Newlands Corner is an exceptional ecosystem, with yews over 1000 years old, but they are declining, losing their needles and slowly dying. Rowan meets arboreal scientist Geoff Monck of Treecosystems, who specialises in surveying and restoring arboreal ecosystems.The cause of the decline in ancient yews has many factors, but the impact of nitrates in rainwater and in run-off from crop fields is perhaps the most important. Rowan hears how nitrates are changing the way the wood wide web operates, and how we might be able to fix it. New Scientist podcasts are freely available. Subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
07/11/22·11m 13s

#146 Accelerated end to fossil fuel; double discovery on Mars

Spurred on by the war in Ukraine, we’re seeing a worldwide shift to green energy, with the global demand of fossil fuels now expected to peak in 15 years - a dose of optimism ahead of COP27. The climate conference kicks off in Egypt on November 6, and the team brings a round-up of what we can expect. Maddie and Rowan also discuss their recent visit to the London Literature Festival, where they saw Greta Thunberg speak.‘Marsquakes’ studied by NASA’s InSight lander suggest Mars may still be volcanically active - and it may have a subsurface water table similar to the one on Earth. The team says this is exciting news for the prospect of life existing on the Red Planet.“A victory not only for the region, but for humanity and life itself.” Brazil’s President  Jair Bolsonaro has been unseated by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The team explains how Bolsonaro has presided over climate catastrophe, and why this news has sparked celebration - and relief - from environmentalists.Genetically modified mosquitoes have been released in a city in Brazil. The team explains how UK-based biotechnology firm Oxitec have done this in an effort to find ways to eliminate mosquitoes. The insects transmit deadly diseases like malaria, which kills more than 600,000 people a year.And we bring you a controversial ‘Lifeform of the Week’ - everyone’s most hated amphibian, the cane toad. Quite disturbingly, the team explains how new x-ray video footage shows that cane toads lick their own hearts when they swallow prey. Gross. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Madeleine Cuff, Sam Wong, Chris Simms and Alexandra Thompson. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com.Events and discount codes:Early bird offer: newscientist.com/earlybird22 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
03/11/22·22m 21s

#145 COP27 climate summit preview; unexpected animal sounds

It’s already been a year since COP26, with its successor COP27 gearing up to begin on 6 November. 12 months on from some big pledges, the team finds out how much action has actually been taken, and whether this next climate conference is set to move the needle further.Quacks, barks and farts; listen out for some intriguing and unexpected animal sounds. The team shares the newly discovered vocalisations of some animals, like turtles and lungfish, that we previously thought were silent.Turmeric has become an increasingly popular supplement, particularly in the US. But reports are coming in that the spice is causing liver injuries and turning people’s skin yellow. The team finds out what’s going on.A quantum watch is a completely new way to measure time. Using quantum interference, this new technique can accurately measure tiny nanoseconds of time. Although its applications are quite niche, the team explains how this technology could be very useful.As a Halloween treat, our Life Form of the Week is the pumpkin and other squashes. The team dives into the surprising origins of these strange, hard-skinned fruits, and how they came to spread worldwide.On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Chelsea Whyte, Michael Le Page, Leah Crane, Sam Wong, Alice Klein and Rowan Hooper. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com.Events and discount codes:Halloween sale: newscientist.com/Halloween22New Scientist Discovery Tours: newscientist.com/toursWild Wild Life newsletter: newscientist.com/wildwildlife Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
27/10/22·22m 14s

#144 Geoengineering plan to slow the melt of arctic ice

An extended bonus episode of the podcast, where we learn more about proposals to slow the rate of ice loss in Greenland - and if it works, in Antarctica - using a local form of geoengineering. Host Rowan Hooper speaks to glaciologist John Moore and environmental social scientist Ilona Mettiäinen, both from the University of Lapland in Finland.They discuss the proposal, which involves building a giant, submerged curtain to stop warm sea water getting underneath the ice sheet. They explore the funding and effort needed to pull off a project as big as this. And they talk about local people’s feelings about preserving the ice, as for any intervention it will be vital to have endorsement from Greenlanders.To read about stories like this, subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
23/10/22·25m 37s

#143 Bird flu sweeps UK; secrets of the Neanderthal family

Wild bird populations have been devastated by an avian flu variant that’s sweeping the UK - and more than 3.5 million captive birds have been culled. It’s expected to be the worst winter on record for avian flu - and the team finds out why.Female robins sing just as much, and just as beautifully, as their male counterparts. It might sound like a no-brainer, but we’ve only just found this out, which the team explains is due to a male bias in ornithology. They share songs from both a male and female robin, and discuss how brutally aggressive these birds can be.New Neanderthal genomes have been sequenced, giving us a glimpse into the lives - and inbreeding habits - of a family that lived in a cave in the Altai mountains.Livers transplanted from older donors can keep working for over 100 years - outliving those given by younger donors. There are some clues that might explain how this is possible, and the team says it could be a game-changer for the future of transplant surgery.If all the ice in Greenland melted, it would raise the sea level by 7.2 metres. Although some melting is already locked in due to climate change, it might be possible to physically slow the rate of ice loss. Following a meeting of the Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland, a team of scientists is investigating a way of slowing the ice melt by stopping warm sea water getting underneath the ice sheet. Rowan speaks to glaciologist John Moore and environmental social scientist Ilona Mettiäinen, both from the University of Lapland in Finland.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Carissa Wong, Madeleine Cuff and Michael Le Page. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com.Events and discount codes:New Scientist Discovery Tours: newscientist.com/toursNew Scientist gift subscription: newscientist.com/earlybird22 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
20/10/22·26m 5s

#142: We need to talk about mental health and climate change

In 2022, for the first time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change included mental health as part of its assessment of the impacts of climate change. Conditions such as anxiety, stress and post traumatic stress disorder are all predicted to increase as temperatures rise and people experience extreme weather events. To mark World Mental Health Day (Monday 10th October), Rowan spoke to ‘Losing Eden’ author Lucy Jones, and energy and climate scientist Gesche Huebner, to find out how the climate and nature crises are impacting our mental health - and what to do about it. This episode is an extended version of the edited interview on last week’s podcast - we hope you enjoy it.  Events and discount codes:Dow: newscientist.com/dowNew Scientist Autumn campaign: www.newscientist.com/pod13Big Thinker: newscientist.com/spaceandmotionMental health resources: UK Samaritans; US National Institute for Mental Health; help with climate anxiety Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
17/10/22·17m 45s

#141 Energy threat to international security; a new form of multiplication

The climate crisis is as great a threat to energy security as Russia’s war on Ukraine, warns the World Meteorological Organization. The team finds out what sort of threats we’re talking about, and discusses potential solutions.Imagine looking up at the skyline, ready to take in a beautiful sunset, and there it is - a massive, Moon-sized advert, stretched out across the skyline. The team explains how it might be possible (and practical) to do it soon.The erect-crested penguin is the least studied penguin in the world - largely because it lives on remote islands off the coast of New Zealand. But Rowan and Alice find out more - as well as discovering about the surprising sex lives of penguins.DeepMind’s newest artificial intelligence has discovered a new way to multiply numbers - the first improvement in over 50 years. It’s an algorithm for something called matrix multiplication, and the team finds out how it could speed up computers by as much as 20 per cent.To mark World Mental Health Day (Monday 10th October), Rowan speaks to ‘Losing Eden’ author Lucy Jones, and energy and climate scientist Gesche Huebner, to find out how the climate and nature crises are impacting our mental health - and what to do about it.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Madeleine Cuff and Matt Sparkes. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com.Events and discount codes:Dow: newscientist.com/dowNew Scientist Autumn campaign: www.newscientist.com/pod13Big Thinker: newscientist.com/spaceandmotionMental health resources: UK Samaritans; US National Institute for Mental Health; help with climate anxiety Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
13/10/22·30m 10s

#140 New Scientist Live Ask-us-Anything bonus episode

At New Scientist Live we invited you to ask our journalists anything - and at two packed out sessions, you absolutely delivered.Recorded live from the smoke-filled Space Shed at the Engage stage, this is a highlights reel of some of the best questions we received. Everything from dark matter to plant consciousness, 3D printed food, elephant emotional intelligence and black holes.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Emily Wilson, Sam Wong, Abby Beall, Tim Revell, Cat de Lange and Karmela Padavic-Callaghan. To read about these subjects and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.If you didn't make it to the event, you can catch up at newscientist.com/live Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/10/22·21m 51s

#139 Gas leak impact on climate change; a new way to explain life

Exploding gas pipelines have signalled a new environmental disaster. Nord Stream 1 and 2 have both sprung leaks, with many assuming sabotage. With huge amounts of methane released into the atmosphere, the team examines the climate impact of the damage - and puts the leak into context. During the height of the covid-19 pandemic, male birth rates dipped, temporarily altering the normal gender ratio of babies. The team finds out why and how this happened.Feeling itchy? Researchers have been looking at mice to figure out why itching is contagious - and the mere mention of the word has our panel scratching like mad!The molar teeth of primates, including humans, can clue us into how quickly their fetuses grow during pregnancy. The team finds out about a new mathematical model which is helping us to better understand the evolution of our species.Ahead of New Scientist Live this weekend (8th - 9th October), Rowan chats with star speaker Nick Lane of University College London. Nick explains how much of the chemistry of life seems to happen spontaneously - and how this understanding allows us to unpack the deepest mysteries of biology, from how life got going to what makes us conscious.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Alexandra Thompson, Carissa Wong and Matt Sparkes. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:New Scientist Live: newscientist.com/live Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
06/10/22·28m 41s

#138 UK government’s attack on nature; when you can’t stop laughing

The UK government is being accused of mounting an attack against nature. Environmental charities claim a raft of newly announced or rumoured plans are likely to cause harm to the environment for the sake of economic growth. The team unpacks these concerning decisions. When you catch yourself in a fit of giggles, have you ever wondered why it’s so hard to get your words out? Well, the team discusses new research into the phenomenon, which shows the battle that goes on in our brains during a bout of uncontrollable laughter. The team brings you a cosmic interlude, starting with a discussion about NASA’s planet-saving DART mission, which successfully smashed into an asteroid. They then dig into the exciting news that astronomers have found remnants of the explosion of one of the first stars in the universe. Deforestation in the second biggest tropical rainforest in the Americas, the Maya forest, is being reversed. The team celebrates the success of a community-led conservation programme in Guatemala. Coronavirus vaccines may stave off the effects of long-covid. As covid infections pick up again in the northern hemisphere, the team looks at new research from the Office of National Statistics. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Alexandra Thompson, Michael Le Page and Leah Crane. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:New Scientist Live: newscientist.com/liveAutumn Special: www.newscientist.com/autumnspecial2 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
29/09/22·23m 2s

#137 How to turn the shipping industry green; Enceladus passes habitability test

‘Get it Done’ is the theme for this year’s Climate Week in New York, with hundreds of events taking place across the city. Reporter James Dinneen is there, and brings us news about how to reduce the massive impact of the shipping industry on greenhouse gas emissions. NASA’s DART mission is the first real-world planetary defence mission. And on Monday a 500-kilogram satellite will smash into a small asteroid called Dimorphous to try and change its orbit. The team explains what the mission hopes to achieve.Ants are everywhere. In fact, it’s estimated that Earth is home to 20 quadrillion of the things. Think of all the legs! In light of this news, the team discusses their favourite ants (yes they have favourites) - including the weaver ant which Rowan has been reading about in his favourite bedtime book, The Guests of Ants.Phosphorus has been discovered on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, meaning it now has all six of the essential elements for life. The team explains how the element was found in icy rock grains collected by the Cassini spacecraft.Covid may be triggering early puberty in some girls. While the condition was known about pre-pandemic, the surprising finding shows that since covid it’s happening in higher numbers and even sooner, in girls younger than seven. The team discusses whether it’s the stress of the pandemic or the disease itself that’s causing these effects. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, James Dinneen, Alexandra Thompson and Alex Wilkins. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:New Scientist Live: newscientist.com/liveAutumn Special: www.newscientist.com/autumnspecial Dow: newscientist.com/dow Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
22/09/22·26m 42s

#136 A step towards building artificial life; solar-powered slugs

Ribosomes are tiny protein-making factories found inside cells, and a crucial component of life. And now a team of scientists has figured out how to make them self-replicate outside of cells. Without getting all Mary Shelley, the team says this is a step towards creating artificial life.On a trip to the Isles of Scilly, Rowan found a spectacular lifeform of the week. On the shores of Porthcressa beach on St Mary’s island, he found a solar-powered sea slug, with the help of Scott and Samaya of Scilly Rockpool Safaris.America’s West Coast is still being ravaged by wildfires, and not only are they set to become more frequent as the climate warms, but they’re going to become even more intense. Chelsea, who can see the orange skies of the fires from her home, discusses the rising risk of so-called ‘extreme wildfires’. Rowan makes the point that new research shows that transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy could lead to savings of $5 to $15 trillion dollars. Centenarians - people who live to be older than 100 - who have all the markers of Alzheimer’s, don’t appear to be affected by the disease. The team finds out about an intriguing new finding that upends our understanding of amyloid plaques, the proteins we think are closely associated with dementia. Climate change artist and Australian playwright David Finnigan discusses his latest play ‘You’re Safe Til 2024: Deep History’, which he performed at this year’s Edinburgh fringe festival and which is coming to London. It looks at the 75,000 year history of our impact on the environment from the lens of the 2019 Australian bushfires.   On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, Abby Beall and Carissa Wong. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:New Scientist Live: newscientist.com/live Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
15/09/22·23m 48s

#135 The Amazon passes a tipping point; a place to live only 100 light years away

The Amazon rainforest may have passed the tipping point that will flip it into savannah. A new report suggests that large portions of the rainforest have been either degraded or destroyed, which could have disastrous consequences. The team hears from the Science Panel for the Amazon, who say we must step in now to support regeneration efforts. If you’re looking for a drummer for your new band, you might want to hire a chimp. The team hears recordings of chimps drumming on the buttresses of tree roots in Uganda’s Budongo Forest, and explains why they do it. Meta wants to read your mind - eventually. The panel discusses a new AI developed by Facebook’s parent company, that can detect certain words by reading brainwaves. New Scientist’s chief gourmand, Sam Wong, gets the team to taste-test a west-African fruit called the miracle berry, and explains how it could help curb our sugar addiction. He also discusses the fermenting process and its possible health benefits, while sharing a little of his delicious fermented hot chilli sauce. 100 light years away, we’ve spotted new exoplanets that may be good places to search for life. They exist in the habitable zone, near a red dwarf star with the delicious name SPECULOOS-2. But the planets are different to Earth, and the team discuss the chances they will support life (as we know it). On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Matt Sparkes, Alex Wilkins, Sam Wong and Carissa Wong. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events, podcasts and discount codes:50% discounted subscription: newscientist.com/pod50New Scientist Live: newscientist.com/liveHow The Light Gets In: howthelightgetsin.org Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
08/09/22·27m 45s

#134 Artemis moon mission; decoding the dreams of mice

The launch of NASA’s Artemis moon rocket didn’t go to plan this week. The team looks at the problems that stopped this long-awaited launch. And with the launch rescheduled for Saturday, they find out what the mission hopes to achieve. Deep below the surface of the Earth live nearly half of all microbes on the planet. While studying life in the deep biosphere is tough, the team shares an exciting development. Researchers have managed to find and analyse a type of heat-loving bacteria, called thermophiles, that eat petroleum. As the global climate warms, some areas of the world will become unlivable, forcing people to leave their homes and countries. In her new book ‘Nomad Century’ Gaia Vince explains how the tragedy of mass climate migration can also be seen as an opportunity. She explains her thinking, and the action we urgently need to take to survive in a warming world. Why do our eyes dart around when we dream? It’s long been a mystery, but the team learns how mice are helping us understand what really happens during REM sleep. Mucus is incredibly important for mammals, keeping everything running like a well oiled machine. Now surprising new research looking at species as diverse as rhinos, pangolins and ferrets has revealed its unusual evolutionary history, and the team discusses these findings. On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Chelsea Whyte, James Dinnean, Clare Wilson and Corryn Wetzel. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events, podcasts and discount codes:50% discounted subscription: newscientist.com/pod50New Scientist Live: newscientist.com/live Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
31/08/22·25m 38s

#133 A treatment for food allergies; predicting earthquakes

There may be a way of treating, or even preventing, food allergies. A promising new trial has used a fat molecule called butyrate to treat peanut allergies in mice. The problem is, butyrate smells like dog poo, so the team finds out how researchers are getting around that issue. We’ve long thought earthquakes happen randomly, but that may not be the case. A new modelling technique using old records and machine learning shows we may be able to predict earthquakes, which could save millions of lives. The team finds out how this method works, and why it’s not fool-proof yet.   Philosopher Will MacAskill tells us about the concept of long-termism, which is about prioritising the long-term future of both people and planet. He explores some of the messages in his new book What We Owe the Future. Yields of soya have been boosted by a fifth, without adding any fertiliser at all. Genetic modification has been used to improve photosynthesis in the crop. The team says this is great news for farmers, wildlife, consumers and the climate. By studying Antarctica’s ice shelves, researchers have predicted that a special kind of ice falls upwards in the ocean on one of Jupiter’s moons. The team explains how this could be promising for hopes that Europa harbours life. On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Chelsea Whyte, Michael Le Page, Leah Crane, Alex Wilkins and Carissa Wong. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events, podcasts and discount codes:50% discounted subscription: newscientist.com/pod50New Scientist Live: newscientist.com/live Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
24/08/22·26m 7s

