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category_outlined / Science
National Geographic MagazineNational Geographic Magazine

National Geographic Magazine September 2018

The latest news in science, exploration, and culture will open your eyes to the world’s many wonders. Get a National Geographic digital magazine subscription today and experience the same high-quality articles and breathtaking photography contained in the print edit.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
National Geographic Society
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12 Issues

IN THIS ISSUE

access_time5 min.
an extraordinary assignment

ADREA SCHNEIDER’S HEART went to a woman in her 60s. Her liver went to a 66-year-old man. Her right lung was given to a 51-year-old woman, the left to a woman age 62. Her kidneys and corneas were donated. Her uterus was used for medical research on infertility.Her face went to Katie Stubblefield.This is a story about that face—a gift from a young woman who died, to a 21-year-old woman who would become the youngest face transplant recipient in American history.Robb and Alesia Stubblefield flank daughter Katie. Behind them are two of the National Geographic colleagues who worked on Katie’s story for more than two years: writer Joanna Connors (left) and photographer Maggie Steber. (PHOTO: MAGGIE STEBER)It is a story about breakthrough science and the doctors, nurses, and surgeons who…

access_time1 min.
rockets for regular folks

The Federal Aviation Administration allows attendees to send objects as high as 492,000 feet (93 miles).Participants aim to build rockets that will reach their maximum altitude, producing a straight contrail.Since 1991, hobbyists, scientists, and students like Jake Warshawsky, 13—holding the Green Machine—and Leif Jurvetson, 16—with Nike Ska—have met in the Black Rock Desert to launch their homemade projectiles. ■…

access_time2 min.
the backstory

Peter Thoeny carries a rocket built by his son, Alexis, an aerospace-engineering student in California.HEAT AND SWIRLS OF DUST above the cracked earth of northwestern Nevada make any sign of life look like a mirage. In the fall of 2016, photographer Robert Ormerod turned off the road and onto the dried lake bed of the Black Rock Desert in search of a rocket launch. On the horizon he could make out a hazy row of RVs—those of the attendees of a famed amateur-rocketry convention.Since 1991 the Federal Aviation Administration has granted the Tripoli Rocketry Association permission to shoot rockets up to 492,000 feet (93 miles) in the air for the event. It’s one of the few times when high-altitude rockets can be safely and legally launched, so 100 to 200…

access_time6 min.
bacteria strike back

IT’S A RISKY WORLD, as we know, but all the more risky because some of the risks keep evolving. Ebola virus and the influenzas can adapt. ISIS can change tactics; Kim Jong Un can do turnarounds. And now experts warn that we have entered the “post-antibiotic era,” during which increasing numbers of people—in the hundreds of thousands—will suffer and die each year from infection by forms of bacteria that were once easily controlled with antibiotics.The World Health Organization considers antibiotic resistance one of the biggest threats of the 21st century. The World Economic Forum calls it a “potential disaster” for human health and the global economy. Just one such microbial threat, multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, caused more than 11,000 deaths in the United States in 2011 alone, and that one plus…

access_time1 min.
bugs vs. anti-bugs: an arms race

Penicillin was discovered in 1928 and developed for medical use in the early 1940s as a potent weapon against Staphylococcus of various sorts. But by 1955, penicillin-resistant strains of staph were turning up, especially in hospitals, from Sydney to Seattle.Methicillin, introduced in 1959, was especially useful against the penicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. But by 1972 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus had appeared in England, the United States, Poland, Ethiopia, India, and Vietnam.Vancomycin, introduced in 1972, was named for its capacity to vanquish even bugs that resisted earlier drugs. But by the late 1980s vancomycin resistance had shown up in Enterococcus bacteria in the form of a gene called vanA, and within another decade vanA had jumped sideways across genus boundaries from Enterococcus into staph, including Staphylococcus aureus. By 1996 there were vancomycin-resistant staph…

access_time1 min.
a cool corn-country theory

As scientists explore how industrialized agriculture is affecting U.S. weather and climate, an MIT study offers one notion. It says corn belt climes are changed by the corn itself—millions of acres of plants that take in carbon dioxide, then expel water, causing lower temperatures and more rain. ■…

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