How It Works11 min letti
20 Spooky
Sitting at home, alone and in the dark, a sudden sense of fear and a swift chill may wash over your body. Sure enough, your hairs stand to attention and goosebumps cover your skin. It’s a sensation we’ve all felt at one time or another, but why does
How It Works9 min lettiPaganism & Neo-Paganism
The Salem Witch Trials
The term ‘witch’ most likely conjures up a specific image in your mind, one of female figures with suspicious bubbling cauldrons and bulging warts. The term carried the same connotations in the 17th century, a witch being someone who obeyed Satan and
How It Works1 min lettiTechnology & Engineering
Bigfoot: The Original Monster
Textbook American muscle engines are favoured for their large capacity and ability to handle extreme power and stress. Taken from agricultural machines, these make climbing objects easy and allow a cushioned landing afterwards. Two-speed transmission
How It Works4 min lettiPhysics
Brain Dump
■ The supermassive black hole at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy is called Sagittarius A* and weighs approximately 4 million solar masses, or 4 million times the weight of our Sun. This massive monster gobbles up everything that comes close – incl
How It Works1 min letti
Welcome
For the How It Works team and many of our readers in the Northern Hemisphere, the nights have been closing in and the weather has gotten a lot colder in recent weeks. Our feet and hands turn to the warmth of our hearths as our minds turn to ghost sto
How It Works1 min letti
Did You Know?
20 per cent of children report hearing voices There are over 300 bodies of dead climbers on Mount Everest A single solar flare is more explosive than all the nuclear bombs on Earth combined When a person dies, their sense of hearing is the last
How It Works1 min lettiPaganism & Neo-Paganism
How To Spot A Witch In 1692
Over three-quarters of those on trial were female due to the sexism of the time. Women were considered inferior by Puritans and more likely to be tempted to turn to witchcraft. If someone had many female friends, they were thought to be conspiring wi
How It Works1 min lettiTechnology & Engineering
The Air Cushion
Air is stored until it’s needed to give more lift, when air escapes through the hovergap. Transfer of air into the plenum chamber increases pressure and allows the craft to rise. Air is sent down into the plenum chamber of the hovercraft from the mai
How It Works1 min letti
Did You Know?
At around four months old, babies will begin to roll over in their sleep The average person sweats around one litre an hour when exercising There are 1,097 vegetable species cultivated worldwide A star with a mass 20 times that of our Sun’s can
How It Works1 min letti
Meet The Team…
Space is dark, empty and mysterious, but that’s not all that makes it creepy. Explore spooky space phenomena on page 64. Discover the botanical vampires hiding in plain sight and learn how they suck the life out of their leafy hosts on page 48. Wit
How It Works1 min letti
5 Facts About
1 Anne Boleyn King Henry VIII’s second wife was imprisoned at the tower, falsely accused and convicted of adultery, incest and treason. On 19 May 1536 she was executed, beheaded by the blade of sword. 2 Guy Fawkes As a chief conspirator in a plot t
How It Works4 min letti
Hoover Dam construction
In the early 20th century, the lower region of the Colorado River was considered as a site for flood control and a potential source of hydroelectric power for the growing demands of western US states. What would be known as the Hoover Dam was authori
How It Works1 min letti
Hovercraft
The ability of hovercraft to cross dry land as well as water has seen them employed in the military and tourism sectors for many years. Although once billed as the next generation of transportation, they have somewhat decreased in popularity over the
How It Works4 min lettiScience & Mathematics
Book Reviews
■ Author: Giles Sparrow ■ Publisher: Welbeck ■ Price: £12.99 / $14.95 ■ Release: Out now Did you know that when you look up at the sky on a clear night, you can only see a few thousand stars? Even with a decent telescope you’ll only be able to see a
How It Works1 min letti
Lizard From Hell
Looking into the devilish eyes of this cryptic creature, it’s easy to understand why biologist George Boulenger named it the satanic leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus). Weighing just six grams as an adult, these miniature reptiles can be hard
How It Works3 min lettiBiology
All About Allergies