#132 Impact of drought; monkeys using sex toys

Droughts in many parts of Europe are the worst in 500 years. Even as temperatures begin to cool and some rain begins to fall, it may be a long time till we’re out of the woods. The team explores the impact the droughts are having on things like food production, energy and transport, and wildlife.Monkeys use sex toys too - who knew? Long-tailed macaques in a Balinese sanctuary have figured out how to use stone tools to masturbate. The team finds out what’s going on…Radiation exposure is one of the biggest issues we’re going to face if we want to get people to Mars. The team looks at new research that shows just how extreme the dangers are, and they look at the possible consequences.Quantum computer experts want to build a brain-like computer out of giant atoms. The team finds out how physicists plan to use laser beams to build an artificial neural network, and hear what Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation has to do with it.  This week Rowan is delighted to chat with BAFTA-winning sound artist Chris Watson. Chris shares gorgeous soundscapes recorded in three threatened ecosystems, the Vatnajökull Glacier in Iceland, the Namib desert in Africa, and the Long Shore Drift off the coast of East Anglia. The sounds are being used in a collaboration with the Manchester Collective, to bring to life Michael Gordon’s cult work ‘Weather’. Chris was a founder member of legendary Sheffield band Caberet Voltaire, who happen to be the first band Rowan ever saw live.  BONUS: Stay till the end to hear the sound of saiga antelopes on the steppe grasslands of Kazakhstan, where they have rebounded after being on the brink of extinction. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page, Karmela Padavic-Callaghan and Alice Klein. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events, podcasts and discount codes:Trees A Crowd: treesacrowd.fm50% discounted subscription: newscientist.com/pod50New Scientist Live: newscientist.com/live Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
17/08/22·28m 37s

#131 Why thinking hard tires you out; game-changing US climate bill

The US is about to pass an historic piece of climate legislation. The Inflation Reduction Act allocates $370 billion to climate mitigation, and the team explores how that money will be spent - plus why some people think the bill holds us hostage to fossil fuel.Do you ever get embarrassed talking to Siri when you’re out in public? Well, the team learns about an experimental new piece of tech called EarCommand, which may make communicating with your virtual assistant less awkward.Thinking hard is tiring - and a new study may have figured out why. As the team explains, it’s surprisingly more complex than just running out of energy.Say it with us - pobblebonk! The acid-defying scarlet-sided pobblebonk frog is our lifeform of the week. Find out how this splendidly named creature survives in some incredibly hostile environments.Antonio Padilla, cosmologist and author of Fantastic Numbers and Where to Find Them, explains how weird and wonderful numbers - like Graham’s Number - can give us a glimpse into the biggest secrets of the universe. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Clare Wilson, James Dinneen and Jeremy Hsu. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:50% discounted subscription: newscientist.com/pod50New Scientist Live: newscientist.com/live Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/08/22·30m 5s

#130 How to reverse death; Neil Gaiman on Sandman; AlphaFold and biology’s revolution; life in the multiverse with Laura Mersini-Houghton

A new type of artificial blood has been created which, in the future, could bring people back from the dead - or what we think of now as dead, at least. This special fluid has been shown to preserve the organs of dead pigs, long after what was previously thought possible - which the team says could be a game-changer for organ transplants. Rowan talks to legendary writer Neil Gaiman about the new Netflix series, out this week, based on his smash-hit Sandman comics. They also discuss the function of dreams, and the inspiration Neil draws from them. This week we also chew over the recent massive news that DeepMind’s artificial intelligence AlphaFold has predicted the structure of nearly all proteins known to science. It is, says the team, as monumental as the discovery of the structure of DNA. The team explains how transformative this could be in areas like disease prevention. Leaving Earth, we talk with cosmologist Laura Mersini-Houghton about her theory that we live in just one of a vast multiverse of universes, a subject she tackles in her new book ‘Before the Big Bang’. And there’s yet more amazing findings to discuss from the James Webb Space Telescope, including the possible discovery of a galaxy formed not long after the universe itself. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Clare Wilson, Michael Le Page and Leah Crane. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:InsideTracker: insidetracker.com/NewScientistHow We’re Wired from The Bertarelli Foundation50% discounted subscription: newscientist.com/pod50 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
04/08/22·33m 54s

#129 BlueDot special: Mysteries of the universe; stories of hope and joy; growing tiny human brains; solving global problems

Welcome to a special edition of the show recorded live at the bluedot music festival. On the panel are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper and Abby Beall, along with Emmy-nominated composer Hannah Peel and geoscientist and broadcaster Chris Jackson.With the awesome Lovell radio telescope dominating the sky above the festival, this episode begins with astronomy news, and in particular stories from the James Webb Space Telescope - including its mission to look at the atmosphere of rocky planets in the search for extraterrestrial life. There’s also a nod to the late great James Lovelock, who has died at the age of 103.The panel brings their stories of joy and hope. Abby brings news of the saving of a research centre for intelligent birds. Chris marvels at an impressive global geological event which highlights the power of collaboration. Hannah dreams up a story about “nanoskin” which happens to be very similar to a real story we reported. And Rowan comes with the news that chimps have been found to treat each other using medicinal insects.The panel discusses the ethics and possibilities of brain organoid research. These are tiny human brains grown in a lab, which have recently been shown to give off brain waves equivalent to those seen in fetuses. The whole team is gifted with an imaginary $100 million, and asked how they’d use it to save the world. Rowan wants to refreeze the Arctic. Then there’s a vibrant Q&A session with the audience. And for the boy who asked about brain organoids playing Pong, here’s the story.InsideTracker: insidetracker.com/NewScientistHow We’re Wired from The Bertarelli FoundationNew Scientist Live event: newscientist.com/nslbd Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
28/07/22·45m 10s

#128 Extreme heatwaves; China’s space station launch; covid’s effects in pregnancy; a black hole symphony

Following scolding 40 degree record temperatures, it’s clear the UK is not set up to deal with such heat. But as extreme weather events become more common, how can we prepare for a hotter future? The team finds out, and looks to the US and Europe where hot temperatures are also wreaking havoc.China’s space plans are rocketing forward, as the country prepares to launch the second part of its space station into orbit on 24 July. With the third and final module due to launch in October, the team finds out what China is planning to do aboard the new station.What does a black hole sound like? Although we can’t answer that literally, a process called data sonification offers up a solution - by converting astronomical data into sounds and music. The team shares two beautiful pieces composed for an immersive new production called ‘Black Hole Symphony’.Covid-19 has been found to increase the risk of premature birth if caught during the final trimester of pregnancy. The team explores the findings and what they mean for pregnant people.Plant communities could be fundamentally changed by declining pollinator populations, suggests a surprising experiment. The team examines the risk this poses to biodiversity.On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Emily Bates, Michael Le Page, Jason Murugesu, and Alex Wilkins. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:InsideTracker: insidetracker.com/NewScientistHow We’re Wired from The Bertarelli Foundation50% discounted subscription: newscientist.com/pod50Blue Dot festival: https://www.discoverthebluedot.com/Escape Pod episode on sonification. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
21/07/22·23m 9s

#127: Pig hearts transplanted into dead people; James Webb Space Telescope gives best-ever view of the universe; boosting wheat genetics to feed the world

After the first pig-human transplant patient died just 2 months after receiving his new heart, researchers are now testing modified pig hearts by transplanting them into recently deceased people on life support. The team discusses a new experiment which has shown very promising results.NASA has revealed stunning images of deep-space captured by the James Webb Space Telescope - and there’s so much more to come. The team explains how the telescope is like a time machine, helping us to peer back into the early history of the universe.Much of the information our eyes take in is discarded by the brain. The team discusses a new technique called ‘ghost imaging’ which is using AI to reconstruct those lost images by interacting directly with our brain.Wheat hasn’t yet reached its genetic potential. The team finds out how genetically tweaking this vital crop could improve yields globally, and help it to withstand the impacts of climate change.Covid-19 is impacting fertility through its impacts on sperm - yet another thing we’re finding out about the disease. The team finds out what’s going on, and how long-lasting these effects are.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Jacob Aron, Karmela Padavic-Callaghan, Grace Wade and Carissa Wong. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:InsideTracker: insidetracker.com/NewScientistHow We’re Wired from The Bertarelli FoundationOnline event: newscientist.com/beinghuman20% Discount: newscientist.com/pod20 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
14/07/22·27m 48s

#126: Are we stuck in a time loop? Legal action against climate change; covid fifth wave; time loop are we stuck?

Ten years since the discovery of the fabled Higgs boson, can the Large Hadron Collider ever make us that excited again? Physicists are now kind of bored by the Higgs - the hype has well and truly died down. So as the LHC kicks off its third period of operation, the team asks whether there will be anything new to get them fired up again.How do large hawks land without crashing? That’s what a team of researchers has been trying to find out. The team explains how their findings could help with future innovations in drone technology.ClientEarth is an environmental legal organisation, or “lawyers for the planet”, with the aim of holding companies and governments to account over net zero plans. The organisation has recently brought cases against the Dutch airline KLM and French oil giant Total Energies for alleged greenwashing. Rowan speaks with Chief Impact Officer and “head of greenwashing” Maria Krystyna Duval.A strange kind of time paradox called causal loops is being researched. As well as explaining what a causal loop is, the team explains how a large set of theoretical universes were studied to see whether this time-travel paradox could actually work. The UK is being hit by a fifth wave of coronavirus cases, with many people becoming reinfected multiple times. The team examines the possible risks of reinfection, and asks if there’s an end in sight.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Jacob Aron, Karmela Padavic-Callaghan and Corryn Wetzel. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:InsideTracker: insidetracker.com/NewScientistOnline event: www.newscientist.com/universeorigin20% Discount: newscientist.com/pod20 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
07/07/22·30m 0s

#125: Poo transplants cure IBS; climate change shrinks the human niche; CRISPR babies; monkeypox latest

The world’s first CRISPR babies are now toddlers. Now, nearly four years since the super-controversial experiment was announced, scientists in China want to set up a healthcare institute specifically to look after the three children. The team examines the ethics of it all.Humans thrive at particular temperatures, and that’s why we live where we live. But these areas of optimal climate are shrinking because of climate change. As we’re on course to hit 2.7 degrees of warming by the end of the century, the team finds out what will happen to future populations. And with the UN Ocean Conference taking place, we hear a clip of Sounds of the Ocean by composer Joshua Sam Miller, a piece where the lead singer is a whale!Poo transplants are being used to cure irritable bowel syndrome. The team discusses the success of a new trial which used the poop of a single, healthy athletic man - a super-pooer, basically - to introduce a healthy mix of gut microbes into those with the condition.Rogue planets, roaming through space without a star of their own, may still be able to host life. Even without the heat of their own Sun, the team explains how there is still a way that life could thrive.We’re in the middle of the biggest outbreak of monkeypox ever. With cases spreading fast, the team asks why the disease isn’t killing anyone yet, and they find out how big this outbreak could become.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page, Alice Klein, Leah Crane and James Dinneen. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:InsideTracker: insidetracker.com/NewScientistNew Scientist Live Events: newscientist.com/childhoodnewscientist.com/whisky20% Discount: newscientist.com/pod20 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
30/06/22·28m 47s

#124: Lopsided universe; solar activity affects heart health; hero rats trained for rescue missions

If you like things orderly, we have bad news for you - our universe is lopsided. Based on everything we know about gravity and the early universe, we’d expect galaxies to be distributed symmetrically - but they’re not. Something spooky’s going on, and the team searches for answers.The activity of the Sun may be affecting our heart health. Sometimes the weather on the Sun gets a little chaotic, and the team discusses new research that suggests these solar storms are messing with our heart rhythms, raising the risk of heart attacks.African pouched rats are being trained as heroes. Donning special little backpacks, they will use their keen sense of smell to go on search and rescue missions. The team explains why they’ve been chosen for the task.Last September El Salvador became the first country to make cryptocurrency legal tender. But with the value of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies plummeting, the team examines what the future holds.Covid-19 is proving resilient, and as new variants of omicron emerge, infection rates still remain high. As omicron is milder than its predecessors, the team asks whether we should still be worried about the disease, and they find out how it may continue to evolve.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page, Corryn Wetzel, Leah Crane, Jacob Aron and Alice Klein. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:InsideTracker: insidetracker.com/NewScientistNew Scientist Live Event: newscientist.com/childhood20% Discount: newscientist.com/pod20 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
23/06/22·28m 8s

#123: ‘Sentient’ claim for Google AI; spacecraft spots starquakes; the rise of the mammals; hot brains

How will we know when we’ve made a truly sentient artificial intelligence? Well, one Google engineer believes we’re already there. The team discusses the story of Google’s very clever AI called LaMDA, and ask another chatbot, GPT3, what it would think if LaMDA was destroyed.Did you know stars have ‘earthquakes’ too? These starquakes have been spotted by the Gaia space observatory, which aims to build a 3D map of all the stars in our galaxy. It’s been collecting a phenomenal amount of data, and the team explores its findings.Net Zero pledges are becoming more popular - which is great - but a lot of them aren’t being acted on. According to a new consortium Net Zero Tracker, a worrying number of these pledges aren’t credible. The team finds out how the group aims to hold companies to account.Our brains are hotter than we realised - 2.5 degrees celsius hotter in fact. The team asks why we’re only just finding this out in 2022, and how the discovery may improve care for people undergoing brain surgery.Steve Brusatte is best known as a dinosaur palaeontologist, but he has turned his attention now to our own class, the mammals. Rowan chats with him, and amongst other things finds out how enslaved Africans in South Carolina were instrumental in the development of palaeontology. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Clare Wilson,Matt Sparkes and James Dinneen. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:InsideTracker: insidetracker.com/NewScientistFree giveaway: newscientist.com/4weeksfree20% Discount: newscientist.com/pod20 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
16/06/22·28m 43s

#122: The science of Top Gun; the 1.5°C climate goal is out of reach; return to the moon; hepatitis mystery

While it may be technically possible to keep global heating to 1.5°C it’s really not very likely - at all. So why are we clinging to it? The team asks, when do we admit that 1.5°C is dead, and what will it mean when we do?NASA is about to launch its CAPSTONE spacecraft into lunar orbit, paving the way for its lunar space station. As a precursor to the Artemis mission to put people back on the moon, CAPSTONE is basically a test run, and the team explains its goals.Rowan’s been to see Top Gun: Maverick, and he’s found a way of making it about science - or technology, at least. In the film we see many new applications of technology and artificial intelligence in warfare, so we chat with AI and drone expert Arthur Holland Michel to discuss the future of combat and what Top Gun 3 might look like in another thirty years.The team brings you an incredibly exotic life form of the week… chickens! It turns out that chickens were domesticated a lot more recently than we thought. Hear some of the humorous archaeological blunders that have led to this confusion.In recent months doctors around the world have been reporting mysterious cases of children suddenly developing liver failure. While we don’t know what’s happening, the team explores some possible explanations. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page and Adam Vaughan. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:Free giveaway: newscientist.com/4weeksfree20% Discount: newscientist.com/pod20Blue Dot Festival: discoverthebluedot.comUnderstanding the AI revolution: newscientist.com/aievent Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
09/06/22·27m 11s

#121: Creation of artificial life; gene therapy saves children’s lives; new understanding of chronic pain

Synthetic cell membranes have been fused with protein machinery from living cells to create an artificial membrane. Could this be a precursor to the creation of artificial life? The team discusses its potential and limitations.Babies with severe genetic conditions are being cured by new gene replacement therapies, allowing them to overcome fatal diseases. There are a number of different treatments which have seen success, and the team finds out how they work. The DNA of two people who were killed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Pompeii has been sequenced. The team finds out how the DNA from 79 AD managed to survive the heat of the volcano, and what the findings tell us about the lives of these two people.Solar sails - a method of harnessing the sun’s light for space travel - are usually quite clumsy, so a NASA-funded team is developing a new more agile type of solar sail. The team finds out how they’re overcoming the problem.Haider Warraich, a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, discusses his new book ‘The Song of Our Scars: The Untold Story of Pain’, which addresses “modern medicine’s failure to understand pain”.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Chelsea Whyte, Leah Crane, Alice Klein, Anna Demming and Alex Wilkins. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:Free giveaway: newscientist.com/4weeksfree20% Discount: newscientist.com/pod20Blue Dot Festival: discoverthebluedot.com Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/06/22·30m 29s

#120: DeepMind claims artificial intelligence breakthrough; searching for ancient life on Mars; Stonehenge surprise; monkeypox latest

DeepMind’s new artificial intelligence, Gato, is a step beyond anything we’ve seen before. But how close has it brought us to the coveted goal of creating ‘artificial general intelligence’? The team unpacks just how powerful this technology really is, and what it means for the future of machine consciousness.You can learn a lot from poop. In an archaeological detective story, 4500-year-old fossil excrement belonging to the people who built Stonehenge has been examined, and the team explains what it tells us about their eating habits.CRISPR gene editing has been used to make supercharged tomatoes, rich in vitamin D. The team finds out how they managed to do it, and explains why this breakthrough is particularly good news for vegans.Ever wondered what it’s like to explore another planet? We hear from Sanjeev Gupta from Imperial College London, one of the scientists with the breathtaking job of helping Nasa's Perseverance rover navigate Mars, as it starts sampling an ancient river delta to look for ancient life.We’re in the midst of the largest known outbreak of monkeypox. The virus is endemic to Central and West Africa, but has begun to spread to the rest of the world, with 170 cases now confirmed. The team examines the likelihood of this virus becoming the next global pandemic.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Jacob Aron and Corryn Wetzel. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:Free giveaway: newscientist.com/4weeksfree20% Discount: newscientist.com/pod20 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
26/05/22·29m 33s

#119: How to tackle the global food crisis; rainforest animal orchestra; George Monbiot on humanity’s biggest blight

