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 / Science
New Scientist Australian Edition

New Scientist Australian Edition 6-jul-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.

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51 Issues


2 min.
whale meat again

ALL pretence of being “scientific” has now been dropped. On 30 June, Japan formally left the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which sets global rules for whale conservation. On 1 July, a boat returned with the first catch. The minke was Japan’s first whale caught in an openly commercial operation for 31 years. The country has hunted whales in that time under the pretext of scientific research, but it has long petitioned to return to commercial whaling. When its last proposal was voted down by the IWC in September, Japan pledged to leave the commission. The country’s Fisheries Agency has set a six-month quota of 52 minke, 150 Bryde’s and 25 sei whales, saying it expects a smaller catch than during its “scientific” operation in the Southern Ocean and north-west Pacific. The agency…

1 min.
new scientist

PUBLISHING & COMMERCIAL Display advertising Tel +44 (0)20 7611 1291 Email displayads@newscientist.com Commercial director Chris Martin Display sales manager Justin Viljoen Lynne Garcia, Henry Vowden, (ANZ) Richard Holliman Recruitment advertising Tel +44 (0)20 7611 1204 Email nssales@newscientist.com Recruitment sales manager Mike Black Nicola Cubeddu, Viren Vadgama, (US) Jeanne Shapiro New Scientist Live Tel +44 (0)20 7611 1206 Email live@newscientist.com Events director Adrian Newton Creative director Valerie Jamieson Sales director Jacqui McCarron Exhibition sales manager Charles Mostyn Event manager Henry Gomm Marketing Head of campaign marketing James Nicholson Poppy Lepora, Chloe Thompson Head of customer experience Emma Robinson Email/CRM Manager Rachna Sheth Head of data analytics Tom Tiner Web development Maria Moreno Garrido, Tom McQuillan, Amardeep Sian MANAGEMENT Chief executive Nina Wright Finance director Jenni Prince Chief technology officer Chris Corderoy Marketing director Jo Adams Human resources Shirley Spencer HR coordinator Serena Robinson Facilities manager Ricci Welch Executive assistant Lorraine Lodge Receptionist Alice Catling Non-exec chair Bernard Gray Senior non-exec director Louise Rogers EDITORIAL Editor Emily Wilson Executive editor Richard…

2 min.
europe swelters

A RAPID analysis of last week’s European heatwave shows humanity’s warming of the planet made it at least five times more likely and about 4°C hotter. The intense heatwave affected large areas of Europe, setting temperature records in Germany, Austria, Spain, France, the Czech Republic, Switzerland and the Netherlands (pictured above). France saw the hottest temperatures, including the country’s all-time high of 45.9°C near the city of Nîmes, a level more typical of Death Valley in California. Manure self-ignited in Spain, causing a wildfire. Hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2003 heatwave that killed around 15,000 people in France, authorities postponed exams and set up “cool rooms”. Germany imposed motorway speed restrictions over fears of roads cracking. At least seven deaths have been linked to the heatwave; the true toll won’t become…

1 min.
weirdest stars ever baffle astronomers

A PAIR of stars about 360 light years away are behaving strangely and astronomers are stumped. The stars, collectively called HD 139139, had 28 dips in their light over the course of 87 days. The dips look just like the signal of an orbiting planet, but Andrew Vanderburg at the University of Texas at Austin and his colleagues found that their timings seemed random. No more than four of the dips could be caused by the same orbiting object (arxiv.org/abs/1906.11268). “Something weird is going on,” says Hugh Osborn at the Laboratory of Astrophysics of Marseille in France. If the dips are caused by planets, there would have to be far more than in any other planetary system we have ever seen. “It just doesn’t feel right,” says Vanderburg. One explanation is a disintegrating planet…

2 min.
a worm laid bare

A COMPLETE map of all the neurons and their connections in both sexes of an animal has been described for the first time. This “connectome” will not only help us understand how neurons work, but could also improve our understanding of human mental-health problems. The tiny soil-dwelling nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans has long been used for research because it has so few neurons. The hermaphrodite version of it, for example, has 302 neurons in its entire nervous system, compared with 86 billion in the human brain alone. A basic map of these 302 neurons was published in the 1980s, when Nobel-prizewinning biologist Sydney Brenner and his colleagues used an electron microscope to examine minute slices of the hermaphrodite worm, which is essentially female but can produce a limited amount of sperm. “It…

1 min.
youtube is getting a grip on its anti-vax video problem

ANTI-VACCINATION views can spread on YouTube, but the site is reducing its vaccine disinformation problem, says a new analysis. Twelve years ago, a study found that 42 per cent of more than 150 vaccination-related videos on YouTube took negative views. Now, Ethan Reever at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut has found that 12 per cent of a more recent set of 100 vaccination videos were negative, with 2 per cent ambiguous and the rest positive. Platforms like YouTube are a key battleground on attitudes towards vaccination. YouTube has been accused of directing viewers to anti-vaccination videos, and in February the company said it would demonetise such content by removing adverts. However, Reever’s analysis suggests the platform was already making progress. He watched 100 videos returned by the search term “vaccination”, classifying them as negative if…