SpinyNorman writes: A new "string-net" theory of matter by researchers Xiao-Gang and Michael Levin, initially created to explain the fractional quantum hall effect (FQHE), has been shown to derive fundamental particals such as quarks and gluons, as well as naturally giving rise to Maxwell's equations of light. The new theory also predicts a new state of matter that appears to have been experimentally verified, and oddly enough also occurs naturally in a gemstone, Herbertsmithite, that was discovered over 30 years ago.
The new theory builds on the work of Nobel physicist Robert Laughlin, and according to the New Scientist report has already attracted the attention of luminaries such as Fields medallist Michael Freedman who describes it as beautiful.
SpinyNorman writes: If you have an interest in animal tool use, you should already know about horses that scratch themselves with sticks, and crows using SUVs as nut crackers, but New Scientist is now reporting on a rather more sophisticated use — Chimps using sharpended sticks to skewer bushbabys hiding in holes in trees so that they can snack on them! This snacking behaviour seems mostly limited to the female of the species.