Goto

Collaborating Authors

BBC News


Coronavirus doctor's diary: How gardening could help in the fight against obesity

BBC News

Being overweight puts you at greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19, experts say - and now new anti-obesity strategies have been launched around the UK. In Bradford, community schemes to promote healthy lifestyles offers a novel approach to the problem. Dr John Wright of the city's Royal Infirmary explains why radical thinking is necessary. Our complete concentration on Covid-19 has concealed another global pandemic that has been more insidious but much more harmful: obesity. Early in the pandemic, we spotted common patterns in our sickest Covid-19 patients - they were more likely to have diabetes and heart disease and, in particular, to be obese.


Nasa Mars rover: Perseverance robot ready to fly

BBC News

The weather in Florida is set fair for the launch of the American space agency's (Nasa) big new Mars rover. The one-tonne Perseverance robot is heading to the Red Planet to search for life and to begin the process of returning rocks to Earth for analysis. An Atlas rocket will send the vehicle on its way from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It'll be the third mission despatched to Mars this month, after launches by the UAE and China. Lift-off is timed for the start of a two-hour window that opens at 07:50 local time (12:50 BST; 11:50 GMT). The cruise to Mars takes seven months.


Coronavirus: Airport testing and a royal lockdown

BBC News

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus outbreak this Wednesday evening. We'll have another update for you tomorrow morning. We've heard from Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, who's said testing is not a "silver bullet" to stop the need for quarantine for people returning from Spain. Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye wants tests at airports, and again a few days later, as an alternative. While Conservative MP Crispin Blunt thinks a more targeted use of quarantine measures would get more public support than a blanket rule for the whole of Spain.


Heathrow Airport brings in robots to fight coronavirus

BBC News

Previously used to tackle hospital acquired infections, the machines move through the airport terminals disinfecting high risk touch points like bathrooms and lifts.


Nasa Mars rover: Meteorite to head home to Red Planet

BBC News

A small chunk of Mars will be heading home when the US space agency launches its latest rover mission on Thursday. Nasa's Perseverance robot will carry with it a meteorite that originated on the Red Planet and which, until now, has been lodged in the collection of London's Natural History Museum (NHM). The rock's known properties will act as a calibration target to benchmark the workings of a rover instrument. It will give added confidence to any discoveries the robot might make. This will be particularly important if Perseverance stumbles across something that hints at the presence of past life on the planet - one of the mission's great quests.


Nasa Mars rover: How Perseverance will hunt for signs of past life

BBC News

Nasa's Perseverance rover, due to launch to Mars this summer, will search an ancient crater lake for signs of past life. But if biology ever emerged on the Red Planet, how will scientists recognise it? Here, mission scientist Ken Williford explains what they're looking for. Today, Mars is hostile to life. It's too cold for water to stay liquid on the surface, and the thin atmosphere lets through high levels of radiation, potentially sterilising the upper part of the soil. Some 3.5 billion years ago or more, water with a near-neutral pH was present on the surface.


Coronavirus: The stress of leading a start-up through the pandemic

BBC News

Priya Lakhani was just days away from a crucial moment in the life of her start-up, Century Tech, an education firm which uses artificial intelligence to track a pupil's progress. She had a signed term sheet from an investor, which is a big deal in the start-up world, as it typically confirms a substantial investment and lays out the commercial and legal terms of that deal. But on 21 March, amid growing concern over coronavirus and with just 10 days to go before completion of the funding round, Century Tech's investor pulled out, leaving Ms Lakhani and her team worried about what would happen next. Term sheets are not usually legally binding, and pulling funding at such a critical point can leave start-ups in a precarious position. At the time, the government was yet to announce any help for start-ups specifically, but it soon did with its coronavirus Future Fund, which enables UK-based start-ups to apply for government loans ranging from £125,000 to £5m, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.


New Zealand: New volcano alert system 'could have warned of White Island eruption'

BBC News

New Zealand scientists have invented a new volcano alert system that they say could have provided warning ahead of last year's White Island disaster. Twenty-one people died when the country's most active volcano, also called Whakaari, suddenly erupted last December with tourists on it. The new system uses machine learning algorithms to analyse real-time data to predict future eruptions. The research was publish in the journal Nature last week. One of the scientists involved in the project, Shane Cronin from the University of Auckland, told the BBC the current system had been "too slow to provide warnings for people [on] the island." "The current [alert system] collects data in real-time but what tends to happen is that this information gets assessed by a panel and they have an expert process... this all takes a while," he said.


Ellie Goulding: 'I'd just become a robot'

BBC News

Ellie Goulding's new album opens with the sound of a crowd going wild, recorded at a festival date on the star's 2016/17 Delirium tour. It might have been Glastonbury, it might have been Rock In Rio, but the location isn't important. Wherever she was, Goulding was drained and tired and unhappy. "I'd just become a robot that was able to walk on stage and perform energetically and wildly," she says. "But actually I was just exhausted, and I don't remember any of it. I wasn't really able to enjoy anything properly."


Rare Super Mario becomes highest-selling video game

BBC News

A rare version of the classic 1985 Super Mario Bros has sold at auction for $114,000 (£90,000), the most ever paid for a video game. The cartridge, still in its original packaging, sold to an anonymous bidder. And the US auctioneer said demand "was extremely high", partly because this particular packaging had been used for a short while only. The previous record for an auctioned game was $100,000 - for a different copy of Super Mario. "If any lot in the sale could hit a number like that, it was going to be that one," Heritage Auctions video games director Valarie McLeckie said.