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New Scientist Australian Edition 10-Apr-21

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.

New Scientist Ltd
51 Issues

in this issue

1 min
elsewhere on new scientist

Virtual event The science of self-help Forget celebrities and masters of business, scientists have spent decades figuring out which self-help strategies really work. In this talk, Helen Thomson will guide you through a series of scientifically proven ways to live better – from the one kind of exercise you should definitely be doing to the best methods of coping with stress and uncertainty. Join us at 6pm BST on 10 June or watch on demand later. Tickets available now. newscientist.com/events Podcasts Weekly The team tackles the link between climate change and allergies; octopus dreams; a third wave of covid-19 in the UK; and the prospect that there could be an ancient black hole in our own solar system. Escape Pod This week, your dose of escapism is an ode to unsung heroes of science, including mathematician Emmy Noether,…

2 min
beautiful minds

CALL it human curiosity, but it is natural to wonder what a pet is thinking, or to ponder, as philosophers and latterly consciousness researchers have, what it is like inside the mind of a bat or a bird or an octopus. We are inching closer to cracking the secrets of animal minds – and they aren’t what we expected. From Snowball the dancing cockatoo to sheep that can recognise celebrities, there are plenty of examples of animals doing clever things. Nevertheless, such antics could be mere party tricks, not a manifestation of something resembling the “general” intelligence that allows us to think our way through life’s challenges. In fact, many biologists have long assumed that animals don’t do much thinking at all, acting mostly on instinct instead. The idea was so ingrained…

3 min
uk vaccine passport row

VACCINE passports for covid-19 are likely to become a “feature of our lives”, according to a UK government review of the scheme, despite mounting political opposition to making proof of vaccination a condition of entry to workplaces, shops and venues. Trials of vaccine passports, also known as certificates, will start shortly at specific events in England, including the FA cup final (see page 10), and run until mid-May, the UK government announced on 5 April. The idea is that they could play an important but temporary role in the UK and internationally. The review was published as the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, confirmed the next phase of easing restrictions will go ahead in England as planned on 12 April. The UK government said certification should “never be required” in settings including…

5 min
covid-19 vaccines for kids

COVID-19 vaccines are being trialled in children, with early results from Pfizer showing remarkable efficacy and tolerability. But whether any are approved for use this year may depend on how the virus behaves, say experts. Recently, The Daily Telegraph reported that children in the UK will start being vaccinated against covid-19 as early as August. When contacted by New Scientist, a spokesperson for the UK Department of Health and Social Care said that no decisions have been made on whether children should be offered vaccinations. “While clinical trials are under way to test the efficacy and safety of covid-19 vaccines in children and young adults, these trials have not concluded yet,” they said. “We will be guided by the advice of our experts on these issues, including the Independent Joint Committee on…

1 min
vaccine passports for kids?

Vaccine passports, used to confirm that people have a lower risk of transmitting covid-19, either because of prior infection or a vaccine, are being considered by many countries. Whether children will need them is unclear. Several countries have already issued them to adults. In January, Saudi Arabia created a vaccine passport that works using an app. In February, Israel rolled out a QR code-based “green pass” that people can present as proof of vaccination, which some Israeli businesses and places of worship now require. Meanwhile, the European Commission is developing a digital green certificate to allow people to travel between the EU’s member states, and the UK government is about to start conducting trials (see page 7). Vaccine passports are controversial, in part because it isn’t clear how effective vaccination or prior…

5 min
concerts turned into live trials

FOR a few hours on a Saturday afternoon in March, Simone van Erp did what, for much of the planet right now, would be unthinkable. She took off her mask, brushed up against strangers, danced, sang and shouted as loud as she could – droplets and aerosols be damned – as DJs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, spun to a rapturous crowd of 1300. “Everyone was really happy, enthusiastic, screaming and laughing, it was crazy,” says van Erp. “It was a good feeling. You could see that everyone missed normal life.” It has been a year since much of the world has been able to dance and sing in a hot, crowded venue. Now studies are offering clues as to how we can safely reintroduce large gatherings into our…