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We know everything – and nothing – about Covid

We know everything about Sars-CoV-2 and nothing about it. We can read every one of the (on average) 29,903 letters in its genome and know exactly how its 15 genes are transcribed into instructions to make which proteins. But we cannot figure out how it is spreading in enough detail to tell which parts of

The importance of the Natural Health Service

Most people consider going for a walk or a run as a sort of optional leisure activity, something you get round to once you’ve been to the shops. But when the government announced its coronavirus restrictions, there it was in its own category of ‘essential activities’: daily exercise. Yes, there have been rows about whether

Fake news is spreading faster than the virus

Just over a decade ago, I published one of those books with an annoying subtitle beginning with the word ‘how’. It was called Counterknowledge: How We Surrendered to Conspiracy Theories, Quack Medicine, Bogus Science and Fake History. My targets included Michael Moore, Creationists and homeopaths. I concluded that we couldn’t stop anyone circulating their ‘counter-knowledge’

Hiding Biden is the best way to get him elected

So Mrs American Voter, which septuagenarian sex abuser do you want to be President? The whole ‘#MeToo’ business probably should have taken a back seat in 2020 — given the epochal health crisis, the vast Covid-19 death toll and the collapsed US economy. But sex always makes headlines and this month Joe Biden, the presumptive

Writing obituaries can be strangely life-affirming

In my line of work I sometimes owe a cock to Asclepius. The ancient Greeks believed that a sacrificial offering to Asclepius, the god of good health, could buy you time. Perhaps it worked in the case of Boris Johnson. On the night he was taken into intensive care, I had the digital team of

Lockdown can be overwhelming for those with autism

National Autism Month in April coincided with our strictest phase of lockdown. My son, 36, who has Asperger’s, has consequently been unable to stick to all his routines — one being the Sunday car boot sale on Brighton Racecourse — and I was worried about how he’d cope. He suggested we watch classic EastEnders together

Notes on...

Even the owl in my garden is self-isolating

My tawny owl has been self-isolating. I say mine but in truth she chose the nest box in my neighbour’s garden rather than the one I almost killed myself to install, balancing it on my head as I scaled a rickety old ladder. A couple of months ago I spotted the owl, happily sitting in