This is a digest of the stories posted to newscientist.com from 6pm yesterday until 6pm today. We’re running it as an experiment. Did you find it useful? Do you have suggestions about how we can make it better? Let us know. You can now subscribe to these digests by RSS Post-human Earth: How the planet will recover from us If our civilisation collapses, what will happen to the planet itself? The best way to work that out might be like is to look back at the Earth’s past Rifle-mounted laser aims to alarm not harm The US military’s latest non-lethal weapon is designed to cause a burning sensation to repel people without causing physical harm No rainforest, no monsoon: get ready for a warmer world The world could become 4 °C warmer in our lifetime – bringing hunger, deforestation, drought and floods Experts call for Nobel prizes to be revamped New Scientist asked a group of leading scientists to debate the future of the Nobels – the outcome is an open letter calling for a radical modernisation of the prizes Copycat suicides fuelled by media reports A computer simulation confirms sociological insights into copycat suicides Whale forensics highlights threat to species A vulnerable population of minke whales supplies more meat to the Japanese market than originally thought Mixed blessings for world farming’s future Crop yields in sub-Saharan Africa are currently the best in years, but there’s a nasty surprise just around the corner David Barash and Judith Lipton: How to be monogamous The husband-and-wife writing team have just published a book about monogamy in the animal kingdom. Amanda Gefter asked them for some tips Campaign asks for international treaty to limit war robots A new group pushing for rules to govern autonomous military machines says the trend towards automation on the battlefield needs to be kept in check Computer detects abuse before doctors Victims of domestic abuse can hide the truth from doctors, but they leave clues in their medical records that a computer program has learned to follow Alec Jeffreys: the ‘father of DNA evidence’ It’s 25 years since he made the accidental discovery of the first DNA fingerprint, which transformed forensics – and his life DNA tests on mummy show TB killed ancient Egyptian What killed Irtyersenu? The cause of death of an Egyptian mummy has puzzled pathologists for almost 200 years – now we have the answer Space radiation hits record high Like a wounded Starship Enterprise, our solar system’s natural shields are faltering, letting in a flood of cosmic rays Mercury looms large as probe closes in for final flyby NASA’s Messenger spacecraft is set to make its last swing around the sun-baked planet late on Tuesday before it settles into orbit in 2011 Claims for safer Down’s test crash and burn An investigation into “mishandled” research data leads to firings at a leading biotech firm. It doesn’t look good, says Peter Aldhous Vaccine probably not to blame for girl’s death A 14-year-old girl died after receiving the human papilloma virus vaccine, but it now seems that the jab was not to blame DNA used to decide asylum claims: what could possibly go wrong? A project is underway to use DNA and isotope analysis to help evaluate the claims of asylum seekers, but Linda Geddes cautions that we cannot rely solely on these techniques What caused the Samoa islands tsunami? A tsunami has devastated the coasts of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga: what triggered it?