We’re in the middle of a global food crisis, brought on by a combination of the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and the war in Ukraine. As food prices rise and the world faces “hunger on an unprecedented scale”, the team looks for solutions.The health of an ecosystem can be measured through sound alone. The team discusses a new field of study called ecoacoustics which is being used to assess biodiversity, sharing sounds of an ‘animal orchestra’ recorded in the Brazilian rainforest.Rosie the Rocketeer (a dummy, not a real human!) is heading to the International Space Station in Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. The test flight is part of NASA’s commercial spacecraft programme, and the team examines its goals.Farming is the most destructive human activity ever to have blighted the Earth according to the writer and environmental activist George Monbiot. His new book Regenesis explores his thinking, and explains why we should all be eating microbes instead of animals.Read these out loud… “Funk fungus”, “gnome bone”, “spam scrotum”. If you have a smirk across your face, you’re not alone. The team finds out why some word pairings are more funny than others.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Jacob Aron and Michael Le Page. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:Calm History: www.silkpodcasts.comUS Offer: newscientist.com/unlimited 20% Discount: newscientist.com/pod20 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
19/05/22·26m 11s

#118: Heatwaves push limits of human tolerance; chemical computer to mimic brain; first non-human to practice medicine

It feels like temperature records are being broken almost daily. We’ve seen heatwaves already this year in Texas and Mexico, with forecast highs of 50oC set to hit Pakistan and India. As we edge closer to breaking 1.5 degrees of global warming in the next 5 years, Rowan speaks to climate scientist Vikki Thompson from the University of Bristol, to find out how heatwaves are pushing at the limits of what humans can cope with.Chemical computers have taken a step up. Lee Cronin and his colleagues at the University of Glasgow have upgraded their 2019 machine, and it’s now fully programmable. The team discusses the project’s ultimate goal, to make a chemical brain and even explain consciousness.Ants have the power to heal. The team explains how Matabele ants, large ants found in sub-Saharan Africa, have evolved the ability to diagnose infected wounds in their nestmates using an antimicrobial medicine that they produce themselves.It’s estimated that covid-19 has now killed close to 15 million people. And with reports of rapid reinfections and new omicron sublineages emerging, the team finds out how worried we should be about getting covid multiple times, and what we can expect from future mutations of the virus.The composer Jon Hopkins has been working with a team involving neuroscientist Anil Seth to create a hallucinogenic immersive experience called Dream Machine. New Scientist’s Carissa Wong has been in it, and shares her wild experience. We also treat you to the music from Dream Machine throughout this episode.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Alice Klein, Karmela Padavic-Callaghan and Carissa Wong. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:newscientist.com/pod20newscientist.com/unlimited newscientist.com/nslivenewscientist.com/tours Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/05/22·28m 49s

#117: US threat to women’s health; saving the world with bacteria; Darwinian feminism and primate gender; invasion of the earthworms

Women’s abortion rights are under threat in the US. Leaked documents suggest the Supreme Court is on the verge of overturning the landmark Roe v Wade decision that protects the right to abortion. The team discusses the dramatic impact this move could have on women’s health.Eating microbes could save the world. The team examines a new study which found that substituting just a fifth of the meat in our diets with microbial proteins would more than halve global deforestation rates and related carbon emissions.While we fight to protect the environment on Earth, a lot less is done to safeguard space. Professor of astronomy at the University of Edinburgh, Andy Lawrence, hopes that is about to change. He tells Rowan why space needs to be a protected ecosystem, subject to the same sort of regulations as the oceans and the atmosphere.The earthworm invasion is upon us. Large parts of North America have been without earthworms for 12,000 years, but in the last 200 years they’ve begun their slow and undramatic takeover. The team discusses a new study which looks at the effect this is having on plant and aboveground arthropod communities.And primatologist Frans de Waal joins the pod to discuss the under-studied topic of sexuality, gender and biological sex differences in our closest relatives, chimps and bonobos.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Tiffany O’Callaghan. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:newscientist.com/pod20newscientist.com/nslivewinnewscientist.com/azores Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
05/05/22·25m 57s

#116: DNA from outer space; Devi Sridhar on covid lessons; climate change in an Oxford wood

Could life on Earth have an extraterrestrial origin? The team revisits this ancient theory as we’ve now found all four of the key building blocks of DNA on meteorites that are older than our planet.There may be a warning signal in our brains that helps us keep out unwanted thoughts. The team hears about the fascinating word-pairing method researchers used to identify this mechanism, and how the findings could help people with PTSD, OCD, and anxiety disorders.When we talk about climate change, we often think of its dramatic global consequences. But it’s having effects everywhere and to make that point, this week Rowan visits Wytham Woods in Oxfordshire. Speaking to Oxford University biologist Ella Cole, he hears how spring has jumped forward nearly a month since research began at Wytham 75 years ago.Just a few weeks after the shock discovery of the W boson anomaly, physicists have written more than 65 new papers trying to explain what’s going on. The team says this has led to an exciting surge of new ideas about the standard model of particle physics, and the revival of some old theories too.Devi Sridhar, professor of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, has become well known over the last couple of years for her analysis and advice about the pandemic. Rowan speaks to her about her new book, Preventable: How a Pandemic Changed the World & How to Stop the Next One.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte and Leah Crane. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:newscientist.com/pod20newscientist.com/love Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
28/04/22·31m 47s

#115: Quantum consciousness; next decade of space exploration; songs played on rat whiskers

What is consciousness? We’ve discussed many theories on the podcast, but in this episode the team explores a particularly bonkers one. Experiments with anaesthetics have hinted that something might be going on at the quantum level with microtubules in the brain. But is this finding enough?Ever wondered what a rainbow sounds like? Or perhaps what sounds a rat’s whiskers would make if played like a harp? Then wonder no longer! You can hear these sounds and more as the team speaks to musician and TV presenter Richard Mainwaring about his new book ‘Everybody Hertz’.The next ten years of priorities for United States space exploration have been mapped out in the latest decadal survey. The team discusses some of the most exciting missions we can look forward to, including trips to Uranus and Enceladus, as well as a sample return mission from Mars.Taylor Swift is our Lifeform of the Week - but not the musician and global sensation. No, this is a newly discovered millipede named after her. The team uses this opportunity to explore the fascinating world of undiscovered species.Wording in the most recent IPCC report on the ‘Mitigation of Climate Change’ has come under scrutiny. The document says greenhouse gas emissions need to peak "at the latest before 2025". The team explains why that statement has been met with backlash.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, Sam Wong, Leah Crane and Adam Vaughan. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:newscientist.com/pod20newscientist.com/courses Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
21/04/22·28m 33s

#114: A message to aliens, phage therapy for acne, calibrating the world’s oldest computer

Two teams are developing messages to send into space, in the hope that some advanced alien civilization will be able to pick them up. While METI is sending music, Beacon in the Galaxy is sending more complex information, like Earth’s location - which as the team explains is rather controversial…Acne is usually treated using antibiotics, but as the issue of antibiotic resistance grows, researchers have been looking at alternative methods. The team discusses the promising early successes of phage therapy.Most of us overestimate just how diverse our environment is. A new study examining this ‘diversity illusion’ has shown that we tend to believe minority groups are larger in number than they actually are. The team finds out how the research was carried out, and whether we can combat this bias.Known by some as the world’s first computer, the Antikythera mechanism is an ancient Greek device that acts sort of like a clock. Now a group of researchers thinks they’ve found out the exact date and time it was calibrated to, and the team explains how they worked it out.Rhesus macaque monkeys may be as aware of their own heartbeats as human babies. The team examines a new study which looked at a kind of self awareness called interoception, the ability to detect your own internal state..On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Chelsea Whyte, Leah Crane, Jason Murugesu and Matthew Sparkes. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:newscientist.com/pod20newscientist.com/lovenewscientist.com/courses Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
14/04/22·18m 3s

#113: Climate change: suing governments to cut emissions; shock discovery in particle physics; a new function for dreams

The latest major report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is out, and the message is clear. Time is running out to keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees. The report outlines the many ways we can make emissions cuts, one of which is through litigation. Hear from one of the report’s authors, Joana Setzer, who explores the growing use of legal action to challenge governments and corporations.Physicists are excited this week about a new finding that might challenge the standard model of particle physics. The team examines a bizarre result from an experiment looking at the W boson, a particle involved in radioactive decay and nuclear processes.Weta crickets aren’t your average cricket. Found in New Zealand, female wetas have evolved an extra set of genitalia - and the team finds out why.What are dreams for? Most of the current theories assume dreams are doing something to benefit the dreamer - but a new proposal looks at how dreams might benefit other people. Dream researcher Mark Blagrove explains that telling people about your dreams could help social bonding.As multiple omicron sublineages and recombinants are emerging, covid infections in England are soaring. The team examines how these new variants have come about, and what this all means for healthcare in hospitals.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Alex Wilkins. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:newscientist.com/pod20newscientist.com/cosmos Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
07/04/22·27m 58s

#112: Gene therapy success; biodiversity talks; the genetics of blood sucking; the farthest star ever seen

A world-first gene therapy has been used to successfully treat a rare genetic skin disease. Referred to as “the worst disease you’ve never heard of”, the condition makes everyday living an ordeal. The team finds out how this new treatment works.Astronomers have detected a star more than 27 billion light years away - the most distant individual star we’ve ever seen. The team explains how this finding could shed light on what was going on in the early universe, ‘shortly’ after the Big Bang.In a bid to tackle the biodiversity crisis, 195 countries have been working on a draft deal called the Global Biodiversity Framework. But despite the alarming real-world consequences of the crisis that we’ve been seeing in recent weeks, the team explains how the discussions have been a flop.Vampire bats are the only mammal to feed exclusively on blood - which is weird because it’s not very nutritious or filling. So how do they do it? The team explores new findings about the genetic changes that have occurred in the bats to allow them to survive and thrive on the stuff.And finally, the team takes you on a trip to Monterey Bay off central California, sharing sounds of the bay’s aquatic life in an escapist audio-quiz. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Leah Crane and Alice Klein. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Events and discount codes:newscientist.com/pod20newscientist.com/courses (code: PODCAST40)newscientist.com/eatingwellThanks to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute for the sound clips. These clips are licensed under the following Attribution licences:Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0) Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
31/03/22·25m 44s

#111: Antarctic and Arctic record-breaking heat; octopus brains insight; black hole paradox explained

Extreme weather events have been recorded at both of Earth’s polar regions, as the Arctic and Antarctic are hit by major heat waves. To put this into context, Rowan speaks with climate scientist and Hot Air author Peter Stott.How did octopuses get to be so clever? Their intelligence is unusual for an invertebrate, so researchers have been trying to track down what’s going on in their brains. The team examines new findings which suggest it has something to do with microRNAs.Black holes have always been mysterious, but a problem known as the ‘black hole paradox’ has been bothering physicists because it undermines what we know about quantum mechanics. Now, as the team explains, there could be a (vaguely confusing) solution. They also mark a major milestone in the search for new exoplanets.The team reviews a compelling new sci-fi opera that’s showing in New York. Upload is about a daughter who is trying to come to terms with the decision of her father to physically die in order to have his consciousness uploaded to a computer.And we hear the *delightful* sound of an orangutan ‘kiss squeak’, as the team finds out what this vocal call tells us about the evolution of speech in primates.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Leah Crane and Timothy Revell. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.For a 20 per cent discount subscription to New Scientist magazine, go to newscientist.com/pod20.For a 50 per cent discount on New Scientist Academy courses, use the code POD50 at checkout at newscientist.com/courses. Offer ends on March 31st.The second in the Big Thinkers online series goes live on Thursday 31st March, 6-7pm BST. Claudia de Rham, Professor of Physics at Imperial College London, explores ‘what we don't know about gravity’. For more information visit newscientist.com/gravity Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
24/03/22·27m 50s

#110: Solution for Ukraine food crisis; why young blood rejuvenates; climate horror in Australia; Hannah Peel’s new music

As 10 percent of the world’s wheat comes from Ukraine, Russia’s attack on the country could spark global food shortages. But the team discuss a simple solution to the problem that could have knock-on benefits for climate and biodiversity.In vampire news, the team explains how we may have found the secret ingredient in young blood that causes it to have rejuvenating powers. This comes off the back of a 2012 study which saw old mice rejuvenated fur after being transfused with the blood of the young.Cases of covid are on the rise globally, with China and Hong Kong hit particularly badly. Despite promising weekly declines since January, this new surge in cases is linked to various countries adopting ‘living with covid’ plans. As Iceland attempts ‘herd immunity’, the team examines the effectiveness of this strategy.A new candidate has emerged for ‘coldest place in the solar system’ - where do you think it is? The team explains why this information could be useful for the future of space exploration.Australia has been hit by massive floods, as the country faces yet another assault from climate change. This comes just 2 years after the Black Summer wildfires which caused unprecedented destruction, and even damaged the ozone layer - as the team discovers.And finally composer Hannah Peel, whose work is influenced by science and nature, helps us escape from the mayhem, sharing clips from her new album ‘The Unfolding’.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Alice Klein and Michael Le Page. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.For a 20% discount subscription to New Scientist magazine, go to newscientist.com/pod20.For a 50% discount on New Scientist Academy courses, use the code POD50 at checkout at newscientist.com/courses. Offer ends on March 31st. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
18/03/22·28m 30s

#109: Ukraine war stokes energy crisis; emergency sounded over Amazon rainforest; secular intelligent design; mammalian virgin birth

The war in Ukraine has sparked an energy crisis, as European countries attempt to cut ties with Russia. The team discusses what this means for the future of energy production and how it may speed up our pivot to renewable energy. They also explore the growing concerns at various nuclear sites in Ukraine, as some have been seized by the Russians, while others have been damaged during the conflict.For the first time a virgin birth has taken place in a mammal - a female mouse has given birth without any input from a male. The team explains how CRISPR gene editing has been used to create embryos from unfertilised eggs.As the Amazon rainforest becomes less resilient to drought, there are fears it may be passing a tipping point that could turn the whole system from forest into savannah. Earth system scientist Tim Lenton of the University of Exeter explains the devastating global impact this would have.Taking a much-needed trip off the planet, the team discusses two stories from Mars, one from NASA’s Perseverance rover and another from China’s Zhurong rover. We also present an audio space-quiz you can take part in! Thanks to NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/CNRS/ISAE-Supaéro for the audio clips. And legendary cosmologist Martin Rees shares his thoughts on the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence in the universe and the fascinating concept of ‘secular’ intelligent design.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Matt Sparkes, Adam Vaughan and Richard Webb. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.For a 20% discount subscription to New Scientist magazine, go to newscientist.com/pod20.For a 50% discount on New Scientist Academy courses, use the code POD50 at checkout at newscientist.com/courses. Offer ends on March 31st. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/03/22·31m 40s

#108: Ukraine: health crisis and threat of nuclear war; IPCC report on limits to climate adaptation; Wuhan origin of covid

As the war in Ukraine intensifies, Vladimir Putin raised Russia’s nuclear readiness level. The team discusses what this means about the likelihood of nuclear war. They also explore the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the country.The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is out, and it focuses on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. We hear from Swenja Surminski, head of adaptation research at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.New studies into the start of the coronavirus pandemic are confirming what we’ve long suspected - that the virus originated at the Huanan food market in Wuhan. The team discusses the latest findings.Moles - the animals that make holes in your lawn - are non-binary. Just one of a number of amazing facts to come out of the new book ‘BITCH: A Revolutionary Guide to Sex, Evolution & the Female Animal’. Hear from the author Lucy Cooke, who is challenging the sexist basis of much of the thinking about female animals. Stonehenge may have been built as a giant calendar. Though the claim itself isn’t new, the team explores a new theory from the archaeologist Tim Darvill which explains how it would’ve worked.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Jacob Aron, Clare Wilson and Alison George. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
04/03/22·32m 38s

#107: Ukraine invasion: cyberwar threat and effect on climate targets; Covid pandemic isn’t over; how we sense pain

Russia has begun its invasion of Ukraine, a move which will have far reaching consequences. The team discusses two of those - the first being western Europe’s reliance on oil and gas from Russia, and the knock-on effect on climate targets. The second is the threat of Russian cyberattacks on Ukraine, which could cause huge disruption to internet and IT services globally.The last remaining covid restrictions have been scrapped in England, as the Prime Minister announces the country’s ‘living with covid’ plan. But is this the right decision, and what does the science say? The team speaks to Christina Pagel from Independent SAGE, a group which offers independent scientific advice to the government.An Australian billionaire is fighting back against the country’s government, and its lack of action on climate change. The team explains how Mike Cannon-Brookes plans to buy up Australia’s largest electricity company so he can shut down all its coal-fired plants and replace them with renewable energy.Researchers are beginning to better understand how humans experience different types of pain, which could lead to more effective drugs for people living with chronic pain. The team explores the new findings, which also suggest men and women experience pain differently.And the team discusses the intelligence of orangutans, based on their ability to use and make tools.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Alice Klein, Jacob Aron, Adam Vaughan and Jason Murugesu. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
25/02/22·32m 30s

#106: Saving children from cancer; new ways to remove greenhouse gases; brain growth in adults

Children with some of the most aggressive forms of cancer are being saved by a personalised medicine treatment programme in Australia. The Zero Childhood Cancer Program has saved more than 150 children who would’ve otherwise died. The team shares a moving interview with one of the parents. Lichens evolve even more slowly than you might think. The team examines new research into the abundant Trebouxia genus of lichen which appears to take around a million years to adapt to changing climate conditions.Enhanced weathering - using ground-up rocks to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere - is one of a number of technological carbon capture solutions being tested to try and mitigate against global warming. The team speaks to Professor David Beerling of the University of Sheffield, one of the scientists in the UK leading the development of this technique.SpaceX has a suite of three missions planned to launch in its Polaris programme. The first aims to take its Dragon crew capsule higher into orbit than anyone has flown since the Apollo moon missions. The team shares what we know so far.And they find out whether adult human brains can actually grow new neurons. Spoiler: it doesn’t look good.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Leah Crane and Alice Klein. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Check out our sister show Escape Pod to hear more about lichens and much more. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
18/02/22·30m 2s

#105: Electrodes treat paralysis; first detected isolated black hole; the ancient human inhabitants of a French cave; breakthroughs in transplant organs from pigs; why you should pick up your dog’s poo

Three men paralysed from the waist down have regained their ability to walk. They’re the subjects of a breakthrough operation which involves implanting electrodes in the spine. The team explains how the method works.Astronomers have detected an isolated black hole for the first time ever. Despite being 5000 light years away and incredibly difficult to spot, the team explains how the Hubble Space Telescope was able to do it.A cave in France is providing us with an intriguing snapshot of human activity in France 54,000 years ago. The team says Neanderthals and modern humans appear to have crossed over, moving in and out of a site called Grotte Mandrin as if it were a prime piece of real estate.With so many major developments in using pig organs for transplants, the team finds out how gene editing has catapulted xenotransplantation forward and look ahead to how else this technology could be used.And they also look at a study that suggests dog poo may be having a harmful impact on wildlife and biodiversity.On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Timothy Revell, Clare Wilson, Michael Le Page and Chen Ly. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Thanks to our sponsor Brilliant. The first 200 people to sign up using this link http://brilliant.org/newscientist will get 20% off unlimited access to all the courses on Brilliant for a whole year.Join New Scientist in Manchester, UK, and online at New Scientist Live from 12 to 14 March. Hear experts discuss their transformative research and enjoy interactive exhibits, workshops and feature areas on the festival floor. Visit www.newscientist.com/manchester for more information. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/02/22·25m 44s

#104: Gene variant for extreme old age, gravitational waves and dark matter, what fruit flies tell us about nature and nurture

The quest for a longer life continues - raising the question of whether we can escape death. The team discusses a rare gene variant that may explain why centenarians live so long - and how we might be able to use it to create age-defying drugs.The team explores a theory that suggests gravitational waves may be the thing that finally helps us detect dark matter - we just need to look for the ‘gravitational glint’.Spring is rolling around earlier and earlier. The team examines a new study which shows that since the 1980s, the warming climate has brought the season forward by a month - which could have major ecological implications. They also discuss a study which looks at the impact of marine heatwaves on things like coral and fish populations.Professor Chris Jackson, one of the star speakers at the upcoming New Scientist Live event in Manchester, joins the conversation to explain the importance of geology in the climate fight.And the team throws a spanner in the works for the nature/nurture debate. A new study on fruit flies suggests there may be another element at play.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page and Leah Crane. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Thanks to our sponsor Brilliant. The first 200 people to sign up using this link http://brilliant.org/newscientist will get 20% off unlimited access to all the courses on Brilliant for a whole year. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
04/02/22·28m 48s

#103: How covid affects brain function; glacier loss on Svalbard; start of the Anthropocene; hottest life on Earth

Covid-19 can have profound consequences for the brain, and now we’re beginning to understand why. The team explains how the virus causes issues from strokes to muscle-weakness and brain-fog. We have names for all of Earth’s geological phases, and right now we’re in the Anthropocene… or are we? The epoch hasn’t actually been officially named, but the team says researchers are working on it. Rowan returns home from Norway with a story about melting glaciers in the Arctic circle. He speaks to Norwegian Polar Institute scientist Jack Kohler about the impact of climate change in Svalbard. Samples from the deep sea Nankai Trough off Japan have shown for the first time that some microbes are able to withstand heats we previously thought were too extreme for life, which the team says could change the way we look for life elsewhere in the universe.Finally we hear about the mysteries of consciousness from the philosopher David Chalmers, famous for his work on the so-called ‘hard problem of consciousness’.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Michael Le Page, Adam Vaughan and Richard Webb. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Thanks to our sponsor Brilliant - remember the first 200 people to sign up using this link http://brilliant.org/newscientist will get 20% off unlimited access to all the courses on Brilliant for a whole year. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
28/01/22·32m 7s

#102: Living with covid; Tonga eruption; neutral atom quantum computers; phage therapy for superbugs; AI with Beth Singler

We’re being told we have to “learn to live with covid”, but what exactly does that mean? In this episode the team discusses how we live with flu and the measures we’ll need to take to prevent wave upon wave of covid-19 infections and deaths. There’s been a massive volcanic eruption in Tonga that’s caused widespread damage, and the team examines the impact it's having on the island nation. There’s more news in the race to build the world’s best quantum computer - the team finds out about a unique way of building these machines using neutral atoms. As antibiotic resistance continues to cause deaths worldwide, an alternate therapy using phages is growing in popularity - the team finds out about the pros and cons of this type of treatment. And the anthropologist Beth Singler joins the conversation - she looks specifically at human interactions with artificial intelligence, in an attempt to understand our fear of and reverence for the technology. On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Sam Wong, Michael Le Page, Alice Klein, Emily Bates and Alex Wilkins. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Thanks to our sponsor Brilliant - remember the first 200 people to sign up using this link http://brilliant.org/newscientist will get 20% off unlimited access to all the courses on Brilliant for a whole year. To book a ticket for our New Scientist live event ‘Understanding The AI Revolution’, click here. And for tickets to see professor of psychiatry Ted Dinan live as part of our health and wellbeing online events series, click here. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
21/01/22·27m 47s

#101: Man gets first pig heart transplant; robot therapy for mental health; omicron update; dolphin sexual pleasure

David Bennett has become the first person in history to have a pig to human heart transplant. Scientists have edited several genes to make this possible. On the pod, the team say that if it proves successful longer term, it could be a game-changer for medicine. In cetacean news, have you ever wondered why dolphins have so much sex? Patricia Brennan from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts has been studying dolphin clitorises, and shares her findings with the team. We now know much more about the omicron variant of coronavirus, and with more than half of people in Europe set to catch it in the next 6 to 8 weeks, the team explains why the variant is more infectious. There’s a double dose of moon news this week - first there’s the discovery that Saturn’s moon Mimas may have an ocean beneath its surface, and then we have the first water ever detected by a robot on our Moon. And novelist and New Scientist columnist Annalee Newitz joins the discussion to share their experiences with a robot therapist called Woebot. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Clare Wilson and Leah Crane. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Thanks to our sponsor Brilliant - remember the first 200 people to sign up using this link http://brilliant.org/newscientist will get 20% off unlimited access to all the courses on Brilliant for a whole year. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
14/01/22·32m 59s

#100: New Scientist journalists pick out their scientific and cultural highlights for 2022

In this special episode the team looks ahead to the next 12 months, sharing the science and cultural events they’re most looking forward to in 2022. Highlights include the launch into orbit of SpaceX’s Starship, the opening of a new Stonehenge exhibition at The British Museum, the TV adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s novel ‘Life After Life’, and an innovative new breast cancer trial. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Adam Vaughan, Graham Lawton and Richard Webb. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. From the team at New Scientist, Happy New Year! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
07/01/22·23m 41s

#99: The legendary New Scientist end-of-year holiday party and quiz

What a year 2021 has been. For our final podcast of the year, we’re signing off with a party and quiz. And as this is a Christmas special, this quiz delivers a sleigh-full of optimism, starting with a look at the ‘funniest science story of the year’. Other categories include ‘the story that made you feel small’, ‘life form of the year’, ‘hero of the year’ and ‘most surprising story’. Contestants also field questions from the audience and they share the story they’re most hoping for in 2022. Rowan Hooper is judging proceedings, with panelists Penny Sarchet, Richard Webb, Sam Wong and Bethan Ackerley. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. From the team at New Scientist, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
24/12/21·39m 43s

#98: Brain cells wired to the Matrix; omicron latest; how to make truly intelligent machines; the mysterious border between sleep and wake

In a step towards creating intelligent cyborg brains, Cortical Labs in Melbourne have trained lab-grown brain organoids to play a classic 1970s video game. The team explains how the brain cells live in a Matrix-like, simulated world, where all they know is Pong. And there’s more AI news, as the team digs into DeepMind’s invention of a ‘search engine’ style supercomputer, one much smaller than its competitors. The team discusses sleep, and how manipulating the hypnagogic phase of sleep can lead to bursts of creativity. As the holiday season approaches, Omicron shows no signs of letting up, so the team brings you up to speed on what we know so far. And they bring two bird related stories, one about the superpowers of zebra finches and the other about the link between personality types and feather colours in turkeys. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page, Clare Wilson and Matt Sparkes. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
17/12/21·25m 39s

#97: The latest on omicron; Don’t Look Up review; Steven Pinker on human rationality; the sound of melting glaciers

Omicron is spreading quickly and once again we’re facing another wave of infections and restrictions over the holiday period. The team says although it’s early days, we’re beginning to get a handle on why this covid-19 variant is so good at dodging immunity, and they unpack ‘misleading’ reports that it causes milder infections.  Climate journalist Emily Atkin joins the team to discuss Netflix’s new satire Don’t Look Up, which follows the story of two astronomers and their attempts to warn humanity of an approaching comet that will destroy the planet. As well as that, renowned cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker joins the pod to discuss his new book ‘Rationality’, which outlines the major forces underlying our irrational tendencies. The team also brings you the bubbling sounds of melting glaciers, and they share news of a new kind of GPS that uses cosmic rays. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page and Chelsea Whyte. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/12/21·27m 44s

#96: What does the rise of omicron mean for us?; living robots able to reproduce; mini black holes and the end of the universe

Omicron, a new covid-19 variant of concern, has become the most common variant in South Africa and is spreading fast. The team examines fears that it may be more transmissible than the delta variant, and better at evading vaccines and immunity. Following research of 5000-year-old beer jars, the team finds out that Ancient Egyptians used to eat (or drink?) alcoholic beer porridge - seriously! Then they go back even further in time to discover the origins of water, and how new evidence suggests water first arrived on Earth like rain from space. They also find out how living robots - xenobots - are able to reproduce, and bring news of a black hole doomsday double whammy. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Carissa Wong. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Thanks to our sponsor Brilliant - remember the first 200 people to sign up using this link http://brilliant.org/newscientist will get 20% off unlimited access to all the courses on Brilliant for a whole year. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
03/12/21·23m 3s

#95: The origin of coronavirus; how red light boosts eyesight; deflecting asteroids; body chemical changes human behaviour

Where did covid-19 really come from? Well, the team explains why the wet market in Wuhan is back on top as the most likely place of origin. They also look ahead to the future of the pandemic, as the delta variant continues to run rampant across the globe. In eyesight news, forget carrots - if you want to improve your vision all you need (maybe) is some red light. The team digs into new research which shows that red light can boost mitochondrial activity in cells - but will it prove useful? The team get a little self conscious when the topic of body odour comes up. But this story is actually about an odourless chemical that we emit, that seems to influence human behaviour - affecting men and women differently. They also touch on an innovative new climate-saving method of making plastic, and they find out why NASA is sending a rocket to smash into an asteroid. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Clare Wilson and Michael Le Page. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Thanks to our sponsor Brilliant - remember the first 200 people to sign up using this link http://brilliant.org/newscientist will get 20% off unlimited access to all the courses on Brilliant for a whole year. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
26/11/21·26m 23s

#94: IBM’s huge quantum computer, Russia’s anti-satellite weapon, the verdict on COP26, AI predicting the next legal highs

The race for quantum supremacy continues, with IBM setting a new benchmark for processing power. But the new supercomputer hasn’t actually demonstrated its capabilities just yet - so will it really beat its competitors? The team shares the latest. They also report on Russia’s ‘dangerous’ anti-satellite weapon test, which sent fragments of satellite hurtling towards the International Space Station. They hear from founder of the popular science YouTube channel Kurzgesagt, Philipp Dettmer, about his new book Immune: A Journey into the Mysterious System That Keeps You Alive. As the dust starts to settle following COP26 in Glasgow, the team reflects on the progress that has been made - providing countries stick to their pledges. And there’s a story about an AI drug detective, which has been trained to help keep “legal highs” off the market. On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Timothy Revell, Matthew Sparkes, Leah Crane, Chelsea Whyte and Conrad Quility-Harper. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Thanks to our sponsor Brilliant - remember the first 200 people to sign up using this link http://brilliant.org/newscientist will get 20% off unlimited access to all the courses on Brilliant for a whole year. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
19/11/21·27m 42s

#93: COP26 special, week 2: voices from the Global South; what does the Glasgow Accord look like - and where does it go from here on climate action

Young climate activists from nations bearing the brunt of climate change speak out. In this COP26 special, hear the moving and impassioned words of the young voices representing the plight of the Global South, as they demand action and reparations. As the climate summit comes to an end, the team in Glasgow reflect on their experiences of the event, and unpack the pledges and commitments that have been made. Ahead of the release of the official cover decision - the document that will outline the main outcome of the event - the team explains what we know so far. This includes a joint declaration put out by the US and China - an unexpected but welcome message of hope. They also discuss the developed world’s attempts to make up for breaking the promise made in Paris - the payment of $100 billion that was meant to help developing countries tackle climate change. The team ends by looking to the positives, and discussing the post-Glasgow path ahead. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Richard Webb, Adam Vaughan and special guest, climate scientist Emily Shuckburgh of the University of Cambridge. Finally, Paris 2015 legend Christiana Figueres pops up to give a message of optimism. And to read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/11/21·36m 55s

#92: COP26 week 1 special from Glasgow; first Earthlings to go interstellar; genetically engineered microbes for our cells

It’s the most consequential climate meeting in a generation. COP26 is underway and we’re bringing you special episodes of the podcast featuring in-depth analysis and interviews. Reporter Graham Lawton is in Glasgow and shares his experiences of the event, discussing positive news about “game-changing” pledges to cut methane emissions. There have been many exciting pledges made at the event, and the team examines new analysis that suggests we could keep global warming under the 2 degrees mark if countries follow through. Friday is Youth Empowerment Day at COP26, and we hear the thoughts of Larissa Naylor from the University of Glasgow, who started her climate activism when she was 15 by organising Earth Rallies. The team also finds out about a commitment to end nearly all deforestation within nine years. There’s some non-COP news in there too, including an out-of-this-world story about tardigrades, and some amazing work being done to engineer microbes to live inside mammalian cells. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Graham Lawton and Adam Vaughan. Rowan and Adam will be at Glasgow next week for the second of our special episodes, so stay tuned. In the meantime sign up to our COP26 newsletter here. And to read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
05/11/21·33m 41s

#91: Earth heading for climate disaster; Kim Stanley Robinson looks to the future; hunt for aliens; Tesla worth $1 trillion

The Earth could be heading for disaster. In the lead up to COP26 the team discusses The Emissions Gap, a new UN report which has found that even if countries around the world stick to their emissions pledges, the planet will still warm by 2.7°C, which would be catastrophic. Legendary sci-fi writer Kim Stanley Robinson makes an appearance, discussing his climate heroes, thoughts on geoengineering and on the future of the planet. The team unveils the news that a signal from space that looked like it was sent by aliens… probably wasn’t aliens. They also explain why sperm quality is declining in American men, prompting predictions that the average sperm count will hit zero by 2045. And they discuss the news that Elon Musk’s Tesla has become only the sixth US company ever to reach a trillion dollar valuation. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, Alice Klein and Leah Crane. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. If you’re interested in listening to the Sleep Whispers podcast, follow this link. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
28/10/21·25m 15s

#90: COP26 climate playlist; the science of Dune; life-saving treatment for children without immune systems; covid sweeps Iran

In rare cases children can be born without an immune system, and sadly their chances are very bad. Fortunately the team brings news of a life-saving implant which has now been approved for use in the US. If you’re thinking of seeing the new film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s epic novel Dune, you’ll want to hear the insights of ecosystem professor Yadvinder Malhi. Herbert was amazingly ahead of his time, anticipating the work of James Lovelock and the Gaia hypothesis, for example.  The team hears about the world’s largest artificial intelligence - the Megatron-Turing Natural Language Generation model - and finds out what it is capable of. They also discuss how hard Iran has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic: new data shows nearly every person in the country has had covid, some twice or even three times. And in the build up to COP26, the team is getting in the party spirit, and shares details of a climate-inspired Spotify playlist they’ve put together. You can listen to it here. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, Alice Klein, Bethan Ackerley and Matt Sparkes. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
21/10/21·28m 34s

#89: Climate-ready food of the future; the biology of poverty; deepfake audio; mystery cosmic signal; Captain Kirk in space

Breadfruit could help us weather the storm of climate change. The team hears how the tropical fruit is tough enough to survive Earth’s warming temperatures and could even replace staple crops like wheat in the future. The team finds out why children living below the poverty line experience a raft of health issues, as new research examines the mechanisms that are at play. They also explore a good old fashioned space mystery, after strange signals have been detected from an unknown object at the centre of our galaxy. And that’s not the only exciting space news - they also discuss Blue Origin’s latest passenger flight to space, featuring Star Trek legend William Shatner. They also share deepfake audio of Donald Trump, showcasing how accurate the technology has become, and why we should be concerned. And they share a fascinating new theory about how sea cucumbers are able to survive in extreme environments. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page, Jason Murugesu and Chelsea Whyte. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
14/10/21·21m 59s

#88: Should climate activism go to extreme levels?; malaria vaccine; new drugs to treat covid; mission to the asteroid belt

The team opens with the welcome news that after 37 years of development, the world’s first malaria vaccine has been approved. They then hear from Swedish author Andreas Malm, who argues that the climate movement needs to get more militant. He says the likes of Extinction Rebellion have &apospeace-washed&apos historical accounts of protest movements, and, controversially, puts the case for escalating from mass civil disobedience to engage in property destruction. The fight against covid is picking up pace - the team unpacks a flurry of announcements about promising new treatments. They discuss the new UAE space mission launching in 2028 which plans to swing by Venus before heading to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. They also share a roundup of the physics and chemistry Nobel prize winners, and find out how touch receptors in the skin are involved in social bonding and sexual desire. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Alice Klein. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
07/10/21·27m 21s

#87: Mini black holes impacting the moon; first CRISPR gene-edited food goes on sale; why leaves turn brown in autumn

CRISPR gene-edited food has gone on sale commercially for the first time. The team finds out about this ‘super tomato’ which has been created by a startup in Japan. Have you ever wondered why leaves change colour in the autumn? The team discusses an evolutionary explanation suggesting that leaf colour is a signal. Following Greta Thunberg’s latest speech at the pre-COP26 event Youth4Climate, the team reflects on Germany’s recent election, which could be very positive for action on climate change. They also discover how mini-black holes may have created some of the moon’s craters, and they find out why humans don’t have tails. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Abby Beal. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
30/09/21·27m 29s

