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Luhman 16B is the nearest brown dwarf to Earth, and the third nearest star system to our solar system

Spring is back to normal – after 15 freak mild years

The severe winter means that we still have to wait a few weeks for the return of blossoms, buds and wildlife, writes Michael McCarthy

Leading article: Normal service resumed

"Through primrose tufts in that sweet bower, the periwinkle trailed its wreaths ... birds around me hopped and played." Thus wrote William Wordsworth in "Written In Early Spring", which was clearly not penned in weather like this.

Scientist admits climate errors were 'embarrassing'

One of President Barack Obama's leading scientific advisers has criticised the UN body overseeing the science of climate change, describing the errors and sloppy mistakes which have affected public confidence in climate science as "an embarrassment".

Cold weather and snow to persist for weekend

Heavy snow yesterday heralded a weekend of sub-zero temperatures and continuing blizzards in parts of the UK.

Indigenous knowledge meets science

Fabricated quote used to discredit climate scientist

Sir John Houghton explains to Steve Connor how global warming sceptics have misrepresented his views

Melbourne sweats through hottest night in 108 years

The Australian city of Melbourne has sweltered through its hottest night since 1902, with temperatures topping 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit), meteorologists said today.

Simon Carr: Predicting weather is a mug's game

Three days out and the forecasters are guessing – and it's been proven so

Jim Dale: Why the Met Office got it wrong – again

The weather-watchers are too business-minded

George Cowling: Britain's first television weatherman

Before magnetic clouds, satellite technology, hi-tech graphics and colour television brought more pizzazz to forecasts on screen, a 32-year-old Yorkshireman who worked for the Meteorological Office became the BBC's first on-screen weather presenter. George Cowling stepped in front of the camera at 7.55pm on 11 January 1954. Even though he delivered the forecast in a traditional, BBC style, long before weather presenters adopted a more chatty, informal manner, Cowling was able to turn the scientific explanations into human reality by telling viewers that high winds would make the following day a good one for hanging out washing.

Next year forecast to be hottest on record

Prediction contradicts sceptics' claim that warming stopped in 1998

Just to cheer you up, stand by for the big freeze

After the month-long battering by gales and storms that made November the wettest in Britain on record, the prospect of wintry relief was held up by meteorologists today with a forecast of up to a fortnight of icy but much drier weather.

Met Office reveals last decade was the hottest ever recorded

Data show that Earth is not cooling as some sceptics had claimed, but is hotter now than at any point since 1860

Steve Connor: On any measurement, things are heating up

Both sides of the "debate" over global warming have accused the other of cherry-picking data to suit their competing theses. The issue recently has focused on the past decade, and whether or not global warming in the 21st century has come to a "standstill", as the climate sceptics have suggested.

Steve Connor: Climatology began 200 years ago

Science Notebook: Joseph Fourier was the first to realise the heat-trapping potential of the atmosphere
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Barn owls are among species that could be affected
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Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
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After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas