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NuSTAR captures dead star and distant black holes

Free Radicals: The Secret Anarchy of Science, By Michael Brooks<br/>Litmus: Short Stories from Modern Science, Edited by Ra Page

These days science is either nothing or it's the new religion. But, as both these books show in their different ways, the practice of science inhabits the broad territory between these extremes and exhibits the full Monty of human behaviour. Science is the most reliable form of knowledge we have but it is arrived at by unreliable means. Cutting-edge research deals with the unknown unknowns, as the unwitting philosopher of science Donald Rumsfeld put it, and there is no formula or methodology for achieving that.

Cern scientists shatter antimatter record

How do you store a substance which vanishes into thin air the moment it comes into contact with any material known to man, even thin air itself?

Storm leaves 116 dead in a single American town

Doctors and nurses at the main hospital in the US town of Joplin, Missouri, had just minutes to rush patients away from windows and outside walls before it was ravaged by a massive tornado that ripped a wide path through, leaving at least 116 people dead and countless more injured. Officials said the death toll was expected to rise.

Adjust your compass now: the north pole is migrating to Russia

Movement of the magnetic north is causing problems for aviation, navigation and wildlife

Vatican Radio is told to pay out over cancer risk scare

Italy's supreme Court has ordered Vatican Radio to compensate a small town near Rome following claims that children there were at a higher risk of cancer because of the broadcaster's high-powered transmitters.

Solar storm 'could cause more damage than Hurricane Katrina'

A powerful solar flare hit the Earth last week &ndash; and experts are now warning that the next one could be catastrophic

The Planet in a Pebble, By Jan Zalasiewicz

The very stone one kicks with one's boot will outlast Shakespeare." So laments Mr Ramsay in To the Lighthouse, whose author, Virginia Woolf, had originally plumped for Plato in the novel's manuscript. With his fascinating brief study of the aeons encapsulated in a slate pebble washed by the waves on a Welsh beach, the geologist Jan Zalasiewicz finds so much more than books in babbling brooks or sermons in stones. It is soon evident that the years between the acts of a Greek philosopher and Jacobean playwright are a mere instant.

Simon Carr: Barking and cringeing on Ed's quest for the leadership secret

Sketch: The words "brotherly love" are to Ed like a dentist's drill on an open tooth.

Liam Fox highlights solar flare threat to power grids

Defence Secretary Liam Fox will today highlight the threat to Britain's essential infrastructure, amid warnings by scientists that it could be paralysed by a once-in-a-century solar flare.

Theories of everything: Has cosmic science written its last word?

Stephen Hawking's new book dumps divine design in favour of spontaneous creation

The Stars: September

Devourer of asteroids, swallower of comets: Jupiter is a world to be reckoned with. It's the giant of our Solar System: a planet that could contain 1,300 Earths.

Forget the Large Hadron Collider. All hail Cern's new, straight-line atom smasher

Physicists are demanding a &pound;4.4bn, 31-kilometre tunnel if they are to explain the mysteries of the universe

Album: The Divine Comedy, Bang Goes The Knighthood (DCR)

Unstrapping his shin pads after last year's success with The Duckworth Lewis Method, Neil Hannon returns to his main day-job with Bang Goes The Knighthood, an album on which the cast of familiar Divine Comedy characters are targeted with his usual precision and urbanity.

Sun's magnetic field may have caused freezing winter

It was the coldest winter in England since 1963 – the coldest in Scotland since 1914 – and weeks of ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures from last December to March defied predictions by climate-change scientists of milder, wetter winters. So what happened?

Do try this at home? Science experiments as homework

Teachers say science experiments are disappearing from schools. But that doesn't have to mean the end of the Van der Graaf generator
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Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'