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Mobile data shows which European countries took lockdown seriously

A substantial part of humanity is slowly emerging from weeks of lockdown. What we have experienced is truly rare: a real global threat, menacing to all wherever we lived. But how did humanity respond to this pandemic? Did people consistently stay at home as most governments asked them to? And if they didn’t, where did …

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Consciousness: How can I experience things that aren’t ‘real’?

When I see red, it’s the most religious experience. Seeing red just results from photons of a certain frequency hitting the retina of my eye, which cascades electrical and biochemical pulses through my brain, in the same way a PC runs. But nothing happening in my eye or brain actually is the red colour I …

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‘Pharming’ for a vaccine: the answer to coronavirus may be in tobacco plants

We don’t know how long it will take to find a vaccine for COVID-19, but we do know this: if and when we find one, there will be unprecedented demand for the molecules that go into it. Several different types of vaccine are currently being researched. These include those that use inactivated forms of the …

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SpaceX astronaut launch: here’s the rocket science it must get right.

Two NASA astronauts, Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley, will make history by travelling to the International Space Station in a privately funded spacecraft, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule. It will also be the first time astronauts have launched from US soil in nine years. The astronauts will take off lying on their …

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Not all twins are identical and that’s been an evolutionary puzzle, until now

When a mother gives birth to twins, the offspring are not always identical or even the same gender. Known as fraternal twins, they represent a longstanding evolutionary puzzle. Identical twins arise from a single fertilised egg that accidentally splits in two, but fraternal twins arise when two eggs are released and fertilised. Why this would …

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Working from home: Twitter reveals why we’re embracing it.

The effects of coronavirus on the economy already appear bleak. Unemployment and government borrowing are soaring and a recession seems inevitable. Yet amid these worrying developments there are positive elements to be found. Many of those who have kept their jobs have found they can keep working without the need for a daily commute. Recent …

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Dead Sea Scrolls – How we accidentally discovered missing text – In Manchester

The 2,000-year-old scrolls were found in the Qumran caves next to the Dead Sea in the 1940s. They weren’t the only discoveries, though. Archaeological artefacts like pottery and linen were also taken from the caves, and some are now in collections around the world. My research collaborators Dennis Mizzi, Marcello Fidanzio and I put together …

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New projects broaden the search for alien signals from space

Estimating the chance of getting a message from life beyond Earth, say within the next decade, isn’t easy. Even the best experts are reluctant to offer precise odds. “Anybody who gave you a figure would be talking about religion, not science,” says Jill Tarter, the astronomer who has spent most of her life pursuing the …

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Florian Schneider

Florian Schneider and Kraftwerk helped shape the sound of modern music

Adam Behr, Newcastle University There are few bands whose influence was such that it can unequivocally be said that modern music would sound different without them. Kraftwerk, co-founded by Florian Schneider, whose recent death at the age of 73 was announced on May 6, was one such act. The band left an indelible imprint on …

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Coronavirus: In Ireland hundreds of thousands have applied for government support – But is it enough?

Ireland, like many countries, has seen hugely increased levels of unemployment as a result of the measures taken to slow the spread of COVID-19. Figures released for March 2020 show that unemployment rates have risen from a modest rate of 5.4% to 16.5% when adjusted to take account of those who have become unemployed as …

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Five Workplace Trends Will Shape Life After Lockdown

Dave Cook, UCL We are experiencing the biggest remote work experiment in history – but many are beginning to imagine life after lockdown. Amid unprecedented global job losses, concerns about transport infrastructure and the continuing need for workplace social distancing, governments are launching back-to-work plans. Meanwhile, the latest US research reveals that 74% of businesses …

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