Today on New Scientist: 18 December 2012

Violent polar storms help control the world's weather

Without the mini-hurricanes which form over the Arctic, the world could face massive weather disruption

Ancient city of Troy rebranded itself after war

Changing styles of pottery 3200 years ago show the Trojans were quick to align themselves with the region's new political power

Court ruling will clarify end-of-life decisions

Canada's supreme court will soon rule on whether doctors can stop treatment for "unconscious" patients, but determining awareness remains a thorny issue

Colourful claw of tiny ocean predator

See a prizewinning photo of the claw of a Phronima: a tiny marine predator whose size belies its ferocity

Gaming chair mimics a full-motion simulator

If you can't afford a full-motion flight or car simulator, here's a cheap way of creating some of the same effects

How an ancient Egyptian code unmasked a cannibal star

Has a papyrus from the time of the pharaohs exposed the ghoulish habits of the baleful Demon Star? Stephen Battersby investigates

Best videos of 2012: Bonobo genius makes stone tools

Watch a creative bonobo fashion tools to retrieve hidden food, at number 9 in our countdown of the year's best videos

Is the obesity epidemic caused by too much sugar?

In Fat Chance, endocrinologist Robert Lustig argues that insidious changes to our eating habits have caused disruptions to our endocrine systems

'The idea we live in a simulation isn't science fiction'

If the universe is just a Matrix-like simulation, how could we ever know? Physicist Silas Beane thinks he has the answer

Fungal frog killer hops into crayfish

Crayfish are vulnerable to the same chytrid fungus already killing frogs all over the world. The discovery provides a clue to how the disease spreads

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