Nicki Minaj’s COVID-19 vaccine tweet about swollen testicles signals the dangers of celebrity misinformation and fandom

Sarah R. Olutola, Lakehead University Rapper and pop singer Nicki Minaj made headlines after her Sept. 13 tweet about her as-of-yet unidentified cousin’s friend in Trinidad, who was dumped at the altar by his wife-to-be because “the vaccine” — presumably for COVID-19 — allegedly made his testicles swell. Trinidad and Tobago’s health minister said two days later the claim was debunked after being investigated. MSNBC political commentator Joy Reid expressed concern for Minaj’s 22 million Twitter followers, arguing Minaj used her platform “to put people in the position of dying from a disease they don’t have to die from.” Speaking … Continue reading Nicki Minaj’s COVID-19 vaccine tweet about swollen testicles signals the dangers of celebrity misinformation and fandom

Scouse Soldiers:

The organised crime gangs of Merseyside Robert Hesketh, Liverpool John Moores University Like many urban areas in the UK, Merseyside has a long and notorious history of street gangs. From the Cornermen and High Rip gangs of the 19th century, to the Croxteth Crew, Nogga Dogs and Moss Edz, the self-perceived North Face “Scouse Soldiers” of today, all have left a dark and deadly legacy. As someone who has always lived on a former Merseyside council housing estate in Knowsley, one of the most socially excluded and poverty-stricken areas in the UK, and an academic whose research has focused on youth … Continue reading Scouse Soldiers:

Work-life balance:

What really makes us happy might surprise you Lis Ku, De Montfort University Finding the right work-life balance is by no means a new issue in our society. But the tension between the two has been heightened by the pandemic, with workers increasingly dwelling over the nature of their work, its meaning and purpose, and how these affect their quality of life. Studies suggest people are leaving or planning to leave their employers in record numbers in 2021 – a “great resignation” that appears to have been precipitated by these reflections. But if we’re all reconsidering where and how work slots … Continue reading Work-life balance:

Giant Ice Rock Exploded Over Sodom 3,600 Years Ago

A giant space rock demolished an ancient Middle Eastern city and everyone in it – possibly inspiring the Biblical story of Sodom Christopher R. Moore, University of South Carolina As the inhabitants of an ancient Middle Eastern city now called Tall el-Hammam went about their daily business one day about 3,600 years ago, they had no idea an unseen icy space rock was speeding toward them at about 38,000 mph (61,000 kph). Flashing through the atmosphere, the rock exploded in a massive fireball about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) above the ground. The blast was around 1,000 times more powerful than the … Continue reading Giant Ice Rock Exploded Over Sodom 3,600 Years Ago

How you can help your pussy cat

Why the pandemic made some cats sick with stress – and how we can help them Lauren Finka, Nottingham Trent University Those of us who own pets probably enjoyed their company in the depths of the pandemic. Not only are pets potentially good for our physical health, they also benefit our mental wellbeing. Indeed, they may have even been a way of coping with pandemic-fuelled mental health problems. But this is still an emerging area of research, so the impacts of pet ownership on human health aren’t always clear cut. Recent research suggests that having to care for a pet during … Continue reading How you can help your pussy cat

Five intellectual fashion statements from history that anticipated today’s dark academia trend

Serena Dyer, De Montfort University Writing with a quill pen dipped in ink, sitting in the flickering of candlelight in a book-lined study, and vintage tweed paired with knitted jumpers and brogues have all become the height of fashion for autumn 2021. Known as dark academia, this trend has brought the hallowed halls of ancient universities to the digital worlds of TikTok and Instagram. On Instagram, the tag #darkacademia now has over 1 million posts, and Grazia has named the aesthetic as autumn 2021’s biggest trend. The TikTok generation has keenly embraced the tweedy cosiness of scholarly life. Centred around … Continue reading Five intellectual fashion statements from history that anticipated today’s dark academia trend

Star Trek Holodeck is coming soon!

We created holograms you can touch – you could soon shake a virtual colleague’s hand Ravinder Dahiya, University of Glasgow The TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation introduced millions of people to the idea of a holodeck: an immersive, realistic 3D holographic projection of a complete environment that you could interact with and even touch. In the 21st century, holograms are already being used in a variety of ways such as medical systems, education, art, security and defence. Scientists are still developing ways to use lasers, modern digital processors, and motion-sensing technologies to create several different types of holograms which … Continue reading Star Trek Holodeck is coming soon!

Liz Truss: three areas where the new foreign secretary will have the most influence

Jamie Gaskarth, The Open University In naming her as the new foreign secretary, Boris Johnson has handed Liz Truss a bewildering array of global problems and relationships to manage. Foreign secretary is a difficult role, quite distinct from other posts in government. Many occupants are criticised for a lack of vision – which comes partly from a lack of control over events. Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger described diplomacy as “the patient accumulation of partial successes”. It is difficult for a minister to point to specific achievements and in any case the prime minister will often steal their … Continue reading Liz Truss: three areas where the new foreign secretary will have the most influence

North Korea, nuclear proliferation and why the ‘madman theory’ is wrong about Kim Jong-un

Colin Alexander, Nottingham Trent University The two missile tests conducted by North Korea in recent days have reopened discussions about the country, its leadership, its foreign policy, its perception around the world and the use (and usefulness) of nuclear weapons as an option within global politics. North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency announced on September 12 that it had test-fired a new long-range cruise missile, believed by analysts to be the country’s first missile with the capacity to carry a nuclear warhead. Three days later the South Korean military said the North had launched “two unidentified ballistic missiles” into … Continue reading North Korea, nuclear proliferation and why the ‘madman theory’ is wrong about Kim Jong-un

Grammar still matters

But teachers are struggling to teach it Willem Hollmann, Lancaster University Do you know what a suffix is, or how to distinguish adjectives from adverbs? If you have a six or seven-year-old, the chances are they do. Or at least, the UK government now says they should – by the end of year 2, to be specific. In year 3, primary schoolers turn their attention to prefixes and conjunctions. By the time pupils head to secondary school, they are expected to know what determiners and adverbials are. They should be able to recognise a relative clause as a special type of … Continue reading Grammar still matters