27 articles from SUNDAY 10.12.2023

Village in Ireland hit by ‘possible tornado’ as high winds damage cars and homes

Trees flattened and roof ripped off in Leitrim village as Storm Fergus brings yellow warnings for windHomes and cars in an Irish village have been seriously damaged after a possible tornado hit the area.Emergency services were called to Leitrim village on Sunday afternoon after high winds flattened trees, ripped a roof off a building and left debris scattered on a street. Continue...

PPE bought via ‘VIP lane’ was on average 80% more expensive, documents reveal

Good Law Project finds items were priced up to four times higher by companies referred through scheme by UK ministersPPE was on average 80% more expensive when the government bought it from firms referred through a special “VIP lane” by Conservative ministers, MPs and officials, new information has revealed.The Good Law Project, which has long been investigating PPE deals during the Covid...

Revealed: the oldest black hole ever observed, dating to dawn of universe

Exclusive: astronomers surprised at size of 13bn-year-old object, which raises new questions about where black holes came fromAstronomers have detected the oldest black hole ever observed, dating back more than 13bn years to the dawn of the universe.The observations, by the James Webb space telescope (JWST), reveal it to be at the heart of a galaxy 440m years after the big bang. At around a...

Comfort eating can impair body’s recovery from stress, study shows

Researchers find turning to fatty and other unhealthy foods for solace reduces vascular function and raises risk of heart diseaseUsing fatty foods to comfort eat during times of stress can impair the body’s recovery from the pressure, research suggests.Many people turn to unhealthy foods such as chocolate or crisps when they are feeling the strain, but researchers have found that this can reduce...

I drove across the US to meet people I disagree with – and learned how to look beyond labels

As a progressive, queer, Asian-American, I held stereotypical views about people on ‘the other side’. My tour helped me realise that curiosity is a potent force for understandingOddly enough, it was an overwhelming amount of hate that set me off on a cross-country road trip across America. I wasn’t taking a sabbatical to go into nature or working remotely in mountain-top forests. Instead, I...

‘He found a lump’: how school tragedy drove UK scientist’s mission to fight blood cancers

Professor tells of his teenage grief and how it drove a new approach to research at York UniversityIan Hitchcock’s first encounter with cancer was as a schoolboy in Bedford. He played rugby there and became good friends with a team-mate.“He was a lovely guy. Smart, pleasant and a talented sports person. He really was one of the most popular kids in the year,” says Hitchcock, who recently...

The art and science of gift-giving

There are many pitfalls to buying presents, from seeking an instant reaction to a fear of sentimentality. But a few simple psychological principles can help you make better choicesDecember can often feel like a never-ending ordeal, as we try to find the perfect gifts for our nearest and dearest. No matter how well we know someone, we struggle to discern their hidden wishes and desires. Each...

Wild beasts and Charles II: amateur army digs for history in British parks and gardens

Volunteers wielding trowels in Greenwich are among many exploring sites as community digs boom across the UKHis boots deep in winter mud, Greenwich Park community archaeologist Andrew Mayfield runs through the finds from the latest of the park’s volunteer digs. “We’ve found a swallow brooch, loads of clay pipes and coins, the lens of a sextant and, strangely, a Sony mobile that was buried...

‘Like unscrambling an egg’: scientists alter DNA to save Scottish wildcats

A bold genomic process is being harnessed to eliminate decades of interbreeding with domestic moggiesScientists are preparing plans to restore the fortunes of Scotland’s threatened Highland wildcats – by identifying and removing DNA they have acquired from domestic cats.Researchers have warned that the Highland tiger, as the wildcat is also known, is critically endangered because it has bred...

Sickly sweet: how our sugar-coated cells helped humanity turn illness into evolution

The molecules that cover our cells have interacted over the ages with our environment and the diseases that plague us – and in the process shaped our progressAccording to the latest estimates, Covid-19 may be responsible for more than 18 million deaths worldwide. While infectious diseases like this have devastated humanity, it may be wrong to assume they are always antithetical to our survival...

‘Magical’ tech innovations a distraction from real solutions, climate experts warn

Overemphasis on innovation and carbon removal risks distracting from main goal of stopping use of fossil fuels, say scientistsMachines to magic carbon out of the air, artificial intelligence, indoor vertical farms to grow food for our escape to Mars, and even solar-powered “responsible” yachts: the Cop28 climate summit in Dubai has been festooned with the promise of technological fixes for...