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New Scientist Australian Edition 14-Aug-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

2 min
elsewhere on new scientist

Virtual events Creating a sustainable future Global heating is a crisis that requires massive societal changes. During this one-day online event, we’ll explore how to make them as quickly as possible. Three stages of talks will cover everything from habitat restoration and the path to net zero to sustainable diets. Join us on 25 September from 10am BST. Get your tickets now. The anatomy of friendship Friendship is the most important factor in our well-being. It is also the most complicated thing in the universe, making huge demands on our brains. In this talk, Robin Dunbar will explain how our brains create friendships for us. Join us on 21 October from 6pm BST. newscientist.com/ns-events Podcasts Weekly The team look at the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, on the physical basis of global warming. They…

2 min
a tale of two crises

A CRISIS urgently needs solving. Science can provide the tools to help, but we must be willing to change our lifestyles. Solutions will be very expensive, yet the cost of inaction is even higher. This isn’t the first time we have drawn parallels between climate change and the coronavirus pandemic. We first did so in our leader of 7 March 2020, when total global cases of covid-19 numbered fewer than 100,000, and there was as yet officially no pandemic. “We are facing a global emergency, and politicians who appear to not believe in science are putting us all at risk,” we said back then. The difference now is that we have seen what happens when we put our minds (and wallets) to tackling a global emergency. The development of multiple successful coronavirus…

3 min
earth in the danger zone

OUR world is expected to hit the critical threshold of 1.5°C of warming due to climate change within the next 20 years under all five scenarios considered by a landmark report. That is regardless of how deeply we cut greenhouse gas emissions. In a summary of the state of climate science, agreed by 195 countries and published on 9 August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said humanity’s role in driving climate change was “unequivocal”, an upgrade on the language of “clear” used eight years ago. Researchers said each of the past four decades has been warmer than any decade since 1850, and warned of more extreme weather to come. This year has already seen deadly floods, heatwaves and wildfires, with Greece battling major blazes as the report came out. “Climate…

1 min
what we know so far

WE HAVE never before had anything like a covid-19 vaccine. Developed in record time, we now have an armoury of different jabs to help us tackle the coronavirus. Their speedy roll‑out means we are receiving them before any longer-term data can confirm how effective they are at preventing infection, transmission, illness and death. That information is now rolling in. While it is largely encouraging, we are only starting to get a glimpse at how long each vaccine offers protection, whether booster shots will be needed and how well the jabs are holding up against newer variants of the coronavirus. From efficacy to preventing long covid, over the next seven pages we examine what we now know about the leading vaccines, and how many more are yet to come.…

3 min

How does it work? A chimpanzee cold adenovirus has been genetically altered so it can no longer reproduce and has had a gene added that encodes the coronavirus’s spike protein. When injected, the virus is taken up by immune cells, which then make the spike protein and “display” it to other immune cells, triggering an immune response. Where is it made? Most UK stock is made by AstraZeneca facilities in the UK, although the vaccine is also manufactured in 14 other countries. The UK has used about 5 million doses from the Serum Institute of India, but exports stopped when covid-19 surged in India earlier this year. Are the UK and Indian versions of the vaccine different? They are identical, but a few people in the UK who got the Indian-made version have had their…

2 min

How does it work? The vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) to make the body produce a protein from the coronavirus and prime your immune system to fight off the real thing. Where is it made? The manufacturing process involves multiple sites, but most doses are distributed from sites in Kalamazoo in Michigan and Puurs in Belgium. Where has it been approved? It has forms of approval in 97 countries so far, including the US and the UK, which was the first country in the world to authorise it. How many doses have been distributed so far? “Hundreds of millions of doses,” according to Pfizer. Are there side effects? The most common is pain at the injection site, followed by fatigue and headache. More serious side effects, like severe allergic reactions or heart inflammation (myocarditis), have been reported, but are…