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Work of prominent climate change denier was funded by energy industry

A prominent academic and climate change denier’s work was funded almost entirely by the energy industry, receiving more than $1.2m from companies, lobby groups and oil billionaires over more than a decade, newly released documents show. Over the last 14 years Willie Soon, a researcher at the...
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A fairground ride that reads your mind?

A small and scholarly laboratory in north London is home to a very unusual chair. Its scarlet plastic bucket seat is suspended in the air on black hydraulic elbows, and coloured wires and pipes straggle around it like blood vessels. It is a mean-looking thing, but this uninviting piece...
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There's no evidence e-cigarettes are as harmful as smoking

In his recent ‘Comment is free’ piece Nash Riggins claims that vaping is just as dangerous as smoking, and expresses robust support for NHS Boards in Scotland who intend to ban the use of electronic cigarettes when their grounds go tobacco free in April. The reader might be left with...
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Why reading and writing on paper can be better for your brain

My son is 18 months old, and I’ve been reading books with him since he was born. I say “reading”, but I really mean “looking at” – not to mention grasping, dropping, throwing, cuddling, chewing, and everything else a tiny human being likes to do. Over the last six months, though, he has begun not...
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Look at Earth from a Martian perspective

Todd Huffman says we should refrain from sending humans to Mars until it can be determined if Mars has an independent biosphere of its own ( Letters, 18 February). This is wrong for two reasons. First, if life of any description is found on Mars, it is virtually certain to be related to life...
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Inside the food industry: the surprising truth about what you eat

On a bright, cold day in late November 2013, I found myself in the dark, eerie, indoor expanses of Frankfurt’s Blade Runner-like Festhalle Messe. I was there undercover, to attend an annual trade show called Food Ingredients. This three- day exhibition hosts the world’s most important gathering of...
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Reefer research: cannabis 'munchies' explained by new study

Besides making a bongo drum sound inexplicably magical and enhancing a person’s ability to talk nonsense for extended periods of time, generations of cannabis smokers will recognise the “munchies” as one of the drug’s most reliable side-effects. Now scientists have shown that the insatiable urge...
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Nature and sex redefined – we have never been binary

A recent article in Nature claims that biologists ‘now think’ that sex is not a binary feature for human beings – rather than being simply male or female, there are various kinds of sex, such as chromosomal sex or hormonal sex, and all of us exist across several spectrums of sexual identity. Two...
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