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Evidence shows that, yes, masks prevent COVID-19 – and surgical masks are the way to go

What type of mask is best? Brais Seara/Moment via Getty Images Laura (Layla) H. Kwong, University of California, Berkeley Do masks work? And if so, should you reach for an N95, a surgical mask, a cloth mask or a gaiter? Over the past year and a half, researchers have produced a lot of laboratory, model-based and observational evidence on the …

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20 years after 9/11, the American colossus has gone and the Middle East remains strife-torn

Tony Walker, La Trobe University The 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington carries with it two punctuation marks. The first are the attacks themselves on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. These shocked a country that was both psychologically and physically unprepared for such a brazen assault on American soil. The second …

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20 años de guerra contra el terror en 20 cifras

Un miembro de la policía afgana y soldados estadounidenses cerca del aeródromo de Kandahar. Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images Neta C. Crawford, Boston University Estados Unidos invadió Afganistán a finales de 2001 para destruir a Al Qaeda, apartar a los talibanes del poder y rehacer la nación. El 30 de agosto de 2021, Estados Unidos completó la retirada de sus …

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Long COVID: double vaccination halves risk of developing long-lasting

symptoms Studio Romantic/Shutterstock Claire Steves, King’s College London In unvaccinated people, around one in 20 who get symptomatic COVID-19 experience symptoms for at least eight weeks. Around one in 50 have symptoms that drag out for three months or more. We wanted to know whether COVID-19 vaccines might protect against developing long-lasting symptoms. To find out, we looked at data …

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In Iran showdown, conflict could explode quickly – and disastrously

Mourners at the funeral for Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani burn Israeli and U.S. flags. Hamid Vakili/NurPhoto via Getty Images Bear F. Braumoeller, The Ohio State University Despite the claims of optimists, the odds that an international conflict will snowball into a bloody war haven’t gone down significantly since the end of World War II. Trump administration officials’ confidence that the …

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Your immune system is as unique as your fingerprint – new study

Christoph Burgstedt/Shutterstock Albert J.R. Heck, Utrecht University Every person appears to have a unique immune system. My colleagues and I discovered this immune diversity after charting antibodies in the blood from healthy and sick people. The discovery could help explain why, for example, COVID vaccines appear to be less effective for some people. At the same time, it points to …

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The political role of drone strikes in US grand strategy

Jacqueline L. Hazelton, US Naval War College How do you feel about drone strikes? Chances are you have an opinion – or at least a gut reaction. Years of debate on the issue show that many Americans have reservations. People are concerned that drone strikes devalue non-American lives, dangerously expand executive power, and drive terrorism and anti-Americanism. Yet do we …

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China is financing infrastructure projects around the world – many could harm nature and Indigenous communities

Chinese engineers pose after welding the first seamless rails for the China-Laos railway in Vientiane, Laos, June 18, 2020. Kaikeo Saiyasane/Xinhua via Getty Images Blake Alexander Simmons, Boston University; Kevin P. Gallagher, Boston University, and Rebecca Ray, Boston University China is shaping the future of economic development through its Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious multi-billion-dollar international push to better …

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Las microestufas de los pájaros

Carbonero garrapinos (Periparus ater). Shutterstock / RazvanZinica Juan Ignacio Pérez Iglesias, Universidad del País Vasco / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea Muchas veces, cuando estoy leyendo o trabajando, levanto la vista del libro o de la pantalla y miro al exterior para descansar. A veces miro a lo lejos, hacia las cumbres del Pagasarri, que me señala el sur, o del Ganekogorta, …

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Air pollution: science shows there’s no safe limit – here’s how laws must change

Paolo Bona/Shutterstock William Bloss, University of Birmingham Air pollution is the largest environmental risk to public health. Outdoor air pollution causes around four million premature deaths globally each year, while a further three million deaths are linked to pollution indoors – mainly from open cooking and heating fires in developing countries. The most harmful air pollutants in urban areas are …

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