Welcome to your weekly science update – a curated list of this week’s most interesting stories in science.
Is Science Broken? Many have been asking since a high profile retraction case earlier this year. But bloggers at Fivethirtyeight say science is not broken – it’s just hard and can’t meet the expectations of our culture of endless online content and instant gratification.
The science of interrogation. Want a terrorist to tell the truth? A growing body of evidence shows that abusive and coercive tactics don’t work. Getting people to give up their secrets rather requires methods borrowed from psychotherapy.
The holy grail of superconductors. Hydrogen sulfide — the compound responsible for the smell of rotten eggs — can conduct electricity with zero resistance at a record high temperature of 203 kelvin (–70 °C). That’s still pretty cold, but it is a ground-breaking step toward identifying a material that can “superconduct” at room temperature.
Unnaturally destructive. That’s us. A new study confirms that humans are unique in our destructive predation of other species.
Gut bacteria and eating disorders. Scientists have long studied the links between the trillions of bacteria that live in our digestive system and disorders like inflammatory bowel syndrome. Now some are testing whether there is a link between our gut microbiome and disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
35 Under 35. The MIT Technology Review has published its annual list of 35 innovators under the age of 35. From biofuels to Alzheimer’s treatments, the list captures exciting rising stars in academia and industry.
Air pollution as a resource. Scientists have found a way to make nanofibres out of CO2 that has been extracted from the atmosphere. These nanofibers can then be used as a valuable manufacturing material for electronics. This is essentially pulling materials out of thin air. But it’s unlikely to have any effect on fighting climate change.
Autism and Neurodiversity. Science writer Steve Silberman’s sweeping history of how autism was discovered tells the story of how chance and circumstance led autism to be viewed as a rare form of childhood psychosis rather than the more accurate understanding of autism as just a different way of thinking and seeing the world.
General relativity at 100. To celebrate the centenary of Einstein’s theory, Scientific America devotes a special issue to this game-changer.
The internet of things. The McKinsey Global Institute has published a collection of short Q&A sessions with experts on what the Internet of Things means for business and society.
Author: David Gleicher is Senior Programme Manager, Science and Technology, at the World Economic Forum.
Image: Labourers work at a construction site near a smoking chimney in a suburb of Shanghai REUTERS/Aly Song