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30,208 articles from Guardian Unlimited Science

Empathy machines: what will happen when robots learn to write film scripts?

AI is on the march in the movie industry – but what would an android-written film actually look like? And will it be any good?A few years ago I moved to San Francisco, and almost everybody I met there immediately told me they were working on a startup. These startups all had the same innocent names – Swoon, Flow, Maker – and the same dreadful mission: to build AIs that automated some...

What kind of face mask gives the best protection against Covid-19?

Your questions answered on what type of mask to wear to cut the risk of getting Covid-19Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageYes. Different types of mask offer different levels of protection. Surgical grade N95 respirators offer the highest level of protection against Covid-19 infection, followed by surgical grade masks. However, these masks are costly, in limited supply,...

Treasury's 'green recovery' not enough, say campaigners

Proposed £3bn environmental funding for UK contrasts with Germany’s £36bn investmentEnvironmental groups have reacted with disappointment to details of the government’s Covid-19 economic rescue package released by the Treasury.On Monday night the government announced some details of the announcement expected on Wednesday, including a £1bn energy efficiency upgrade for public buildings and...

Refusal to wear mask should be as taboo as drink-driving, says Royal Society chief

President of science body issues call amid evidence coverings protect wearer as well as othersCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageRefusing to wear a mask in public during the Covid-19 epidemic should become as socially unacceptable as drink-driving or not wearing a seatbelt, the president of the Royal Society has said.He spoke as new research emerges suggesting the UK’s...

Country diary: this familiar English tree has life in it yet

Goyt valley, Derbyshire: Wych elms have been pleasingly resilient to the fungal infection that has decimated populations across Europe, and this area boasts hundredsMy interest in elm trees was piqued this spring when someone happened to mention on social media that there were probably no more than 100 mature examples left in England.This instantly had the whiff of urban legend because just that...

Covid-19: Why are people suffering long-term symptoms?

Weeks and months after having a confirmed or suspected Covid-19 infection, many people are finding they still haven’t fully recovered. Emerging reports describe lingering symptoms ranging from fatigue and brain-fog to breathlessness and tingling toes. So why does Covid-19 cause lasting health problems? Ian Sample discusses some of the possible explanations with Prof Danny Altmann, and finds out...

Coronavirus live news: Boris Johnson accuses care homes over deaths as US cases near 3m

Atlanta mayor tests positive for Covid-19; Kenya emerges from lockdown; Israel reimposes restrictions. Follow the latest updatesUS cases near 3m as White House claims country is a “leader” in global fight against virusFury as Boris Johnson accuses care homes over high Covid-19 death tollGlobal report: India sees record daily rise as capital opens giant hospitalWorld map: which countries have...

New Zealand rations places for citizens returning home during Covid-19

Controversial restrictions brought in to ease strain on quarantine system after rush of New Zealanders arriving at the borderCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageNew Zealanders could be blocked at their own border after the government moved to slow the pace of international arrivals due to Covid-19.Mounting pressure on New Zealand’s Covid-19 border regime has forced the...


MONDAY 6. JULY 2020


The 1066 diet: Normans passed on their love of pork, study suggests

Pork and possibly chicken became more popular in England after arrival of William the ConquerorThe Norman conquest led to far-reaching and long-lasting political change across England – and new research suggests it also led to the English eating more pork and chicken.Before 1066, beef, lamb, mutton and goat were among the meats most likely to be served in England, but a study of human and animal...

Coronavirus: India's big city outbreaks lead to record rise in cases

Country has third highest number of cases in world after 25,000 new infections recorded a dayCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageIndia has overtaken Russia to claim the third highest number of coronavirus cases in the world after recording almost 25,000 new infections a day, mainly clustered in the megacities of Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.The total number of cases of...

Coronavirus: world treating symptoms, not cause of pandemics, says UN

Ongoing destruction of nature will result in stream of animal diseases jumping to humans, says report Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe world is treating the health and economic symptoms of the coronavirus pandemic but not the environmental cause, according to the authors of a UN report. As a result, a steady stream of diseases can be expected to jump from animals...

Dick Jefferies obituary

My friend Dick Jefferies, who has died aged 88, was an authority on fossils that are too strange to identify and which are sometimes referred to as “problematica”. Central to his work, which he pursued as principal scientific officer in the natural history section of the British Museum, were extinct animals called carpoids.Dick was something of a contrarian in the field of evolutionary...

