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New Scientist Australian EditionNew Scientist Australian Edition

New Scientist Australian Edition 22-jun-19

New Scientist covers the latest developments in science and technology that will impact your world. New Scientist employs and commissions the best writers in their fields from all over the world. Our editorial team provide cutting-edge news, award-winning features and reports, written in concise and clear language that puts discoveries and advances in the context of everyday life today and in the future.

Country:
Australia
Language:
English
Publisher:
New Scientist Ltd
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51 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

access_time2 min.
your incredible brain

PHYSICIST Emerson Pugh once said that if the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t. Thankfully, the complexity of our brain is so great that we are not simple and neither, therefore, is the task of understanding it. However, it can feel like a Herculean feat to establish even basic facts, such as how many kinds of brain cell we have. Our latest attempt to count them suggests there are 75 types just in the neocortex, the area responsible for our most advanced thoughts and behaviours. That isn’t to say our efforts to unravel the brain’s mysteries are in vain (see page 34). Despite Pugh’s observation, we are learning ever more about how a 1.5-kilogram lump of tissue that flutters and…

access_time2 min.
new scientist australian edition

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melting ice in greenland

THIS extraordinary photograph was taken by climate scientist Steffen Olsen of the Danish Meteorological Institute on 13 June. With the help of local hunters, his team was retrieving instruments from the sea ice in Inglefield Fjord in Greenland. The dogs are running on sea ice that is still 1.2 metres thick. Sudden warming caused the surface to melt and form a shallow layer of water on top of the ice below. “The photo documents an unusual day. I learn now that it is even more symbolic than scientific to many. Tend to agree,” Olsen tweeted after the image went viral online. This June has seen temperatures more than 20°C above normal in Greenland, leading to extensive surface melting across large areas of the ice sheet on the vast island as well as of…

access_time1 min.
microbe mix may prevent asthma

CHILDREN who grow up on farms have a lower risk of developing asthma and now it seems that may be due to microbes that can also be found in non-farm homes. Pirkka Kirjavainen at the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Finland and his colleagues studied about 400 children who lived on farms or in rural, urban or suburban homes. They found that those who grew up on farms had the lowest risk of developing asthma, but children raised in non-farm homes with a similar mix of microbes to a farm also had a lower risk (Nature Medicine, doi.org/c7df).…

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the evolution of puppy dog eyes

HUMAN selection has seen dogs evolve a muscle that allows for expressive faces. It means they can lift their inner “eyebrow”, making their eyes seem larger and their faces sad – the familiar “puppy eyes” look of dogs. Juliane Kaminski at the University of Portsmouth, UK, and her team dissected six dogs and four wolves, none of which died for the study. All but one dog had a muscle on the inner side of the eye near the nose, but none of the wolves had it. Kaminski thinks this muscle evolved because people favoured dogs that could make this expression (PNAS, doi.org/c7dd).…

access_time4 min.
forced organ transplants

EXECUTED prisoners are still being used as organ donors in China, according to an inquiry set up by a campaign group. The Chinese government previously said it had stopped this practice four years ago. But this week, the chair of the tribunal, Geoffrey Nice, said he believes it is still widespread. The inquiry in London was initiated by campaign group the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China and has no legal power. It was asked to investigate whether some hospitals in China are still boosting supplies of transplant organs from prisoners, and whether these include political prisoners and members of ethnic groups, such as Uighur Muslims and followers of Falun Gong, a belief system banned in China. “We know that political prisoners in China are subjected to horrific abuses” The tribunal heard…

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