18 articles from SATURDAY 1.1.2022

Guardian Australia readers respond: how has the pandemic made you rethink life?

The disruptions of the past two years have prompted changes in many lives. Readers tell us about the changes they are makingThe pandemic has allowed us to see so much. What will we do with our newfound clarity?Almost two years on from the emergence of Covid, people have watched borders shut, businesses close, lockdowns lengthen and case numbers climb. A widespread disruption – skewing lives...

As a new year dawns expect a fresh assault on big tech | John Naughton

Democracies have finally begun to confront the internet giants and their unrivalled and untrammelled powerThe thing about history is that it sometimes repeats itself. As far as the tech industry is concerned, we saw that in the year just ended and it looks as though we’re about to see it again in the year that’s just begun.First things first, though: 2021 was the year in which it finally...

What are the current rules on self-isolation for Covid in UK, and what does the science say?

Scientists answer important questions about coronavirus rules around Britain amid the Omicron wave of infectionsDoctors and health officials have warned that the rising number of Covid-19 infections poses a significant threat to the UK’s ability to run trains, buses, hospitals and other key services.More and more people face going into quarantine and that could have grave consequences, they...

Taking a step back: US colleges returning to online classes

With COVID-19 cases surging just as students are about to return from winter break, dozens of U.S. colleges are moving classes online again for at least the first week or so of the semester—and some warn it could stretch longer if the wave of infection doesn't subside soon.

How a handful of prehistoric geniuses launched humanity's technological revolution

For the first few million years of human evolution, technologies changed slowly. Some three million years ago, our ancestors were making chipped stone flakes and crude choppers. Two million years ago, hand-axes. A million years ago, primitive humans sometimes used fire, but with difficulty. Then, 500,000 years ago, technological change accelerated, as spearpoints, firemaking, axes, beads and bows...

Can’t quit, won’t quit: confessions of a die-hard smoker

He started in his 30s, has asthma, and can go more than a week without a cigarette – so why does this writer still not think it’s time to stop?I have asthma, and there’s a fairly major respiratory disease going around, as you may have heard, and also I am a smoker. A quick inventory of my coat pockets: inhaler, face mask, Marlboro Gold. I never fell into smoking as a teenager when everyone...

Colorado wildfire took hold 'in blink of an eye': governor

A fast-spreading wildfire that tore through several Colorado towns—laying waste to entire neighborhoods "in the blink of an eye," according to the governor—had largely burned itself out Friday, with heavy snow expected to douse any remaining embers.

New year, same old you! The secret to self-improvement is embracing your messy, imperfect life

It’s only when you learn to accept who you are, flaws and all, that you can make real, worthwhile changeIt’s the time of year for reinventions – or, perhaps more accurately, preparing for reinventions. For buying the diet book, drawing up the new morning routine, bookmarking the therapists’ websites or purchasing the storage cabinets for the soon-to-be-perfectly-organised house. As with...

Most hangover ‘cures’ have little evidence behind them, study finds

Of substances tested, strongest effects were seen for clove extract, though sample size was smallA thumping headache, a tongue that feels like a carpet and a strong sense of queasiness and regret – it is a condition with which many will be all too familiar on New Year’s Day. But while it may seem tempting to reach for a hangover “cure”, researchers have chosen New Year’s Day to tell us...