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How It WorksHow It Works

How It Works No. 115

Welcome to How It Works, the magazine that explains everything you never knew you wanted to know about the world we live in. Loaded with fully illustrated guides and expert knowledge, and with sections dedicated to science, technology, transportation, space, history and the environment, no subject is too big or small for How It Works to explain.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
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13 Issues


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welcome the magazine that feeds minds!

“Travellers along the road carried with them ideas and philosophies…” The Silk Road Did you know you can climb to the summit of Everest, tour the International Space Station and even explore the wreckage of the Titanic all from the comfort of your own home? And that’s just the tip of the virtual reality iceberg. Beyond the fun and games, virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies can improve many other aspects of our lives. Surgeons can practise procedures on virtual simulations of their patients; engineers can test products without building expensive prototypes; and architects can walk you through your new home before it’s been built. Also inside, discover why viruses defy our definitions of life, learn how drones can re-plant entire forests, and find out how a network of trade routes changed…

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meet the team…

Charlie G Production Editor This issue’s virus feature inspired me to read up on the subject. Did you know there are more viruses on Earth than stars in the known universe? Baljeet Research Editor Experts believe the Amazon Rainforest could disappear in 40 years. Could reforestation save it? Find out on page 44. Charlie E Staff Writer Summer is here, so why not sit back in the sunshine with your favourite frozen treat and read about the science of ice cream on page 43? Scott Staff Writer What makes the perfect spacesuit? Discover the life-sustaining designs that could one day strut their stuff on Mars on page 56. Duncan Senior Art Editor The blue pill or the red pill? With VR set to take over our lives, could it ever become as realistic an experience as The Matrix? Find out on page 20. FOLLOW US… How…

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heroic rescue divers save football team trapped in cave

On 23 June, a young Thai football team and their coach went to explore the Tham Luang cave in northern Thailand, but a sudden downpour of heavy rain caused flooding and blocked their way back out. They survived there for nine days with barely any food or light before being found by divers from a search team. With the threat of more monsoon rains to come, the military and civilian rescue team faced a race against time to find a way to bring the boys and their coach to safety. The ledge where the boys and their coach were found was around 2,950 metres from the cave entrance and was only accessible by diving due to the flooding. A return journey could take up to 11 hours to complete and every…

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a high-risk operation

After the Wild Boars were first found, it was hoped that the floodwater could be pumped out of the cave so they could walk or be carried out much more easily. However, water continued to pour in from the streams and sinkholes in the hills above, and the forecast of monsoon rains meant the pumping systems simply could not compete. Drilling down into the cave was also considered, but this could have risked destabilising the rock above the boys or trigger even more flooding. Another option was to keep the Wild Boars in the cave – stocked with plenty of food, oxygen and supplies – until the monsoon season ended and the floods receded, which would mean waiting several months. As oxygen levels in the cavern started to drop and heavy rains…

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the benefits of going barefoot

Researchers have found that children and teenagers tend to be better at jumping and balancing if they spend more time barefoot, compared to those who habitually wear shoes. There is growing evidence to suggest that footwear affects our natural movements, but this is the first study to investigate whether these biomechanical changes have an impact on motor skill development. 810 South African and German children between six and 18 years old took part in the study. The South African children, who were from rural Western Cape, often go barefoot, whereas the German children were from urban areas and wear shoes most of the time. Teams in both regions tested the children’s balance, sprinting abilities and how far they could jump from standing. Children who went without shoes scored much higher in the…

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interstellar visitor gets a speed boost

The more we learn about ’Oumuamua – the mysterious interstellar object that has been travelling through our cosmic neighbourhood for the past few months – the stranger it seems. It is currently heading out of our Solar System after sweeping past the Sun in September 2017, but it has strayed from its predicted path. It has travelled around 40,000 kilometres further than it should have if affected by gravitational forces alone. ‘Oumuamua was originally thought to be a comet before being classed as an asteroid. However, the recent speed boost has led to it being reclassified as a comet once more. It is thought that its acceleration is the result of outgassing (the ejection of gas and dust when warmed by the Sun), a behaviour that has been observed in other…