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Science
New Scientist International Edition

New Scientist International Edition

30-May-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.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
New Scientist Ltd
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51 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
elsewhere on new scientist

Virtual events Alien oceans on Earth and beyond Join NASA astrobiologist Kevin Hand for a fascinating online lecture exploring the best chances of finding life beyond Earth, at 6pm BST on 4 June. newscientist.com/events Podcasts Weekly News with implications for life on Mars, the discovery of our five separate appetites, Geordi La Forge, and the world’s weirdest plant. newscientist.com/podcasts Newsletter Launchpad Our free newsletter sends you on a monthly voyage across the galaxy and beyond. newscientist.com/sign-up/launchpad Video Plastic clean-up Liz Bonnin reveals the full scale of the ocean plastic crisis and explores how science can offer solutions. 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

Events are a big part of what New Scientist does, offering a chance for you to hear directly from the world’s top scientists in the most interesting fields. In March, for obvious reasons, we had to put our in-person live events on hold. So what next? Virtual events were something we had considered but hadn’t had the opportunity to explore in detail. In a spirit of experimentation, then, we launched our first virtual event on 16 April, an open-to-all discussion on coronavirus. Almost 3000 people watched live. Our second event, on black holes, was our first paid-for virtual event. We sold 850 tickets, and people tuned in from every continent except Antarctica to watch. We were delighted by the truly global nature of the occasion. Since then, we have had a panel…

2 min.
a new, better normal?

ALMOST everyone has felt at least some yearning for a return to “normality”. The economic, social and mental costs of lockdown have been high, alongside the terrible toll of lives cut short. Around the world, countries are, quite naturally, assessing how they can allow their citizens to resume some of their former freedoms, and individuals are asking how they can best keep themselves and others safe as restrictions are eased (see page 10). What is clear, however, is that with no immediate prospect of an effective vaccine, the new “normal” won’t be the old one. An important question now is: is that entirely a bad thing, or can something positive be wrung from this grim situation? Over relatively few decades, a paradigm of unbridled consumption in richer economies, with little regard for longer-term…

3 min.
uk begins to open up

DECLINES in hospital admissions, the number of people in intensive care and deaths in the UK all indicate that the restrictions brought in on 23 March to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the country have helped. Plans to partially reopen schools and some shops as early as 1 June are being pursued in England, while in Scotland, some restrictions are expected to ease from 28 May. Some restrictions have also been removed in Wales and Northern Ireland in recent weeks. With thousands of new cases still being confirmed in the UK, extensive testing and contact tracing will be needed to prevent a second wave of infection. According to the latest provisional data published by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS), 41,220 deaths involving covid-19 had been registered in England…

5 min.
conservation in crisis

IN THE midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many of us have become more aware of nature. Conservationist Richard Corlett has spent the past few months in London, where normally he would hear constant noise from buses, aeroplanes and ferries. “They’re all gone,” says Corlett, who usually works at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden in Yunnan, China. “Birdsong is all I hear in the morning. This is the experience of tens of millions worldwide.” But while coronavirus measures may be good for some species (see “Are any animals benefitting from coronavirus lockdowns?”, right), they have also crippled two crucial industries: ecotourism and legal trophy hunting. “That’s the two main things that bring money to wildlife conservation,” says Marine Drouilly, who works for the Panthera charity in Cape Town, South Africa. The temporary loss…

2 min.
are any animals benefitting from coronavirus lockdowns?

Some of the heart-warming stories about nature thriving during lockdown, like the claim that dolphins had returned to the canals of Venice, aren’t true. But others do stand up. For example, there is evidence that wild bees will benefit from the decline in air pollution, which can disrupt their ability to smell flowers at a distance. And, anecdotally, some wild animals are venturing into cities, including wild cats. “Some people have seen caracals in their garden or crossing their gardens,” says Marine Drouilly at the Panthera charity, who is based in South Africa. The International Bio-Logging Society is organising a global study of data from camera traps and other tracking devices to see if wild animals really are shifting their ranges, but the results may not be available for two years. We do…