Archive for the ‘Science & technology’ Category

How should we test for coronavirus?

February 24th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

There are two tests to determine whether someone has coronavirus (and one – a blood test – to establish whether someone has actually had the virus). The first test for the virus is called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This involves swabbing the back of the throat and the nostrils. The swab has to be sent to […]

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Ever heard of the Schumann resonances?

February 5th, 2021 by Roger Darlington

No, neither had I – until today. A friend of mine, who is very spiritual, explained that her troubled week might be related to a high value of the Schumann resonances. As a sceptic, I am profoundly doubtful about all spiritual phenomena or explanations, but I was assured that Schumann resonances are a real thing. […]

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What do we know about the two new Covid variants in the UK?

December 24th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

The global pandemic is the stuff of nightmares. No sooner has most of the UK population moved into the toughest set of restrictions since formal lockdown than we have a mutant virus and now a second variant – apparently each more virulent than the previous strain. At such times, we need careful assessment based on […]

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Here’s what we know about the new variant of coronavirus

December 23rd, 2020 by Roger Darlington

I live in London, the epicentre of the new strain of the coronavirus – what is technically known as the Sars-CoV-2 lineage 1.1.7. In the “Guardian” newspaper today, there is an informative article by Sharon Peacock who is director of the Covid-19 Genomics UK Consortium and professor of public health and microbiology at the University of Cambridge. […]

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How many cases of coronavirus been caused by touching contaminated surfaces?

November 6th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

The World Health Organization has warned about surfaces being a source of transmission, while conceding there are no reports demonstrating infection in this way. It said: “Despite consistent evidence as to Sars-CoV-2 contamination of surfaces and the survival of the virus on certain surfaces, there are no specific reports which have directly demonstrated fomite transmission. People […]

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We know that there is lots of life on Earth, but is there any lyfe on Mars?

July 30th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

For centuries, there has been speculation about whether there is any life on our nearest planet Mars. After all, there are those ‘canals’ and there is some kind of atmosphere. Of course, it depends how you define “life” and, believe it or not, there is no absolutely agreed definition, but the American space agency NASA […]

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the Universe, they discover a black neutron star

June 23rd, 2020 by Roger Darlington

Scientists have discovered an astronomical object that has never been observed before. It is more massive than collapsed stars, known as “neutron stars”, but has less mass than black holes. Such “black neutron stars” were not thought possible and will mean ideas for how neutron stars and black holes form will need to be rethought. […]

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Which countries are doing best and worst in tackling the coronavirus? Is Britain really doing that badly?

May 27th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

Of course, it depends on how you measure this. Do you use the number of confirmed cases which depends massively on the testing regime in that nation? Or the number of deaths confirmed as caused by or involving Covid-19? Or the number of excess deaths over and above what would be expected for the time […]

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In the age of Covid-19, how far should we be physically distancing?

May 23rd, 2020 by Roger Darlington

Ever since the UK started social (or, more accurately, physical) distancing in the face of the coronavirus crisis, we have been observing a 2-metre rule. But where does this guidance come from and is it the ‘right’ measure? In fact, most older people – who are the most vulnerable – are not so familiar with […]

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Word of the day: anosmia

May 19th, 2020 by Roger Darlington

The word means a loss of the sense of smell. This is often accompanied with loss of a sense of taste. One of my grandmothers had this on a permanent basis which meant that she could not smell if she had left on the gas cooker and she did not really enjoy her food. The […]

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