Selected Articles

Fears for rare monkeys and dolphins as Indonesia's new forest capital threatens their habitat

In April 2020, in the depths of the Covid pandemic, residents of Jakarta woke up to a rare and beautiful sight: the peaks of Mount Gede, around 63 kilometres from the Indonesian capital, and Mount Salak, 57 kilometres away, surrounded by an almost clear, blue sky.

Environmentalists called the moment “phenomenal”; for decades, the typically buzzing, chaotic city of 11 million people has suffered from air pollution levels so high that a bad day in Jakarta can make it difficult to see across roads

The truth about putting sweetener in your tea

From “diet” soft drinks to fat-free yoghurts and cereals, these days there’s a sugar-free alternative to just about everything. In most cases, we have artificial sweeteners to thank for this.

On paper, sweeteners are a miracle ingredient, helping us to reduce our calorie intake and protect our tooth enamel, all the while avoiding sugar-induced energy crashes and the dips in mood that follow. But a wave of fresh evidence suggesting these calorie-free additives might contain underlying health ris

Don't ditch your bacon sandwich just yet! The truth about nitrites and processed food

Smoked, salty and streaky, thick and greasy; piled high in a bun, bap, barm, or bread roll with lashings of brown or red sauce – bacon speaks to us all.

In many ways this humble cut of meat is the great social leveller, found on the breakfast plates of aristocrats and haulage truckers alike. Bacon even transcends politics and popular culture: a bacon sandwich was once blamed for derailing Ed Miliand’s career, lest we forget, and the supermodel Cara Delavigne has a tattoo in honour of the stuff.

Dementia is more preventable than we think - stay active, eat well and get a hearing test

When the family of Bruce Willis announced the Hollywood actor’s dementia diagnosis last week, it was a statement that millions of us could empathise with.

In the UK alone, around 950,000 people are currently living with dementia, and by next year experts predict the figure will top one million. It goes without saying that the stress and hardship caused by Alzheimer’s and similar diseases has an even wider impact, on the friends and relatives of those in need of care.

Societally, dementia is so

Why you shouldn't panic about phthalates, the chemical found in everyday plastics

Despite our best efforts, plastics are still a major part of everyday life. They hold our cleaning products, our food and skincare; they are used to waterproof our floors, shoes and clothing.

Many of us are already actively reducing our plastic consumption for environmental reasons. But a growing body of research into the ingredients commonly found in plastics is creating increasing concern over these problem materials.

Most recently, experts have warned against the possible health risks of a

South Africa power cuts see freelancers take to mountaintops, gyms for reliable Wifi

At the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, a new species of mammal is flourishing. Among the lizards, dassies, and a consistent stream of tourists taking photos, sit remote workers, tapping away on their laptops and making business calls from 1,086m in the sky.

As debilitating power cuts continue across the country and threaten to wreak havoc on city-dwellers’ productivity, the search for reliable wifi is leading freelancers, flexible staffers, and anyone else who can, to chase co

Finland feels the cold as a Putin-fuelled energy crisis threatens the country's sauna culture

At Löyly public sauna in Helsinki, sweat pours off a group of tourists as they watch the locals bicker over temperature. Periodically, scoops of water are thrown from a bucket into the sauna’s coals to produce the all-important steam associated with this Nordic tradition – and the mercury rises.

One man insists that two scoops of water should be thrown on the coals to ramp up the heat; another says three or four. The disagreements are good-natured, but it is no joking matter: for Finns, the sau

Aurea is first baby in the world to be 'selected' after genetic screen

Becoming a parent for the first time is a major moment for anyone — but for Laura Gayton, giving birth to a healthy, crying baby boy felt nothing short of a ‘miracle’.

Laura, a swimming teacher from Kettering, Northants, is one of around 10,800 people in the UK with cystic fibrosis (CF), a progressive genetic disease that claims the lives of half of those affected before the age of 40.

