CultureLab: Meredith Broussard on trusting artificial intelligence
New Scientist Weekly
by New Scientist
23h ago
How much faith should we be putting in artificial intelligence? As large language models and generative AI have become increasingly powerful in recent years, their makers are pushing the narrative that AI is a solution to many of the world’s problems. But Meredith Broussard says we’re not there yet, if we even get there at all. Broussard is the author of More than a Glitch: Confronting Race, Gender, and Ability Bias in Tech. She coined the term “technochauvinism,” which speaks to a pro-technology bias humans often have, where we believe technological solutions are superior to anything else.&nb ..read more
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Weekly: Carbon storage targets ‘wildly unrealistic’; world’s biggest brain-inspired computer; do birds dream?
New Scientist Weekly
by New Scientist
6d ago
#246 Our best climate models for helping limit global warming to 1.5oC may have wildly overestimated our chances. To reach this goal, models are relying heavily on geological carbon storage, a technology that removes carbon from the atmosphere and places it underground. But it may not be nearly as effective as models have suggested, making the task of decarbonising much more difficult. Do we need to rethink our approach? Intel has announced it has constructed the world’s biggest computer modelled on the human brain and nervous system. This neuromorphic computer, called Hala Point, may only be ..read more
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Dead Planets Society: How to Destroy A Black Hole
New Scientist Weekly
by New Scientist
1w ago
How do you destroy a black hole? Turns out they're pretty tough cookies. Kicking off a brand new series of Dead Planets Society, Chelsea Whyte and Leah Crane take on the universe's most powerful adversaries. With the help of their cosmic toolbelt and black hole astronomer Allison Kirkpatrick at the University of Kansas, they test all the destructive ideas they can think of. Whether it’s throwing masses of TNT at it, blasting it with a t-shirt gun full of white holes, loading it up with a multiverse worth of matter, or sending it back in time – they try everything to kill a black hole. Will the ..read more
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Weekly: The multiverse just got bigger; saving the white rhino; musical mushrooms
New Scientist Weekly
by New Scientist
1w ago
#245 The multiverse may be bigger than we thought. The idea that we exist in just one of a massive collection of alternate universes has really captured the public imagination in the last decade. But now Hugh Everett’s 60-year-old “many worlds interpretation”, based on quantum mechanics, has been upgraded. The northern white rhino is on the brink of extinction but we may be able to save it. Scientists plan to use frozen genes from 12 now dead rhinos to rebuild the entire subspecies. But how do you turn skin cells into actual rhinos and will it work? A single-celled alga has done something thou ..read more
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CultureLab: Jen Gunter on the taboo science of menstruation
New Scientist Weekly
by New Scientist
2w ago
Half of the human population undergoes the menstrual cycle for a significant proportion of their lifetimes, yet periods remain a taboo topic in public and private life. And that makes it harder both to prioritise necessary scientific research into conditions like endometriosis and for people to understand the basics of how their bodies work. Blood: The Science, Medicine, and Mythology of Menstruation is gynaecologist Jen Gunter’s latest book. In this practical guide, she dispels social, historical and medical myths about menstruation and offers answers to your biggest period-related questions ..read more
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Escape Pod: #8 Escape from predators and escape from the planet
New Scientist Weekly
by New Scientist
2w ago
This is a re-airing of a podcast originally released in March 2021. From beetle explosions to the deep dark depths of the ocean, this episode is all about escape. The team discusses the amazing (and sometimes disgusting) way bombardier beetles escape predators. They explain what it takes for an object to reach escape velocity, celebrating the mathematical mind of Katherine Johnson while they’re at it. And they explore the daunting realms of free-diving, and the lengths people will go to for a bit of peace and quiet. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Anna Demming and Timothy Revell. Find out more at ..read more
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CultureLab: Stranded on a fantastical planet: The strange creatures of Scavengers Reign
New Scientist Weekly
by New Scientist
1M ago
Fish you wear like a gas mask, moss that turns a robot sentient and critters that will eat your rash – all these oddities and more cohabit on the planet Vesta, the setting for the animated miniseries Scavengers Reign, where a group of human space travellers must innovate with what they find in the landscape to survive. While all this sounds fantastical, there are many parallels with Earth’s ecosystem and the way we regularly borrow technology from the natural world.  New Scientist physics reporter Karmela Padavic-Callaghan often writes about biomimicry and bio-inspired devices and has bee ..read more
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Weekly: How declining birth rates could shake up society; Humanoid robots; Top prize in mathematics
New Scientist Weekly
by New Scientist
1M ago
#242 Human population growth is coming to an end. The global population is expected to peak between 2060 and 2080, then start falling. Many countries will have much lower birth rates than would be needed to support ageing populations. These demographic projections have major implications for the way our societies function, including immigration and transportation, and what kinds of policies and systems we need.  Remember Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons? Humanoid robots capable of many different tasks may be one step closer after two big announcements from chip-making giant NVIDIA. The co ..read more
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#7 Speed: From the quickest animal in the world to the fastest supercomputer
New Scientist Weekly
by New Scientist
1M ago
This is a re-airing of a podcast originally released in February 2021. From the quickest animal in the world to the fastest supercomputer, this episode is all about speed. Opening with the cries of the peregrine falcon, the team finds out how the bird has evolved to endure flying at more than 200mph. Then they explain how scientists, starting from Galileo, attempted to measure the speed limit of the universe, the speed of light, and how Einstein understood what it meant. And they explore the mind-blowing capabilities of Fugaku, the fastest supercomputer in the world. On the pod are Rowan Hoope ..read more
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Weekly: Gaza’s impending long-term health crisis
New Scientist Weekly
by New Scientist
1M ago
#241 More than 2 million Palestinians in Gaza face widespread hunger, disease and injury as the war quickly becomes the worst humanitarian crisis in modern memory. Even once the war ends, the devastating physical and emotional health consequences will be felt for many years to come, especially by children. And aid groups like UNICEF and the World Health Organization have no long-term plans to meet the post-war health needs of the population. Gravity on Mars may occasionally be strong enough to stir up the oceans on Earth, even from 225 million kilometres away. A team led by researchers at the ..read more
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