What kind of face mask gives the best protection against Covid-19?

Your questions answered on what type of mask to wear to cut the risk of getting Covid-19Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageYes. Different types of mask offer different levels of protection. Surgical grade N95 respirators offer the highest level of protection against Covid-19 infection, followed by surgical grade masks. However, these masks are costly, in limited supply,...

Coronavirus live news: India sees record new cases as Texas warns of overwhelmed hospitals

Iran sees highest daily deaths; UK government injects £1.57bn into arts and heritage; Spain puts part of Galicia back into lockdown. Follow the latest updatesIndia confirms record new casesTexas mayors warn of ‘serious trouble’ as cases surge across USGlobal report: second local lockdown in Spain; second wave in IsraelSee all our coronavirus coverage 1.22am BST In Australia, the ABC is...

Woman whose NHS cancer trial was halted seeks to buy drug privately

Psychologist was due to get life-saving NHS cancer treatment until coronavirus struck Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageA psychologist denied access to a potentially life-saving cancer drug trial because NHS services were suspended due to Covid-19 is trying to raise £240,000 to buy the medicine privately.Wendy Peake said it was “shocking, absolutely shocking” that...


SUNDAY 5. JULY 2020


Starwatch: Venus catches the eye in the head of the Bull

Venus is back in our sky before the sun rises, and will rise earlier as July progressesVenus has returned to the sky. Following its passage between Earth and the sun on 3 June, it can now be seen in the pre-dawn sky. The planet is bright and unmistakable lying in the eastern sky. It is currently located in the constellation of Taurus, the Bull, directly in the group of stars that marks its head....

It is time we made masks compulsory | Letters

Countries where face mask use is widespread have seen fewer Covid-19 deaths, writes Prof David Smith, while Philip Rundall thinks shops should do more to encourage customers to wear themYour comment (Editorial, 2 July) that disparagement of face masks might have come at a cost is well illustrated by comparing different countries. In Hong Kong (population 7.45 million), a survey in March found that...

Met police urged to investigate Dominic Cummings' trip during Covid-19 lockdown

Exclusive: ex-chief prosecutor’s lawyers say behaviour of Boris Johnson’s adviser warrants ‘thorough investigation’The Metropolitan police have been urged to launch an immediate investigation into Dominic Cummings’ trip from London to Durham at the height of the coronavirus outbreak by the former chief prosecutor for north-west England.Lawyers for Nazir Afzal have written to the Met...

WHO underplaying risk of airborne spread of Covid-19, say scientists

Open letter says there is emerging evidence of potential for aerosol transmissionCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe potential for Covid-19 to spread through airborne transmission by lingering in the air is being underplayed by the World Health Organization, a group of scientists have said.In an open letter due to be published this week, 239 scientists from 32...

Fears of widespread disorder unfounded as English pubs reopen

Relief as concerns about overwhelmed emergency services fail to materialiseCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageFears that emergency services would be overwhelmed after pubs and restaurants reopened in England have not materialised, according to initial reports.Ahead of pubs opening for the first time since 23 March, NHS England told hospitals and ambulance services that...

I've spent years taming the OCD monster. Coronavirus has ruined everything

I’d come to think of myself as a sad wizard, burdened with rituals to prevent catastrophes. Then the pandemic made those threats realFor many of us, coronavirus has inspired a bit of a germ obsession. We wash our hands until they’re chapped. We see other people as potential vectors. We wipe down our groceries with Lysol, apparently having decided that, if it comes to it, we’d rather die of...

Former WHO director Anthony Costello: 'Opening pubs before schools says something about our priorities'

The paediatrician and member of Independent Sage on Matt Hancock, the likelihood of a vaccine and why 50,000 deaths were preventableAnthony Costello is a paediatrician and international expert on child health who has been an outspoken critic of the British government’s response to Covid-19. He is a member of Independent Sage, a group of experts set up to provide “robust, independent advice”...

What kind of face mask gives the best protection against Covid-19?

Your questions answered on what type of mask to wear to cut the risk of getting Covid-19Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageYes. Different types of mask offer different levels of protection. Surgical grade N95 respirators offer the highest level of protection against Covid-19 infection, followed by surgical grade masks. However, these masks are costly, in limited supply,...

