23 articles from SUNDAY 18.2.2024

Stone Age 'megastructure' under Baltic Sea sheds light on strategy used by Paleolithic hunters over 10,000 years ago

Archaeologists have identified what may be Europe's oldest human-made megastructure, submerged 21 meters below the Baltic Sea in the Bay of Mecklenburg, Germany. This structure—which has been named the Blinkerwall—is a continuous low wall made from over 1,500 granite stones that runs for almost a kilometer. The evidence suggests it was constructed by Paleolithic people between 11,700 and 9,900...

Peter McGuffin obituary

Researcher who established the value of genetics for understanding psychiatric conditionsPeter McGuffin, who has died aged 74, showed the importance of trying to establish how genetic and non-genetic factors act together to predispose people to psychiatric disorders: so-called gene-environment interplay. He was also one of the first to see the potential of the DNA revolution for understanding...

‘It is shameful’: why the return of Victorian-era diseases to the UK alarms health experts

There has been a surge in cases of scabies and measles – both highly contagious – as well as rickets and scurvy, conditions we thought had been eradicated. Are public health cuts to blame?Before Covid-19, Dr Farzana Hussain says, it was rare for her to see a case of scabies at her GP surgery in Newham, east London, but since the pandemic, the number of patients with the parasitic skin...

I’ve always loved new hobbies and horses – then, two years ago, my equine dream came true

My obsession with trying new activities finally led me to my greatest passion – horse riding – when the last lockdown liftedGrowing up, I thought of myself as a “horse girl”. I knew the importance of keeping your heels down and your back straight, how to braid your horse’s mane for dressage, and that real horse girlies mucked out the stalls themselves. I could navigate the febrile...

The perfect storm for small talk? Weather forecasters aim at long-range accuracy

In the 70s, weather forecasts were accurate just one or two days ahead. Now a specialist university project at Reading is trying to get them right a month into the futureThe mainstay of casual conversation – the unexpected state of the weather – is under existential threat. Scientists plan to make forecasts so accurate they will be able to determine weather patterns a month into the...

The week in TV: Alice & Jack; The Space Shuttle That Fell to Earth; The New Look; Bring the Drama – review

Andrea Riseborough and Domhnall Gleeson convince as a perma-turbulent couple; a devastating docuseries pays homage to the doomed Columbia space shuttle crew. Plus, ill-fitting wartime drama with Coco Chanel and Christian Dior and a sweet, old-school reality showAlice & Jack (Channel 4) | channel4.comThe Space Shuttle That Fell to Earth (BBC Two) | iPlayerThe New Look (Apple TV+)Bring the Drama...

Can you solve it? The magical maths that keeps your data safe

How to protect machines against random failuresI’ve temporarily moved to Berkeley, California, where I am the “science communicator in residence” at the Simons Institute, the world’s leading institute for collaborative research in theoretical computer science.One nano-collaboration is today’s puzzle – told to me by a computer scientist at Microsoft I befriended over tea. It’s about...

Cancer charity warns of pharmaceutical firms holding up brain tumour research

Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, whose sister died of a glioblastoma tumour, is to present a bill calling for new laws for clinical trialsPotential new treatments for brain cancer are being hampered by the failure of pharmaceutical companies to provide the drugs required for research and by regulatory delays, a leading cancer charity has warned.Brain tumours kill more children and adults under 40 in...

Go with your gut: the science and psychology behind our sense of intuition

From deciding where to have lunch to choosing to walk away from a danger you haven’t even identified yet, intuition plays a part in all our livesOn a rainy night in London, a young woman walks towards the entrance of a sidestreet, smiling to herself as she recalls the evening spent with the friend she just farewelled at the train station. She’s about to walk down the poorly-lit shortcut that...