What are the latest techniques being developed to stop counterfeit drugs at the border? Why do countries still prefer bi- and multilateral agreements over global deals, and how does trade play into financial crises? This February, Horizon uncovers what’s setting the course for global trade.
From invisible online markets, past border controls and straight to the consumer, fake pharmaceuticals are on the rise, but now a mix of anti-counterfeiting technology is helping halt the wave of fake drugs and their often lethal consequences.
Bygone Asian cotton and porcelain trade routes could have spurred the consumption of luxury goods in Europe, researchers believe, while scientific cooperation with modern Asia is still leading to new technological advances.
Much of the focus in trade talks around the world at present is on regional deals, rather than global agreements. But researchers say the goal of multilateral pacts will remain in the medium and longer term, given the pressures of globalisation.
Fifty years after humans first set foot on the moon, Earth’s only permanent natural satellite is back in the news with China’s successful landing on the moon’s as-yet-unexplored far side. This month, Horizon looks at how Europe is contributing to moon research. We hear from the European Space Agency’s director of human and robotic exploration about their plans to send a robot and then humans to the lunar surface in the 2020s, and speak to the scientists trying to fill the holes in our understanding of how the moon was formed. We also hear how we could solve the puzzle of where water on Earth originated by analysing volatile substances from the moon, and take a look at the methods and facilities being developed to protect precious extra-terrestrial samples from human contamination.
The languages we speak and how we speak them are an integral part of our identity, shaping not only how we see the world but also how people see us. In January, Horizon puts language under the spotlight, kicking off the month with a look at Europe’s minority languages and how to preserve them. We also delve into the social and cognitive aspects of language use, finding out how accents arise and how they affect people’s perception of the speaker, and discovering how ageing affects linguistic capacity in bilingual people – and vice versa. We also speak to researchers looking into the language impairment dyslexia and potential options for early diagnosis.
As a child, you almost certainly at one stage spent hours watching ants move about from their nest. Maybe you dropped a piece of food and watched as a group of ants came and picked it up, carrying it home in an impressive display of cooperation.
It has implications for autonomous technologies and human collaboration.
New lunar rock analysis provides fuller picture about the origin of water on the moon and on Earth.
We are entering a second era of lunar exploration, says ESA’s Dr David Parker.