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Science Illustrated

Science Illustrated Issue 63

Science Illustrated delivers natural science, break through discoveries and an understanding of the world for the entire family. Packed with stunning photography and in-depth editorial it’s a visually spectacular gateway to the world looking into the beginning of life to distant objects in the universe.

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3 min.
the mythmakers

Never spoil a good yarn with the truth. This is the Australian version of a saying that probably most human cultures have come up with at some point or another. And it speaks to a curious aspect of our brains: we prefer a good yarn to the absolute truth. Unless the truth is, in itself, a good yarn. Before the emergence of the first global scientific community in the 16th century (well, continental I guess, it was mostly just Europe, though some data did filter back and forth across the frontier with the Islamic world), human cultures loved making up new myths and legends. Myth is different to religious scripture because there’s an understanding that while the events that take place in the myth may not have actually happened, the story the…

1 min.
honey bees build intriguing bridges

When honey bees are to expand or repair their hive, they build bridges between the hive walls. Individual bees seize hold of their neighbour’s legs, producing a long chain between the honeycombs. Why the bees must hold each other’s legs to get something done remains a mystery to scientists. According to some, the bees use the bridge construction to measure the distance between the bee hive walls. Others think that the bees can only produce wax in their glands, as their abdomens are stimulated by peers. Photo // Solvin Zankl; NATURE PICTURE LIBRARY…

11 min.
science update

Space probe nears tiny world in the Kuiper Belt New Horizons has woken from its long hibernation, as it is approaching its next destination: one of the Solar System’s most primitive objects. AEROSPACE In 2015, it gave us the first close-ups of Pluto, and now, the New Horizons probe is ready for its next major mission. Over the past three years, it has travelled 1.6 billion km and is now located in the Kuiper belt, which, apart from dwarf planets, consists of small asteroids and comets. The probe is heading for the 2014 MU69 object, also known as Ultima Thule. Astronomers have only known the object since 2014, when it was spotted by the Hubble telescope. They believe that it has a diameter of 30 km, but they do not know, if it…

1 min.
by the way

THE INCAS WERE SKILLED SURGEONS Brain surgery was surprisingly efficient in the heyday of the Inca Empire from 1438 to 1532. According to new studies, 75-83 % survived the extensive surgery, which involved the removal of a major part of the skull. That is probably because the Incas had high hygienic standards and practiced: Over 800 skulls with evidence of surgery have been discovered in Peru. AND SPEAKING OF THE INCAS SCIENTISTS DISCOVER INCA ORIGIN DNA studies of the population of Peru confirm two myths about the origin of the Incas: that the empire was founded by two ancestors from Lake Titicaca and mountain caves near the Urubamba Valley, respectively. The Y chromosomes of the locals led scientists back to two men from those regions. MUMMY SHOWS THE INCAS’ RELIGIOUS STRATEGY In the lowlands of Peru…

6 min.
ask us

How does a fractured bone heal? Bones are among the strongest structures in the body, but a simple fall can break them. So our amazing bones have an amazing ability - to self-repair. Here's how. HUMAN BODY Although bone tissue is four times stronger than concrete, breaks are so common that most people don't even think of it as a severe injury (though it can be). Once a patient with a fractured bone arrives to the hospital, an X-ray is taken, and a doctor identifies the location of the fractures. Subsequently, the fractures are placed in the correct anatomical position, ensuring that as little new tissue as possible must be generated to reunite the fractures and that the healing takes place in the correct fashion. Finally, the fractures must be held safely in position, until…

1 min.
top 5

What colour of laser is the most powerful? 1 Purple: 380-450 nanometres Energy per photon: 3.3 MeV. The energy of a light particle (photon) intensifies with its wavelength. The shortest wavelengths that the human eye can identify is about 390 nanometres (nm), corresponding to a purple colour. BLUE 450-495 nm 2.8 MeV 2 Although blue laser includes less energy per photon than purple, it is more hazardous to eyes. The eyes absorb more light with increasing wavelengths. GREEN 495-570 nm 2.5 MeV 3 Green laser is the most harmful. Our vision is better at perceiving green hues than other colours, as the eyes absorb more light at such wavelengths. YELLOW-ORANGE 570-620 nm 2.2 MeV 4 Eye surgeons use yellow lasers to stop bleeding in the retina at the back of the eye. 577 nm light is absorbed by…