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34,735 articles from Guardian Unlimited Science

David Frost says EU close to breaching Brexit deal over science programme

Minister ‘quite concerned’ about delay to finalising UK’s participation in €80bn Horizon Europe schemeA fresh Brexit row has been blown open with Brussels after David Frost accused the EU of being close to breaching the trade deal struck last Christmas.He said the UK was “getting quite concerned” about Brussels delaying ratification of the UK’s participation in the €80bn (£67bn)...

Maskless ministers are peddling dangerous nonsense | Letters

Dr Karen Postle says Tory MPs’ views on masks would be mildly amusing if it weren’t for the gravely serious consequences, while Susannah Kipling despairs that ‘virtue’ is being hijacked as a term of abuse. Plus letters from Emma Blashford-Snell, Mike Terry, Rosemary Gill and Christine GallagherAre Tory ministers vying with one another in a contest to portray the most libertarian, populist...

Alien false alarm: ‘Extraterrestrial’ radio signals turn out to be human

Australia’s Parkes Observatory detected an ET-like pattern that suggested something was out there. But it was just a case of mixed signalsGet our free news app; get our morning email briefingAstronomers searching for alien life thought they’d spotted signs of intelligence beyond the solar system – but the signals turned out to be human.Parkes Observatory’s Murriyang radio telescope...

Singing lemurs have a distinctly human sense of rhythm, study finds

Indris sound like ‘bagpipes being stepped on’ but their 1:2 beats are the first to be identified in non-human mammalsThey have fluffy ears, a penetrating stare and a penchant for monogamy. But it turns out that indris – a large, critically endangered species of lemur – have an even more fascinating trait: an unexpected sense of rhythm.Indri indri are known for their distinctive singing, a...

The last great mystery of the mind: meet the people who have unusual – or non-existent – inner voices

Does your internal monologue play out on a television, in an attic, as a bickering Italian couple – or is it entirely, blissfully silent? Claudia*, a sailor from Lichfield in her late 30s, is not Italian. She has never been to Italy. She has no Italian family or friends. And she has no idea why a belligerent Italian couple have taken over her inner voice, duking it out in Claudia’s brain while...

Archaeologists find ‘missing link’ in history of Fountains Abbey

Discovery of foundations of ‘industrial scale’ medieval tannery at abbey has astonished expertsIt is Britain’s biggest and most famous monastic ruin and one that conjures up bucolic images of peace, reflection and very little noise apart, perhaps, from the occasional waft of Gregorian chanting.In reality, archaeologists have revealed, Fountains Abbey near Ripon was as busy, noisy and...

Starwatch: how to see Pegasus the winged horse

Seventh-largest constellation is most easily spotted by finding the square denoting the horse’s bodyWe began the month with a look at the constellation of Cassiopeia, the vain queen who inspired the wrath of Poseidon, so we will end it with a look at another constellation derived from that same myth: Pegasus, the winged horse.In the Greek myth, the hero Perseus rode Pegasus to the shoreline to...

British scientists being ‘frozen out’ of EU research due to NI row, claims MP

Bill Cash says UK still not being made full member of Horizon Europe science programme linked to dispute over NI protocolUK scientists are being “frozen out” of the £80bn EU research programme Horizon Europe because of the ongoing dispute over the Northern Ireland Brexit protocol, a House of Lords committee has claimed.Participation in the science research programme is being hampered by the...


SUNDAY 24. OCTOBER 2021


Coronavirus live: UK A&Es in ‘terrible place’ as chancellor rejects calls for immediate ‘plan B’

Latest updates: medical leader says emergency departments are struggling to cope as Rishi Sunak says Covid numbers don’t suggest action needed todayUK government paving way to bring in ‘plan B’ Covid rulesDarker skies and colder weather are perfect conditions for Covid to thriveRussia sees record deaths as country prepares for new curbsSee all our coronavirus coverageChina has given complete...

Mystery of the environmental triggers for cancer deepens

Study shows that our knowledge of why tumours form is still inadequateScientists will have to rethink how environmental triggers allow tumours to form and develop, one of Britain’s leading cancer experts warned last week. Michael Stratton, director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said recent results from an international cancer research study – which aimed to pinpoint environmental triggers...

An invisible threat has pushed us to our limits. Small wonder our brains are overwrought | Emma Kavanagh

Don’t beat yourself up if Covid times get to you. We need release from all the stressFor me, it was a shoe. One missing shoe. Honestly, it wasn’t even a great shoe, just one that I wear to walk the dog. But it was gone. Apparently to the same place all the solitary socks have gone, up there in footwear heaven. And, really, after the two years that we’d had, one would be forgiven for...

