New Scientist

New Scientist 4-Jul-20

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

in this issue

1 min.
elsewhere on new scientist

Virtual events What happened at the big bang? Theoretical astrophysicist Dan Hooper reveals why recreating the conditions of the big bang is helping to uncover the biggest mysteries of the cosmos. Thursday 9 July at 6pm BST/1pm EDT and on demand. newscientist.com/events Podcasts Weekly Record temperatures in the Arctic; long-term symptoms of covid-19; the tale of the tailless whale and the fastest supercomputer in the world. newscientist.com/podcasts Newsletter Health check Our free newsletter brings you a monthly round-up of all the health and fitness news you need to know. newscientist.com/sign-up/health Video Coping with fatherhood Evolutionary anthropologist Anna Machin explores the biological changes that manifest in male parents. youtube.com/newscientist Online Covid-19 daily update The day’s coronavirus coverage updated at 6pm BST with news, features and interviews. newscientist.com/coronavirus-latest…

1 min.
a note from the editor

Reporting on the life and world-changing potential of scientific and technological advances is New Scientist’s bread and butter. Sometimes, however, an innovation’s scope is so great, and its societal effects so profound, that it is difficult to fully appreciate. Artificial intelligence is a case in point. The advent of machines that feed on reams of our data to “learn” about us and the world is both immensely exciting and deeply troubling. AI tech, from medical bots to driverless cars, holds much promise to improve our lives; yet AI stands accused of sins such as exacerbating racial and other inequalities through algorithmic bias and undermining democracy by spreading fake news. That is why I find the second issue of our new Essential Guide series so timely. Featuring the best recent New Scientist content…

2 min.
if memory serves

THROUGHOUT the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 has proved full of surprises, most of them nasty. Initially regarded as a respiratory virus, we now know it infects other organ systems, and can linger for months. It disproportionally kills people from poor and ethnic minority backgrounds and also men, for reasons that still aren’t fully understood. It doesn’t seem to be suppressed by warm weather or climates. But the latest surprise is a nice one. Initial fears that the virus would fail to raise immune memory – the lengthy, sometimes lifelong, protection that we get from exposure to many viruses including measles – look exaggerated. It is still early days, but signs from patients point to a strong and long-lasting immune response (see page 10). That is welcome news for two reasons. It makes a vaccine…

3 min.
cases flare up worldwide

MORE than half a million people are now confirmed to have died from the coronavirus, as local outbreaks around the world trigger fears of a second wave of covid-19. Globally, a record 189,077 cases were reported on 27 June, and cases are rising in Africa, Asia and North and South America. Some of the surge is due to greater testing, and the rate of deaths is yet to see an equivalent increase. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) believes the growth in daily cases is down to a genuine acceleration in the spread of the virus. “Intense transmission is going on in many communities in many parts of the world,” a spokesperson says. There are also flare-ups in countries that successfully lowered infection rates but have since relaxed restrictions. Azra Ghani at…

4 min.
scotland could eliminate the coronavirus – if it weren’t for england

SCOTLAND is only weeks away from suppressing the coronavirus altogether, a situation that highlights the different approaches taken by the nation and England in recent months. While Scotland initially made many of the same mistakes as England, since late March, its government has acted on its own scientific advice. The two nations responded to the coronavirus similarly from January and up until March, says Devi Sridhar at the University of Edinburgh. “There are a couple of things where Scotland’s gone slightly earlier, but not radically.” One early Scottish success came in community testing for the disease. When Kate Mark at the National Health Service Lothian in Edinburgh realised that suspected cases were increasing, her team began testing people in their homes and set up one of the world’s first drive-through testing centres.…

3 min.
southampton may test entire population weekly for coronavirus

A CITY in the UK is about to start testing thousands of people for the coronavirus each week, using saliva and a cheap, quick way of detecting the virus. If the initial trial in Southampton is successful, the aim is to test the city’s entire population of 250,000 people every week to see if this can rapidly halt the virus’ spread. “We were told there were insoluble aspects, but they have been solved,” says Keith Godfrey at the University of Southampton, who is helping organise the trial. “The government is certainly seriously interested.” It has been proposed that weekly testing of a country’s entire population, regardless of whether people have symptoms, could quickly bring outbreaks to an end, with the resulting economic benefits far outweighing the costs of mass testing. Advocates of…