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Guardian Science Blogs

Notes & Theories | The Guardian

The Guardian's blog on scientific research and controversies, written by our reporters and guest contributors

The Guardian

  • What's the weather like in space? A new mission seeks to find out

    Esa is launching a solar mission that could help forecast potentially catastrophic events

    On the morning of 1 September 1859, the English astronomer Richard Carrington noticed something strange on the surface of the sun: two patches of intensely white light erupting from a cluster of dark sunspots. Five minutes later, they vanished.

    Later that night, bright aurora lit the Earth’s sky as far south as Havana and Honolulu. Around the world, telegraph communications failed, some of them bursting into flames.

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  • E-cigarettes are still safer than smoking, scientists find

    Scare stories abound but the evidence remains consistent

    The past decade in British healthcare has been disappointing: improvements in life expectancy and neonatal mortality have stalled and public satisfaction with the NHS has fallen sharply.

    But one positive singled out in a recent review of healthcare developments was the rise of e-cigarettes use, which the article noted had given “tobacco cessation a boost at no cost to the public purse”.

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  • What Seinfeld can teach us about science

    From micro pigs to the doping dangers of a poppy seed bagel, life may be imitating the US sitcom

    When Jerry Seinfeld starts his UK tour, listen out for a science joke. From early on in his TV career, the comedian poked fun at science. In his 1981 HBO debut, he said of weather forecasts: “And then my favourite part, the satellite photo. This is really helpful. A photograph of the Earth from 10,000 miles away. Can you tell if you should take a sweater or not from that shot?”

    His eponymous 90s sitcom is also packed with nuanced references to science, with the storylines of some of the most famous episodes centred on it: George Costanza pretends to be a scientist in The Marine Biologist, while in The Abstinence he becomes a boffin after swearing off sex. In The Non-Fat Yogurt, Kramer has a romantic fling in a lab and inadvertently spoils an experiment testing whether the frozen snack is as healthy as it sounds.

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