Audrey Tang – Taiwan’s first digital minister on rebuilding democracy

IN 2014, the approval rating of Taiwan’s government was less than 10 per cent. Popular dissatisfaction culminated in the Sunflower Movement, with students occupying legislative buildings to protest a proposed trade deal with China. Three weeks later, their demands were met. A decade on, this is seen as a turning point in Taiwanese democracy…

Paul Ryding for New Scientist

This article first appeared in New Scientist on 1 July 2024. To continue reading, click here (paywall).

All change in the Bronze Age

MYKHAILIVKA, a village on the right bank of the River Dnieper in Ukraine, lies dangerously close to the front line of Russia’s war on its western neighbour. Seventy years ago, however, it was the site of an excavation by Ukrainian archaeologists. There, they discovered one of the earliest known settlements of the Yamnaya culture…

Facial reconstruction of a western Yamnaya. Reconstruction: Emese Gábor, Magyarságkutató Intézet. Photograph: Hajdúsági Museum, Hajdúböszörmény.

This article first appeared online in The Economist on 5 May 2024 (and in the magazine on 11 May 2024). To continue reading, click here (paywall).

Do dating apps suck?

A class-action lawsuit filed in a US federal court last Valentine’s Day accuses Match Group – the owners of Tinder, Hinge and OkCupid dating apps, among others – of using a “predatory business model” and of doing everything in its power to keep users hooked, in flagrant opposition to Hinge’s claim that it is “designed to be deleted”…

Santiago Rusiñol i Prats, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This article first appeared in The Observer on 28 April 2024. To continue reading, click here.

Birds do it, bees do it

WHEN it comes to architectural accomplishments, humans like to think they stand at the top of the pyramid. That is to underestimate the astonishing achievements of social insects: termites raise skyscraping nests and honeybees fashion mesmerisingly geometric combs. The true master builders of the insect world, however, are the hundreds of species of stingless bee, native to the tropics and subtropics, which weave combs of unparalleled variety and intricacy inside hollow tree trunks or other cavities…

Photograph: Viviana Di Pietro, KU Leuven

This article first appeared online in The Economist on 10 April 2024. To continue reading, click here (paywall).

Will the real Sherlock Holmes stand up

A photographic archive has been discovered in Lyon, France, that adds precious detail to what we know about the founding of the world’s first police crime laboratory in 1910 and its creator, Edmond Locard, a pioneer of forensic science…

Edmond Locard

This article first appeared online in Nature on 5 April 2024. To continue reading, click here (paywall).

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