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

By Michael Le Page The UK needs to switch away from fossil fuel heatinggeorgeclerk/Getty ImagesThe UK won’t be able to meet its 2050 climate change targets unless much more is done to cut emissions from heating buildings. The government’s latest proposals for doing so have been criticised as inadequate. “They are staggeringly unambitious,” says Jan…

How some African countries are beginning to ease coronavirus lockdowns

By Adam Vaughan South Africa has mobilised resources as part of a national coronavirus campaignJacques Marais/Real Time Images/ABACA/PA Images Coronavirus cases across Africa have continued to occur at much lower levels than on other continents. After many African countries took quick action to stop the virus spreading, attention is now turning to what will happen…

Climate change has already made parts of the world too hot for humans

By Adam Vaughan Climate change is already making some places unliveableAKHTAR SOOMRO/Reuters/PA ImagesGlobal warming has already made parts of the world hotter than the human body can withstand, decades earlier than climate models expected this to happen. Jacobabad in Pakistan and Ras al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates have both repeatedly crossed a deadly…

Stars in the Milky Way’s centre often get dangerously close together

By Jonathan O’Callaghan Stars in the Milky Way’s central bulge have close encounters with one anotherESO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Kornmesser/R. HurtWhen a star passes another star, any planets orbiting them can be flung into space, destroying what could once have been hospitable solar systems. And while rare in the outer parts of our galaxy, such events might be…

New Zealand is close to wiping out covid-19 – can it return to normal?

By Alice Klein Officials in New Zealand moved quickly to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, and the country is close to eliminating covid-19 cases.New Zealand is tantalisingly close to wiping out covid-19, but does that mean that life there will be able to go back to normal? New Zealand was swift to respond to the…

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

By Sam Wong , Adam Vaughan , Conrad Quilty-Harper and Layal Liverpool A nurse wears a protective face mask outside the Royal London Hospital on 18 April 2020.DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty ImagesLatest coronavirus news as of 5 pm on 7 May Black people in England and Wales almost twice as likely to die from covid-19…

Brain cells reach out to each other through miniature cages

By Clare Wilson Neurons cannot be cagedStanford UniversityIt is easy to escape from confinement if you have a few brain cells. Pictured above are microscopic cages, based on the shape of “buckyball” carbon molecules, which are trapping neurons taken from the brains of mice. The cells have grown long branch-like appendages through the bars of…

It’s time to retreat from the tyranny of lockdown tech

People in lockdown are no longer trying to use technology to get their old lives back and that’s a good thing, says Annalee Newitz Technology | Comment 6 May 2020 By Annalee Newitz Box, fort, same thingarlo0886/Getty ImagesWE’VE been living in quarantine for almost two months in San Francisco, and lockdown tech is starting to…

A large chunk of Mercury may have been blown away by the sun

Space 7 May 2020 By Jonathan O’Callaghan Illustration of the surface of MercuryTIM BROWN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARYA giant impact four billion years ago could have resulted in Mercury losing most of its mantle to deep space, potentially explaining one of the planet’s key mysteries. Mercury is unusual compared with other rocky planets in the…

Egyptian pyramids really were aligned with the compass points

The Karnak temple is aligned to sunrise on the December solsticeKateryna Kolesnyk / AlamyAncient Egyptian temples and tombs were oriented towards certain regions of the sky for religious and cultural reasons. Many ancient structures are claimed to be aligned to celestial objects, such as Stonehenge. However, most studies of this phenomenon are unreliable, says Fabio Silva…