New Scientist

Uber self-driving car ‘saw woman but didn’t brake before crash’

An autonomous Uber car spotted Elaine Herzberg about six seconds before fatally hitting her but did not stop because the emergency brakes were disabled, US federal investigators said today

Bulletproof batteries could make body armour for combat

The US Air Force is developing bulletproof batteries to replace traditional armour. They are loaded with silica nanoparticles that become rigid upon impact

Chimp evolution was shaped by sex with their bonobo relatives

Some chimpanzee populations gained useful DNA from interbreeding with bonobos, and one may even have become more gentle and “bonobo-like” in its brain structure and behaviour

Mystery ozone-destroying gases linked to badly recycled fridges

Last week we learned a chemical that harms the ozone layer is being emitted in Asia – and now it seems sloppy recycling might be partly to blame

How a change in tactics could help autism research

For some, symptoms of autism can hamper their daily lives, but drugs to mitigate these have floundered during trials. Shafali Jeste has an idea of why

Brain implant for OCD surprisingly helps alleviate diabetes too

A person who has a brain implant for OCD has had an unexpected side-effect: better blood sugar control. The finding reveals the brain has a role in diabetes

We may have got the evolution of our big brains entirely wrong

Many scientists think that our big brains evolved to help us cope with the complexities of social living, but a model suggests it was more to do with finding food and lighting fires

Seafood-lovers have more sex and take less time to get pregnant

Couples who eat seafood more than twice a week have more sex and get pregnant quicker, a study of 1000 people has found, although the reason why remains unclear

Clouds of plasma let us zoom in on weird flashes from space

Space plasma magnifies the light from a distant pulsar, letting us zoom in on features so small it’s like measuring the width of a hair on the surface of Mars

Men more likely to get diabetes if they have overweight wives

In heterosexual relationships, only men are more likely to get diabetes when their partner has a high BMI – perhaps because of gender roles in the home

World’s most-spoken languages may have arisen in ancient Iran

About 3 billion people speak Indo-European languages like English and Hindustani, and it seems the first such tongue was spoken south of the Caucasus mountains

Watch a badminton robot practice its game-winning trick shots

A badminton robot could be the perfect sparring partner for pros. It has superhuman wrist speeds and has even mastered the tricky spin net shot

Those GDPR emails should stop soon, but our data nightmare won’t

Your inbox is full of pleading emails because the EU’s new data rules come into force this week – but they might not actually do anything to improve your life

Minimally conscious people woken with brain zap by their family

Some people, who have been minimally conscious for years, could respond to questions from their loved ones for the first time after treatment with electricity

Changes in your sperm reveal if you’ve had a difficult life

Men carry chemical clues to childhood traumas in their sperm, and these might be passed down to their sons – but we don’t know what effects these have yet

Quantum stopwatch could be the best in the universe

Storing time from a quantum stopwatch with qubits – instead of losing accuracy by stopping and starting it – could give us the ultimate precision in timekeeping

‘Impossible’ EM drive doesn’t seem to work after all

A rocket engine propelled by electromagnetic waves grabbed headlines, but new tests find the EM drive may actually be driven by Earth’s magnetic field

Why the UK’s plan to tackle air pollution is mostly hot air

A ban on using polluting wet wood isn’t nearly enough to halt the rise in dangerous particulates from trendy wood burners

Let’s all heed the health benefits of a month without alcohol

Drinkers in particular need to be more aware of mounting evidence of links between alcohol and cancer, and make judgements accordingly

How your name shapes what other people think of your personality

Is Hannah nicer than Howard, but worse at her job? People link names with personalities – find out how yours compares and why everybody should be called David