New Scientist 21-Aug-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.

United Kingdom
New Scientist Ltd
51 期号


elsewhere on new scientist

Virtual events Big Thinkers series This series of talks features experts on some of the most fascinating topics in science, from Anil Seth on consciousness to Michelle Simmons on quantum computing. Join us live as we journey to the frontiers of knowledge, or watch on demand, with seven of the talks available to stream now. The science of can and can’t Most physics theories describe reality by predicting what will happen. But there is another way to explain things: find the rules that say what is possible and what isn’t. In this talk, Chiara Marletto discusses this revolutionary approach. Join us on 2 September from 6pm BST. Tickets available now. Podcasts Weekly Tamsin Edwards, an author of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, joins the team for a special episode. Media coverage of the report…

arabian insights

THE tale of human origins continues to throw up surprises. For many years, the generally accepted narrative was that our species emerged on the continent of Africa, before spreading to other continents around 60,000 years ago. It is certainly true that our origins lie primarily in Africa. But in this issue, we explore the crucial role that nearby Arabia played in human evolution (see page 36). Evidence unearthed in Stone Age Arabia points to a much richer story, in which human populations ebbed and flowed in this region over hundreds of thousands of years as the climate shifted. The remarkable discoveries from Arabia remind us that, when it comes to the study of human evolution, much of the planet is yet to be explored. The systematic study of Arabian prehistory is barely…

australia’s delta wave

IN SYDNEY, the pandemic feels like it is just getting started. The city is battling its worst covid‑19 outbreak yet, which is being blamed on the highly contagious delta coronavirus variant and low vaccination rates. Since early in the pandemic, Australia has tried to keep the coronavirus out altogether by banning international visitors, quarantining all Australians returning from overseas and rapidly locking down whenever covid-19 is detected in the community. This worked for a long period. For example, in the first half of 2021, the country didn’t record a single death from locally acquired covid-19. Then the delta variant arrived. A Sydney limousine driver who transported international aircrew was infected in mid-June, prompting stay-at-home orders to be introduced across greater Sydney on 26 June. The lockdown there is now in its eighth week…

will the ipcc report matter?

WORLD leaders must drastically scale up their plans to curb carbon dioxide emissions if humanity is to avoid the worst consequences of a warming world outlined in last week’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Unfortunately, there is no sign of that happening yet, but observers say the publication should boost political action on emissions. The report, coupled with recent extreme weather events such as Greece’s wildfires and a record 48.8°C temperature in Europe, has been seen by many as a wake-up call that should galvanise societies to take action. Environmental leaders have called for new versions of the climate plans that countries are meant to submit every five years as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement’s framework. Without stronger plans, “the Paris Agreement goals will be out of…

1.5°c is possible

THE landmark report released last week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has left many people reeling about the current and future state of our planet. But Tamsin Edwards at King’s College London, a lead author on the report, says it is understandable that it takes time for the gravity of the situation to sink in. “I think many people aren’t that aware that we have already committed ourselves to changes that are irreversible. That is a profound thing to take on board,” she says. Those changes include warmer ocean temperatures, ocean acidification and a decline in oxygen levels in our seas. All are now irreversible on centennial to millennial timescales because of humanity’s burning of fossil fuels and other activities. “We are changing the planet. It will continue…

vpn flaw could put users at risk

VIRTUAL private networks (VPNs), which have seen a rise in use as more people work from home, are vulnerable to an attack that removes user anonymity, researchers have found. VPNs work by rerouting your internet traffic through a virtual tunnel that encrypts all data that passes through it and disguises your IP (or internet protocol) address, which is used to identify from where you access the internet. They are often used to access internal networks remotely, such as connecting to workplace servers from home. The technology has long been considered secure against external attacks, but now William Tolley at Arizona State University and his colleagues say they have found a flaw with VPN infrastructure. The vulnerability works by monitoring one thing that VPNs cannot hide: the existence and size of the packets of…