Mummy’s older than we thought: new find rewrites the history books

Discovery of nobleman Khuwy shows that Egyptians were using advanced embalming methods 1,000 years before assumed date The ancient Egyptians were carrying out sophisticated mummifications of their dead 1,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to new evidence which could lead to a rewriting of the history books.The preserved body of a high-ranking nobleman called Khuwy, discovered in...

Leos are most likely to get vaccinated, say Utah officials. Is it written in the stars?

Health authorities compared vaccination rates with Zodiac signs, but the results may require further investigationExciting news for people who believe in science enough to want mass vaccination, but not enough to think horoscopes are made up: Utah’s Salt Lake county health department says there’s a big difference in vaccination rates depending on your Zodiac sign.At least, that’s what...


SATURDAY 23. OCTOBER 2021


Whistleblowing requires courage, but don’t expect Facebook to change its ways | John Naughton

Frances Haugen’s ‘testimony tour’ of revelations about the tech company makes good copy, but will its executives listen?If you wanted a paragon of astute, thoroughly modern whistleblowing, then Frances Haugen is your woman. She is the former Facebook employee who revealed that the company knew about the harm that some of its products, especially Instagram, were causing but did little or...

I knew that was going to happen… The truth about premonitions

Uncanny and creepy, premonitions that turn out to be authentic can feel profound. But is there science to explain them?Around seven years ago, Garrett, was in a local Pizza Hut with his friends, having a day so ordinary that it is cumbersome to describe. He was 16 – or thereabouts – and had been told by teachers to go around nearby businesses and ask for gift vouchers that the school could use...

Covid testing failures at UK lab ‘should have been flagged within days’

Senior scientists say problems at Immensa site show private firms should not be carrying out PCR testsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageHealth officials should have known about major failings at a private Covid testing lab within days of the problem arising, rather than taking weeks to shut down operations at the site, senior scientists say.About 43,000 people, mostly...

Nasa announces uncrewed flights around the Moon to begin in February 2022

The Orion capsule will be launched on the Space Launch System, paving the way for the resumption of people to walk on Earth’s satellite againNasa has announced plans to launch an uncrewed flight around the Moon in February 2022, paving the way for astronauts to once again set foot on Earth’s satellite.The US space agency said on Friday that it was in the final phase of testing to send its...


FRIDAY 22. OCTOBER 2021


How it feels to go into space: ‘More beautiful and dazzling and frightening than I ever imagined’

Chris Boshuizen was one of four astronauts – including William Shatner – who flew into space with Blue Origin. Here he describes the wonder of the journeyIt was a balmy morning in the west Texas desert when Chris Boshuizen stepped into Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket capsule for a journey most of us will never experience.He waved a quick goodbye to the Amazon billionaire and took his seat...

How to retrain your frazzled brain and find your focus again

Are you finding it harder than ever to concentrate? Don’t panic: these simple exercises will help you get your attention backPicture your day before you started to read this article. What did you do? In every single moment – getting out of bed, turning on a tap, flicking the kettle switch – your brain was blasted with information. Each second, the eyes will give the brain the equivalent of...

‘What a fool’: fellow actors criticise William Shatner’s space flight

Dame Joan Collins and Brian Cox unimpressed by historic trip, saying ‘let’s take care of this planet first’The Star Trek actor William Shatner’s recent historic space flight saw him boldly go where some fellow actors refuse to follow, as the nonagenarian was labelled a “fool” for taking part in his record-breaking jaunt.Dame Joan Collins, who once appeared in an episode of the science...

Victorian government used ‘low grade’ mask study to justify mandate, experts say

Researcher ‘staggered’ that institutes used newspaper photos to assess mask use and effect on Covid ratesFollow our Covid live blog for the latest updatesVic: hotspots; restrictions; vaccination rates by postcodeVaccine rollout tracker; cases and data trackerGet our free news app;get our morning email briefingA study relied on by the Victorian government to justify its strict mask mandate has...


THURSDAY 21. OCTOBER 2021


Ivory poaching has led to evolution of tuskless elephants, study finds

Researchers say findings in Mozambique demonstrate impact of human interference in natureIvory poaching over decades has led to the evolution of tuskless elephants, researchers have found, proving that humans are “literally changing the anatomy” of wild animals.A previously rare genetic mutation causing tusklessness has become very common in some groups of African elephants after a period in...

I locked eyes with a stranger crossing the street and felt the blast of pure eros | Brigid Delaney

Chance encounters, serendipity, the glint in the eye – as we open up from lockdown, they’re back baby!It was June 2020, really early in the morning, still dark around the edges, and I was crossing the big intersection at Spencer and Bourke streets in Melbourne.I was half asleep and the only people around were tradies. At the other end of the crossing, I locked eyes with one of them and, out of...

