Rowan Hooper on Muck Rack

Rowan Hooper

News Editor — New Scientist

I'm managing editor @NewScientist. PhD in evolutionary biology. Former Tokyoite & entomologist. Columnist for @japantimes. すごい!

Did Japan fudge the truth about whaling? — If you've been following the tragic farce that is Japan's official stance on whaling, you'll know that the arguments made by the country's Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) to try and justify the hunting of whales have been soundly rejected.

The gene that may benefit sumo giants — Samoa, with its string of beautiful islands and coral atolls in the South Pacific, is attracting more than just tourists these days. Scientists are heading there, too. The nation holds the uneviable position of being No. 1 in the world for obesity.

Rethinking the age-old question of youth — Japan used to follow a wonderful practice to mark old age: Everyone who reached their 100th birthday received a silver sake cup called a sakazuki. It's certainly better than the tradition in Britain, where centenarians simply get a letter from the queen. The sakazuki gift was a nice idea when it was introduced in 1963.

Autism may not be confined to the brain — Thirteen-year-old Naoki Higashida describes his own personal feelings about having autism as follows: "I feel a deep envy of people who can know what their own minds are saying, and who have the power to act accordingly. My brain is always sending me off on little missions, whether or not I want to do them.

Change in the brain: Central nervous system cells finally get the recognition they deserve — As you read this, some 100 billion neurons are transmitting information through electrical and chemical signals via synapses in your brain. Given the central role these cells play in neurological functioning, it's perhaps not surprising they typically hog the limelight - after all, the signals they transmit lie at the heart of human behavior, from the simplest of movements to the most complex of thoughts.

Saluting Shakespeare's scientific legacy — On April 23, the literary world marks the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. It's a good excuse for a lot of fuss: Britain's Royal Mint has produced a new £2 coin, the postal service has prepared a set of commemorative stamps depicting portraits of the Bard and thousands of theaters worldwide are expected to celebrate the anniversary.

Do chimp rituals reveal roots of religion? — How did gods evolve? I can't promise to answer a question of such gravity this week, but I can perhaps raise some interesting ideas. Note that I'm not specifically referring to the Christian, Islamic or Judean deity - I'm speaking more broadly about the roots of our belief in a higher power.

Stem cells used to replace part of the human brain — Sometimes I imagine famous scientists and doctors from the past magically catching a glimpse of our modern world. Sure it's fun to picture their gawping faces, but the daydream also helps remind me that we take so much for granted these days.

Murakami is right about jazz and the brain — The above line is from the English translation of Haruki Murakami's 1985 novel, "Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World." It offers a theory on the way in which the brain perceives the world. Famous for his wildly successful experimental fiction, Murakami is also crazy about jazz.

Cherishing Okinawa's diverse marine life — Diving in Okinawa this summer, I came face to face with my favorite undersea creature: the octopus. I was diving at Maeda Point on the main island when my guide directed my attention to something that was right in front of me. I stared but could only see coral.
More Articles →
Sep 30, 2016

Why is ESA playing Gregorian chants over its live feed? Sounds like Lord of the Rings... (to continue the theme) 

Sep 30, 2016

This is #Rosetta's final destination: the Ma'at region, named after the Egyptian goddess of truth and justice

Sep 30, 2016

Not so much a crash landing as a conscious coupling - Rosetta is hitting comet 67p at walking pace

Sep 28, 2016

@4DC5 @2000AD I miss art droid Ian Gibson... And Cam Kennedy

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