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© 2021 New Scientist Weekly
New Scientist presents
New Scientist Weekly
Keep up with the latest scientific developments and breakthroughs in this award winning weekly podcast from the team at New Scientist, the world’s most popular weekly science and technology magazine. Each discussion centers around three of the most fascinating stories to hit the headlines each week. From technology, to space, health and the environment, we share all the information you need to keep pace.
October 14, 2021
#89: Climate-ready food of the future; the biology of poverty; deepfake audio; mystery cosmic signal; Captain Kirk in space
Breadfruit could help us weather the storm of climate change. The team hears how the and could even replace staple crops like wheat in the future. The team finds out why , as new research examines the mechanisms that are at play. They also explore a good old fashioned space mystery, after . And that’s not the only exciting space news - they also discuss Blue Origin’s latest passenger flight to space, featuring . They also share , and why we should be concerned. And they share a fascinating new theory about . On the pod are , Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page, Jason Murugesu and Chelsea Whyte. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
October 7, 2021
#88: Should climate activism go to extreme levels?; malaria vaccine; new drugs to treat covid; mission to the asteroid belt
The team opens with the welcome news that after 37 years of development, the . They then hear from Swedish author Andreas Malm, who argues that the climate movement needs to get more militant. He says the likes of Extinction Rebellion have 'peace-washed' historical accounts of protest movements, and, controversially, puts the case for escalating from mass civil disobedience to engage in property destruction. The - the team unpacks a flurry of announcements about promising new treatments. They discuss the launching in 2028 which plans to swing by Venus before heading to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. They also share a roundup of the and , and find out how touch receptors in the skin are involved in . On the pod are , Penny Sarchet and Alice Klein. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
September 30, 2021
#87: Mini black holes impacting the moon; first CRISPR gene-edited food goes on sale; why leaves turn brown in autumn
CRISPR gene-edited food has . The team finds out about this ‘super tomato’ which has been created by a startup in Japan. Have you ever wondered why leaves change colour in the autumn? The team discusses an evolutionary explanation suggesting that leaf colour is a signal. Following Greta Thunberg’s latest speech at the pre-COP26 event Youth4Climate, the team reflects on Germany’s recent election, which could be . They also discover how , and they find out . On the pod are , Penny Sarchet and Abby Beal. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
September 23, 2021
#86: The woman who couldn’t smell; solving the climate and biodiversity emergencies; China’s quantum of solace
Imagine going your whole life without being able to smell - and then suddenly you can. The team tells the amazing story of - a case which has scientists baffled. Efforts to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises need to be unified. We hear from Nathalie Pettorelli of the Zoological Society of London, lead author of a new paper calling for a more joined up approach, . The team discusses the latest developments in quantum computing, including - showcasing how a future quantum internet might work. They also find out , and explore the reasons behind the UK’s winter fuel crisis. On the pod are , Penny Sarchet, Matt Sparkes and Alice Klein. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
September 16, 2021
#85: The violent frontline of climate change; bringing back the mammoth; another first for SpaceX
In some parts of the world, taking a stand for the planet can be incredibly dangerous. This week we hear from Laura Furones, of the campaign group Global Witness, on the finding that . She explains why this is happening and what needs to be done to protect these people. In de-extinction news, $15 million has been given to a team hoping to bring mammoths back to life. While exciting news for some, evolutionary biologist Tori Herridge discusses the of creating mammoth-elephant hybrids. The team finds out the latest on the, and whether the country is likely to face another lockdown. They also discuss the SpaceX Inspiration4 mission, and learn that . Your hosts on the pod are and Penny Sarchet. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
September 9, 2021
#84: Health benefits of male flatulence; cave dwellings on Mars; covid booster shots
Great news for the more flatulent among us - . The team discusses a slightly unsavoury experiment in which men weighed their poos, stored them in freezers, and even had their farts measured… all in the name of science. The team also questions the wisdom of . Some countries are already gearing up to deliver dose number three, all while poorer populations struggle to get their hands on a first dose. Potential homes have been identified for Martians of the future - the team talks about the discovery of . They also discuss the news of a billionaire-funded lab that’s been set up with the aim of ‘curing’ the ageing process. And you even get to hear the words of a - yeah, you read that right. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Alice Klein. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
September 2, 2021
#83: Low carbon shipping; Anil Seth on consciousness; humanity’s ancient history in Arabia; quantum gravity
A bold move from the world’s largest shipping company could have big implications for the planet . Maersk has bought ships which can run on both traditional fuel and methanol. This alternative fuel, the team explains, . Neuroscientist Anil Seth puts forward , the subject of his latest book Being You – A New Science of Consciousness. The team explains how researchers are inching closer to solving one of the biggest problems in physics - quantum gravity. They also explore why the Large Hadron Collider - one of the most technologically advanced machines in the world - . And they find out about . On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Timothy Revell, Adam Vaughan, Leah Crane,- Chelsea Whyte and Rowan Hooper. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