Largest triceratops ever unearthed sold for €6.6m at Paris auction

US collector ‘falls in love’ with 8-metre-long dinosaur found in South Dakota and reassembled in ItalyAn 8-metre-long dinosaur skeleton has sold at auction for €6.6m (about £5.5m), more than four times its expected value, to a private collector in the US said to have fallen in love with the largest triceratops ever unearthed.The 66m-year-old skeleton, affectionately known as Big John, is...

Britain’s Covid numbers show we need to move immediately to ‘plan B’ | Kit Yates

Our comparatively good position has been eroded and now, heading into the winter, the data looks truly alarmingKit Yates is director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of BathAll the Covid indicators in the UK are going in the wrong direction. They have been for a while now. Cases are surging upwards; hospitals are feeling the strain of increasing numbers of Covid patients,...

South Korea launches its first homemade space rocket

President hails ‘excellent’ test, as rocket gets high enough, but fails to put dummy payload into orbitSouth Korea’s first domestically produced space rocket reached its desired altitude but failed to deliver a dummy payload into orbit in its first test launch.The South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, still described the test as an “excellent accomplishment” that takes the country a step...

UK Covid live: Labour demands 500,000 per day booster jabs target, saying ‘wall of defence is crumbling’

Latest updates: shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth warns current booster programme will not be completed until March 2022England: minister denies there is ‘plan C’ to ban Christmas mixingBritish Medical Association says ‘time is now’ for Covid plan BTory MPs appear to heed Javid call to set example by wearing masksWho can get a Covid booster jab in England?Global Covid updates –...

Global heating ‘may lead to epidemic of kidney disease’

Deadly side-effect of heat stress is threat to rising numbers of workers in hot climates, doctors warn‘You shouldn’t work if your kidneys are failing – but people can’t afford not to’Read more in the Harmed by heat seriesChronic kidney disease linked to heat stress could become a major health epidemic for millions of workers around the world as global temperatures increase over the...

Deep within the UK’s shocking Covid data, there may be reasons for optimism

Analysis: soaring cases in schools are adding to the pool of the immune – which could soon see some community infections fallCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageIt is hard to be upbeat about the latest numbers. The government’s Covid dashboard is awash with red and upward-pointing arrows. New cases have climbed 17% on the week. Hospital admissions are up 11% and...

Plantwatch: one of world’s rarest trees found near Welsh coast

Only 30 Menai whitebeam remain, all in a narrow strip of steep land in a nature reserveOne of the world’s rarest trees grows in north Wales. There are only 30 of the Menai whitebeam left in the world, all growing along a tiny strip of steep coast in a nature reserve by the Menai Strait.“I was amazed to realise that such a highly threatened tree could be found in the nature reserve not far from...

Who are Insulate Britain and what do they want?

For the past few months Insulate Britain have been blocking roads in an effort to pressure the government into sealing up the UK’s leaky, draughty housing-stock. So why are a group of eco-activists facing confrontations from angry drivers, and even risking injury, for insulation? Shivani Dave speaks to environment correspondent Matthew Taylor about Insulate Britain’s demands and explores the...


WEDNESDAY 20. OCTOBER 2021


Solar storm confirms Vikings settled in North America exactly 1,000 years ago

Analysis of wood from timber-framed buildings in Newfoundland shows Norse-built settlement 471 years before ColumbusLong before Columbus crossed the Atlantic, eight timber-framed buildings covered in sod stood on a terrace above a peat bog and stream at the northern tip of Canada’s island of Newfoundland, evidence that the Vikings had reached the New World first.But precisely when the Vikings...

Why is it business as usual in England while Covid infections rise?

Analysis: a winter plan has been set out but implementing it could be hampered by political squeamishnessCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageMore than 20 months into the Covid pandemic and with a tough winter looming, the public could be excused for having a distinct sense of deja vu.Infection rates are rising sharply, scientists and senior NHS figures are sounding the...

UK Covid live: Sajid Javid warns country could hit 100,000 cases per day and urges people to get jabs

Latest updates: health secretary says ‘pandemic is not over’ but confirms UK will not implement its ‘plan B’ measures just nowJavid vows to protect NHS but says Covid cases could hit 100,000 a dayNo 10 to buy new antiviral treatments for Covid in time for winterComplacency holding back booster rollout in England, says NHS bossMorocco bans flights from UK, Germany and NetherlandsCoronavirus...

No 10 to buy new antiviral treatments for Covid in time for winter

Trials show one of the drugs cuts risk of hospitalisation or death for patients by halfCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageNo 10 has made deals to buy hundreds of thousands of doses of two new antiviral treatments for coronavirus, ministers have announced, with the hope they will be approved for use in the UK ahead of the winter.One deal covers 480,000 courses of...

