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How It Works

How It Works

No. 135

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.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Future Publishing Ltd
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13 Issues

In this issue

1 min.
welcome

“The ecosystem in our intestines is essential for our survival” It wasn’t so long ago I learned that every cell in the human body is replaced at least once every ten years. That means you are literally not the same person you were a decade ago. Now, in this issue of How It Works, I’ve discovered that a large percentage of a human’s total body weight – possibly more than half of it – is microbiota: bacteria, fungi and other families of microorganisms. So only half of what I thought was me is actually human, and hasn’t even been around for half the time I thought it had! Not to detract from all those friendly bugs in our bodies though: find out how important they are on page 22. Enjoy the…

1 min.
meet the team…

Nikole Production Editor How did movies pull off their magic before CGI? Turn to page 58 to see the secrets behind the silver screen’s special effects. Scott Staff Writer Discover the molecular interactions that keep fire ablaze, as well as its destructive power, on page 32. Baljeet Research Editor Have spacecraft gotten easier to fly since the days of Apollo? And what does it take to pilot one? Find out on page 50. Duncan Senior Art Editor The London Eye has looked out over the Thames for 20 years now. Learn about its design and construction on page 78. Ailsa Staff Writer Ever watched your cat and wondered what’s going on inside their head? Learn to understand your feline friend on page 44.…

1 min.
meet this issue’s experts…

Jo Elphick Jo is an academic lawyer and lecturer specialising in criminal law and forensics. She is also the author of a number of true crime books. Mark Smith A technology and multimedia specialist, Mark has written tech articles for leading online and print publications for many years. Andy Extance Andy is a freelance science writer based in Exeter, UK. He previously worked in early stage drug discovery research, followed by a brief stint in silicone adhesive and rubber manufacturing. Dr Andrew May Andrew has a PhD in astrophysics and 30 years in public and private industry. He enjoys space writing and is the author of several books. Amy Grisdale Volunteer animal worker Amy has an enormous breadth of experience on animal conservation projects. She specialises in writing about environmental topics. Steve Wright Steve has worked as an editor on various…

1 min.
garden mini-beast

Found feasting on the flesh of rotting vegetation and avoiding the predatory advances of spiders, beetles and hedgehogs, the common woodlouse (Oniscus asellus) is one of nature’s robust invertebrates. There are around 30 species of woodlouse in the UK alone, all of which sport smooth segments of armour to form a protective exoskeleton. Spending the majority of their time beneath rocks and between the crevices of decaying wood, woodlice have an average life span of around two years, with some reaching as old as four years. This woodlouse was captured and digitally coloured by David Spears for The Royal Photographic Society’s 2019 science photography competition. You can find out more about this year’s entries at rps.org.…

1 min.
spot the trapped atom

Taken through a window of an ultra-high vacuum chamber, two metal electrodes are facing off to reveal a single positively charged strontium atom. If you look closely within the two-millimetre-wide ion trap, the lonely atom appears as a tiny white fleck of dust, illuminated by a blue-violet laser. The strontium atom absorbs the colour emitted by the laser and re-emits light, sufficient enough for David Nadlinger from the University of Oxford to snap this shot. Not only did the image satisfy his desire to witness a single atom with the naked eye, it also won him the overall prize in a national science photography competition, organised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, back in 2018.…

1 min.
meet the coronavirus

This cluster of coronavirus was imaged using a coloured scanning electron microscope (SEM). The virus family is responsible for diseases such as the common cold, gastroenteritis and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). It gets its name from its crown – or ‘corona’ – of proteins on its surface. The proteins act as a hook to bind to the cells of the organism the virus has taken as a host. Once attached to the cell, coronavirus will act as a production factory, replicating itself and spreading around the body. Transmitted through the air, it is easily passed from person to person. This is one of the reasons why the new coronavirus strain (2019-nCoV) from the Wuhan region of China has spread so rapidly, reaching other countries around the world.…