New Scientist International Edition

New Scientist International Edition 7-dec-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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2 minuti
invisible, but ubiquitous

“CAN’T be seen, can’t be smelled, can’t be heard, but can be stopped.” That warning, issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services, is about carbon monoxide poisoning from faulty heaters. It could equally apply to a newly recognised threat, except for the last part. Microplastics can’t be seen, can’t be smelled, can’t be heard – and can’t be stopped. As a result of our 50-year addiction to plastics, microplastics are now ubiquitous in the environment. These tiny fragments, formed as plastic breaks apart into ever-smaller pieces, are found in soil, water and air. They rain down on us 24/7 and have entered the food chain and water supply. There is little or no prospect of cleaning them up, and the load will inevitably get worse as the approximately…

1 minuti
new scientist

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2 minuti
bushfires rage on

BUSHFIRES across New South Wales (NSW) have shrouded Sydney in heavy smoke and left residents breathing air pollution on a par with that found in some of the world’s most polluted cities. About 2000 firefighters are tackling more than a hundred fires burning across the Australian state, including in the Blue Mountains world heritage area and near Warragamba Dam, authorities said on Tuesday. In total, 800,000 hectares have burned in NSW national parks since July, including 20 percent of the famous mountain range, a Guardian analysis has found. The bushfires have been aggravated by warm, dry conditions linked to climate change. Thomas Smith at the London School of Economics says it is unusual to see the fires so early. “You normally don’t see these fires until January or February,” he says Videos show…

1 minuti
nasa spies india’s lunar wreckage

A LOST moon lander has been found. After it crashed down in an attempted landing in September, the location of the remains of India’s Vikram spacecraft wasn’t immediately obvious. Now, NASA has pinpointed the debris field with the help of a tip from a member of the public, after the team at the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) made images of the area available online. “Shanmuga Subramanian contacted the LRO project with a positive identification of debris,” said a statement released on 2 December. NASA confirmed the spot on the moon where the Vikram lander crashed down by comparing before and after photos. The debris Subramanian spotted was 750 metres north-west of the crash site. The LRO team went on to identify about 20 other pieces of debris and several impact sites. The Vikram…

2 minuti
predicting heart disease risk

A PERSON’S cholesterol levels before the age of 45 can predict their lifetime risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The finding has prompted debate about whether younger people should be recommended preventative measures, such as taking statins. The result comes from an analysis of medical data on nearly 400,000 people of European ancestry from across Europe, Australia and North America. The study found that when blood concentrations of non-HDL cholesterol – often known as “bad cholesterol” – are higher than 145 milligrams per 100 millilitres before the age 45, a person’s relative risk of developing heart disease at some point in their life nearly doubles. For concentrations between 100 and 145 milligrams before 45, the relative lifetime risk increases by 10 to 20 percent (The Lancet, DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)32519-X). “It is important because people might…

2 minuti
amazon gets in on the quantum computer revolution

THE quantum computing race has a new competitor. Amazon has announced it will partner with three firms to offer online access to prototype quantum processors. Through a new service called Amazon Braket, customers will be able to test algorithms on quantum processors from D-Wave Systems, IonQ and Rigetti Computing. Each of these three firms takes a different approach to making such processors, which rely on subatomic quantum effects. IonQ’s version uses trapped ions manipulated by lasers as quantum bits – or qubits, which are the equivalent to bits in classical computers. Rigetti uses superconducting qubits, as does D-Wave, but the latter’s device is a more limited system known as a quantum annealer, rather than a full-blown computer. These various approaches to qubits all have drawbacks. “I think for Amazon they’re looking at this…