When she was diagnosed at just two months old, Laura’s parents were told their daughter would be lucky to mak

Network of tunnels 437m underground destined to become world’s first site for nuclear waste

Four hundred and thirty-seven metres underground on the southwest coast of Finland, a team of geologists are advising on where to blow holes into two billion-year-old granite.

This is no ordinary science project: buried here in the city’s bedrock is Onkalo, a network of tunnels destined to become the world’s first permanent repository for radioactive waste.

By the time construction is complete in 2120, this toxic graveyard will span 50km of tunnels – some as wide as suburban streets and taller

How to cruise the French Riviera with no sailing experience for less than £400

Best known for the glamorous beach resorts of St Tropez and Cannes, the French Riviera has long been a firm favourite among the rich and famous – and for good reason. The hot, still summers and bejewelled azure coastline offer some of the best sunshine, wine and photo opportunities in Europe.

Consequently, this south-east corner of France also has a reputation for carrying a hefty price tag – meaning families and the less elite among us are more likely to have seen it through the windows of a c

Expat volunteers join forces with Portugal’s firefighters

The residents of Vale do Lobo in the Portuguese Algarve knew it was time to worry when clouds of ash started falling from the sky into the swimming pools of their multi-million euro villas.

The region is a second home to several celebrities, including Cliff Richard, but emergency services are so overstretched that the majority of firefighters working to protect these luxury homes are unpaid reserves.

Supporting their cause is an unlikely group of volunteers: 25 designated “fire watchers”...

Genetic Screening Now Lets Parents Pick the Healthiest Embryos

At 18 months old, Aurea Yenmai Smigrodzki is inquisitive like any other toddler. She likes peanut butter, the beach, and mobile phones—or any toys that look like phones. She likes to copy her mum and dad, Thuy and Rafal, when they are using theirs. Aurea doesn’t know it yet, but her birth was very special: She is the world’s first PGT-P baby, meaning she is statistically less likely than the rest of us to develop a genetic disease or disorder throughout her life.

PGT-P stands for preimplantatio

From curbing climate change to eradicating diseases, what genomics is doing for us

What do fortified tomato plants, so-called “designer babies”, and a plan to bring woolly mammoths back from extinction all have in common? The answer is a relatively new and very exciting branch of science called genomics.

Genomics is the study of all our thousands of genes, the DNA that makes us exactly who we are. Chances are, you may have heard about some of the things happening in this field already: last month, it was revealed that gene-edited tomatoes could provide a new source of vitamin

What the DNA of Ancient Humans Reveals About Pandemics

As an earth scientist specializing in ancient remains, Christopher Hunt is used to making unusual trips in the name of archaeology. But one of his most memorable has to be the time he traveled back from Iraq with a Neanderthal in the plane seat next to him.

“She was packed carefully away in a large suitcase, but checking her into the hold seemed far too risky—so I bought her a passenger ticket,” he says by way of explanation. Shanidar Z, as the Neanderthal was named, is the latest ancient skele

The real reasons fewer girls choose maths and physics: stereotypes, confidence and role models

At Simon Langton Grammar School in Kent, Mabel Shave has been learning how to measure radiation levels in tea bags. She is one of several girls here studying maths and physics for A-level, and it’s practical experiments like these which she says helps “bring the science to life”.

Shave has always enjoyed physics, particularly the maths element. “I like the problem-solving side,” she says – though a recent news story would have you believe otherwise.

A silent retreat without phones, talking or even reading taught me to savour a slower life

“But we’ve just had two years of quiet, why the hell would you want to go and punish yourself like this?” My well-meaning friend was not the only one who felt confused by my decision to book a five-day off-grid silent retreat. Other common reactions included: “Are you being paid to do it?” (I wasn’t). Or, “Which paper are you writing about it for?” (None, at the time.)

Others gave a sympathetic smile and assumed I was going through some sort of relationship crisis or nervous breakdown.

But the
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