Our bodies are constantly reacting to their surroundings. When it gets cold, your muscles work to warm you up. When you need food your stomach rumbles to alert you. When bacteria or viruses enter your body, cells instantly recognise them as harmful i
How It Works3 min lettiBiology
Vampire Plants
They don’t shy away from sunlight, nor cower from the scent of garlic. However, these botanical vampires share an equal thirst for the ‘blood’ of other organisms. Long before Count Dracula was terrorising the people of Transylvania, parasitic plants
How It Works1 min letti
Inside An LCAC Hovercraft
Most modern hovercraft are used for military purposes, like this Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), which can transport vehicles and troops with ease. This flexible and inflatable barrier traps the cushion of pressurised air beneath the hull in additi
How It Works2 min letti
How To Make Slime
You will need borax, PVA glue, food colouring, warm water and two bowls. In countries where you can’t buy borax, you can use contact lens solution and baking soda instead. Place one teaspoon of the solution into one of the bowls and add one cup – o
How It Works1 min letti
Church Of Skulls
Hidden deep in the heart of Milan is a small Italian catholic church unlike most you may have seen. Dating back to the 13th century, San Bernardino alle Ossa was built by a nearby hospital. Beginning as a small ossuary to house the bones from the ove
How It Works1 min lettiMedical
What Is Anaphylaxis?
Some people’s allergic responses are a seasonal inconvenience, but for others they are much more dangerous. Allergies can be severe and even life-threatening when not managed and responded to hastily. Anaphylaxis is a severe response to an allergen.
How It Works1 min lettiBiology
Draining Their Life
As a stem parasite, dodders extend wiry vines around their host that burrow into the host’s cell walls, called the epidermis. Once the haustoria have gained access to the vascular bundle, the dodder can syphon off water and nutrients. Along the dodde
How It Works1 min lettiMedical
Planning From The Detail
The detail provided by MRI scanners enables doctors of all specialties to plan a patient’s treatment. When footballers damage their knees, an MRI scan will tell if the ligaments are ruptured. Knee surgeons can then reconstruct the damage, often arthr
How It Works1 min lettiChemistry
Summary
The two main components dictate the consistency of your slime. Slime can flow like a liquid, but not in the same way as water. Its viscosity doesn’t remain constant, displaying solid and liquid properties. It can flow through your fingers, but toughe
How It Works3 min lettiChemistry
Nuclear Fusion Reactors Here By 2025
A viable nuclear fusion reactor, one that spits out more energy than it consumes, could be here as soon as 2025. If a fusion reactor reaches that milestone, it could pave the way for a massive generation of clean energy. During fusion, atomic nucle
How It Works1 min lettiMedical
Did You Know?
Cows’ milk is the most common allergy in children, affecting three per cent of babies and toddlers The word ‘allergy’ was first coined by Austrian paediatrician Clemens von Pirquet in 1906 80 per cent of those with a penicillin allergy will lose
How It Works1 min letti
Nightmare before Christmas
Mistletoe has become a symbol of Christmas romance, with those standing beneath it sharing a kiss for good luck. However, its festive featuring is a far cry from its vampiric nature out in the wild. Before it’s bundled up in ribbon and hung underneat
How It Works1 min lettiPhysics
Slice-by-slice Images
Specially wound coils, known as gradient coils, allow for the detailed depth imaging which creates slice-by-slice pictures. While the main superconducting magnet creates a very stable magnetic field, these gradient coils create variable magnetic fiel
How It Works1 min lettiTechnology & Engineering
Letter Of The Month
I would be super interested in learning more about fire mapping. I live in Australia and was affected by the intense fire season at the start of the year. I would love to learn more about how these massive bushfires are predicted and mapped when they
How It Works2 min lettiPhysics
Physics Nobel Prize Awarded For Black Hole Discoveries
The Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to three scientists for their work involving some of the cosmos’ most mysterious, darkest secrets: black holes. Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford in the UK received half of the prize “for the discov
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