August 26, 2021
#82: Taliban seize Afghan biometric equipment; uploading our brains to machines; investigating Nazi uranium
Equipment from a massive biometrics programme in Afghanistan . From police and election commission programmes, they “have everything” according to one expert. The team explores the potential dangers caused by the Taliban’s access to this equipment. They also discuss the past and future of artificial intelligence with author Jeanette Winterson as she dives into her new book ‘12 Bytes’. A uranium cube that is being examined by experts, and the team finds out exactly how the identification process works. They also learn about the nefarious goings-on of , and they find out how astronomers have discovered a load of . On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Timothy Revell and Matthew Sparkes, Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
August 19, 2021
#81: Breakthrough in nuclear fusion; mini human brain grown with eyes; rapid evolution of synthetic bacteria
Recreating the power of the sun, the dream of nuclear fusion - it’s a dream we’re inching ever closer to. A new has the team excited, and they catch up with Jeremy Chittenden, co-director of the Centre for Inertial Fusion Studies at Imperial College London, to get the latest. The team then see how evolution has proved, once again, that it is cleverer than we are, as . With the new school year not far away, fears are mounting over the covid-19 Delta variant, which threatens to sweep through our children - the team explains why. Things take a bizarre turn when the team finds out about a . Also, following the IPCC report last week, and as COP26 approaches, the team checks in on . On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Abby Beall and Mike Marshall. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
August 12, 2021
#80: Analysis of IPCC climate report; the rise of synthetic milk; discovery of new carnivorous plant
A lead author of the , , joins the team for a special episode of the podcast. News headlines have left many concerned, and with more questions than ever, so the team devotes a large chunk of the show to unpacking the findings of the report, and emphasising hope and action over doom and gloom. Linked to the issue of climate change is the agricultural industry’s impact on the environment, but there’s hope there too. The team explains how ! And the team finds out about a - a newly-described species that kills insects and could provide a natural solution to pest control. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Graham Lawton and Adam Vaughan. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
August 5, 2021
#79: Google creates a time crystal; microplastics in human placenta; boosting China’s vaccines; our climate future
As severe weather events around the world give us a very real taste of the devastating effects of climate change, . The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its big report on the physical basis of climate change next week - the team previews what’s to come. They also explain why a number of nations are now . For the first time, microplastics have been found in human placentas, and the team examines the possible health implications. They also learn about new technology which is being used to send, and they get all Doctor Who when they find out about . On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet and Matt Sparkes. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
July 29, 2021
#78: Will covid evolve to evade vaccines?; the oldest animal fossils ever found; predicting climate change’s extreme weather
More than a week since England lifted its covid restrictions, infection numbers in the UK are very high. The team examines how the country has set up the perfect circumstances for the evolution of “escape variants” - forms of the virus that may be able to evade our immune systems and vaccines. The team also learns of the discovery of the earliest fossil animals ever found - sponges that are 350 million years older than anything we’ve seen before. They explain how a 14-legged single-cell organism is able to walk without a brain. They also discover what would happen if two superfast stars smashed into each other, and find out why many climate models weren’t able to predict the severity of recent extreme weather. On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Timothy Revell, Leah Crane and Michael Marshall. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
July 22, 2021
#77: Is dropping covid restrictions unethical?; methane hints to life on Mars; Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin’s road to space
Freedom day arrived in England this week, as . But as cases continue to rise and many people, children included, remain unvaccinated, the team discuss why hundreds of experts are calling the move an ‘unethical experiment’. , which could indicate life on the Red Planet - but the team explains why they aren’t breaking out the champagne just yet. They then discuss the , with Jeff Bezos announcing his plans to build a ‘road to space’. There’s also news about , as biologists discover the sophisticated methods the plants use to communicate. And the team touches on the discovery of , which could aid in the fight against climate change. On the pod are , Chelsea Whyte, and Cat de Lange. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
July 15, 2021
#76: Harm of race-based medicine; space tourism industry is go; America’s heatwave challenges
Race-based medical practises are being challenged more and more, as it becomes increasingly clear they have little basis in science. The team finds out why , despite the potential harm and healthcare implications they cause. It’s been a massive week for the future of space tourism - the team shares a clip of a very excited Richard Branson who’s recent journey into microgravity has set the stage for the launch of . The team gives an update on the , as more record high temperatures are set, continuing to leave destruction in its wake. They also explain what ‘impact gardening’ is and why it might help us find alien life on Jupiter’s moon Europa, and they share important news on the state of the . On the pod are , Chelsea Whyte, and Layal Liverpool. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
July 8, 2021
