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UK’s coronavirus science advice won’t be published until pandemic ends

UK’s coronavirus science advice won’t be published until pandemic ends

×Key scientific data and advice the UK government is using to guide its response won’t be published until the pandemic ends. Documents used to make decisions and the minutes of meetings of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) will only be made public when the current outbreak is brought under control, according to Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser.In a sent earlier this month to MP Greg Clark, who chairs the House of Commons science and technology committee, Vallance said: “Once SAGE stops convening on this emergency the minutes of relevant SAGE...

April 19, 2020
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The US Navy patented a device to make laser ‘ghost planes’ in mid-air

The US Navy patented a device to make laser ‘ghost planes’ in mid-air

×At over 600°C, a jet engine’s exhaust stands out like a beacon when seen in infrared, making it an obvious target for heat-seeking missiles – but a US Navy device might be able to thwart such missiles with ghost images projected in mid-air.The traditional method of defence has been to eject hot flares to draw missiles away from the aircraft. This new approach uses lasers rather than pyrotechnics.When focused to a point, a laser can produce a …Existing subscribers, please with your email address to link your account access.Paid annually by Credit CardInclusive of applicable taxes...

April 22, 2020
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BCG vaccine helps fight infections by boosting immune cell production

BCG vaccine helps fight infections by boosting immune cell production

×The BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) tuberculosis vaccine boosts the production of immune cells, which may explain why it can protect newborn babies from dying of sepsis.Previous studies have shown that can protect newborns against a broad range of infections beyond tuberculosis, reducing overall deaths from sepsis. But exactly how this works was unclear.“Knowing the mechanism behind this effect will support the use of the BCG vaccine to prevent newborn sepsis,” says Nelly Amenyogbe at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth, Australia. Amenyogbe and her colleagues analysed blood samples from...

May 9, 2020
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Universal basic income seems to improve employment and well-being

Universal basic income seems to improve employment and well-being

×The world’s most robust study of universal basic income has concluded that it boosts recipients’ mental and financial well-being, as well as modestly improving employment.Finland ran a two-year study in 2017 and 2018, during which the government gave 2000 unemployed people aged between 25 and 58 monthly payments with no strings attached.The payments of €560 per month weren’t means tested and were unconditional, so they weren’t reduced if an individual got a job or later had a pay rise. The study was nationwide and selected recipients weren’t able to opt out, because the test was written...

May 9, 2020
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Neutrinos may explain why we don’t live in an antimatter universe

Neutrinos may explain why we don’t live in an antimatter universe

×We are getting closer to understanding why the universe is made of matter and not antimatter. It may be all down to how neutrinos change flavours.Our leading theories tell us that, in the moments after the big bang, there was an equal amount of matter and antimatter. The two annihilate when they meet, which means the universe should contain energy and no matter. Somehow, a significant chunk of matter avoided this fate, and ultimately turned into stars, planets and people. Quite why is a long-standing mystery.But there are clues. Theory tells us that for each type of matter particle there...

May 9, 2020
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Black people in England and Wales twice as likely to die with covid-19

Black people in England and Wales twice as likely to die with covid-19

×Black people in England and Wales almost twice as likely to die from covid-19AdvertisementOther coronavirus developmentsCoronavirus numbers UK coronavirus official death toll passes 30,000 – the second highest in the worldOther coronavirus developmentsCoronavirus numbersEurope’s first known coronavirus case may have been in DecemberOther coronavirus developmentsCoronavirus numbersScientists advising UK government coronavirus response revealedOther coronavirus developmentsCoronavirus numbersUK government hits 100,000 daily tests target by including unanalysed testsOther coronavirus...

May 10, 2020
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UK plan for green heating will take 1500 years to hit 2050 target

UK plan for green heating will take 1500 years to hit 2050 target

×The UK won’t be able to meet its 2050 climate change targets unless much more is done to . The government’s latest proposals for doing so have been criticised as inadequate.“They are staggeringly unambitious,” says Jan Rosenow at the , an organisation dedicated to speeding up the clean energy transition.Unless more is done, it will take about 1500 years to meet a heating target for 2050 recommended by the UK’s official advisers on cutting emissions, Rosenow calculates.“If this is all there is, then it …Existing subscribers, please with your email address to link your account access.Paid...

May 12, 2020
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Our nearest star system may have a planet with a colossal set of rings

Our nearest star system may have a planet with a colossal set of rings

×We may have the first picture of the nearby exoplanet Proxima c, and it looks strange. It’s far brighter than astronomers expected, which may mean that it is surrounded by a huge disk of dust or even a shining system of rings.Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the solar system, at just 4.25 light years away, and we know that it has a planet roughly the same size as Earth called . But in 2019, astronomers spotted that may be caused by the gravitational pull of a second, larger planet called Proxima c.Raffaele Gratton at the Astronomical Observatory of Padova in Italy and his colleagues...

May 17, 2020
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We have seen hints of a new fundamental force of nature

We have seen hints of a new fundamental force of nature

×TASKED with telling the universe’s epic story, cosmologists have put on a compelling show. The curtain rises with a bang before a sweeping, unstoppable narrative unfolds. Stars form and explode, galaxies swirl their way into existence. munch and merge, sending out ripples through the auditorium.It is a ripping yarn – but the longer we watch it, the more it seems not quite to add up. The story is inconsistent. The pace changes arbitrarily. Some of the characters are ill-drawn, do inexplicable things or are just plain not there on cue. All in all, there is enough in this play that goes wrong...

May 17, 2020
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Fish used for sushi now carry 283 times more parasites than in 1980s

Fish used for sushi now carry 283 times more parasites than in 1980s

×Fish are infected with 283 times more parasitic worms than they were 40 years ago. Anisakis worms can infect a variety of marine fish and squid, as well as marine mammals such as whales and dolphins – and can be present in fish used raw for sushi.Chelsea Wood at the University of Washington in Seattle and her colleagues analysed the abundance of Anisakis, or herring worm, between 1978 and 2015. The team gathered data on the average number of parasites per fish from 123 studies – which included 56,778 fish across 215 species – and found a 283-fold increase over nearly 40 years.Anasakis...

March 20, 2020
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