Economist/Science & Technology

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Measuring luminescence helps to date a remarkable new discovery at Stonehenge

How illuminatingMeasuring luminescence helps to date a remarkable new discovery at StonehengeHigh-tech archaeologyScience & technologyJul 11th 2020 editionFOR MORE than 4,000 years Stonehenge has stood on Salisbury Plain in southern Britain. The landscape surrounding the Neolithic monument contains many secrets, with features dating back to much...

Emissions slashed today won’t slow warming until mid-century

Climate actionEmissions slashed today won’t slow warming until mid-centuryMitigation policies remain essential, but governments need to be wary of public perceptionsScience & technologyJul 11th 2020 editionMUCH OF the international effort thus far to combat climate change has focused on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases, chief among them carbon...

This year’s AIDS conference has brought snippets of good news

The 23rd International AIDS ConferenceThis year’s AIDS conference has brought snippets of good newsBut the HIV pandemic is nowhere near over yetScience & technologyEVEN IN THE days of the internet, conferences remain the lifeblood of science. Young thrusters can meet old fogeys and lobby them for jobs. Ideas can be swapped in the knowledge that...

After many false starts, hydrogen power might now bear fruit

Hydrogen powerAfter many false starts, hydrogen power might now bear fruitBut it will fill in the gaps, rather than dominating the economyScience & technologyJul 4th 2020 editionCONVENTIONAL WISDOM holds that battery-powered cars are the future of motoring. But Hyundai, a big South Korean vehicle-maker, is not so sure. Over the past few months it...

A pest’s genome reveals its past

PhylloxeraA pest’s genome reveals its pastAnd shines light on how to deal with it in futureScience & technologyJul 4th 2020 editionA CENTURY AND a half ago an alien insect alighted in Europe. It displaced millions, ruined local economies and forced scientists, politicians and ordinary folk into a frenzy of defensive activity. Phylloxera, a member...

Pandemic-proofing the planet

Global healthPandemic-proofing the planetNew diseases are inevitable. Ensuing global calamities are notScience & technologyIN FEBRUARY 2018 a panel of experts convened by the World Health Organisation (WHO) put together a list of diseases that posed big public-health risks but for which there were few or no countermeasures. It featured various well-recognised...

An icebreaker called Polarstern is revealing the Arctic’s secrets

A floating Arctic laboratoryAn icebreaker called Polarstern is revealing the Arctic’s secretsEverything depends on how the ice behavesScience & technologyJun 20th 2020 editionTHERE IS “LOCKDOWN”. And then there is lockdown. Those who have spent the past weeks allowed out only to exercise and visit the shops might spare a thought for the passengers...

A cheap steroid cuts deaths from severe covid-19

Light amid the gloomA cheap steroid cuts deaths from severe covid-19Dexamethasone appears most effective for patients needing ventilationScience & technologyDRUG DISCOVERY is, almost by definition, an emotional rollercoaster. The path to success is strewn with false hopes, disappointment and even the occasional scientific scandal. And so it has...

Hydroxychloroquine is embroiled in yet more controversy

The search for a covid-19 treatmentHydroxychloroquine is embroiled in yet more controversyAnd so is the idea of peer reviewScience & technologyJun 13th 2020 editionONCE PRAISED as a miracle cure for covid-19, an antimalarial drug called hydroxychloroquine has rarely been out of the headlines since the start of the pandemic. It was hoped it might...

An animal model of covid-19 is now available

Laboratory miceAn animal model of covid-19 is now availableAnother is on its wayScience & technologyJun 11th 2020 editionMICE ARE, as it were, the guinea pigs of science. And these days they are often genetically engineered guinea pigs, to boot. The emergence of covid-19, for example, has created demand for laboratory animals that have human versions...

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