Economist/Science & Technology

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Talking selfies with a liquid lens

PhotographyTalking selfies with a liquid lensA smartphone with a fluid lensScience & technologySERIOUS PHOTOGRAPHERS are usually laden with serious amounts of serious kit, especially multiple lenses. The paparazzi use zoom lenses to sneak closer to their subjects. Mid-range lenses suit street-scenes and portraits. Wide-angle lenses are better at...

Why people forget that less is often more

Simplify, simplifyWhy people forget that less is often moreWhen solving problems, people prefer adding things to getting rid of themScience & technologyCOLIN CHAPMAN, the founder of Lotus Cars, was one of motor racing’s most influential engineers. His philosophy was “simplify, then add lightness”. A stripped-down, featherweight car might be slower...

5G phone networks could provide power as well as communications

Energy harvesting5G phone networks could provide power as well as communicationsThat would help roll out the Internet of ThingsScience & technologyTHE IDEA behind the Internet of Things (IoT) is that the world would be a better place if all sorts of objects that are not currently computerised were to become so. Microchipped bridges could report...

How spooks are turning to superforecasting in the Cosmic Bazaar

Predicting an uncertain worldHow spooks are turning to superforecasting in the Cosmic BazaarThe gamification of intelligence may provide answers to pressing global questionsScience & technologyEVERY MORNING for the past year, a group of British civil servants, diplomats, police officers and spies have woken up, logged onto a slick website and offered...

Budesonide, a cheap asthma drug, can alleviate covid-19 at home

Home helpBudesonide, a cheap asthma drug, can alleviate covid-19 at homeA clinical trial finds it speeds up recovery by three daysScience & technologyAS VACCINATION against covid-19 gathers speed, the end of the covid-19 pandemic is starting to hover on the horizon. But not everyone will take the vaccine and none of the jabs is 100% effective at...

If you can have microwave ovens, why not microwave boilers?

Domestic heatingIf you can have microwave ovens, why not microwave boilers?A small British firm plans to tryScience & technologyDECARBONISING AN ECONOMY is a big job. Coal- and gas-fired power plants must be swapped for wind, solar or nuclear ones. Petrol-driven cars must be replaced by electric versions. Less attention is paid to heating. But in...

With millions vaccinated, rare side-effects of jabs are emerging

Covid-19 vaccinesWith millions vaccinated, rare side-effects of jabs are emergingSorting signal from noiseScience & technologyCHRIS WHITTY, England’s chief medical officer, vividly recalls a nerve-racking moment on December 8th 2020. That was the day when England became the first country to roll out a covid-19 vaccine, a jab developed by Pfizer...

How medicine discriminates against non-white people and women

Race and sex bias in medicineHow medicine discriminates against non-white people and womenThe truth hurtsScience & technologyAT THE PEAK of the coronavirus epidemic in America, hospitals needed to triage patients. Only the sickest were admitted. Others were sent home to self-monitor. One measure used to determine the severity of an individual’s...

A second possible break in the laws of physics has been noted

Particle physicsA second possible break in the laws of physics has been notedThis time it involves misbehaving muonsScience & technology“WHO ORDERED that?” This was the reaction, famous in particle-physics circles, of Isidor Isaac Rabi to the discovery of the muon. Rabi, a Nobel laureate who helped America develop the atom bomb, was reflecting physicists’...

Those who worry about CO2 should worry about methane, too

Global warmingThose who worry about CO2 should worry about methane, tooIt’s the other greenhouse gasScience & technologyApr 3rd 2021 editionPOLITICS, OTTO VON BISMARCK is supposed to have said, is the art of the possible. And one of the most depressing features of discussions about global warming is their tendency to take place in a fantasy land...

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