#86: The woman who couldn’t smell; solving the climate and biodiversity emergencies; China’s quantum of solace

Imagine going your whole life without being able to smell - and then suddenly you can. The team tells the amazing story of a woman who first gained the ability to smell aged 24 - a case which has scientists baffled. Efforts to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises need to be unified. We hear from Nathalie Pettorelli of the Zoological Society of London, lead author of a new paper calling for a more joined up approach, with an emphasis on nature-based solutions. The team discusses the latest developments in quantum computing, including a city-wide quantum communications network in China that has been running for almost three years - showcasing how a future quantum internet might work. They also find out why cuttlefish are being compared to ancient Romans, and explore the reasons behind the UK’s winter fuel crisis. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Matt Sparkes and Alice Klein. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
23/09/21·27m 31s

#85: The violent frontline of climate change; bringing back the mammoth; another first for SpaceX

In some parts of the world, taking a stand for the planet can be incredibly dangerous. This week we hear from Laura Furones, of the campaign group Global Witness, on the finding that 227 environment activists were murdered in 2020. She explains why this is happening and what needs to be done to protect these people. In de-extinction news, $15 million has been given to a team hoping to bring mammoths back to life. While exciting news for some, evolutionary biologist Tori Herridge discusses the ethical implications of creating mammoth-elephant hybrids. The team finds out the latest on the UK’s plans to vaccinate children, and whether the country is likely to face another lockdown. They also discuss the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission, and learn that cows are easier to potty train than toddlers. Your hosts on the pod are Rowan Hooper and Penny Sarchet. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
16/09/21·31m 5s

#84: Health benefits of male flatulence; cave dwellings on Mars; covid booster shots

Great news for the more flatulent among us - breaking wind is a sign of good gut bacterial health. The team discusses a slightly unsavoury experiment in which men weighed their poos, stored them in freezers, and even had their farts measured… all in the name of science. The team also questions the wisdom of rolling out covid-19 booster jabs. Some countries are already gearing up to deliver dose number three, all while poorer populations struggle to get their hands on a first dose. Potential homes have been identified for Martians of the future - the team talks about the discovery of caves on Mars which could be turned into settlements for human explorers. They also discuss the news of a billionaire-funded lab that’s been set up with the aim of ‘curing’ the ageing process. And you even get to hear the words of a swearing duck which has learnt to say ‘you bloody fool’ - yeah, you read that right. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Alice Klein. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
09/09/21·26m 42s

#83: Low carbon shipping; Anil Seth on consciousness; humanity’s ancient history in Arabia; quantum gravity

A bold move from the world’s largest shipping company could have big implications for the planet . Maersk has bought ships which can run on both traditional fuel and methanol. This  alternative fuel, the team explains, could drastically reduce shipping’s contribution to global CO2 emissions. Neuroscientist Anil Seth puts forward a radical new theory of the self, the subject of his latest book Being You – A New Science of Consciousness. The team explains how researchers are inching closer to solving one of the biggest problems in physics - quantum gravity. They also explore why the Large Hadron Collider - one of the most technologically advanced machines in the world - still stores data on old-school tapes. And they find out about Arabia’s role in the early history of humanity. On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Timothy Revell, Adam Vaughan, Leah Crane,- Chelsea Whyte and Rowan Hooper. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
02/09/21·30m 22s

#82: Taliban seize Afghan biometric equipment; uploading our brains to machines; investigating Nazi uranium

Equipment from a massive biometrics programme in Afghanistan has been seized by the Taliban. From police and election commission programmes, they “have everything” according to one expert. The team explores the potential dangers caused by the Taliban’s access to this equipment. They also discuss the past and future of artificial intelligence with author Jeanette Winterson as she dives into her new book ‘12 Bytes’. A uranium cube that dates back to the Nazi’s atomic bomb programme is being examined by experts, and the team finds out exactly how the identification process works. They also learn about the nefarious goings-on of pollen-stealing bees, and they find out how astronomers have discovered a load of never-before-seen asteroids. On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Timothy Revell and Matthew Sparkes, Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
26/08/21·25m 25s

#81: Breakthrough in nuclear fusion; mini human brain grown with eyes; rapid evolution of synthetic bacteria

Recreating the power of the sun, the dream of nuclear fusion - it’s a dream we’re inching ever closer to. A new breakthrough at a lab in the US has the team excited, and they catch up with Jeremy Chittenden, co-director of the Centre for Inertial Fusion Studies at Imperial College London, to get the latest. The team then see how evolution has proved, once again, that it is cleverer than we are, as an artificial ‘minimal cell’ created by scientists demonstrates its ability to adapt and evolve dramatically and rapidly. With the new school year not far away, fears are mounting over the covid-19 Delta variant, which threatens to sweep through our children - the team explains why the issue of ventilation must be a top priority. Things take a bizarre turn when the team finds out about a lab-grown mini human brain that has grown a pair of eyes. Also, following the IPCC report last week, and as COP26 approaches, the team checks in on the latest climate news. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Abby Beall and Mike Marshall. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
19/08/21·29m 24s

#80: Analysis of IPCC climate report; the rise of synthetic milk; discovery of new carnivorous plant

A lead author of the latest IPCC climate report, Tamsin Edwards, joins the team for a special episode of the podcast. News headlines have left many concerned, and with more questions than ever, so the team devotes a large chunk of the show to unpacking the findings of the report, and emphasising hope and action over doom and gloom. Linked to the issue of climate change is the agricultural industry’s impact on the environment, but there’s hope there too. The team explains how precision fermentation technology is being used to create guilt-free milk, cheese and ice-cream! And the team finds out about a killer tobacco plant - a newly-described species that kills insects and could provide a natural solution to pest control. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Graham Lawton and Adam Vaughan. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/08/21·28m 7s

#79: Google creates a time crystal; microplastics in human placenta; boosting China’s vaccines; our climate future

As severe weather events around the world give us a very real taste of the devastating effects of climate change, we’re also getting a better understanding of what the future holds for our planet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its big report on the physical basis of climate change next week - the team previews what’s to come. They also explain why a number of nations are now mixing and matching their vaccine doses in order to stop the spread of the covid-19 delta variant. For the first time, microplastics have been found in human placentas, and the team examines the possible health implications. They also learn about new technology which is being used to send hidden messages in the calls of whales and dolphins, and they get all Doctor Who when they find out about the existence of real life time crystals. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Matt Sparkes. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
05/08/21·23m 19s

#78: Will covid evolve to evade vaccines?; the oldest animal fossils ever found; predicting climate change’s extreme weather

More than a week since England lifted its covid restrictions, infection numbers in the UK are very high. The team examines how the country has set up the perfect circumstances for the evolution of “escape variants” - forms of the virus that may be able to evade our immune systems and vaccines. The team also learns of the discovery of the earliest fossil animals ever found - sponges that are 350 million years older than anything we’ve seen before. They explain how a 14-legged single-cell organism is able to walk without a brain. They also discover what would happen if two superfast stars smashed into each other, and find out why many climate models weren’t able to predict the severity of recent extreme weather. On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Timothy Revell, Leah Crane and Michael Marshall. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
29/07/21·27m 34s

#77: Is dropping covid restrictions unethical?; methane hints to life on Mars; Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin’s road to space

Freedom day arrived in England this week, as the country dropped most covid restrictions. But as cases continue to rise and many people, children included, remain unvaccinated, the team discuss why hundreds of experts are calling the move an ‘unethical experiment’. High levels of methane have been detected on Mars by the Curiosity rover, which could indicate life on the Red Planet - but the team explains why they aren’t breaking out the champagne just yet. They then discuss the launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft, with Jeff Bezos announcing his plans to build a ‘road to space’. There’s also news about a tomato nervous system, as biologists discover the sophisticated methods the plants use to communicate. And the team touches on the discovery of a new genetic element named after the Borg in Star Trek, which could aid in the fight against climate change. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, and Cat de Lange. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
22/07/21·24m 53s

#76: Harm of race-based medicine; space tourism industry is go; America’s heatwave challenges

Race-based medical practises are being challenged more and more, as it becomes increasingly clear they have little basis in science. The team finds out why adjustments for race and ethnicity are still being made in medicine, despite the potential harm and healthcare implications they cause. It’s been a massive week for the future of space tourism - the team shares a clip of a very excited Richard Branson who’s recent journey into microgravity has set the stage for the launch of Virgin Galactic’s first commercial space flights. The team gives an update on the dramatic heatwave ravaging the US, as more record high temperatures are set, continuing to leave destruction in its wake. They also explain what ‘impact gardening’ is and why it might help us find alien life on Jupiter’s moon Europa, and they share important news on the state of the cosmetics industry in Neolithic times. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, and Layal Liverpool. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
15/07/21·22m 10s

#75: Vaccine for kids; legacy of Dolly the sheep; how to repair the climate; China’s quantum advantage

In the UK, rules around attendance at schools after a covid outbreak are changing, but the country still hasn’t decided whether or not to vaccinate children. The team finds out what the hold up is, especially given some countries have already taken the leap. It’s been 25 years since the cloning of Dolly the sheep, so the team looks at Dolly’s legacy, exploring the many advancements and discoveries that have come as a result of this marvel of biological science. They then discuss the small matter of how to save the planet as former UK chief scientist David King, founder of the newly formed Climate Crisis Advisory Group, sets out his mission. In the race to create a breakthrough quantum computer, China is in the lead - the team explores a leapfrogging event which has seen the country achieve quantum advantage, creating the fastest computer on Earth. And they discuss NASA’s exciting plans to create a spacecraft powered by solar sails. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, Matt Sparks and Clare Wilson. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
08/07/21·27m 54s

#74: ‘Dragon man’ could be new species of human; Wally Funk goes to space; human and financial cost of heatwave; how covid affects the brain

A unique kind of human skull has been discovered in China. The team describes the details of this skull, known as the ‘Dragon Man’, and explains how it might belong to a new species of human. And if that’s not exciting enough, its discovery has the most amazing Indiana Jones style backstory too. In breaking news, Jeff Bezos has announced that legendary aviator Wally Funk, one of the Mercury 13 women who trained as astronauts, will go to space with him on the first crewed Blue Origin mission. The team then discusses the intense heat waves that have been wreaking havoc in the Arctic and across the Pacific northwest. They explore the effects of covid-19 on the brain, as new studies show that a third of people who’ve been infected have suffered some form of cognitive or psychological disorder. They also share some incredible, experimental music from the composer John Luther Adams, whose new album ‘Arctic Dreams’ is inspired by the sounds of the Alaskan wilderness. And they bring bad news from the surface of Venus, as hopes for life on the planet begin to dwindle. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Alison George and Chelsea Whyte. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Special thanks to John Luther Adams and his record label Cold Blue Music. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/07/21·23m 46s

#73: How to treat long covid; evolution of cooperation; Turing’s ACE computer; aliens watching Earth

The symptoms of long covid are diverse and numerous, and we’re still getting to grips with a clinical definition. Adam Vaughan visited the UK’s first long covid clinic, and explains how it provides both physical and psychological support to patients. The team then discusses the evolution of cooperation with professor Nichola Raihani, author of ‘The Social Instinct’, who explains why species collaborate, an act which seems to contradict the competitive nature of life in Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Then they get into the unnerving news that aliens might be spying on us from other planets. They mark the birthday of one of the greatest and most influential figures of the twentieth century, Alan Turing, who features on the Bank of England’s new £50 note. And they explain how quantum mechanics is being used to protect our data online. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Adam Vaughan, Matt Sparkes, Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
24/06/21·30m 58s

#72: The evil in all of us; delta variant of coronavirus; glacier memory project

The delta variant of covid-19 has torn across India, and is making its way around the globe, forcing the extension of lockdown measures in the UK. The team explores its spread, and also digs into findings showing that “elimination countries” - those which enacted swift and extreme lockdown measures - have fared better across the board in the health, wealth and even freedom of their populations. They then discuss the Ice Memory Project, which is archiving and preserving material and data from glaciers - ancient relics that have been trapped in the ice for millennia, sadly thawing due to global warming. There’s a conversation with forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist Gwen Adshead about the capacity we all have for evil - the subject of her new book ‘The Devil You Know’. On top of that, there’s the news that China has launched the first group of astronauts to its new space station and laid out its plans for an international moon base, and a story about monogamy in seahorses, where it is the males who get pregnant. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, and Graham Lawton. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
17/06/21·27m 9s

#71: Alzheimer’s treatment approved; human brain map breakthrough; time flowing backwards

For the first time in 18 years, a new drug for Alzheimer’s disease has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. This is big news because rather than just treating the symptoms, the drug targets the amyloid plaques that are thought to cause the disease. But the team explains why there are still many reasons to remain cautious. They also discuss an exciting breakthrough in our understanding of the brain, as Google researchers have, for the first time, mapped all the connections in one cubic millimeter of human brain tissue, containing a whopping 50 thousand brain cells and 130 million connections. Then there’s the little story about how time can appear to violate the second law of thermodynamics, by running backwards instead of forwards. The team also celebrates the revival of an animal frozen in permafrost for 24,000 years, and they travel to the very edges of the galaxy where, for the first time, organic molecules have been detected. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Mike Marshall and Anna Demming. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/06/21·28m 6s

#70: Coronavirus origin story; Big Oil’s nightmare; history of the gender pain gap

From a bat… or from a lab? It seemed the question of where SARS-CoV-2 originated had been settled, but recently it&aposs been reignited. Amid lots of conflicting and confusing news stories, the team explores what we really know about the origins of covid-19. They then mark a historic tipping point in climate news, as three of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies are forced to work harder and faster to reduce their environmental impact. They also speak to Elinor Cleghorn, author of a new book called ‘Unwell Women: A Journey Through Medicine And Myth in a Man-Made World’, which examines the origins of the gender pain gap. They dig into new findings from the Libyan civil war showing autonomous robot drones, for the first time in history, have used AI to identify and attack humans. And on the brighter side of robotics, the team finds out about a cafe in Tokyo staffed by robots acting as avatar bodies for remote workers, which is offering people with life-limiting diseases a chance to interact with the outside world. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Cat de Lange, Graham Lawton and Anna Demming. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
03/06/21·26m 36s

#69: Coronavirus evolution; geoengineering and food supply; Alice Roberts on the revolution in archaeology

A new variant of coronavirus which originated in India is spreading rapidly. The team explains how both this new mutation and the UK variant are capable of evading vaccines, causing huge concerns for the global fight against covid-19. They also discuss whether the risks of solar geoengineering outweigh the benefits, as new research in the journal Nature Food looks at the potential impact on agricultural yields. They discuss a revolution taking place in archaeology as the discipline absorbs modern techniques from genetics, speaking to anatomist Alice Roberts about her new book Ancestors: The Pre-History of Britain in Seven Burials. They hear the calls of red-handed tamarin monkeys who change their accents when they move in with a neighbouring species. And they discuss the extraordinary news that a man who was once blind has had his sight partially restored thanks to optogenetics. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O&aposCallaghan and Michael Le Page. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
27/05/21·26m 0s

#68: Climate change and methane mystery; breathable liquid; covid vaccines

When it comes to climate change, carbon dioxide usually gets the spotlight, but methane, although shorter-lived in the atmosphere, is more potent as a greenhouse gas - and levels have been mysteriously increasing. The team explains where the methane is coming from and how efforts to curb methane emissions could be important in tackling global warming. They then explore the peculiar discovery that pigs can breathe oxygen through the anus, and what that means for future applications in space travel. In coronavirus news, the team highlights the disparity between the rich and the poor in the global vaccine rollout. They also discuss the exciting arrival of a Chinese rover on Mars, and a story about the monogamous relationships of Californian mice. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O&aposCallaghan, Michael Le Page, and Adam Vaughan. Also check out the story of how the way you move can change the way you think, and how chemists are rethinking the way atoms stick together. To read about these and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
20/05/21·22m 3s

#67: Brain plasticity; entropy and the nature of time; vaccine booster shots

Efforts to fight covid-19 won’t stop even when everyone is vaccinated. There’s a good chance we’ll need vaccine booster shots to keep on top of the disease. With Israel already planning to roll these out, and many other countries considering the same, the team explains what the booster shots will look like. They then explore the mind-melting discovery that simply by measuring time, humans are adding to the amount of entropy or disorder in the universe. They catch up with the neuroscientist David Eagleman who explains the concept of brain plasticity. They mark a very special year for the loudest insect in the world - cicadas - and they discuss how degrowth - a deliberate step down in economic activity - might be the safest way to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O&aposCallaghan, Graham Lawton and Clare Wilson. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
13/05/21·27m 49s

#66: Sea level rise; Bitcoin carbon pollution; how to measure self-awareness

The most detailed analysis yet of global warming and sea level rise has been published. The paper’s lead author, Tamsin Edwards of King’s College London, explains that we now have a better understanding of the consequences of missing the 1.5 degrees target of the Paris Agreement. Later the team gets introspective as they learn about metacognition, and how brain scanners are now able to measure self-awareness: learn how to boost your own self-awareness here. They discuss how the digital currency Bitcoin will soon create more carbon pollution than the whole of Sweden. And they explain how the naming of a new species of ant has been used to champion gender diversity, and share some amazing findings about the crew from the wreck of Henry VIII’s warship the Mary Rose. Also, make sure to check out this piece from Jemma Wadham who spent two weeks living under a glacier in Norway. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O&aposCallaghan, Cat de Lange, Karina Shah and Matt Sparkes. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
06/05/21·27m 15s

