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37,691 articles from Guardian Unlimited Science

Will Covid reinfections pose increased health risks? Experts aren’t sure

A study found that repeat infections increases the possibility of hospitalization or death, but some experts refute those findingsA recent study states that Covid-19 reinfections could pose additional risks to people’s long-term health – as compared to only getting Covid once – however some infectious disease experts in the US disagree that there is evidence showing repeat infections are...

Can you solve it? Prisoners and boxes

Using brain cells in prison cells Today’s puzzle involves two prisoners. Let’s call them Piper and Alex. You will be asked to find a strategy that wins them their freedom. Puzzles about prison escape strategies are a relatively new genre of mathematical challenge, only a few decades old. They emerged from computer science. A prison – a place where access to information is limited – is a...

Antidepressants can cause ‘emotional blunting’, study shows

Volunteers less responsive to positive and negative feedback after course of serotonin-controlling drugsWidely used antidepressants cause “emotional blunting”, according to research that offers new insights into how the drugs may work and their possible side-effects.The study found that healthy volunteers became less responsive to positive and negative feedback after taking a selective...

Starwatch: Mercury up before the sun – but only in the southern hemisphere

Northern latitudes will have to wait until March and April for better view of the inner planetThe inner planet Mercury reaches its greatest western elongation from the sun this week.This means that from the point of view of Earth, Mercury will be the furthest it can possibly be from the sun. For many around the world, especially the southern hemisphere, this means it will be at its easiest to pick...


SUNDAY 22. JANUARY 2023


Welcome to the age of ‘dark copers’ – where morbid curiosity is a means of survival | Emma Beddington

From haunted dolls to horror films, there is a big appetite right now for fear-as-fun. Are we all just practicing for what 2023 throws at us?A friend gleefully informed me that you can buy haunted dolls – “vessels” for unquiet spirits – on eBay. Rebekkah Sexual Spirit (“her vessel is missing an arm … she says she does not care”) has been snapped up, but you can get Maggie (“NOT A...

Setting pulses racing: the Reading scientists perfecting broad bean bread

By making their nutritious bread taste like normal white loaves, scientists aim to help disadvantagedIt’s creamy-white in colour with a deep brown crust. It has a mild floury taste but with a moreish salty tang. It crisps up nicely in a toaster, and it’s the perfect accompaniment to butter, jam or hummus.This is bread – but not as you know it. Scientists at the University of Reading are...

MPs urge asbestos company to pay £10m to fund cancer research

All-party group including peers backs campaign by victims’ group, saying Cape ‘knowingly put people in danger’MPs and peers have written to one of the biggest manufacturers of asbestos calling on it to make a £10m donation towards mesothelioma research “for knowingly putting people in danger”.In a letter to Altrad, parent company of Cape, the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on...

Dark energy ‘chameleon trap’ wins £100,000 prize for Nottingham scientist

Ingeniously simple lab experiment led by Prof Clare Burrage recognised by Blavatnik awardsDark energy is the enigma at the heart of modern physics: the universe is supposed to be awash with the stuff, but it has never been seen and its nature is unknown.When faced with a mystery of such epic proportions, simply eliminating certain options is considered a success. This week such an advance, using...

‘This will happen before 2030’: how the science behind Covid vaccines might help to fight cancer

The success of mRNA-based drugs in combating coronavirus is inspiring scientists to create similar vaccines for melanoma and other tumoursIn December 2022, the US biotech firm Moderna, a company that emerged from relative obscurity to become a household name during the pandemic, published the results of a clinical trial that sent ripples through the world of cancer research.Conducted in...

Fourscore years and more: greater longevity is a false challenge | Robin McKie

In 10 years, a quarter of the British population will be over 65. Yet it’s not lifespan but healthspan we should be trying to improveOver the past 180 years, lives in England have gone through a remarkable transformation. Men and women today are, on average, living twice as long as they did in 1841 with life expectancy increasing from 40.2 years to 78.6 years for males, and from 42.3 years to...


SATURDAY 21. JANUARY 2023


Over the moon! Buzz Aldrin marries ‘long-time love’ on his 93rd birthday

Second man to walk on the moon says he and Anca Faur are ‘as excited as eloping teenagers’Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, has announced that he got married to his long-term partner on his 93rd birthday.The retired astronaut celebrated his birthday on Friday and said on Twitter that he “tied the knot” with Dr Anca Faur, 63, in a small ceremony in Los Angeles. Continue...

Next stop, Twatt! My tour of Britain’s fantastically filthy placenames

The UK is full of extremely rude-sounding towns and villages. But what’s it like to live in them? Some locals can’t wait to change the names, while others embrace the quirk – even selling signpost souvenirsOn the road to Twatt, a message arrives from a resident there. Am I making the pilgrimage up through Scotland to this hamlet on the island of Orkney only to admire its notorious,...


