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New Scientist International EditionNew Scientist International Edition

New Scientist International Edition


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 Numéros


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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 international edition

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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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our galaxy’s central black hole is oddly quiet – now we may know why

THE Milky Way’s supermassive black hole is eerily quiet, rarely devouring anything. Now it seems that magnetic fields in the centre of our galaxy could be responsible, by steering gas and dust into orbit around the black hole rather than allowing them to drop in. Darren Dowell at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and his colleagues used a camera aboard the agency’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), which is a telescope on a high-flying airplane, to look at the infrared light from the centre of the galaxy. This sort of light is completely blocked by Earth’s atmosphere, so the only way to observe it is to fly high above the ground or to use a space telescope. The infrared light the team observed was emitted by grains of magnetic dust floating amid the…

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solving an ancient mystery

FOR 3200 years they have guarded their secret. The deities carved in limestone near the ancient city of Hattusa are as enigmatic as they are beautiful. Perhaps no longer. A controversial theory suggests the ancient carvings may have functioned as a calendar, with a level of sophistication way ahead of its time. “It’s not only a striking idea, it’s reasonable and possible,” says Juan Antonio Belmonte at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, Spain, who wasn’t part of the work. Hattusa was the capital city of the Bronze Age Hittite empire, based in what is now Turkey. A few kilometres to the north-east of Hattusa are the ruins of an ancient religious sanctuary centred on a large limestone outcrop. Archaeologists believe it was one of the holiest of Hittite sites, but…

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rise of weeds we can’t kill

THE most damaging weed in the UK is about to become resistant to the main defence farmers have against it – the weedkiller glyphosate. Other countries around the world are facing similar problems, which could decimate food crops. Many weeds have evolved resistance to several different kinds of herbicides, and some are set to become resistant to all the herbicides used on particular crops. These superweeds will cause major crop losses and push up food prices. They will also speed up climate change and harm wildlife as even more land is converted for farming to make up for the lower yields. “It is not a matter of if but when we are going to be losing chemical control of these weeds,” says Adam Davis at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In Europe,…