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How It WorksHow It Works

How It Works

No. 132

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.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Future Publishing Ltd
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13 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

1 min.
welcome

“As one of the world’s blackest materials, it absorbs 99.96% of all visible light that hits it” We tend to take the properties of everyday things for granted: water will turn to steam when heated, glass is transparent, and a hot yellow plasma will erupt from the head of a match when struck. But scientists are still discovering materials with properties that seem to defy the laws of nature. In this issue of How It Works, we’ve brought you the ‘super substances’ with what we think possess almost magical properties – like the metal that melts in your hand – that in fact can be explained with science. Turn to page 22 to read all about them. Enjoy the issue! FOLLOW US… How It Works magazine @HowItWorksmag…

1 min.
meet the team…

James Production Editor RFA Lyme Bay is more than just a transport ship – it can even flood itself to launch vessels into the ocean. See more on page 68. Scott Staff Writer Meet the animals that have remained almost unchanged for millions of years, earning themselves the title of ‘living fossils’, on page 38. Baljeet Research Editor What would aliens look like? On page 74 we explore how different conditions could help life on other planets to develop and thrive. Duncan Senior Art Editor What could do the job of a tree 1,000 times better? The answer is a plastic, artificial tree – with seesaws. Find out how on page 56. Ailsa Staff Writer From ancient winter celebrations to the festivities of today, we look at Christmas traditions around the world, on page 58.…

1 min.
inside a snowflake

Taken using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), this image of a star-shaped (stellar) snowflake shows just how complex and unique each one of these flecks of ice can be. Beginning its life as a speck of dust or pollen high up in the chilling atmosphere, water molecules from cloud vapour condense on the speck, forming a droplet. On a journey down to the surface, this droplet freezes and gathers more moisture from the air, building over time into a snowflake. To form its star-like shape, atmospheric temperatures must be -10 to -20 degrees Celsius.…

1 min.
illuminating london

Snapped from the International Space Station (ISS) on 27 September 2015, the metropolis of London is drenched in light during the early autumn. Cutting through this shining city, a shadow of the Thames river breaks up the 450 million lumens (equivalent to over 530,00 light bulbs) produced by the capital in a day. This image was taken by an Expedition 45 crew member aboard the ISS, around 400km above Earth. No special equipment was used to take the photo, just a Nikon D4 digital camera with a 400 millimetre lens.…

2 min.
nuclear bunker ants turn to cannibalism

In an abandoned nuclear bunker in western Poland, hundreds of thousands of worker ants that fell inside and were cut off from the main colony survived for years by eating the bodies of their dead. When researchers visited the bunker in 2016, they described a community of nearly 1 million worker ants of the species Formica polyctena, or wood ants. The main colony teemed above ground on a mound atop the bunker’s ventilation pipe; over the years, a steady stream of unlucky ants fell through the pipe and into the bunker. Since the pipe opened into the chamber from the ceiling, once the ants landed on the floor, they couldn’t climb back out. There was nothing for the ants to eat in the pitch-dark bunker; in 2016, the scientists hypothesised that the…

2 min.
new virus leaves scientists stumped

A newly discovered virus seems to lack the proteins needed to replicate itself. Yet somehow it’s thriving, according to a new study. To find this mysterious virus, a group of researchers in Japan have spent nearly a decade analysing pig and cow poo for novel viruses. These dirty environments, where lots of animals constantly interact, are a good place for viruses to quickly evolve, according to a statement from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology in Japan. The researchers have found on farms several novel viruses that have recombined – meaning that two or more viruses have swapped genetic material. But they were particularly intrigued when they found a new type of enterovirus G (EV-G), which is composed of a single strand of genetic material. This new virus was formed from an…