Science and Technology

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  • Australia squandered its Covid advantage – and wealth is deciding who makes it home | Jennifer Mills
    by Jennifer Mills on July 25, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    It would be easy enough to get home quickly if we had money to burnFollow our Covid live blog for the latest updatesRestrictions: NSW; Vic; Qld; SA; WA and NT; border restrictionsHotspots: NSW map; Vic list; Qld; WAVaccine rollout tracker; get our free news app; get our morning email briefing“But aren’t you a citizen?”That’s the first thing most Italians ask when I tell them I can’t make it home. Continue reading...

  • Dietary supplements causing severe liver injuries in Australians with some requiring transplants, study shows
    by Melissa Davey on July 25, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    Researchers say cases linked to products claiming to promote muscle growth or weight loss are rising and more rigorous oversight is neededThe number of patients being admitted to hospital with severe liver injuries caused by herbal and dietary supplements claiming to promote muscle growth or weight loss is increasing, with some people harmed so severely they required a liver transplant.A study led by Dr Emily Nash from the Royal Prince Alfred hospital examined hospital records of 184 adults admitted to the AW Morrow Gastroenterology and Liver Centre with drug-induced liver injury between 2009 and 2020. She and her co-authors found liver injury cases linked to herbal and dietary supplements increased from two out of 11 patients (15%) during 2009–11, to 10 out of 19 patients (47%) during 2018–20. Continue reading...

  • Rumbling meteor lights up Norway, prompting search for meteorites
    by Reuters on July 25, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    Hunt begins near Oslo for fragments after sightings of large space rock hurtling across night skyAn “unusually large meteor” briefly lit up southern Norway on Sunday, creating a spectacular sound and light display as it rumbled across the sky, and a part of it may have hit Earth, possibly not far from the capital, Oslo, experts said.Reports of sightings started arriving at around 1am, and the phenomenon was seen as far north as Trondheim. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. Continue reading...

  • Meteor lights up night sky over Norway – video
    on July 25, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    An 'unusually large' meteor briefly lit up southern Norway on Sunday as it sped at up to 20km per second across the morning sky. Reports of sightings started at around 1am, with sightings of the phenomenon recorded as far north as Trondheim. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage Continue reading...

  • Dinah Murray obituary
    by Penny Warren on July 25, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    Champion of autistic people who explored the attention that they devote to a leading interestDinah Murray, who has died aged 75 of pancreatic cancer, was a key figure in autism studies, and an indefatigable advocate for autistic people for three decades. Her acute insight lay in the importance of attention and interests to an understanding of the condition.On the autistic spectrum herself and fascinated with language and the mind, in 1991 Murray read Uta Frith’s book Autism: Explaining the Enigma. She had a eureka moment when it spoke of an autistic person’s attention “going to their leading interest”. Continue reading...

  • Emmanuel Macron ‘pushes for Israeli inquiry’ into NSO spyware concerns
    by Bethan McKernan Middle East correspondent on July 25, 2021 at 2:26 pm

    French president reportedly spoke to Naftali Bennett to ensure ‘proper investigation’ after Pegasus projectEmmanuel Macron has reportedly spoken to the Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett, to ensure that the Israeli government is “properly investigating” allegations that the French president could have been targeted with Israeli-made spyware by Morocco’s security services.In a phone call, Macron expressed concern that his phone and those of most of his cabinet could have been infected with Pegasus, hacking software developed by the Israeli surveillance firm NSO Group, which enables operators of the tool to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones from infected devices. Continue reading...

  • Cryptocurrencies could lead to ‘limitless’ losses for UK government
    by Kalyeena Makortoff Banking correspondent on July 25, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    Experts warn of danger of untraceable funds if companies accepting payments in cryptos go bustThe government could face “limitless” losses as a result of businesses that accept payments in untaxed and untraceable cryptocurrencies going bust, an insolvency expert has warned.A growing number of companies, including the ethical cosmetics firm Lush and office-sharing firm WeWork, have begun taking payments for goods and services in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, alongside debt, credit or cash. Continue reading...

  • Jeanette Winterson: ‘The male push is to discard the planet: all the boys are going off into space’
    by Claire Armitstead on July 25, 2021 at 10:00 am

    The writer’s new essay collection covers 200 years of women and science, from Mary Shelley to AI. She discusses burning books and the ensuing Twitter storm, the end of her marriage, and why a move into politics could be nextThere’s a disconcerting silence outside Jeanette Winterson’s London pied-a-terre. It’s the morning after the night before, when she travelled across London after dinner with her publisher to scenes of football fans setting the city alight with their cup final fervour. “It was uproar,” she says, “We saw cars on fire.” Her flat is in the East End district of Spitalfields in a Georgian house, which she bought 25 years ago, complete with a little shop that she ran for years as an organic grocer and tea room until the rates got too high, and she let it out to an upmarket chocolatier.It’s as if a scene from Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop has been dropped into a satire about prosperity Britain: the quaint old shopfront is still intact, while outside it a lifesize sculpture of a rowing boat full of people sits surreally in the middle of the street, and a little further along, a herd of large bronze elephants frolics. These public artworks only arrived a few weeks ago, Winterson explains, as part of a grand plan to pedestrianise the area, and make it more buzzy, just at the moment that the sort of well-heeled office workers who bought upmarket chocolates are abandoning it owing to the Covid pandemic. Continue reading...

  • 2021 iPhone photography awards – in pictures
    on July 24, 2021 at 8:00 pm

    The 14th annual iPhone photography awards offer glimpses of beauty, hope and the endurance of the human spirit. Out of thousands of submissions, photojournalist Istvan Kerekes of Hungary was named the grand prize winner for his image Transylvanian Shepherds. In it, two rugged shepherds traverse an equally rugged industrial landscape, bearing a pair of lambs in their arms. Continue reading...

  • Sucks to be him! How Henry the vacuum cleaner became an accidental design icon
    by Simon Usborne on July 24, 2021 at 9:00 am

    Henry is a fixture in millions of homes – including 10 Downing Street – despite almost no advertising. Meet the man behind a curiously British success storyIn March this year, photos of the government’s glitzy new briefing room, where Boris Johnson’s new media chief was set to host daily press conferences, leaked to the media. The centrepiece of a “presidential” approach to communications, it was already controversial for its cost to taxpayers of £2.6m. With its gaudy blue backdrop, giant union flags and imposing podium, it looked like the stage for a US political or legal TV show: The West Wing with a touch of Judge Judy.What the briefing room needed was something to suck the pomposity out of it. What it needed, it turned out, was a cameo appearance from a 620-watt anthropomorphic vacuum cleaner. The stocky red and black appliance was barely visible in the wings, stage left, yet instantly recognisable. Turned away from the podium, his chrome wand propped casually against a varnished dado rail, the Henry vacuum cleaner looked almost as if he were rolling his eyes. Continue reading...