#75: Vaccine for kids; legacy of Dolly the sheep; how to repair the climate; China’s quantum advantage
In the UK, rules around attendance at schools after a covid outbreak are changing, but the country still hasn’t decided whether or not to vaccinate children. The team finds out what the hold up is, especially given some countries have already taken the leap. It’s been 25 years since the cloning of Dolly the sheep, so the team looks at Dolly’s legacy, exploring the many advancements and discoveries that have come as a result of this marvel of biological science. They then discuss the small matter of how to save the planet as former UK chief scientist David King, founder of the newly formed Climate Crisis Advisory Group, sets out his mission. In the race to create a breakthrough quantum computer, China is in the lead - the team explores a leapfrogging event which has seen the country achieve quantum advantage, creating the fastest computer on Earth. And they discuss NASA’s exciting plans to create a spacecraft powered by solar sails. On the pod are , Chelsea Whyte, Matt Sparks and Clare Wilson. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
July 1, 2021
#74: ‘Dragon man’ could be new species of human; Wally Funk goes to space; human and financial cost of heatwave; how covid affects the brain
A unique kind of human skull has been discovered in China. The team describes the details of this skull, known as the ‘Dragon Man’, and explains how it might belong to a new species of human. And if that’s not exciting enough, its discovery has the most amazing Indiana Jones style backstory too. In breaking news, Jeff Bezos has announced that legendary aviator Wally Funk, one of the Mercury 13 women who trained as astronauts, will go to space with him on the first crewed Blue Origin mission. The team then discusses the intense heat waves that have been wreaking havoc in the Arctic and across the Pacific northwest. They explore the effects of , as new studies show that a third of people who’ve been infected have suffered some form of cognitive or psychological disorder. They also share some incredible, experimental music from the composer John Luther Adams, whose new album ‘Arctic Dreams’ is inspired by the sounds of the Alaskan wilderness. And they bring bad news from the surface of Venus, as hopes for life on the planet begin to dwindle. On the pod are , Tiffany O’Callaghan, Alison George and Chelsea Whyte. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at
June 24, 2021
#73: How to treat long covid; evolution of cooperation; Turing’s ACE computer; aliens watching Earth
The are diverse and numerous, and we’re still getting to grips with a clinical definition. Adam Vaughan visited the UK’s , and explains how it provides both physical and psychological support to patients. The team then discusses the evolution of cooperation with professor Nichola Raihani, author of ‘’, who explains , an act which seems to contradict the competitive nature of life in Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Then they get into the unnerving news that . They mark the birthday of one of the greatest and most influential figures of the twentieth century, , who features on the Bank of England’s new £50 note. And they explain how. On the pod are , Tiffany O’Callaghan, Adam Vaughan, Matt Sparkes, Leah Crane and Chelsea Whyte. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
June 17, 2021
#72: The evil in all of us; delta variant of coronavirus; glacier memory project
The has torn across India, and is making its way around the globe, forcing the extension of lockdown measures in the UK. The team explores its spread, and also digs into findings showing that “elimination countries” - those which enacted swift and extreme lockdown measures - have . They then discuss the , which is archiving and preserving material and data from glaciers - ancient relics that have been trapped in the ice for millennia, sadly thawing due to global warming. There’s a conversation with forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist Gwen Adshead about the capacity we all have for evil - the subject of her new book ‘’. On top of that, there’s the news that China has launched the first group of astronauts to and laid out its plans for an international moon base, and a story about , where it is the males who get pregnant. On the pod are , Tiffany O’Callaghan, and Graham Lawton. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
June 10, 2021
#71: Alzheimer’s treatment approved; human brain map breakthrough; time flowing backwards
For the first time in 18 years, a new drug for Alzheimer’s disease has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. This is big news because rather than just treating the symptoms, the drug targets the amyloid plaques that are thought to cause the disease. But the team explains why there are still many reasons to remain cautious. They also discuss an exciting breakthrough in our understanding of the brain, as Google researchers have, for the first time, , containing a whopping 50 thousand brain cells and 130 million connections. Then there’s the little story about how time can appear to violate the second law of thermodynamics, . The team also celebrates the , and they travel to the very edges of the galaxy where, for the first time, . On the pod are , Tiffany O’Callaghan, Mike Marshall and Anna Demming. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='
June 3, 2021
#70: Coronavirus origin story; Big Oil’s nightmare; history of the gender pain gap
From a bat… or from a lab? It seemed the question of where SARS-CoV-2 originated had been settled, but recently it's been reignited. Amid lots of conflicting and confusing news stories, the team explores really know about the origins of covid-19. They then mark a , as three of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies are forced to work harder and faster to reduce their environmental impact. They also speak to , author of a new book called ‘Unwell Women: A Journey Through Medicine And Myth in a Man-Made World’, which examines the origins of the gender pain gap. They dig into new findings from the Libyan civil war showing . And on the brighter side of robotics, the team finds out about a , which is offering people with life-limiting diseases a chance to interact with the outside world. On the pod are , Cat de Lange, Graham Lawton and Anna Demming. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at <a href='