How It Works

How It Works

No. 141

Welcome to How It Works, the magazine that explains everything you never knew you wanted to know about the world we live in. Loaded with fully illustrated guides and expert knowledge, and with sections dedicated to science, technology, transportation, space, history and the environment, no subject is too big or small for How It Works to explain.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
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$5.61(Incl. tax)
$52.02(Incl. tax)
13 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

“The human body is a breeding ground for mites and bacteria”40 gross but fascinating facts, page 20 We don’t want to put you off reading this issue’s special feature, but sometimes the coolest and most compelling science can come from the most disgusting things. Take the slime in the image above, for example. That’s hagfish snot, produced as a defence mechanism in huge quantities by this deep sea-dweller. Just a teaspoon of hagfish mucus reacts with seawater to form a mug full of slime, and scientists are studying the stuff to better understand its properties for a range of useful things. We’ve delved into 40 facts about the world that are just as gross and also fascinating . You can read about them on page 20. Enjoy the issue! For exclusive…

1 min.
meet the team…

Nikole Production Editor The marvellous Milky Way is our home galaxy – but what do we know about it? Explore it from spiral arm to centre on page 40. Scott Staff Writer Crocodiles are well known as one of Earth’s deadliest predators. Learn about how these ferocious reptiles hunt on page 66. Baljeet Research Editor On page 48 we introduce 12 lesser-known scientists who changed the world with their discoveries and inventions. Duncan Senior Art Editor How has a Caterpillar bulldozer been expertly equipped to fight bombs and bullets on the battlefield? Find out on page 62. Ailsa Staff Writer We rely on our vision to make sense of the world, but occasionally our eyes deceive us. Discover optical illusions on page 30.…

1 min.
flash-frozen bubbles

Lake Abraham in Alberta, Canada, is exposed to such sudden temperature drops that gas bubbles are frozen mid-movement to form this stacked-disc spectacle. Fixed in place before they can reach the surface and escape, these unique freeze-framed bubbles contain methane, a gas produced by bacteria as it decomposes plants and animals on the lake’s bed. The mesmerising pattern returns to motion during warmer months, as they thaw and fizz away into the atmosphere. This sudden release of methane can be a hazard due to the greenhouse gas’s extreme flammability.…

1 min.
emerging from the dead

This might look like something out of a horror movie, but there are actually 200 of these on your body. At the centre of this image is a single eyelash, protruding from a hair follicle. Hair follicles are tiny tunnels in the skin, creating a path for hair made beneath to grow outwards. The eyelash itself has been coloured orange to create contrast from the surrounding dead skin cells. Called the cuticle, the outer layer of the hair is also made of dead cells, overlapping each other and arranged like fish scales. While this eyelash appears to be particularly short, is it common for these hairs to fall out naturally or break and regrow.…

3 min.
huge diamonds formed near earth’s core

Two of the world’s most famous diamonds may have originated super deep below Earth’s surface, close to the planet’s core. All of Earth’s natural diamonds first form deep underground from our perspective on the surface. But from the perspective of this planet’s great bulk, their usual births occur relatively far from the core. Zest the Earth like a lemon and you’d uncover diamonds growing at the bottoms of tectonic plates. Those diamonds form about 150 to 200 kilometres deep under pressure that exists just where the crust meets the more fluid outer mantle, or middle layer of the planet. No mines reach that far underground, but some of those diamonds do make their way up to where humans can reach them. The Hope Diamond, a large and famous stone, as well…

2 min.
scientists discover spider wearing ‘joker’ make-up

A newfound spider species wears a striking red-and-white pattern on its back that resembles the grin worn by Batman’s long-standing nemesis, Joker. The resemblance is so uncanny that the researchers who described the arachnid named the species after actor Joaquin Phoenix, who portrayed the tormented, smiling villain in the 2019 film Joker. Ironically, the colourful spider belongs to a genus that was named for the late punk rock icon Lou Reed, who famously wore black and rarely smiled. Scientists discovered Loureedia phoenixi in Iran, making it the first Loureedia spider to be identified outside the Mediterranean region. The genus, first described in 2018, now includes four species. On the backs of the male L. phoenixi spiders, a splash of vivid red stands out against a background of white, much like the Joker’s…