Five ways drones will change the way buildings are designed

elwynn/Shutterstock Drones are already shaping the face of our cities – used for building planning, heritage, construction and safety enhancement. But, as studies by the UK’s Department of Transport have found, swathes of the public have a limited understanding of how drones might be practically applied. It’s crucial that the ways drones are affecting our future are understood by the majority of people. As experts in design futures and mobility, we hope this short overview of five ways drones will affect building design offers some knowledge of how things are likely to change. Infographic showcasing other ways drones will influence…

Attachment theory: what people get wrong about pop psychology’s latest trend for explaining relationships

The way we bond with our primary caregiver as a child influences our interactions as an adult Liderina/Shutterstock Attachment theory is almost everywhere. In magazines and books, in the news, on social media and in our conversations with each other. Originally rooted in developmental psychology, the theory explains how we form and maintain close relationships in order to survive and thrive in the environment we are born into. It was quickly picked up not only by pop culture but also social psychology, psychotherapy, psychiatry as well as child welfare practice. But some of the most important features of attachment theory…

Cyborgs v ‘holdout humans’: what the world might be like if our species survives for a million years

Homo Sapiens may survive. JuliusKielaitis Most species are transitory. They go extinct, branch into new species or change over time due to random mutations and environmental shifts. A typical mammalian species can be expected to exist for a million years. Modern humans, Homo sapiens, have been around for roughly 300,000 years. So what will happen if we make it to a million years? Science fiction author H.G. Wells was the first to realise that humans could evolve into something very alien. In his 1883 essay, Man in the year million, he envisioned what’s now become a cliche: big-brained, tiny-bodied creatures.…

James Webb: telescope uncovers chemical secrets of distant world – paving the way for studying Earth-like planets

Artist impression of WASP b and its star NASA, ESA, CSA, and J. Olmsted (STScI) Since the first planet orbiting a star other than the Sun was discovered in 1995, we have realised that planets and planetary systems are more diverse than we ever imagined. Such distant worlds – exoplanets – give us the opportunity to study how planets behave in different situations. And learning about their atmospheres is a crucial piece of the puzzle. Nasa’s James Webb space telescope is the largest telescope in space. Launched on Christmas Day 2021, it is the perfect tool for investigating these worlds.…

What if the dinosaurs hadn’t gone extinct? Why our world might look very different

Ajnabia odysseus lived 66 million years ago, making it one of the last dinosaurs on Earth Raul Martin Sixty-six million years ago, an asteroid hit the Earth with the force of 10 billion atomic bombs and changed the course of evolution. The skies darkened and plants stopped photosynthesising. The plants died, then the animals that fed on them. The food chain collapsed. Over 90% of all species vanished. When the dust settled, all dinosaurs except a handful of birds had gone extinct. But this catastrophic event made human evolution possible. The surviving mammals flourished, including little proto-primates that would evolve…

Artemis: why it may be the last mission for Nasa astronauts

A camera mounted on the tip of one of the Orion capsule’s solar array wings captured this footage of the spacecraft and the Moon NASA Neil Armstrong took his historic “one small step” on the Moon in 1969. And just three years later, the last Apollo astronauts left our celestial neighbour. Since then, hundreds of astronauts have been launched into space but mainly to the Earth-orbiting International Space Station. None has, in fact, ventured more than a few hundred kilometres from Earth. The US-led Artemis programme, however, aims to return humans to the Moon this decade – with Artemis 1…

The real Paleo diet: new archaeological evidence changes what we thought about how ancient humans prepared food

Kit8.net/Shutterstock We humans can’t stop playing with our food. Just think of all the different ways of serving potatoes – entire books have been written about potato recipes alone. The restaurant industry was born from our love of flavouring food in new and interesting ways. My team’s analysis of the oldest charred food remains ever found show that jazzing up your dinner is a human habit dating back at least 70,000 years. Imagine ancient people sharing a meal. You would be forgiven for picturing people tearing into raw ingredients or maybe roasting meat over a fire as that is the…

Why we feel like Christmas comes around more quickly each year

How can it be December already. Luis Molinero/Shutterstock Think back to your childhood. December was the longest of months. It might have been filled with rehearsing school nativity performances, writing up your wishlist and savouring the morning’s advent calendar chocolate. But at times it felt like Santa would never arrive. As an adult it’s a different experience. One minute it’s summer holidays, barbecues and sunburn and then, in the blink of an eye, it’s mince pies, tinsel and turkey. Is it just me, or is Christmas coming around faster? If you cannot believe the festive season is upon us already,…

How to test if we’re living in a computer simulation

NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI Physicists have long struggled to explain why the universe started out with conditions suitable for life to evolve. Why do the physical laws and constants take the very specific values that allow stars, planets and ultimately life to develop? The expansive force of the universe, dark energy, for example, is much weaker than theory suggests it should be – allowing matter to clump together rather than being ripped apart. A common answer is that we live in an infinite multiverse of universes, so we shouldn’t be surprised that at least one universe has turned out as…

Mars: how we discovered two huge, unusual impact craters – and the secrets they unveil

InSight's dusty solar panel. NASA/JPL Most of the worlds of our Solar System are pockmarked with impact craters. These bear testament to the violence of the early days of the Sun, when asteroids, comets and entire planets routinely collided with and annihilated each other. Our own Moon was most likely formed by one of these collisions, and is itself home to the largest impact feature in the Solar System – the South Pole/Aitken Basin, some 2,500km across. Mars’ vast, flat northern deserts may too have formed during a gigantic collision some 4 billion years ago. Today’s Solar System is a…

Curious Kids: how many galaxies are there in the universe?

Sunti/Shutterstock How many galaxies are there beyond the Milky Way? – Rosella, aged 15, Hong Kong A galaxy is a massive collection of gas, dust and billions of stars all bound together by the force of gravity. Galaxies are also huge, measuring billions of billions of kilometres across. To properly understand what a galaxy is, we should start by looking at our own Milky Way galaxy. Our Sun is just one star out of billions of other stars contained within a galaxy called the Milky Way. In the same way that the Earth orbits the Sun, the Sun also orbits…

8 billion people: how different the world would look if Neanderthals had prevailed

Neanderthal reproduction in Trento Museum of Natural History Luca Lorenzelli/Shutterstock In evolutionary terms, the human population has rocketed in seconds. The news that it has now reached 8 billion seems inexplicable when you think about our history. For 99% of the last million years of our existence, people rarely came across other humans. There were only around 10,000 Neanderthals living at any one time. Today, there are around 800,000 people in the same space that was occupied by one Neanderthal. What’s more, since humans live in social groups, the next nearest Neanderthal group was probably well over 100km away. Finding…

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