Economist/Science & Technology

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How to separate oxygen from air using magnets

Making oxygenHow to separate oxygen from air using magnetsIf it works, this vital gas should become cheaperScience & technologyJan 23rd 2021 editionOXYGEN IS VITAL. Literally so for breathing, and thus for many hospital patients. And metaphorically for industries ranging from steelmaking to pharmaceuticals, which use it in their processes. The world...

China’s jabs may have an important role

Chinese covid vaccinesChina’s jabs may have an important roleBut there is uncertainty over their efficacyScience & technologyJan 23rd 2021 editionIN MEDICAL SCIENCE, fortune rarely favours endeavours that begin by skirting phase-three trials—those that test a new drug or vaccine on lots of people in a rigorously controlled way. Yet this is exactly...

Irradiating small animals used as fish food makes them bigger

AquacultureIrradiating small animals used as fish food makes them biggerThe result is Godzilla the rotiferScience & technologyJan 23rd 2021 editionTHE WORLD’S fisheries are overexploited. One way to relieve pressure on them is to increase the yield of fish farms. And one way to do that is to improve the quality of the food fed to the livestock in...

Where a rodent lives may determine how clever it is

MiceWhere a rodent lives may determine how clever it isCountry bumpkins and city slickersScience & technologyJan 23rd 2021 editionAESOP’S FABLE about the town mouse and the country mouse concentrates on the dangers of city living and rather sneers at its advantages. Yet advantages there are, for mice and men alike, as long as those involved are...

How fast can vaccination against covid-19 make a difference?

Covid-19 vaccinesHow fast can vaccination against covid-19 make a difference?Israel has some answersScience & technologyHOSPITALS AROUND the world are, once again, buckling under a torrent of covid-19 patients. In places as far apart as London, Cape Town and Los Angeles ambulances wait for hours to unload the sick, and refrigerated lorries have...

Viruses hitch lifts on some bacteria, the better to kill others

MicrobiologyViruses hitch lifts on some bacteria, the better to kill othersA hitchhiker’s guide to the microverseScience & technologyJan 16th 2021 editionNOWADAYS, PATHOGENIC bacteria are generally dealt with using antibiotics. But some researchers argue that bactericidal viruses called bacteriophages should be added to the armory. One reason they...

Two arthritis medicines prove effective for covid-19

Repurposing drugsTwo arthritis medicines prove effective for covid-19A pair of acesScience & technologyGOOD NEWS from covid-19 wards is hard to come by. A relentless surge in infections is overwhelming hospitals around the world. But the results from a clinical trial of two drugs, announced on January 7th, have improved the prognosis for both patients...

A Japanese forestry firm wants to put wooden satellites into orbit

Space flightA Japanese forestry firm wants to put wooden satellites into orbitIn space, wood has advantages over artificial materialsScience & technologyTHE SPACE age was built on clever materials. The business ends of rocket engines are composed of Inconel, a family of heat-and-corrosion-resistant nickel-chromium alloys developed in the 1940s....

Removing space junk

Dealing with celestial scrapRemoving space junkPlans to clean up orbits around Earth are being hatchedScience & technologyHUMAN BEINGS are messy. They tend to leave rubbish behind them wherever they go—and to expect someone else to clear that rubbish up. This is true even in outer space. The problem of orbiting debris, and the concomitant risk of...

Balinese temple monkeys are sophisticated thieves

Animal economicsBalinese temple monkeys are sophisticated thievesThey prove that human beings are not the only species able to negotiate a dealScience & technologyIF YOU VISIT Uluwatu temple in Bali, beware. The long-tailed macaques there are well-known thieves. Since time out of mind they have made a living by robbing visitors of their possessions...

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