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Science Illustrated Issue 78

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

1 min
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1 OF 10 SETS OF AUDIO-TECHNICA SONICFUEL HEADPHONES! Music is your energy for life – the fuel for your heart and soul. SonicFuel® headphones are specifically designed for active, daily use, to power you forward by delivering extraordinary comfort, style and an immersive listening experience that never sounds artificial, processed or filtered. Just pure sonic goodness for the high-octane tempo of your life. Features • Enhanced driver system delivers clear, robust and accurate audio • 360° rotating eartip adjusts to the unique angle of your ear canal for personalised fit and better sound isolation • C-tip design fits the shape of your ear for reliable, stay-in-place comfort • In- line control with microphone for answering/ending calls, controlling music & video playback, and controlling volume (on compatible smartphones & other portable devices) • Flat cable eliminates annoying tangles…

2 min
the greenland ice sheet is getting unexpectedly thicker

CLIMATE The shape of the Greenland ice sheet is changing. Glacier fronts along the coasts are retreating at a disturbing speed, but new data from the NASA Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) shows that inland ice has grown thicker at the same time. This unexpected effect is thought to be because global warming not only melts the ice, it also results in more precipitation as evaporation from the oceans, which falls as snow on the inland ice, so building up additional ice there. The satellite data is produced by the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) which fires laser pulses at the ice and receives back reflected light. It can record altitude differences as small as 4mm, sampling and mapping the ice surface at points just 70cm apart. The…

1 min
can we cure mosquitoes of malaria?

MEDICINE Every year, 200+ million people are infected with malaria and, according to the WHO, more than 400,000 die of the disease. So far, the struggle against it has focused on combating the mosquito that spreads it. Now a team of scientists from England and Kenya propose a different method: curing the mosquitoes of malaria. Malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite, which depends on both mosquitoes and humans to complete its life cycle. Humans host two of its life stages, while for the third one it lives in the mosquito. So if we could equip mosquitoes with a way to combat the parasite, we could destroy its life cycle and so protect ourselves against malaria. And on the banks of Lake Victoria in Kenya, the scientists have captured mosquitoes which…

2 min
black hole on our doorstep

ASTRONOMY Black holes are invisible, because no radiation can escape them. The only way that astronomers can spot them is by observing how matter close to them is influenced by their intense gravity. Astrophysicists from ESO have discovered the closest black hole so far, located only 1000 light years away from us. The black hole revealed itself by the motions of two orbiting stars identified by the scientists. The three objects combined are known as HR 6819, and they are located so close to us that from our Southern Hemisphere these stars can be observed even with the naked eye. Until now the closest known black holes have been V616 Mon, located 3300 light years from us, and Cygnus X-1, some 6100 light years away. These had been easier to identify because…

1 min
artificial nose uses brain cells to find bombs or virus on planes

TECHNOLOGY The bomb-sniffing dog now has a new technologybased competitor. European aircraft-maker Airbus aims to install artificial noses on its planes. The noses have been developed in cooperation with the company Koniku Inc., which has spent a decade working on a method that links living cells with electronics. The sensors can identify specific molecules in the air, sounding the alarm if explosives or hazardous chemicals are in the vicinity. The core of the sensors are cells that scientists from Koniku Inc. have customised to solve the task. The starting point is a type of brain cell called astrocytes. The scientists equip these with extra genes so they develop smell receptors on their surfaces. When the receptors are activated by specific ingredients in the air, the brain cells emit electric impulses that…

1 min
denisovan dna now discovered in europeans

EVOLUTION New large-scale DNA sequencing in Iceland shows that the mysterious Denisovans, who became extinct at the same time as the Neanderthals some 40,000 years ago, were more widespread than previously believed. The study was undertaken by scientists from the Aarhus University and deCODE Genetics, covering hereditary material from 27,566 people. The scientists searched the entire Icelander genome, making the study more thorough than other studies that have discovered such DNA in modern people. As expected, the scientists found evidence of Neanderthal DNA in Icelanders; this exists in other Europeans. The discovery of Denisovan DNA was more surprising, as it changes our idea of how widespread this hominin was. Denisovan DNA had been found previously in East Asians and the indigenous populations of Papua New Guinea and Australia. Scientists had thought…