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New Scientist Australian Edition 19-Jun-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 future of healthcare The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the spotlight on human health and the role of science like never before. Find out what the future of healthcare will look like in this special one-day event. You will hear inspiring talks from a selection of scientists at the forefront of research and experts on healthy living. Many sessions will also feature audience questions, giving you the opportunity to be part of the conversation. Join us on 26 June. Tickets available now. newscientist.com/events Podcast Weekly For the first time in 18 years, a new drug has been approved to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The team discuss this huge news and why there are still reasons to be cautious. Also on the pod: Google researchers have mapped the neurons in a part of the brain, and…

1 min
a note from the culture editor

Since New Scientist’s inception, we have been for “all those interested in scientific discovery and its social consequences”. However, science journalism has a diversity issue, meaning many of those interested people are under-represented in the profession. For the past two years, we have been running an internship scheme to help address this, and I am delighted to announce that we are continuing it this year. The six-month internship is open to anyone from an ethnic minority background. It will be jam-packed with on-the-job training in news and features writing, as well as subediting. It pays the 2021 London Living Wage and will be based on the London news desk – though we can’t yet say whether interns will be working from the office or home. We have trained six brilliant science journalists…

2 min
get with the program

IT IS hard to go a single day without hearing about the two huge crises that humanity is grappling with right now, the covid-19 pandemic and the climate emergency. In both cases, science and technology have been crucial in identifying the problems and their possible solutions. Those two issues might seem like quite enough to be going on with, but we shouldn’t take our eyes off another troublesome area in which the role of science is vital: the rise of algorithms. We might hear less about them, but algorithms are just as hard to avoid as talk of the pandemic. Constantly operating in the background of our digital lives, they do a huge variety of jobs, suggesting what we should read, watch and buy online. They are also increasingly used to help us…

3 min
england lockdown extended

THE lifting of the final covid-19 restrictions in England, scheduled for 21 June, has been delayed by our weeks to head off the risk of a new wave of covid-19 caused by the delta variant. The move will buy time to vaccinate more people. According to the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, or SAGE, computer models of lifting restrictions project a “large resurgence” in cases and hospital admissions, which could be “considerably” larger than previous waves. After falling for months, the number of new cases of covid-19 is rising again in all four nations of the UK. Scotland is worst affected, with England second. The rise is fuelled by the delta variant, which is believed to be about 60 per cent more transmissible than the previously dominant alpha variant and…

4 min
it isn’t too late to eliminate

COUNTRIES that pursued strict pandemic suppression strategies fared better on measures of health, wealth and civil liberties than those that didn’t, according to an analysis published this week (The Lancet, doi.org/f89p). The analysis covers the pandemic’s first year from February 2020, but has relevance to ongoing efforts to end it. Moving to an elimination strategy even at this stage could lead to better health, prosperity and freedom, say the authors. The researchers compared 37 wealthy nations’ deaths from covid-19, GDP growth and strictness of lockdown measures. They classified the countries into two groups: five “elimination” countries, which took maximum action at all times to suppress the outbreak; and 32 “mitigation” countries, which reacted to events to stop their health systems from being overwhelmed. “What we found was that there were far fewer…

3 min
a robotic chemist could reveal the recipe for earth’s primordial soup

RECREATING the compounds and experimental conditions that interacted over billions of years to create life on Earth is impossible in the lab. But an autonomous robot that can shorten the time it takes to test possible mixtures could help reveal the precise combination that let proteins, DNA and enzymes emerge from the prebiotic soup on early Earth. Lee Cronin at the University of Glasgow, UK, and his colleagues built a robotic chemist that can mix simple molecules together, watch them react, analyse the results and decide what else to add. Over several weeks, this robot can start to recreate a prebiotic soup with almost no input from human chemists, he says. “We wanted to remove the bias from the experiments and cover as much chemical space as possible to look for the…