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COVID vaccines: should people under 50 in the UK be offered a fourth dose?

Studio Romantic/Shutterstock Alessandro Siani, University of Portsmouth It’s been nearly two years since Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to receive an approved COVID vaccine at a clinic in Coventry on December 8, 2020. Since then, almost 13 billion doses of various COVID vaccines have been administered globally. And they are estimated to have prevented millions of …

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COP27: how the fossil fuel lobby crowded out calls for climate justice

Alix Dietzel, University of Bristol COP27 has just wrapped up. Despite much excitement over a new fund to address “loss and damage” caused by climate change, there is also anger about perceived backsliding on commitments to lower emissions and phase out fossil fuels. As an academic expert in climate justice who went along this year, hoping to make a difference, …

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COP27 will be remembered as a failure – here’s what went wrong

Mark Maslin, UCL; Priti Parikh, UCL; Richard Taylor, UCL, and Simon Chin-Yee, UCL Billed as “Africa’s COP”, the 27th UN climate change summit (otherwise known as COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, was expected to promote climate justice, as this is the continent most affected but least responsible for the climate crisis. Negotiations for a fund that would compensate developing countries …

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World Cup 2022: Qatar is accused of ‘sportswashing’ but do the fans really care?

Doha. All clean? Shutterstock/HasanZaidi Argyro Elisavet Manoli, Loughborough University Fifa’s choice of Qatar as host of the 2022 men’s football World Cup has been controversial since day one. Questions continue to be raised about the nation’s attitude to human rights, and its treatment of migrant workers. To some, the entire event exemplifies the concept of “sportswashing” – using sport as …

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Ukraine war: what are ‘dirty bombs’ and why is Russia suddenly talking about them?

Christoph Bluth, University of Bradford Since the invasion of Ukraine in February, the threat that weapons of mass destruction would be used has been a constant concern. Discussion of this threat has tended to focus on the possibility that Russia might resort to using its nuclear arsenal – something hinted at several times by the Russian president Vladimir Putin and …

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My work investigating the links between viruses and Alzheimer’s disease was dismissed for years – but now the evidence is building

Shutterstock/Jorm S Ruth Itzhaki, University of Oxford This article is part of the Insights Uncharted Brain series. There are many competing theories about what causes Alzheimer’s disease. Here, Ruth Itzhaki reflects on a career dedicated to one of the more controversial lines of research. Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance …

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Are butter boards bad for you? An expert view on the latest food trend

Butter boards are sort of like a charcuterie board featuring artisanal butters. zarzamora/ Shutterstock Duane Mellor, Aston University In an unexpected twist, butter seems to be back on the menu. After years of being a maligned ingredient that many people shied away from, butter has now become the latest food trend on social media, thanks to the recent popularity of …

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Four common misconceptions about quantum physics

Shrödinger’s cat is world famous, but what does it really mean? Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Shrödinger’s cat is world famous, but what does it really mean? Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr, CC BY-SA Alessandro Fedrizzi, Heriot-Watt University and Mehul Malik, Heriot-Watt University Quantum mechanics, the theory which rules the microworld of atoms and particles, certainly has the X factor. Unlike many other areas of physics, it is bizarre and counter-intuitive, which makes it dazzling and intriguing. When the …

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