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New Scientist 13-apr-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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new scientist

Management Executive chairman Bernard Gray Chief executive Nina Wright Finance director Jenni Prince Chief technology officer Chris Corderoy Marketing director Jo Adams Human resources Shirley Spencer Non-executive director Louise Rogers Publishing and commercial HR co-ordinator Serena Robinson Facilities manager Ricci Welch Executive assistants Sarah Gauld, Lorraine Lodge Receptionist Alice Catling Display advertising Tel +1 617 283 3213 Email displayads@newscientist.com Commercial director Chris Martin Lynne Garcia, Richard Holliman, Justin Viljoen, Henry Vowden, Helen Williams Recruitment advertising Tel +1 617 283 3213 Email nssales@newscientist.com Recruitment sales manager Mike Black Key account managers Viren Vadgama, Nicola Cubeddu US sales manager Jeanne Shapiro Marketing Head of campaign marketing James Nicholson David Hunt, Poppy Lepora, Chloe Thompson Head of customer experience Emma Robinson Head of data analytics Tom Tiner Web development Maria Moreno Garrido, Tom McQuillan, Amardeep Sian 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 US Newsstand Tel +1…

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take to the stars

ASTRONOMERS have a trick to help them find the centre of the galaxy. The constellation Sagittarius forms a pattern in the shape of a teapot, and its spout points to an apparently unremarkable location called Sagittarius A*. This, 26,000 light years away, is the centre of the Milky Way, and the location of a supermassive black hole. No telescope on its own is powerful enough to glimpse it, but a collaboration of radio astronomy observatories around the world has now imaged the event horizon of the black hole. It is a remarkable achievement, but don’t hold your breath. The first ever photograph of a black hole is composed of just two pixels (see page 7). It is a long way away, after all. Look instead to the Centaurus constellation. If you are…

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clean air is a basic right

LET’s clear the air. Air pollution isn’t getting worse, at least not in most of the developed world. But our knowledge of its long-term harms is motoring forward. Air pollution is the new smoking, but is more difficult to tackle because it is insidious and implicates us all. Anyone who runs their children to school in the car, jumps on a plane to seek the sun or even just shops in their lorry-supplied local supermarket is contributing to the problem. The good news is that air pollution’s effects are largely local, and with exceptions – notably aviation and shipping – can be tackled locally or nationally. Initiatives like London’s pioneering Ultra Low Emission Zone should be closely monitored to see if they work (see page 23). But such mechanisms are crude, and risk penalising…

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earth’s past and future ice

AROUND 95 per cent of glaciers in the Alps will be wiped out by the end of the century if the world continues pumping out carbon emissions at the current rate. That is the stark warning from research using a more realistic way of modelling how ice will react to rising temperatures due to climate change. “You get what you can’t really call glaciers any more, just some ice patches,” says Harry Zekollari at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, who presented the work at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) conference in Vienna, Austria, this week. Today, there are about 3500 glaciers in the Alps, containing around 100 cubic kilometres of water. Some of those glaciers lie below the snow that thousands of people ski and snowboard across each year. The extent…

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bombs away on asteroid ryugu

JAPAN’S Hayabusa 2 spacecraft has begun the space rock mining era with a bang by shooting a projectile packed with explosives at the rocky landscape of asteroid Ryugu. When the projectile got to about 3.5 metres above the surface, it exploded and sent up debris into the asteroid’s orbit, creating a fresh crater. Before the explosion occurred, Hayabusa 2 manoeuvred around to the other side of the rock to avoid being blasted. It will later collect a sample of dust to return to Earth. Ryugu is small – less than a kilometre across – and a relic from the formation of our solar system. Studying it could help us learn about the composition of early planets and determine how water and other materials crucial for life came to Earth. The blast aimed to…

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uk considers tough internet rules

A UK government white paper on online harms proposes strict rules that would require internet firms to take responsibility for the actions and safety of their users, as well as for the content that appears on their services. Companies that break these rules could see senior management held liable for the failings. The paper also proposes the creation of an independent regulator with the power to issue substantial fines and block access to websites. The proposed new laws would apply to any company that allows people to browse user-generated content or interact with other individuals online, including social media sites, messaging services and search engines. There will be a consultation before draft legislation is published, but critics are already warning that the rules could amount to censorship.…