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New Scientist


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.

United Kingdom
New Scientist Ltd
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51 Issues


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resetting offsetting

GREENWASH? The question may loom large as your hand hovers over the “offset emissions” button on an airline website. Can you really negate the environmental damage of a flight or other polluting activity by paying to plant an extra tree here, or investing in a solar panel there? Or is carbon offsetting just a fig leaf to disguise our embarrassingly tiny efforts to combat climate change? Yes and no. Carbon offsetting is no substitute for effective action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but well-designed schemes can be a stopgap while we seek ways to avoid emitting in the first place (page 20). Flying is particularly tricky because, as yet, there are few credible alternatives to fossil-fuelled flight. Let’s be clear. Jetting across the world is a privilege, not a right, and the…

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new scientist

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india’s moonshot on hold

INDIA’S attempt to land on the moon is facing a setback. The launch of its Chandrayaan 2 mission was scheduled for 14 July, but was halted less than an hour before lift-off because “a technical snag” was observed in the launch vehicle system, said the Indian Space Research Organisation. The mission is the successor to Chandrayaan 1, which blasted off in 2008 and consisted of a lunar orbiter and an impactor that slammed into the surface of the moon. The resulting collision released a cloud of debris, including water vapour that confirmed the presence of this substance on the moon. Chandrayaan 2 will also have an orbiter to relay data back to Earth, as well as a lander called Vikram and a small rover called Pragyan. Between these three craft, the mission…

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virus outbreak reaches big city

A CASE of Ebola has been confirmed in Goma, the first in a major city since the outbreak that has killed 1700 people began in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) last year. That is despite efforts to contain the virus, including giving around 160,000 people a vaccine made by Merck that seems to be 97 per cent effective. But the Wellcome Trust, a health charity, warned supplies of this could run out. It urged the use of a second vaccine, made by Johnson & Johnson. DRC health minister Oly Ilunga responded by saying there is no need for another vaccine.…

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women as aroused by sexual images

WOMEN’S brains react to sexual images just as much as men’s, challenging the belief that men are more turned on by visual stimuli. There is wide variation in behaviour among both sexes, but men are assumed to be more interested in sexual images, an idea seemingly confirmed by brain scans. But such studies have been criticised for drawing conclusions from small differences that could have arisen by chance. Now, a review of 61 brain scanning studies found no difference between men and women’s response to sexual images (PNAS, doi.org/c8cf).…

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anorexia may be a metabolic disorder

A GENETIC study of more than 72,000 people suggests that anorexia nervosa isn’t just a psychiatric condition – it is a metabolic one, too. Anorexia affects between 0.9 and 4 per cent of women and 0.3 per cent of men, but is still poorly understood. “Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder,” says Cynthia Bulik at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “There’s no medication, and that’s probably because we don’t understand the underlying causes.” “There’s no medication for anorexia – probably because we don’t understand its causes” Previous research has found that genetic factors, as well as environmental ones, can increase a person’s risk of anorexia. To investigate, Bulik and her colleagues compared the genomes of just under 17,000 people with anorexia with those of 55,500 people…