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‘Stirling’ power should propel spacecraft, experts say

23:15 01 February 2012

NASA uses plutonium to power its probes, but Cold War supplies are dwindling – a new twist on a 19th century technology could save the day

First land plants plunged Earth into ice age

19:00 01 February 2012 | 1 comment

When the first simple mosses colonised the land, they unleashed vast ice sheets and triggered a mass extinction

I think we should let elephants loose in Australia

18:00 01 February 2012 | 3 comments

Australia has a long history of ecological disaster from alien species – so why is ecologist David Bowman proposing adding yet another?

Today on New Scientist: 1 February 2012

18:00 01 February 2012

All today’s stories on newscientist.com, including: animals get arty, the yuck factor explained and Earth in for bumpy ride as solar storms hit

Parking sensors to take pain out of finding a space

NEWS: 18:00 01 February 2012

A “parking patch” could bring together wireless sensors and mobile apps to steer drivers towards vacant spots, and lead traffic wardens to parking offenders

Earth in for bumpy ride as solar storms hit

THIS WEEK: 18:00 01 February 2012

Technology makes our planet more vulnerable to solar outbursts than ever before. What are the risks to Earthlings as the sun gears up for peak activity?

Volcanoes may give a 100-year warning

IN BRIEF: 18:00 01 February 2012

Enormous volcanic eruptions build up for a century before finally going off, potentially giving societies decades to prepare

Groundhogs! Forget weather, a science career awaits

17:56 01 February 2012

February 2 is Groundhog Day in the US and Canada, but these beasts are not just unreliable weather forecasters

Big trees in trouble: How the mighty are falling

FEATURE: 17:38 01 February 2012 | 1 comment

From the kings of the jungle to the boreal giants, the world’s greatest trees are at risk from climate change, deforestation and invasive species

Earphones that know when they’re in the wrong ear

16:34 01 February 2012

The prototype earphones detect which ear they are in and switch to the correct audio channel. They can also tell when you listen with a friend

Baby pulsars spawn universe’s most energetic particles

16:09 01 February 2012

Ultra-high-energy cosmic rays occasionally slam into Earth, but their source had been a mystery

Weak will comes from tired mental muscles

THE BIG IDEA: 15:21 01 February 2012 | 4 comments

Self-controlled people have better lives – but for the rest, lack of willpower is more like physical fatigue than moral failure, says Roy F. Baumeister

Scientists suing the FDA after covert surveillance

15:06 01 February 2012

US Food and Drug Administration alleged to have spied on scientists and doctors after they reported problems with approval of medical devices

Animals get arty

14:01 01 February 2012

Paintings by apes and elephants make for an unusual exhibition. But can the works truly be considered art?

$785 million to fight neglected tropical diseases

UPFRONT: 13:00 01 February 2012

A collaboration of governments, big pharma and charities has pledged to provide 14 billion treatments for 10 neglected tropical diseases

Drone could soar through Titan’s skies for years

12:48 01 February 2012

Titan’s low gravity and dense atmosphere mean that a new radioactive-powered plane could soar across its skies for a whole year

Ivory traders may be benefitting from Arab Spring

12:12 01 February 2012

Egypt’s illegal trade in ivory is not dropping as fast as it should – political upheaval and Chinese tourism look like key factors

The yuck factor explained

11:51 01 February 2012

Psychologist Rachel Herz explores the spectrum from self-preservation to morality in That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the mysteries of repulsion

Orchid children: How bad-news genes came good

FEATURE: 11:11 01 February 2012 | 2 comments

The set of genes that help create our most grievous frailties may also underlie our greatest strengths – and sometimes the choice is settled in childhood

Wages up, jobs down – the latest graduate rollercoaster

11:00 01 February 2012

Soon-to-be-graduate Rebecca Campbell gives her take on the latest results from those taking the temperature of the graduate job market

Hayabusa’s asteroid-sampling mission, take two

23:11 31 January 2012

Japan’s Hayabusa 2 probe will use brute force to collect samples from an asteroid in an attempt to avoid the pitfalls of its problem-plagued predecessor

Telepathy machine reconstructs speech from brainwaves

THIS WEEK: 22:00 31 January 2012 | 4 comments

In what amounts to technological telepathy, neuroscientists are on the verge of being able to hear silent speech by monitoring brain activity

Whale acrobatics inspire a faster helicopter

20:28 31 January 2012

Inspired by the fins of humpback whales, engineers have built a helicopter with far higher performance than before

Today on New Scientist: 31 January 2012

18:00 31 January 2012

All today’s stories on newscientist.com, including: why you think your team is the best and self-portraits of a declining brain

Fossil DNA has clues to surviving rapid climate change

THIS WEEK: 17:31 31 January 2012

In the last ice age, organisms adapted fast or died. The stunning find of epigenetic changes to DNA frozen in permafrost may help explain their trick

Herd of ivory elephants reveals illicit trade in Egypt

17:27 31 January 2012

Ranks of ivory elephants in a Cairo shop show how the illegal tusk trade remains strong despite a 20-year ban

Lazy photon among the missing in exotic LHC roll call

17:12 31 January 2012

String balls, leptoquarks and lazy photons have yet to put in an appearance at the LHC, the world’s largest particle smasher

Look ma, no wings: Secret of great tit flight revealed

14:34 31 January 2012

Watch a slow-mo movie that shows a bird folding its wings to take a turn

Self-portraits of a declining brain

14:15 31 January 2012

An exhibition of artist William Utermohlen’s works reveal how his art was influenced by his Alzheimer’s disease

Software could spot face-changing criminals

01:36 18 January 2012

A facial recognition technique that focuses on features rather than a person’s whole face could nab criminals who have had plastic surgery

PRIMATES

Vegetarian orang-utans eat world’s cutest animal

Image: Madeleine Hardus)” o:button=”t” o:spid=”_x0000_i1025″> ” src=”file:///C:\Users\TOPGUN!\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip11\clip_image015.jpg”>

05:52 17 January 2012

When fruit gets scarce for Sumatran orang-utans, some adopt an unusual coping strategy: they hunt slow lorises

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