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New Scientist International Edition 19-jan-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


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the best medicine

(TONY CENICOLA/THE NEW YORK TIMES/REDUX/EYEVINE)AS THIS magazine went to press, the UK looked likely to lurch one step closer to a “no-deal” Brexit, with time running out to agree an amicable split from the European Union before 29 March.Such a scenario, welcomed by some as a clean break from the trading bloc, is seen as an apocalyptic outcome by others. Whatever your view, medics are warning that lives could be put at risk if a no-deal exit leads to shortages of medicines and essential equipment (see page 5).But quietly, away from the fire and fury of daily politics, another potential apocalypse is fading from view. For decades, we have been warned about the rise of antibiotic resistance, in which deadly bacteria evolve to become immune to the drugs designed to…

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diversity internship programme

For the past 62 years, New Scientist has been asking the biggest possible questions about the origins of everything and the future of life and the universe.But journalism has traditionally been a profession enjoyed by a privileged few, meaning those asking and answering these questions have often been from a relatively small pool of talent.While people of diverse characteristics study science, engineering or technology degrees at university, barriers to becoming a journalist can often prevent this diversity from entering the newsroom.To address this, New Scientist is launching a journalism training internship for aspiring journalists from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds.The programme will be based in our London office and offer six-month training internships beginning in April or October to four successful applicants. Interns will receive training in multiple…

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garden on moon’s far side

(CHONGQING UNIVERSITY/CLEP)Cotton growing on the moon (left) and a control experiment on Earth (right) (CHONGQING UNIVERSITY)IT IS a small step for a plant, and a giant leap for plantkind. A sprouting cotton seed on China’s Chang’e 4 lunar lander is the first plant ever to germinate on another world, heralding a new era for life in space.Seeds including cotton, oilseed rape and potato were carried to the moon as part of a biosphere experiment, along with fruit fly eggs and some yeast.“Understanding how to grow plants in space will help lay the foundation for a moon settlement”Pictures sent back by the probe show the cotton seeds sprouting on 7 January, a few days after Chang’e 4 landed on the far side of the moon.The organisms are in a sealed canister,…

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waste brine may harm marine life

DESALINATION is growing so fast that the extra salty waste water it produces is becoming a big problem.There are now 16,000 desalination plants worldwide, creating 142 million cubic metres of brine a day, says a study by Edward Jones of the United Nations University and his colleagues. Over a year, that is enough to cover Florida to a depth of 30 centimetres.Most of this brine ends up in the sea. In calm conditions, the dense brine can spread out over the sea floor and kill organisms by increasing salinity beyond what they can tolerate, says Callum Roberts at the University of York, UK. The brine is also contaminated with toxic chemicals used to stop sea life clogging pipelines.Desalination is expected to continue growing rapidly as the technology improves and demand…

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fertility add-ons lack evidence

FERTILITY clinics in the UK must be more transparent about the costs and effectiveness of “optional extras”, the country’s fertility regulator has said.There is “no conclusive evidence” that any so-called add-ons offered with fertility treatment increase the chance of pregnancy or live birth, said the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in a statement.According to the HFEA’s national fertility patient survey, 74 per cent of people receiving fertility treatment over the past two years had at least one type of add-on, such as embryo glue or endometrial scratching.The HFEA rates 11 add-ons using a traffic light system. The green rating is reserved for procedures or techniques that have been shown to be effective and safe by at least one good quality, randomised clinical trial. None of the 11 treatments have received…

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health risks of a brexit no-deal

AMID huge Brexit uncertainty, the possible impact on the country’s healthcare of leaving the European Union without a deal is only just becoming clear. At worst, pharmacies could run out of certain drugs, and hospitals may have to delay operations, scans and other procedures.A no-deal exit from the EU could pose immediate problems for the supply of important drugs. About two-thirds of medicines used in the UK are imported from the EU and 90 per cent of these come through the French port of Calais. “You have got all your eggs in one basket,” says Mike Thompson at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.The fear is that, if new customs checks are introduced after 29 March, even small delays at the border could lead to long queues of lorries…