31 articles from SUNDAY 7.3.2021

The Guardian view on moth-watching pleasure: the pest and the beauty | Editorial

These insects have declined by a third over 50 years. While their appetites can be a nuisance, ultimately we must protect these gloriously beautiful, elusive creatures “Night opens; night traversed by wandering moths; night hiding lovers roaming to adventure.” So runs a rapturous passage in Virginia Woolf’s The Waves, a novel she had originally considered titling The Moths. The insects are a...

UK needs to prepare for 'hard winter' of flu and respiratory viruses, says top medic

Population immunity to non-Covid viruses could be lower owing to lack of exposure, says PHE officialCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThe UK should steel itself for a “difficult autumn” and “hard winter” of illnesses because people have lived for an unusually long period without exposure to respiratory viruses, one of country’s top medics has warned.Dr Susan...

Dutch clubbers hit the dancefloor for study into easing lockdown

1,300 people take part in music event designed to aid decisions on how to reopen country despite coronavirusCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageIt wasn’t quite one of the great carefree, hedonistic nights of the past, but clubbers in Amsterdam were given a short reprieve from lockdown at the weekend as part of an examination of the risks attached to getting people back...

What do near-death experiences mean, and why do they fascinate us?

Psychiatrist Bruce Greyson has spent decades talking to people about near-death experiences. His work raises questions about what happens when we die, and how we ought to choose to liveWhen Gregg Nome was 24 years old, he slipped into the churn beneath a waterfall and began to drown, his body pummelled against the sandy riverbed. What he saw there surprised him. Suddenly, his vision filled with...

Covid data show sewage monitoring could be vital in infection control

A pilot study’s analysis of schools’ wastewater shows its potential as an early warning system for public health teamsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageSchools may have had more Covid-19 infections before Christmas than previous research showed, according to data from a pilot study that senior public health experts believe could provide a crucial early warning...

Beyond Order by Jordan Peterson review – a ragbag of self-help dictums

There is too much messianic passion and not enough enlightening psychology in Peterson’s follow-up to the bestselling 12 Rules for LifeFew books in recent years have had quite so noisy a cultural impact as Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. With its odd mixture of Darwinian determinism, Jungian myth-interpretation and Heideggerian ontology (Being written with a capital...

How do we track and measure new variants of coronavirus?

Behind the numbers: The UK’s gene sequencing labs are at the forefront of global efforts to trace and identify every single caseCoronavirus latest updatesCoronavirus - see all our coverageAll viruses change through random mutations. Through genomic sequencing we now know that the UK epidemic was seeded by more than 1,000 distinct variants from people returning from Italy, Spain and France in...

How early humans' quest for food stoked the flames of evolution

A love of complex smells and flavours gave our ancestors an edge and stopped hangoversHuman evolution and exploration of the world were shaped by a hunger for tasty food – “a quest for deliciousness” – according to two leading academics.Ancient humans who had the ability to smell and desire more complex aromas, and enjoy food and drink with a sour taste, gained evolutionary advantages over...

Biological artificial organs like skin, vessels...now produced more easily

A Korean research group has developed a technology that allows for the differentiation of stem cells into desired cell types, such as vascular mural cells or osteoblasts, without special pretreatment. This technology is expected to facilitate the production of artificial organs for preclinical studies or artificial tissues for transplants such as artificial skin and cardiac patches.

Critically endangered macadamia species becomes a plant supermodel

The University of Queensland has developed a sophisticated plant genomic model, as part of a project to help conserve the critically endangered Macadamia jansenii.Discovered in 1982 by a Central Queensland farmer Ray Jansen, there are only Macadamia jansenii 100 trees in existence. The Australian bushfires nearly wiped out the entire population in 2019.Genomic mapping of the species will help in...

New Lancet series shows mixed progress on maternal and child undernutrition in last decade

Today, The Lancet published the latest Series on Maternal and Child Undernutrition Progress. Building upon findings from the previous 2008 and 2013 Series, which set the global agenda for tackling undernutrition over the past decade, this new Series concludes that despite modest progress in some areas, maternal and child undernutrition remains a major global health concern, specifically since...