#65: Chernobyl radiation safety; Chinese space station; wisdom of trees

It’s been 35 years since the devastating explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. But new research shows there has been no increase in genetic mutations in people who worked to clean up the accident site, nor in their children. The team discusses communicating safety risks around radiation with the director of the Chernobyl Tissue Bank, Gerry Thomas. The team then talks about two stories in space exploration news, with another SpaceX launch to the ISS, and the start of the construction of a new Chinese space station. We also hear from legendary biologist Suzanne Simard. Simard discovered the wood wide web - revealing that trees live in a connected society, trading, collaborating and communicating in sophisticated ways through a shared underground network. The team also discusses a rapid rise of covid-19 infections in India, and they dig into the discovery of ancient structures in Arabia which predate Stonehenge and the Pyramids. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O&aposCallaghan, Michael Le Page, Leah Crane and Ibrahim Sawal. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
29/04/21·29m 44s

#64: Earth Day rescue plan: climate change and biodiversity special

To mark Earth Day 2021, we’ve assembled a panel of experts to discuss climate change and biodiversity loss - “two runaway crises tightly interlinked that will mutually make each other’s effects worse”. New evidence shows 2021 really is a make-or-break year for the environment and the planet. In this episode the panel explores the disparity between our efforts to combat each issue, they explain how some attempts to help the environment can actually worsen the situation, and they discuss the limitations of carbon drawdown technologies. The discussion leans into the dangers of losing the Amazon rainforest, the importance of working with local communities, and the role billionaires play in advancing global climate goals. And while the scale of the problem seems insurmountable to many, the team says it’s important to remember that your actions are not futile - taking a personal stand and changing your habits is still absolutely critical. The Earth can recover, if we let it. On the pod this week: New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Michael Le Page and Adam Vaughan, joined by Tilly Collins from the Centre for Environmental Policy and Bonnie Waring from the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
22/04/21·31m 17s

#63: Musical spider’s webs; magic mushrooms for treating depression; the sound of coronavirus

The vibrations of a spider’s web have been transformed into some spectacularly haunting pieces of music. The team shares the work of MIT researcher Markus Buehler, which gives us a glimpse into what life is like for a spider. The team then discusses new research suggesting psilocybin, the psychoactive component of magic mushrooms, might be an effective way of treating depression. The theme of sound continues as the team shares the work of molecular biologist and composer Mark Temple, who’s turned the genetic sequence of the coronavirus into beautiful and ethereal music. On top of this, the team brings news of a robot with an artificial nervous system that’s learnt to catch a ball, and they celebrate a new discovery about the world’s oldest animal, the comb jelly. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Chelsea Whyte, Sam Wong and Donna Lu. To read more about all these stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. And if you want to hear more of Markus Buehler’s work, visit his SoundCloud page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
15/04/21·26m 55s

#62: Synthetic life; rescue plan for Earth; muon g-2 new physics

Scientists tinkering around with the creation of synthetic life have taken a significant step forward. The team explains how synthetic cells could one day be implanted in humans. Alongside this is the news that researchers have used frog skin cells to create a microscopic living robot, which can heal and power itself. As levels of CO2 in the atmosphere reach a record high, the team looks at ways to join up global efforts in tackling both the climate and biodiversity emergencies. They discuss another challenge to the Standard Model of particle physics, as Fermilab’s muon g-2 experiment threatens to shake up everything we thought we knew. And finally the team explains how the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs gave rise to the Amazon rainforest, and explore news of rare blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Layal Liverpool, Richard Webb and Krista Charles. To read about these and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
08/04/21·28m 57s

#61: Worse allergies; black hole in our backyard; new flavours of vanilla

Spring has sprung and… ACHOO!! Yep, hay fever is back with a vengeance. This week the team has some bad news for hay fever sufferers, as allergies are set to get worse (in every way imaginable) because of climate change. The team then ramps up the excitement with the news that there may be an ancient black hole sitting on the edge of our solar system, which might actually be within our reach! They discuss vanilla’s attempts to break free of its ‘boring’ stereotype, as growers begin to experiment with new and exciting flavours of the classic taste. As countries around the world prepare for a third wave of covid-19 infections, the team explains how the vaccine rollout will impact hospitalisation and death rates. And they also celebrate the Octopus, as new research suggests they might be able to dream. On the pod are Tiffany O’Callaghan, Graham Lawton, Stuart Clark and Clare Wilson. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/04/21·24m 7s

#60: New physics; anti-ageing human embryos; Mars update

The Large Hadron Collider might, just might, have found something that challenges the Standard Model of particle physics. The team hears why an anomaly concerning a quark could hint at a crack in our understanding of physics. They also find out whether the age-defying, rejuvenating properties of human embryos can help us reset the ageing process in adults. As the Perseverance rover has been on Mars for a month now, there is of course more news from our neighbouring planet, namely new recordings from the surface to listen to, and the upcoming launch of the Ingenuity helicopter. Also on the pod is the worrying story of vaccine hesitancy in the EU, and the team celebrates a microbe unlike anything seen before. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Layal Liverpool, Richard Webb, Chelsea Whyte and Leah Crane. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Perseverance audio credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
26/03/21·26m 13s

#59: Vaccine success; hibernation and anti-ageing; world’s first computer

We’re tantalisingly close to resuming normal life, as promising news from Israel has shown that vaccines are swinging the fight against covid-19 in our favour. But we’re not out of the woods yet - the team explains why it’s still too risky to completely lift restrictions. They also discuss great news if you love your beauty sleep! It turns out when marmots hibernate the ageing process slows down dramatically, which is going to be useful as we develop ways to put humans into hibernation. The pod also tackles the mystery of the Antikythera mechanism, a 2000-year-old cosmos decoding device often called the world’s first computer. And they explain how mushrooms might be the answer to our clean energy needs, and chat to author and podcaster Dr Helen Scales about her new book ‘The Brilliant Abyss’. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Jo Marchant, Eleanor Parsons and Michael Le Page. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
19/03/21·28m 7s

#58: Covid good news; cold water swimming; quantum unreality

This week: relief and joy for people in the US, with the news that those who’ve had two doses of vaccine will be allowed to meet up inside with friends and family. The team also discusses the exciting news about how the vaccine might help people with long covid. Things take a turn for the weird when the team explains just how little we know about reality, certainly from a quantum mechanical point of view - but Carlo Rovelli might have an answer. They also explore why cold water swimming is so good for us, they find out how we can use light to power spacecraft, and they celebrate the wondrous sea slug, which has a penchant for chopping off its own head. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Clare Wilson, Alison George and Richard Webb. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/03/21·23m 53s

#57: Moon base; Neanderthal speech; Elizabeth Kolbert on geoengineering

Ever looked up at the Moon and thought “I could live there”? Well… this week we hear how Chinese researchers have managed to make an almost completely self-sustaining base on Earth which could be replicated on the lunar surface. They’re also joined by Rebecca Wragg Sykes, the author of ‘Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art’, who explores new evidence suggesting the extinct humans may have had the power of language and speech. Pulitzer-prize winning environment reporter Elizabeth Kolbert also joins the pod to talk about her new book ‘Under a White Sky’, and whether environmental fixes like geoengineering will help or harm our efforts to address climate change. In the mix is a brand new theory for creating a working warp drive, and new research looking at human friendship. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan and Michael Le Page. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
05/03/21·28m 32s

#56: How to spend a trillion dollars; landing on Mars; exercise and metabolism myths

What could you do with a trillion dollars? Rowan Hooper tackles this question in his latest book which examines how the money could be used to safeguard the future of our planet. The team talks about raising cash through a tax on carbon, how much it would cost to protect all the world’s endangered species, and Elon Musk’s carbon capture and storage competition. Also on the show excitement mounts over NASA’s successful touchdown on Mars, as the team discusses Perseverance and its first full week in the Jezero Crater. They also uncover myths about how our metabolisms work, and why long-held assumptions about exercise and weight loss are wrong. Also: why researchers have been teaching Morse code to people while they sleep, and new findings about cetaceans and their unexpectedly low rates of cancer. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Cat de Lange, Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
26/02/21·25m 2s

#55: Rescuing nature; Mars missions; new covid mutation

2021 could well go down in history as the year we saved our planet… the alternative really doesn’t bear thinking about. Luckily the team brings news of a “rescue plan for nature”, with several initiatives launching this year including the UN Decade of Ecological Restoration. NASA’s Mars lander Perseverance has successfully touched down on the Red Planet. The team discusses its goals, and shares the latest on the two craft which entered Mars’ orbit last week, China’s Tianwen-1 and the UAE’s Hope. The team highlights a newly discovered covid-19 mutation which is a combination of the variants first found in Kent and California. And they answer the questions “why is ice slippery?”, “why do flames jump up and down?”, and “why aren’t people at the South Pole upside down?”. On the pod are Graham Lawton, Anna Demming, Caroline Williams, and Richard Webb. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
19/02/21·24m 24s

#54: Next-gen vaccines; alien space probes; ethics of fish

Whilst we’ve been celebrating the rollout of the covid-19 vaccines, new variants of the virus have thrown a spanner in the works, and there’s a concern over the lack of vaccine availability in low-income countries. The team explores these issues and highlights the exciting developments of both a nasal vaccine and (maybe) one which can be taken in pill form. Plus... Harvard astrophysicist Avi Loeb explains why he believes the interstellar object ‘Oumuamua could be a piece of alien technology, and tells us why scientists need to take the search for intelligent life more seriously. The team also finds out whether it’s ever ethical or sustainable to eat fish, they share the musical tones of an 18,000-year-old conch, and in a new segment which answers children’s ‘but why?’ questions, they tackle “what’s behind the sky?”. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Graham Lawton, Caroline Williams, and Leah Crane. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/02/21·27m 23s

#53: Pandemic burnout; vaccines for the world; sustainable fuel

By now most of us have felt or are feeling the effects of pandemic burnout. From unexplained exhaustion to emotional detachment and general uneasiness, the team explains why the pandemic is causing these feelings and offers tips on how to combat the problem. They also explain why it&aposs critical we have a coordinated global strategy for the rollout of the covid-19 vaccine, so that poorer countries are not left without enough jabs to protect their citizens. As a growing number of countries set net zero carbon targets, the team discusses renewed hype about hydrogen as a sustainable fuel source. They also share a breakthrough in touch-sensitive robots, and explore the surprisingly controversial history of the evolution of flowers. On the pod are Tiffany O’Callaghan, Graham Lawton, Caroline Williams, and Adam Vaughan. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
05/02/21·26m 37s

#52: Life after vaccination; gaslighting; mind reading

A year on from the launch of our podcast, the team reflects on the news highlighted in the first ever episode, of a small outbreak of an unknown virus in Wuhan - how life has changed. The good news is vaccination programmes are being rolled out across the globe, but the bad news is new models suggest infection rates will continue to rise, even after most of us have had the jab. The team also explores the issue of gaslighting, explaining how it’s possible for people to manipulate and exploit our perception of reality. There’s the news that artificial intelligence is now able to figure out what song you’re listening to, just by studying your brainwaves. And the team also discusses new methods being used to search for sun-harnessing megastructures known as Dyson spheres, and they examine new satellite data which shows 28 trillion tonnes of ice disappeared globally between 1994 and 2017. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Michael Le Page, and Caroline Williams. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.If you’ve been affected by domestic violence, there are a number of charities that can help. UK National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247; US National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233; Aus 1800Respect: 1800 737 732. Search online for local alternatives. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
29/01/21·24m 42s

#51: Covid evolution; new dinosaur; missing genome data

As we continue to discover new mutant variants of the covid-19 virus, the team looks at how these will impact vaccination efforts and discuss the long-term implications of virus evolution. They also bring exciting news of a new dinosaur discovery, a sauropod that is among the biggest animals of all time. And staying with dinos, they highlight the University of Bristol’s reconstruction of dinosaur genitalia. They also discuss genome sequencing, and the massive diversity gap in the world’s DNA databases. There’s also news that questions our assumptions about why water is essential for life, as well as a story of hope in the form of President Joe Biden’s long list of climate action plans. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Layal Liverpool and Graham Lawton. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
22/01/21·26m 36s

#50: Covid vaccine dosing; superconductors; coral restoration

The coronavirus vaccines that have been approved so far all require two doses to be given 3-4 weeks apart. But the UK has chosen to delay the time between doses to 12 weeks, so it can roll out the vaccine to more people more quickly. This week the team examines whether this is the right move, and whether it’s safe. Also on the show, they explore the incredible potential that could be achieved if we’re able to design a superconductor that can operate at room temperature, including high speed travel, super-fast computers and ultra-efficient renewable energy. They also discuss the huge biodiversity issue that is coral loss, and how a team of researchers on Heron Island is helping to boost corals on the Great Barrier Reef. Then there’s news from Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, and his plans for a new zero carbon city, and an exposé on the cannibalistic tendencies of ancient megalodon sharks. On the panel are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Clare Wilson, Donna Lu and Michael Brooks. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
15/01/21·34m 24s

#49: New coronavirus variants

Two fast-spreading variants of coronavirus have been discovered in the UK and South Africa. With case numbers soaring, it’s feared these variants could lead to a massive wave of new infections around the world. The team examines why the mutations allow the virus to spread more quickly, what this means for the effectiveness of covid vaccines, and whether these new variants are more deadly. Also on the show, we explore the health benefits of going low-carb, and explain why high-fat diets might not be as bad for your heart as you might think. We discuss the discovery of ancient bones in a cave in South Africa which may belong to a new species of human. There’s also a look at how scientists are using soda bread as a scaffold for growing cells, which could be promising for lab-grown meat, and we discuss the result in the Georgia election for the US senate, and why that spells hope for action on climate change. On the panel are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Clare Wilson and Michael Le Page. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
08/01/21·26m 5s

#48: Must-know science of 2021

Happy New Year! This special episode previews some of the biggest science stories to keep an eye on over the coming year. Coronavirus, the story that’s defined our lives for the past year, will continue to evolve and unfold. The team digs into what life will look like as vaccinations eventually allow us to come out the other side of the pandemic. There are also several missions to Mars to look out for this year - the UAE’s orbiter Hope, NASA’s Perseverance rover, and China’s Tianwen-1 mission. The team also finds out whether we’re going to be able to get back on track in the fight against climate change, and they discuss the growing problem of microplastics, as this year we hope to learn more about the impact these tiny particles have on our health. As a bonus, the team shares their cultural picks for the new year. On the panel are Rowan Hooper, Cat de Lange, Layal Liverpool, Adam Vaughan, Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/01/21·29m 5s

#47: Christmas special quiz of the year

2020 has been unconventional to say the least, and this Christmas special is full of much needed hope, optimism and laughter. The team brings you highlights from this week’s live holiday event which you can watch in full here. Categories include the ‘funniest story of the year’, featuring the recreated groans of mummies and a sobering up machine; we award prizes for ‘animal story of the year’ and ‘evidence-based survival tips for 2021’. There’s also a music round, a look at this year’s moments of greatest hope, and the panelists discuss the news they’re most hoping to hear in 2021. On the panel are Rowan Hooper, Layal Liverpool, Graham Lawton, Penny Sarchet and Sam Wong. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Happy holidays from the whole team at New Scientist, and have a cracking New Year! New Scientist Weekly returns on January 1, 2021. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
18/12/20·28m 35s

#46: Stardust hunting, the illusion of the self, space rocks return to Earth

One hundred tonnes of cosmic dirt rains down on us every day, so there’s a good chance you have a meteorite on your roof... well, a micrometeorite. The team explains how you can find one yourself, and explore the surprise link with Norwegian jazz musician Jon Larsen. They also question whether you really exist, or at least the version of you that you recognise to be yourself. There’s also more news of space rocks coming to Earth, but this time returning from the super speedy Chang’e 5 moon mission, and from the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft which has visited the asteroid Ryugu. The team also discusses a 12,500-year-old mega-collage of ancient rock art which has been found in the Amazon, and they ponder the news that water has become so scarce, it’s now being traded on Wall Street. On the pod this week are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Joshua Howgego, Chelsea Whyte and Leah Crane. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
11/12/20·28m 6s

#45: Vaccine roll out in UK and China; Chris Packham on connectedness; AlphaFold breakthrough

With the UK becoming the first country in the world to approve the roll out of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the team discusses issues around safety, effectiveness in older people, and who gets it first. They also discuss coronavirus in China and the country’s own vaccination programme, as well as Australia’s remarkable return to normal life. The naturalist and broadcaster Chris Packham makes a guest appearance to discuss global connectivity, the food we eat, Brazil, deforestation and the Cerrado. The team also celebrates the news that the DeepMind artificial intelligence AlphaFold has succeeded in deciphering the secrets of the machinery of life, they explore the discovery of many weird and wonderful volcanoes in our solar system, including those with blue eruptions and ones which shoot plumes of water into space, and they discuss the regenerative power of alligators - and perhaps even dinosaurs! On the pod this week are Rowan Hooper, Cat de Lange, Michael Le Page and Donna Lu. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
04/12/20·33m 38s

#44: When we’ll get the vaccine; fast-expanding universe; lunar missions

Vaccine scientist Katrina Pollock answers some of the biggest questions about covid-19 vaccines: when are we going to get one, and when will life go back to normal? A clinician at Imperial College London, Katrina is working on both the Imperial mRNA vaccine trials, and the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine trials. She discusses vaccine safety, and the finding in trials that a low-dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine caused a bigger immune response. Also on the podcast, science writer Stuart Clark explains why the unusually fast expansion of our universe might require a rethink of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. We discuss China’s Chang’e 5 mission to bring back samples of moon rocks for the first time in over 40 years. We also hear about the startling finding that nematodes produce ‘milk’ for their young, and explain why president-elect Joe Biden is providing renewed hope for tackling the climate crisis. On the pod this week are Rowan Hooper, Cat de Lange, Leah Crane and Donna Lu. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
27/11/20·35m 59s