FRIDAY 20. JANUARY 2023


Morris Nitsun obituary

My friend Dr Morris Nitsun, who has died aged 79, was a consultant psychologist, psychotherapist and group analyst who worked in the NHS for 50 years. He was also a gifted artist.Born in Worcester, a small, remote town in the Western Cape, South Africa, Morris was the youngest of three children of Lithuanian-Jewish immigrants. His father, Joseph Nitsun, was a businessman who had lost family in the...

People exposed to weedkiller chemical have cancer biomarkers in urine – study

Study measured glyphosate in urine and found high levels associated with signs of oxidative stressNew research by top US government scientists has found that people exposed to the widely used weedkilling chemical glyphosate have biomarkers in their urine linked to the development of cancer and other diseases.The study, published last week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, measured...

Xi’s authority dented by sudden Covid U-turn but iron grip on power is undimmed

Analysts say Xi has consolidated power so successfully that he is in effect the Communist party. With no opposition, it doesn’t matter if he makes mistakesJust a few months ago, the thought of questioning the strength of Xi Jinping’s leadership was inconceivable. He had just secured his third term, conducted a brutal purge of factional rivals and ensured he and his beliefs were inextricably...

Scientists discover emperor penguin colony in Antarctica using satellite images

Colony of about 500 birds seen in remote region where they face existential threat due to global heatingA newly discovered emperor penguin colony has been seen, using satellite images of one the most remote and inaccessible regions of Antarctica.The colony, home to about 500 birds, makes a total of 66 known emperor penguin colonies around the coastline of Antarctica, half of which were discovered...


THURSDAY 19. JANUARY 2023


New treatment strategy cuts risk of bowel cancer returning by 28%

UK trial across three countries finds that giving patients chemotherapy before surgery was more effectiveGiving bowel cancer patients chemotherapy before surgery cuts the risk of it coming back by 28%, according to the results of a trial experts are hailing as “fantastic”.As many as one in three patients diagnosed with the disease see it return after surgery, a figure described as “far too...

Light pollution rapidly reducing number of stars visible to naked eye, study finds

Research suggests if trend continues, view of Orion’s belt will disappear due to glow from artificial lighting“There is no light in earth or heaven / But the cold light of stars,” wrote the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.But for myriad writers and artists, that source of inspiration could be fading as research has revealed light pollution is rapidly reducing the number of stars visible to...

Thousands at risk of heart attacks due to Covid disruption, experts warn

Patients in England, Scotland and Wales missed out on starting blood pressure-lowering drugs, British Heart Foundation saysThousands of people are at risk of avoidable heart attacks and strokes, experts have warned, after nearly 500,000 people in England, Scotland and Wales missed out on starting blood pressure-lowering drugs during the pandemic.Researchers said that thousands of people could...

GM bacteria could combat antibiotic resistance, study suggests

Re-engineered bacteria able to target drug-resistant infections in mice, research findsGenetically modified bacteria could be used to treat intractable lung infections, according to research aiming to combat the threat of antibiotic resistance.The research, in mice, showed that a re-engineered bacteria could be used to target drug-resistant infections and make them susceptible to antibiotics that...

‘3D medieval puzzle’: Newport ship to be reassembled from 2,500 pieces of timber

Oak and beech 15th-century vessel is being returned to Welsh city where it was found in riverside mud in 2002The final pieces of what has been compared to a huge, heavy – but also very delicate – 3D medieval puzzle are being returned to the Welsh city where they were found in riverside mud two decades ago.Now experts can look forward to putting back together the 2,500 or so pieces of timber...

Shell to spend $450m on carbon offsetting as fears grow that credits may be worthless

British multinational to spend huge sums on schemes that do not bring genuine carbon reductions, analysis showsMore than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets by biggest provider are ‘worthless’Greenwashing or a net zero necessity? Scientists on carbon offsettingCarbon offsets flawed but we are in a climate emergencyThe fossil fuel firm Shell has set aside more than $450m (£367m) to invest in...

Could the return of El Niño in 2023 take us above 1.5C of warming? – podcast

Scientists have predicted the return of the El Niño climate phenomenon later this year. Its arrival will result in even higher global temperatures and supercharged extreme weather events. Ian Sample speaks to environment editor Damian Carrington about what we can expect from El Niño and whether we’re preparedAccording to early forecasts, the El Niño climate phenomenon will return this year,...

Scientists suggest eating oily fish linked to lower risk of kidney disease

Association found between higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids from seafood and reduced risk of kidney problemsEating at least two portions of oily fish such as mackerel, sardines or herrings a week is linked to a lower risk of chronic kidney disease and a slower decline in the organ’s function, research suggests.Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects about 700 million people worldwide. It can...


WEDNESDAY 18. JANUARY 2023


Revealed: more than 90% of rainforest carbon offsets by biggest provider are worthless, analysis shows

Investigation into Verra carbon standard finds most are ‘phantom credits’ and may worsen global heating‘Nowhere else to go’: Alto Mayo, Peru, at centre of conservation rowGreenwashing or a net zero necessity? Scientists on carbon offsettingCarbon offsets flawed but we are in a climate emergencyThe forest carbon offsets approved by the world’s leading provider and used by Disney, Shell,...