Nicole Kobie



Nicole Kobie

Freelance journalist covering tech, transport and science
Contributing editor to Wired UK and Futures editor at PC Pro.
Bylines in New Scientist, Motherboard, the Guardian, Teen Vogue, WebUser, Computer Shopper, Computer Active, Grazia, Big Issue, the Outline, IT Pro, Alphr and more.


How you and your friends can fight back against online trolls

How you and your friends can fight back against online trolls. Tackling trolls with a little help from your friends. A “friendsourcing” tool called Squadbox lets people use their friendship group to filter abusive messages sent to them by online trolls. If someone is being targeted with abuse, Squadbox allows friends, support groups or other trusted parties to access their email account to act as personal moderators.
New Scientist Link to Story

The hot, dangerous physics of fighting the Notre Dame fire

Dry timber. Lead that melts and drips fire-sparking magma. Water pooling, weakening supports and flooding precious artefacts. The Notre Dame Cathedral fire was challenging to fight — but easy to start. The roof is the weak point of fire prevention with any historical building, be it world-famous cathedral or tiny parish church, not least because repairs to a lead-topped roof involve high heat and an open flame.
Wired UK Link to Story

Chit-chat makes humans and robots work together better

Artificial intelligence can beat humans at games such as Jeopardy, chess and Go, but these much-celebrated achievements aren’t actually what we need. We want AI to work with us not against us – and the key may be a little banter. Jacob Crandall at Brigham Young University in Utah and his colleagues created an algorithm capable of learning to cooperate with people that uses short snippets of conversation known as “cheap talk”.
New Scientist Link to Story

App can tell you if a mosquito is about to give you malaria

A mosquito bite can infect you with malaria, dengue or zika, diseases that kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. But how can you tell if the mosquitoes near you are dangerous? Well, now there’s an app for that. Only 40 of the 3500 mosquito species bite humans. It would be nearly impossible to identify the dangerous kinds by sight alone: two species of mosquito may look identical, for example, but one prefers animals to humans.
New Scientist Link to Story

You can't give a Nobel Prize to a thousand people. Here's why

Scrolling through the many listed author names highlights a fundamental truth of science: it's about cooperation, not a competition, with any discovery or step forward in understanding built on the ideas and work of many others. So why award a prize to just three? Following the physics award yesterday, Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, told the BBC that the success of the work was owed to "literally hundreds" of engineers and scientists.
Wired UK Link to Story

Don't suffer like Theresa May. Here's how to beat a coughing fit

Giving a speech to your entire country, but have a tickle in your throat? You need't suffer so publicly as prime minister Theresa May did at the Conservative Party conference, hacking, spluttering and coughing her way through her vision for Britain. The coughing was the least of May's problems: her slogan fell off the wall letter by letter; a protester slipped her a P45; and bits of her speech seemed to be borrowed from the West Wing.
Wired UK Link to Story

Lost the remote? Use your cat

British researchers unveil gesture recognition system that works with any object. Forget digging around in couch cushions for the missing remote — British researchers have developed a solution that uses gesture recognition to turn everything into a controller, from your hand to your cup of tea, or even your pet cat.
IT Pro Link to Story

When neural networks name planets, they call them Tina

If a sci-fi film ever names a planet Tina, blame Janelle Shane. Her hobby is training neural networks on data sets to create amusing names, be it rescue kittens ("Mag Jeggles" and "Snox Boops"), Pokémon ("Tortabool"), and — perhaps most famously — paint colours ("Sudden Pine" and "Turdly"). In the latest round, the neural network was trained on 700 planets from Star Wars.
Wired UK Link to Story

Acid attacks are on the rise, but lazy media coverage isn't helping

It started at 10:25pm on Thursday night, when a moped carrying two riders pulled up alongside a man riding at a junction in Hackney, east London. Before the other rider could pull away, the pair threw acid in his face and stole his bike. Four other acid attacks followed, with at least one victim left with life-changing injuries, according to the Metropolitan Police.
Wired UK Link to Story

Britain Is Fighting Back Against European Climate Change Targets

The UK wants to make it voluntary to improve energy efficiency, leaked documents reveal. The British government is trying to water down European targets on climate change, despite the fact the UK will be leaving the EU in under two years' time. Why is it bothering? Some critics have even accused her of being a "mole" for Donald Trump and his climate change-denying ways.
Motherboard Link to Story

An AI Will Decide Which Criminals in the UK Get Bail

But it's not yet clear if the tool is more accurate than real humans. Get arrested in Durham, England, and artificial intelligence could help decide whether you're held in custody or sent home—but it's not yet clear if the algorithm is more accurate than police officers when it comes to assessing whether someone is likely to reoffend.
Motherboard Link to Story

Start-up uses biometrics to tailor music for good night’s sleep

A baby falling back to sleep at 2 am to a gentle lullaby may convince its parents that music can induce sleep, but new compositions designed to help listeners relax sound rather different to Rock-a-bye Baby. Boston-based start-up Sync Project uses biometrics to tailor music to your mood. Its Unwind app measures your heart beat via your smartphone’s accelerometer and uses these readings to tweak a relaxing ambient track by UK band Marconi Union.
New Scientist Link to Story


Nicole Kobie

You may have seen my work at PC Pro, where I edit the Futures section, on Wired UK, where I'm a contributing editor, or in WebUser, where I write the news pages. I also regularly contribute to Teen Vogue, The Outline, CityMetric, New Scientist, Alphr, Vice's Motherboard, IT Pro and Cloud Pro, Computer Shopper, and the Telegraph, and have written for Mental Floss, Ars Technica, Trusted Reviews, MacUser, Computer Active, The Calgary Herald, the Guardian, and more.

I’m a creative, hard-working digital and print journalist, currently specialising in technology, science and transport stories, but happy to write about anything -- even Theresa May coughing.

I focus on high-quality news and features stories, explaining complicated topics with clean, precise writing. I work quickly, write accurately and, perhaps most importantly, hit my deadlines.

Aside from writing and editing, I've had training in investigative journalism, data journalism and photojournalism, and used to be a regular on PC Pro's podcast.



  • journalism
  • writing
  • editing
  • news
  • features
  • blogging
  • columns
  • photojournalism
  • photography
  • technology
  • spending hours at the pub
  • Being retweeted by Snowden