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New Scientist International Edition 3-Jul-21

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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Weekly
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2 min
elsewhere on new scientist

Virtual event The secrets of living a healthy life Join staff writer Graham Lawton for a masterclass on how to stay healthy the evidence-based way. Graham has rounded up the latest and most rigorous health research and converted it into actionable advice on all the big health topics: nutrition, diet, weight loss, hydration, exercise, sleep, ageing and preventative medicine. This free, online event is available to watch on-demand now. newscientist.com/events Podcast Weekly The team takes a careful look at long covid: what actually is it and how can it be treated? Author Nichola Raihani drops in to explain the evolutionary basis for collaboration. Plus: computing pioneer Alan Turing is featured on the Bank of England’s new £50 note. newscientist.com/podcasts Online Covid-19 daily briefing All the latest, most crucial news in the pandemic rounded up into one essential briefing. Plus: links…

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2 min
our complex history

LAST week saw the announcement of not one but two groups of ancient humans, both new to science, and there is no reason to think the discoveries will stop any time soon (see page 10). In Israel, a team of researchers discovered bones from a member of a population that apparently lived in the area between 420,000 and 120,000 years ago. These hominins, which the team calls Nesher Ramla Homo, looked a bit like the Neanderthals, and the team claims that members of the new-found group were the Neanderthals’ ancestors. Not everyone agrees, however, and other interpretations have already been put forward. Meanwhile, in China, a huge skull from an individual being labelled the Dragon Man has been analysed. The hominin may belong to the mysterious group known as the Denisovans, or,…

3 min
delta to dominate world

THE more transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus is on track to become the dominant form globally, experts tell New Scientist. First seen in India and now in at least 85 nations, its spread has led to new lockdowns and other curbs across the world. “Globally there is a lot of concern about the delta variant, and the World Health Organization is concerned about it too,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, at a press conference on 25 June. Currently, delta is recorded as the second most dominant variant of concern globally. At around 80,000 cases detected to date, it still lags behind the 1 million detected cases of alpha, the variant first identified in the UK. But delta’s rapid dominance in the UK shows how fast it can spread, even…

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7 min
more tangles in our human story

A NEW member has been added to the human evolutionary tree, but Homo longi has received a frosty welcome. Many researchers think that although the enormous skull used to name the species doesn’t seem to have been from a modern human or Neanderthal, it was unnecessary to give it a new species name. Some speculate that the skull belonged to one of the mysterious Denisovan people who once inhabited eastern Asia, and that it offers us our first glimpse of a Denisovan face. The discovery, made in China, is one of two extraordinary finds announced last week that reveal new information about our extinct human relatives in Asia, alongside evidence of a previously unknown human group unearthed in Israel. The Chinese fossil, also known as the Harbin skull, was discovered in mysterious…

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5 min
the neurological impact of covid-19

NUMEROUS studies show that covid-19 often affects the brain, having a profound influence on people’s consciousness, cognition and behaviour – and possibly even their risk of dementia later in life. “Mercifully, those affected are a minority of those infected,” says Benedict Michael at the University of Liverpool in the UK, “but those affected are severely affected.” In addition, given the number of people who have been infected by the coronavirus, the impact of cognitive complications may be large and could have substantial effects on health systems. How often does covid-19 affect the brain? Very often. Paul Harrison at the University of Oxford and his colleagues analysed the records of 236,000 people with covid-19. In the six months after infection, 34 per cent were diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition. For 13 per cent,…

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3 min
plan to dump iron in the oceans to capture carbon

A FORMER UK chief scientific adviser is planning experiments to drop iron in oceans to tackle climate change and restore marine life, in a major geoengineering project that is likely to prove controversial. Ships will be sent to three locations across the world’s oceans in the next four years to trial the technique – known as ocean iron fertilisation – David King at the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge (CCRC), UK, told New Scientist. The plan is to emulate and accelerate natural processes, such as the way wind transports dust from the Sahara desert and deposits iron in the Atlantic Ocean. The iron fertilises the growth of phytoplankton, which absorbs carbon dioxide from the air, locking it away in the ocean. King, a former UK chief scientific adviser who launched the Climate…

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