Risks, R numbers and raw data: how to interpret coronavirus statistics

Covid-related facts and definitions are confusing, and as lockdown is eased, clarity is more important than ever Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageWe’re finally over the first peak of the epidemic, but the numbers relating to the virus keep on spreading. Sometimes, however, things get lost in translation from the spreadsheet to the article, broadcast or tweet....

‘It's a tsunami’: Covid-19 plunges Latin America back into poverty and violence

Years of social progress have been reversed by the virus, amid accusations that politicians have been fatally ineptCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageAs coronavirus galloped through Latin America in late April, the mayor of Manaus was in despair. “The outlook is dismal,” Arthur Virgílio admitted as gravediggers in the Amazon’s largest city piled coffins into muddy...


SATURDAY 4. JULY 2020


Stop making sense: why it's time to get emotional about climate change | Rebecca Huntley

The science has been settled to the highest degree, so now the key to progress is understanding our psychological reactionsIt took me much longer than it should have to realise that educating people about climate change science was not enough. Due perhaps to my personality type (highly rational, don’t talk to me about horoscopes, please) and my background (the well-educated daughter of a high...

WHO says trials show malaria and HIV drugs don't cut Covid-19 hospital deaths

Hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir not found to help patients in hospitalCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday that it was discontinuing its trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir for patients in hospital with Covid-19 after they failed to reduce mortality.The...

London hospital starts virtual ward rounds for medical students

Imperial College doctors with AR glasses examine patients as trainees watch remotelyCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageA flock of students stumbling after a consultant on a ward round has long been a familiar sight in hospitals. Perhaps not for much longer though – a university has pioneered the use of augmented reality to allow students to take part from home.Imperial...

Does the key to anti-ageing lie in our bones?

Osteocalcin, a hormone produced in the bones, could one day provide treatments for age-related issues such as muscle and memory lossGérard Karsenty was a young scientist trying to make a name for himself in the early 1990s when he first stumbled upon a finding that would go on to transform our understanding of bone, and the role it plays in our body.Karsenty had become interested in osteocalcin,...

Having anxiety and agoraphobia holds you back. But there are positives to be found…

If I hadn’t experienced anxiety and agoraphobia and the therapy that resulted from them, I wouldn’t now understand human complexities as I do, writes Charlotte LevinI sometimes wonder about my parallel life: the one in which I attended drama school, became a respected actor, travelled the world and ended up marrying Louis Theroux after meeting him at an awards ceremony. The life in which I...

Trump is scooping up the world’s remdesivir. It’s a sign of things to come | Devi Sridhar

The case of the Covid-19 drug shows how national interests will continue to define the allocation of research productsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageDonald Trump has called Covid-19 a hoax, encouraged his followers to take hydroxychloroquine and threatened to cut all ties between the US and the World Health Organization. He has predicted that coronavirus will...

‘It’s not over’: intimate diaries from the eye of the UK’s coronavirus storm

From an intensive care nurse to a homeless restaurant worker, four people changed by Covid-19 reflect on the most intense chapter of their livesOn 21 February, McFarlane, 57, was on her way back to Bangkok airport with her husband, Archie. The couple had been visiting their son, who works at an international school. “We felt apprehensive because the virus was starting to hit the news,” she...

Love of science, not Trump's ignorance, will make America great again

Amid a pandemic, the president rails against reason itself. The passions of his predecessors throw his failure into sharp reliefWe know what the temperature was in Philadelphia on 4 July 1776, because Thomas Jefferson wrote it down at 6am (68F), 9am (72.25F), 1pm (76F), and 9pm (73.5F). Even on this most important day, the author of the Declaration of Independence was never too busy to observe...

Coronavirus live news: worldwide cases top 11m as US states hit fresh highs

4 July holiday weekend set to start with continued rise in infections; Brazil cases pass 1.5m; Boris Johnson defends decision to reopen pubs on Saturday. Follow all the developments liveWhat we’re learning about Covid as US states open upHow Victoria’s outbreak divided AustraliaScotland and Wales attack UK government’s shambolic travel changes 12.53am BST New South Wales has quietly added...


