Technology

The battle to break plastic’s bonds

Image copyright Getty ImagesImage caption The new process turns polyethylene into motor oil When Kenneth Poeppelmeier opened the reactor vessel in his lab and saw liquid, he said it was a real “eureka moment”. “All of us were so excited,” he told BBC News. Prof Poeppelmeier and his colleagues at Northwestern University in Illinois, US, […]

Technology

Google claims ‘quantum supremacy’ for computer

Image copyright Google Google says an advanced computer has achieved “quantum supremacy” for the first time, surpassing the performance of conventional devices. The technology giant’s Sycamore quantum processor was able to perform a specific task in 200 seconds that would take the world’s best supercomputers 10,000 years to complete. Scientists have been working on quantum […]

Technology

Climate: 100% organic farming would boost emissions

Image copyright Getty ImagesImage caption Cows on an organic farm in the UK A new study suggests that a switch to 100% organic food production in England and Wales would see an overall increase in greenhouse gas emissions. While going fully organic would produce fewer direct emissions than conventional farming, researchers say it would limit […]

Technology

Bezos floats ‘national team’ to build Moon lander

Image copyright Getty ImagesImage caption Bezos made the announcement at the International Astronautical Congress in Washington Jeff Bezos has announced the formation of a “national team” that will aim to build the lander that will take astronauts back to the Moon in 2024. Bezos’ space company Blue Origin has teamed up with aerospace giants Lockheed […]

Technology

How liquid air could help keep the lights on

Image copyright HighviewImage caption An artist’s impression of Highview’s planned energy storage facility It sounds like magic but it is real – a plan to store cheap night-time wind energy in the form of liquid air. Here is how: you use the off-peak electricity to compress and cool air in a tank, so it becomes […]

Technology

How space affects women and men differently

Image caption Dr Varsha Jain stands in front of an Orion crew module at Nasa’s Johnson Space Center Some 564 people have been into space – 65 of them women. That’s despite the fact that the first woman in space, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, went into orbit as early as 1963. It took Nasa 20 […]

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Neanderthal ‘glue’ points to complex thinking

Image copyright Rijksmuseum van OudhedenImage caption The birch-tar handled tool made by Neanderthals 50,000 years ago Traces of ancient “glue” on a stone tool from 50,000 years ago points to complex thinking by Neanderthals, experts say. The glue was made from birch tar in a process that required forward planning and involved several different steps. […]

Technology

Are electric cars as ‘green’ as you think?

It’s predicted that by 2030, over 125 million electric vehicles will be owned by people worldwide. But where’s the lithium that powers their batteries coming from? Most of the world’s stocks of this lightest of metals are found in brine deep beneath salt flats, high in the Andes. In Argentina, in Jujuy – the province […]