New Scientist Weekly

#173 Understanding chronic health conditions; Artificial sweetener linked to heart attacks; Re-thinking galaxies; UN geoengineering report


As millions of people around the world suffer from long covid, research into how viruses trigger chronic health conditions is getting a lot more focus. The team explores the role of viruses in both chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and touch on our latest understanding of long covid.

Our understanding of how galaxies form could be entirely wrong. Huge young galaxies seen by the James Webb Space Telescope seem far too massive to have formed so early on in the universe’s history. The team explains how this could completely upend our models of the universe.

Sharpshooter insects shoot so much urine out of their “anal catapult” they can make it rain. The team explains why this extraordinary species of leafhopper has developed this unusual superpower.

Erythritol, a sweetener found in many low calorie food products, has been linked to blood clots and heart attacks. The team examines various studies that show these links, and asks whether we need to avoid eating the sweetener all together.

Calls are growing for more research into solar geoengineering to stave off climate change. This week 67 researchers signed an open letter calling for more research on the potential methods. Rowan speaks to Jim Haywood, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Exeter, about ways to reduce the amount of sunlight getting to the planet, including stratospheric aerosol injection and marine cloud brightening. Jim is one of the authors of a new UN Environment Program Report called One Atmosphere: An Independent Expert Review on Solar Radiation Modification Research and Deployment.

On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Clare Wilson, Jacob Aron, Sam Wong and Mike Marshall. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at

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