What my 20 years in Afghanistan taught me about the Taliban – and how the west consistently underestimates them

Sippi Azarbaijani Moghaddam, University of St Andrews It was April 1995, and I was preparing to travel to Afghanistan for my first volunteer post with a UK charity. I had travelled to London to meet the Afghanistan director for the … Continue reading What my 20 years in Afghanistan taught me about the Taliban – and how the west consistently underestimates them

Could we really deflect an asteroid heading for Earth? An expert explains NASA’s latest DART mission

Gail Iles, RMIT University A NASA spacecraft the size of a golf cart has been directed to smash into an asteroid, with the intention of knocking it slightly off course. The test aims to demonstrate our technological readiness in case … Continue reading Could we really deflect an asteroid heading for Earth? An expert explains NASA’s latest DART mission

Mask wearing wasn’t disputed in previous crises – so why is it so hotly contested today?

Nathan Abrams, Bangor University; Anaïs Augé, Bangor University; Maciej Nowakowski, Bangor University, and Thora Tenbrink, Bangor University Across western countries, people are polarised over wearing masks. While some support wearing them as an effective counter to the virus, others believe … Continue reading Mask wearing wasn’t disputed in previous crises – so why is it so hotly contested today?

The hunt for coronavirus variants: how the new one was found and what we know so far

Prof. Wolfgang Preiser, Stellenbosch University; Cathrine Scheepers, University of the Witwatersrand; Jinal Bhiman, National Institute for Communicable Diseases; Marietjie Venter, University of Pretoria, and Tulio de Oliveira, University of KwaZulu-Natal Since early in the COVID pandemic, the Network for Genomics … Continue reading The hunt for coronavirus variants: how the new one was found and what we know so far

Conspiracy theories about the pandemic are spreading offline as well as through social media

Rod Dacombe, King’s College London A consistent feature of the pandemic has been the presence of a relatively small but vocal number of conspiracy theorists who resist attempts to tackle COVID-19. Their views might seem marginal and extreme but recent … Continue reading Conspiracy theories about the pandemic are spreading offline as well as through social media