News

NuSTAR captures dead star and distant black holes

Letter: Reform the benefit system, not the people who rely on it

You were right to say that Frank Field doesn't demonise the poor ("Birkenhead's magnetic field", Review, 20 July). By suggesting they should pay for errors in the benefit system designed to help them, he goes much further.

Whatever happened to... crop circles

The second coming?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELECTRON

Electricity was being exploited well before the force behind it was discovered. Nonetheless, says Martin Redfern, we all have good reason to be celebrating the centenary of the electron

T-rays could supersede X-rays

The T-ray could replace the X-ray, with images that are sharper and safer, according to research published today.

Hawking launches supercomputer

Hawking launches

Games: The effect of sunspot activity on British general election results

In 1979, the Journal of the British Astronomical Association published a paper entitled "Sunspots and general elections", by Prof Kenneth McKinnon and Dr Sven Wincke of the Astropsychic Research Group at the University of the North-East Atlantic (or Rockall Polytechnic, as it then was). We have tracked down the authors, who have been updating their original material.

Einstein'stheory of relativity may be only relative

Einstein's theory of relativity is a brilliant piece of work, which showed that it doesn't matter where you are in the universe, or what speed you're travelling, because all frames of reference are equally valid. The trouble is, it seems to be wrong.

Scientists magnetised by levitating frog

Take one extremely powerful magnet, and one slightly surprised but compliant frog, put one on top of the other, and what do you get? A levitating frog, according to British and Dutch scientists who carried out the experiment.

Obituary: Professor Lyman Spitzer

Lyman Spitzer, astrophysicist, plasma physicist, and visionary, had an enormous influence through his own publications, his interactions with students and colleagues, and perhaps most of all through his enthusiastic but hard-headed advocacy of government-sponsored space astronomy and thermonuclear research. The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990 and now feeding back its staggeringly detailed images, was essentially Spitzer's brainchild.

Fresh evidence for life on Mars

Evidence that Mars once fostered life, at least in microbial form, is supported by two papers published in the journal Science today. The findings are likely to spark intense debate in Houston, Texas, next week, when an international gathering of geochemists and biologists have set aside two days of a week-long conference programme solely to debate results from examination of samples from the meteorite ALH84001.

Death of a Pioneer

The tiny probe which boldly went where no man-made object had gone before is to be shut down in space.

Book review

Never again will a single story be told as if it were the only one." This line, from G by John Berger, was used by Michael Ondaatje as the epigraph for In the Skin of a Lion. It is also there like a watermark, touching every page of Anne Michaels's novel.

Something big

If you're already crash-dieting in preparation for the festive blow-out, then the latest big idea from America may help you get your body mass back in perspective. Jerome Burne reports on why fat is beautiful, healthy and has history on its side

Rising from the ashes?

The disastrous failure of the Ariane 5 and Russian Proton rockets dashed the hopes of many scientists. But they may be rescued by a daring plan, codenamed `Phoenix'. By Charles Arthur

THE CUTTING EDGE OUT

A fantastic voyage through the body is no longer a Hollywood dream. Roger Dobson examines the new technology which enables surgeons to practise skills without ever picking up a scalpel
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
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Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
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David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
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Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
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indybest10 best smartphones
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peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
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tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
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Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal