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New Scientist 8-jun-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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51 Issues


access_time2 min.
two cheers for hydrogen

FOR a fuel that supported humans on their way to the moon, hydrogen has singularly failed to get off the ground. The fuel cells that provided the juice for the Apollo lunar modules 50 years ago followed a principle of efficient electricity generation we have known for two centuries. You react hydrogen and oxygen, making electricity and just one, clean waste product: water. Useful stuff when you are in space. Useful stuff when you are on the ground, too. The world is lacking in transportable fuels that aren’t oil. Whether in fuel cells, directly in internal combustion engines, or in a host of other contexts as a substitute for fossil fuels, hydrogen promises a greener alternative. With zero emissions at the point of use, it is also a potential solution for the…

access_time2 min.
new scientist

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access_time2 min.
trump in the uk

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump had his first state visit to the UK this week. Amid the ceremony and speeches, he discussed trade, climate policy and cybersecurity with Prime Minister Theresa May. High on the agenda was the trading relationship if the UK leaves the EU. “The US is committed to a phenomenal trade deal between the UK and US,” Trump said at a press conference on 4 June. It could be up to three times the value of trade today, he added, and any deal would include the National Health Service (NHS). Two days earlier, the US ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson, said in an interview that the deal would be “on the president’s desk day one the minute you leave”. But he raised hackles by saying farming and healthcare could…

access_time1 min.
how young blood boosts brain power

TWO proteins could be behind the brain-enhancing ability of “young blood”. Blood from young animals seems to boost cognition in older ones. To find out how, Thomas Südhof and Kathlyn Gan at Stanford University in California applied blood serum from 2-week-old mice and from old mice to human neurons. Only the blood serum from the young mice caused a boost in the growth of key structures involved in communication. The serum contained two proteins, THBS4 and SPARCL1, which had similar effects on the neurons when applied on their own (PNAS, doi.org/c6rt), suggesting they could be behind the effect.…

access_time4 min.
controlling quantum leaps

FOR over a century, physicists have been arguing about the true nature of a quantum leap. We now have an answer, and in true quantum form, everyone was a little bit correct. The phrase “quantum leap” has taken a bit of a battering over the past few decades – for many people, it calls to mind a cliché for massive change, or a sci-fi TV programme starring Scott Bakula. Scientifically speaking, it describes one of the core tenets of quantum physics: that atoms have discrete energy levels, and electrons within an atom can jump from one energy level to the next, but can’t be observed between those specific levels. Titans of physics including Niels Bohr, who introduced the idea in 1913, Erwin Schrödinger and Albert Einstein clashed over the specifics of these…

access_time2 min.
roman air pollution caused cooling across europe

THE Roman Empire lit so many fires that the resulting air pollution cooled Europe’s climate. The finding adds to the evidence that human societies have been affecting Earth’s climate for thousands of years, although on a much smaller scale than present-day global warming. Complex societies can affect the climate in many ways. People burn fuel such as wood to heat their homes, releasing soot and greenhouse gases. They also cut down forests to grow food, and burn what remains once crops are harvested. Previous studies have estimated the impacts past societies made through releasing greenhouse gases and converting forests to farmland. A 2016 study concluded that, in Europe and South-East Asia, human-induced temperature changes can be seen as early as 7000 years ago. But these studies didn’t look into the different ways that…