insight
New Images from Mars Show NASA’s InSight Landed on an Absolutely Glorious Spot

It’s been a couple of weeks since InSight made its picture-perfect landing on Mars. Vivid new photos taken from the landing site are finally giving mission controllers a sense of the landscape around the stationary probe—and the early signs are very positive. Read More >>

artificial intelligence
How We Can Prepare Now for Catastrophically Dangerous AI—and Why We Can’t Wait

Artificial intelligence in its current form is mostly harmless, but that’s not going to last. Machines are getting smarter and more capable by the minute, leading to concerns that AI will eventually match, and then exceed, human levels of intelligence —a prospect known as artificial superintelligence (ASI). Read More >>

Palaeontology
Dolphins Had a Jurassic-Era Reptile Twin Featuring Blubber and Warm Blood

Ichthyosaurs and dolphins are the archetypal examples of convergent evolution in action, in which two completely unrelated species acquire near identical characteristics. The discovery of a new ichthyosaur fossil suggests this Jurassic-era creature was even more dolphin-like than we appreciated, featuring warm-blood, blubber, and even similar camouflage. Read More >>

history
Medieval Skeleton Wearing Leather Thigh-High Boots Found in River Thames

Archaeologists in London have uncovered a dramatic 500-year-old male skeleton lying face-down in the mud of the River Thames. Extraordinarily, the skeleton is still wearing his thigh-high leather boots. Read More >>

science
Cyborg Houseplant Can Drive Itself Toward the Light It Craves

During the impending robopocalypse, humanity will have to ward off freakishly agile androids, robotic dogs, whatever the hell this is, and, as new research from MIT suggests, quasi-autonomous, mobile robot-plant hybrids. Read More >>

science
Chinese Scientist Responsible for Gene-Edited Babies Has Reportedly Gone Missing

The current whereabouts of He Jiankui—the scientist who claims to have engineered the world’s first genetically modified human babies—is unknown. Rumours are now circulating that he’s been detained by the Chinese government. Read More >>

uncategorized
SpaceX Broke Four Records During Yesterday’s Falcon 9 Rocket Launch

Yesterday's successful launch of a Falcon 9 rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California has resulted in four new records for SpaceX – a sure sign that the Elon Musk-led company, and the commercial space industry in general, is rapidly maturing. Read More >>

biology
Toothless, 33-Million-Year-Old Whale Could Be an Evolutionary ‘Missing Link’

A closer examination of a fossil found more than four decades ago has led to the identification of a new species of whale — a 33-million-year-old cetacean featuring neither teeth nor baleen. Its discovery could solve a longstanding mystery about the origin of filter-feeding whales, but some scientists say the new analysis isn’t wholly convincing. Read More >>

artificial intelligence
In Video Debut, CIMON the ISS Robot Throws an Unexpected Tantrum

In terms of glitchy behaviour, we’re not quite at HAL 9000 levels just quite yet — but during the debut demonstration of the International Space Station’s new AI-powered robot, CIMON, the free-floating device displayed some rather questionable behaviour. Read More >>

science
Curiosity Rover Just Spotted This Super-Shiny Object on Mars

An unusually smooth and reflective Martian rock has caught the attention of NASA scientists, prompting an investigation by the Curiosity rover. Read More >>

science
The Human Origin Story Has Changed Again, Thanks to New Discovery in Algeria

The discovery of 2.4-million-year-old stone tools and butchered bones at a site in Algeria suggests our distant hominin relatives spread into the northern regions of Africa far earlier than archaeologists assumed. The find adds credence to the newly emerging suggestion that ancient hominins lived – and evolved – outside a supposed Garden of Eden in East Africa. Read More >>

science
Chinese Government Says It Has Shut Down Controversial Human Gene-Editing Project

A project claiming to have produced the world’s first gene-edited babies has been stopped by the Chinese government, which is declaring the work of scientist He Jiankui as being both unlawful and unethical, according to the Associated Press. Read More >>

science
Rogue Scientist Defends Gene-Edited Babies – And Reveals a Second Pregnancy

Speaking at a genetics conference in Hong Kong earlier this week, embattled Chinese scientist He Jiankui said he was “proud” to have created the world’s first genetically edited babies, despite receiving near-universal condemnation from his peers. Speaking publicly today for the first time, the scientist offered new details about his unauthorised, clandestine project – including news of another woman who is pregnant with an edited embryo. Read More >>

science
Infected ‘Zombie Spiders’ Forced to Build Incubation Chambers for Their Parasitic Overlords

Parasites that control the behaviour of their hosts for their own benefit are a well-documented natural phenomenon, but the discovery of a previously unknown relationship between a parasitic wasp and a social spider is particularly upsetting. Read More >>

archaeology
Elaborate Burials Uncovered at Fifth-Century Anglo-Saxon Cemetery

Archaeologists working in eastern England have discovered a previously unknown Anglo-Saxon cemetery dating back some 1,600 years. At least 20 graves have been uncovered, including many lavish burials belonging to women. Read More >>