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A new age of sail begins

In 1926 an unusual vessel arrived in New York after crossing the Atlantic. This was a converted sailing ship renamed Baden-Baden. Its two masts had been torn down and a pair of 15-metre-high revolving cylinders were mounted on its deck instead.

21/05/2024

Today’s AI models are impressive. Teams of them will be formidable

Ask ChatGPT to recommend the must-do activities on a holiday to Berlin, and OpenAI’s chatbot will do a great job of proposing restaurants, bars, museums and parks that it reckons you might like.

13/05/2024

New crop-spraying technologies are more efficient than ever

The world is awash in pesticides. Fully 3m tonnes are thought to be sprayed onto crops worldwide every year, of which only a small fraction are needed.

08/05/2024

A variety of new batteries are coming to power EVs

The tall grey buildings covering an industrial complex at Nysa, in south-west Poland, look like a modern car factory has been teleported into the surrounding farmland. The plant, though, does not make cars, but it is a new and vital part of the…

28/02/2024

Carbon-dioxide-removal options are multiplying

In what used to be a fish-processing plant in Akranes, a small port in Iceland, fragments of seaweed rise and fall in glass columns lit by leds. Running Tide, the Maine-based company which runs the facility, is trying to work out how best to get…

20/11/2023

Scientists have published an atlas of the brain

Lord Rutherford, the discoverer of the atomic nucleus, divided science into physics and stamp collecting. (He was, after all, a physicist.) But he had a point.

12/10/2023

A new TB vaccine could save 8.5m lives over the next quarter of a century

Tuberculosis (TB), which kills one person every 20 seconds, is a forgotten pandemic. About a quarter of the world’s population has been infected with the bacterium . Most will never know, as they are asymptomatic. But these latent infections go on…

28/06/2023

Sweden wants to build an entire city from wood

There is a global race to build the tallest wooden skyscraper. The record was held by Mjostarnet, an 85-metre tower on the shore of Lake Mjosa in Norway, which hosts flats, a hotel and a swimming pool—until Ascent, an 87-metre structure, was…

21/06/2023

A Finnish firm thinks it can cut industrial carbon emissions by a third

Just three industries—chemicals, steel and cement—account for around a fifth of all man-made carbon-dioxide emissions (see chart). Not only are those industries big polluters, they are also hard to clean up.

07/06/2023

There is more than one way to make green steel

Steelmakers around the world hope to decarbonise by changing the way they pluck oxygen from iron-oxide ores. This is done using either carbon monoxide (CO) derived indirectly from coke in a blast furnace, or by “direct reduction” with syngas, a…

31/05/2023

Old tyres can become a climate-friendly fuel

Getting rid of old tyres has long been a problem. Every year more than a billion reach the end of the road. Until recently, most were thrown into landfills or piled up in storage yards, which occasionally caught fire. Tougher environmental laws mean…

24/05/2023

Western firms are becoming interested in a Soviet medicine

It was on the golf course that Barry Rud first noticed something was seriously wrong. A trim 60-year-old who played hockey as a young man, he found himself unable to take more than a few steps without gasping for breath.

03/05/2023

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