#43: How the covid RNA vaccine works; systemic racism; origin of humans

Even as covid-19 cases keep going up, we’ve had some good news about possible vaccines for coronavirus. Two of the promising vaccines are mRNA vaccines, and on this week’s show Anna Blakney, an RNA bioengineer at Imperial College London, explains all about this new technology. Also on the podcast: we highlight research into systemic racism and the role it plays in socioeconomic disparity, healthcare outcomes, and even technology. We explore the controversy around the species thought to be the earliest member of the human family. And then there’s a look at the brain-upgrading power of living electrodes, and news about a very, very hangry caterpillar. On the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan and Layal Liverpool, and science writer Mike Marshall. Sign up to Mike’s newsletter about the evolution and prehistory of the human species here. To read more about the stories, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
20/11/20·29m 43s

#42: Vaccine for covid-19; origin of animals; overpopulation

There are exciting results in trials of two coronavirus vaccines. But just how excited should we be? We discuss the latest findings, the strength of these potential vaccines, and how likely it is they’ll be rolled out before the end of the year. Also on the show, the team discusses the controversial issue of overpopulation, debates which animal group was the first to evolve on Earth, examines the female-led mating habits of mongoose, and explores new possibilities for space gardening. On the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Graham Lawton and Richard Webb. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
13/11/20·27m 48s

#41: The function of dreams

On this week’s election-distraction special, we hear about a new hypothesis which could explain an age-old mystery. Dreams could be a way of freeing our brains from the limits of normal life. Also on the pod, the team discusses the discovery of the source of a fast radio burst, sent out by a neutron star in our galaxy. They also explore a method to create a temporary vaccine for covid-19, until a long-term solution is found. Also on the agenda: the news that octopuses taste with their arms, and an ancient squid shaped like a giant paperclip. We also have a debrief of what it means now the US has officially withdrawn from the Paris climate agreement. All this, plus dreamy new music from Oneohtrix Point Never, and a song from space to mark the 20th anniversary of the continuous occupancy of the International Space Station. On the pod this week are Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O’Callaghan, Graham Lawton and Beth Ackerley. If you have had covid-19 and would like to donate plasma, please visit www.nhsbt.nhs.uk (to find UK sites); www.thefightisinus.org (US); or www.lifeblood.com.au/convalescent-plasma (Aus). To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
06/11/20·25m 46s

#40: Halloween special: real-life vampires, the science of ghosts, deep-sea zombies, monster black holes

What price would you pay for eternal youth? Some real-life vampires in California took part in a trial where they infused themselves with the blood plasma of young people, in an attempt to rejuvenate their brains and extend their lives.For this Halloween special we gathered journalists from the dungeons at New Scientist towers: Rowan Hooper, Cat de Lange, Beth Ackerley, Sam Wong, Layal Liverpool, Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte.The team get their teeth stuck into the vampire experiments in Silicon Valley, and explain why blood plasma is thought to have regenerative properties. They also uncover the mystery of ghosts by exploring what’s going on in the brain when we see an apparition or have a near-death experience. They dive into a truly monstrous and destructive force in the universe - black holes! And they discuss zombie microbes and vampire squid.If you want to start your own podcast, and support our show, sign up to Buzzsprout using this link: https://www.buzzsprout.com/?referrer_id=751731 Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
30/10/20·28m 52s

#39: Social lives of viruses; CRISPR to fight antibiotic resistance; dealing with risk; George RR Martin and the moon

When we think about the way a virus operates, we tend to think of it as a lone assassin. But it turns out viruses have surprisingly rich social lives - perhaps richer than many human social lives at the moment. In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O&aposCallaghan and Graham Lawton.The team sets out to change the way we see viruses, by explaining how different viruses cooperate to improve their chances of spreading - and how this understanding can help in the fight against covid-19. They also explain how CRISPR gene editing can help combat antibiotic resistance, one of humanity’s greatest threats. They explore why events like the coronavirus pandemic can have a detrimental impact on how we perceive risk, and what we can do about that. The pod also hears that the Moon once had a magnetic field, and celebrates an incredibly tough insect, the diabolical ironclad beetle.If you want to start your own podcast, and support our show, sign up to Buzzsprout using this link: https://www.buzzsprout.com/?referrer_id=751731  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
22/10/20·28m 0s

#38: Tackling the climate crisis; essential, like, filler words of, um, language; mystery of the human penis; your covid questions answered

2020 was meant to be a pivotal year in the fight against climate change, but a rather pressing issue has knocked us off course. But there are still ways that the covid-19 crisis could trigger the changes we need to see.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Tiffany O&aposCallaghan and Adam Vaughan, and science writer David Robson.The team discusses how the pandemic response has shown us possible routes to tackling climate change - particularly if working from home becomes a lasting result of the crisis. They, like, also, um, hear about the importance of, um, filler words and what they say about the evolution of language. They answer your covid-related questions, and explore the possibilities of asteroid mining. Oh and they find out why men don’t have penis bones, even though most other male mammals do… and how this bizarrely links to the Biblical story of Adam and Eve. If you want to start your own podcast, and support our show, sign up to Buzzsprout using this link: https://www.buzzsprout.com/?referrer_id=751731  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
15/10/20·33m 17s

#37: Black holes and CRISPR gene editing spring Nobel surprises; climate change and indigenous people in the Arctic; symptom clusters identified for covid-19

This year’s Nobel prize season has been the most thrilling in ages. Not only are we celebrating fascinating scientific breakthroughs, but this is also only the fourth time a woman has won a physics prize in 117 years.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Cat de Lange and Tim Revell.The team chats about the physics and chemistry Nobel prizes, awarded for work on black holes and CRISPR gene editing. CRISPR is on the agenda twice as the team discusses the creation of a new type of gene-edited cow. They also share the cultural pleasures they’ve been enjoying, and hear the latest news about how people fall into different ‘symptom clusters’ of covid-19.There’s also a special report from the British Museum’s Arctic: culture and climate exhibition, exploring the history and resilience of indigenous Arctic people. It opens on the 22nd October, and you can find out more here.If you want to start your own podcast, and support our show, sign up to Buzzsprout using this link: https://www.buzzsprout.com/?referrer_id=751731  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
08/10/20·31m 20s

#36: Hunt for life on Venus and Mars; how the paleo diet affects your age; strategy for the second wave of coronavirus; species extinction crisis

Hopes of discovering life on Venus have been dampened somewhat as the sheer scale of the task becomes clear. But don’t get in a slump just yet, because Mars has come out fighting...In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Cat de Lange, Leah Crane and Graham Lawton.The team explains how scientists have confirmed the existence of a huge underground lake of liquid water on Mars. Surrounded by smaller ponds, this news has reinvigorated those eager to find signs of alien life on the Red Planet. Also, the team assesses the impact of different diets on your biological age, with the news that going paleo - eating like a caveman or cavewoman - may make you older than your years. And, as we all become increasingly aware of the extinction crisis, the team reveals the identity of the world’s most endangered group of animals. They also discuss herd immunity and the latest coronavirus news, and share news of an exoplanet discovered in a galaxy far, far away.To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/10/20·32m 56s

#35: The first woman on the moon; evolution special; purpose of sleep and dreams; deep water mystery

We’ve all wondered why we dream, or even why we sleep. We know it’s good for you, but we don’t really know what’s going on in the brain while you’re tucked up under the covers.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson, Leah Crane and Jess Hamzelou.The team discusses a study that shows sleep functions differently depending on our age, particularly when babies develop into toddlers, and the purpose of sleep shifts from growing and developing their brains, to repairing them. Also on the show - favourite facts about evolution, like how coffee is able to cause epigenetic changes to your DNA. The team also discusses NASA’s plan to land a man and woman on the moon in 2024. Plus: the team explains how water can exist in two liquid forms simultaneously, and celebrates climate hope with China’s recent pledge to reach net-zero carbon emissions.To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
24/09/20·32m 52s

#34: Race to find life on Venus; coronavirus claims lives of 1 million people; extinction crisis; how the brain slows time

Move over Mars - Venus might actually be the best place to find alien life in our solar system. Phosphine, a molecule that on Earth is only created by bacteria or by industrial processes has been found in the planet’s clouds. Could it really be a new lifeform?In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson, Leah Crane and Adam Vaughan.The team discusses the thrilling discovery of phosphine on Venus and how the spacecraft BepiColombo will soon try to confirm this news. If it’s true, it may be an unexpected sign that life exists on the seemingly inhospitable planet. They also mark a grim milestone for the coronavirus pandemic, as global deaths reach 1 million. Sir David Attenborough makes an appearance as the team analyses the dire reality of Earth’s biodiversity crisis, and another British icon - Doctor Who - also appears as the team hears how our perception of time can be altered. Finally, we discover why a goat has had its testicles cloned.To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
17/09/20·33m 20s

#33: The healthy-eating revolution; China’s cosmic ambitions; Russia’s pursuit of gene-editing technology; the world’s greatest mammal

If you’ve longed for the day when scientists announce pizza is actually good for you, you *may* be in luck. It turns out there’s no such thing as a universally wholesome diet  - what’s healthy for one person might be harmful for the next.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson and Graham Lawton.The team discusses the advent of a healthy eating revolution. “Precision nutrition” aims to measure the metabolic response of individuals to certain types of food, to figure out what foods are good and bad for people on a personal level. Maybe, for you, chocolate cake really is the best breakfast?Elsewhere on the show we hear the squeaky sounds of the naked mole rat, as we learn that not only are these legendary mammals practically blind, but they’re also almost completely deaf. The team hears about Vladimir Putin’s thoughts on the potential for gene editing in humans, discusses China’s recent launch of a reusable space plane, and checks in on the “Great Green Wall” project to plant a belt of trees across the whole width of Africa.To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/09/20·30m 43s

#32: Billionaire plan to geoengineer the planet; how the moon affects your health; Neuralink’s telepathic pigs

If we’re not going to make the effort to cut carbon emissions, why don’t we manipulate Earth’s climate, forcing it to cool down? Obviously that’s not ideal - but geoengineering, one the most controversial proposals to combat climate change, is back in the spotlight this week.In the pod are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson and Cat de Lange. They’re joined by best-selling author and former New Scientist editor Jo Marchant. Silicon Valley billionaires have been linked with a new method for geoengineering the planet, which would aim to reverse ocean acidity and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But do we really want unilateral decisions being made on issues that affect the entire planet?The team also discusses the power of the moon - you might think its impact on our health is purely the stuff of folklore, but it turns out it may genuinely affect our physiology. Also on the agenda is Elon Musk’s demonstration of Neuralink, a brain-computer interface recently tested in pigs. The team also explains how to travel through a wormhole without dying, and offers the latest updates on coronavirus, as children around the world go back to school.To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
03/09/20·34m 3s

#31: Widening the search for alien life on habitable planets; why unconscious bias training might not work; the microbiome of cancer tumours

The universe is so large, so expansive, it’s hard to believe that life doesn’t exist elsewhere. Over the years we’ve found a handful of planets that look like they could host life, but now the net’s being cast wider than ever before.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Valerie Jamieson, Clare Wilson and Tim Revell. They explain how our definition of a ‘habitable planet’ might be too narrow - that a planet might not need to sit in the Goldilocks zone to sustain life - opening up the possibility for life on many weird and wonderful worlds we’ve never even considered before.The team also discusses the impact of unconscious bias training - why it might not work and how it could in fact make biases worse. They explain how cancer tumours have their own microbiome, and what that means for diagnoses. They also touch on an amazing new finding about Clarias batrachus, a catfish that walks on land, and ponder over whether our sun once had a twin.To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
27/08/20·24m 13s

#30: Redefining time; why mindfulness can cause problems; secrets of super-resilient tardigrades

Our measurement of time isn’t up to scratch. We can’t define a second or an hour or even a day by referring to the length of time it takes the Earth to spin on its axis, because that duration isn’t constant. But even caesium atomic clocks, with an accuracy of 1 second in 100 million years, are no longer accurate enough. Time needs a new definition.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson and Clare Wilson. They discuss a new, more precise way of defining a second, a method that will now be considered by the Time Lords in charge of these things, and ask what benefits we could get with a new kind of atomic clock.The team also explores the findings that mindfulness, used the world over to improve mental health, could sometimes have the opposite effect, leaving some people more anxious and depressed. They celebrate the toughest creatures in the world, the eight-legged tardigrades, and consider how we might use their powers to our own ends, and also discuss the worrying news that Greenland has passed a tipping point and is set to lose all of its ice. In the Total Perspective Vortex, the team marvel at the speed of the fastest star ever seen.To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
20/08/20·30m 9s

#29: Loneliness during lockdown; medical artificial intelligence beats doctors; who gets the coronavirus vaccine first

By now we’re all feeling the effects of video call fatigue. Even though we’ve found new ways to connect with each other virtually during lockdown, remote conversation can’t replace the benefits of real, face-to-face social interactions.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson and Graham Lawton. They discuss the serious negative effects of social isolation on health and general well-being. People need shared experiences and physical connections to stay healthy, and it turns out that men may feel the loss more than women.The team also discusses how a new type of artificial intelligence is outperforming doctors when diagnosing diseases, and what that means for the future of medicine. They dig into all the news about a potential vaccine for coronavirus, and ask the question: if we can’t make enough stock for everybody all at once, who gets to have the vaccine first? Also on the agenda is a discovery about the solar system’s largest asteroid that is exciting prospective asteroid miners, and our very existence is thrown into perspective with the startling news that the Higgs boson could spell doom for the universe. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
13/08/20·31m 18s

#28: Origin of life on Earth; second wave of coronavirus; science of miscarriage

How did life spring up on planet Earth? What happened to turn sterile, lifeless rock into cells that could harness energy, grow and reproduce?In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson, Adam Vaughan and Alice Klein. They discuss the origin of life itself, and how we need a rethink of the processes that form life. Scientists are attempting to make a proto-living cell self-assemble and operate without the biochemical machinery it would usually need. The team also discusses the threat of a second wave of coronavirus, how we’ve reached the upper limit in terms of reopening society, and explain why transmission rates in schools should be manageable. Also, Val and Alice share honest and moving accounts of their experiences with miscarriage, as they explain the science behind why it happens, providing a new level of understanding and comfort to the 60% of women who go though pregnancy loss. In the mix too is an analysis of the shocking extent of the ongoing Arctic heatwave, and news with implications for the possibility of past life on Mars.To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
06/08/20·34m 26s

#27: Putting plastic back on the agenda; revisiting the iconic black hole image, how dinosaurs dominated the planet

With the threat of coronavirus taking centre stage in all our minds, has the issue of plastic waste taken a backseat - has the public lost interest?In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Valerie Jamieson, Graham Lawton and Adam Vaughan. They discuss a new study exploring ways to fix our ever-increasing problem of plastic pollution, which is being especially compounded by many of the world’s new hygiene measures and the dumping of thousands of tonnes of PPE. As different parts of the world look to tackle the issue differently, like the UK’s introduction of a plastic tax for instance, can we push back the worst of our plastic problems?The team also reexamines 2019’s groundbreaking image of a black hole, as a new study reveals what the fuzzy orange glow around the hole could tell us. They also find out how dinosaurs became one of the most successful groups of animals ever to exist, work out whether fungi found at Chernobyl could protect humans from the radiation on Mars, and take a closer look than ever before at the planet nearest to our sun, Mercury!To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
30/07/20·29m 51s

#26: The hidden dark matter of our food; NASA’s new search for life on Mars; smallpox in the American civil war

What’s in our food? By now you’d think we’d have a pretty firm handle on that question, but it turns out we don’t know the half of it.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson and Graham Lawton. They discuss what’s been called nutritional dark matter: the massive void in our understanding of the biochemicals that make up the food we eat. Our standard guidelines neglect to take into account thousands of molecules and compounds, which might explain why nutritional recommendations tend to flip-flop: chocolate and red wine is good for us one week, and vilified the next.The team also visits Mars as NASA prepares to send a rover called Perseverance on a new life-finding mission, and they explore how a form of vaccination was being used as far back as the 18th century, later adopted by soldiers in the US civil war, in the fight against smallpox. They also celebrate DNA, as a quadruple-stranded form of the molecule has been discovered for the first time in healthy human cells, and herald a polystyrene-eating beetle which may help solve our plastic waste crisis.To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
23/07/20·28m 25s

#25: Coronavirus effects on children, and on other diseases; changing the way you sit could add years to your life; supercrops for a climate-changed world

Contracting covid-19 isn’t the only thing that’s making coronavirus deadly - the outbreak could lead to a jump in the number of deaths from diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and HIV. With healthcare systems at capacity, issues with drug supply chains, and with people unwilling to visit hospitals, the knock-on effects could be devastating.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Cat de Lange, and Adam Vaughan. Bringing you the latest news about the pandemic, the team also hear about the mental health implications of lockdown on our children, and the possibility of increased hospital deaths if the UK suffers a bad winter.The team also attempts to vindicate sitting down - it might not be as bad for us as we think, but as always there’s a caveat! They discuss whether it’s possible to radically engineer crops in the face of climate change and population growth, chat about the introduction of bison to the UK, and explain how advanced alien civilisations could avoid cosmic catastrophes by moving their entire solar systems!To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
16/07/20·31m 52s

#24: Half a year in a world of covid-19; meat production breaking Earth’s nitrogen limits; what does gravity weigh?

