New Scientist International Edition

New Scientist International Edition 18-Jan-20

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
fire and ice

IN OUR issue of 31 August last year, we ran news stories on record-breaking wildfires raging across the globe from the Amazon to the Arctic. Meanwhile, our features section highlighted the uncertain long-term future of Arctic sea ice. This week, Australia is burning, and new research highlights the Amazon’s higher future wildfire risk (see page 16). Meanwhile, one of our features focuses on scientists studying the Thwaites glacier, a crucial and highly vulnerable part of the West Antarctic ice sheet (see page 42). Now, as then, there are concerns that humanity could be closer than previously assumed to precipitating dangerous climate tipping points. Our apologies if any of this is beginning to sound familiar. The truth is, all of these stories are chronicles of disasters foretold. As we reported last week, we have…

1 minuti
new scientist

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2 minuti
taal erupts back to life

TAAL volcano in the Philippines has reawakened, spewing lava, steam and ash into the air and sparking violent lightning. Volcanologists believe it may be warming up for bigger eruptions. The volcano is located in Taal Lake in the province of Batangas. Since March last year, it has been more frequently leaking gas and trembling with thousands of small earthquakes, leading scientists to believe it was coming back to life. On the afternoon of 12 January, Taal erupted, shooting a column of steam and ash 15 kilometres into the sky that caused lightning. The following morning, 500-metre-high fountains of lava were seen spurting from the volcano. All 450,000 people living within a 14-kilometre radius of the volcano have been asked to evacuate and flights in and out of Manila, which is 60 kilometres north…

1 minuti
chinese illness caused by a virus

THE cause of a mysterious pneumonia in China has been identified as a virus by local authorities, according to a statement by the World Health Organization. Tests run on 15 people who are unwell suggest that they are all infected with a new coronavirus, in the same family as SARS and MERS. The genetic sequence of the virus was shared with international health organisations on 12 January, which should make it easier to diagnose infections. As of 13 January, 41 cases had been linked to the new virus in Wuhan City, Hubei province, according to the local health committee. Symptoms ranged from fever to difficulty breathing. Six people remained severely ill and one had died. All received medical treatment in isolation, said Chinese authorities. Some have since been discharged. Outside China, a woman…

4 minuti
what your gut says about you

THE microbes that live inside you hint more than your genes do about your likelihood of having health conditions ranging from asthma to cancer and schizophrenia, according to a new analysis. The finding suggests that monitoring the ecosystems of bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi that live inside us could help diagnose or even prevent some conditions. “That’s going to change medicine,” says Braden Tierney at Harvard Medical School, who worked on the analysis. However, it also raises privacy issues, because information about this microbiome is currently less tightly regulated than genomic data. “If our results are true, that microbiome data – which is not private – could be telling you a lot more about an individual than even their genetic data,” says Alex Kostic at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, who…

2 minuti
strange particles found in antarctica stump physicists

PARTICLES spotted by a giant balloon in Antarctica can’t be explained by our current understanding of physics. In 2006, and then again in 2014, NASA researchers using the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA), a balloon equipped with a particle detector, picked up a signal that didn’t make sense. They had spotted evidence of high-energy particles travelling at an angle suggesting they had just whizzed through the planet. A new analysis has now ruled out the best possible explanation for these particles. That means they might be signs of physics beyond the standard model of particles and forces. The ANITA events registered at ridiculously high energies for a tiny particle, at 0.6 and 0.56 exaelectronvolts (a billion billion electronvolts). “About the same as a professional tennis serve,” says Alex Pizzuto at the University of…