How It Works

How It Works No. 133

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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26 Números

en este número

1 min.

“Wrap your head around a mind-boggling fact: objects can be in two places at once” I‘m old enough to remember the IBM personal computer my dad used for his work, equipped with a processor capable of a whopping 4.77 million calculations per second. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Today’s personal computers have multi-core gigahertz processors over 1,000 times faster than that early computer system, and modern supercomputers are millions of times faster than today’s PCs again. To think that quantum computers have the potential to solve currently impossible problems in medicine, AI and more, and outperform supercomputers by several orders of magnitude, is incredible. Read more on page 22. For exclusive HIW news and offers, sign up to our mailing list FOLLOW US… How It Works magazine @HowItWorksmag…

1 min.
meet the team…

Nikole Production Editor Explore the space oddities of our Solar System – methane lakes, gushing geysers and Martian mountains can be found on page 70. Scott Staff Writer Meet the animals dressed in armour to fight off foes and, in some cases, turn predators into pincushions on page 42. Baljeet Research Editor All aboard the floating labratory that is using ocean sediments to look back in time and unlock the history of Earth on page 52. Duncan Senior Art Editor What will the weapons of the future look like? Turn to page 36 for a glimpse into the next developments in human warfare. Ailsa Staff Writer From blood-sucking leeches to pain-killing cocaine, check out the crazy medicines used in Victorian healthcare on page 66.…

1 min.
face cream gets a close-up

Although this might appear to have been crafted at the hands of a graphic designer, it is in fact the naturally occurring crystal film of a popular face cream. Smeared out on a cool surface and allowed to dry, stages of the chemical crystallisation result in this leafy tessellation. The array of intermingling colours is the result of a phenomenon called birefringence, whereby light is split into two components as it passes through the crystallisation. This tantalising tessellation was captured by Yevhen Samuchenko for The Royal Photographic Society’s 2019 science photography competition. You can find out more about this year’s entries at rps. org/spoty .…

1 min.
fibre-optic nymphs

As their name suggests, planthopper nymphs spend their time leaping between leaves. Before reaching adulthood, planthopper nymphs (Ricaniidae) extrude a waxy material from their abdomen to create strands which can appear as natural fibre-optic spines. Acting as a visual warning to potential predators, the fanned waxy spindles at the rear also help planthopper nymphs glide between leaves. Less than five millimetres long, some species of planthopper nymphs, such as Issus coleoptratus, can jump up to a metre high in a single leap.…

2 min.
deep-sea stethoscope listens to a blue whale’s heartbeat

When the largest animals on Earth grab a snack, their hearts skip a beat – or 30. That’s what a team of marine biologists found after recording a blue whale’s heartbeat for the first time ever. After suction-cupping a pulse monitor to the back of a blue whale off the California coast, the researchers watched as the gargantuan creature dove and resurfaced nonstop for nearly nine hours, alternately filling its lungs with air and its belly with schools of fish. During these deep, grub-hunting dives, the whale’s heart rate fluctuated wildly, pumping as many as 34 times per minute at the surface and as few as just two beats per minute at the deepest depths – about 30 to 50 per cent slower than the researchers expected. According to a recent study,…

2 min.
‘doughnut-shaped’ dna makes cancer more aggressive

Cancer cells may owe some of their destructive nature to unique, ‘doughnutshaped’ DNA, according to a recent study. Published in the journal Nature, the study found that in some cancer cells, DNA doesn’t pack into thread-like structures like it does in healthy cells – rather, the genetic material folds into a ring-like shape that makes the cancer more aggressive. “DNA conveys information not only in its sequence, but also in its shape,” said co-senior author Paul Mischel, a professor of pathology at the University of California at San Diego. As you may remember from biology class, most of our DNA is packed tightly inside cells' nuclei in structures known as chromosomes. This jam-packed structure allows for some genes to be accessible by the molecules that ‘read’ and carry out the genetic instructions,…