Your green credentials may be linked to your genes, scientists say

Identical twins have more similar views on environmental issues than non-identical ones, study findsSome people are more environmentally conscious than others, and scientists say the reason could be in their genes.A study has found that identical twins had more similar views on conservation and environmentalism than non-identical twins. The researchers say this suggests there could be a link...

Surgeons successfully test pig kidney transplant in human patient

Researchers in US say trial on dead person is a ‘significant step’ toward animal-to-human organ transplantsSurgeons have attached a pig’s kidney to a human and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for life-saving transplants.Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but a sugar in their cells, which...

Jane Goodall on fires, floods, frugality and the good fight: ‘People have to change from within’

The climate emergency has been a wakeup call to everyone, and the ethologist and environmentalist is working as hard as ever to defeat it. She discusses horror, hope and heroism in her late 80sIn Jane Goodall’s new book, there is a vivid description of her “deep bond” with a beech tree in the garden of her childhood home in Bournemouth. She would climb into its branches to read, hauling...

Floating props and little sleep: Russians describe filming world’s first movie in space

Film crew say shooting was a ‘huge challenge’ and they had to learn to walk again after 12 days in orbitTheir movie props floated around, sleeping was difficult and they used Velcro to keep objects in place but Russia’s first film crew in space said they were delighted with the result and had “shot everything we planned”.Yulia Peresild, one of Russia’s most glamorous actors, and film...


TUESDAY 19. OCTOBER 2021


Without Covid-19 jab ‘reinfection may occur every 16 months’ say scientists

Reports grow of repeat SARS-CoV-2 infection as experts warn prevalence among schoolchildren risks health of older people as vaccines waneCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageAs Covid-19 infections surge in England people are increasingly reporting catching SARS-CoV-2 for a second or even third time. New analysis has suggested that unvaccinated individuals should expect to...

‘Case closed’: 99.9% of scientists agree climate emergency caused by humans

Trawl of 90,000 studies finds consensus, leading to call for Facebook and Twitter to curb disinformationThe scientific consensus that humans are altering the climate has passed 99.9%, according to research that strengthens the case for global action at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.The degree of scientific certainty about the impact of greenhouse gases is now similar to the level of agreement on...

Offshoot of Covid Delta variant on the rise in England

UK Health Security Agency monitoring AY.4.2 as daily cases at highest level since late JulyCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageA newly detected coronavirus variant is on the rise in England, with the virus believed to be an offshoot of Delta.According to a briefing from the UK Health Security Agency, released on Friday, “a Delta sublineage newly designated as AY.4.2 is...

Is a ‘negative microwave’ – a device that quickly cools food and drink – possible?

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific and philosophical conceptsI’ve been grappling for decades about how you’d get a “negative microwave” to work, a device that very quickly cools things such as food or drinks without having to pre-fill it with something that’s already cold. I...

Earth’s demise could rid galaxy of meaning, warns Brian Cox ahead of Cop26

Unique events that led to civilisation mean its demise could ‘eliminate meaning in galaxy for ever’Humans might be the only intelligent beings in our galaxy, so destroying our civilisation could be a galactic disaster, Prof Brian Cox has warned leaders in the run-up to Cop26.Speaking at the launch of his new BBC Two series Universe, the physicist and presenter said that having spoken to the...

Unfreezing the ice age: the truth about humanity’s deep past

Archaeological discoveries are shattering scholars’ long-held beliefs about how the earliest humans organised their societies – and hint at possibilities for our ownIn some ways, accounts of “human origins” play a similar role for us today as myth did for ancient Greeks or Polynesians. This is not to cast aspersions on the scientific rigour or value of these accounts. It is simply to...

Covid-19: v | podcast

Last week, testing at a private Covid lab in Wolverhampton was halted, after the UK Health Security Agency found tens of thousands of people may have been falsely given a negative PCR result. But since the start of September, scientists had been alerted to strange patterns in the testing data which suggested something was out of the ordinary. Anand Jagatia speaks to Dr Kit Yates, a mathematical...


MONDAY 18. OCTOBER 2021


We must not allow Covid deaths to be ‘normalised’ | Letters

Dr Jo Fayram hopes the apathy of the British public will not last; Professors Joe Sim and Steve Tombs condemn the government’s lamentable failures; Professor Patricia Deps reports on Brazil’s Covid inquiry; and Margaret Farnworth highlights a super-spreader football matchLast week the government’s response to Covid was criticised in a report by two Commons committees for apparently pursuing...

Sharp-eyed diver finds Crusader’s ancient sword on Israeli seabed

Metre-long relic, encrusted with marine organisms, is believed to be about 900 years oldA sword believed to have belonged to a Crusader who sailed to the Holy Land almost a millennium ago has been recovered from the Mediterranean seabed thanks to an eagle-eyed amateur diver, the Israel Antiquities Authority has said.Though encrusted with marine organisms, the metre-long blade, hilt and handle were...