FRIDAY 3. JULY 2020


UK buys £400m stake in bankrupt satellite rival to EU Galileo system

Investment with India made in US firm OneWeb after Brexit locks UK out of Europe’s satellite navigation systemThe UK government has pledged to invest $500m (£400m) in bankrupt satellite company OneWeb, giving it a stake in a business that provides broadband from space.The government, which has proven so far unwilling to take stakes in major British companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic,...

Is coronavirus really in retreat in the UK?

Key questions about Covid-19 answered as lockdowns ease across the four nationsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageEngland is approaching a significant relaxation of lockdown on Saturday, while in Scotland, outdoor cafes and beer gardens will begin to reopen from Monday. But with rises in infection cropping up around the UK is Covid-19 really on the wane? Continue...

What kind of face mask gives the best protection against Covid-19?

Your questions answered on what type of mask to wear to cut the risk of getting or spreading Covid-19Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageYes. Different types of mask offer different levels of protection. Surgical grade N95 respirators offer the highest level of protection against Covid-19 infection, followed by surgical grade masks. However, these masks are costly, in...

'I'm cautiously optimistic': Imperial's Robin Shattock on his coronavirus vaccine

Team is using new approach that could be cheap and scalable and become the norm within five yearsProf Robin Shattock would have liked slightly longer to develop the revolutionary approach to vaccines that he is pretty sure will not only save lives in the Covid-19 pandemic but become the norm for vaccine development within five years.His team at Imperial College were working on Ebola and Lassa...

Coronavirus live news: cases rising in 37 US states as Brazil infections near 1.5m

UN predicts mass bankruptcies in Latin America; Florida confirms 10,000 new cases in one day; global cases near 11m. Follow the latest updates Cases rising in 37 US statesBrazil infections nearing 1.5mTrump awol as president during pandemic, says ex-CIA chiefInteractive vaccine tracker: how close are we?See all our coronavirus coverage 1.45am BST North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has praised what he...


THURSDAY 2. JULY 2020


The Guardian view on protecting the public: cover your face | Editorial

Scotland is right to mandate masks or similar coverings in shops. Wearing them can save livesWicked. Horrific. An affront to British liberties. Proposals to make wearing seatbelts compulsory were angrily opposed in the early 1970s. Some warned that it might make motorists more reckless, or endanger unborn babies. MPs claimed there was no real evidence of the benefits. Others complained it would be...

Canadian sparrows ditch their old song for catchier tune

Study finds British Columbia birds’ dropped-end note of call has spread across countryIf you consider Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep to be the ultimate catchy tune, think again: the white-throated sparrows of British Columbia have devised a new song that has gone viral across Canada.For years, the small songbird’s traditional descending whistle featured a three-note ending. But researchers have...

Every dog year not equivalent to seven human years, scientists find

Study of DNA changes in labradors suggests puppies age much faster than older dogsDogs do not simply age at seven times the rate of humans, scientists have found in a study that reveals young dogs might be “older” than previously thought.The findings suggest a one-year-old puppy is actually about 30 in “human years” – an age when humans, at least, might be expected to have stopped...

Forget any false sense of security: we are still at the start of the global pandemic | Jeremy Farrar

Until every country is protected, we are all at risk. Only effective vaccines and treatments will allow us to eradicate coronavirus• Dr Jeremy Farrar is director of the Wellcome TrustSix months on from the first cases of Covid-19 emerging in Wuhan, many of us in Britain will be feeling a mixture of relief and trepidation as England’s lockdown eases. The loosening of restrictions, alongside...

I am a paramedic working for NHS test and trace but I've yet to make a single call

I am being paid to sit and refresh my computer screen every 15 minutes. The ‘world-beating’ system is a shamblesNHS test and trace was meant to be world-beating, but in my experience it’s been a shambles. I am a paramedic who has been working for the service since it launched, but I have yet to make a single call.Last week I got an email from NHS Professionals, the largest NHS staff bank in...

What kind of face mask gives the best protection against Covid-19?

Your questions answered on what type of mask to wear to cut the risk of getting Covid-19Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageYes. Different types of mask offer different levels of protection. Surgical grade N95 respirators offer the highest level of protection against Covid-19 infection, followed by surgical grade masks. However, these masks are costly, in limited supply,...