Data is not the new oil

How do you know when a pithy phrase or seductive idea has become fashionable in policy circles? When The Economist devotes a briefing to it. In a briefing and accompanying editorial earlier this summer, that distinguished newspaper (it’s a magazine, but still calls itself a newspaper, and I’m happy to indulge such eccentricity) argued that […]

From fluffy pillows to concrete: The uses of captured CO2

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are contributing to global warming, so could technologies removing some of the gas from the atmosphere help slow the process? When you tuck yourself into bed tonight – curling up on your memory foam mattress and fluffy pillows – consider this: you could be helping to reduce climate change. This is […]

Condom-detecting fingerprint test ‘set for court use

Fingerprint technology which can detect the brand of hair gel used by a suspect or whether they have handled a condom could soon be admissible in court. The technique uses a form of mass spectrometry to detect traces of various substances within a fingerprint. It can provide “diverse information” about a suspect, including any alcohol […]

North Korea ‘hackers steal US-South Korea war plans’

Hackers from North Korea are reported to have stolen a large cache of military documents from South Korea, including a plan to assassinate North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un. Rhee Cheol-hee, a South Korean lawmaker, said the information was from his country’s defence ministry. The compromised documents include wartime contingency plans drawn up by the US […]

Nokia kills off Ozo high-end virtual reality cameras

Nokia is winding down its high-end virtual reality camera division. The Ozo and its follow-up the Ozo+ had been marketed to professionals as being able to capture the “highest quality” 360-degree footage possible, and had been used by Disney among others. But despite a recent price cut, the Finnish firm indicated that sales had been […]

Can we make fashion greener?

We continue to buy new clothes at an incredible rate. How can manufacturers reduce fashion’s environmental footprint? According to the Valuing Our Clothes report analysing the contents of British wardrobes by the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP), we purchased 1,130,000 tonnes of new clothing last year in the UK. Meanwhile, an estimated £30bn worth of our clothing […]

British mission to giant A-68 berg approved

UK scientists will lead an international expedition to the huge new iceberg that recently calved in the Antarctic. A-68, which covers an area of almost 6,000 sq km, broke away in July. Researchers are keen to investigate the seafloor uncovered by the trillion-tonne block of ice. Previous such ventures have discovered new species. The British […]

New evidence on how birds took to the air

New fossil evidence has pushed back a key step in the evolution of bird flight by millions of years. Skeletal changes that helped birds take to the air happened 120 million years ago, during the hey day of dinosaurs, according to a specimen from China. Features such as fused bones were thought to be present […]

Mass extinctions ‘offer cautionary tale’

Mass extinctions have the potential to guide modern conservation efforts, say scientists. A study confirms the idea that upheavals of the geological past caused a drastic loss of biodiversity. ”Disaster faunas” dominated by a small number of widespread, newly-evolving species prevailed for millions of years. Researchers warn that a sixth mass extinction is underway, which […]