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We put our child in charge for a day – it was both terrifying and freeing

One day a year our daughter does as she pleases and it’s always great fun… and a good education for us allWe call it her “in-charge day”. A day when our nine-year-old daughter Flora is in charge, and we are, effectively, hers to command. A day when all the traditional hierarchies between parent and child are reversed, when she can fulfil her fantasies,...

Polygenic screening of embryos is here, but is it ethical?

The first child born using the technique arrived last year. But can it really help reduce diseases in a new generation, or is it ‘techno-eugenics’?The birth of the first IVF baby, Louise Brown, in 1978 provoked a media frenzy. In comparison, a little girl named Aurea born by IVF in May 2020 went almost unnoticed. Yet she represents a significant first...

Pregnant women at risk from health professionals’ mixed messages over safety of jab

Expectant mothers tell helpline that midwives are advising them against vaccines despite threat posed by virus• Coronavirus – latest updates• See all our coronavirus coveragePregnant women are being advised by some health professionals not to have the Covid vaccine despite an edict from the NHS that they should encourage them to get the jab. One in...

Russian film crew return to Earth after shooting the first movie in space

Actor and director land safely in Kazakhstan after spending 12 days on the International Space Station shooting the first movie in orbitA Russian actor and a film director have returned to Earth after spending 12 days on the International Space Station shooting scenes for the first movie in orbit.Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko landed as scheduled...

Figures of Babylon: oldest drawing of a ghost found in British Museum vault

A 3,500-year-old image tablet of a ‘miserable male ghost’ gives up its secretIts outlines are faint, only discernible at an angle, but the world’s oldest drawing of a ghost has been discovered in the darkened vaults of the British Museum.A lonely bearded spirit being led into the afterlife and eternal bliss by a lover has been identified on an ancient...

Well you would say that: the science behind our everyday biases

Covid has turned us into pandemic experts, all too ready to gainsay scientists and distorting our reasoning, but psychology can help us understand how our prejudices are formedAs I wasted an hour’s worth of petrol trying to find more petrol last month, Justin Webb poked at the chief secretary to the Treasury, Simon Clarke, on the Today programme, seeking...

More power to Mark Billingham’s book-hurling elbow. I might join in | Rebecca Nicholson

Life’s too short for bad literature, so let’s follow the writer’s exampleDo you ditch a book if it does not immediately grab your attention or do you trudge through it joylessly, weighed down by some invisible obligation to complete it, no matter how arduous the task? The writer Mark Billingham got stuck into this endless debate at the Cheltenham literature...

Viva la vulva: why we need to talk about women’s genitalia

Ignorance about the basic biology of vulvas is still shockingly high – yet there are huge health benefits, physical and emotional, to be won with better understandingIf you have a vulva between your legs, could you identify the seven separate structures in a mirror? If your partner has a vulva, can you identify theirs?For over half the population, the...

'Johnny'll love that': Ringo Starr wishes Nasa Lucy mission well – video

The Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr, was among those asked to add their messages to a Lucy mission plaque. The spacecraft has set off on a 12-year quest to explore eight asteroids, mostly around Jupiter's orbit. The mission was named after the 3.2m-year-old skeletal remains of a human ancestor found in Ethiopia nearly a half a century. Dr Donald Johanson...

Nasa’s Lucy rockets into the sky with diamonds to explore asteroids

Spacecraft with name inspired by a skeleton and the Beatles, and with lab-grown gems, starts 12-year questA Nasa spacecraft named Lucy has rocketed into the sky with diamonds on a 12-year quest to explore eight asteroids.Seven of the mysterious space rocks are among swarms of asteroids sharing Jupiter’s orbit, thought to be the pristine leftovers of...

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