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Science Illustrated

Science Illustrated Issue 67

Science Illustrated delivers natural science, break through discoveries and an understanding of the world for the entire family. Packed with stunning photography and in-depth editorial it’s a visually spectacular gateway to the world looking into the beginning of life to distant objects in the universe.

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8 Issues

in this issue

4 min.
trust me, i’m a scientist!

Could the reason so many people seem to find it so hard to trust the things told to them by scientists, be because scientists are constantly saying: “Trust us, we’re know what we’re talking about”? When it comes to believing “the truth”, there are two distinct aspects to our knowledge: what we’ve learned from another person or figured out in our heads, and what we’ve directly experienced or observed in the real world. As a product of at least 500 million years of evolution, your brain comes with a bunch of preprogrammed responses to certain things, which tend to increase your survivability. Colloquially, we call them “instincts”. Some of them are obvious: be super-alert around the edge of very tall cliffs, resist any urge to touch fire, suspend breathing when your head is…

1 min.
megapixel volcanoes

Extinct palace atop an extinct volcano Once, there was intense volcanic activity in the area that is now central Sri Lanka. Today, the volcanoes are long extinct, but a 200-m-high rock column rises above the jungle as a frozen relic from the island’s tectonic past. The Sigiriya rock is the result of the decomposition caused by the elements, which eroded the volcano’s surface over millions of years, leaving only the hardened lava in its interior. A drone allowed the shooting of this close-up of the rock’s top, that once included a Buddhist monastery and a royal palace. Space probe zooms in on Jupiter’s extreme weather Jupiter is covered in dark bands and light zones produced by storms with wind speeds of up to 600 km/h. The dark bands are warm, descending gas, the…

9 min.
science update

Gold reveals cancer Today, doctors cannot make a simple test for cancer in the entire body, but in the future, a blood sample with gold particles might be enough to spot the killer early.Today, doctors cannot make a simple test for cancer in the entire body, but in the future, a blood sample with gold particles might be enough to spot the killer early. MEDICINE Today, doctors must take a series of steps to make a cancer diagnosis, rather than carry out a quick, general test which covers the entire body. But they may be able to one day – based on gold. Scientists from the University of Queensland have discovered that gold nanoparticles bind to cancer cell DNA. All body cells send tiny DNA fragments into the blood stream, so a simple…

1 min.
by the way

UNDERGROUND LAVA BUBBLES FAR AWAY FROM VOLCANO When a volcano crater fills with lava, the glowing mass might come from afar. US geologists have used radar data from satellites to observe a major area by a volcano in Nicaragua. The measurements reveal that lava causes land uplift of 6-7 cm more than 3 km away. So, the monitoring should be done from afar. AND TALKING OF VOLCANOES … VOLCANO RELEASES GASES FROM GLACIER Iceland's Katla volcano is the reason huge quantities of methane escape the Sólheimajökull glacier. The gas is captured under the glacier, rising into the atmosphere, as the heat from the volcano melts the ice. In the summer, 41 t of methane gas is released every day. CRYSTALS PREDICT VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS In liquid lava, small crystals are produced that reveal how an eruption will…

2 min.
hungry tadpoles become vicious cannibals

BIOLOGY Although ponds look peaceful, life beneath the surface can be harsh. Some animals turn into aggressive cannibals, if food is scarce. And new research by the University of North Carolina in the US shows that this adaptability can be a strong evolution driver. The scientists studied toad species, whose tadpoles have this special gift. If there is lots of algae in the pool in which they grow up, they develop small mouths and long alimentary canals that fit the plant food. But if there is not enough food, they develop powerful jaw muscles and sawtoothed mouth parts. They become aggressive predators that are ready to eat each other. The flexible development ensures that part of the species survives the crisis. The scientists discovered that one toad species, Spea bombifrons, held…

2 min.
astronomers measured all light in the universe

ASTRONOMY How much light exists in the entire universe? What sounds like an impossible question, astronomers have now answered. The stars of the total of two trillion galaxies have emitted 4 x 1084 photons - light particles - in the life time of the universe. The number, a 4 followed by 84 zeros, is so incredible that it is hopeless to compare it to anything we can understand, but to astronomers, it is valuable. American scientists calculated the number using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The space telescope measures the intense gamma radiation coming from blazars. Blazars are remote, bright galaxies that have a highly active, supermassive black hole at the centre. As matter rotates towards the black hole, huge quantities of friction energy are produced, of which some is emitted…