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News Editor — New Scientist
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News editor, @NewScientist. Former Tokyoite & entomologist. Columnist for @japantimes.

Avast! It's a gas-filled blob with a sting in the tail

newscientist.com — APART from its wondrously alien look, the coolest thing about the Portuguese man-of-war is that it is not an individual animal at all. Nor is it a jellyfish. It is a siphonophore - an entity formed of a colony of tiny animals called zooids.

What kind of life could live in the clouds?

japantimes.co.jp — Do you remember seeing clouds from an airplane for the first time? Even if that first time was as an adult, you were probably struck by the appearance of solidity. Seen from above, a cloudscape looks like a landscape - it looks like a place where things might live.

Cycling is a drag act in virtual wind tunnel

newscientist.com — IF YOU'RE a keen cyclist, chances are your helmet and bike have been designed to reduce drag. If you're a professional racer, you - or your team - will want to know the aerodynamic impact of everything, from the frame to the quick-release nuts on the front wheel.

World's most endangered seal seen wrestling octopus

newscientist.com — In the Odyssey, Homer tells of huge herds of monk seals on the beaches of ancient Greece. But these days they are hardly ever seen - their total population is less than 500, making them the world's most endangered seal.

The common crane and its violin cry

newscientist.com — THIS common crane, preening itself at Lake Ganzen in Germany, has an extraordinary adaptation. Its windpipe, or trachea, is three or more times as long as would be expected for a bird of this size - even one with a long neck.

A perfect negative crystal floating in space

newscientist.com — MAGNESIUM aluminium oxide sure is a pretty mineral. It forms spinel, a gem coveted throughout history and whose red variant is sometimes confused with ruby. It was used in the Timur Ruby necklace made for Queen Victoria. And an egg-sized lump of the stuff, known as the Black Prince's Ruby, forms the centrepiece of the Imperial Crown.

Tumbling weeds: The rolling invasion of the US

newscientist.com — THIS is what an alien invasion looks like. Giant balls of tumbleweed are causing problems across the western US, where prolonged drought and high winds have led to a boom in their numbers. The most common tumbleweed, Kali tragus, isn't native to the US - it is an invader from Eurasia, and is also known as Russian thistle.

21st century nomads: Photos on the road less travelled

newscientist.com — THE world, we're often told, is getting smaller. You know that's true when, north of the Arctic Circle, you erect your traditional nomadic tent, or lavvu, under a lamp post and in front of a row of ski jumps (main image). This is Murmansk, in the far north-west of Russia.

The idyllic tropical island - now covered in concrete

newscientist.com — WHEN Charles Darwin visited Ascension Island in 1836, he wasn't very impressed. It was little more than a barren volcanic rock, and this rankled him because he felt everything in the British Empire should be productive. So he asked his botanist friend Joseph Dalton Hooker to help carpet the rock with plants.

Alien invasion threatening native species

japantimes.co.jp — An invasion has been going on under our noses. It is multipronged, ruthless and very difficult to repel. It has been called an "ecological apocalypse." If you look out your window you may be able to see evidence of it. That pigeon flying past? An invader. Likewise, the cat by the garbage.
More Articles →
Oct 21, 2014

Amazing bat photo - but horrendous hardship, and worse, followed ow.ly/D5ji9 pic.twitter.com/HRC3jAgGXc

Oct 21, 2014

The native Canadian language, Straits Salish, "appears not to have nouns or verbs". How does that work??

Oct 20, 2014

We just got a mystery call here at @newscientist: "Helen Thomson's TARDIS has arrived" @hvthomson cc @FQXi

Oct 20, 2014

...It's like the guy who was in a rock fall and had to chop his own hand off #agency

Oct 20, 2014

Line in story about someone finding deadly Brazilian wandering spider in his bananas: "the spider TORE ITS OWN LEG OFF to escape"

Oct 19, 2014

Oldest genitalia ever known: "they couldn't have done it in a missionary position" ow.ly/3sZMRT pic.twitter.com/wsnoWiRRI2

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