It’s been half a year since coronavirus and covid-19 emerged and the world dramatically changed. Our understanding of the virus and the disease has also hugely changed in those six months, and it’s time to take stock on our understanding of how it spreads, its symptoms and how to tackle it.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Valerie Jamieson and Cat de Lange. They explore the various methods being used in the fight against coronavirus, why some countries have seen second waves while others haven’t, and explain why horror movie fans seem to be more mentally resilient during the pandemic.The team also discusses yet another piece of evidence showing the world’s need to cut down on meat and dairy production, this time because of the industry’s massive contribution to global nitrogen emissions. They talk about the possibility of gravitational rainbows with the news that gravity itself may have a weight, celebrate the anniversary of the discovery of the Higgs boson, and share exciting news about two debut missions to Mars, one from United Arab Emirates, another from China.To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
09/07/20·31m 35s

#23: Coronavirus immunity and vaccine implications; evolutionary reasons for the types of world leader; treating people with CRISPR gene editing

Coronaviruses don’t usually produce a strong “immune memory”, and that has been worrying scientists, because it spells trouble for long-term immunity and the development of a vaccine. But, thankfully, the coronavirus that causes covid-19 doesn’t seem to be typical.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Graham Lawton. They explore new research that suggests people are developing immunity to the disease.The team also discusses how CRISPR gene editing has been used to treat two inherited genetic diseases in humans for the first time, they reveal the startling news that some snakes can fly (sort of), and from Donald Trump to Jacinda Ardern, they hear about possible evolutionary reasons behind the two types of leader in today’s world. All that, and positive news about some nearby exoplanets. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Please vote for New Scientist Weekly for the Listeners’ Choice award at the British Podcast Awards: https://www.britishpodcastawards.com/vote Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
02/07/20·33m 15s

#22: Consciousness from the body as well as the brain; record temperatures in the Arctic; long-term symptoms of covid-19

If your brain was put in a vat and supplied with food and oxygen, would it be able to think? Would it be you? For much of the 20th century, people assumed the answer to this thought experiment was yes. But there is growing evidence suggesting the brain needs the body to work properly, and even to create consciousness. In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Catherine de Lange. They discuss whether artificial consciousness in a robot or computer is even possible if consciousness requires a body, and what this “embodied cognition” means for people with autism and post-traumatic stress disorder. In other stories, they hear about a whale without a tail, news of the world’s fastest supercomputer, and explore what the long term impact of covid-19 on people who caught coronavirus might be. The team also discuss the worrying news that the highest ever temperature (38°C) has been recorded in the Arctic. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Please vote for New Scientist Weekly for the Listeners’ Choice award at the British Podcast Awards: https://www.britishpodcastawards.com/vote Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
26/06/20·24m 55s

#21: How to prevent future pandemics, black lives matter and racism in science, suspended animation

There are now more than 8 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, and at least 450,000 deaths. Given the lack of preparation for this pandemic, it’s clear that we need to start preparing for the next one. One glimmer of light is that an existing drug has been found that reduces the mortality of covid-19.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Graham Lawton and Layal Liverpool. They discuss the politics of the response to the pandemic and the problems we need to solve before the next one.They also report on what black academics have to say about tackling systemic racism in science, and ask what action universities and institutions can take to be better in the future. The team explore a ‘switch’ in the brain that could trigger a human hibernation-like state, share what culture they’ve been digesting during lockdown, and hear about an intergalactic web stretching vast distances through space. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Please vote for New Scientist Weekly for the Listeners’ Choice award at the British Podcast Awards: https://www.britishpodcastawards.com/vote Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
19/06/20·27m 48s

#20: Human cryptic mate choice, cracking nuclear fusion, countering coronavirus misinformation

Scientists have discovered a fascinating new way that women might choose between men to father their babies - and the choice may happen after having sex. It turns out that a woman’s egg can itself choose between the sperm of different men - and the egg may not always agree with the woman’s choice of partner.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Donna Lu and Valerie Jamieson. They discuss how a form of mate choice seen in many kinds of insects and other animals has now been shown in humans.They also bring you up to speed on the breakthroughs that are bringing the long-awaited dream of nuclear fusion closer to reality, they explore a macroscopic-sized quantum entity that has been created on board the International Space Station, hear about the biggest land animal ever to exist, and they discuss the disturbing rise of online misinformation and vitriol around covid-19. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Please vote for New Scientist Weekly for the Listeners’ Choice award at the British Podcast Awards: https://www.britishpodcastawards.com/vote Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
12/06/20·28m 56s

#19: How the UK got it wrong on coronavirus, mystery around chronic Lyme, Greta Thunberg’s musical debut

The UK now has the highest number of covid-19 deaths in Europe, and worldwide, the total number of confirmed covid-19 deaths is second only to the US. So how did the UK get it so wrong? We discuss why slowness to get testing seems to have been a real problem, and if it is even possible to vaccinate against covid-19. In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, and Adam Vaughan. They delve into the ethics of vaccine development, and why hopes of seeing one in September are now vanishingly unlikely. They also discuss new research which suggests Parkinson’s disease may spread from the gut to the brain, they hear about why Mars’s moon Phobos may someday turn back into a ring around the planet, and they celebrate that astrophysicist Brian May - better known as the guitarist from Queen - has published a paper on asteroids. Not only that, but Greta Thunberg turns up on the new 1975 album. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Please vote for New Scientist Weekly for the Listeners’ Choice award at the British Podcast Awards: https://www.britishpodcastawards.com/vote Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
05/06/20·28m 46s

#18: Bending the curve on climate change, the era of commercial space travel, staying safe from coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic is a human disaster that is dominating the news right now, but climate change is going to be worse and longer-lasting. The two crises may seem to be completely separate, but there are parallels that can be drawn between the two in our reaction and response to them, our ability to change behaviour and the possibility of bending the curve of their impact.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, and Graham Lawton. They discuss the views of the chief of the World Meteorological Organisation, Peterri Taalas, that our environmentally unfriendly ways might change as a result of the pandemic - and if the last few months might reset our climate damaging norms or will we slip back into old habits. The team also hear how bumblebees can force plants to flower early if they are struggling to find food, they discuss how to stay safe from the coronavirus as lockdown eases, and they explore the new space race between private companies rather than global superpowers. They debate whether NASA outsourcing space travel is wise, given they are potentially putting their faith in the hands of companies with controversial CEOs such as Elon Musk SpaceX - even if they are getting a good deal on price. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Please vote for us for the Listeners’ Choice Award at the British Podcast Awards: https://www.britishpodcastawards.com/vote Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
29/05/20·25m 57s

#17: The truth about our appetites, the impact of coronavirus on conservation, mud volcanoes on Mars

Rather than simply eating until we are full, humans selectively try to eat the right amounts of three macronutrients – protein, carbs and fat – plus two micronutrients, sodium and calcium. It turns out we have five separate appetites that drive us to eat the right amount of each.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, and Graham Lawton. They discuss an evolutionary explanation for the obesity epidemic: the fact humans will gorge on carbohydrates to try and get enough protein if they find themselves deprived of this nutrient.The team also discuss an implant that lets blind people ‘see’ letters traced on their brain’s surface, they analyse how the coronavirus is impacting conservation efforts around the world, and they delve into mud on Mars. If what we thought was lava pouring out of Martian volcanoes is actually mud, it has implications for life on the planet - which leads to a message from Elon Musk. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
22/05/20·30m 19s

#16: Hints of a new force of nature; making mice with human cells; seaweed in the fight against climate change

There are four fundamental forces that describe how everything works, from black holes to radioactive decay to sounds coming out of your headphones. But this week we discuss hints that there is a fifth fundamental force of nature.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, and Valerie Jamieson. They ask whether physics is in crisis, given that it struggles to explain 95% of the universe, or if physicists are happy, because there is so much still to discover. The team also discuss the creation of mouse-human chimeras, they reveal how kelp could help remove billions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere, and analyse whether dystopian science fiction has primed us to think that social distancing surveillance measures - such as the robot dog seen patrolling in Singapore - are too creepy. And there’s a swift discussion about the bird that sleeps on the wing and that has just returned to Europe from Africa. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.Join our online event: ‘Can we trust the science?’ on Monday 18 May at 6pm BST here: https://www.newscientist.com/science-events/new-online-series-continues-coronavirus-can-trust-science/ Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
15/05/20·26m 2s

#15: Mystery of radio signals from deep space; the future of music; epidemic of bad coronavirus science

MIDI, the digital encoding technology that revolutionised music production in the 1980s, is getting an upgrade. We explore how MIDI 2.0 will change not only how music is made, but how sounds are produced in movies. We discuss the history and future of sound, using Nancy Sinatra, Radiohead and pioneering electronic musician Aphex Twin as examples. In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Valerie Jamieson and Bethan Ackerley. They discuss the infodemic of bad science surrounding coronavirus, and the danger posed by stories shared by ‘armchair epidemiologists’. They share their top tips for disseminating what coronavirus information can be trusted.The team also hear about a possible solution to the mystery of massively powerful radio waves that have been detected from across the universe; they reveal the truth about murder hornets which have been found in the US for the first time; and in climate change news, they delve into the latest stats on carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
08/05/20·28m 51s

#14: Dreams, sleep and coronavirus, a new explanation of consciousness, brain-stimulation anorexia treatment

Is the coronavirus crisis giving you bad dreams? Anxiety and stress about covid-19 has changed our sleeping patterns and the tone of our dreams. But rest assured, bad dreams and nightmares are just a sign of the brain doing its job. In this episode, special guest Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California and best-selling author of ‘Why We Sleep’, shares top tips for sleeping well, and gives advice for people experiencing bad dreams. In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, and New Scientist consultant Michael Brooks. They take a mind-bending look at what happened when mathematicians decided to try and explain consciousness, and the controversy over what consciousness actually is.They also discuss a robot that has been constructed using the spine of a rat and 3D-printed muscle, explore how brain stimulation could be used to treat severe anorexia, and they lift a glass to research that suggests drunken elephants do in fact go on a rampage! Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
01/05/20·31m 31s

#13: Evidence for a parallel universe, protecting mental health in lockdown, why covid-19 hits men harder

We might have the first evidence for the mind-blowing idea that there is a parallel universe to our own, an antimatter universe which is mirror-flipped and travelling backwards in time.In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Cat de Lange and Gilead Amit. They discuss the tantalising clues suggesting there might be a weird parallel universe created with ours, and speculate as to what this might mean.They also explore how you can protect your mental health during the coronavirus crisis; why it is vitally important to stay connected during lockdown, and how simple things, such as regular rhythms of getting up and going to bed around the same time, can be the key to good self-care. The team also talk about a delicious lockdown treat you can cook at home called dulce de leche; explore an extraordinary lesser-known novel by Mary Shelley about a pandemic; and hear about why men are more likely to develop severe covid-19 and to die from the disease.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
24/04/20·29m 15s

#12: Strength training for better health, bats mimic sound, biggest ever supernova

While much of the world is still on lockdown and with global cases of coronavirus now over two million, one positive thing that’s come out of this crisis is that we’re paying more attention to our physical fitness. In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Cat de Lange. They discuss the latest UK and US government advice on fitness that emphasises how muscle strengthening is just as important as aerobic activity, and how you can do this kind of exercise even in a confined space. The team also hear what could be the first climate change song (from 1927!), explore how bats are capable of mimicking sound, discuss an on-going cosmic explosion which is the biggest ever seen, and investigate newly-invented vibrating clothing which claims to instil calmness and confidence. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.  Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
17/04/20·21m 50s

#11: Covid World, coronavirus in New York, invasion of parakeets, bacteria and their amazing powers

The United States now accounts for one-fifth of all new coronavirus cases globally, with New York at the epicentre with over 150,000 cases. In this episode, special guest Dr Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shares his thoughts from New York on how to reduce the risk to healthcare workers, why until we find a vaccine we are living in a ‘Covid World’, and on how the world can come out of this crisis a safer place. In the pod this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Graham Lawton and Sam Wong. They discuss the science of baking bread and why you don’t need to buy yeast; how a parakeet has become the world’s most invasive species; the lifespan of the world’s biggest fish, and the surprising things bacteria might be responsible for - including maybe even the weather! To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
10/04/20·31m 22s

#10: Coronavirus questions answered, revolution in human evolution, mind-reading computers

There’s still so much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, from the symptoms and spreadability to matters like how long you should self-isolate. In this episode, we attempt to answer some of the most pressing questions about COVID-19. In the pod for this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Graham Lawton. Also, the poet laureate Simon Armitage reads a poem written in response to the coronavirus crisis, called Lockdown. We discuss when you are likely to be at the peak of infection, whether it is possible to be infected twice, and why the coronavirus doesn’t seem to be affected much by heat and humidity. We also offer our tips for maintaining a healthy mental state during lockdown.And in non-pandemic news: the team reports how hot springs might have been discovered on Mars, highlight an artificial intelligence that has the ability to read your mind, and explore the origins of humanity now that new research suggests humans might not have a single point of origin but rather many, scattered all over Africa. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
03/04/20·25m 15s

#9: Coronavirus lockdown – how to flatten the curve, reset the immune system, and the world’s most hardcore mammal

The UK government says they are going to distribute millions of covid-19 coronavirus testing kits in the next few days, but how effective will these be and is it too late now to flatten the curve of increasing infections? In the pod for this week’s episode are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Graham Lawton. The team is joined by epidemiologist Christl Donnelly from Imperial College London. Christl is associate director of the MRC centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, which advises the government. We hear how it&aposs never too late to flatten the curve, and how smartphones are can be useful for contact tracing. There’s also some non-coronavirus-related news too: the team highlight a tasty new discovery that will make the texture of lab-grown meat more realistic, explore how to fight infection and ageing by turning back your immune system&aposs clock, and discuss a mouse that might be ‘the most hardcore mammal on the planet.’ To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
27/03/20·33m 31s

#8: Coronavirus special – disaster preparation, environmental change and disease emergence; plus science round-up

The actions taken now by countries and governments globally is crucial in limiting the impact of the covid-19 coronavirus - but has the response been strong enough? In the pod for this week’s episode are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Graham Lawton. The team is joined by two experts from University College London: professor of risk and disaster reduction David Alexander, and professor of ecology and biodiversity Kate Jones. The panel explores just how prepared we are for this global emergency, and also looks at how diseases that originate in wildlife may be increasing as a result of environmental challenges. And if you want to hear what else is going on in the world, there’s more than just coronavirus on the lineup. The team highlights ‘bonehenge’, a 22,000-year-old structure made of mammoth bones, discusses the incredible finding of a planet where it rains liquid iron, and uncovers the evolutionary origin of the human ability to run. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
20/03/20·34m 58s

#7: Coronavirus vaccine, neutrinos in the early universe, and organ transplants

Everyone wants a coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible - but what is involved, and how long will it take? On the panel for this week’s episode are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Jacob Aron and Clare Wilson. The team is joined by Katrina Pollock, a vaccine scientist from Imperial College London, who explains the work that needs to be done before we have a safe and effective vaccine for covid-19. Also on the show is the surprising finding that subatomic and ghostly neutrinos may have influenced the structure of the early universe. We also hear how to treat human organs outside of the body, in an effort to make the organs healthier when transplanted into patients in need. To find out more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
13/03/20·25m 44s

#6: Coronavirus special - the spread of covid-19, fatality rates, and the importance of hand washing

Governments globally are taking serious measures to halt the spread of the covid-19 coronavirus, from shutting schools to cancelling major events. On the panel for this special episode dedicated to the disease are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Donna Lu. The team is joined by Adam Kucharski, associate professor in epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Adam answers questions on the biology of the disease, what the true fatality rates are, and when the outbreak might finally fizzle out. Also on the agenda is the impact the outbreak is having on the economy, and the importance of washing your hands. To find out more about the stories mentioned in this episode, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
06/03/20·33m 12s

#5: Pandemic preparations, mind-reading – and a trillion trees

As the covid-19 coronavirus spreads around the globe, we’ve been warned to prepare for a pandemic. On the panel this week are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Jacob Aron and Clare Wilson. The team answers questions from you about the coronavirus outbreak, shares news of a technique being used to read the minds of people with brain injuries who aren’t otherwise able to communicate, and discusses the pros and cons of an initiative to plant a trillion trees to combat climate change. To find out more about the stories mentioned in this episode, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
28/02/20·27m 0s

#4: Lab-grown meat, Neanderthal burials, and space tourism

Would you eat lab-grown meat? The guilt-free, environmentally friendly animal alternative will be hitting our shelves this year. On the panel for this week’s episode are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Donna Lu and Graham Lawton. The team explains how a company in Singapore called Shiok Meats is due to launch a range of lab-cultured shrimp meat, explores the possibility that Neanderthals may have buried their dead*, and discusses how SpaceX is launching the new age of space tourism. To find out more about the stories mentioned in this episode, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts*Correction: In the episode we state the Neanderthal remains were buried 50,000 years ago, but it&aposs more likely to have been between 60,000 and 70,000 years ago. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
21/02/20·28m 32s

#3: Coronavirus latest, a woman with half a brain, and love drugs

Just when we thought we were seeing a decline in the number of Wuhan coronavirus cases, there has been a sharp uptick in reported deaths. On the panel for this week’s episode are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Donna Lu, Jess Hamzelou and Lilian Anekwe. The team brings you the latest news on the spread of the disease, now known as covid-19, explore the story of a woman with above average language skills despite being born with only half of her brain, and – just in time for Valentine’s day – discuss whether it’s possible to cure a broken heart with drugs. To find out more about the stories mentioned in this episode, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
14/02/20·26m 58s

#2: Weird quantum experiment, origin of the alphabet, and coronavirus developments

Being in two different places at once — it&aposs one of the deeply weird things that happens in the quantum realm. On the panel for this week’s episode are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Donna Lu and Jacob Aron. The team begins by discussing a super-cool experiment that hopes to demonstrate quantum physics by placing a solid object in two places at once. They also explore revelations about the ancient origins of the alphabet, and examine a report from Wuhan City on the coronavirus outbreak and the realities of what life in China is like right now. To find out more about the stories mentioned in this episode, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
07/02/20·22m 30s

#1: Wuhan coronavirus, nuclear fusion, and the Solar Orbiter spacecraft

It’s a rapidly spreading outbreak with the potential to become a full blown pandemic – but just how concerned should we be about the global impact of Wuhan coronavirus? On the panel for the inaugural episode of the podcast are New Scientist journalists Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Adam Vaughan and Jacob Aron. As well as answering your questions on the continuing spread of the coronavirus, the team explore the news that scientists are nearly ready to recreate nuclear fusion, the process that powers the Sun. They also explain why the Solar Orbiter spacecraft is visiting its poles, and what data it hopes to collect. To find out more about the stories mentioned in this episode, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
31/01/20·25m 37s
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